With the right point of sale (POS) system for your restaurant, you can leverage customer data, track sales, manage transactions, and much more. There are numerous programs on the market, and many of them are targeted at specific types of restaurants.
But it can be difficult to know exactly what to look for in a POS system. The right solution for your restaurant will depend on a number of factors, including the type of service you provide, the size of your menu, the number of staff you employ, and whether or not you operate from more than one location.
You can use the chart above to compare the best POS systems and choose the service that fits you the best. If you’re still not sure where to start, follow our top 7 tips below to help you select the right POS system for your restaurant.
The subscription cost for different POS systems can vary considerably, and it’s important to keep your budget in mind when selecting the right option for your business. We’d suggest sitting down and identifying your budget before you begin your search.
As you’re doing this, remember to include ongoing subscription fees and hardware costs. Traditionally, POS systems have cost thousands of dollars per year to run. However, the introduction of cloud-based systems has decreased the cost significantly, enabling you to access many more tools at a much more affordable price.
For example, one popular restaurant system starts at $59 per month. Specialized hardware isn’t required, but you will need a tablet or smartphone to accept payments. A central computer terminal is also a good idea, particularly if you’re running multiple payment devices.
The POS system you choose should be intuitive and easy to use. If you don’t have a tech background, we’d suggest paying careful attention to this. Look for a system that’s easy to set up, boasts streamlined management tools, and is easy to teach to new employees.
On top of this, you might wish to look into the usability of more advanced features. How easy is it to set up automatic inventory management? Are there tools for employee timesheet management, enabling them to clock on and off in a hassle-free manner?
You should also be aware of the speed and performance of a system. If you choose a POS that’s slow and glitchy, your staff will become irritated, customers will be forced to wait longer than they should, and general restaurant operations could be affected.
Small restaurants and other small hospitality businesses may not need anything too special in the way of inventory management. However, larger businesses could benefit immensely from features like automatic inventory tracking, automated reordering, and inventory analytics.
Without an appropriate inventory management system, you could be losing a significant amount of revenue. Food waste could be higher than you realize, some items may be misused, and your already small profit margins in a competitive industry could creep even lower.
Some of the inventory management tools to keep an eye out for include:
Ultimately, your goal should be to find a POS system that has the right inventory management tools for your needs but isn’t too complex.
Along with a POS system, chances are that your restaurant is using other software to assist with workplace management. These might include accounting programs, online ordering software, sales management tools, and booking tools. To ensure you’re able to maintain the efficiency of your day-to-day operations, it’s important to look for a POS system that integrates seamlessly with software you’re already using.
For example, integrating your POS with your accounting system will save you hours of manual data entry. When set up correctly, your sales data should transfer automatically. Similarly, integrating your POS system with your online ordering system will help you keep track of sales and inventory across all sales channels, ensuring you never run out of ingredients or other stock.
If you’re switching from an existing POS system, you likely already own some sort of hardware. This could range from computers and tablets to card readers and specialized devices depending on the size of your restaurant. To save yourself some money, you should consider switching to a new POS system that supports your existing hardware.
Let’s say you’re trying to decide between two systems with identical monthly subscription fees and similar features. The first option can be used with any tablet, smartphone, or computer, making it a versatile choice. But the second option requires specialized hardware, which costs thousands of dollars to purchase. As you can imagine, option 1 would be the logical choice for the majority of users.
Many POS software companies don’t disclose the fact that they have transaction fees. But virtually all systems charge a small card processing fee, which is usually around 2% of the total transaction value.
However, this can vary, and some POS systems charge higher fees than others. If you have high revenue, the difference of just a fraction of a percentage can result in thousands of dollars in extra fees per year.
Your POS system will be handling a large amount of sensitive payment and personal information. This can include customer data associated with loyalty accounts, credit/debit card numbers, and transaction data. If your system isn’t secure or has security vulnerabilities, you run the risk of being hacked, which could result in huge issues for your business.
Fortunately, all of the leading POS systems maintain a high level of security that usually includes encryption, malware detection and removal, and various other tools. There is still a small chance of data breaches with these programs, but it’s minimal.
For a solution that offers a high number of security features, compare the best POS systems using our chart above, and choose the service that best fits your restaurant’s needs.
Selecting a new POS system for your restaurant can be a difficult, confusing process. There are countless options on the market, and many of them are perfectly acceptable choices.
To help make your decision easier, we’ve outlined 7 of the most important things to think about when selecting a POS system. Set your budget, think about ease of use and inventory management, and pay attention to transaction fees. Ensure you select a system that focuses on security, think about how you’re going to integrate it with your existing software, and try to reuse any existing hardware you have.
But above all, spend some time researching the best POS solutions, and use our chart above to guide your decision.