Efficiency is one of the ingredients for running a restaurant and it isn’t just about keeping the customer satisfied by providing a fast, professional service. Successfully managing a restaurant business also involves effectively managing the admin and the inventory side so you can minimize wastage and maximize profits.
Running a successful restaurant business is often a delicate balancing act, but introducing a point-of-sales systems (POS) into your business could transform the way you work by streamlining many of the key components.
Point-of-sales systems come in different formats such as apps, computer or cloud-based systems and free versions, and while they can all offer your business many advantages, it is important to be clear on some of the main disadvantages, too.
Advantages of a Restaurant POS
- A POS system allows enhanced communications between the kitchen and waiting staff, which improves the service that is offered to customers.
- It can reduce bookkeeping/accounting time.
- POS systems make creating profit and loss statements and tracking sales taxes easier, helping to better manage the financial side of the business.
- Another major feature of many POS systems is the ability to track inventory and assess which menu choices are most popular among customers; this helps to improve profits and reduce waste.
- Taking credit card and debit card payments is straight forward and it’s more convenient for customers.
- A POS system can provide additional security by reducing employee theft or ‘friendly fraud,’ where staff gives discounts to friends and family.
Disadvantages of a Restaurant POS
The disadvantages include:
- If the point-of-sale system is Internet-based, there is no access to it if your Internet connection goes off-line.
- There are ongoing costs associated with software-based POS systems.
- Software upgrades can be expensive.
- You will also have to pay ongoing fees if you’re subscribing, however, you need to consider the overall savings the POS system can offer your business.
- As with all forms of payment systems that are accessible by the public, there are some security risks.
Different Types of Restaurant POS Systems
Here are some examples of the different types of POS systems available today:
Square – the Square POS system is aimed at the food and beverage trade; it is suitable for restaurants, bakeries, food trucks and cafes. Square comes in the form of a free app and it isn’t dependent on internet access.
It can help manage finances by customizing tips, taxes and discounts, and businesses with yearly revenues of $250,000 can qualify for custom volume rates.
All major credit cards attract a fee of 2.75 percent, while keyed in card payments have a set fee of 3.5 percent plus 15 cents; there are no hidden fees. Once payments have been taken, they will be deposited into the bank account within two working days, however, for an additional 1 percent fee, these deposits can be made instantly.
The app can be downloaded from the Apple store or Google Play and it can be used in conjunction with the iPad.
The eZee BurrP POS system is just one example of a software-based system. It comes with numerous features, all designed to make the running of your restaurant more efficient. These include:
A kitchen display system – this allows orders to the kitchen to be received instantly. Pending and served orders can be tracked to avoid missed or wasted meals.
Kiosk mode – this allows guests to make their own orders and to confirm them to boost efficiency and reduce labor costs.
Infantry and stock management are also integral to the eZee BurrP POS, and it allows billing and reservations.
Delivery and takeaway – order deliveries are made easier by creating a guest database and use of a map generator easily locate customer. Also, streamlines the processes for managing takeaway orders.
Pricing for the eZee BurrP POS is available on request and they offer a flexible pricing model with no hidden fees. 30 day trials are available.
Free Restaurant POS Systems
For businesses with a restricted budget, just starting out, or who just want to test how well a POS system would work in their business, open source software is a good way of getting used to using a POS system.
Florean – this is an open source POS system for the restaurant trade, which is compatible with Windows, Linux, Mac and Java tablets; it has already attracted the attention of some high-profile names including Denny’s.
Florean’s main features include the ability to create financial reports, menu management, pricing and discounts, handling card and cash payments, as well as gift cards and coupons. It can also handle table management, and a variety of order types such as take away and delivery.
The download can be completed in approximately 90 seconds, and there is plenty of support available in the form of forums, installation guides and localization.
Questions to Ask Before Buying a POS System
- First, establish your business’s needs. Which features would make the running of your restaurant more efficient? Will it help your business in terms of PCI compliancy? This will help to narrow down your choices.
- Speak to your preferred suppliers to establish the ongoing support that will be available and ask plenty of questions so you can assess their product knowledge. Also, check if the support is available free of charge or are their additional fees?
- What are the ongoing costs and is it cost efficient for your business?
- Is full training available for both staff and management, and do they offer free demos/trials so you can access it before committing.
- Make sure you check the terms and conditions before signing up and ask any questions you might have before agreeing a contract.
- How long will you be making a commitment for?
- Can it take mobile payments? In the next couple of years, mobile POS proximity payments are predicted to be worth $5.4 billion by 2018, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. Will your business be able to cater for consumers who want to use mobile payments?
A restaurant POS system can be a cost-efficient investment for your business. It has the potential to change the way you cater for customers, manage admin, and when used effectively, it can reduce waste and enhance profits. However, make sure you ask plenty of questions and undertake a trial first so you can determine if it is right for your restaurant.