How to choose the right point of sale system for your restaurant
You’ve hired the right kitchen team. You have a large group of servers. Your reception staff is in place. The dining room is perfect and the bar looks awesome. You have quality kitchen equipment in place and it is perfectly configured so that each service can operate efficiently. Even your public relations efforts are paying off – there is a buzz surrounding your place that is exciting.
Good work! But have you forgotten a key element of your restaurant’s success?
If you haven’t put a lot of analytics into a point of sale (POS) system, you could be making all of your other good decisions moot. The fact is, choose your point of sale system is important. You need one that works well for your establishment and your employees, allowing them to provide the kind of top-notch service today’s diners demand.
When your point of sale is slow or clumsy, everyone is frustrated, from the hosts in the house to the cooks in the kitchen. And a frustrated staff won’t provide a great experience for your customers. We all know how competitive the restaurant business is and a few missteps can cost you forever.
What should you focus on when choosing the right POS for your business? We highlight the main features that you will want to consider when making your selection.
1. Is it fast and intuitive?
The world is moving fast these days – and it looks like restaurants need to move even faster. Your point of sale software doesn’t just have to be blazing fast, you want to make sure it’s easy to use. The sooner your staff are comfortable with it, the faster they will be able to use it.
If you’re an established restaurant that already has point-of-sale software that you want to continue using, make sure anything new can be integrated easily. For better or for worse, we live in a society of instant gratification. When customers are in your restaurant, longer than expected wait times will prevent them from being repeat customers.
2. Does it track inventory for you?
If there is one part of running your business that you would like to make easier, it might just be inventory tracking. It’s unglamorous and not a lot of fun, but it’s essential to success. The right point of sale system might not solve everything, but it can definitely help. Most of the best will track your ingredient orders and usage, let you know if it’s time to place a new order, and keep a running count of what has been sold. It allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of the operation. Many can even be programmed to rearrange items automatically.
3. Does it have credit card processing capability?
This advice may sound obvious, but not all point of sale systems work with all credit card processors. It is time to find out about this before the system is installed. The last thing you want to do is slow down operations and be forced to create a bypass process because your point of sale system and credit card processor don’t like working together.
4. Can he give you a snapshot?
The best operators always calculate the numbers – what’s on the move, what more do we need, what should we get off the menu, what are the food prices going up, what’s up with the costs of workforce. You want to make sure that your point of sale software not only provides all the information you need, but also makes it easy.
In fact, your point of sale software can be an even more valuable tool than you might think – many of them can take over tasks such as tracking new vs. loyal customers, providing valuable insight. from the popularity of all of your menu items, revealing maintenance costs, and even helping you control the costs associated with your kitchen utensils and appliances.
In other words, it’s not just a way for your servers to place orders – a fully utilized POS software system is like an extra eye on your restaurant, constantly analyzing operations.
5. Does technical support keep its promises?
Few things disrupt a restaurant as much as point of sale software breaks down. Of course, you should expect this to happen at the worst possible time, like Friday night at 8 p.m. Talk about frustration. Everyone will be bored – the waiters, the kitchen staff and, most importantly, the customers. Although you know a lot about the proper management of a restaurant and you can probably repair your kitchen equipment yourself if the push comes to pushing, you are probably not an expert in back-end software.
That’s why 24/7 support is essential. We all know restaurants don’t work during bank hours, so make sure your point of sale software support works that way as well. Are there dedicated people available at all times to help you resolve issues quickly and efficiently?
System support is not only essential in times of crisis. You want a point-of-sale software partner that also makes installation and training easy, so it’s configured appropriately and your employees are completely comfortable using it. In addition, they should be available to guide you through any updates or changes you want to make as your restaurant evolves and to help you with any credit card transaction issues.
Smart POS software means smooth operation
You don’t need us to remind you how difficult success is in the restaurant business. You already know that the failure rate is intimidating and that running a restaurant is a challenge that is only successfully met by the best. The point is, in a market like New York where competition is particularly fierce, 80% of new restaurants will close in less than five years.
So why do some restaurants slip into the annals of history while others endure and become local or national institutions? Well, there is no secret recipe – food, service, atmosphere, location, buzz – there are hundreds of ingredients to create a successful, long-standing restaurant.
That said, you can make operations easier, more intuitive, and less time-consuming by choosing the right point of sale software. After all, you run a restaurant because you love providing food and hospitality, and you love the business challenge of being successful. You didn’t enter the industry because you wanted to become an expert in computer software. When you choose the right point of sale software, it will do a lot of the work for you and give you more time to focus on the parts of the business that you love and do well.
Whether it’s through smooth day-to-day operations or crisis support, your point of sale software is one of the most essential ingredients to any restaurant’s success. Choose yours wisely and you’ll be on your way to becoming an institution – not an afterthought.