Running a restaurant requires both long and short term problem solving that can wear you down easily if you don’t have any help.
Luckily, there are software and hardware solutions out there that make restaurant operations simpler and easier for everyone. In this case, a more advanced, mobile point-of-sale system is one of those software modules that is steadily becoming more and more necessary for efficient restaurant management.
If you decide that your restaurant could use a point-of-sale system upgrade, then you’ll be confronted by a variety of choices to make. Should you choose a legacy or a mobile POS system? Should you go for a more expensive POS system with higher customization for your table management or a less expensive restaurant POS system that integrates with important software you need?
These are all valuable questions to ask yourself. A restaurant’s POS system can make or break its workflow, so what kind of software you choose for your business is one of the most important decisions to be made. Let’s walk through the essential points you’ll need to know as you begin your research:
What is a restaurant POS system?
What restaurant POS system should you look for?
What are the benefits of using a restaurant POS system?
Who are the top restaurant POS providers?
What does the restaurant POS system buying process entail?
Use this guide to make the best choice you possibly can, and to innovate your restaurant’s workflow in no time.
1. What is a restaurant POS system?
A restaurant point-of-sale system is any kind of software or hardware platform that performs tasks involving payment processing, management, and daily operations.
While plenty of restaurants might still be using cash registers, a point-of-sale system uses state-of-the-art software that can accomplish much more. Anything from shift-tracking to customer data collection can be handled by a point-of-sale system with hi-tech ease, giving you more time to focus on the management issues that matter.
Different Types of Restaurant POS Systems
There are two main types of point-of-sale systems currently in use for most businesses. There are more traditional, legacy point-of-sale systems, which are more hardware based, and then there are the more high-grade, mobile POS systems, which are more software and cloud-based. Your choice of what kind of system you want will affect almost all other factors involved with your POS system, such as cost and ease of use.
Legacy POS: Legacy point-of-sale systems involve physical hardware placed inside your restaurant. These systems are usually more traditional in that they need to be updated manually and might not have access to online features. Additionally, most of their security and data storage takes place on your restaurant’s premises.
Mobile POS: A mobile point-of-sale system uses multiple stations which operate through cloud-based software. This cloud-based functionality means that you don’t have to update each of your stations manually, and they all work in tandem with each other. If a server needs to send information to the kitchen while a manager needs to send a scheduling update to the server’s station, they can do so simultaneously without any interruption to the system, creating a convenient and efficient path of communication.
What Types of Restaurants Can Use a POS System?
Whether you’re a coffee shop, a food truck, a bar, or a pizza place, your restaurant can benefit from switching to an updated POS system.
If you decide to upgrade from your cash-register, a modern point-of-sale system’s helpful features, including their ability to quicken the payment process and their skill in handling large amounts of customer data, make them well worth the initial investment of time and resources.
2. What restaurant POS system features should you look for?
It’s important to understand your priorities when looking at POS systems. For example, if you’re running a bar, you’d want a bar POS system that can keep track of inventory quickly while also offering a number of different payment processing options for your bartenders.
So take a look at what your restaurant needs and make sure your point-of-sale system has the corresponding features. In the case of a restaurant POS system, some of the most important features are:
Payment processing. A modern restaurant point-of-sale system can change the way your customers take care of their tab. Even if your customers bring multiple methods of payment, want to split the bill, and all want to tip differently, a great restaurant pos system can accommodate those surprises — no questions asked.
Online integration. A fantastic restaurant POS system can combine with your online management tools to streamline your restaurant’s workflow. Great point-of-sale systems can integrate with accounting tools, online ordering platforms, customer management software, kitchen ticket management software, and much more. So make sure to look for what kinds of software your restaurant pos integrates with, as it will have a big effect on how well the point-of-sale system can work with the rest of your restaurant’s management tools.
Ease-of-use. Using clear and concise design features that simplify the process for both servers and managers, a top-notch restaurant POS system can be quickly understood and used by anybody. When you’re shopping around for a restaurant POS, an intuitive training process should be on the top of the list for key features. The amount of time that goes into training servers and managers in POS usage can quickly become overwhelming. With a well-designed point-of-sale software, this backup doesn’t need to happen.
3. What are the benefits of using a restaurant POS system?
A restaurant POS system carries a multitude of advantages for all staff members of the restaurant. Whether you’re a manager that needs to track table layouts and employee shifts or you’re a server that needs to ring up customers efficiently, having the proper restaurant POS system is an aid that cannot be underestimated.
Benefits for Owners
With a restaurant POS system, owners can take care of complicated clerical tasks like shift-scheduling and employee management with little difficulty.
Formulating a marketing strategy for your restaurant becomes drastically simplified, as a great restaurant point-of-sale system can compile expense reports and customer metrics in understandable and easy-to-read formats.
