5 tips on what to look out for when choosing a POS
My guess is that if you’re reading this post you are interested in finding out some more info on Point of Sale (POS) systems for your restaurant. We’re glad you decided to join us in the 21st century. POS acts as the central place that will handle customer service, operations and transactions, a good POS system is at the heart of every successful restaurant.
You need to make sure you choose the system that is right for you and your business, and will affect your operations and service for the next few years. With so many POS systems on the market how do you choose?
We’ve put together five key questions to ask when selecting the right Point of Sale and back office system for your food service business.
What are the features that I really need?
POS systems have come a long way. They started as simply cash registers processing every transaction and recording of payments. Now your POS is an imperative tool for your business to have. It handles all your operations for FOH and BOH by speeding up your operations, streamlines labor, increases loyalty, manages inventory, and defines your customers experience. So, with that said most POS systems offer a large array of features to help make sure your operating efficiently.
Employee time clock, fingerprint login, mobile POS, customer databases, online ordering, management of recipes and ingredients, tracking of bar inventory… don’t these all sound like good features to have? Well it’ depends on what needs your business has – after all, a full-service restaurant has very different needs from a chain of ice cream shops or pizzerias.
So when making the decision on what features you need, you need to answer questions on your business like what features do I really need? Which functionality would support my business? From there you can map out your requirements, and pick a system that fits with your current needs.
Is this POS designed specifically for restaurants?
Like most things Point of Sale systems are not “one size fits all”. Even though some features that are common in retail can adapt to the restaurant industry, stores and food service locations generally have very different requirements.
Make sure that you pick a POS system that was developed specifically for your industry. A solution built for restaurants will enable you to easily handle key daily tasks such as adding/removing ingredients from a dish, selling meal deals and combos (for example coffee and cake offers), splitting the bill, sending orders straight to the kitchen and managing tables – and more.
Don’t settle for less, choose a POS that is designed with your needs in mind.
Is it quick and reliable?
The restaurant industry is all about quality and speed and creating a good experience for your customer. If there’s one thing you want to avoid during the a busy rush, it’s having a slow, confusing or unresponsive Point of Sale system that your staff struggle to use, and delays the service and creates some hangry (hungry & angry) customers.
When investigating software solutions, ask:
- Is the interface intuitive, and can it be customized to each staff member’s role?
- Can it easily accept different types of payments, split bills, bills moved from the bar to the table, etc.?
- What features does it have that help speed up the service? Can it integrate with KDS systems?
- What’s the average time per transaction?
- What happens if the internet connection goes down? Will I still be able to take orders and process sales – or will I end up having to take orders on paper sheets?
What if my business grows?
It’s every restaurant owner’s dream to grow the business: increase the number of customers, add a patio, run multiple locations, build a chain – perhaps an international one.
When selecting a new system, make sure that you can easily add new POS terminals, and even open new locations with limited effort. The right system will also enable you to grow by easily integrating to other software solutions. Let’s assume that you decide to expand your home delivery services by partnering up with a third-party service: what if your POS can’t integrate to the delivery app?
If you are thinking about international expansion, it makes sense to investigate whether the system has been translated in different languages, can support multiple currency and fiscalization rules, and is available in different localizations.
A rigid system, that doesn’t allow you to make changes or integrate to other solutions, may be cheaper to start with – but it will have to be replaced once you grow, causing you problems (and high costs) in the long run. When considering an investment in new technology, remember that a POS will be with you for many years – choose a platform that can scale with you and support you not just today, but also tomorrow.
Can I speak to one of your current customers?
When reading the marketing brochure, one gets the impression that all point of Sale systems can do everything. They are all flexible, agile, feature-rich – and easy to use, of course!
Don’t just take the vendor’s word for it: during the selection process, it’s a good idea to ask for references. The best software providers will be able to give you a list of current customers. Reach out to these businesses, get their opinions, ask questions, and see first-hand how the POS system works – and whether it would fit your bill.
Still unable to decide? Get in touch. Will help you make your decision.
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See you next week!
Your devoted hostess,
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