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The ins and outs of purchasing a POS system

Posted by Ohad Jehassi on Sep 14, 2018 9:00:00 AM

For businesses in the restaurant industry, having the right tools and technology in place can make a world of difference when it comes to effectively running your business and turning a profit. 

Profit margins can be thin in foodservice, meaning restaurants and bars need all the help they can get in order to be successful. One of your greatest resources? A 21st-century restaurant point of sale.


Ins and outs of pos

Point of sale (POS) technology has traveled leaps and bounds over the last decade in order to keep up with growing consumer demand for a more seamless restaurant experience.

Your customers, whether they’re at the table or the bar, want tech solutions incorporated at every stage in the dining experience, from the moment they place their orders to closing out their check. This is why your restaurant’s next tech purchase should be a fully-loaded point of sale.

Let’s take a look at all you need to know before investing in your next POS system.

What are my POS system must-haves?

Let’s get back to the basics. Your POS system should first-and-foremost serve as a point of sale solution.

Whether you’re a counter service or table service restaurant, your next POS should (at the very least) conduct seamless transactions. However, if you want to choose a POS system that’s built to last, you won’t just want to choose a solution that processes payments.

Rather, you should choose a POS system that’s designed to optimize the payment processing experience for both your customers andyour staff.

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Consider some of these essential features your team should seek out in its restaurant POS:

  • Mobile adaptability. Instead of choosing a fixed POS that’s stuck at the front of your restaurant, invest in mobile POS (mPOS) technology. Typically, mPOS systems use Android or iOS tablets as mPOS terminals. This means that your staff can conduct transactions anywhere on the floor in a matter of seconds.

  • Automatic ticketing. As your front of house staff places orders, get your back of house team fulfilling those tickets as quickly as possible. Pick a restaurant POS that offers automatic ticketing instead of a legacy system that requires tickets to be delivered by servers. As soon as an order is placed, your kitchen should receive a digital or printed ticket so they can get started.

  • Flexible payments. The bread and butter of your restaurant’s POS should be transacting, so why would you choose anything less than a POS that can process all of the most popular payment types? Invest in a system that takes your customers’ ease-of-use seriously by accepting cash, card, and contactless payment transactions.

The bottom line? Your next POS purchase should give your team the power to optimize every step of the transaction process: from placing orders to closing out checks.

 


 

Where has my current POS system fallen short?

Even though POS technology has changed so much in the past few years, too many restaurants are still using outdated legacy POS terminals. 

If you’re thinking of investing in a modern POS system, then your business probably is using one of these older platforms to manage restaurant transactions. Or, maybe this is your very first time purchasing a POS for a new restaurant venture.

Either way, before you take the leap and choose your POS platform, you’ll want to keep in mind some of the ways that legacy POS tech has fallen short for restaurants just like yours.

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Some of the most common problems with legacy POS terminals include:

  • Hardware. As we touched on in the previous section, legacy POS systems tended to be large, fixed terminals that processed transactions for your entire restaurant. Newer POS tech makes it easy to share multiple POS tools across your staff so many servers can conduct transactions at the same time from anywhere in your restaurant.

  • Expense. In the early days of POS technology, terminals required a hefty initial investment to purchase or rent from a POS vendor. Not only that, but repairing these systems was also pricey, and you had to hire a trained POS technician each and every time you ran into issues with your system.
  • Ease of use. Quite frankly, legacy POS systems were difficult to master. With the level of turnover in the foodservice industry, you want to choose a POS system that’s accessible to your core users: your front of house staff. This way, there’s less of a risk of mismanagement that can lead to anything from unfulfilled orders to security breaches. 

By keeping common POS shortcomings in mind when making your investment, your restaurant can better understand why new developments in POS tech make such a difference.

 


 

What features make a POS system stand out?

As your team reviews different restaurant POS options, one thing to keep in mind are the extra features your platform should offer that take it to the next level.

After all, your POS system really is at the helm of your restaurant’s business strategy. Transacting and payment processing aren’t separate activities from your restaurant’s overall operations, but foundational activities that set the tone for your customer experience on the whole.

This is why your restaurant or bar needs to consider the many ways in which your next POS investment can distinguish itself as a fully-loaded tech platform.

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Some stand out POS system features include:

  • Resource management. Why should your POS system be left completely separate from your restaurant’s management software? Whether you’re tracking inventory, allocating staff, or otherwise managing the logistics of your restaurant, pick a POS that offers these tools seamlessly built into its system.

  • Operations reporting. Similarly, you’ll want to pick a POS platform that makes it simple to monitor operations and find out what you need to know to make smart business decisions. A POS system that tracks key metrics and produces reports can make a huge difference in the execution of your restaurant’s business plan.

  • Customized User Interface. Your restaurant is unique, so why choose a POS system that treats its user interface as one size fits all? Pick a POS that lets your restaurant completely customize the system to reflect your needs, whether that relates to your menu, customer promotions, staffing practices, or more.

Ultimately, your team should pick a POS system that conducts transactions effectively and efficiently while also bringing stand-out features to the table. Look to fully-loaded POS platforms like Lavu’s restaurant POS system.

 


 

How can I maximize my new POS system?

Another question your team should be aware of before choosing your restaurant’s next POS is how your team can impact the success of the new system.

While your new POS platform can bring a lot to the table by offering great features, it comes down to your restaurant’s management team and employees to effectively implement this useful technology in your business.

Luckily, making the most of your restaurant’s POS depends on setting expectations for how the system should perform, as well as encouraging staff to voice any problems they have with mastering their new tools.

As you consider your next POS purchase, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Choose an industry-specific solution. Not only are there restaurant-specific POS solutions, there are also POS platforms expertly designed for bars, pizza shops, food trucks, and other food service businesses. Be sure to partner with a POS that’s tailored to your industry so that the features account for the unique needs of your market.

  • Pick a POS that offers 24/7 support. When your team runs into technical issues operating your POS, you want to trust that you’ll be able to access 24/7 support services. As you implement your restaurant POS, bring your staff up to speed with how to get in touch with your POS support services to ensure they make use of what’s available.

  • Stay open to feedback from your staff. Starting up with a new POS system at your business will be hard, even if you choose the best solution for your restaurant. During implementation and beyond, be open to feedback from your team to learn how you can utilize your platform better.

Your restaurant’s POS should work well for your team, and your team should be empowered to make the system work well for themselves.

 



Choosing a restaurant POS system can be difficult, whether you’re graduating from a legacy platform or investing in a point of sale solution for the very first time.

Now that we’ve answered your top POS questions, your restaurant is ready to get started making the right decision about your next POS investment!

 

Start your online hospitality training with Typsy, and watch our course on an Introduction to hospitality management



lavu-author-headshot

Ohad Jehassi is the President of Lavu. He has over fifteen years of international product-centric general management and marketing experience, has launched four start-ups and been the CEO or founder of three, leading the rapid growth of digital media, marketplace, and marketing services businesses. Ohad is also a business mentor with Endeavor and serves on the executive committee of the New World Symphony.

 

 

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Topics: Hospitality operations, HR for hospitality venues, Tips for hospitality managers, Tips for owners, Hospitality trends

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