It’s no secret that replacing an electronic cash register, legacy PC, or even an old hardware/software solution with a new restaurant POS system can be a boon to restaurateurs’ business. However, a careful approach to choosing such a system is necessary because it represents a significant financial investment and impacts all aspects and every employee of the operation. For best results, the restaurant POS system you select should:
Be user-friendly. For servers, a user-friendly restaurant POS system is one that has a simple interface and is easy to learn. A tablet-based configuration may be your most user-friendly option because it enables servers to enter even the most complex orders as they are given and provides visual feedback on the information entered. This not only makes order-taking easier and quicker for waitstaff; it also promotes order accuracy, in turn increasing customer satisfaction.
On the kitchen staff side, user-friendliness means accommodating language differences among employees. If an employee speaks a different language than servers, the option to receive translated orders via the restaurant POS system is paramount.
Satisfy the need for speed. No matter how high the caliber of an establishment’s food, customers don’t want to endure long waits to receive their orders and will not return if they are unhappy with the speed of service. A good restaurant POS system is designed so that orders may be transmitted from diners’ tables to the bar or kitchen in just a few seconds, with no bottlenecks developing. Its configuration also streamlines back-of-the-house workflow by sending orders directly to specific work areas—e.g., salad preparation, appetizer preparation, hot kitchen, cold kitchen, bar, and the like—rather than to one central location where chefs and assistants may be forced to squander precious minutes seeking and sorting out different order components.
Offer maximum flexibility. In addition to speedy service, customers expect restaurants be flexible – regardless of the situation. For example, POS systems should have the capacity to manage tasks and transactions pertaining to endeavors like special events, catering, food truck operation, and off-site “pop-up” outposts of your establishment. It should also facilitate different kinds of service, like takeout (including online ordering). Updating menus—and menu prices—should be a hassle-free task that doesn’t necessitate contacting the vendor for support.
Afford optimal operational control. Restaurant owners and managers must remain fully aware of what is transpiring in their businesses; otherwise, they are likely to suffer rather than grow. A restaurant POS system can and should support such control by offering detailed insight into sales (down to the menu item level), traffic patterns, and inventory levels, as well as by configuring orders in keeping with pre-set inventory levels. Today, many restaurant operators are investing in cloud-based restaurant POS systems that yield them “anytime, anywhere” access to critical business data.
A feature-rich restaurant POS system can have a highly positive effect on the day-to-day functioning of dining establishments and, in turn, on the customer service they deliver and their potential for success. Using the above-mentioned features as a basis for selecting a solution, rather than relying on instinct alone, is the best course of action for foodservice operators.