Choosing the wrong point of sale software for your restaurant (or none at all) can stall your business and ruin your good reputation. Avoid the hassle—learn how to choose the right POS software to keep a business running smoothly.
The term POS has a few meanings, depending on who you ask. Point of Service and Point of Sale are the most common. They both refer to the same thing- the software and equipment you use at the time of sale or the time of contact and service with your customers. It's your link to your customers, and also an efficient way to keep track of your daily business. It tracks transactions and logs customer information, as well as makes your business look modern and capable. Simply put, your POS system is the combination of your equipment—such as your register or cash drawer and your scanner—and the software you need to run it, as well as the software to capture customer information and payment.
For modern businesses, POS software is an absolute must. A high percentage of consumers have stopped carrying cash, choosing instead to pay for everyday products and services with a card. Without a good POS restaurant system, you won't be able to run credit cards or debit cards, and that's the same as slamming the door in the faces of at least 40% of your potential customers. There's plenty of ways that the right POS restaurant software can help your food service business grow.
1. Fast and simple payment shows customers you value their time
2. Automated customer information captures speed up the checkout process
3. POS software can create actionable logs for data analysis and keep tabs on how business is doing
4. Storing information in the cloud means fewer logbooks to comb through and more information instantly available anytime, anywhere
5. Customers are more likely to trust a business that uses modern devices and powerful software because they feel their information will be safer
If you're used to doing business the old-fashioned way—logbooks, ledgers, file folders, and clunky registers—you may be worried that POS software will be hard to setup and difficult to use, but nothing could be further from the truth. Most modern software and apps are designed for ease-of-use. Even so, it's good to know a few key points before you commit to one POS restaurant software.
Choose software with low up-front costs and no monthly fees - More expensive isn't always better. Many times, those high costs are there just to suck money from your profits before you realize the software isn't all they promised. By the time you understand this, it's too late, and they've already cashed your check. Same goes for monthly fees. Those monthly fees can eat into your profits if you're not careful, so pay attention to this point.
Restaurant POS software should be scalable - You'll want an app that promises to grow your business, not one you'll need to replace in a year or two. Whether you run a small corner bistro or a large chain restaurant, the ability to grow and evolve with your business is an important aspect of a robust app.
Data should be stored in the cloud - Why be stuck in the office? Mobility is the way of the future, and your POS system shouldn't be any different. Choose POS software that stores your data in the cloud so you can access it anytime, from anywhere. This is especially helpful for chains or multi-store businesses.
Avoid restrictive contracts - Some inferior apps will lock you into a restrictive contract, effectively trapping you for a set period. That's doubly bad if you also get trapped in a monthly fee. If you hate the software or decide it doesn't do all the things you need, too bad. You're stuck! Go for restaurant point of sale software that allows you room to choose. No contract shows confidence—the developers believe in their product and don't have to resort to trapping clients.
Look for an app that offers a free trial - When you're able to try before you buy, you can feel confident you're working with a reputable company that believes in their product. Bonus if you don't have to supply any financial information before you download or setup and begin your trial. You'll be able to see how the software works and if it meshes well with your business model. Be wary of companies that don't allow trial periods, and especially those that require a contract and monthly fees, too. That situation can quickly snowball out of control, eating your profits.
Choose point of sale software that's easy to learn and offers great customer support - Even the most tech-savvy people run into issues now and then, and it's nice to know there's a friendly person just a phone call or email away, ready to help you out. A dedicated, trained customer service representative can help work out any kinks and get your system up and running in no time. Be cautious of any companies that don't offer great tech support.
Great restaurant point of sale software will have a list of complementing apps - Find an app that has the option to add more apps as needed, depending on the needs of your business. When you know more options are waiting for you, it makes growth easier and smoother, and it helps you plan for the future, too.
By now, we hope you can see the benefits you can reap by choosing the right point of sale software for your restaurant. It isn't as complicated as it may seem, and it can even be fun trying out new apps. Technology has advanced to the point where new software and new upgrades are often just a click or tap away. Great POS restaurant software is no different. We've gone over some of the things to look out for when shopping around for your POS software options and gave tips on choosing one that works now and grows with you, too.