Advancements in point-of-sale (POS) technologies are reshaping the way restaurants do business. From streamlining operations to enhancing the customer experience – the right POS system will revolutionize your food service enterprise.

But with all the options on the market today, how do you find the right system to meet your needs? Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think.

Simply answer these 10 questions when shopping for your POS system to find the best fit for your business:  

Question #1: What’s my budget?

calculating budget

As is the case with any big purchase, the first question you need to ask yourself is, “how much am I willing to spend?”

Considering how integral your POS system is to everyday business operations, you don’t want to sacrifice function for price. However, that doesn’t mean you need to empty your wallet to get your perfect setup.

Account for the following when building your budget and comparing POS providers:

  • License Fees
  • Hardware Costs
  • Installation Fees
  • Cancellation Fees
  • Contract Options
  • Transaction rates for payment processing

Question #2: How expansive does my POS system need to be?

woman serving coffee

To answer this question, you first have to ask yourself two others:

“What kind of support does my operation require at the moment?”

Think about the size of your operation and how many terminals you want in your restaurant. Scale your POS solution to meet those needs, and consider packaging options if you require a more extensive set-up.

“What kind of support will my business require in the future?”

Is expansion on the horizon for your restaurant? When shopping for systems, take note of installation costs for additional terminals, hardware, and software. Also consider the ease with which you can integrate new terminals, features, and devices into your existing ones.

Question #3: What additional features can I not live without?

reserved table

Today’s top POS systems boast a huge range of built-in features. Determine which features you need, then limit your search to providers who check all the boxes on your list.

We recommend finding a system that offers the following:

  • Floor/table management
  • Scheduling/shift management
  • Reservations management
  • Inventory tracking
  • Loyalty programs

Question #4: Do I want integrated financial analytics tools?

man tracking financial analytics data on a tablet

Keeping track of your restaurant’s finances can be a headache. That’s why more and more business owners are opting for POS systems that track and analyze financial data for them. There are two options when it comes to such features:

Built-in analytics tools

Many systems come equipped with their own analytics tools which convert your sales and inventory data into reports and graphs.

Third-party integration capabilities

Other systems allow integration with third-party tracking softwares such as Quickbooks. If you’re already using a system which you intend to continue using as your primary analytics resource, make sure you find a POS system that integrates with that software. That way, all of your data can be stored, tracked, and analyzed in one place.

Question #5: Do I want a remote register (tablet POS)?

woman using tablet register to take an order

One of the greatest innovations in point-of-sale technologies is the mobile capabilities of remote registers.

Put the power of POS functionality in the hands of your service team with portable tablets. Rather than wasting time and money having servers run back and forth to a stationary terminal, mobile POS capabilities allows your team to process orders, requests, and payments right from the guest’s table.

Choosing to embrace this feature will limit your search as only the most up-to-date providers offer tablet capabilities. While only you can decide if this asset is the right fit for your restaurant, we strongly recommend taking advantage of tablet POS technology.

Question #6: Do I accept online orders?

ordering food online

Narrowing down your search for the perfect point-of-sale system is a lot easier after answering this one simple question – do I want to take online orders from customers? While some setups offer no online-ordering capabilities, other providers specialize in this by employing the following methods:

Integration with third-party ordering apps 

If you accept orders through websites and apps like Seamless, GrubHub, or UberEats, make sure that your POS system is able to integrate with those delivery services. That way, orders – no matter what platform they’re placed on – will be funneled through the same system and tracked alongside in-store inventory and sales.

Website ordering integration

Your restaurant may host a website that allows guests to place online orders for pickup or delivery. Find something that easily integrates with your site, so you never have to worry about juggling orders and operations on multiple platforms.

Keep in mind that some providers offer POS systems capable of handling BOTH these avenues of online order integration. Ask yourself what kind of digital services your restaurant offers, and then find a payment processor whose point of sale system can bundle your operations for optimal ease and efficiency.

Question #7: Do I want integrated payment processing?

woman scanning mobile pay on phone

Maximize your efforts to streamline operations by opting for integrated payment processing. Many POS systems offer payment processing technologies compatible with:

Full-spectrum payment integration makes checkout fast and easy for your customers. Keep this feature in mind when searching for the right POS solution, as neglecting the convenience of integrated payment processing may leave you with buyer’s remorse in the near future.

Question #8: Where do I want my data stored?

man using tablet

Gone are the days of clunky cash registers nailed to the tops of restaurant counters. Now, business owners can choose between having their POS data collected and stored in a designated hard drive OR online via the Cloud. More and more restaurant owners are moving into the digital age by welcoming cloud-based POS solutions into their businesses.

When you’re deciding whether to have your information held in a locally-installed server or on the Cloud, consider these two key benefits a web-based (Cloud) system offers:

Data Centralization 

With a cloud-based storage solution, all your restaurant’s information – from inventory to sales, employee data to reservations – will be kept in one place.

Accessibility

Not only will all your data be stored in one location, but with cloud-based software you’ll have access to that information anywhere, anytime. That means you can take your business with you wherever you go, and keep real-time reports and management tools at your fingertips.  

Question #9: What are my contract needs?

signing contract

Don’t get caught in a contract that doesn’t suit your restaurant’s needs. When determining which provider to give your business to, consider what options they offer. While you can sometimes benefit from discounts by signing a lengthy contract, you wouldn’t want to get locked into a POS system that you end up disliking.

Another point of consideration is whether you want to lease or buy the hardware components of your POS system. As is the case with signing a contract, you should be careful to avoid getting tied to a provider that doesn’t fit the long-term goals of your enterprise.

Tip
Ask yourself what kind of commitment you’re willing to give your POS system before you invest, then find the deals that best match that commitment.

Question #10: What kind of customer support do I require?

customer service representative

In your search for the perfect POS system, there are factors to account for beyond the obvious considerations of hardware, software, and pricing. For instance, take note of what customer service and assistance is offered by every potential provider. The ideal company offers:

24/7 Assistance

Your restaurant can’t afford to slow down. Make sure that round-the-clock support is available so you never have to waste a minute with technical difficulties.

Technical Training

Top-of-the-line POS services come with a range of features that you don’t want to miss out on due to lack of comprehensive know-how. Before making a final buying decision, ask if training is offered and what assistance might be available, so you and your team can take full advantage of your point-of-sale system.  

Conclusion

Your perfect restaurant POS system is out there – it’s just a matter of deciding what you want and what you need. Today’s top POS solutions should make your business operations easy, efficient, and effective, while facilitating excellent customer service. Take your time before deciding, and find the system that best caters to the needs of your restaurant.

If you need help getting sorted, reach out to the Motile team. We’re happy to answer your most pressing questions, and find the POS solution that will take your restaurant to the next level.