Answered October 17 2019
The right point of sale (POS) system can help your restaurant thrive.
From customer-pleasing features that increase retention to time-saving tools that optimize your front and back-of-house workflows, adding a POS to your establishment will expand what you and your staff can offer your diners.
Restaurant, however, is a broad category; does a cafe have the same needs as a nightclub? Not really.
While there will always be overlap, every restaurant is different. Not to worry, though—we’ve written this handy guide to help you pick the right POS system for your business.
We’ve broken each checklist down by restaurant type: quick service, full service, bars and nightclubs and cafes and bakeries. Skip to the applicable section and let’s get started !
Quick-service restaurants serve high traffic volumes at an elevated speed. They often have large menus, specialized equipment and multiple checkouts operating at once.
These high-production, fast-paced environments need a POS that can keep up. While the ability to customize floor plans on-the-fly is nice to have, a quick-service restaurant may not benefit as readily as a full service establishment would.
Instead, quick-service restaurateurs should focus on features and integrations that streamline the ordering and fulfilment processes.
Speed may seem obvious, but streamlining every aspect of your business goes deeper than making sure your kitchen display system (KDS) is easy to read—don’t discount how important it is for your KDS to integrate with your POS!
To operate at a high speed, look out for these features:
80% of restaurants fail in the first five years, typically for completely preventable reasons. Investing in your customer experience helps keep you surviving and thriving.
To deliver awesome customer experiences at scale, look for these features in a POS:
From high-end fine dining to family-favorite establishments, full service restaurants have varied needs—but there is significant overlap when it comes to what is the most important. While speed will always be a factor for any restaurant, features that enhance the dine-in experience should be a priority when you pick your POS.
Online delivery is expected to grow at an annual rate of nearly 10% until 2023—your chosen POS should enable online ordering and make the dining experience seamlessly memorable. To grow, you need to be able to gather and act on data about your restaurant. The right POS should enable that with online ordering capabilities.
Customer loyalty for a full service restaurant means more than just having the best dishes in town—though that is important! Your POS should enable your waitstaff to serve up better experiences than before.
Adding a POS to your restaurant should decrease the amount of work you need to do, not increase. Look for features that let you check in on the health of your business. Customization is also important!
Inventory management. Good inventory management isn’t just important for quick-service—every restaurant type needs a comprehensive eye on their ingredients and stock.
When picking a POS for a bar, you need a system that can keep up with fast-paced, high-energy periods.
Bars and nightclubs have a few unique considerations. They’re often much louder than other restaurant types, with music, live bands and lots of excited socializing patrons. Any POS you select should help your staff keep orders accurate even in a noisy environment. In other words, it needs to be easy to navigate with visuals alone.
High-energy? Be highly reactive. Make sure the POS you choose enables your employees to be efficient behind the bar and on the floor.
Your POS should help you optimize your business, with both the day-to-day and the long-term health of your bar or nightclub in mind.
Cafes and bakeries have a lot in common with quick-service restaurants—high traffic volumes and speedy service expectations impact your specific needs.
Cafes and bakeries can have different busy periods, though, and while they do have a significant portion of customers who order to-go, the dine-in experience is important. Any cafe POS system should have robust customer loyalty features.
Want to establish a loyal base of regulars that see your cafe as part of their daily routine? Invest in a POS with built-in customer-pleasing features to increase retention.
Help your staff tackle morning rushes and busy periods with a POS that includes efficiency features and integrations. Built-in menu modifiers should be a consideration, but that’s just the beginning of how a POS can help.
While the features we covered above are certainly extensive, it doesn’t stop there. Regardless of what type of restaurant you run, there are key features that help you reduce cost of goods sold (COGS) and labor costs, and ultimately grow your business.
Ultimately, what features you need the most will depend on your unique business model—no two restaurants are the same. Pick a POS that works for you. Make a list of your biggest pain points and must-haves—and never compromise. Your POS is your partner.
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