Back in the day, restaurants were accustomed to a more traditional form of accepting payments from customers, keeping track of sales, and managing their day-to-day operations. With time, the old-school cash register evolved to become a more multi-dimensional system that doubled up not just as a payment and sales tracker but as a more centralized solution – a Point of Sale or POS system. What is a POS system for restaurants, what are the benefits of a POS system, and how does it come in handy? Let’s explore in detail.
What is a POS System for restaurants?
The eternal struggle for every restaurant owner since the beginning of time has been to create a seamless flow in their daily operations and minimize the oversights that occur between the customer – staff – kitchen, while ensuring that customer experience never suffers. This is where a POS system for restaurants comes into action.
A POS or point of sale system for restaurants is essentially a software and hardware combination that works together to accept orders, receive payments, manage stock, inventory and in essence, the whole operational flow.
The multitude of benefits offered by point of sale systems for restaurants, posit them to be extremely valuable tools. From a restaurateur’s perspective, the staff at your restaurant must be equipped to handle orders, the food should be on point, the payments should be seamless and the whole experience should be a smooth one, from start to finish. A POS system that works for your restaurant can capacitate your restaurant to deliver a seamless experience on the whole. As of 2022, 32% of restaurateurs reported that installing a new POS system was a priority for their restaurant business. And with the POS industry all set to rise in the coming years, as a restaurateur you should be on the lookout for a POS system that works best for your restaurant.
What hardware does a restaurant POS need to function?
A POS for your restaurant typically combines a software and a hardware which could be any device capable of inputting data and giving the necessary output. As a restaurant owner, if you’re looking for the right POS hardware, you can consider an iPad or a smartphone, or even a more comprehensive setup that merges the modern with the traditional – printers, barcode scanners, cash drawers, and a display system.
Different Types of POS for Restaurants
While being in charge of the experience you create is a must, satisfying your customers is a complex task cut out for you. However, the different types of POS systems for your restaurant can tie the whole experience together for your customers and as a restaurant owner, grant you the ability to organize your operations. The answer to what type of a POS system would work for your restaurants could be tricky but with an overview of the different POS system, your decision would most likely become a no-brainer!
1. Cloud-Based POS System
Much like accessing your social media accounts, a cloud-based POS system is easily accessible online. A cloud-based restaurant POS system is not only hosted online, in fact it can be logged into, managed, updated and tracked through the internet.
When it comes to cloud-based POS systems, the overhead costs incurred are significantly cheaper as they don’t necessitate the use of any other hardware apart from the phone, computer, or tablet that is being used already. As cloud-based POS systems are software-centric, they’re the ideal choice for small-scale restaurant businesses that are just starting out.
2. Mobile POS System
For a device as widely used as mobiles, a POS system integrated to a mobile serves as a flexible option that is also extremely reliable. With a mobile POS system for your restaurant, you can accept secured payments effortlessly and get powerful insights about your sales and stock.
To run seamlessly, a mobile POS system requires a phone, a card reader, and internet connectivity. Owing to its large-scale and widespread accessibility, mobile POS systems are great for restaurants who function on the go but can also be added to the countertops of your restaurant establishment as a fixture..
3. Touchscreen POS System
Out of all the available POS systems, a touchscreen interface offers unparalleled convenience with a user-friendly digital display. From a hardware perspective, a touchscreen POS system for your restaurant can be operated on a handheld device such as an ipad, tablet or a phone.
A touchscreen POS system can prove to be a portable choice for restaurateurs and such POS Systems are equipped to allow digital signatures, enable contactless ordering, as well as accept and process offline payments too. Due to its ease of use, touchscreen POS systems are the perfect fit for QSR restaurants with fast-moving service and crowd.
4. In-store POS systems
As opposed to the portability of a touchscreen or mobile POS system, in-store POS systems are hardwired devices that are affixed permanently in the restaurant. These work well to receive payments, track sales and inventory.
A few in-store POS systems make use of traditional POS systems or cash registers and involve a display with a card reader, barcode scanner and even a cash drawer, along with the modern-day POS systems or attached tablets mounted on the checkout counter. Others are standalone digital displays that allow customers to easily look up prices and availability of different items and place orders too. These are usually positioned throughout the restaurant.
Since these types of point of sale systems for your restaurant are stationary, they are beneficial for fast-casual or restaurants with a larger item list or menu.
5. Kiosk POS systems
More popularly known as self-service POS systems, Kiosk POS systems are designed to facilitate customer orders, giving them the autonomy to place orders and check out on their own.
Similar to a standalone in-store POS system, Kiosk POS systems can give your customers the freedom to scan, order, and make a payment. Like most POS systems, kiosks run on WiFi too.
