Just like a realtor helps you navigate the ins and outs of what to look for while shopping for a home, this POS buyer’s guide provides expert insights into what to look for while comparing restaurant point of sale (POS) systems.
After all, a POS is one of the most important tech tools you’ll use in your restaurant. Why? Because it provides data about your business that you can use to increase revenue, save time and money (which is critical during a labor shortage), and improve the customer experience.
This POS system buyer’s guide equips you with everything you need to choose the best system for your business. Specifically, you’ll learn:
So, what does POS mean? A restaurant point of sale system is the central hub for all of your business transactions. It’s the hardware and software you use to run your restaurant, and where transactions between your business and its customers happen.
You can think of a point of sale system as a digital cash register that does so much more than just keep track of what customers bought. The best restaurant POS systems can also help with:
Additionally, POS systems integrate with tools you already have, like online ordering and reservations software, which help to extend their capabilities.
A restaurant POS can help your business increase sales, deliver a great guest experience, and save time and money. Here’s how.
This critical piece of restaurant technology comes equipped with features that drive revenue. A POS can:
The hospitality industry is all about delighting customers. A POS system improves the guest experience by:
Efficiency is critical to running a financially viable business. Your POS saves your restaurant time and money by:
Refer to this POS buyer’s guide while shopping for a new system to select the best tool for your business.
How quickly do you need to get your POS up and running?
Some POS systems are ready to use right out of the box, while others involve a lengthy installation and training process. Find out how long it will take to get up and running with a new system and whether it will require any downtime for your restaurant.
Existing restaurants thinking about switching POS providers may require a quick transition so as to avoid service interruptions, while new restaurants may be able to take their time installing a new system ahead of opening day.
Different POS systems work better for different types of restaurants. Whether you’re a fine dining restaurant, quick-service restaurant, or coffee shop, the type of business you run will dictate the features you need, your hardware setup, and more.
For example, a full service restaurant with dozens of staff members may need a POS that has table management and tableside ordering capabilities, while a food truck may need a compact hardware setup and the ability to take payments without WiFi.
You should also consider things like ease of use and the type of hardware the system runs on. If you have a large team, you might want to get a system that uses user-friendly iPads instead of proprietary hardware because it will make the training process faster.
Know what you can afford to pay for your new restaurant POS system, and make sure you understand all of the things you may need to pay for.
You can expect to pay one-time fees for hardware, onboarding, and installation. While the average cost for POS hardware is roughly $1,300, your costs can vary widely depending on how large your venue is and how many POS terminals you might need.
When it comes to ongoing expenses, you’ll pay monthly fees for software and payment processing. You can expect to pay $69 per month, on average, for POS software. Some providers also charge for support services, while others, like TouchBistro, offer free 24/7 support.
Not every POS system will integrate with every payment processor. Find out which processors work with the POS system you’re purchasing. If you choose a POS that does not support your current payments solution, then you’ll also have to shop for a new payment processor.
And, if you’re using a provider’s integrated payments solution, make sure you know whether you need to sign a multi-year contract, and how the fees are structured.
For instance, a fixed rate pricing model charges a percentage-based fee plus a fee per transaction, such as 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction. This model would result in $3.20 in processing fees per $100 check.
On the other hand, there’s theWith a cost plus pricing model, which is generally considered to be the more popular and more transparent pricing model because of its easy-to-understand terms and fees. With cost plus pricing, you would pay an interchange fee, a basis point mark-up, and a transaction fee. You’ll likely encounter a 1.8% interchange fee, a 0.45% basis point mark-up, and a $0.15 transaction fee, resulting in $2.40 in processing fees on a $100 check.
Payment processing fees can add up, which is why it’s important to find a solution that integrates with your POS and offers the most equitable and transparent pricing.
You may need to stop service at your restaurant if you encounter a glitch in your POS system or aren’t sure how to perform a critical function. However, time is money, so every second of downtime means lost profits. That’s why it’s important to consider the people behind the POS system you’re buying and understand what you can expect in terms of the quality and availability of support.
Buyers should also make a point of ensuring that their employees will be able to receive the training required to use the new system effectively. Look for a POS provider that offers detailed documentation, self-help guides, and video tutorials, as well as 24/7 support availability.
Your POS system should not only support your current needs, but also your future goals. Consider your long-term business plan and make sure your POS will be able to scale with you.
Look for a system that makes it easy to add more terminals, integrates with your existing solutions, and offers other tools to help your business grow, like a loyalty program or digital gift cards.
A POS system is an investment in your business, and not just an expense. As with any other investment, you should receive a return on the money you put into it. Make sure that your POS streamlines and optimizes operations in a way that has a measurable impact on your restaurant’s bottom line. In other words, a POS system should pay for itself and add value in what it saves you in labor costs and what it helps you gain in sales.
Now that you know how to find the best PS system for your restaurant, here’s a restaurant POS guide evaluation cheat sheet you can use while comparing solutions.
Take a screenshot of the cheat sheet, copy and paste it into your notes app, or print it out and refer to it while you shop.
Check out this POS buying guide for even more insights.
If you’re looking for a POS system that can help your business increase sales, improve the guest experience, and save time and money, look no further than TouchBistro POS.
Want to learn more about the restaurant industry from an industry expert at TouchBistro? Download the free webinar replay below!
“In the labor numbers, we were reporting about a $300 to $400 difference than what we were getting through Push!”
-Tara Hardie, ZZA Hospitality Group, 16 locations