(Guide) Choosing The Best Restaurant POS System For Your Restaurant

The restaurant industry is transforming at a rapid pace. McDonald’s and Paneras of the world have already accepted Kiosks (& POS tech) as a better alternative to the human workforce. According to one estimate, McDonald’s shift to POS technology will help them cover nearly $2.7 billion in lost sales!

There seems to be an infinite number of POS systems on the market. As more iPad-based solutions hit the industry, the figures begin to rise. All of this makes selecting the best point-of-sale solution for a restaurant a difficult challenge.

You want one that is simple to use, suits your budget, provides excellent customer service, and has the features you need for your awesome restaurant. Knowing precisely what you require from a POS system is a good place to begin. It aids in narrowing down your selection. After you’ve narrowed down your choices, all that’s left is to put each restaurant POS system to the test.

Consider this selection procedure as if you were purchasing a new car. Before you start taking test drives, decide on a make, model, and feature kit.

This guide will assist you in narrowing down your choices and selecting the right one for your restaurant.

Points To Consider Before Selecting A POS System

1. Budget

Before you start researching and falling in love with the Lamborghini of restaurant POS schemes, you can figure out how much you should pay. Making a budget ahead of time accomplishes many goals. It has two purposes: first, it narrows the selection pool, and second, it prevents you from being hypnotized by the newest toy.

When it comes to prices, the good news is that in recent years, restaurant POS systems have gradually migrated to the cloud, following a monthly subscription-based payment model. As opposed to the clunky Windows-based POS schemes of the past, cloud-based POS setups, which usually use a lightweight iPad or tablet registry, have a lower upfront expense. The licensing costs and software for older devices could cost several thousand dollars, plus continuing operation and maintenance fees. For a lot less money, you can get started with one of the famous cloud-based POS systems.

There’s also the monthly subscription fee to consider: most common web-based POS schemes start at $50–$100 per month for single-terminal installations, with multiple terminals costing $50–$60 per month each. You could spend as much as $200 a month for a restaurant POS scheme with more sophisticated functionality (such as a loyalty service, internet shopping, staff scheduling, advanced inventory management, and so on).

The POS system itself would usually cost about $1,000, or more if you have multiple terminals or wish to invest in cutting-edge hardware add-ons like a kitchen display system, self-ordering kiosks, countertop POS, and so on.

A restaurant POS system’s overall cost is determined by a few key factors:

  • What is the total number of terminals/stations you have?
  • The number of storefronts
  • Whether or not servers use mobile computers to take orders and payments at the table
  • If you use a POS that is built locally or one that is accessible through the internet

Innowi offers a restaurant POS solution that is affordable, easy-to-use and offers a lot of cutting-edge features that are not available anywhere in the market. Contact our sales team today!

2. Installation Costs

Are you a traditionalist who wants the data and alerts to be stored on a server on your restaurant’s premises? If you’ve weighed the benefits and drawbacks of cloud POS services and settled on a locally based solution, bear in mind the following costs: licensing fees, recurring maintenance fees, and the cost of any hardware packages you may need to buy. The average costs are broken down below:

  • A one-time licensing fee of $1,000 to $2,500 is usually charged for restaurant POS software that is developed locally. Web-based applications, on the other hand, seldom charge a license fee. For locally built devices, monthly maintenance costs range from $30 to $100 a month. Web-based restaurant POS systems, on the other hand, range in price from $60 to $300 a month, with no additional fees for service.
  • Hardware for locally built POS systems costs between $1,500 and $3,500 per terminal. Web-based device hardware packages, on the other hand, range from $400 to $1,600. You can also consider if your POS hardware is compatible with other POS systems if you wish to move if you choose a locally built or web-based system. The majority of cloud-based restaurant POS hardware is interoperable with other platforms.
  • When working with a locally built machine, try to minimize long-term contracts and termination costs, as both will add to the total expense and comfort (or lack thereof). To prevent cancellation penalty if you don’t like the system, it’s best to leave the options as flexible as possible. Most web-based systems operate on a month-to-month basis, giving you the freedom to switch to another system if the first doesn’t work out. (Innowi also provides a 30-day risk-free trial with a 100% money-back guarantee)

3. Restaurant Staff Experience

A better user experience is provided by a POS framework that is intuitive, easy to read and navigate. They’ll now be able to clock indirectly from the system, making it simple to arrive at work and get back to work, while also improving payroll automation and consistency.

In their daily life, the employees use sophisticated technologies (tablets, smartphones, smart televisions, smartwatches). Coming into your restaurant and having to use poorly built, obsolete, and sluggish apps will easily become a source of annoyance.

4. Customer Experience

At the end of the day, you’re in the customer service market. It is important to provide a POS framework that enhances consumer service. Customers enjoy being able to break payments, pass their bar tab, swap tables, and, as an added bonus, make a purchase from the server’s iPad right from their spot. By 2020, 85 percent of all customer interactions will be done through digital companions.

