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Best POS Systems for Restaurants

Your Point of Sale system is the core of your restaurant, so picking the right one is important. Our mission is to help you save time & money in order to transform your business. Check out our reviews, visit their sites, and give your business the boost it needs today.

Last updated: May 2024

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How To Choose a Restaurant POS System That’s Right For You

Picking the right restaurant POS (point of sale) system is critical to your business’s success. Maybe you’ve just opened your restaurant, hired staff, bought great furniture, kitchen appliances, etc. However, one thing is certain: whether you’re starting from scratch, expanding, or looking to swap restaurant point of sale software, your productivity will be sluggish without the right system.

Having the right POS software is important and should be given much thought. Good restaurant POS systems record data efficiently, provide amazing user experience to employees, and enable effective customer service. Ever worked in a bar or restaurant where the bar POS system was slow, clunky, or perhaps, freezes up a lot? Well, situations like that only lead to frustrations all round. Frustrated employees likely won’t deliver the excellent service your customers paid for. The business of food is highly competitive and it only takes a few mistakes to lose customers.

Recommended POS systems for restaurants

These are some of the most recommended restaurant POS systems available for restaurants:

What is a POS system?

A restaurant POS system is the software that is used to process transactions. They are designed to calculate the amount owed, process payment, and prepare receipts for merchants and customers.

Modern POS systems can do much more than facilitate transactions. They can record data that can be later used for marketing purposes and support integrations that increase their capabilities.

Your restaurant POS software is the central component of your business. It provides the means to make sense of data and is what brings everything together. Overall, it helps you simplify your day-to-day operations.

Why you need restaurant POS software

Restaurants need reliable POS software to track cash flow, sales, inventory, and expenses, among others. Bookkeeping is also tremendously simplified when you have the right POS backed with proper restaurant computer systems. POS systems like Toast have been specifically designed with food service in mind.

Plenty of POS service providers offer credit card processing agreements, which eliminates the need to find other providers. In addition, employee theft, which is a common issue among restaurant owners, is greatly reduced since the information stored within POS systems cannot be altered. You can even track employee work hours depending on the software you choose.

POS at a glance

  • Simplifies day-to-day communications between front-end and kitchen staff.
  • Collects and tracks information like food inventory, most purchased items, etc. to help with the promotion of your restaurant.
  • Logged employee hours are tracked to simplify payroll.
  • Decreases accounting and tax preparation costs because you can easily generate profit and loss statements.

Which features are important for a restaurant POS?

Every restaurant is different in some regard. Keep this in mind as you choose a restaurant POS. Usually, they come with some unique features that separate them from competitors.

However, there are certain features you should look for in any POS system. Ideally, you want a cloud or web-based POS because they provide better security, access to reporting, and overall more flexibility.

Inventory control

Your restaurant manager will love you for this one. Keeping good track of inventory is one of the biggest challenges managers face. Accurate inventory and reporting are necessary for any restaurant that wants to turn a profit. Also, the data input should be easy. This feature will help you keep a close eye on margins that can break or make your quarter, ensuring profitability and longevity. Revel has a fantastic inventory automation feature that makes keeping track of everything easier for restaurant managers.

Fast and easy to use

The last thing you want is a restaurant POS that lags. The restaurant industry is very fast-paced in nature. That’s why you require speed and simplicity, which improves staff productivity. In other words, a slow POS is a recipe for frustration, and simplification means a more productive team. The best POS for restaurants is one that is intuitive or practically a no-brainer to learn, which reduces onboarding costs for new staff. It only takes a few seconds extra to drive up expenses. Therefore, the best POS system for restaurants is easy to use and lightning-fast.

Actionable reporting

Actionable reporting provides numeric insights or intelligence that your managers can use to improve business outcomes. And you know what they say, “Numbers don’t lie, people do”. A POS system reduces the likelihood that numbers will be misrepresented. This is because tampering with data is virtually impossible. You’ll get exactly what you requested from the management team such as the item and department sales, labor investments, food costs, etc. These are just some of the many KPIs (key performance indicators) possible with the right POS software.

Marketing tools

Restaurant marketing involves outbound and inbound strategies. In particular, having a useful website and a good social media presence are important online marketing tools for restaurants. So is being able to reach out to consumers in today’s competitive landscape. The best POS system for restaurants enables outreach to customers and includes features that encourage social media engagement (e.g. likes, followers, or shares). These features can allow you to make immediate impacts on business revenues.

Available tech support

Imagine the panic that can ensue whenever restaurant computer systems break. Trying to find technical support services when your system needs near-immediate attention is a hassle. Make sure your restaurant’s POS provider also provides tech support. Preferably, you should have access to 24/7 tech support. Web-based POS application providers can resolve issues in relatively lower timeframes compared to on-premise software that relies heavily on your own restaurant computer systems. In situations where your Internet connection is down, it’ll be impossible to provide tech support remotely for on-site-based software. That being noted, responsive and reliable support will save you a whole lot of headaches.

What type of hardware do you need?

The right POS hardware can maximize your ROI or ensure that you’re getting the most out of your investment. Primarily, there are two approaches you can take. However, you’ll definitely need to have networking and Internet setup at your location.

Mobile hardware

Restaurant POS systems that run on iPads, tablets, smartphones, or other mobile devices are called mPOS (or mobile point of sale). These devices can remain operational during a power outage for several hours, providing that they’ve been charged.

They’re often web-based. Typically, all you have to do is install the software and attach a card reader to any device of your choosing to begin processing orders.

Some companies may provide you with their own hardware, which may have its own benefits and setbacks. On the one hand, it eliminates the need for upgrading hardware on your own in the future. This is because the organization would just mail you a replacement. Square offers competitive plans for their service and different available hardware, so you can build a package to meet your needs. On the other hand, POS companies that charge you separately for their proprietary hardware can be costly. Sometimes you’re better off purchasing cheaper hardware than the one provided.

Desktop or laptop

Desktop POS refers to software that runs on your computer or laptop. Like mPOS, they can be web-based or on-premise. Desktop computers are typically used for bar POS systems or establishments that have dedicated cashiers. They provide a wider range of peripheral options or additional hardware choices such as barcode scanners, cash drawers, printers, etc. That is not to suggest you can’t do the same with mPOS or a mobile device like an iPad because you can.

What to consider when moving to a new POS system

The first thing to think about is your customer. How will swapping restaurant POS systems affect them? What’s going to be better as a result? Quite often executives get wrapped up thinking about business needs, so they accidentally neglect consumers. However, there has to be a balance between business operations and customer experience. Secondly, think about long-term business goals with regard to business operations and potential expansions. Know why you’re changing restaurant POS systems and what you hope to gain from doing so. When you have clearly defined rationales for making changes, it becomes easier to deploy a solution that works.

Also, consider implementing your new restaurant point of sale system in stages. This will ease the learning curve involved and gradually sell your team on the new system. Basically, break things down into manageable and smaller projects scheduled for implementation over a period of time. This also prepares you for any potential drawbacks during the move.

Our top picks for May 2024

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