How to Select the Best Restaurant POS Systems

Kristin Eriksen

Kristin Eriksen

Content Marketing Specialist

July 05, 2018

How to Select the Best Restaurant POS Systems

Kristin Eriksen, Content Marketing Specialist
July 05, 2018


Restaurant POS System

A restaurant point of sale (POS) system is a crucial type of restaurant technology that enables efficiency and cost-saving. Traditionally, POS systems for restaurants were only used for processing payments. However, this technology has now evolved and assists restaurant owners in managing every aspect of their business. Regardless of the type of restaurant you own, a point of sale system can help you to manage your staff, inventory, and marketing. POS systems for restaurants vary in terms of functionality and features, but most offer integrations. This allows the POS system to interface with software that you currently use.

Selecting the best POS restaurant system needs to be done carefully. Making the right choice will improve your business operations. However, choosing a restaurant POS system that’s not fit for purpose can end up causing you and your employees’ unnecessary headaches. When opening a restaurant, there are key decisions to be made – from how many employees you’ll need to what should be on the menu. Selecting the best POS system for your restaurant should be on your list of critical items when starting your business.

Whether you’re just starting in the restaurant industry or are already running your own eatery, your point of sale system needs to make operating your restaurant smoother for you and your employees.


What is a restaurant point of sale system?

A POS system for restaurants is hardware and software that completes transactions and track sales. Some of the tasks that a restaurant point of sale system can undertake include:

  • Customer transaction processing.
  • Tax calculation.
  • Inventory management.

A restaurant point of sale system will also enable you to integrate with different systems to enable the following:


Different categories of POS systems for restaurants

The type of restaurant you run, your payment processing needs, and your location will all play a role in determining the category of POS system you choose. You can either select:


Traditional restaurant POS system

Traditional restaurant point of sale systems has been around for decades. These systems are also referred to as ‘legacy’ or ‘on-premise systems.’ Traditional restaurant POS systems are normally operated by a server that’s located at the restaurant. Payment processing is done through this server and doesn’t require an internet connection. The terminals in a traditional restaurant point of sale systems are stationary and can’t be moved around easily.

You should think about the following if you’re considering a traditional POS system for your restaurant:

  • You’ll need to pay a license fee up front.
  • The system needs to be installed at your restaurant by a technician.
  • You’ll need to arrange for the system to be maintained on a monthly basis.
  • You can get access to your data at your restaurant anytime you need it.

Cloud-based restaurant POS system

Cloud-based restaurant POS systems work by transferring information from your restaurant via the internet to a remote server. Mobile point of sale restaurant technology, like Square, is an example of a cloud-based solution for restaurants. Mobile POS systems allow flexibility because they’re portable and can be carried by servers to your customer.

Restaurant POS Systems

You should think about the following when deciding whether a cloud-based POS system is best for your restaurant:

  • The system will be automatically updated with the latest software upgrades.
  • You’ll be able to accept new types of payments like chip and PIN.
  • You have access to the data you need wherever you are (using any device).
  • The system can integrate with your existing apps and systems.

Self-service kiosks

Self-service kiosks are a new type of restaurant point of sale software used mostly by large restaurant chains like Wendy’s. Customers are able to place their own orders and pay for their food on touchscreens. Self-service kiosks free up employees from taking orders to focus on more customer service-oriented tasks.

The following needs to be considered before choosing self-service kiosks:

  • Your type of customer. A self-service kiosk is popular with millennials and Generation Z’s because of the interaction with technology.
  • Expense. A self-service kiosk is expensive to implement because it’s a new form of technology.
  • Your type of restaurant. A self-service kiosk is more suitable for fast food restaurants.

Selecting the best restaurant POS system (according to features)

There are many variations of restaurant point of sale systems to suit different types of restaurants. Therefore, you should conduct a thorough assessment of your restaurant’s needs before making a decision about the best POS system. The following are features that you need to weigh up when making a decision about which point of sale system is best for your restaurant:


Ordering options

Your restaurant’s point of sale software should provide different options for customers to place and pay for their order, including:

  • Online ordering – A POS system can integrate with your restaurant’s website so that customers can place their orders online. This will enable you to track your restaurant’s and website’s ordering in one system.
  • Table orderingSelf-service table ordering can be done at tables to prevent the inconvenience of servers going back and forth between tables and a stationary terminal. Customers are able to order from a digital menu on a tablet placed on their table and are also able to make payment using the tablet.

