Choosing a POS System for Your Restaurant

Deciding on a POS system for a restaurant is a big commitment. This one system will be the life blood of their ability to collect purchases by customers. There are hundreds of different systems out on the market that restaurants can use and this can make it difficult to decide which one is best for their business. Certain steps should be taken to ensure that a restaurant will be getting the best system.


One of the main things that a restaurant needs to consider are the needs of the business. Some businesses are small and therefore could use a single terminal or a linked network system to satisfy their demand. Other restaurants are larger and therefore need multiple terminals which have a central hub control their system. It is also important to find a system that will be able to track inventory and even make purchase orders. According to InformationWeek's "What To Look For In A Point Of Sale System", a study was done where 93% of stores said they had noticed inventory decreasing due to theft and miscounting by employees. POS systems that track inventory will greatly reduce the manager's time spent with inventory and will help with inventory loss and shortages. These needs will determine which type of system a restaurant needs to be looking at and by indentifying them first, it will save time and eliminate any wrong choices.


Setting a budget will also help a restaurant narrow their choices. A restaurant should include all the hardware, software, and services that will be needed to make the system work. It is a smart idea to try and get everything from one place as this can cut costs and will get rid of any "blame games" that might go on if something goes wrong with the system. For the software, a restaurant has the choice of leasing web-based software or buying it. Web-based software is leased to a restaurant from a third party. This is a good idea for restaurants because the third party is able to back up their system and save their files in case the restaurant would lose them for any reason. InformationWeek stated that studies found that 60% of businesses that lose files will shut down in 6 months after the incident. Buying the software will reduce the cost, but does not provide any backup for the restaurant's files.


A restaurant should ask its customers what type of features they would like to get from the system. Asking them if they would like a loyalty program or if they prefer to order online will tell a restaurant what specifics it needs to look for in its POS system.


Trying a demo of a POS system is invaluable to a restaurant. By trying a demo, they will learn how the system works and will see the pros and cons firsthand. It will also show them if the system will fit into their business with ease or if it will be a challenge.


When picking a POS system, a restaurant wants to make sure that it is getting a good product from a reputable company. They should research the company and make sure that they have no prior problems. Asking for referencing from friends who use POS systems will give background to the inner working of the system for people who have actually used the system. Also talking to the company is a good idea so if a restaurant has any questions they can be answered directly from the company itself.


By following these guidelines, choosing a POS system will be easy for a restaurant. With the increase in technology being integrated with restaurants, these systems will become more popular and easier to use. Restaurants looking to find a system should take their time and do their research so they can be confident they made the right choice.

Savanna Eckenrode

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Comment by David Stewart on July 9, 2012 at 6:06pm

Great post, there are so many miss-purchased point of sale systems out there.  My favorite new point of sale to the market is Square- although right now they are only catering to small businesses (likely under $500k/yr).   Options for the POS market are growing quickly though, very exciting market.  

David Stewart




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