A long time ago there weren’t that many differences between the point of sale systems. Now the POS market is so competitive that there are many industry-specific features. Not having the same POS-enabled efficiency as your competition will leave you lagging behind them. As the restaurant industry continues to transform with Covid-19, the POS industry is providing new tools that help restaurant owners adapt. But even when you ignore the pandemic, there are some basic restaurant POS features that your restaurant POS system must-have.
Your restaurant POS system should offer live reporting. It should preferably also offer live updates to your mobile device. You can get live alerts on the weather, the news, sports events, and much more. Why shouldn’t you also receive live updates on how your restaurant is doing? Live updates are now the norm in the restaurant POS industry. For POS real-time reporting capabilities to be complete, they should offer analytics, performance evaluation, and sales updates. Toast is a POS brand that takes reports on transactions one step further and integrates its customer relationship system with reports. You can collect customer information and see which customers visit your restaurant the most.
Most POS systems in all industries offer inventory reports and controls. But restaurants have more comprehensive needs than other businesses. Most restaurants spend a lot of time managing stock. When you offer dishes with many ingredients, it’s easy to get caught off guard and run low on some ingredients. You don’t want to be in a position where you can’t offer a dish of your most popular meal.
A worthwhile restaurant POS system will have recipe tracking features. These features should track both individual ingredients and entire dishes. If you’re running low on any ingredient, it should alert you and highlight the dishes that may soon be lacking. Many restaurant POS systems also give you the option to customize alerts and send notifications. In some cases, POS systems can automatically place orders for ingredients that you are running low on.
The right POS system for you must offer the ability to seamlessly create ingredient chains so you can see a complete report on each dishes’ ingredients. You normally need to use your restaurant POS system to create your own list of ingredients and the dishes that they add up to. The best POS systems will allow you to automate most of your stock management tasks so you can focus on other things.
Ease Of Use
Every POS system should be easy to use. But when it comes to busy restaurants, POS systems need to meet a different (higher) standard. Training employees must be easy with the POS system you choose. The system must allow your kitchen to communicate with your waiters quickly and efficiently. For this to be possible, your POS system should be very easy to use for all staff. All relevant interfaces should be labeled clearly and easy to navigate.
Ease of use is important, but you will likely need training regardless of how simple your POS system is. Right now, comprehensive training and tutorials are standard for the top restaurant POS companies. Some companies will provide you with comprehensive in-person or video training on all the system’s front and back house features.
From the moment your customers walk in the front door, everything needs to be organized. Good restaurant POS systems will include an all-in-one host terminal from which your employees can
- Manage reservations
- Manage tables
- Take to-go orders
- Get informed waiting times
Most POS systems that enable host terminals can be managed simply from a tablet. The touch screen should be ergonomic and its interfaces should be easy to use. Any restaurant POS system will offer comprehensive table management. You will need to know the status of every table in your restaurants with the help of live updates on the cloud. Ideally, you will know exactly what’s going on, including whether a table is being cleaned or is now available for seating. In some cases, your restaurant POS system won’t offer these features. That’s not necessarily bad, as long as your POS system can integrate with a reservations system.
Restaurant owners can’t afford to have sudden problems that cannot be fixed on time. A good restaurant POS system should offer at least one 24/7 assistance method. Ideally, a 24/7 phone service is available. Good POS companies offer multiple channels for you to ask for advice and assistance. In some cases, live training can also be called for. But these features should all be included in your package. Check to make sure your restaurant POS system offers you adequate support through:
- Video tutorials
- Detailed FAQ sections
- Live chat
Some great restaurant POS systems won’t have all these options. But all you need is a way to get help should you ever need it.
Many POS systems have offline capabilities but will often face technical difficulties while offline. It’s important to look into whether your restaurant POS system can process credit card payments online.
Marketing & Rewards
Good restaurant POS systems come with marketing tools or integrations that will help you grow your business. Loyalty programs work and because of their proven effectiveness are very common today. To stay competitive, you will need to keep your current customers hooked with discounts, gift cards, and more. Not every restaurant POS system will come equipped with these tools. In fact, marketing and loyalty rewards are some of the more common types of integrations that come with these systems. But make sure you have access to marketing tools is key.
Online ordering and delivery are becoming increasingly commonplace. The trend was already set before the pandemic, but takeout and delivery are now ubiquitous. Your restaurant POS system should be able to integrate with popular third-party delivery services. You should also consider the ability to fulfill online orders. Some POS systems come equipped with tools that make online order channels easy. But the focus is ensuring all types of orders can be accommodated. You will need the channels you offer to be as easy-to-use and error-free as possible.
There are many great restaurant POS systems for you to choose. But before you make your choice, you need to look for the features we’ve discussed. Most of these features are standard for restaurant POS systems. If you lack them, you are missing out on tools that are helping most of your competition become more efficient.