Integration

Connecting your restaurant’s POS system to your existing apps and systems will be similar to having one operating system for your restaurant. A few of the integrations you can make with your restaurant’s point of sale system include:

  • Accountancy – Integrating your POS system with accounting software, like Sage and QuickBooks, provide the opportunity for you to monitor your finances without the need to physically input information. This integration reduces financial reporting errors and therefore saves costs.
  • Employee scheduling – The best POS system for restaurants will have the capability of integrating with workforce management software. For example, Deputy takes away the hassle of manually scheduling your restaurant employees. When integrated with your point of sale system, Deputy helps you to control labor costs, remain compliant with relevant laws, forecast staffing needs, and much more. Schedule a call below to find out how Deputy can enhance the POS you choose by providing a complete hourly workforce management solution.

 


Reporting

Accurate reporting informs the decisions you make to enable your restaurant to be more profitable. The best POS systems for your restaurant will provide you with reports about the different aspects of your business, for example:

  • The best-performing menu items.
  • The cost of food.
  • Labor costs.
  • The average amount spent per customer.
  • The most popular payment types.

Inventory management

Every type of restaurant needs a system to keep track of their ingredients. A restaurant POS system should give you a running count of what’s selling. It should also include a feature that integrates with financial reporting to provide data about the cost of your ingredients.

Here is some additional functionality of inventory management in a restaurant point of sale system:

  • Automatically re-order items.
  • Notify you when items are running low.
  • Work out the profit margin for menu items.

Ease of use

Due to the fact that your employees will be using your restaurant’s POS system, it should be as simple as possible to navigate. You must provide training to your employees to get them up to speed on your new point of sale system.

The following are indications of a point of sale’s usability:

  • User-friendly interface.
  • Touchscreen monitor.
  • Fast response time.

Security features

Your restaurant needs to be compliant with the relevant data legislation and the best POS system will assist you in this area. Your POS system should also be capable of alerting you to possible employee theft by tracking the money that is collected.

Ideally, your restaurant’s POS systems will include the following security features:

  • Encryption software – This feature protects the information that’s transferred when a card payment is made. POS systems should be Europay, MasterCard, Visa (EMV) enabled to help combat fraud in relation to contactless payments.
  • Antivirus software – This is a requirement for any cloud-based system. Antivirus software protects yours and your customers’ information against malicious online attacks.
  • Blind closeout – Helps to track all the cash that goes through your restaurant’s cash drawer. It requires your employees to reconcile the cash when they finish their shift without letting them know the exact amount that’s expected to be returned.
  • Secure line – A separate and secure internet connection for your restaurant’s point of sale system is necessary to protect your data from security breaches and to keep you compliant with the Payment Card Industry requirements.

Support and training

Reviewing the level of support provided is vital when choosing a restaurant point of sale system. A POS system that experiences downtime will cause frustration to your employees and customers. The technical support you choose should involve a facility where you can access a real person during your restaurant’s opening hours. The restaurant point of sale software provider you select should also offer comprehensive onboarding and training to get you up and running.

Make the following inquiries with the POS system vendor to determine whether their level of service is right for your restaurant:

  • Response time – Ask about their typical response times to your inquiries. Also, find out whether a 24/7 service is offered.
  • Charges – Request information about whether there are charges attached to supporting the POS system. If there are charges, review the terms and conditions to find the exact amount.
  • Troubleshooting – Make inquiries about what happens if your restaurant’s POS system goes down during a busy time. Ideally, your vendor will have technicians who can troubleshoot the issue to get your system working again.

Invest In Your Restaurant

The above features are essential for a restaurant POS system. You’ll need to consider your budget when deciding which point of sale software to use. Additionally, you should also use review sites to compare functionality and prices for different restaurant systems. As in the case of review sites, like Yelp, customers giving details about their experiences is also very useful.

Review sites, like Capterra, enables you to find out the pros and cons of restaurant POS systems according to the people who use the software. The reviews in addition to the information above should help you make an informed choice in relation to selecting the best restaurant POS system.

Whether your type of restaurant is a food truck or a fine-dining establishment, a POS system is necessary to help you to manage your employees, finances, and customers. The apps and systems you select for your restaurant’s point of sale system are equally important to ensure that your connections run smoothly. Deputy integrates with a number of POS systems including Vend and Square. Sign up for a free trial with Deputy to find out why restaurateurs choose us to manage their hourly employees and integrate seamlessly with their chosen POS system.

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Important Notice
The information contained in this article is general in nature and you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs. Legal and other matters referred to in this article are of a general nature only and are based on Deputy's interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied on in place of professional advice. Deputy is not responsible for the content of any site owned by a third party that may be linked to this article and no warranty is made by us concerning the suitability, accuracy or timeliness of the content of any site that may be linked to this article. Deputy disclaims all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded) for any error, inaccuracy, or omission from the information contained in this article and any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kristin Eriksen
Kristin is a creative and results-driven content specialist. She is a recent grad from Florida State University with a degree in Information, Communication and Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys reading a good book, the sounds of a great playlist, and seeking adventures in the outdoors.
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