A high-quality POS system is one of the most important elements of a lucrative restaurant. However, not all POS systems are designed to meet the specific needs of your establishment. From taking orders to managing inventory, here’s how to choose the best restaurant POS to help your business grow.
4 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Restaurant POS
1. What are Your Point of Sale Needs?
Understanding the needs of your restaurant is a most important first step in choosing the best POS software. After all, the needs of a small brewery with no food service differ greatly from those of a large restaurant.
To assess your needs and find the best restaurant POS system for your growing establishment, here are a few things to consider.
2. Does Your Restaurant Have Multiple Locations (or Plans for Expansion)?
If your establishment has multiple locations, it’s important that you find a POS system that’s designed to scale and adapt. You’ll need to have multiple devices to accommodate each of your users across every location. Plus, you’ll need to have a POS system with built-in training and support services to make sure that all of your current and new staff are equipped to use the tool properly.
3. Do You Change Your Menu and Services Often?
If you have a basic, fixed menu that stays the same over time, you don’t need to worry much about menu flexibility. But if you run an establishment that rotates menu items based on the season, or runs weekly or monthly specials, its best to choose a POS system with menu flexibility. In addition to helping your customers order your temporary and special items, menu flexibility makes it easy to change buttons on the POS so that it’s easier to take orders on demand.
4. Do You Have a Loyal Customer Base?
Having loyal customers plays an important role in which features your company needs most. If you’re situated in an airport, for example, you’re less likely to have recurring customers than if you operate a cafe in a university neighborhood.
If loyalty is an important element in your customer experience, you might want a POS system with built-in loyalty program capabilities. You could also look for POS systems that make it easy to store customer history, so you can create a more personalized experience.
Top Restaurant POS Software Features
The best restaurant POS systems are constantly working to expand their capabilities and improve their products. Such advancements aside, there are a number of non-negotiable features that make a restaurant POS software top-notch. Here’s a rundown of these essential features.
Inventory management is one of the most essential, yet frustrating, aspects of owning a restaurant. Managing inventory manually can take a great deal of time and energy, and it also opens up room for miscalculations. Failing to properly count your inventory at the beginning, for example, can mean that you misjudge when it’s time to reorder, leaving you out of stock for essential ingredients.
All of the top-rated POS software tools take the stress out of this process by tracking inventory for you. However, the most sophisticated tools on the market will keep track of every sale and prompt you when it’s time to reorder. It’s also best if your POS system can remind you of the most recent prices that you’ve paid for that item that you need to reorder. This will allow you to compare the price you’ve paid with the price you’re due to pay, so you can save money and strike the best deal with suppliers and sourcing companies.
Order and Tab Management
After inventory management, the second most important element is order-taking and check management. The ability to take orders tableside from an iPad, for example, is the new normal, and something that most diners expect to see at a sit-down restaurant. Additionally, the best POS systems make it easy to record complicated orders and send them to the kitchen accurately, creating a superior dining experience for people with food allergies or special preferences.
Another benefit of top-tier POS tab management features is that they make it easy to split the bill and accept payments. Being able to divvy up the bill and accept different payment methods across varying members of the party makes the split check payment process fast, secure and efficient, not to mention convenient for large groups.
Customer Data Recording
After recording customer orders the first time, you should be able to access their information the next time they return. Advanced restaurant POS tools understand the value of customer data; they’re equipped with customer profiles that help you access what a customer purchased and how much they spent. Servers armed with this information can create a much more personalized customer experience, like recommending a similar dish or cocktail, which makes each guest feel like a valued VIP. In turn, this boosts your restaurant’s reputation and makes them come back for more (and bring their friends).
Servers armed with customer data can create a much more personalized customer experience, like recommending a similar dish or cocktail, which makes each guest feel like a valued VIP.
You’re likely already using tools to manage your accounting, payroll, food costs and scheduling. These tools are essential for the daily operations in your restaurant. That’s why we suggest choosing a POS system that integrates with these tools that you already use. This will reduce the organizational disruption in your restaurant and ensure that your POS leverages data from the past to make more informed suggestions for the future.
Think about it: If your POS system is assisting with the daily sales metrics of your restaurant, these numbers will only be enhanced with information about the past. You can also tap into details, like which servers sell the most food each week and how much they’re making, providing detailed insight into your labor costs. The same goes for food costs, as integrations make it easy for you to see where you’ve spent the most money on ingredients in the past, and where those numbers can stand to be improved.