Restaurants receive orders on a daily basis and those orders start within restaurant POS systems. Within these systems, businesses can place orders and collect payments. They make the entire order fulfillment process happen smoothly from the wholesale distribution point on down.
Over the years, restaurant technology has continuously evolved, alongside customer experience. During this time, point-of-sale (POS) systems and their features have become increasingly important when it comes to business efficiency and operations.
The best POS systems have common POS system features including inventory management, order processing, and payment options. This article will cover the five most important features to look for in your POS system.
What Are POS Systems?
A point of sale or POS system refers to the time and place a sales transaction is completed. They are used in various business industries, including the restaurant industry.
Restaurant POS systems include POS hardware and hospitality POS software that manage sales transactions. These include credit card processing tools and receipt printers.
The best POS systems these days allow restaurants to streamline their restaurant operations. They also connect employees that are involved in the daily operations while also tracking labor, sales, and inventory.
These features help restaurants increase their profit and revenue, and improve customer satisfaction. At the same time, they decrease the chance of making order mistakes, employee turnover, wait times, and employee stress.
Key Takeaway: POS systems have different features, so evaluating your restaurant needs is crucial before researching POS system options.
5 POS System Features
Restaurant point of sale systems have a lot of features to offer. That’s why it’s crucial to understand what your needs are before making your choice on what POS system to invest in. It doesn't matter if you need a food truck POS system or one for your brick and mortar restaurant.
Here are five POS system features you should consider for your software:
1. Inventory Management
A restaurant manager and inventory control manager should be aware of the inventory going in and out of their business. The POS system you use at your restaurant should have inventory management integration options.
Having this feature in POS systems allows businesses to have accurate and real-time inventory control. Once a restaurant receives an order, you simply have to scan the SKU number or UPC code to save it into your inventory.
This information allows restaurants to know how much of each product they have in stock. They also have the ability to set a reorder point for automatic inventory replenishment.
Cloud-based POS software allows restaurants to manage their inventory in real-time from remote locations. This function also eliminates the need for manual inventory checks.
2. Customer Management and Loyalty Programs
It’s possible for POS systems to store basic customer information with CRM or customer management integrations. This data includes contact information and client names.
With this data, restaurants have the ability to personalize the dining experience for their customers and improve customer loyalty. When restaurants have customer information, they can anticipate their orders, recommend alternatives, and offer exclusive items or promotions.
CRM integrations also make it possible to have a loyalty program. Having a restaurant loyalty program is one of the customer retention strategies that establishments use to increase profit.
Loyalty programs feature exclusive restaurant promotions and restaurant email marketing campaigns that entice customers to come back. POS systems allow customers to enter their loyalty numbers to accrue points easily. This is easy to do with a customer facing display.
3. Online Ordering Integration
Online ordering for restaurants is huge and being able to integrate this function into your POS systems is crucial for efficient business operations. With this kind of integration, customers are able to place orders from wherever and whenever they want.
Digital menu ordering provides customers with the opportunity to take their time reading the options. Customers may be more inclined to add extra menu items to their orders due to this lack of pressure.
It also provides restaurants the opportunity to upsell additional items. Check out the crosselling and upsell meaning to learn the difference between the two.
4. Sales Reporting
POS systems make it easy for restaurants to understand their performance in real-time through integrated analytical reporting. These reports will provide insights on how different types of menus are doing and inventory forecasting. This is all visible through a point of sale report.
This information is also useful for demand planning and knowing when to schedule more or less employees based on restaurant seasonality. It’s ideal to reduce labor cost when possible, especially during the slow season as compared to the busy season.
5. Table Management
Manually checking for free tables at a restaurant is a thing of the past. With POS systems, it’s possible to digitally manage tables.
Restaurant POS systems with table management features allow businesses to manage table reservations and waitlists within a single platform. They can see which tables are empty and which are taken. It’s also ideal for automatically assigning servers to tables for prompt customer service.
3 Best POS Systems for Restaurants
Restaurants use POS systems to process payments, track their inventory, and analyze sales. This software is ideal for effective employee management, online ordering, and increasing profits. So what are the best POS systems for restaurants?
Here are three of the best POS systems for restaurants:
Being able to customize POS software is ideal and TouchBistro offers just that. Restaurants need to have an iPad to work with TouchBistro and their software includes inventory management functions. It’s also possible to integrate online ordering capabilities.
TouchBistro is one of the best POS systems all around for restaurants. It’s specifically designed for restaurant use, and they provide clients with 24/7 support, free of charge.
TouchBistro POS systems start out at $69/month and include the following features:
- Restaurant inventory management
- Integrated payment processing
- Table and menu management
- Cloud-based data reporting and analytics
This is a free solution for online ordering and payment processing. Square has been around since 2009 and offers free and paid options for businesses, including restaurants.
Free plans include menu and table management features, automatic gratuity, and order management. Advanced services are paid, and they include live reporting, payroll, and loyalty programs.
Square makes it easy to integrate different programs such as QuickBooks, Chowly, and 7Shifts. Paid plans start at $60/month.
Founded in 2011, Toast offers businesses in the restaurant industry the ideal POS system for loyalty feature integration. Aside from this, they also provide guest feedback management programs and built-in credit card processing.
Toast has free and paid plan options based on your needs. These include the Starter plan from $0/month, the Essentials plan from $165/month, and the Growth plan from $340/month.
All plans offer the following features:
- Guest feedback
- Reporting and analytics
- Payment processing services
- Order, menu, and table management
Frequently Asked Questions About POS Systems
Restaurant tech and the customer experience have been evolving. In order for businesses to keep up, they’ve begun to rely heavily on POS systems to ensure smooth operations.
Restaurant POS systems accept and process orders, process payments, and keep up with inventory tracking. To understand more about POS systems, read the following questions and answers:
What Makes a Good POS System?
A good POS system should include features such as sales reporting, inventory management, online ordering integration, CRM, and table management. It’s also ideal for POS systems to include real-time updates to ensure that restaurants have accurate information.
Which POS Systems Are Used the Most in Restaurants?
The most commonly used POS systems in the restaurant industry are:
Restaurant POS systems offer different features so choosing the right one for your business will depend on your needs. All-in-one systems provide restaurants with essential tools that help them manage daily operations and improve business efficiency.
A mobile point of sale system (mPOS) is also one to consider for a restaurant. An mPOS allows you to take payments while on the go.
What Are the Most Important Factors to Look for When Choosing a Restaurant POS System?
Three of the most important factors to look for when choosing restaurant POS systems are:
- Customer support
- Ease of use
When choosing a POS system for your restaurant, it's important to consider whether you want to have an Apple POS system or Android POS system.