How do you choose a POS System for your venue?
When you’re dreaming about running your own restaurant, what are the first things you think about? The menu? Location? Décor? I can almost guarantee that one aspect that won’t be near the top of your list is your point of sale (POS) system. Or, to put it another, how you take orders and collect payment from your customers.
You might think that all restaurant POS systems are the same, but with so many different providers out there, choosing the right point of sale system for your restaurant is crucial. However, by following our 7 steps to choosing a restaurant POS system, you’ll be able to select the tool that gives your restaurant every chance of succeeding.
Choosing a restaurant POS system starts with identifying what it is you need it to do. It’s no longer simply a cash register but a hub that connects different parts of your restaurant together. For example, should it be able to take online bookings, print customer orders in the kitchen, accept tips or possess table/floor management functionality?
Sometimes it’s easier to start with what you don’t want and then work your way back. Alternatively, talk to other restaurant owners and find out what systems they think work well or get feedback from your waiting staff.
Drawing up your wish list of requirements will be the first step you need to go through.
Ease of use
Of course, having all of this great functionality will be pointless if it’s too difficult to use. Many restaurant POS systems pride themselves on being user-friendly but what is intuitive for one person makes absolutely no sense to the next.
The operating speed of the system also has to be taken into consideration as this will help you run an efficient business. You don’t want your staff standing around waiting for the system to load or process a payment.
Most POS providers are happy to let you trial out their system and make sure you get your employees involved as they might highlight problems, issues or requirements that you would never have thought of.
Other than accepting payment and taking orders, what else do you want your system to do? Think about how you want to embed your restaurant POS system within your business.
Do you want it to be integrated into your online accounting software to make it easier to do your books? How about linking it with your email marketing tool so you can thank your customers for visiting? Or, if you connect it to your inventory system, your staff will have real-time updates on what dishes area available, helping to manage customer expectations.
Think of ways you can use your POS system for more than simply taking orders and processing payments.
Cloud base vs Local
At some stage, you’ll need to make a decision between a cloud-based POS system and one that operates locally i.e. data is only stored on a computer in your restaurant. There are advantages and drawbacks to both options but the key thing to think about is how you expect your restaurant business to grow. That involves future proofing your system and we’ll talk more about that later on.
There will undoubtedly be times when you need a little bit of help and support from your POS provider, so your next step is to look at what levels of customer support they provide? If the system crashes, how will you run your restaurant and what will your POS provider do to get it back up and running.
Don’t just take the provider’s word for it but read as many online reviews as you can from other users. Again, talk to neighbouring businesses or use your own experience within the industry.
Remember, you want to choose a POS system that offers you the best value for money and that doesn’t always mean going for the cheapest option.
A lot of business decisions come down to money and choosing a restaurant POS system is no different. Systems that charge a % fee based on takings can prove expensive as you grow, and if you’re installing a local system, then you’ll need to factor into your equation future upgrade costs.
Some providers will charge a monthly license fee with different packages of costs depending on the level of support and features you select. This can allow you to tailor the system you get to your needs which should hopefully prove to be more cost-effective.
Future proofing your POS system is an absolute must, and by this, we mean thinking 5 years ahead. Accepting payment by cash and card are fundamental but what about mobile payments, accepting digital currencies or payments through retina scanning? Ok, maybe the last one is a fair way off but the others are with us now.
You also need to think how your restaurant business is going to change and grow in the future. If you have a chain of restaurants will you want them connected up to the same system or if they’re using local systems how will that work when it comes to doing your accounts?
Choosing a restaurant point of sale system is not just about taking the order today but how you’ll be doing so in the future.
If you would like to talk to us more about choosing your restaurant POS provider, please get in touch with us.