A key factor to consider is the availability of service support. You’ll come to rely on your POS so consider a company with 24/7 live support and a local service network in your area.
Some say restaurants today run on computers. Those of us in the business know this is not true. However, having adequate POS support that is well-matched to your business gives you the time to do what you do best—cater to your customers. Restaurant POS actually refers to the software that runs on computers. We often also refer to the hardware—usually touchscreen terminals or wireless handheld devices—as the POS system. The POS system can also include check printers, cash drawers and other peripherals connected by data lines.
Restaurant POS systems can assist your business in tracking sales transactions in real time. Typical restaurant POS software can print guest checks, print orders remotely to kitchens and bars for preparation, process credit cards and run a wide variety of reports. In addition, some systems implement wireless pagers and electronic signature capture devices. The user interface can vary depending upon the needs of the operation. Many operations today use touchscreens with menu items graphically depicted for easy recognition.
POS systems can easily be adapted to any segment of the industry—quick service, casual dining, fine dining, hotels, bars, etc. POS systems are often designed specifically for a particular client and can be further programmed by the end users to suit their needs. Some large chains may write their own specifications for vendors to implement. In some cases, POS systems are sold and supported by third-party distributors, while in other cases they are sold and supported directly by the vendor. Which is best for you depends on the type of support you can receive.
Fine dining applications may have features like “item count down,” which can be used to monitor your limited quantity menu items and prevent ordering when they are out. Some systems can even provide recommended substitution prompts to aid servers when an item is out.
In addition to the benefits of controlling revenue transactions in the dining room, most systems can deliver a wide variety of reports to aid management. Reports—such as real- time sales by time period, food cost, cover counts and average transactions—are common. Many more sophisticated reports can be programmed and many systems can also be tied to inventory control and purchasing. Also, recipes can be programmed in and ingredients can be applied to inventory to maintain a real time inventory of food and beverage products.
As you look into various POS systems you can begin to match your needs to a system with the features you are seeking. System costs vary widely as does the cost of value analysis. A key factor to consider is the availability of service support. You’ll come to rely on your POS so consider a company with 24/7 live support and a local service network in your area. Ask for a list of current accounts and contact them about their support experiences.
Dan Bendall is a principal of FoodStrategy, a Maryland-based consulting firm specializing in planning foodservice facilities. He can be reached at email@example.com