Choosing a Point of Sale System for Your Restaurant
The restaurant POS market is dynamic. The average refresh rate for a restaurant point of sale is 5-10 years. In the last 5 years computer technology has changed considerably.
Where once tablets were considered the “baby brothers” to “real” computers, tablet and smartphone technology are the de-facto computing standard.
Many restaurant owners are now looking for an affordable way to replace bulky, outdated and expensive legacy POS systems with modern tablet based POS. And it’s the perfect time to get updated.
Startup restaurants are often cash-strapped and need a POS solution that has what they need, doesn’t cost too much and doesn’t get them stuck in a long contract.
This guide aims to help restaurant owners learn how to choose the best modern tablet based POS system.
Read More: Opening A Restaurant Location
Establish Your POS Needs
Make your personalized checklist
The first thing to do is to establish which features are must-have and which are “nice to have”. Every restaurant and bar is run a little differently. Depending on your concept there will be must-have features. The next list is things that would be nice to have. Features that you’d like, but all things considered you could do without if your must-haves are met.
Example POS features list for a restaurant:
- Fit my budget
- No long contracts
- Multiple floor plans
- Per-user permissions
- Merge and split checks
- Unlimited forced modifiers
- Gift cards and CRM
- Offline credit card processing
Nice To Have
- Digital scale support
- Barcode scanner
- Secure bar drawers
- Kitchen Display System (KDS)
- Hourly sales reports
- Quickbooks integration
- CSV reports (spreadsheets)
- Live chat support
Depending on your restaurant business needs and priorities, your list will look different. The point is to start with a checklist for evaluating restaurant POS systems.
Get Real World Advice
Talk with other restaurant owners to get their perspective.
- What POS do they use?
- Do they like it or do they regret it?
- What features do they use every day?
- What features do they wish they had?
- Have they had to call support? How did that go?
New features are being added to POS systems all the time, so you want to be aware of the current technology, and how it can help your business. The POS experts at Rezku can help you get up to speed. Call us for a free consultation and we’ll answer all your questions about modern tablet POS.
Other Considerations When Choosing a Restaurant POS
- iPad has proven itself to be a stable, secure platform. That’s why [iPad is the industry standard](Link to “iPad, when it matters most” article) for businesses of all types. Apple’s customer and technical support is the best in the tablet market. You can count on your iPad POS day in and day out.
- What happens when the internet goes down? Can you keep taking orders? Will your POS still ring up credit card payments? You need an offline mode that keeps everything working even when your ISP isn’t working. Rezku uses an advanced hybrid cloud technology that keeps you working in offline mode. It seamlessly syncs offline transactions automatically when you’re back online.
- What is the reputation of the POS company among your friends in the restaurant industry? What do online reviews say about the company’s service? You are entering into a business relationship with your POS company. You need to be confident that they will be there to help when your back is up against the wall.
- How well does this POS manufacturer understand the restaurant business? Is restaurant POS just a small part of their business? Or are they an actual restaurant company that understands your needs? Rezku was founded in 2012 by veteran restaurant owner Paul Katsch to bring the best technology to the food and beverage service industry.
- How easy is it to get the support you need? How well do they treat their customers after the sale? Are you left on hold when you need fast answers? Rezku is dedicated to providing the best real human support when you need it. Our support team is hand picked for their restaurant experience, technical support and dedication to customer service.
Ease of Use
- How long does it take to train on the system? You have a business to run. Learning a new POS system shouldn’t be complicated. Not everyone is a techie-wizard and they shouldn’t have to be. Managers can learn Rezku POS in about an hour. Servers and bartenders learn how to use Rezku POS in about 15 minutes.
- How hard is it to set up the POS? Does setup require expensive on-site installation? How much time do you have to spend configuring hardware? We believe everything should just work. Rezku POS is virtually plug-and-play. From unpacking to a working POS station you can be taking orders in less than an hour.
- How easy is it to place an order? How about setting up your menu? Are the buttons intuitive and customizable to your needs? Rezku POS is designed with the latest UI design research to “just make sense.” Your POS shouldn’t be complicated, it should be organized. You can tell right away when you use a point of sale if it’s right for you. So make sure to try before you buy. Start your free 14-day trial of Rezku POS today.
