Streamlining Success: Choosing the Best POS Platform for Your Restaurant
Every successful restaurant requires an efficient point-of-sale (POS) platform to process transactions and manage the in-betweens. Whether you own a fine dining establishment, food truck, ghost kitchen or quick-service restaurant, a comprehensive POS will enable you to focus on more important things, like your customers and staff.
The restaurant industry’s been hit with a triple whammy, from rising inflation to a staggered supply chain to labor shortages. Integrating a POS system into your business operations is the best way to reduce expenditures and improve service.
Of course, choosing the most suitable POS platform for your restaurant takes careful consideration. It also requires extensive research to understand what you’re getting.
Evaluating Business Needs for Your Restaurant
Restaurant owners must identify their establishment’s needs before purchasing a POS system. The right POS should quiet the chaos of daily operations and foster success. Ask yourself the following questions about your restaurant’s requirements:
- What are your business goals, and how will a POS platform help your restaurant achieve them?
- Do you need a POS system to manage a large volume of transactions? A POS with multiple terminals will streamline your in-person and online orders seamlessly.
- Should your POS system be able to perform other functions, such as merging or splitting checks? Some programs are more sophisticated than others.
- What is your budget? Simple POS platforms ensure secure transactions without the bells and whistles of more advanced software.
Depending on the type of POS software you want, cloud systems may cost up to $200 monthly — lifetime systems with one-time payment options start at about $1,000. Additionally, you may need to pay between $0 and $2,000 for the necessary hardware — such as a card reader or entire register system.
The Best POS System Features
Each POS platform comes with different functions and performance capabilities. While options are undoubtedly a good thing, there are vital components your system should include:
- User-friendly interface with easy navigation
- Customization options to meet your restaurant’s specific demands
- Integration capabilities with other systems
- Built-in productivity features and automation tools
- Excellent customer support and training opportunities
The restaurant industry has changed drastically since the pandemic lockdowns — meal delivery companies grew by 142% while more establishments now allow take-out. As such, you’ll want a POS system that can do it all.
POS platforms may come with extra features to better streamline business growth. For instance, Toast POS solutions integrate online orders, real-time status updates, customer loyalty tools and a place for guests to leave feedback.
5 Things to Avoid When Buying a POS Platform
Sometimes choosing the best POS platform is easier when you know what to avoid. These five mistakes can cost you extra and make business operations more difficult for you and your staff.
Approximately 56% of Americans are unsure of how to track their spending. Therefore, choosing the most cost-effective POS platform for your business is crucial for your bottom line. If the software comes with pricey extras you don’t anticipate needing, keep looking.
Your best approach is to write down the features you find essential, what would be nice to have and additional features you simply want. This makes narrowing down the correct software a much more straightforward process.
You must also research the hidden fees of whatever POS system you consider. Some manufacturers lack transparency about what they charge for training staff and onboarding, installation, maintenance and processing.
Some also assign a commission fee for online orders. Always inquire about other expenses before committing to a program.
Limited Payment Options
Nowadays, there are multiple ways to pay for goods and services. Some people prefer using a credit card, while others have embraced mobile payments.
Your restaurant’s POS system should offer several options to accommodate customer payment preferences — including credit and debit cards, chip and tap readers, Apple or Google Pay and cash.
Retail POS Systems
Another thing to be aware of is the difference between POS systems for retail stores versus restaurants. Retail POS platforms work with barcodes and provide a quick checkout process.
In the restaurant industry, POS systems must redirect orders to the bar or kitchen, split bills, keep bar tabs open and display an easy touchscreen menu for servers to input orders.
It would be best if you also learned about a company’s contracts. For instance, Toast has a two-year contract for payment processing — a decision you should make only if you’re familiar with the program.
Otherwise, avoid getting locked into a long-term contract by testing the product in the available trial period.
Final Decision and Implementation
Restaurant owners and managers have several tools at their disposal to make sound decisions on a POS platform. After weighing the pros and cons and reading testimonials, you should consult industry peers for expert opinions and recommendations.
According to Restaurant Owner’s 2022 POS System Survey Summary, satisfaction with POS customer service has dropped from 84% to 69% between 2017 and 2022. Another 70% of restaurateurs intend to change POS providers. Although it may sound discouraging, this type of feedback is beneficial to you as you compare platforms.
Once you select your POS system, you’ll want a smooth integration with your other systems and data. Likewise, your staff will require proper training to use the program correctly.
Simplify Success With a Restaurant POS Platform
The right POS system can take your restaurant’s service, operations and revenue to the next level. You want to work smarter, not harder. Take time to evaluate your business needs to select a platform with the greatest potential for restaurant success.