POS stands for point of sale, which refers to the time and place - or the point - that a sales transaction is completed. A restaurant point of sale system includes the POS hardware and hospitality point of sale software that manages a sales transaction, including credit card processing, receipt printing, and more.
How Do You Define Restaurant POS Software?
If we were to define POS software in one line, it would definitely be this one top solution for all your restaurant problems. Let us explain how!
A restaurant pos system is a place where all the transactions take place. Unlike the traditional pos system, it does a lot more than processing bills and collecting payments. Today's cloud-based point of sale system provides comprehensive restaurant management. They are well-equipped with features like inventory management, customer relationship management, loyalty programs management to reduce labor operations and cost. Restaurant pos systems are even are capable of producing smart analytical reports, that help small business and restaurant owners to ace the number games. Pos system helps restaurant owners manage all operations right from front house to back house.
These modern-day's restaurant point of sale system, when integrated with a third-party app, also helps in online ordering, contactless payments via e-wallets, loyalty programs, gift cards, and more.
Another reason why these cloud-based restaurant pos are unbeatable is they can work in online as well as offline mode, i.e even in case of internet slow down, your restaurant operations and transactions will continue to run. Also, the entire data-- right from inventory levels to menu pricing, customer details, and loyalty programs, is safe up in the cloud. This means, restaurant owners or managers, can heck any information or inventory status, you can check it from anywhere anytime. Physical presence at the restaurant is not compulsory!
The best pos system is a one that despite all these features, is easy to use . This not only cuts down training time of employees but facilitates faster transaction processing during rush hours at the restaurant.
How does a cloud based point sale system looks like? A pos system is a combination of software hardware . Pos hardware comprises of credit card readers , register that acts like a monitor , barcode scanners , cash drawer and receipt printers . Ofcourse, mobile pos systems like ipad pos might have slightly different devices.
Starting The Search For Restaurant POS Software
These restaurant pos or point of sale systems are available in different shapes, sizes. Pos systems are priced differently based on the features they provide. And these features may depend on the place a pos system is supposed to serve.
For instance, a fine dining restaurant or full-service restaurant may have different point sale system needs than a fast-casual or quick-service restaurant. Similarly, a point of sale system used by a supermarket or a convenience store may be entirely different from a restaurant POS.
Some of the best restaurant pos or best restaurant point sale system in the market are- Toast POS Lightspeed restaurant POS Square for restaurants POS
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1. Inventory Management This has to top the list. Inventory plays an important role in determining menu price and consequently impacting the profit margins. At the same time, proper inventory management also ensures the restaurant has enough stock of raw materials to meet the customers' orders for the next. Thus, it becomes essential for restaurant owners to keep a count of stock levels before opening the restaurant and after closing it. This also helps in analyzing the demand of customers.
There are two ways of doing it. First, manually count and note down the stock levels twice a day before the day begins and after the day ends. This might sound cheap, but not only it can be time-consuming, but it is also prone to errors. Wrong inventory numbers can disrupt your top-line and bottom-line game.
Or, you can use a restaurant pos software with an inventory management feature. Its recipe management function can help small businesses and restaurant owners keep a track of the raw materials. Restaurant pos systems are accurate, automatic, and can be done in less than minutes.
2. Easy online ordering and delivery- We all will agree that Covid changed our lives and business completely. And restaurant industry is one of the most hit during the pandemic. Revenue dipped, many restaurant owners had to shut businesses, and millions lost jobs.
An article published by Fortune stated that in 2020, when Covid started raging, more than 110,000 eating and drinking establishments in the United States closed for business temporarily or permanently last year, with nearly 2.5 million jobs erased from pre-pandemic levels, according to the National Restaurant Associataion. And restaurant and foodservice industry sales fell by $240 billion in 2020 from an expected level of $899 billion."
During these grim times, technology held the entire restaurant industry strong and in place. More and more eateries tied-up with third party food delivery apps.