At the same time, it can also play a big part in streamlining your restaurant’s daily operations. By tracking store inventory and recording customer preferences, a restaurant point-of-sale system can help with both your restaurant’s long and short term priorities.
Benefits for Wait Staff
Easier payment processing, simpler tipping, and clearer communication lead to an improvement in customer service and a decrease in human error.
This kind of accommodation makes life easier on your service staff and prevents them from performing at less than their best. Imagine how easily your servers could take orders and how much more organized their service would become with tools that manage it all in one organized system.
Benefits for Customers
All of the behind-the-scenes action that a restaurant point-of-sale system takes care of leads to an increase in satisfaction on the customer’s end. Quicker payment and fewer errors mean that your customers can be seated, have their orders taken, and pay for their meal without all the headaches.
Additionally, some restaurant POS systems can send electronic receipts, saving the customer plenty of time and effort in the long run, which they’ll be sure to appreciate.
4. Who are the top restaurant POS providers?
Top Restaurant POS System: Lavu
If you’re looking for a restaurant point-of-sale system that can take care of everything from tracking customer metrics to payment processing, all from a mobile cloud-based platform, there’s a chance your restaurant could use Lavu. Whether it’s through streamlined design or smooth, online integration, Lavu can function at its highest capacity to meet your restaurant management needs.
Key features: Lavu has unique features that set it apart from other restaurant POS systems, such as:
Front-of-house layout and floor-plan customization
Combo builder for efficient ordering and operations
Dual cash drawer to keep your profits secure
Lavu inventory to keep better track of your storage
Lavu self-ordering restaurant kiosk for customer convenience
Integrations with select software to fit your management tools
Digital menu boards for brand coherence and a sleek finish
These kinds of features engage your customers and improve your restaurant’s accuracy in handling day-to-day operations. They also streamline communication between different areas of your restaurant, making it easier for everyone in the kitchen, the office, and the front-of-house to do their jobs.
Cost: A single Lavu terminal, complete with all of Lavu’s exciting restaurant point-of-sale system features, will cost $69/month. As your business needs grow, Lavu offers multi-tiered pricing based off of your restaurant’s plan. See our pricing page for more details.
5. What does the restaurant POS system buying process entail?
Purchasing a restaurant point-of-sale system is a relatively simple procedure. After doing your research as to what kind of POS system you need for your restaurant, you can select a monthly plan from among the many software or hardware platforms out there.
After your plan is selected, you’ll need to have the system properly installed. Often, your POS provider will offer installation services, occasionally for an extra fee. You’ll also need to train your staff in the upgraded system to make sure that your restaurant can still operate smoothly.
Purchasing a POS System
Although there are plenty of restaurant point-of-sale systems out there, you should take the time to understand your restaurant’s needs and what kind of POS system will meet them. You should consider your restaurant’s price range and its ability to incorporate either a legacy or mobile POS.
Installing a POS
Depending on whether or not you’ve chosen a mobile or a legacy point-of-sale system for your restaurant, different installation tasks will be required. A legacy POS system will be more demanding on your time and effort as special services might be required to make sure it’s fitting into your restaurant’s space properly. A mobile POS system will offer much less trouble during installation, and it can be much more conveniently updated and understood.
Incorporating a POS into your workflow
Throwing a restaurant POS system into your daily operations can go off without a hitch. Whenever you’re installing a new restaurant point-of-sale system, you might run into common issues such as employee training and adjustment to the new software, but issues like these are solved with increased experience and continued operation. Make sure all your employees know how to operate the POS system with quickness and efficiency. Since the POS system is often the center of restaurant operations, you may want to hold in-depth training sessions, especially for management, so that any initial roadblocks to restaurant POS incorporation can be avoided.
Choosing a new and improved point-of-sale system is a big move for any restaurant to make. You’ll have to deal with new developments and quirks in order to use the more advanced features.
But if you need a good way to operate your restaurant effectively and efficiently, then a new POS system outshines any other choice you can make. Having an up-to-date restaurant POS system improves all facets of your business, from customer service to internal management, all while needing little effort and maintenance to operate.
To learn more about how a point-of-sale system can help your restaurant, try reading up on the subject using these additional resources:
Guide to Restaurant POS. If you’re new to setting up or purchasing a restaurant POS system, check out this free guide by Lavu to help you get started with making your first purchase.
Restaurant Business Planning. An efficient point-of-sale system is an integral part of any restaurant’s business plan. Use this post on restaurant business planning to understand how a POS system can work to make your restaurant more efficient and manageable.
New Restaurant Technology that Propels Business. Newer, more modern restaurant POS systems are a part of growing technology trends in the restaurant business that allow restaurants to make new and improved management decisions. Read this article to learn more.