The Best Restaurant POS Systems Have These 5 Features
Updated: Feb 1
Choosing the best restaurant POS system for your establishment is like a first date. You’re only going to see what they think are their best qualities. Similarly, a relationship will only flourish if your partner possesses the qualities you value.
Choosing the right POS system for your restaurant is a 2 step process:
Step 1: Determine what features/qualities a POS system must have in order to make your restaurant more successful?
Step 2: Make sure the system you’re considering has those qualities.
Here are the top 5 features the best restaurant POS systems have.
1. Speed & Ease of Use
No matter what type of restaurant you operate, speed matters.
There is no scenario where it’s not imperative that your staff is spending as little time on the POS and as much time with your guests as possible.
Legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer said in his book Setting The Table, “Very little makes guests madder than having to wait for their reserved table or food.”
The notion of speed in a restaurant POS extends to ease-of-use, an intuitive layout, and responsive hardware. A few seconds here or there can make a huge impact throughout the course of the night.
The best restaurant POS systems are designed to make your staff’s lives easier. However, if your POS system requires dozens of manuals and an advanced degree in algebra, getting your staff to adapt isn’t going to be easy. Each restaurant is unique, and a restaurant POS system needs to reflect that. A highly customizable, simply laid out entry system is key to keeping your business moving at the right pace, while also being accessible to new staff members. But the importance of having an intuitive and easy to use system applies not just to your staff, but also to owners and managers.
If you are having to spend hours each day on the POS back office trying to edit employee shifts, make changes to the menu, generate reports, or understand business trends, that is valuable time that’s cutting into staff training or responding to customers. Not to mention, running a restaurant takes a lot of energy.
There are few things more energy draining than trying to figure out how to use a technology that is designed poorly with a frustrating user experience.
Finally, having a back office that is web-based and allows for remote access is essential for a couple of reasons. First, you and your managers can easily monitor the sales and performance of the restaurant in real time on nights when you’re away. And second, it gives you the flexibility to not spend every waking minute inside the restaurant. Quality of life is valuable.
2. Reporting & Analytics
Numbers do not lie. All businesses should get actionable intelligence from their reporting and restaurants are certainly no exception. Having a system where an owner or manager has numeric insight into their business is crucial. Sales by employee, item, hour, etc., food costs, labor costs, and how many new customers have come through the door are just a few of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that the best restaurant POS systems provide. Often the highest cost in the restaurant industry is labor, sometimes reaching a third of your total costs. There’s no getting around this, as human labor drives restaurants.
If you’re a Full-Service restaurant, choosing the right employees takes on added significance since their customer service will determine whether a guest comes back or not. You want to make sure your POS is providing modern analytics that report who your best/worst employees are, who’s making the most mistakes, who’s the most efficient, and who’s providing the best customer service.
If your system goes down in any capacity, you can’t process payments, or are having printing issues, it’s going to seriously affect your operations leading to a negative guest experience. Even though the problems described were a result of a POS failure, your guest does not care and will hold you responsible.
The best restaurant POS system providers know they can’t afford to let down their customers and have added features to maximize reliability. If it’s a cloud-based system, providing each customer with their own database and server so they’re not affected by any company level issues is more costly, but necessary. Ideally, your POS does not have an Offline Mode, which can be very dangerous, and instead has a backup modem built into the network to make sure you are always connected. If a failure does arise, having a feature that communicates the issue is vital so restaurant leadership can make informative and necessary adjustments.
4. Innovation & Updates
There’s no such thing as a perfect POS, or software application for that matter. Every system has at least a chink or two in the armor. For this reason, it’s so important to have a POS provider that listens to customer feedback and incorporates it into frequent feature updates.
The best systems are continually looking to get better and improve as technology transforms the industry. The companies who put their customers and innovation first are generally the ones who have the best internal systems, leading to more enjoyable interactions and fewer problems.
It’s impractical to expect any software, of any kind, to function perfectly 100% of the time. When that glitch occurs, having reliable support from your POS provider can mean the difference between having a slightly annoying night vs. a horrendous night. Slightly annoying nights are part of the gig. Horrendous nights are not and can cause negative long-term effects.
The importance of good support from your restaurant POS provider cannot be overstated. Anybody who has worked in a restaurant environment knows the panic that ensues when any part of the system is not functioning. The best providers are available 24/7 with immediate and actionable responses.
Having a contact feature (chat or call) that’s built into the system, will allow any leader in the restaurant to reach out when a problem arises, not just the GM or owner.
Additionally, systems that understand the importance of exceptional support have developed their own internal features and tools to help prevent, warn, and diagnose problems.
So there you have it, our list of the five features the best restaurant POS systems have. Did we leave anything out? Feel free to let us know by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.