Frequently Asked Questions about Restaurant Point of Sale (POS)

Considering a new POS system to power your restaurant business? Allow us to be your resource. Read on for answers to commonly asked questions about restaurant POS, including critical success factors for a POS solution that is suited to meet the needs of your growing business.

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What is a restaurant point of sale (POS) system, and why do I need one for my restaurant?

A POS system is a software and hardware solution that allows you to manage various aspects of your restaurant, such as processing payments, tracking inventory, and managing employee schedules. A POS system in your restaurant will assist with data management, help streamline your operations, save time and money, and provide valuable insights into your business.

Restaurant POS systems have evolved significantly in recent years with the proliferation of ordering across channels, and are often tightly integrated with a restaurant’s other ordering solutions—including kiosks, mobile ordering, drive thru line busting, tableside tablets, and more. It is helpful to think of these channels as an extension of the core POS system, just with different hardware to serve customers in different contexts.

What are key restaurant POS system features?

The features you should look for in a restaurant POS system depend on your specific requirements, business objectives, and the format of your guest experience. However, some key POS system features to consider include order taking, payment processing, inventory management, employee management, reporting and analytics, and integrations with other systems, such as online ordering and accounting software.

In addition, the POS system hardware should be highly durable and ruggedized for the intense heat, moisture, and level of usage found in the restaurant environment. A proper point of sale solution is a significant investment for your restaurant, and durability is key to ensuring that investment continues to perform and pay dividends over time.

Last, but most certainly not least, POS software should be highly intuitive. The ease with which crew members can learn and adopt the point of sale solution is a key driver of operational efficiency and guest satisfaction. Usability is equally important in guest-facing channels, such as the self-service kiosk.

What is the cost of a restaurant POS system?

The cost of a restaurant POS system can vary widely depending on the vendor, the features included, and the number of terminals you need. Typically, you can expect to pay a monthly fee per terminal, with additional fees for add-on features and integrations. Some vendors may also charge a one-time setup or installation fee.

While the point of sale solution represents an upfront and ongoing investment, there is no technology more central to the success of your restaurant and its ability to achieve its goals for sales and profitability. A strong point of sale solution delivers immediate benefits, including the ability to increase sales by facilitating add ons, reduce food costs by reducing errors, improve satisfaction by enhancing speed of service, and sustain improvement by surfacing opportunities with robust business analytics.

What kind of hardware do I need for a restaurant POS system?

The hardware you need for a restaurant POS system can vary depending on the vendor and the features you require. At a minimum, you will need a touchscreen terminal or tablet for order taking, a cash drawer, and a receipt printer. Additional hardware such as kitchen display screens, card readers, and barcode scanners may also be required to fortify the link between front and back of house, and facilitate the acceptance of diverse payment options.

Choosing the right combination of hardware for your restaurant’s POS system can feel like an overwhelming feat, but the right partner can simplify this process by helping you understand the strengths and weaknesses of various vendors, and combine their products in a way that achieves your unique goals.

In addition, quality service and support for your POS hardware are critical, particularly in the harsh restaurant environment where even the most durable hardware can experience difficulties from time to time. Look for a partner with strengths in hardware repair, a responsive exchange depot, and the ability to purchase old equipment back from you when you decide it is time to make a change.

How do I choose the right POS system for my restaurant?

To choose the right POS system for your restaurant, start by defining your specific needs and goals. Consider factors such as the size of your restaurant, the number of terminals you need based on layout and volume, the features you require, and your budget. Do your research, read reviews, and schedule demos with potential vendors to ensure you find a system that meets your needs and is exceptionally easy to use.

When it comes to POS system selection and design, the role of a responsive restaurant technology partner cannot be overstated. Look for a consultative partner who will listen to your needs, respond with multiple solutions, and help you identify a best-in-class solution that will provide exceptional value.

What kind of data can I track and analyze with a POS system, and how can this data help me make informed business decisions?

A POS system enables your restaurant to track and analyze a wide range of data, including sales trends, inventory levels, employee performance, customer demographics, and even marketing campaigns. This data can help you make informed decisions about pricing, inventory management, staffing, marketing, and more. Using the insights provided by a POS system to make informed decisions, you are better positioned to optimize your operations and drive growth.

Make sure your system delivers comprehensive, high-quality data and couples this information with metrics that can be applied in a meaningful way. Think of your restaurant POS system as the heart of your restaurant’s strategy to collect and utilize data.

Can I integrate my POS system with other software, and how can this integration benefit my business?

Yes, most modern POS systems can be integrated with other software such as accounting software, inventory management software, and marketing automation tools. This integration can benefit your business by reducing data entry errors, improving operational efficiency, and providing a more comprehensive view of your business performance.

In particular, look for a POS system that can be integrated with technologies in your omni-channel strategy to eliminate gaps in data, workflow, and guest experience. In addition, make sure your POS system is tightly integrated with back of house workflows, facilitating speed and accuracy among your kitchen crew.

What kind of security features should I look for in a POS system, and how can I ensure my customers’ data is protected?

Security is a critical consideration when choosing a POS system. Some key security features to look for include EMV compliance, encryption of customer data, secure login procedures, and regular security updates. To ensure your customers’ data is protected, you should also train your staff on best practices for handling sensitive information and regularly review your security protocols over time. A proven technology partner with a track record of success can help you assess your existing approach to security and adopt industry best practices that will improve your security posture.

How can I use my POS system to improve employee performance and engagement, and what kind of features should I look for?

Your POS system can be a valuable tool for enhancing employee performance and engagement. Some key features to look for include real-time sales data, commission tracking, employee scheduling, and training modules. You can also use your POS system to set performance goals, provide feedback and recognition for high-performing crew members, and incentivize performance with rewards and bonuses.

What kind of customer support and training should I expect from my POS system vendor, and how can I ensure I have the resources I need to use my system effectively?

The quality of your POS system partner is as important as the quality of your POS system. Quality support and training can make or break the success of your POS system implementation.

When choosing a vendor, you should look for a provider that offers intuitive training and onboarding for your crew, ongoing technical support in the case of questions, and regular software updates without downtime. You should also have a plan in place for troubleshooting and resolving issues quickly to minimize downtime and ensure your business runs smoothly. In addition to a high quality help desk, look for a partner that offers same day or next day replacement hardware alongside responsive repair services.

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