Choosing a Point of Sale Supplier – Part 1
There will be many important operational decisions you need to make for your restaurant and few are as daunting as choosing a POS. When it comes to POS systems, restaurateurs are spoilt for choice. Each system is designed to serve the same basic purpose: to record sales and returns. When it comes down to functionality, reliability, performance and capability, each system is unique. Price, warranty, technical support, future enhancements and after-sales service are the most basic things you need to consider and research before committing to a specific supplier. Below are a few questions you should ask yourself before signing on the dotted line:
- Does the System Record Customer Details? For a restaurant to thrive, they need a loyal, repeat customer base. Most systems do offer a customer base option which will allow you to access the data you have recorded. Two benefits of recording a customer’s details are order tracking and offering loyalty rewards. Order tracking stores the customers previous orders and allows servers to order the customer’s “usual” with the simple tap of a button. A loyalty rewards feature will give you the functionality to allocate points for purchases which can result in offering vouchers or free meals. You could also run reports to find out who your big spenders are and market to them directly.
- Does the System Support Reservations? If you’re a restaurant that requires/offers reservations then most POS systems will be able to handle this within the software itself. Often, the POS system can integrate with an online reservation system whereby customers book via a website and it is recorded in the terminal. Staff can also take telephonic reservations and record it within the POS. Controlling the reservations from the POS will eliminate the need for books filled with eligible hand writing.
- Does the System Support Online Ordering? A more recent feature of POS systems is online ordering which allows the customer to place an order either via an app on their smartphone or via web browser. At this point, the concept of online ordering is still very new to consumers and they are beginning to embrace it. Over the next few years, we should see this method of ordering becoming more and more popular with consumers. Most POS systems will either offer this feature for an additional fee or will support 3rd party integration from selected vendors. Ask your prospective POS supplier whether they offer this feature or if they plant to in the future.
- Does the System Support Tableside Ordering? This is a new concept offered by some POS systems. Customers can place their order via a handheld device (such as an iPad) without leaving their table. While there is most likely going to be an additional cost for this, you could see a sizeable pay off through better server efficiencies, fewer errors, quicker food delivery to the table and an overall improved customer experience.
The above points are only a few of the features you need to take into consideration before signing on the dotted line. Committing to a POS supplier is a monumental step and is usually a long term commitment.