TMCnet Feature
July 21, 2021

8 Features to Consider When Choosing a Restaurant POS System

If you’re in the market for a restaurant point-of-sale (POS) system, you’ve made a great decision. A restaurant POS system is central to a successful restaurant. However, there are many POS solutions available, and your choice will impact your restaurant’s service and productivity for years to come.

The most expensive restaurant POS system is not necessarily the best for you. It is always good to do some research to compare features and choose the best fit for your restaurant. The best POS system for a large and busy restaurant will likely be different from the best pizza POS system or a small cafe that caters to quick-service customers. Below, we have put together a list of eight key features that you should be considering when evaluating different POS solutions.

1. Simple user interface

The last thing you would probably want is for your frontline cashier or restaurant clerk to fumble their way through the POS steps to place an order, accept payment, or figure out how to make corrections to a customer’s bill.  Look for a POS system with a user interface that is intuitive and easy for everyone to understand, use, and troubleshoot.

2. Restaurant-tailored POS system

Not all POS systems are the same. While retail POS systems have features similar to those of restaurant POS systems, there are major differences. A POS system designed for restaurants will be able add or remove ingredients from a dish to suit customers’ requests, split a bill, send orders straight to the kitchen, and even provide table management (i.e. accept reservations or cancellations, switch tables, have a running count of tables occupied and free).

3. Speedy interface and quick checkout

Is the POS system hard-wired, wireless, or a hybrid? On very busy days like Fridays and weekends, you cannot afford to have a POS system that lags. A hard-wired or hybrid option will likely be better for a busy restaurant and for locations with unstable internet connection. Tablet-based wireless POS systems are best for smaller restaurants located in areas with strong internet signals.

4. Inventory Control

Does the POS have inventory management? This need not be complicated but inventory control features can keep costs down and the kitchen running efficiently. Such POS features include tracking food stock, alerts for low inventory levels, food costs, profit margins, and reorder points. 

5. Security

A good POS system would have automatic backups, encryption, and custom access controls to limit access to sensitive data like customers’ credit card information. Extra features in a POS system won’t count for much if customers’ payment information is not secure. Some other great security features include EMV technology (use of chip cards) and regularly updated antivirus software.

6. Quality and Customizable Reports

Compare reports across POS systems. Is the information it gives granular enough for your restaurant’s needs? Can it readily be customized? Does it have sufficient audit trails? How well does it keep track of sales and taxes? Is it flexible enough to provide information while you are mobile, like when you are traveling or checking on the restaurant even from home?

7. Scalability

Can the POS system grow alongside your restaurant’s expansion? Consider where your restaurant will be in a year or two. Will you only have a branch, or several? Can you expand menu options? Hire more staff? It is often optimal to consider a POS system with expansion options. Instead of switching to an entirely new POS system as you grow, consider upfront a POS that lets you scale by just upgrading to a more premium plan.

8. Free POS Trials

Most POS system suppliers offer free POS trials, so be sure to take advantage of these. There is nothing like putting each POS system you are evaluating through its paces.  Ask your employees what they think of. Run through all possible scenarios, good and bad. Consider learning curves, training requirements, and after-sales support. Try to talk to other users of the POS system to get their feedback.

A good POS system can be a huge investment, but what it offers in return in terms of efficiency, productivity and cost savings will surely pay off down the road.

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