How to Find the Best POS System for Restaurants
Owning a thriving restaurant can often mean juggling a hundred balls at once. Customers constantly coming and going, never-ending food and drink orders, and then, customers who just want to pay the bill and continue with their days. Not to mention all of the behind-the-scenes work, like managing the staff, keeping a fully-stocked kitchen, and balancing the books.
With so many things happening all at the same time, working fast isn’t your only imperative—you also need to be organized. If an order is lost, your cash register has a malfunction, or your stock of food isn’t replenished—your business will suffer.
A POS system deals with the 2 main needs of restaurant owners—working quickly and staying organized—and it’s the ideal tool to help you run a fast-paced and well-organized operation.
POS System Features
While POS systems started out as replacements for the simple cash register, today they are so much more. And because there are so many out there, it’s important to realize that, as a restaurant owner, your needs will be different than those of a retailer. Moreover, within the restaurant industry, you may have specific needs depending on whether you operate a bar, nightclub, winery, fast food joint, or a fine dining establishment.
For example, if you own a pizza shop, a POS system that offers mobile orders and delivery management is ideal for you. However, if you own an elegant French restaurant, you probably don’t need a delivery management system; instead, you might rely heavily on your POS system for table layout or a loyalty program. On the other hand, if you own a nightclub, a bill-splitting function might make the lives of your customers, and waiters, so much easier.
Then there are features that every restaurant owner can benefit from:
- Secure transactions
- Inventory management
- An efficient cash register
- Device syncing
- Readily available tech support
Once you realize what you want to get out of a POS system, you can move on to the next step: finding the right one.
Choosing the Right POS System For Your Restaurant
There’s good news and bad news when it comes to choosing a POS system. The good news is, there are many high-quality POS systems you can choose from, many of which are specifically suited for restaurants. The bad news is, you’ll have to do some research to determine which one is best for you.
In fact, the only way to choose a suitable POS system is to put in your due diligence and research the heck out of the topic. There are a few ways to do this:
- Google “POS systems for restaurants,” visit the different POS websites, and read up on their features.
- Read reviews from unbiased sources, which can be especially helpful if you’re not technologically-inclined. These reviews usually translate all the technical lingo into easily understandable English.
- Ask colleagues in the biz for recommendations (but make sure it’s from people you trust, not competitors who may sabotage you!).
What to Avoid When Making Your Decision
Avoid going for the cheapest option. Yes, you probably didn’t want to hear that, but it’s true. Don’t base your decision on price alone, because the money you save with a high-quality, intuitive POS system will be so much more than you spend on the actual hardware and software. Moreover, getting a high-quality and easy-to-use product means that you’ll be able to offer your customers better service. And a happy customer is a returning customer.
Setting Realistic Expectations
A POS system is not magic. You don’t just buy it and then everything is up-and-running like clockwork. Like learning to use any new technology, using your POS system efficiently and maximizing its potential can take time. How long will it take? Well, that depends on a few things:
- How comfortable you are with technology
- How comfortable your employees are with technology
- How intuitive the interface is
- How much effort you invest
If you’re not comfortable with technology, give yourself a good few months of using the system to get used to it. Creating a timeline is a good way to keep yourself focused.
Here’s a sample timeline:
Master accepting all types of payments and emailing/receipts
Teach employees to accept payments/issue receipts
Master inventory stocking and mobile delivery management
The last one can take more than 1-2 months; learning to understand the data and harness it into lucrative business strategies is what POS systems are all about.
So remember, if you try to tackle your entire POS system at once, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. But if you take on each aspect at a relaxed, unstressed pace, you’re giving yourself the best chance to master the system.
And mastering the system means that you’ll have more than just a fancy cash register—your POS system has the potential to become the best business partner you ever had.
Top10 POS Systems staff is comprised of writers who understand the world of POS and specialize in simplifying the process of choosing the right match for businesses.