Assessing and buying a new restaurant POS system can be a difficult experience for anybody. There are several point of sale solutions on the market nowadays that you may not even know where to start.
1 thing is for certain; you do not wish to wait till the last minute to buy your new POS system. You need to give yourself lots of time to investigate and compare the features and functions of the various systems you’re contemplating buying. Additionally, it may take a while to get your system installed and for you to learn the POS software, so expect the process to take at least 3-4 weeks generally.
When comparing point of sale systems, you will want to be certain that the system is the best match for your restaurant idea. As an example, you might not wish to get a POS dedicated for a tiny quick service cafe if you are running a busy restaurant and pub. The two unique systems may seem the same using a touchscreen display, but the front of house and back of house software might be completely different.
Not all POS solutions are created equal; therefore because of this, we’ve assembled a listing of the top 10 features you have to have in a restaurant POS system.
1. SPEEDY INTERFACE AND QUICK CHECKOUT
Among the most significant elements of a restaurant or pub POS is to get speed. When you get busy on a Friday or Saturday night, you can not afford to get a lagging system. Lots of the tablet systems on the market now are dependent on your internet bandwidth speed. So if you’ve got slow internet, chances are you’re going to have a slow POS too.
So make sure to discover if your system is a neighborhood hardwired type, internet based, or hybrid (local and net ). A hybrid or local system will typically be more reliable for a busy restaurant as opposed to an Internet-based point of sale. So choose carefully to get the maximum speed for your own operations.
2. EASY TO MANAGE
There are systems on the market that could do everything imaginable to handle your restaurant or pub. The challenge is finding a happy medium between features you need and the features that you don’t need. The reason is, you may want the Cadillac of all systems, but do you want tens of thousands of features you may never use? Broadly , the more you spend on a system, the harder it can be to handle it.
As examples, with some of the major brand name systems on the marketplace, they may be very complicated to use and program, so you’ll need an expert to install and train you. But if you are a DIY type, you might want to choose a simpler system you can set up and use from the box. So bear in mind the direction side of this system on your research.
3. EASY TO USE
As stated previously, not all POS software is created equal. So on your research, you will want to think about ease-of-use of the software configuration and operations.
The best way to do it is to see or get involved in a product demonstration. Many POS software companies will supply a remote or onsite live presentation of their products. And some will offer software demos you can download in your computer or tablet computer.
What you want to search for is how easy is it to perform basic tasks such as place orders, send tickets to the kitchen, split checks, reorder drinks, speedy check out, etc.. It could take a little time to learn the software configuration because they are all somewhat different, but you will want to be certain the design is intuitive and it is easy for you to accomplish simple tasks. If you can not figure out, odds are your employees won’t , so find a system that’s simple to use. Another tip is to locate other restaurant owners having the identical system you are considering and see if they’ll allow you to find the system in action.
4. INVENTORY CONTROL
Some might disagree with this being a must have feature, because keeping stock is the bane of existence for restaurateurs, but if you would like to learn how much food you have available, your food costs and profit margins, you are likely to want inventory control.
Most high quality POS systems will have some stock management built-in to the applications, so there’s absolutely not any excuse to not use inventory management. It can be as straightforward as deducting count from your stock numbers when you make a purchase. If you want or need to find granular, most systems will have 3rd party integrations that could use more effective stock platforms designed especially to keep an eye on your merchandise.
The main point, however, is to ensure that your system has the stock management features you want or has options to incorporate into a vendor system which performs those functions appropriately.
5. QUALITY REPORTING
Having quality reporting is a no-brainer, but your choice in a system should have the reports you will need to run a successful small business. These are your Key Performance Indicator (KPI) reports that restaurants desire like sales by item, time, and division, employee labour, sales vs. labour costs, and seating functionality, as a few examples.
Most systems have the KPI reports pre constructed for the applications, but you may also need to be certain that the system you select allows for custom reports or 3rd party integrations should you will need to have more granular or require specific reporting information. Additionally, you will want to be certain that you have all of the auditing reports needed to keep good track of your earnings and taxes, and also to keep your accountant happy.
