You’ve likely come across countless mentions of “cloud-based” restaurant POS solutions at one point or another. You might have dismissed it as being “for someone else’s business,” or something you don’t need to worry about right now. But these innovative solutions are applicable to establishments of all sizes.

The beauty of the cloud format is how scalable it is – for major chains, high-end dining establishments, and small coffee shops alike. Whether you’re running a seasonal fruit stand or operating the fanciest fine dining establishment in your city, a cloud-based POS system can help you get the job done right.

If you don’t quite understand what a cloud-based POS system is, you’re not alone. But by the end of this post, you’ll get a clear picture of how the cloud can simplify and optimize your restaurant’s operations.

The Basics of a Cloud-Based Restaurant POS

There’s a reason cloud-based POS systems are so popular. Whether you have concerns about cost, ease-of-use, or security, cloud POS systems have you covered. 

Instead of printing out lengthy reports for every shift, now you can access your insights from any smart device, such as your phone or tablet, and get updated sales, inventory, customer feedback and more. Real-time data means real-time solutions to situations before they become problems. Just think of the time and money you’ll save by identifying issues before they blow out of proportion.

You might be thinking that your traditional system, sometimes referred to as “legacy” or “on-premise” POS systems, have served you well until now, so why change? Besides the massive convenience factor, a cloud-based POS can streamline how you run your business.

Upserve POS on Android

Key Differences

Now that you understand what the two systems are, we can move onto what an upgrade can do for your business. Here are some key factors to consider:

Data accessibility

As mentioned above, legacy systems only allow on-premise access to data, which means you have to be in your restaurant in order to access the information on your POS system. Cloud-based options, on the other hand, can be accessed from anywhere you can access an app, whether that’s in your living room or the other side of the country. All you need is an internet connection and a device that supports apps (aka any tablet or smartphone).

Cost

While buying up all of the necessary technology to get a cloud-based POS system off the ground may seem expensive, they tend to have cheaper operating costs in the long run. Do you want to make the investment up front or pay as you go when it comes to service fees and maintenance of traditional systems?

Upgrades

Cloud-based systems update automatically just like the apps on your mobile device, while traditional POS systems require manual updates that can be labor intensive and costly. You have to decide whether you want to be able to handle updates and upgrades on your own or if you’d rather call someone, schedule an appointment, and have them take care of it for you (for a fee, of course). On the contrary, a cloud-based POS system update is usually as simple as a few clicks.

Adaptability

Will your restaurant’s POS needs stay the same over time or will they change? If your needs will be relatively stable, then a legacy system could work. But if you anticipate growth or change, cloud-based systems are much more adaptable. Whether it’s updating your menu on the regular, launching new or improved loyalty programs, or requiring more precise inventory tracking, the more your needs will shift over time, the more sense it makes to opt for cloud-based. Most cloud-based systems also update with new features as technology improves across the industry – something you’re unlikely to get with a legacy POS system.

Internet reliance

This is one area in which legacy systems may have a slight advantage. If you’ve got a solid internet connection (and most places do), you shouldn’t have problems with a cloud-based POS. But if the internet ever is down, the system that your restaurant relies on will be offline. Luckily, Upserve’s cloud-based POS system comes with a hard-wired option as well as a back-up mode to carry you through any unforeseen internet issues.

Learn how much money your business could save with some new, could-based technology with our Restaurant Tech Stack Calculator.

Lingering cloud POS technology questions

What will it cost me?

If you’re dedicated to sticking with an on-premise, legacy hardwired POS system, be prepared to pay handily for the privilege of less sophisticated resources. Hardware costs are separate from service, maintenance fees are extra, and technical support is often necessary, at prices we don’t even want to discuss here. While traditional POS systems certainly have lower start-up costs, they tend to come with plenty of hidden costs that reveal themselves over time.

Because cloud-based restaurant POS systems do not require physical server hardware on the premises, upfront costs are kept to a minimum, and monthly subscription fees are lower. Best of all, instant free upgrades mean no lost revenue from downtime or unwieldy hardware upgrades as a business grows. Instead, plans can be upgraded or downgraded at will, and most providers don’t even charge a fee for the trouble. 

Imagine upgrading your restaurant’s POS system with the tap of an app from the comfort of your own home rather than having to schedule an appointment with someone from your POS system provider to come out and do it for you. How nice would that be?

Do I have to start from scratch?

Cloud-based POS systems can be integrated with any number of functionalities, from digital payment and receipts to automatic discounts and updated loyalty rewards. If you have existing setups in place, many third-party vendors have upgraded apps for iPad POS systems to help you maintain your current rewards and promotions planning. 

What’s more, is that social media planning and execution is a breeze with cloud-based systems. For example with Upserve POS, you can aggregate all of your reviews and social media notifications in a single view, monitoring your reputation and responding to guests in a timely manner.

Making the Switch to Cloud: Benefits of a POS System Upgrade

You’ll be shocked at how easy it is to set up and use your new cloud-based POS. Thanks to the cloud, and its encrypted online storage, there is no risk of hardware or software incompatibility or failure. There are no viruses or driver hiccups. And there’s no risk of a hard drive accidentally deleting a weekend’s worth of sales reports. It’s all backed up, automatically. Plus, younger generations of workers—think millennials and Gen Zs—will get right on board with a cloud-based POS solution.

The benefits aren’t limited to your staff, either. Customers will feel good knowing their credit card information is secure and encrypted. In turn, credit providers have developed safe, convenient online POS payment solutions as a result. 

And finally, there’s the benefit of accountability. Whether you own a bar or restaurant, food truck or lemonade stand, your POS can track every last drop of product you have for sale, so you can spot discrepancies in an instant, and fix gaps before they become problematic.

Cloud solutions facilitate faster, easier, and more extensive business insights, which can help you make strategic decisions. By connecting what is happening in the back of the house to the front, restaurant operators get a holistic picture of how the business is running.

Another benefit of the cloud is that most of the grunt work that requires technical skills is already handled by the provider, so customers only need to learn the systems on an end-user level. This not only saves on training, but it allows non-tech savvy people easy access to pertinent data.

The cloud can be an intimidating concept for technical newcomers. But customers who move to cloud-based POS systems are almost always satisfied once they see this technology working to keep their business safer, more efficient, and, yes, more profitable across the board.

It’s time to let cloud-based technology do the work for you so you can focus on training a killer staff and chatting up your regular customers so they keep coming back again and again.

See How a Cloud-Based POS Can Help Your Restaurant!

Written by   |  
Brad Bortone is a writer, editor and content marketer, published in areas ranging from content strategy to music reviews, and seemingly everywhere in between. Brad's love of the food industry began during his tenure with Johnson & Wales University's web team, writing countless pieces about - and enjoying countless lunches from - the school's esteemed culinary program.