Restaurant Technology

Point-of-sale systems have long been considered clunky and expensive pieces of equipment, but, with cutting-edge technology, that’s no longer the case. Versatile and portable, the market for tablet and iPad POS solutions has exploded because they allow businesses of all sizes to process payments affordably and immediately. Inspired by mobility, iPad systems work in real time to blaze through transactions and streamline all aspects of the business.

Waitstaff can use iPod Touch or iPad Mini devices to take orders from diners that are immediately and wirelessly sent to the back-of-house staff. Offering inventory and financial data that can be managed onsite or remotely, cloud-based systems allow users to access all of their data from any smart device at any time. This style of system greatly impacts how restaurant owners and operators conduct business by allowing greater mobility. Cloud-based POS systems are increasingly popular in businesses on-the-go such as food trucks, independent vendors or catering operations. These businesses can now connect with customers beyond their traditional base without sacrificing high quality hardware, powerful business intelligence reporting, accessibility of the cloud and the best third party integrations.

An iPad looks modern and sleek, the device’s mobility gives a merchant greater flexibility in serving customers, and the cash-register software available for a tablet costs considerably less. In most cases the tablet version provides more complex inventory tools, reporting options, customer service and marketing tools, table service features and employee management tools. Most even provide back-office tools that you can access via any web-browser from any device, including PCs and Macs. The iPad on its own, with free or premium apps, can serve as a full-blown POS system for small and large businesses.

Consider the case of Rude Boy Cookies, a quick serve cookie and milkshake bar in Albuquerque. Rather than adopting a traditional POS system, owner Michael Silva decided to go with a Lavu POS system. Not only did Lavu save Rude Boy Cookies thousands of dollars on initial opening costs but streamlined operations for this quick serve style business.

Overall, mobility in retail is now a $5.7 billion business worldwide and continues to grow rapidly, one of the biggest innovations in the hospitality industry. According to global research and advisory firm IHL Group, it is the single fastest moving trend since the addition of the Internet to traditional POS systems.


  • Point-of-sale is wireless and mobile.
  • Application is always up to date.
  • Business data is backed up online.
  • It is attractive to customers.
  • It facilitates on-the-floor or table-side sales.
  • It’s easy to replace.


  • Entering a lot of information using a touchscreen can be tedious.
  • Some mobile POS systems have limited offline abilities.
  • Select features may cost extra, such as employee scheduling.
  • Compatible peripherals may be limited.
  • The devices can be dropped and damaged.

If you’re thinking about using an iPad point of sale solution for your business, there are many considerations depending on your restaurant size, the functionality needed and your budget.

Each company individually may seem to have a unique pricing model, but at the end of the month you will typically be paying a similar rate, regardless of the company you choose. The most important variables that can dramatically change price fall into three groups: credit card processing volume, number of iPads, and the number of locations. Hardware costs are surprisingly similar as most point of sale companies use identical hardware components. When pricing out what POS system works best for your business, keep in mind your processing volume and number of iPads you will need throughout your location. And, as with any POS system, keep the following costs in mind: license fees, monthly support fees, and the cost of any hardware bundles you may need to purchase.

As with any POS system, it is important to weigh what will ultimately work best for your business.