Mobile POS is hot: Based on current adoption rates, sales of mobile POS technology could be as high as $5 billion in the next few years. But whether or not they choose to embrace mobile POS, some restaurant operators—as well as other merchants—continue to believe one or more common misconceptions about these systems. Let’s dispel four common mobile POS myths:
1. Credit card information isn’t safe on mobile POS systems.
Quite the opposite. All merchants must upgrade their POS technology—including their mobile POS systems—to meet stringent security guidelines and standards. In the U.S., this means the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). The PCI DSS comprises policies and procedures designed to maximize the security of credit, debit, and cash card transactions as well as to guard against the misuse of consumers’ personal information. It includes very specific directives for PCI compliance in general, as well as directives governing mobile POS transaction security.
2. Mobile POS technology isn’t as reliable as traditional POS technology.
Guess again. Providing operators choose ruggedized tablets rather than their consumer-grade counterparts as the centerpieces of their mobile POS solutions, there’s no difference in reliability between fixed POS terminals and mobile POS equipment.
Unlike tablets intended for consumer use, ruggedized tablets are designed to withstand the rigors of restaurant environments. For example, the construction of these units is such that they will likely continue to operate after they have been accidentally dropped by wait staff or other restaurant employees or inadvertently knocked off a counter and onto a hard floor. Similarly, the components of ruggedized tablets are not easily damaged or rendered inoperable by dust, liquids, or exposure to extreme temperatures.
3. Mobile POS is just a fad—and the technology isn’t actually more efficient than traditional POS equipment.
Again, not so; mobile POS is here to stay. According to Hospitality Technology magazine’s POS Software Trend Report 2015, mobile POS is pushing 47 percent of restaurants to push for POS upgrades.
Moreover, the operational efficiencies foodservice establishments can achieve by adding mobile POS outstrip the efficiencies such operations can achieve using only traditional POS hardware. For example, with mobile POS devices, customers can pay for their food anywhere in the restaurant—at tables, while waiting in line, or at a kiosk. This results in fewer diner complaints due to long lines plus faster customer through-put.
In addition, utilizing mobile POS devices to take customers’ orders at tables and transmitting them directly to the kitchen allows kitchen staff to start preparing customers’ food faster—and lets wait staff deliver it to the table faster, too. At some restaurants, using mobile POS devices means that the kitchen receives—and turns around—orders for drinks and appetizers before diners are finished telling servers what else they would like.
4. Mobile POS is expensive—or an unnecessary expense.
For all of the above-mentioned reasons, mobile POS really cannot be characterized as an unnecessary expense. And the low price and functionality of tablet POS devices designed for commercial use—coupled with the customer satisfaction they afford—adds up to a high ROI.
Tablet POS may not be the right choice for every restaurant, and many establishments do well with a combination of traditional and mobile POS technology. However, being able to separate mobile POS truth from fiction is important in these times of rapid hardware and software evolution.