How to Get Started With a Restaurant POS System

How to Get Started With a Restaurant POS System

Switching to a restaurant point-of-sale system has many benefits, including streamlined operations and improved customer experiences. POS insights such as restaurant sales, payroll reports, labor costs, peak business hours, and frequent customers can help owners and managers boost profits.

Choosing the right restaurant POS vendor is a major undertaking, and it can be overwhelming at first. Just remember – the hard work that goes into this decision will pay off every day the POS is in place.

Let’s take a look at some strategies for implementing a new POS.


Choosing the Right System

When shopping around for a restaurant POS system, there are a few things to consider.

Restaurant Type
Keep the restaurant’s unique style in mind. A food truck, coffee shop, and upscale restaurant will have different requirements; each establishment should use the brand of POS best suited to its business model.

For example, a food truck might only need a tablet, cash box, and credit card reader. A restaurant chain, however, will need multiple terminals, receipt printers, cash drawers, and possibly barcode scanners for inventory.

Different restaurants will also require different levels of integration. A fast-casual lunch spot may benefit from digital menus and social media integration, whereas a pizzeria’s business model might depend on online ordering. Choose the features that will help you cater to your guests’ unique needs.

Cloud-based vs. Local Install
Another thing to consider is whether you need a cloud-based or a locally installed POS system. A cloud-based system enables users to access data in real time on any device, anywhere. A locally installed system on the other hand, keeps all data stored in the system on the restaurant premises. For either type of  POS, this data may include weekly category sales, wages, employee hours, and more.

Pricing & Support
Pricing is another factor in choosing a new POS system. Total cost may include software, hardware, integrations, credit card processing, and support. Some platforms have a one-time payment with additional upgrade fees, while others offer monthly subscriptions that bundle all fees.

It’s important to note what kind of customer support is offered along with the software itself. Even the most robust POS systems can require maintenance. Some brands offer 24/7 support free of charge, with additional on-site training available for an extra cost. Others will only answer questions for an additional fee. Make sure you account for these fees when budgeting for a new POS.


Installing the System and Training Staff

Most POS vendors will collaborate with restaurant operators to determine a timeframe for setting up, installing the software, and training staff on how to use it. During the installation, the hardware will have to be updated with information specific to your restaurant, such as menu items, discounts, and employee names.

Small Business Notes recommends including merchant services accounts in the plan for installing a new POS system, since linking credit card processing functions could take anywhere from a week to a few months.

Once the system is installed, management will have to teach all employees how to use it. Staff training should cover techniques, functions, processing payments, and troubleshooting. Servers should be familiar with the system’s functionality, so they can navigate complex transactions while multitasking. For instance, a server at a diner might learn how to split checks on a tablet while listening to a customer’s request, whereas a barista at a café should know how to process credit cards while brewing coffee.

Finally, owners should teach employees how to troubleshoot basic problems with the system. This gives servers a sense of confidence in their work, and limits the amount of time floor managers spend mediating issues. When servers and hosts don’t know how to quickly resolve POS system crashes and freezes, valuable time with the customer will be lost.


Final Thoughts

POS software can be a great asset for many restaurants. When food, beverage and labor costs represent 50-75% of total restaurant costs, it’s important that restaurant owners minimize food waste and overstaffing. With access to POS insights, many restaurants are able to reduce shrinkage and improve efficiency of operations.

Have you implemented a POS system in your restaurant?


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