Restaurant point of sale systems should be somewhat different from other POS systems because of the inversion of the way customers place orders and pay via cash or card. While with most other retail or business establishments, customer select the goods they want and pay at a central POS. In a restaurant, the customers are located all over the room, place their orders at their tables, and wish to pay from the table. This means that a restaurant requires multiple POS systems that are all connected to a central device for tracking sales or orders, managing inventories, and analyzing expenses and profits. While many restaurants utilize multiple point of sale kiosks in their locations, I have found the smaller, handheld ipad point of sale devices quite user friendly and more convenient for both servers and customers.
Handheld POS Devices
Restaurant point of sale systems should ideally be handheld enabling the waiters to record orders and complete the billing process as well as collect payments. The iPhone and iPod Touch equipped with POS software and hardware are ideal for these situations. The waiter can record the order that can be transmit it to the kitchen, collect and deliver the order, bill the customer and process payments at the table. Otherwise, only the payment module can be centralized at a single place, while the bills can be generated by the waiter. This will save time, reduce errors, and ensure terrific customer satisfaction.
Restaurant point of sale systems need to be linked not just to the kitchen but a central database that can be accessed by the manager and owners in real-time. This database can be used to check occupancy of tables, waiting time for new diners, and also ensure that inventory levels of essential ingredients are adequate.
The restaurant point of sale system that is linked to a central database can be set up to alert the manager when levels of critical ingredients are likely to fall below acceptable levels. This will enable the manager to place fresh orders or remove certain items from the menu until they become available again.
A restaurant point of sale device should enable the waiter to inform the customer about the day’s specials, the ingredients used in a dish, and the time taken to prepare it. This will ensure that the restaurant can cater to the needs of those with special needs such as food allergies or specific religious beliefs. The handled POS terminal should also enable the waiter to enter coupon details and other discount options.
Customer Relationship Management
For many restaurants the point of sale is the best place to implement customer relationship management practices. For this, the waiter needs to be provided with adequate information about the preferences of regular customers. A restaurant point of sale device that will alert the waiter to a regular customer’s preferences or interests will improve customer retention. In addition, a link to the central database will enable the restaurant to send targeted and customized information to regular customers about special offers and deals.
This article was written by Daisy Lynn, a small business owner in NYC and Atlanta, GA.