3 Things Restaurant Owners Need From Their POS
Disclaimer: This article is a sponsored post and I’ve been paid for this.
A good POS system is the backbone of all front of house operations at any restaurant. POS stands for “point of sale,” and it is the computer system that tracks all transactions at the register. There are a number of things that the POS system should be able to handle to be useful to bartenders, waiters, or any other front of house staff. Some of these are menu management, tab management, and a system for assigning tables to service personnel. Recently, there has been a trend to move POS operations to the cloud, and I’ll cover some of the benefits of that in this article. Other considerations are setup and customer service, which should not be overlooked.
The first thing to consider when choosing a POS system is its features. At the very least, you should be able to set up a menu, add modifications to the menu, create standard discounts, and be sure that basic operations like voids and modifications aren’t too difficult or time-consuming to accomplish. Especially when restaurants get busy, or customers have complaints, it’s best to have a system that is easy to use since frustrating tech problems can only intensify these stressful situations.
Another nice feature to have at a point of sale system is a way to create tabs for customers. Especially at bars, restaurants with counter service, restaurants that serve dishes a la carte, or anywhere else that customers might stay for an extended period of time, it’s easiest to keep track of their orders by taking their credit card information in advance, especially if the POS doesn’t have any features to track tables. Any system worth its salt will include this functionality.
Table management is also very helpful, although it’s most useful for restaurants that operate with table service. Software with decent table management features will allow you to assign servers to certain tables, and to keep track of orders that were made at each of these tables over the course of the service. This is also something that should just be expected of any POS software for restaurants. Without this functionality it would be useless for food service, even if it would work perfectly well for a retail establishment.
Local, or cloud?
Traditionally, POS systems are set up locally, and the only network activity called for is during credit card transactions. However, there’s been a trend lately of mobile POS apps that work over the cloud. The advantage of this is that certain settings can be saved on the developer’s servers, which is useful for occasions when the system breaks down (which it inevitably will from time to time).
Setup and customer service
This brings me to my last criteria: setup and customer service. Cloud systems are by far the easiest to set up, since all they require on the hardware level is a tablet, a card reader, and an Internet connection. The whole operation can be completed over the phone. Additionally, customer service for these systems tends to be very good.
These are the main points to consider when looking at POS software for restaurants in particular. Use this article as a guide to find one that works for you, although most newer systems come with all of this functionality anyway.