How to Choose a Restaurant POS System
Guest Post by Sara Sugar
Making the decision that your restaurant is ready for a POS system can be a hard enough call to make. Add the additional pressure of having to choose the actual system, and it’s no wonder you clicked on this headline. Though not an easy task, deciding which restaurant POS system to implement at your business is one of the most important decisions you will make over the lifetime of your restaurant. Choosing a quality system will not only allow you to quickly and efficiently accept transactions at the point of sale, but it will also improve inventory management, enhance customer marketing, and provider access to sales performance insights for your business.
But since you’ve already made the decision to invest in the future of your business with a POS system, let’s take a few moments to discuss where you go from here.
Decide what your restaurant needs.
It’s easy to know what you don’t want as a restaurateur. You know you’re not looking for expensive, outdated, or complicated. But often, knowing the features and capabilities that your business needs isn’t so straightforward. Since choosing a restaurant POS system is vital to the success and longevity of your business, taking the time to observe and understand the features your business needs is imperative. That’s why it’s important to take the time you need to reacquaint yourself with your business. If you’re the decision maker, but not necessarily the person out on the floor taking orders day in and day out, talk to your servers and manager and find out what they need to make their lives easier. You might go into the conversation thinking that your employees already have all they need to take orders and successfully serve up impeccable customer service. And that might be the case. But you might also leave the conversation realizing that there are restaurant POS features that your staff desperately needs. Either way, you’ll learn more about your business and will be able to make a more informed decision.
Do your research and narrow the field.
Just as no two people are the same, so goes the world of small businesses and restaurants. As nice as it would be to be able to check off half a dozen boxes and then have a POS system handed to you, unfortunately, that’s just not how it works. The good news, however, is that you aren’t alone. According to a recent study, 72 percent of single-location restaurant owners are currently looking to adopt a restaurant POS system for their business. What that means is that though no two businesses are alike, there are a ton of POS-related resources at your disposal to help ease the burden of this decision.
As we recommend above, knowing what your business needs and then doing the research to see what systems can fill those needs is a crucial step in choosing a provider. Though cloud-based POS systems are relatively new to the restaurant industry (within the last decade or so), their popularity has taken off in recent years. That means that there are more than enough options out there for each business to find their match.
Talk to those who have been in your shoes.
In the process of vetting potential restaurant POS systems for your business, you’ll most likely talk to POS specialists from each provider. But in addition to chatting with those from the actual company, you’ll also want to speak with restaurateurs that have firsthand experience with both the software and hardware. This is also a good way to test out the integrity of the company you potentially might work with. Ask the POS provider in question to give you a list of similar businesses or restaurants for you to reach out to and interview about their experience. If the POS provider can’t come up with a list, say one isn’t available or are hesitant in any way, this is a definite red flag. A quality POS system should want to share the positive experiences of other restaurateurs with you, should easily be able to direct you to case studies on their website, and should be forthcoming with any information you request from them.
Whether you are a first-time restaurateur opening your inaugural restaurant, or a seasoned entrepreneur expanding your empire, choosing a restaurant POS system will not be an easy call. Taking the time, however, to evaluate your business, discuss your needs with your staff, and research the systems available to you, will set you up with a strong foundation for making an educated decision.
About the Author
Sara Sugar is ShopKeep point of sale’s in-house Content Marketing Specialist. Sara uses her distinguished journalism background to boil down topics like POS system technology, payments, and payment security for small business owners.
Everything ShopKeep does supports growing and independent businesses. Founded by a successful business owner, ShopKeep provides an intuitive, secure, iPad point-of-sale system with POS software that empowers merchants to run smarter businesses by optimizing staffing, regulating inventory and accessing sales reports and customer information on one seamless, cloud-based platform. With more than 23,000 customers, ShopKeep’s award-winning customer care team is available to help 24/7 and provide a robust support network for growing business owners. A member of Apple’s Mobile Partnership Program, ShopKeep is headquartered in New York, with offices in Portland, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Belfast.