As per the latest article published by Nation's Restaurant News (NRN), more than eight in 10 operators said technology in a restaurant provided a competitive advantage, be it smartphone app ordering, reservations, mobile payment or delivery management.
Cloud based restaurant pos software allow integration with online ordering and food delivery systems. It makes easier for restaurant to accept orders , prepare them on time and accept cashless payments through e-wallets or credit card . It has made the online ordering as convenient as tableside ordering for the restaurants.
More benefits of a POS system
3. Floor plans- Back in pre-Covid times, when most people preferred dining in restaurants, table services sales were a major determinant of revenue. As Covid struck and everyday new restrictions were imposed on sitting capacity, restaurants had to change their floor plans multiple times. It still is the same as the virus continued to play hide and seek.
Modern point of sale systems like Lightspeed Restaurant POS offers flexible floor plans that exhibit changes in real-time. This feature in a pos system can help front house office staff to align their work as per the latest adjustment. For instance, the waiter is running food to table 3, and the server changed the location of the table, the cloud-based restaurant pos systems will ensure the staff serves the correct table.
4. Quick payment- Cut down your customers' waiting time in queue as modern pos software has made payment processing becomes extra fast. The employee handling the pos system can select the menu items purchased by the customer on screen and the pos software calculates the bill in no time including taxes and factoring in discounts or special offers if any. Now imagine, all these numbers being done by staff manually. Not only it is time-consuming, but can be inaccurate.
These cloud-based restaurant POS systems or point sale system can accept different payment methods like cash , credit card , e-wallets and gift cards. All this put together, the best restaurant pos can process transactions faster.
5.Access data anytime, anywhere Since the modern point sale systems are cloud based , they store the data inventory levels, recipe cost , daily sales and more in cloud. Also, these pos software can work even on offline mode. So, small business owners or restaurant owners can keep eye store's performance even when they are away.
Similarly, in case of quick service restaurants , which usually have several stores across cities and state, these restaurant pos software or sale systems can be of great help. Its multi-locations capabilities facilitate restaurant managers can check sales data store-wise.
Restaurant management system strengthen relationship with customer
6. Customer relationship management- Customer relationship management (CRM) is the key to the success of your business. A strong relationship with your customers can give you a loyal customer base on a platter. And we all know loyal customers not only add to the top line and bottom line but also become good brand advocates.
One of the best features of the modern restaurant POS is it keeps all information related to customer name, contact number, email ID, and previous orders. The restaurant managers can go through the customer history, and based on their order value and frequency can rope them for loyalty rewards. They can issue them gift cards or give special offers on their next visit.
The restaurant management staff can inform these customers about the discounts or special offers via email or can send a text message on their number, given the point of sale system already has all customer-related information.
This feature of your best restaurant POS also helps restaurant owners in designing their per month marketing strategy.
1. Expensive upgrades- Software-based point sale systems have costly upgrades. Every single time, your system alerts you for an update, get ready to pay high fees, a new license, and more. This can hurt the profit margins of a small business.
2. Connection- A web-based point sale system needs a strong and constant internet connection to operate. So, if you are a countryside restaurant or located with low network coverage, using a web-based pos can make your day tough. Instead, go for a cloud-based pos that can work even on offline modes without the internet.
3. Customer security- As we said, a restaurant pos can save all customer information, like their name, address, number. And there is a chance of misusing the information. Similarly, customers making payments via credit card or debit card face a major security risk. Although several point sale system providers are working towards hiding the terminal keypad, nothing is 100% secure.
4. Costly pos hardware POS hardware consists of several items monitor, kitchen display, credit card reader, cash drawer. Even if one of them goes down, the system will stop working smoothly. In addition, their maintenance cost is too high and can pose financial constraints for a small business.
5. Regular fees- The web based point sale systems come with per month subscription fees . Similarly, businesses have to pay to buy extra storage space in cloud based systems . These additional per month costs can easily hit profit and loss statement of a small business .
