What’s the single piece of equipment in the restaurant that’s sure to be used every night but isn’t used to make food?
It’s your restaurant’s point of sale system.
That’s why it’s so important to do your research and find the best point of sale system for your business. Everyone does things a little differently so the restaurant POS you choose has to work the way you do.
It should be lightweight and dependable. Something you can rely on to keep working day in and day out, for smooth restaurant operations.
This restaurant owner’s guide to POS systems will cover all the bases. From basic point of sale concepts and history, up through the latest restaurant management technology that’s helping restaurant owners like you stay ahead of the competition.
Read More: Choosing a Restaurant Business Structure
What is a POS?
POS stands for “point of sale”. It’s the place where orders are rung up and payment is made.
There are lots of different jobs a point of sale can do. Through the years the restaurant point of sale has evolved from a simple cash register to advanced business management tools. It has software and hardware that integrates with many other systems in and out of your restaurant.
The History of Point of Sale Systems
The first mechanical cash register was invented in the 1880’s as a way for business owners to keep employees from pilfering from the till. It faithfully fulfilled its job for many decades until they were slowly replaced by electronic cash registers.
When digital calculators became small enough to fit on a desk, the first digital cash registers hit the scene. These systems were expensive and used mostly by large retailers who could afford them.
When the computer revolution of the 70’s started to take shape, more features were added. And those iconic green screens started popping up at more places. These computer POS systems did more than just provide accountability for cashiers.
They could be linked together, so the business knew its sales figures for the whole site with up to the minute detail. They were tied into inventory management systems providing greater insight.
It’s the business reporting, data analytics and inventory management that sets computer based point of sale systems apart from the cash register.
While adding advanced features for the time, the early generation of computer POS systems were extremely expensive. They used proprietary hardware and software in an era when only specialists knew how to work on computers.
In the 90's and 2000's computer hardware became ubiquitous. Windows based POS systems added more features, including customer relationship management (CRM), electronic card readers and colorful touch-screens.
But even though the technology was improving, the service model of computer POS companies didn't change. The equipment still cost tens of thousands of dollars. They still had expensive service and support contracts. You had to pay for every update or upgrade. And if you didn’t pay for service they left you on your own.
Once a restaurant owner signed that thirty to sixty thousand dollar POS contract it was a ten year commitment. Waiting on hold. Waiting on expensive parts to be delivered. Waiting for a tech to come on site. When these legacy systems went down, it was for hours if not days!
The unfortunate thing is that many restaurant owners are still stuck in the past—either using electronic cash registers without touch screens or in-depth sales reporting functions, or with expensive legacy systems based on 20-year-old technology.
Read More: iPad - When It Matters Most
Modern Tablet-Based POS
When the iPhone came out in 2007, it was followed up by the iPad in 2010. Folks at the time didn't quite realize how these two hand-held computers would change the world. One thing is now certain.
Computing power in the palm of your hand is better than desktop computers from a few short years ago, at an incredibly affordable price.
Is it any wonder then that touch screen tablets have become the new standard for businesses? From hospitals to aviation, [iPad gets the job done](link to iPad Gets The Job Done article) for the most demanding industries, iPad is the emerging industry standard for restaurant POS.
With Apple's fast chips, reliable operating system and high manufacturing standards, iPad based POS systems bring restaurant owners the latest technology to get the job done.
The modern restaurateur now has unprecedented access to an affordable, high quality, POS system that is feature rich.
Modern POS System Features
A modern iPad-based point of sale system has tons of advanced features to help you get more done while reducing costs. Rezku POS offers even more, continually providing free updates, and adding new capabilities to improve life for restaurant owners.
This is a list of the most important modern POS features to look for in your next restaurant point of sale system.
Tableside Ordering and Payment
One of the most revolutionary new efficiencies provided by tablet POS systems is tableside orders. When servers are equipped with individual iPads they put orders into the system once.
Orders are fired to the kitchen wirelessly, while the server is still interacting with the guests. When it’s time for the check, payments can be made directly on the iPad POS system. Paperless options let guests authorize with an on screen signature.
Tableside ordering keeps servers in their section making them highly efficient. By eliminating all the old back and forth they can serve your guests better.
Inventory Management and Tracking
Tracking inventory helps you know when it’s time to reorder. It helps you find waste and theft and put an end to it before costs get out of control. Rezku POS features ingredient-level tracking, giving you a COGS (cost of goods sold) for every item on your menu, built right into your reports.
Tracking ingredient inventory is an important data-point to ensure restaurant success. Rezku POS makes it easy and automatic, every time a product from the menu is sold.
Sales Reporting and Analytics
Owning a restaurant means knowing the numbers. Rezku POS emails a customized daily report every day, to keep you in the know.
The information successful restaurant owners use to make critical decisions are found in their POS reports. Key information like:
- Top sellers
- Average sale amount
- Number of and size of parties
- What discounts were given and how many
- Hourly sales
- Per-user sales
- Product category sales
There are hundreds of reports in Rezku POS to help restaurant owners track their key performance indicators.
Every sale is tracked, logged and assigned, so you always know exactly what's going on.
And because it’s a cloud based system, you can find all your restaurant data any time you want it, right on your smartphone, laptop or tablet.
Read More: Choosing a Restaurant Business Structure
CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
The CRM system on your tablet based POS links your guests to an account on your system. Imagine how much you’ll know about your guests with a complete order history next to their name, address and phone number.
CRM allows you to market directly to your best customers from your own list. Send out special offers directly targeting your customers’ favorite purchases. Text them reminders, email them offers and direct mail birthday cards.
POS CRM tools save you money on your marketing costs by providing market research data and a lead list you own.
Custom Gift Cards
A modern restaurant POS system with your own custom gift cards is a huge financial benefit to your restaurant business. Restaurant gift cards are the number one type of gift card purchased.
Most gift cards purchased are between $20-$50. When spending a gift card, roughly 70% of people will spend an additional 40% over the gift card value. That means when your customers dine on a $50 gift card you can expect a $70 check.
You definitely don’t want to miss that opportunity. With Rezku POS you can issue and take payment with gift cards. With detailed gift card reporting you always know what’s outstanding and how many sales were purchased through gift cards.
Secure EMV Payments
EMV payments are mostly known as “chip cards” but there’s more to it than that. It also includes the contactless and “tap to pay” cards, as well as payments made by holding up your smartphone.
EMV is also an advanced security standard designed to combat fraud. Since chips are harder to counterfeit, using a POS that is 100% EMV compliant protects you from liability. Keep in mind that without an EMV compliant POS system, your restaurant is liable for any fraud chargebacks related to noncompliance with EMV standards.
Rezku POS is the only iPad based restaurant POS system that is 100% EMV and PCI compliant.