How to choose your restaurant POS system
Updated: Sep 7
Restaurants come in so many varieties, and each one has its set of needs. This can make researching for a system mind-numbing, and the actual purchase decision even harder. There are, however, several things that every restaurateur- from quick service all the way to fine dining should look for when choosing restaurant POS software.
A good point-of-sale system is more than just a cash register. It can help your staff be more efficient, speed up service to your customers, keep track of your inventory and make your accounting more accurate. POS systems can take a big bite out of your budget, so you need to ask the right questions at the start to ensure you choose a system that will meet your restaurant’s needs.
Speed/Ease of Use
The restaurant business is one that requires speed. This includes fire times, feet, hands and decision making. A slow system can be maddening to waiters, managers, or cooks. The notion of speed in a restaurant POS extends to ease-of-use, an intuitive layout, and fast hardware as well. A few seconds here or there can make a huge impact— good or bad —on the service, the food, the drinks, and ultimately the profitability of an establishment.
Merely mention inventory to a restaurant manager or owner and they will have an immediate reaction– for most, it is one of dread. For those, however, that effectively use proper inventory control and reporting, they will tell you that it is how they make money. Sure, inventory is not the most glamorous side of the business, but it is an absolute necessity if restaurateurs are to go head-to-head in this extremely competitive space. Inventory that is easy to input and control through a system is invaluable for keeping an eye on what are usually very thin margins. Look for a restaurant POS system with an inventory management feature that allows you to keep track of every ingredient and item sold. This goes a long way to ensuring profitability and long-term success.
Numbers do not lie. All businesses should get actionable intelligence from their reporting and restaurants are certainly no exception. Having a system where an owner or manager has numeric insight into their business is crucial. Sales by department, item, hour, etc., food costs, labor costs, and how many new customers have come through the door are just a few of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that a good restaurant POS should be able to render. Another thing to consider is that web-based systems have the advantage in reporting KPIs, as they can offer real-time reporting and analytics features from anywhere in the world with internet access.
Marketing for restaurants is now squarely based on your internet presence– particularly social media. It all starts with a well-done website that offers pertinent information to your visitors – including hours, menus, contact info, and links to associated social media sites. These social sites are the heart and soul of an effective marketing campaign. A well done Facebook, Instagram or Twitter page allows the owner to stay engaged with new and returning customers 24 hours a day. Having other people go out and share your story with fellow customers in the market is priceless and virtually effortless. Another super-effective approach is to gather customer information, especially email addresses, to reach out via a direct marketing campaign. Today’s restaurant POS should offer features that give restaurateurs the ability to market to your entire database of customers in real time is huge for making an immediate impact on your business.
Like anything else, you will get what you pay for when you purchase a POS system. Cheap systems are often unreliable, and your business can suffer if the system breaks down or loses data. Instead of purchasing a cheap system, purchase a high-quality system that contains only the features you need.
Understand Your Needs
Prepare detailed needs analysis for your restaurant before you start shopping. Most POS systems are rich in features, and you can find yourself easily buying more than you really need. In addition to handling the dining room transactions, POS systems can track inventory, support online ordering, process credit card transactions, expedite orders to the kitchen, track customer data, support customer loyalty programs and give detailed financial reports.
Service and Support
Your POS system can slow your business down to a crawl if it doesn’t work properly. Before you decide on a system, ask about the types of service and support the manufacturer offers. Find out whether the manufacturer offers training, manuals that are easy to understand, extensive help desk hours and on-site support when needed. Only purchase from companies that offer comprehensive warranties at affordable prices and software updates. Reputable companies will offer training before and during installation, as well as one and six months after installation.
If a vendor tells you he will need to modify his POS system software to meet your needs, you are probably not talking with the right vendor. Look for vendors who have extensive experience in the restaurant industry, system modules specifically designed to meet the needs of a busy eatery and a willingness to offer you the names of at least 10 customers who are using their software.
At ekaart, we designed Dini– the voice-based Restaurant Operating System. Dini apps help automate restaurant operations and capture data in real-time. This results in improved quality and operational excellence for the restaurant. Restaurants also benefit indirectly from better customer experiences and reduced marketing spends.
www.ekaart.com I Get in touch with a software sales representative today I firstname.lastname@example.org