An Easy Guide to Choosing the Right POS System for Your Restaurant
When it comes to running a successful restaurant, having the right Point of Sale (POS) system is essential. From quick-service eateries to fine dining establishments, having the right restaurant POS system can make or break your business. In this blog post, we'll discuss what a POS system is, how it works, and the best options for restaurants in the US.
What is a Restaurant POS System?
A restaurant POS system is an all-in-one computer system that is used to manage restaurant operations. It's a combination of hardware and software that allows restaurant owners to take orders, process payments, and manage staff schedules. POS systems are an integral part of running a successful and efficient restaurant.
Formerly, the POS system was simply to process sales like transaction portals. Today's POS system can drive a lot more than payment transactions. They can support with every facet of your business, including:
How Do Restaurant POS Systems Work?
Your POS will have many parts. The basic hardware needed for a POS to function is:
- Tablet or Computer
- A main server
- One or more POS terminals
- Card readers
- A cash drawer
- Wifi thermal printers
- Power supply
- At the front end, customers place their order via a table-side server, a self-service kiosk, an employee at a counter, or via digital ordering processes like mobile order and pay.
- Depending on the hardware setup, the POS terminal is at the hub of the POS system and is also occasionally dubbed the touch screen cash register. Using this, restaurant employees can take customers’ orders by tapping the order into the POS system, which computes the order amount. The POS system you select will serve as the brain of your POS.
- If the guest is ordering at the counter, they will pay for their order via a credit card reader at this time.
- The restaurant employee then sends the order to the respective section of the kitchen instantly for preparation. The kitchen employee is alerted of the order by either a printed chit/receipt or an electronic kitchen display system.
- Once the food is prepared, the employee is informed that the order is ready to be run to the guest, and they bring it out.
- If the guest is eating in, the server goes to the POS after the guest has finished their meal to print the check and begin the payment process (if the payment was not done after taking the order initially)
- After examining the check, the guest hands their credit card to the server, who then processes the payment on the POS, whether at a POS terminal or on a handheld POS device, which automatically closes the check and calculates the total revenue and tips.
- At the end of the night, the manager logs into the POS to view their daily summary of orders, discounts, and tips.
- The POS system in a restaurant will also track inventory, employee time, and sales for the day.
- You'll require an internet connection most of the time to process orders through your POS, and you will invariably need an internet connection to process credit card and debit transactions. Some POS systems, however, can still function if the internet goes down.
What Is the Best POS System for US Restaurants?
When it comes to finding the best POS system for your restaurant, there are several things to consider. Here are a few of the most important features to look out for when selecting a POS system:
1. Intuitive Interface: The interface of the POS system should be easy to use and clearly laid out. This will ensure employees can quickly enter orders and process payments without confusion. In the case where you have a customer-facing display, it's crucial to ensure that customers can easily use the device, too. It allows you to deliver a more pleasant guest experience.
2. Data Access & Control: Choose a POS system that will give you access to your data from any location on any device. Whether it's a menu update, a scheduling conflict, or a payroll issue, the POS should let you handle it all in real time, wherever you are.
3. Payment Processing: The POS system should be able to process a variety of payment methods, including credit/debit cards, cash, and even mobile payments. Depending on your POS provider, you'll either be able to choose your payment processor or be obligated to integrate with the payment processor partnered with your POS provider.
4. Reporting: The POS system should allow you to generate detailed and real-time reports on sales, inventory, and other vital metrics. You should also be able to drill down into whichever metrics matter to your business and see which products sell best at what times and days, and which sections are the most profitable. You’ll have better insight into how your staff is performing, your actual labor costs, food costs, and the flow of new customers. This will allow restaurant owners to make more informed decisions about their businesses.
5. Security: The POS system should be secure and compliant with the latest security standards since you deal with critical customer data. Modern POS software will include automatic data backups, custom access controls, and data encryption to protect against employee negligence and criminal information theft.
6. Extensibility: Do you want the POS system in a restaurant to exclusively manage orders, payments, and sales? Or do you want the option to add tools and integrations such as a loyalty program, online restaurant ordering, contactless payments, and delivery? Controlling and maintaining some of these features through your own POS system instead of outsourcing to third-party vendors can increase your revenue as well as give you invaluable data about your customers. Additionally, you’ll want to consider what your setup will look like for handling online orders from delivery apps like UberEats, and DoorDash. With a third party aggregator like Cuboh, you’ll be able to automatically integrate orders with your POS so you can save time and eliminate errors from creating orders manually.
7. Customer Support: No matter how technically savvy you are, the POS system should offer reliable customer support in case of any technical issues. Whether you run into issues or need help setting up the system, look for a POS solution that provides 24/7 support via:
· Live chat
When it comes to the best POS systems for US restaurants, some of the most popular options include Square, Toast, Aloha, and Lightspeed. Each of these POS systems offer robust features and reliable customer support.
A POS system is an essential part of running a successful restaurant. From taking orders to tracking inventory, a POS system can streamline operations and boost profits. When selecting a POS system, it's important to consider features such as an intuitive interface, payment processing, reporting, security, and customer support.