A POS system is not just the cash register for your restaurant.
A POS system is one of the most crucial business tools you have as a restaurateur.
From transactions, turnover and inventory to staff performance and consumer insights. A modern POS system can help you take data-driven decisions to grow your restaurant business.
With that said, let's take a look at the 4 biggest mistakes you can make when choosing a new POS system for your restaurant.
Changing a POS system is a big decision in itself. The POS is the heart of your restaurant. It’s where all your orders come in before being distributed to the bar and kitchen, all your payments go through it and it’s where all your sales numbers are.
Often, restaurant owners don't realize that the POS system they are being offered, is created and maintained for the needs of the retail industry. And it’s not that these POS systems cannot be used by restaurants, they can. However, they are not optimized and updated according to the restaurateurs’ needs.
For example, a retail POS is all about a quick and easy checkout experience. Meanwhile, the restaurant needs are quite different - the POS is expected to receive orders from tablets and redirect them to the bar and the kitchen, tabs stay open for over an hour, to receive a payment you need to bring the terminal to the table, possibly you have to split the bill, etc.
Furthermore, retail POS systems are designed around working with barcodes, while restaurants need an easy menu-like design, allowing the waiter to place an order with a few tabs on the screen.
What may seem like small daily inconveniences, can actually make your restaurant workflow slow and tedious. And let's be honest, no one wants to wait too long to order and pay for something as simple as a cup of cappuccino.
Many POS providers offer pricing plans that lock you down for 12 months or even longer. Such long term commitment may not be an issue if you know the system and you know it’s the right system for your restaurant. But is it a good idea to sign a long term contract for a system you have never tried before? Definitely not.
To prevent this, always request at least 2 weeks of a trial period. This way you can test the new POS system in your restaurant, evaluate if it’s optimizing your workflow or the opposite - does your staff find it easy to use, are there a lot of mistakes taking place, are the payments going through?
Another thing you should do is look into monthly subscription-based POS providers. In this case, you don’t have to go through a lot of hassle if you are unhappy with the system. Also, such subscriptions allow you to easily scale up and down - for example if you run a second location only in the summer period, you can get an extra POS for a few months and then cancel it in September.
Subscription plans and fees aren't the only cost you should have in mind when switching POS providers. Here is a quick list of potential costs that you should have in mind:
Choosing the cheapest POS system on the market will probably be an expensive mistake long term. Try to find a POS system that your staff can easily learn and that provides maintenance and support around the clock.
The technical features of a POS solution are indeed very important but make sure to check what extra services providers offer. For example, an integration to your accounting system can save you the hours of work you usually spend on accounting.
Another thing is support - a restaurant needs support around the clock, especially after 16:00 on work days and during the weekends. Meaning you need a reliable support team you can contact, even at 1 in the morning, to solve any issue you might be facing.
One of the easiest ways to find your next POS system is to ask around. Ask your friends in the business happy with a specific provider and why?
Which systems specialize in the restaurant industry? Do a simple google search and book a few demos. The more systems you see and hear about, the easier it will be to make a decision. And remember to test a trial version in your restaurant before you sign an agreement.
PS. If you want to test Quickorder POS, we offer a 14 day trial you can start already today. Contact us for a free demo.
Desi is the Social Media manager for Quickorder. She has great insight into how restaurants can improve their sales using social media and other digital marketing strategies.
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