Management and Reporting
- Think about your reporting and data needs. Do you want to track inventory and monitor ingredient costs? Do you need a restaurant POS with time cards and labor management? Make sure to see how the management and reporting features actually work before you pay any money. Always try for yourself to make sure you like it. This is an important business decision you’ll live with for years to come. You shouldn’t have to sign a contract just to try a POS system.
- Can you access all your restaurant management and reporting tools from anywhere or is it limited access? Rezku POS Back Office portal is in the cloud. That means anywhere you have internet you can do everything from change promotions, update the menu, pull labor reports and more. The full system is at your fingertips and in your pocket on your smartphone.
- Does your POS have a dashboard mode for monitoring of KPIs in real time? With cloud-based technology, you can access from anywhere at any time to see how your restaurant is performing. This is a must have modern tool. You’re not stuck at the restaurant, you can be out on the boat, at a ball game or binging Netflix at home and still get work done.
Read More: Opening A Restaurant Location
Eliminate POS Systems That Don’t Meet Your Standards
After you have updated your initial list of needs and wants it’s time to do research. Contact each of the POS companies you’re interested in and get a demo. Ask specific questions about the features on your checklist.
Don’t just take a sales person’s word for it. See exactly how it’s done and try it for yourself.
Dig Deeper On Your Short-List
Now that you’ve eliminated the restaurant point of sale systems that don’t meet your needs you can focus on the top three that have made the cut. Now it’s all about the details.
Get To The Real Cost
It’s critical to establish the true costs involved before you choose a POS system for your restaurant. The only way to fairly do a cost benefit analysis is to establish the actual costs.
There are two main categories for restaurant POS costs; the upfront costs and the ongoing costs. Make sure that both will fit comfortably in your budget.
- Establish the actual hardware costs. Include shipping and warranties
- Estimate your credit card processing volume and negotiate to get the best rate
- Get all setup and installation costs
- Software license costs—are they flexible to comfortably grow with your business?
- Down-time and training. If you’re putting in extra hours that’s a cost
- System maintenance—are there ongoing hardware costs? What’s the hardware refresh cycle?
- Updates and upgrades—Are updates paid or free? What about new features?
- Monthly or annual service fees—How many POS tablets can you affordably run?
- Credit processing rates—If you’re processing more payments in a year can you get a better deal?
Watch out for hidden fees and unnecessary up-sells. Go line by line through the proposal to make sure you understand every charge. Get confirmation that the proposal is complete.
Get a Second Opinion
During the trial have your staff and managers test your new point of sale.
- Is it easy for them to change the menu, monitor costs and perform daily operations?
- Do the servers like the ordering system? Are they able to figure out tips, split checks, clock in and out and perform the daily tasks they need to?
By evaluating your iPad-based restaurant POS system in the real world you’ll think of new questions to ask. Contact support to get the answers. Rezku POS is dedicated to providing you and your staff with the highest level of customer service and support in the restaurant industry.
Call, chat or email and you’ll talk to a real live person based in our Sacramento, California offices. Rezku’s team is staffed with experts in restaurant management technology that want you to succeed.
Read More: Opening A Restaurant Location
Choosing the right POS for your restaurant is an important decision that will affect your business success for years to come. Start by making a basic list of the features you need most. Use this checklist to eliminate point of sale systems that don’t meet your criteria.
Learn about the latest restaurant POS features and technology. Identify the features that matter most to you. Seek advice from friends and experts who are putting these tools to the test.
When researching restaurant POS systems get an idea about how the companies do business. You will build a close relationship with your POS company as a partner in your restaurant. You want a company you can trust to provide a quality product and the support you need.
Make sure to get a full account of what the upfront costs and ongoing costs will be. Accurately determining the cost is a critical step to performing a cost-benefit analysis.
This guide to choosing a point of sale system for your restaurant is a free resource provided by Rezku. You can find more tips and advice for restaurant and bar owners in our library.