The way to buy a Restaurant Point of Sale System

it’s hard to hunt for a point of sale system, especially in case you haven’t handled a restaurant or vetted a system before.  There are loads of components of a point of sale system that could impact your organization and at times it’s difficult to know what these things are until you truly begin using a system.  Furthermore, there are a whole lot of options out there and it can be challenging to recognize that point of sale systems you will need to check at.

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To handle this issue and find a point of sale system that best fits your requirements I suggest that you take the next steps:

1.  Produce a specification list: Write down the important functions you will need to run your restaurant.   The groupings I would list out might include: table service, bar service, take delivery orders, retail counter, speedy service counter, online ordering, and kitchen operations.

Within each of these functional areas one can make a lengthy list of specific features, but that’s not something that you should necessarily do.  Rather focus on the areas that matter to you and drill down.

So for example:”I’m opening a complete size restaurant serving lunch and dinner with a bar.  When we open we will not do delivery or take-out but we do intend to add that on later on.”   The places I’d drill down for this example are: table service and bar service, with a secondary subject of delivery.  I would also generate a listing of general functions that are significant but do not fall within these particular places.

For table service a”drill down” list may include:

  • Easy capacity to take bookings
  • Easy capacity to control a waitlist
  • Flexible floor plan management (can you make changes on the fly if needed?)
  • Ability to adjust menu layout easily, place menu for day / time of day
  • Divide assess performance
  • Flexible modifiers (can you create rules for required vs. optional? Can you set the sequence where modifiers appear?)
  • etc.. .
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For bar service you would have different priorities:

  • Easy capability to manage tabs (especially if bar has people that are not at seats at all times)
  • Willing to enter order quickly and move to next order quickly (if bar gets crowded we don’t want people waiting to order because the system is not fast)
  • etc.. .

For secondary objects (such as delivery in the current example) we don’t need to enter as much detail but we would like to keep them in mind.  For example for Delivery / Take Out I just wish to be sure the system has functions to manage these.

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“Other” items which may matter to you:

  • Credit card processing options
  • Ability to take gift cards
  • Time clock functionality
  • Tracking elements (more advanced performance )
  • Integrations (accounting, payroll, etc)
  • Generally easy to use and easy to learn
  • Alternatives to get assistance with training and setup? If you’ve got more than a few terminals and printers it is likely beneficial to have a professional installation your system.  In the event you have only 1 or 2 terminals you might have the ability to handle it yourself.

2. ) Talk with one or more restaurant owners: Find a restaurant that has similar operations as yours.  Learn which system they are using.  Ask them what headaches are the result of their present system.

3.  Bring together your personal stats: Before you start researching particular systems you also need to produce a listing of those information:

  • How many places have you got?
  • How many terminals do you need per place?
  • What is your budget?
  • Cloud based POS vs. local server POS.  You do not need to determine before looking at your options but you want to look at this as there are a number of critical differences between the two sorts of systems.  If you’re leaning towards a cloud based system then you want to check at more systems that are cloud based, but nonetheless research host based systems.  Some of the differences worth noting between the two: if you are trying to find a system with lower start up costs and with greater flexibility to acquire your data (remote access to reports, flexible to integrate with other systems), then you will need to go for a cloud based system.  You might prefer the stability and”possession” that includes purchasing a POS is effective on a local server and thus you may elect to go that route.
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4. ) Evaluate specific point of sale systems: Do research online and make some calls or send a few emails.  Don’t spend too much time analyzing any single system.  Ask about the system in general — is it cloud based? What are general start up costs given my requirements of x terminals in x places. Then enter the specific questions from your list — don’t be overly friendly and accept vague answers.  Ask out: does your system handle reservations? Do you promote gift cards? Does your system allow for split checks? Briefly explain how modifiers work on your system — what are some of the innovative modifier functions? By asking these detailed questions in the areas that matter to you and learning about the cost of every choice you’ll be able to cull off your list from several choices to a few.

5. ) Schedule demos with the most qualified contenders:  View a live demo of a few systems — keep your list of questions useful and ask to see the functions that matter to you.  Get into additional information about price and examine quotes from each of the potential point of sale vendors.   Make sure that all you need is covered in the package being quoted.

6.   Decision time: Purchase the system which best fits your requirements.

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