Why iPad Is the Best Choice for Your Restaurant Point of Sale System

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Apple's iPad lets us do a lot of fun things on the go or at home, but the fantastic iPad is also the best tablet for businesses large and small - including your restaurant. A true marvel, integrating advanced technology, superior engineering, and modern design into a device that is affordable and incredibly easy to use. That's what makes the iPad the best choice for restaurant owners and managers looking for a new POS solution for their establishment.

iPad - So Easy a Child Can Do It

Some people might think of the iPad as "kids stuff," but what if that's alright? iPad is notoriously easy to use, and kids as young as five can regularly be seen tapping away on their iPads like a pro. And of course, the durability of iPad is most challenged by kids. A device that can handle the torture of toddlers is sure to stack up to what most adults can put it through, as seen in a stress test performed by CNN, handing two iPads over to two three-year-olds. (CNNMoney)

And the way we use an iPad is very fundamental to the way our brain works. There are structures deeply embedded in the human nervous system that drives us to use seeing and pointing as a way to communicate our thoughts and needs. No one needs to teach us because it's there when we're born (ScienceDaily). Using an iPad comes so naturally to us because it's an interface designed to match with our most basic neurobiological systems of communication. What makes the iPad suitable for kids is what makes it an excellent everyday device for adults engaged in business or pleasure.

girl looking at ipad

iPad is well built, and it's meant for rigors of real life. iPad is the ultimate update to the 100-year-old paper notepad and was predicted decades ago in the imagination of science fiction writers and seen on TV shows like Star Trek. Like an old-fashioned notepad, iPad is easy to carry, relatively inexpensive, and helps us be more creative and productive with our work. This is why the iPad is an essential tool for businesses that need to get the job done. iPads help your restaurant do more. Replace traditionally handwritten paper tickets that a waitress walks back to the kitchen with tableside ordering on a handheld tablet. Using iPad, orders are put into the system once and automatically sent the kitchen or bar without having to walk the order back.

And it's certainly true that the iPad appeals to young people for a variety of reasons. Familiarity is number one. Many young people have been using smartphones and tablets most of their life. And in a new environment, like the first day on the job, that familiarity can bring a sense of comfort.

A new employee in a small business or restaurant environment will be confronted with a deluge of unfamiliar tasks, expectations, and information to take in. Inexperienced, employees in food service are very often young - maybe it's even their first real job. Handing then an iPad with an intuitive point of sale app they naturally take to can help ease some the pressure they're feeling. And iPad takes pressure off of you as well. It simplifies the training process and makes it more enjoyable.

iPad is Built for Business

back of ipad women looking at tablet


Built Tough - iPad uses durable materials like strengthened, scratch resistant glass, steel and an aluminum unibody frame. These tough materials are resistant to scratching, marring and breaking on their own, but when paired with a tempered glass screen protector, a rugged case or a plastic cover this durability is increased and adapted for extreme environments like restaurants, hospitals and construction sites. The iPad presents a durable package that is resistant to extreme temperatures and impact. (CNET-Always On)

Built Reliable - Because there are no moving parts inside the iPad, it's very reliable. There are no mechanical parts to wear out or break down, like hard drives or other mechanical parts. Even though stress testing and hard use, the iPad holds up. The iOS software that runs every iPad app is a hallmark of reliability. Have you ever seen an iPad with a virus? That's because iOS is built on the impeccably secure closed-source Unix operating system. (MacWorld)

Built Affordable - Consistently ranked by tech reviewers as the best value in the tablet market going. iPad delivers a cost-effective and robust solution for consumers which is excellent news for businesses like restaurants. (9to5Mac) The new iPad is the most affordable iPad ever, which means you can afford to equip each member of your team with an extraordinarily portable yet powerful computer, thinner than a pencil! (The Verge)

Built Capable - The most affordable iPad yet is also faster and more capable than the previous generation iPad, packing into the amazingly thin frame, even more processing power. In fact, the current iPad Pro is faster than a Macbook! (ZDNet) Wow, that's right. If you never thought to take iPad seriously, then you've got to take a second look now. Because iPad is ready to overtake Mac desktops with it's incredible SoC processors that are blazing fast yet designed to save battery power. (AnandTech)

Built to Last - Even older iPads never seem to die-off. Because every year, iPad is redesigned using the latest technology and envelope-pushing innovation from Apple. The longevity of the devices is remarkable. So much so that people just don't feel a need to replace their iPads on a regular basis, like they would with their iPhone. (Gizmodo) Rest assured that even years from now, an iPad you purchased today will be up to the tasks you need it to perform as a smart and affordable restaurant POS system. Also, the iPad's battery technology is long-lived and hard wearing. Even with all the power hungry tech built into the thin form, the groundbreaking batteries inside the iPad still manage to pack a 10-hour battery life - unplugged! (Wired) Not that's how to last through a busy day!