Although they come in various shapes and sizes, most of them come with a touchscreen, an engaging and interactive display, a card reader and are installed on a permanent stand. The great thing about kiosks is that they deliver a friction-free and contactless experience, shifting the focus on the overall service provided to customers. Restaurants of any scale or size can consider a kiosk POS system and avail its benefits.
Benefits of a POS system for a restaurant and how it helps
According to a 2023 survey, 71% of restaurateurs use data from their POS systems to optimize menus, streamline payments, and boost digital engagement.
Every time that your customers engage with your restaurant, online or offline, is a fresh chance for you as a restaurant owner to stitch a sublime experience. While there are endless benefits that a good POS system can offer you, we have narrowed it down to a few key merits for you as a restaurant owner:
Easier invoicing, billing and contactless payments
First thing’s first, a POS system can assist you with the organizing plus tracking of invoices and billing, across all your outlets and branches. One of the aspects about a POS system that stands out, especially in comparison to the old-school cash register, is that it simplifies calculations and makes accounting painless.
Furthermore, it ascertains that payments are completely contactless. The post-covid era has led all of us into the precautionary mode. Ever since, contactless dining and payments have now become a prerequisite in the sense that restaurants who do not offer these are best avoided by customers.
Tight control over your stock & inventory
As a restaurant owner, having a strong foothold on your stocks and inventory can give you an upper hand and guarantee that your items seldom go out of stock and no item on your menu is unavailable at any point. Many restaurant POS systems are armed to give you a complete purview of items, ingredients and any other stock in your kitchen.
The benefit of a POS system for your restaurant is that it can give you a rundown of your inventory, making the monitoring of your daily usage a cakewalk! This can save you a lot of big bucks and also ensure that your ingredients are fresh and your menu, always full.
Faster service speed
A POS allows you to manage and supervise your restaurant floor plan to ensure that you’re not underutilizing some stuff and overutilizing others. You can also keep a tab on your bookings so you’re never overbooked and have a manageable influx of customers at any given point. The use of a POS directly routes your orders to the kitchen and drastically cuts down the time spent to convey the orders to the kitchen, thereby decreasing the chances of errors.
The more time you spend managing your supplies and taking down orders, the lesser time you get to grow your operations. Some POS systems are endowed to place orders, quicken order processing, elevate management, and deliver food in time. Faster service speed eventually means operational efficiency and lesser wait time, which in turn enhances the level of customer satisfaction.
A lot of POS systems come built-in with reporting features that can enable you as a restaurant owner to stay on top of your restaurant’s performance. Most POS systems have the capability to gather a lot of data and insights on guests which can prove beneficial in making informed business decisions for your restaurant.
As a restaurant owner, you can also expect detailed reports on sales, online transactions as well employees and stocks too. The best part is that all your reports are in real time and because most of your data is on the cloud, it can be accessed anytime and anywhere.
Streamlined communication between waitstaff and the kitchen
A good communication flow between the waitstaff and kitchen is the cornerstone of the restaurant industry. It is very likely that without a proper communication channel, your operations and ultimately service, could indisputably go haywire. A POS system can add coherence to all these functions, massively reducing the risk of over-communicating or under-communicating whatever is relevant to your staff.
Additionally, with a POS software for your restaurant, you can track your employees’ time spent at the restaurant and their payrolls too. You can also rest assured knowing that a POS system warrants a secured experience by limiting their access to crucial business data. This can set the stage for smooth-running operations and simplified communication between you, your staff and the kitchen, leaving no leeway for miscommunication.
Increased accuracy and reduced margin for error
The automation attribute of a POS system affirms that everything that is stored on a system or the cloud is on point and precise. There’s no room for human errors and mistakes, which in turn makes operations unerring and the customer experience flawless.
As a restaurant owner, this plays up in your favor as it sets the seal on the accuracy of your inventory, billing, payments and the whole experience weaved by your restaurant. Since everything is working in tandem, like clockwork, you never have to worry about any sort of slip-ups whatsoever and can concentrate on building an amazing experience for customers.
Connecting Your POS With An Online Ordering System
While there is no rule of thumb when considering what is a good POS system for restaurants, depending on the type of restaurant you own, you could use a POS system that is most suited for your restaurant or establishment. For instance, if you own a cloud kitchen, you won’t see the point of integrating a kiosk or in-store POS system. Similarly, a bustling, fast food restaurant would find a Touchscreen POS system more practical.
However, a POS that can be easily plugged into your online ordering system holds a coveted spot. This is because a POS that integrates seamlessly with your online ordering system is convenient, time-saving, efficient, and could spell success for your restaurant business.
With the best POS integrations in the industry and a full-fledged ecosystem to amplify the reach, Lyve systemizes operations and overall customer journey of your restaurant – in-store and online. Basically as a restaurant owner, anything that your restaurant needs from order generation to POS to fulfillment, Lyve has you covered end-to-end.