The right restaurant POS system can significantly improve the productivity and profitability of an establishment. When choosing your ideal system, carefully consider your specific business needs. Asking yourself and your employees the following questions will help you to determine what you have vs. what you need out of your new system.
- What is your budget?
To begin, look at your annual sales for the last fiscal year. How much of that are you willing to spend on a new system? Think about how long you expect your new system to last and how much revenue you expect it to bring to your restaurant. These numbers will help you determine your POS system price range.
Don’t be afraid to look outside your cost comfort zone, though. Keep in mind that if you choose a state-of-the-art system and use it wisely, you will receive considerable return on your investment.
- What is your current system missing?
Your best first step is always to assess your current situation before moving forward. So, first and foremost, ask your employees what their biggest frustrations are with your current system. Maybe it’s waiting for the menu to load or the receipt to print. Maybe it’s estimating the amount of inventory needed in the next shipment. Whatever it is, it will give you a clearer picture of the issues costing your restaurant money, time and customers.
- How fast-paced is your environment?
Fast-paced environments like bars, quick service restaurants and fast casual cafes require a system that allows them to increase the speed and accuracy of their service. Look for a POS provider that offers integration with peripherals that expedite orders, like kitchen display systems and bump bars. These environments will also need receipt printing and payment processing solutions that allow customers to be checked out in a matter of seconds.
- What is the size and scope of your operations?
If you have a large restaurant, have multiple seating areas, serve a large number of customers on a daily basis or require several employees to work the same shift, you will need multiple POS terminals to keep lines moving. If your restaurant serves patrons at banquet halls, outdoor events or trade shows, you should look for a system that offers mobile POS devices that can be used to cash out customers anywhere, anytime.
- Do you deliver?
Restaurants that make deliveries or offer online ordering, such as pizza and Asian cuisine, should look for a system that allows them to integrate these orders with their POS system. It is important that delivery orders are completed with minimal disruption to in-store sales. In addition to software with delivery functionality, many POS providers offer printers that allow order tickets to be printed from multiple sources to ensure order accuracy.
- How much do you need to know about your inventory?
Some restaurants have more sensitive inventories than others – for example, those that sell alcohol or retail products. Also, some restaurants experience more issues with theft and shrinkage than others. Look for POS software that allows access to detailed inventory reports and transaction history to mitigate risks. And even if your establishment doesn’t have a high level of security needs, every restaurant can benefit from these reporting features.
- How much do you need to know about your customers?
Some restaurant POS systems allow restaurants to collect and store customer information to be used for customer loyalty programs, gift cards, delivery addresses and marketing activities. Depending on your level of need, look for these functionalities in your prospective restaurant POS system.
- Do you have a growing, changing or seasonal menu?
If your menu is subject to frequent changes, you will need customizable menu screens and programmable keyboards so employees will be able to find new items quickly and easily.
- Do you have more than one location, or are you part of a franchise?
Enterprise reporting features allow restaurant managers to monitor the performance of multiple locations. They can access in-depth sales reports for individual restaurants and compare numbers across multiple locations. Some enterprise reporting features also offer messaging between the corporate office and each location, allowing them to keep up-to-date on menu changes and new promotions.
- Are you or any of your employees inexperienced with POS?
Training employees to use a new system is crucial to a successful deployment – and in some restaurants it’s more important than others. Take quick service establishments for example; they experience the highest turnover rates in the hospitality industry. As employees filter in and out, a restaurant must be able to quickly and easily train them to use the POS system to minimize disruption and downtime. Look for a restaurant POS system that is extremely intuitive and a provider that can provide on-site training.
For any restaurant, ongoing IT support is also very important. When your POS isn’t functioning properly, neither can your restaurant. Look for a provider that can not only provide installation and initial training sessions, but also address your issues in a short amount of time.
What are you looking for in your new system?