5.Restaurant POS Features

To find the best restaurant POS system for your needs, rate the features on a scale of “must-have” to “cool but not needed.” The aim is to find a framework that has all of the features you need for your restaurant POS. Here are some features your restaurant may need:

  • Online Ordering & Delivery

Many restaurants, particularly those in the fast-casual sector, value the ability to accept orders online (for delivery/pickup). Even if your POS system doesn’t have a built-in online ordering system in place, it should be able to integrate with a third-party online ordering and distribution provider like GrubHub, DoorDash, or UberEats.

  • Table Management

Most POS systems have at least some simple table management features, but more sophisticated floor plans and even seat management are included in more robust systems. Consider the level of granularity you need in your table management features.

  • Management of Inventory

Evaluate if you need inventory-related features such as low-stock warnings, buy order processing, and vendor tracking. Restaurant inventory is more complicated than store inventory because doing so manually gives a lot of space for mistakes. Your current system might be working great; but, if you need proper resource control and a decent POS, you can look for a POS like Innowi that provides these features at an affordable cost.

  • Making a Menu

Restaurants with several locations and different menus, as well as restaurants that specialize in seasonal ingredients, benefit greatly from menu management and development. Many restaurants will benefit from the ability to adjust and alter the menu on the fly.

  • Management of Orders

It’s important for sit-down restaurants to be able to break bills or even split the cost of appetizers/entrees, etc. Evaluate how a POS system performs order processing, as well as how the servers will be able to provide the order management services that your customers expect. The opportunity for servers to deliver orders to the kitchen straight from the floor via an iPad or other mobile device is another feature of order management.

  • Reservations

For certain restaurants, reservation management is a necessary element. Reservations are typically thought of as an advanced restaurant POS feature, but a growing number of systems are integrating with apps like OpenTable to make online reservations.

  • Integrations of Third-Party Apps

Remember the strength of third-party API integrations when testing POS device features—that is, which outside applications the system interfaces with GrubHub, Gusto, Quickbooks, etc. Modern restaurant POS systems are versatile and scalable enough to work with a number of other applications and fill in the holes left by the program.

6.Test POS Customer Support

Find out and read the feedback for every POS company’s customer service. Since your subscription charge includes access to the customer support staff, you want to make sure they’re responsive when you contact them. Find answers to the following questions:

  • Can they answer fast enough to fix a problem until it has an effect on your business?
  • Is there any instructional material, feature guides, or troubleshooting information on their website?
  • Is there an active forum or help desk if they have one? In other words, can a representative react quickly if you type a question?
  • Is the help available during your restaurant’s operating hours? Will anyone be there to help you if you need it after midnight or on weekends, for example? It is, by far, the most common time for issues to arise.

Keep in mind that you’re paying for more than just POS software; you’re also paying for the support you’ll need to operate it.

7.Scan The Market – Ask User Reviews

Look for user feedback of every POS vendor on online websites, forums, and other social media platforms. Check out what others have to offer.

What are the most popular problems and pressure points? What hasn’t been mentioned? What do satisfied consumers think is the best feature of the POS system? Is it difficult to update the system? Is there any feedback on customer service, either negative or positive?

Keep in mind that you can look at ratings from a wide viewpoint. To put it another way, don’t be fooled by negativity bias; if you read one negative comment from hundreds of constructive, supportive feedback, don’t give the negative review too much weight.

Consider the overall impression when reading feedback on public platforms. There’s still one rotten apple trying to sour the environment. That said, how well an organization responds to negative feedback speaks volumes about its customer service.

8.Evaluate Through Free POS Trials

The software for most restaurant POS systems comes with a free trial period. Take advantage of this offer to see how easy it is to operate the POS hardware and software. Run it as if it were in a live setting — to use an earlier metaphor, give it a test drive. Employees who will be using the app in the trial run should also be included. This would allow you to see how it’s simple for them to use and appreciate, as well as identify any possible issues.

After all, it is what a test drive is about. You want to explore every nook and cranny, check out all of the functionality, and run through every possible scenario. Before you buy something, make sure you know exactly what you’re buying. No question should go unanswered.

During the trial run, keep in mind how steep the POS’s learning curve is. In comparison to the new system, ask your employees if it saves or wastes their time. Be sure you calculate how long it would take your workers to learn the new system.

Try Innowi’s POS hardware and software risk-free for 30 days.

Which POS System Is Right For Your Restaurant?

Purchasing a POS device is a significant time and financial investment, so do your homework before making a decision.

There are many restaurant POS systems in the market namely Clover, Toast, Square, TouchBistro, and many others. However, not all of them offer cutting-edge features at an affordable price – Innowi does.

Save your precious time and start Innowi’s 30-day risk-free trial of our POS hardware and software. Use our features and feel the difference.