6 Things to Look for When Buying a POS System for Your Restaurant


Revel Blog | Sarah Vancini | June 14, 2022 |

Advice

Introduction

Most restaurateurs are sold on the business case for point of sale (POS) systems. But the water becomes a bit muddier when trying to find the best POS system for your business.

Although every restaurant has a unique brand and offering, there are some tried and true must-haves to keep in mind when vetting potential POS vendors. 

The top must-have capabilities for POS systems are:

  • Interoperability: Does the technology integrate with your other future and current softwares?
  • Ease of Use: How seamless does the technology fit into your current processes for customers and workers?
  • Customized Support: Does the vendor offer one-on-one support and product customizations to fit your business needs?
  • Data Reporting: What are the data reporting capabilities?
  • Operations Capabilities: Does the technology support automatic inventory tracking and other operations features?
  • Marketing Capabilities: Does the technology offer management of campaigns and data tracking?

1. Interoperability 

Restaurants that offer both online and in-person ordering make more revenue than offering singular order options. With the advent of COVID-19, restaurants have become omnichannel retail operations, offering multiple digital avenues for transactions, including branded apps and third-party delivery services.

Food delivery integrations alone can increase profits by 20-25%.

Make sure that your POS system easily integrates with the slew of technologies supporting your digital operations.  

Questions to Ask:

  • Does the technology automatically synchronize with data from my web page and physical store?
  • Does the technology separate data so I can view separate reports on sales for each channel?
  • Does the technology support branding through all digital mediums?
  • Does the technology offer interoperability while also supporting maintenance with features like automatic data backups, custom access controls and data encryption?
  • Does the technology integrate with online, phone, curbside and in-person ordering systems?
  • Does the POS accept all forms of payment?

2. Ease of Use

Your staff, especially millennial and Gen Z employees, have expectations when interfacing with technology. They will become frustrated when dealing with clunky POS systems that are slow and poorly-designed.

Your POS system (restaurant POS) can also impact speed of service, one of the most important factors in profitability.  

By partnering with a fast and easy-to-use POS system, you are setting your restaurant up for success, both with customers and employees. Your workers will feel empowered with information at their fingertips. Customers will enjoy a seamless experience both in-store and online. 

Questions to Ask:

  • Does the technology offer a secure login for every employee?
  • Can dashboards be customized for each employee?
  • Is the interface intuitive? 
  • What is the average training time? 
  • Is the POS easy to learn and navigate?
  • What are the payroll automation capabilities?
  • How seamless is the customer experience when splitting checks? Moving bar tabs? Switching tables? Making payment from their seat with the server’s iPad?

PRO TIP: Ask for a trial of the software and observe if your employees look comfortable when using it.

3. Customized Support 

Your store is unique in many ways including KPIs, target audience, business location and type of dishes offered. 

A POS vendor should work with you to set up and customize solutions so they are 100% customized to your needs. This allows for optimal efficiency and effectiveness as well as minimal disruptions to work flows.

Questions to Ask:

  • Does the technology offer onboarding sessions with technical support?
  • Does the vendor provide multiple ways to reach them (phone, online tickets, live chat)?
  • Do vendors offer on-site consultation with subject matter experts (SMEs) for installation and troubleshooting?
  • What are the training materials (i.e. courses, videos, webinars)?
  • What are the customer satisfaction ratings? What do online reviews say?
  • Is the vendor accessible through social media? 

4. Data Reporting 

Data reporting is imperative to make intelligent business decisions. With a robust POS system like Revel, you’ll be able to automatically see how well you are doing and in what areas you’ll need to improve.

Your POS system should empower you to manage the restaurant 24/7, from any location. It should provide data in real-time so you can monitor progress live.

Questions to Ask:

  • Will the technology be able to show me:
    • What my most profitable and top-selling products are
    • What my lowest selling products are
    • Who my top performing staff members are
    • When is the restaurant the busiest
    • Which are our most profitable days
    • Sales online vs in-store
  • Does the technology have an easy-to-read business dashboard?
  • Does the technology offer data based insights on inventory tracking and staff scheduling?
  • Can I troubleshoot issues like menu updates, scheduling conflicts and payroll issues from anywhere?
  • Does the system offer real-time reports?
  • What financial insights will the system be able to share with me?
  • Does the system predict demand in the restaurant?

5. Operations Capabilities

Inventory management is top-of-mind for all businesses right now.

Your POS system should easily be able to track ingredients and dishes, and locate each item. Your system should also allow you to communicate with vendors when new supplies are needed.

POS systems can automatically create shift schedules and even manage time off requests. They can also provide clock-in and clock-out services for employees, so you can seamlessly manage payroll.

Questions to Ask:

  • Does the POS system help my employees manage their tips?
  • Does the system automate inventory management?
  • Will I be able to see exact inventory counts?
  • Does POS integrate with my KDS?

 6. Marketing Capabilities 

Customized messaging is essential for any and all marketing campaigns. Your customers ignore generic messaging and seek out ongoing conversations with your brand instead. Make sure your POS system is slated to encourage authentic communication and marketing data tracking.

Questions to Ask:

  • How does this POS system improve my relationships with my customers?
  • Will it be able to send relevant marketing materials to my customers based on their preferences?
  • Does the system house a customer database with information line name, contact info, preferred method of contact, favorite dishes, preference for online or in-person orders?
  • Does the system integrate with your email marketing software?
  • Can I segment my audience within the POS?
  • Can I launch loyalty programs from my POS?

Conclusion 

Before you decide which POS system to partner with for the first time, or sign your renewal agreement with your current system, it’s important to know what other platforms exist and understand their capabilities. 

The worst thing you can do is deploy a new POS system and find out it is not interoperable with your current tech stack. The headache of manually plugging in data and printing out reports will leave your employees and operations sluggish.

By asking these questions to prospective vendors—like Revel—you’ll be able to accurately gauge which system will work best for your restaurant. As well, you should always ask for a demo of the software. You can request a free demo with Revel today here.