Built for Enterprise - In recent years Apple has worked hard to capture the business enterprise market, understanding that the features that make iPad great for consumers are what makes iPad ideal for business. Apple has partnered with stalwarts of the business technology landscape - Microsoft, Cisco and IBM - to show that iPad is grown up, serious, and is not a "kid's toy."

Businesses aren't just handing out a stack of iPads to their employees. They use Apple Enterprise Deployment. The iPads are specially configured for business environments and managed, something like a beehive, with updates and settings pushed to all devices at once.

enterprise device management infographic

Unlike an iPad used for personal enjoyment, iPads configured for business have location tracking turned on at all times, and permission settings limit their use to work tasks only. This is an essential time-saving feature because you can configure once, inside the management console, instead of each tablet separately.

Stolen devices can be locked, tracked and recovered. Also, Apple has business priority Applecare that is available 24/7, priority repair and a dedicated account managers are also available. (Wired) These enterprise features are great for restaurateurs looking to use iPad as an alternative to legacy POS systems because they can ensure that the iPads they purchase will be used for restaurant business only, by locking them down.

iPad Technology Beats the Competition

When choosing the technology platform for your restaurant point of sale, you’re going to see a lot of information from other POS system manufacturers who don’t use iPad. The following are the facts that solidify iPad as the clear choice for restaurant owners and managers who want to choose the best point of sale technology. Anyone who tells you iPad is not the superior platform is either playing against an emotional bias against Apple products or is willfully manipulating the facts to get you to consider investing in inferior technology that they have the unfortunate position of trying to defend.

iPad Beats Android POS Systems

Reliability - The core disadvantage of an android-based point of sale systems is the fact that there are no standards. Unlike Apple's "walled garden" approach to manufacturing, where hardware and software are viewed holistically and thoroughly tested year upon year, Android tablet manufacturers are typically flinging together cut-rate parts that have never played together before, while they hack Google open-source code to make it work well enough to sell to bargain shoppers. (TechShift)

Security - Many, sometimes severe issues with Android tablets don't reveal themselves until later, and while you would hope that they would get updates from either Google or the manufacturer, that just does not happen. Even Samsung - widely considered the "best" Android tablet manufacturer scores an F when it comes to releasing essential security and bug fixes. (ComputerWorld)

On the other hand, people are hanging on to older iPads for years, and they are still supported directly by Apple with security and OS updates. (TechCrunch) And when you look at the number of known security issues in Android you may shutter - 1,357 known security holes! Many of which are critical and remain unpatched in most systems. The number of reported issues on iPad is one. That's right, the difference between iPad security and Android is a shocking 1,357:1 ratio. (CVE)

Innovation - The fact is that the Android tablet market has been declared dead for a few years now. The infuriating tech problems with Android tablets have created an incredibly shrinking demand for Android tablets, even as more businesses look to integrate tablets into their workflow. Unlike the thoughtful engineering and innovations that drive the design team at Apple, most android tablets were never designed to be innovative in the first place because the model was "turn and burn," not staying power. The fact is that the Android tablet market has been declared dead for a few years now. Sales have decreased nearly 4% every year. (TechRadar)

In fact, there is so little demand for Android tablets that some major manufacturers have completely killed off their Android tablet lines. (LAPTOP)

Cost - While it may seem that Android would win this round because of the bargain-basement prices on most Android tablets, the culmination of out-dated parts, poor support and updates and the serious potential of critical - even dangerous - battery failures, means that the refresh cycle on Android tablets is much faster than with iPad. (Komando) Would you like to have to re-buy and re-configure your restaurant's entire tablet-based POS system every 2-3 years just to save a hundred bucks today? The cheapest hardware may seem attractive until you scratch the surface and realize the long-term cost of failure and the inevitable time-wasting headaches.

