Historically, owners and managers alike have relied on proprietary restaurant POS systems, spreadsheets, and a calculator to get the restaurant analytics and visibility they needed. Nonetheless, whether or not the 90% restaurant failure rate is true, restaurateurs need to stay ahead of the game.
But, when it comes down to it, cost remains the biggest barrier to adoption of restaurant POS systems. If you’re scouring restaurant POS review sites searching for a point of sale system, you’ll likely find yourself “comparison shopping” on price point.
When considering how much restaurant POS systems cost, consider the following cost variables in your decision making process.
Restaurant POS Hardware Costs
According to Merchant Maverick, “Web-based restaurant POS systems charge anywhere from $50 to $200 per month for their service. Locally-installed POS systems are your more traditional POS systems. The hardware for those ranges from $2,000 to $4,000. Hardware bundles for web-based systems, on the other hand, cost between $450 and $1,500.”
The expense of restaurant POS hardware is going to vary depending on what you need. These hardware expenses might include:
- Credit Card Terminal(s)
- Cash Drawer(s)
- Receipt Printer(s)
- Kitchen Printer(s)
- Mobile Devices (for tableside ordering on things such as iPad restaurant POS systems)
- Networking Gear
- EMV Reader(s)
You may only need a tablet, cash drawer, printer and credit card scanner – or you want need kitchen printers, multiple terminals, iPads for digital ordering, even scales.
If you go the cloud-based POS system route, your POS hardware costs are going to be much lower. You’d likely have a touchscreen “register” – where you’d take orders, accept payments, track menu items – and restaurant POS software that operates on your iPad POS or Android.
Fortunately, today’s lightweight, cloud-based POS systems come with significantly lower hardware costs than the clunky, on-premise systems of the past. Most modern systems use a slim touchscreen “register” — typically an iPad or Android tablet — and operate on a software as a service (SaaS) model. No huge Microsoft machines; no expensive Windows software licenses. But we’ll get into the software cost in a minute.
When it comes to restaurant POS hardware costs, you’ll want to consider what the upfront cost structure looks like. Is there Prix Fixe pricing (meaning you can get a terminal and set up together)?
Restaurant POS Software Costs
Software-as-a-service (SaSS) models are what most cloud-based POS systems are based on. This restaurant software typically runs you a monthly subscription cost.
Restaurant POS software that is truly based on a restaurant management platform will include sales reports, inventory and menu management features, staff management features, guest insights, communication tools, and marketing insights, among many other things.
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Remember: Not only does a “good” monthly fee allow you to use the restaurant POS software, but it also includes access to support and frequent updates, both essential features for a well-oiled POS system.
Payment Processing Costs
Payment processing fees (credit card processing fees) aren’t actually a restaurant POS cost – unless, of course, your restaurant management platform includes payments.
While those are the big cost considerations, other one-time costs might include installation costs, service and support costs, and downtime costs (and that’s a huge one!)
Restaurant POS setup costs really do encompass the hardware and software mentioned above, but a big setup cost to you will be in training.
Any POS system should include restaurant staff training for all team members – front of house and back. This will ensure everyone on your team knows the system, can operate all functions and can problem solve on their own before resorting to support calls. Bonus points if the restaurant POS has a training mode.
As far as installation – this comes down to whether or not you will pay a fee to have on-site installation or install the restaurant management platform yourself.
Restaurant Costs As A Barrier
Unfortunately, sometimes cost can become a barrier for restaurant owners looking to purchase a POS system. This is true for owners who are opening their first restaurant, adding another location, or upgrading their restaurant tech. Costs can escalate quickly.
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