Modern point-of-sale (POS) systems can do a lot more for a restaurant than simply serve as a modern cash register. With the right POS system in place, a restaurant can manage everything from placing orders to handling cash and from managing inventory to scheduling employees. With dozens of restaurant POS systems to choose from, it is important to consider the following:
User Interface and Ease of Use
Although most POS systems are designed in ways that make them intuitive and easy to use, some require a certain level of management and configuration that allows them to be operated by all employees with little training. Some of the most powerful POS systems require multiple clicks and screen taps to access their functions; such systems demand a learning curve that restaurant owners and managers must keep in mind.
The restaurant bookkeeper, the chef and the manager should determine what they want to get from the POS system. Order entry and cash register functions are pretty much standard; however, some POS systems offer advanced features such as customer relationship management (CRM), marketing, inventory, budgeting, and forecasts. A neighborhood pizza shop with just a few tables may not require all functions in the beginning, but they may come in handy as the business grows and expands.
This feature sets POS systems apart and can determine their pricing. Restaurant owners can choose between cloud-based systems that include tech support with their subscription plans but require a reliable Internet connection. Offline POS systems will work even during periods of Internet outage, but they may require onsite tech support at an additional cost.
In general, restaurant owners should consider POS systems that can handle as many payment options as possible, particularly from the emerging digital wallets that are tied into mobile devices. With the move to the Europay, Mastercard and Visa (EVM) chip card standard, it is very important to choose a system that can handle these transactions. Other considerations include Apple Pay, Google Wallet and PayPal mobile.
Marketing and CRM
A POS system that includes CRM features and marketing modules can become a powerful tool for growth. Most POS systems can collect email addresses and phone numbers, but not all of them have advanced features to create marketing campaigns that can be tied to social media and mobile notifications. The level of marketing intelligence that some POS systems can gather is certainly impressive; collecting data such as average spending, table size, favorite menu items, drink preference, and birthdays can help restaurant owners create promotions, coupons and specials.