iPad Technology Beats the Competition

Reliability - You may be told that Windows-based POS systems are reliable, probably because there are so many old ones still being used. This is one of the most significant downsides actually because these aging systems almost never get security updates they are wide open for attacks. Also, most Windows-based POS systems require an on-site server to function. When the server goes down so does everything else. Hard drives crash, information gets lost, and do you really want to perform nightly backups? When you consider the potential for system failure taking you offline for hours or days until special parts can be shipped, or a service rep can come out to repair it (for a hefty charge), there isn't much of a basis for the claim that these legacy systems are reliable.

man using ipad sitting down

Security - Most Windows-based POS systems use a version of the Windows operating system called "embedded." It's basically just Windows XP. For the sake of size, most programs have been removed, but it's still the same old, bulky XP operating system. In fact, the primary problem with Windows POS systems is the continued use of very old versions of Windows as the backbone of the system. Can you really see yourself buying a brand new point of sale for your restaurant that is still running Windows XP? (Fortinet) Keep in mind that along with that old version of Windows on your new restaurant POS comes all the security holes and cyber-threats that Windows is well known for. Even when fixes may have been released years ago, there is a very low likelihood that your system ever got the updates.

security lock

According to security vulnerability reporting site CVE, the most common operating system run on legacy point of sale systems; Windows XP (embedded) has 729 known vulnerabilities, many of which are ranked as “critical threats” over a threat-level 7.

And if you think that updating to the newest version of Windows for POS systems; Windows 10 IoT is going to do any better just keep in mind that it’s currently infested with 451 known security holes. Being a new operating system means it’s just a matter of time before more are found by hackers! (CVE)

Compare the number of Windows security issues to iPad's one security vulnerability from 2013 - that's right iPad had just one, and it's non-critical.

number of security threats per os

Innovation - Let's face it, Windows-based POS systems haven't been considered innovative since 1995. Much of the software running on these systems looks like it's stuck in the 90's too. If squinting to read the poorly formatted text over florescent colored buttons and hunting through a convoluted multi-page interface, is your idea of a good time, you may have developed Stockholm syndrome from using these frustrating, out of date systems of the past. One the most striking things someone who's used a smartphone will notice right away is that there is something lacking in the touchscreen. Glitchy, dark and unreliable, Windows-based, legacy point of sale systems typically use an inferior touchscreen technology called "5 -wire". This type of screen uses two layers of material with physical wires running through it like a grid. One of the reasons these displays are known to be so temperamental is the fragile wires are prone to breakage over time. The displays are dark and have poor viewing angles because of the extra layers used to register a touch. They also need to be periodically calibrated.

Compare these legacy POS screens to the iPad's beautiful resolution and superior multi-touch capacitive touch technology that you're familiar with on your phone. There are no wires to break, and it's all contained in one bright, easy to read durable glass (instead of plastic) layer. (MakeUseOf)

credit card

Cost - The use of ancient proprietary hardware like serial pin-connectors and bulky resistive touch displays keeps the cost high on even a basic system. On the other hand, iPad POS systems use off-the-shelf and consumer-based hardware, keeping prices low while integrating the latest technology. The most basic all-in-one Windows-based POS starts at over a thousand dollars - for just the terminal! Compare that to a fully featured, brand new iPad direct from Apple for under $400.

The reason these systems are called legacy isn’t just based on hardware. The way these companies do business is also outdated. Upfront fees, support contracts and expensive on-site service and installation are what to expect from a legacy Windows POS. And if you were to choose one of these POS systems for your restaurant, you’ll likely be working with dealers who are also taking a hefty commission

A Tablet Designed for Fun Gets Work Done!

Just because iPad is marketed to the public as a fun everyday gadget for watching movies and surfing the web doesn't mean that's all it can do. Inside every iPad is the latest technology. Serious thought and engineering go into iPad, and that's why nearly 50% of all iPad sales go to business and government organizations. (Cult of Mac)

Using Guided Access to lock the iPad to a single app or taking advantage of enterprise management tools, the iPad becomes the ultimate restaurant point of sale hardware device because of its security, reliability, affordability and superior technology. iPad hands-down beats the competition.

That’s why iPad is the best choice for your restaurant point of sale system.

man in suit holding ipad

Works Cited

Restaurant POS
Starting a Restaurant

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