How Does a Restaurant POS System Work?
If you’re running a restaurant or considering opening your own restaurant, bar or food cart, you will need to own a point-of-sale system in order to process sales and transactions. In this post, we’ll go over what a restaurant POS is, the hardware and software necessary, how it works, and any other information you will need in order to run your own POS.
What is a Point-of-Sale System?
If you’re new to point-of-sale, it is the technology system that allows a business to take payment either cash or card, keep track of inventory including food inventory, print receipts, and other important tasks restaurants employees will do during the transaction process. Utilizing a point-of-sale system will help your business run more efficiently while reducing errors and increasing customer satisfaction.
A restaurant POS system runs much like any other regular POS system but there may be a few additional caveats to consider that are unique to restaurants vs. other businesses where cash is involved.
What is Different About a Restaurant POS System?
It may seem like there is not much of a difference between a POS system from other businesses and how it functions in restaurants but there are a few small details that are important. The first difference depends on the size of the restaurant and how transactions are processed.
Often times in restaurants, the transaction will be taken care of while at the table. In this case, server employees utilize handheld card readers that are mobile and can be used from table to table. This is not the case in retail point-of-sale.
Another function seen in some restaurants is a table-mounted POS card reader. In this case, each table can take care of their purchase without having to get up or hand their cash or card to an employee. This is being utilized more and more.
The more traditional methods of paying at restaurant involves the employee taking the customers payment up to a centralized register and card reader. Before that, often times a customers order is entered into the POS system and that information is relayed to the kitchen staff. This is much different from how a retail POS environment would work. While there are a few methods of setting up a restaurant POS, it is important to consider these options and which may work the best for your business based on preference, size of staff, and budget.
Software and Hardware
The hardware and software used in a restaurant POS have some differences as well. While both will process sales and take inventory, restaurant software will keep a bill open until the customer is ready to pay for their bill. This allows for additional items to be added to the order and leaves the ability to leave a tip until the end of the transaction.
The software can run on multiple platforms including Apple, Android, and Windows. The software is essential and allows you to control various factors in the sales, inventory and tracking process while automating much of these processes.
Hardware is another important component of a restaurant POS system and there are some differences is when comparing to a standard retail store. Some of the most common hardware used in a POS system include:
A staple in the retail side of POS is the barcode scanner as part of the POS package. In restaurants, items are almost always entered in manually and often take advantage of a portable tablet using item images and descriptions. Scanners are not always used in restaurants except where additional items can be purchased such as gift shop-like items.
What is Needed for You Restaurant POS
To get started with your point-of-sale system, you will need to have a cash drawer, card reader, receipt printer and a monitor complete with the right POS software in-order to operate your system. Often times, restaurant wait staff will utilize a handheld mobile device which can enter in customer orders that are relayed to kitchen staff and are popular amongst serving staff to take and process orders quickly and efficiently.
If you need assistance in choosing the right POS setup for your bar or restaurant, talk to a Barcode Discount expert for assistance. They can help you find the best POS hardware and software and customize your setup based on your unique needs.