If you want to identify which features a point of sale (POS) system for your restaurant should possess, run through the tasks that go into operating your business for a week. The best POS for restaurants will have features that help with them all.
Point of sale systems aren’t just flavor-of-the-month smartphone apps. They are business management systems that sit at the heart of your restaurant and connect each facet of its operation—from customer reservations to restocking the wine list.
So, when you go in search of a POS solution, you’re really looking to upgrade the way you work and how your restaurant runs. The digital era and its new infrastructure, like Cloud computing and electronic record keeping, make the creation of these all-in-one business platforms possible.
But how do you choose the right one for your restaurant? It starts with understanding the best options and features available, then checking off your weekly business tasks against the product’s features to identify the right one for you.
Why the Best POS for Restaurants Is Digital
The best POS systems for restaurants work with hardware devices you’re already using in your social and working life. The registers and terminals you currently place around the floor, at the point of reception, and in the kitchen, can all be replaced with mobile, visual iPad hardware—linked where necessary with a cash drawer, printers, and payment devices.
The difference between a POS in the register sense of the word and a digital POS system is that, with the latter, you can access all the functions, information, and programs from any device that can connect to the Cloud. That means you, your staff, and your customers—when making online reservations or orders—can all access the same data at the same time from personal phones and computers.
The result is a network with enough complexity to operate your entire business but with the simplicity of a touchscreen phone app.
7 Features to Consider for Your Restaurant’s POS System
With the understanding of what a digital POS system can do for your restaurant, how do you choose a POS system with the features you need? Here are seven features we find most important:
1. Powered by the Cloud
The Cloud is a restaurateur’s best friend. It’s a third-party storage and maintenance partnership that gives you access to the best business software without the IT headache. It also makes all your business programs available under password protection from any digital device.
With the Cloud, you can handle your restaurant business from the floor or your phone, during business hours or over a slow weekend. If there’s a single essential POS ingredient for the modern POS system, it’s Cloud connectivity.
2. Table and Position Management
The heart of service is your table plan. With a digital POS system, you should be able to maintain a live, bird’s-eye view of your entire operation at all times. This should give you the power to rearrange the layout on the fly, take and move orders, assign tips and bills, and streamline the whole dining experience from reservation to splitting the final payment.
3. An Online Presence
Every business needs an online presence in today’s internet-dominated industry. Whether you’re offering takeout and delivery orders, letting customers select their table at the point of reservation, or just providing the public with a sample of your menu and ambiance, a quality internet site is essential.
The best POS systems will come with built-in internet capacity, and the leading vendors will offer to guide you through building a site that reflects your restaurant’s unique image.
4. Order Management
The critical ingredient to the flow of information around your restaurant is the messaging to the kitchen. Order management has to be clear, accurate, and timely if you’re going to keep a bustling house clicking over.
The best POS for restaurant systems will let you customize the style and sequence of transfer from floor to kitchen. But the general idea is to make things simple and highly visual, and to have an agreed language for conveying modifications.
5. Comprehensive Price Control
This is your place and these are your customers, so you should be able to maintain complete control over the final tab. Whatever the rules are in your restaurant—from a regular customer getting their first drink free to new specials going up every night—your POS system should be able to handle the variety. Any discounts, loyalty rewards promotions, refunds, or marketing initiatives should be digitally linked to your inventory for accuracy.
6. Payment Flexibility
There have never been so many different ways to settle an account. From cash to contactless smartphone apps, each customer has their preferred and trusted way of paying for their meal. As the restaurateur, it falls on you to provide the right payment options at a reasonable per-transaction fee and with all the necessary modern authentications and protections.
To that end, your POS system should be vendor agnostic so you can move between institutions and methods, and it should work with a range of hardware devices.
7. Data Science Functions
Today’s POS systems should help you make your business more efficient. That goes beyond the efficiencies that come from linking your inventory, sales, and purchasing within a single platform. It also includes data analysis of all the transactions and variables that go into the average working week.
The best POS for restaurant solutions feature real-time reporting that collects a record of every event that flows through your system and turns it into meaningful information about your business. With a few taps of your smartphone, you can find data points like the top-selling dishes for the month, the most requested table, the amount of wine that was returned, and the relative sales success of every member of staff. This, in turn, can help you make decisions about what’s working in your restaurant and what needs improvement to enhance profitability.
Choose the Right System for Your Restaurant
When choosing the best POS system for your restaurant, considering these seven features is a good place to start. Then, examine the day-to-day and week-to-week workflow of your business. Doing that will allow you to identify the features you need.
The final step is to choose a POS system that can be customized to meet your unique needs. Finding that system is key to growing your restaurant and achieving long-term business success.
The simple, powerful design of talech’s point of sale solutions give you greater control of your restaurant. More than 100 customizable features let you manage tables, reservations, and menus, plus split bills, balance staff rosters, and take secure payments across digital and cash options all from the same central hub. Sign up for a free demo and better organize your business.