It’s no secret that mobile payments and mobile POS are changing the restaurant industry. In the next five years, the mobile payments industry is expected to account for over $125 billion of worldwide consumer spending. More and more consumers are becoming familiar with mobile devices and are growing comfortable with the concept of using tablets and mobile phones to enhance their dining experience.

Today, nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, and 19% of Americans partly rely on a smartphone for accessing online services and information and to stay connected to the world.

New mobile payment vehicles—including mobile wallets like Paypal, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, as well as online ordering systems, pay-at-the-table solutions and mobile apps—make transaction-processing extremely efficient and can boost sales through heightened customer satisfaction. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

If you’re in the market for a point of sale (POS) system, you’re faced with the decision between a cloud-hosted solution and a traditional legacy system. Buying a POS system is a long-term investment, and with rapid advancements in the POS industry it’s important to consider what works best for your business.

First, some terminology:

EPOS: A traditional, full-fledged electronic Point of Sale system that stores data on local servers and runs on a closed internal network, this system comes complete with a touch screen, barcode scanner, cash register, credit card terminal and receipt printer. A classic in the industry, these systems have been around for decades and are the most universally accepted way to process cash, check and credit card payment. Offering a sense of security, EPOS systems serve a critical function for merchants as they not only processing payments, but have reporting capabilities such as inventory control and accounting and can store important marketing data such as customer information.

MPOS: A mPOS (mobile point of sale) is a smartphone, tablet, or dedicated device that can perform the same functions as a cash register or electronic point of sale terminal. Any smartphone or tablet can be transformed into an mPOS with a downloadable mobile app.

Typically, when the business owner registers for the app, the vendor can send the business owner a card reader that plugs into the mobile device’s audio jack or charging port and any other necessary hardware add-ons. Mobile payment devices make use of cloud-technology, which stores data and allows remote data access over the Internet as opposed to a traditional hard drive or server.

Lavu’s iPad POS System is a leading SaaS restaurant POS that offers mobile payment processing along with a Cash Discount Program.

Depending on the software, a mPOS can operate as a stand-alone device that’s simply linked to the business’ bank account or it can function as a full-featured Point of Sale. Popular mobile POS vendors include Paypal, Square, Intuit and VeriFone.

A Turning Point for POS

The needs of every foodservice establishment are different. Your POS system should match your requirements and values. Even though the industry is trending strongly towards a more mobile model, here are factors to consider before deciding which system is right for you:

Will new technology increase complications? Depending on the solution you choose for accepting payments you’ll need a mobile device, the hardware that allows you to swipe a card and the appropriate app.

Self-serve POS Stations or Kiosks for Customers Many POS systems now allow customers to place their own orders on self-ordering kiosks, which enhances operating efficiencies and, in turn, increases customer turnover rates. The faster diners can place and receive their orders—whether directly or indirectly on a tablet or at a kiosk—the greater their satisfaction.

Cost Effectiveness Mobile payment systems allow business owners to conduct transactions without having to invest in an electronic register or pay someone to support the software.

Vulnerability This can be one of the biggest issues when it comes to tablets. Although less bulky than traditional POS monitors, theft and breakage can be of concern with tablet POS. However, should something happen, they are likewise easier and less expensive to replace than traditional systems.

mPOS Management Interfaces Many mPOS systems often include the option to collect and manage data that tracks hourly sales, daily and monthly inventory and shift labor costs. Managers can receive more accurate real-time data counts by using mobile POS systems.