What To Look For In A Great Restaurant POS Software
A restaurant can see different groups of customers-- students, businesspersons and professionals, and senior citizens. No generalization, but there is a chance each group has its own preferred payment method. For instance, students mostly use e-wallets, business people are likely to use high-end credit cards. Make sure your point sale system has a variety of payment methods to cater to a diversified customer base.
Integration is a must-to-have feature in a pos software. Integration with third-party software can double the efficiency of your restaurant pos system or points sale system, making it the best restaurant POS.
A cloud-based pos solution can help you to run business smoothly. As the software lets, you do a lot more than calculate bills. It allows you to issue payment receipts, track per month sales, per month inventory tracking, and perform back-office functions. It gives you insights on what products services sell the most or if you need to make changes in the inventory.
As technology continues to evolve, make sure your POS system is flexible enough to adapt to any newer upgrade or payment method likely to come in near future.
Make sure your restaurant POS is easy to use so that it is convenient for your staff to handle it even during rush hours.
The Final Decision on Your Restaurant POS Software
A few quick tips for restaurant owners and small businesses to find themselves the best restaurant POS.
Identify your business needs, scale, and nature
Set your budget, check per month subscription fees
Take free online trials or use free versions and a free plan
Make sure it meets all your major requirements like inventory management, online ordering, and more.
Remember, integration is a non-negotiable feature.
Invest in the system pos restaurant if it fulfills your business requirements in your budget and is easy to use.
The Impact of Technology on Restaurant POS Software
The constant advance in technology has equipped the traditional point of sale system with all the features that can provide comprehensive restaurant management.
Now, pos software can do a lot more than calculating bills and receiving payments. From inventory management to handling tableside ordering and online ordering simultaneously, a pos system with inventory management has proved to be a multi-tasker for a restaurant.
In fact, the pos system bar-restaurant is no more limited to counters. Mobile POS allow staff to reach the customer on their table, take their orders, and ring in the transaction. These mobile pos systems not only help in avoiding crowd at the billing counters but also allow to attend more number of customers in a short time.
There are several smart POS software available in the market.
Some of them are the Lightspeed restaurant pos system, Square for restaurants pos software, and toast pos for overall restaurant management. Restaurant owners can take a free plan, use the free version, check their customer service and only then pick the best restaurant POS.
The software that is the best is the one that has these features- 1. SPEEDY INTERFACE AND QUICK CHECKOUT One of the most important features of a restaurant or bar POS is to have speed. When you get busy on a Friday or Saturday night, you can't afford to have a lagging system. Many of the tablet systems on the market today are dependent on your internet bandwidth speed. So if you have slow internet, chances are you're going to have a slow POS too. 2. EASY TO MANAGE There are systems on the market that can do everything imaginable to manage your restaurant or bar. The challenge is finding a happy medium between features you need and the features you don't need. The reason is, you might want the Cadillac of all systems, but do you need hundreds of features you may never use? Generally speaking, the more you spend on a system, the more challenging it can be to manage it. 3. EASY TO USE As mentioned earlier, not all POS software is created equal. So in your research, you'll want to consider ease-of-use of the software configuration and operations. The best way to do this is to see or take part in a product demonstration. Most POS software companies will offer a remote or onsite live demonstration of their products. And some will provide software demos you can download on your computer or tablet. 4. INVENTORY CONTROL Some may disagree with this being a must have feature, because keeping inventory is the bane of existence for restaurateurs, but if you want to know how much food you have on hand, your food costs and profit margins, you're going to need inventory control. Most quality POS systems will have some inventory control built-in to the software, so there is no excuse not to use inventory management. It can be as simple as deducting count from your inventory numbers when you make a sale. If you want or need to get granular, most systems will have 3rd party integrations that can use more powerful stock platforms designed specifically to keep track of your product. 