Your restaurant’s Point of Sale (POS) system is one of the most important foundations for your business. They’re the point where your customer’s needs, your servers’ notes, and the needs of your kitchen staff meet, meaning they need to be on point, and these things aren’t as easy to coordinate as they seem on the backend. It doesn’t take much misalignment for something small to go wrong, like an order going to the wrong person, or forgetting to omit the glutenous burger bun.
If you’ve been in the restaurant business for any period, you’ve likely heard the “They’re called a PoS for a reason, hahaha” joke dozens of times - but that doesn’t mean that they’re all terrible - you’ve just had bad experiences.
The truth is that your POS system is crucial to your business, which means you need to do your homework. So far, you’re doing a great job (you’re hanging out at Cuboh, after all) - so let’s help you finish up and get going.
The Mistakes When Buying a Restaurant POS (And Fixes)
Now - what are some common mistakes that restaurateurs and managers make when shopping for a new POS system? Let’s dive in and find out.
This is perhaps the most obvious (and most commonly ignored) advice we can offer - don’t go cheap. While it may be tempting to opt for the lowest-cost option, the truth is that a POS system needs to be well-made - and that costs money. Afterall, it’s essentially the brain of your operations. If you’re shopping for budget systems, you can expect budget results, and it will hurt your ability to be competitive in a very competitive industry.
While a budget POS is not necessarily the worst thing in the world for an experienced restauranteur, there’s no reason to make your life more difficult - especially if you can afford to upgrade to a better, more reliable system. It also becomes more expensive to change this system down the road once it’s more heavily integrated into your business.
Always opt for the best and most suitable option rather than the cheapest option.
POS systems come in a broad spectrum of specialties, just like businesses! But you’re operating a restaurant, which means you want a PoS system designed for restaurants operations..
While you can certainly use something like Clover, it’s not designed for the potentially complicated ins and outs of restaurant work. Things like splitting tabs or online payment can be impossible with retail-specialized systems - but high-quality systems for restaurants already know what you’ll need.
General one-size-fits-all retail POS systems will not have the features a restaurant needs. Functionality like splitting tabs, half-and-half pizza ordering, multiple delivery zone setup, or online payment can be impossible with retail-specialized systems. But high-quality systems for restaurants already know what you’ll need.
To sum up, choose a system that is specialized to what you need and can adapt, upgrade and evolve along with your business as it grows and the industry. It may cost a bit more in the short term, but it will save you money and make you money in the long run.
Live Demonstrations & Planning
Before we talk about this mistake, let me ask you a question: Would you buy a car sight unseen? Of course not! So why in the world would you do that for a POS system? They’re complex software systems, so seeing how they work in action is absolutely crucial to ensuring you get a system that’ll work with your business’s flow and operations.
The most reputable POS systems will provide a live demonstration before you buy - in fact, the best ones insist on it. This is because they know they’ve made a good product and want to show it off - so let them! And, importantly, when you go - don’t let yourself be sold by a highly persuasive salesman. Go into the demo knowing what you need, and stick to it.
If that means you need to find another POS, that’s ok - it’s better than missing out on features you need because you got excited. There are some mistakes when buying a restaurant POS that you shouldn’t even experience.
It all boils down to knowing what you need. Build a list of features you need, like, and features you want to avoid - and stick to it. And, importantly - make sure you see them in action before signing on the dotted line.
POS Analytics (and the Lack Thereof)
The next mistake that many restauranteurs make when shopping for a POS is ignoring the existence of analytics. Analytics are often outright forgotten - but you wouldn’t do that, would you?
While analytics may seem like a dry topic - as a restaurant owner, you know that having good, accurate data at your fingertips can help you uncover countless opportunities for improving your processes and better streamlining your operations to increase efficiencies. A good POS system can help you track your business’s metrics to find patterns in purchases, common busy times, and more - ultimately helping you make money.
So, make sure to put an analytics and metrics feature as a “must-have” for your live demonstration - you’d be surprised how helpful they can be.
Ultimately, this mistake is all about a lack of knowledge, and awareness that a POS system even offers analytics. At Cuboh, we offer a centralized dashboard for insights, giving you easy access to the reports and analytics you need to optimize your business.
With all said and done, only five significant mistakes when buying a restaurant POS get made regularly. While they can each be easy to make, you’re prepared now - so get going! Be sure to do your homework, devise a foolproof list of items and features you’ll need, and stick to them.
Make sure to shop for quality rather than affordability. A cheap POS may be tempting, but when you’re in the weeds and issues arise, you may regret going that route.