Here is a little tip to make life simple. Using a system that has cloud reporting, you can set up a remote access account to your accounts, which means that your accountant gets access to your financials. This eliminates steps of exporting reporting information to your accountant.
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6. EASY TO SETUP AND CONFIGURE MENU
Another no-brainer, but you would be amazed by the complexity of some systems to alter a simple menu item or price.
Before you buy anything, discover how easy it is to add or change a menu item. With some systems, once you change a menu item, the whole server and workstations need to be restarted for the changes to appear. Who has time for it? Trust me on this one, during your presentation as stated in number 3 above, ask the POS dealer or coach how hard is it to upgrade a menu item.
If it takes over five minutes to produce a simple menu modification and should they need to reboot the system to observe the change, run to the hills. The more recent point of sales now have simple and intuitive interfaces to create quick menu adjustments, and you will want that feature. Because when you decide to modify the daily special price, you do not need to call support and wait on hold for 30 minutes to produce a simple update to your system.
7. TABLE MANAGEMENT AND RESERVATIONS
Any superior POS programmed for pubs and restaurants should have built in desk direction and an alternative for reservations.
If you are doing table seats, you obviously will require this feature, and it is vital for handling your front of house operations. You will want to know the status of your tables at any given time. For example which tables are occupied, being cleared or are readily available. The program must also tie into a booking system that could quickly update your table position based on customer reservations. This integration creates a seamless experience for handling your tables and seating arrangements.
Speedy suggestion, when doing your software presentation, ask the coach how the seats and reservations work and have them show you the feature in detail.
Not all POS applications has bookings built in, so you might need to use a 3rd party software such as OpenTable for reservations.
8. COMPREHENSIVE TRAINING
To get the most from your point of sale, you will want to be certain that to get properly trained on all of the features and functions on the front of house and back of the home.
Not all systems will include training, so you will need to make certain to ask if training is included. Some POS businesses may have fundamental training videos online. Other companies might have a trainer that works with you . Or your POS dealer may offer training onsite. Either way you go, ensure that your system has the sufficient training you will need to get running smoothly.
You don’t need to get to your”go live” date without having all of your staff trained and up to speed on the working processes. That is why it’s important to receive your POS installed a few weeks or more if possible before going live, so you get all the kinks worked out and properly train yourself and your employees.
9. SUPPORT FROM HEAVEN
Quality service and support can make or break your organization or at least ascertain your frustration level. Here’s among the best tips we can provide. When studying your POS, do not call the sales amount first, call the service number first. Below are a few points to question. How fast do they pick up the telephone? Have you ever been put on hold straight away? When you get someone on the telephone, are they friendly and helpful? Allow the support person know you are exploring their product and ask them what they like most about the product they support AND ask them what is the biggest complaint they get about their merchandise.
Doing this simple task first helps to weed out the suppliers with slow, weak or impolite support. And if the support person is useful, which they need to be, they will answer your questions and will supply you insight to the product that you’re considering spending your hard earned money and time on. After you’ve finished this task, confirm that they have 24/7 support and confirm your applications and hardware guarantee stipulations.
10. MARKETING TOOLS
Having the tools and resources you will need to help grow and market your company are just as important as collecting money from customers. You want features on your POS that’s going to help you grow your earnings and keep clients coming back. Characteristics like loyalty programs, gift cards, customer benefits, messaging programs, automatic promotions based on customer’s purchase action, and special promotions to drive traffic through slow times.
Again, not every restaurant POS system will have marketing tools built into the program. But most will integrate with 3rd party providers that do so well. So when you’re assessing POS features, make certain to learn what marketing alternatives are available. And if not, see what 3rd party advertising businesses integrate in the POS.
To sum up, it may come as a surprise that not all the top 10 must have restaurant POS attributes are hard coded software attributes; they are prerequisites like using a fast system, simple to use interface, quality service and support, good training, and advertising choices. We hope you’ve enjoyed this top 10 list and we invite you to share with others if you found it helpful and beneficial.
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