5. QUALITY REPORTING Having quality reporting is a no-brainer, but your choice in a system must have the reports you need to run a successful business. These are your Key Performance Indicator (KPI) reports that all restaurants need like sales by item, time, and department, employee labor, sales vs. labor costs, and seating performance, as a few examples. 6. EASY TO SETUP AND CONFIGURE MENU Another no-brainer, but you'd be surprised at the complexity of some systems to change a simple menu item or price. 7. TABLE MANAGEMENT AND RESERVATIONS Any quality POS programmed for bars and restaurants should have built in table management and an option for reservations. If you're doing table seating, you obviously will need this feature, and it's essential for managing your front of house operations. You'll want to know the status of your tables at any given time. For instance which tables are occupied, being cleared or are available. The program should also tie into a reservation system that can quickly update your table status based on customer reservations. This integration creates a seamless experience for managing your tables and seating arrangements. 8. COMPREHENSIVE TRAINING To get the most out of your new point of sale, you'll want to make sure you get properly trained on all the functions and features on the front of house and back of the house. Not all systems will come with training, so you need to be sure to ask if training is included. Some POS companies may have basic training videos online. Other companies may have a trainer that works with you remotely. Or your POS dealer may provide training onsite. Either way you go, make sure your system has the adequate training you need to get running smoothly. 9. SUPPORT FROM HEAVEN Quality service and support can make or break your business or at least determine your frustration level. Here's one of the best tips we can offer. When researching your POS, don't call the sales number first, call the support number first. Here are some points to question. How quickly do they pick up the phone? Have you been put on hold right away? When you get someone on the phone, are they friendly and helpful? Let the support person know you're researching their product and ask them what they like most about the product they support AND ask them what's the biggest complaint they receive about their product. 10. MARKETING TOOLS Having the resources and tools that you need to help market and grow your business are just as important as collecting money from customers. You want features in your POS that is going to help you grow your revenue and keep customers coming back. Features like loyalty programs, gift cards, customer rewards, messaging tools, automatic promotions based on customer's purchase activity, and special promotions to drive traffic during slow times.
What is the most popular POS system for restaurants?
Some of the most popular POS systems for restaurants are Harbortouch, HungerRush, Rezku POS SpotOn and Loyverse
What systems are used in restaurants?
1. Self-Service Walk-Up Counter Some restaurants give their customers the power to order whatever they want from a touch screen, pay, and even tip all in one place. Countertop terminals, tablets, or even smartphones can be used as restaurant POS systems. With the EMV liability shift placing the burden on restaurants to combat fraud by using EMV terminals, the most secure self-service POS systems accept EMV chip cards. 2. Tablets on Tables In some places, diners may be sat by a host and greeted by a server, but they may have the power to order themselves using a tableside restaurant POS. The POS on the table may be a tablet system that can be passed around from table to table or one that is housed in a stand that stays in one location on the table. 3. Mobile Restaurant POS With mobile POS systems in restaurants, servers can transact diners right at the table, from a smartphone, tablet, or handheld device. Instead of dropping off a check, going back to the table to pick up payment, running payment, and then dropping the check and card back off to the diner, all of these actions happen at one time while at the table. With a feature like EMV Tip Adjust, diners can add a tip before making their total payment on EMV terminals. 4. Countertop Terminal POS Systems Countertop terminal POS systems are wired computers that process payments. They may be scattered throughout a restaurant, so that servers have multiple places nearby in which to process payments. The terminal POS can send orders to the kitchen, print out checks, and process transactions, just like other forms of restaurant POS systems. 5. Online Restaurant POS According to Restaurant Business, 86 percent of consumers use off-premise restaurant delivery, including services like Grubhub or Uber Eats, at least monthly. As of October 2018, online delivery orders increased 16 percent year over year, while off-premise orders increased 25 percent for consumers. Restaurants who want to make their food available to off-site diners can use an online ordering system that uses a virtual terminal for transactions.