8 Reasons To Use A Restaurant-Specific POS System
In a time where the POS industry is rapidly changing and evolving, giving business owners more and more options, it can be daunting to figure out which system will best suit your individual restaurant.
While it may be easy to assume that most POS systems are similar and will accommodate your business in a similar fashion, making the wrong choice could dramatically impact your efficiency and your bottom line. And trust me, jolting awake in a cold sweat from a POS-induced nightmare is not a pleasant experience.
There are a number of generic systems that, on the surface, seem to provide enough functionality to keep a restaurant running smoothly. But many times, choosing one of these general POSs can keep you from reaching your potential, something your high school English teachers always said might happen if you didn’t buckle down. Here are eight reasons why selecting a restaurant-specific POS may be the right choice for you…
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These days, it’s the norm for companies to provide systems that are tailor-made to a client’s exact specifications. Whether it’s intricate graphic elements within the interface or highly specific elements on the backend involving inventory, employee hours, or even freezer/fridge temperature, restaurant-specific POSs can offer you more options than you might have even thought were possible, letting each individual client craft the software to his or her specific needs like a much less entertaining version of Minecraft. Integrations and add-ons are also par for the course in the industry with a bevy of options that can be added to your package, many coming at no extra charge.
It’s a given that new hires will need time to get used to a new system, but many restaurant owners might not realize just how much an extra hour or two here or there can cost your business. Restaurant-specific POSs strive for streamlined functionality in a foodservice setting and, in most cases, common sense reigns supreme (something that can never be taken for granted). A POS that is made for and by people within the industry cuts down on confusing elements that may be found in other retail-based systems (SKU-based inventory systems, matrix options, etc.) meaning that employees can be put on the job faster while limiting rookie mistakes.
Customer Loyalty Programs
While many POS systems on the market will offer some type of program for tracking customer rewards or loyalty discounts, restaurants often have unique and sometimes complex benefits to entice repeat business. (We’re well beyond the days of “buy 10 subs, get one free” where you will inevitably run your card with nine punches through the wash.) With a generic system, it can be time-consuming to keep track of these benefits and errors can easily be made. A POS designed with the restaurant owner in mind generally offers an equally unique system for storing and tracking this data. Many of these systems take just seconds to process the information and often come with restaurant-specific integrations that make it easy to carry over existing customer data. A few companies have even designed their own gift card programs which pair seamlessly with the POS.
You can probably get by for a while with a POS system that is simply functional but not specifically made for the restaurant industry. However, if you run into technical problems with your device, you’ll want them solved as quickly and effectively as possible, especially in the restaurant industry where time and speed are of the essence. For example, a technical support specialist for a company that specializes in restaurant-specific POS is more likely to be able to quickly diagnose a menu issue than one who may have to handle a wide array of businesses. Nearly every company offers 24/7 report and, in many cases, even has the ability to log on remotely to fix problems (or just to freak you out a little and give everyone a good laugh).
Companies that focus on restaurant-based POS software understand that one of the most important features in a server, bartender or hostess is how quickly they can ring in orders and turn over customers. And the little things can make a huge difference. An interface that is simple and easy to understand can dramatically improve an employee’s efficiency. When a server needs to make changes to an order on the fly or tack on modifications, a POS with a clunky or generic design is not going to do them any favors. A device specifically made for restaurants should nail these details, avoiding any glitchy bugs and saving precious minutes during a busy evening.
In an industry that is saturated with options, competition can be your friend. POS software needs to be affordable to attract new clients. Many foodservice POS vendors offer subscription-based pricing and won’t lock you into a long-term contract. This gives you the ability to find a POS that is perfect for your restaurant or franchise without worrying about breaking the bank. Most POS companies offer discounts for multiple stations and many offer cheap packages if you don’t need bells, whistles, or tambourines.
Being able to monitor everything from raw ingredients to employee hours can make or break a restaurant owner. New systems specifically designed for the service industry offer numerous convenient features that can help cut down on waste from over-purchasing, virtually eliminate the possibility of employee theft, and monitor and record food and beverage costs. Restaurant POS systems can be customized to send out detailed reports and make the sometimes complicated process of punching in and out for a shift a snap. And all of these features can generally be accessed remotely, letting you see how many Roma tomatoes you have in storage from the sandy beaches of Fiji if that’s something you’re into.
Selecting the right POS can actually have a significant impact on employee morale. A system that makes sense, particularly to someone who may have previous experience in the restaurant industry, can build confidence and make for more productive shifts. And it can create a trickle-down effect as those employees who have a good feel for the system can easily pass that knowledge down when they train someone new (without repeatedly complaining about the store’s outdated technology).
Specific Restaurant POS Systems
If you’ve decided that a restaurant-specific POS is right for you, Merchant Maverick can help you narrow your search even further. We have reviewed dozens of systems and highly recommend the following:
There are myriad options when you’re making the important decision of what POS to use for your restaurant. But it’s important not to settle. A POS that is created with the restaurant owner in mind will often be the most efficient and cost effective option which, in turn, can lead to larger profits and satisfaction from both employees and customers.