POS systems are like significant others. When you’re involved with one you love, everything is incredible and you feel like there’s nothing you can’t accomplish together. But when you make the wrong choice, that decision could haunt you forever.
Like potential suitors, POS vendors are no stranger to showcasing their very best qualities in the hope that you will choose them over another. So, what are the best features of a restaurant POS system? What reporting perks and functionality features will make your life insightful instead of a hassle? What do some restaurant POS systems offer that provoke inspiration instead of frustration?
Let’s go over five essential features of the modern restaurant POS system that we think you’ll fall head-over-heels for.
1. Menu Engineering
We’ve all been there – the night when business is booming and sales are looking up. Then you check your metrics and see that your profit is lower than you had expected.
So what happened? Believe it or not, it could all trace back to your menu design.
And I know what you’re thinking: how much does design impact sales? In actuality, proper menu design can could increase sales by 27%, according to a study from Cornell University.
Simple tactics to draw attention to your more profitable items and detract focus from lower-profit items – or even removing those items altogether – are some of the basics of menu engineering.
A stellar restaurant POS system will have a sales reporting feature, and even the ability to graph the popularity and profitability of certain menu items. This insight from your POS report is what will help you identify the items that bring in the most for your business (“Stars”) and those that are damaging your bottom line (“Dogs”).
From this insight, you can make more purposeful decisions when it comes to your menu design and offerings.
Most restaurant owners aren’t CPAs or finance experts. Not all of them got an A in algebra or calculus. Math and metrics are legitimate pain points of running a restaurant.
So just let the POS do it for you.
Many restaurants POS systems will track your sales so you can compare end-of-day reports with your inventory orders. That’s just child’s play.
More advanced POS systems let you carry sales data over into menu engineering charts and food cost and pricing calculators. These POS systems also have a “countdown” feature, where users can manually enter how many servings of a certain dish are left for the shift, which will count down until the inventory is depleted.
Seeing as food costs make up 38% of expenses, having a system in place to keep track of this without spending hours hunched over a desk with a calculator can make inventory tracking more profitable and less arduous.
3. Innovation & Updates
At the risk of losing my job, I’d argue there’s no such thing as a perfect restaurant POS system.
This is why it’s so important to have a reliable POS provider that listens to customer feedback and incorporates it into monthly feature updates. When you’re speaking with vendors, don’t be afraid to go there – ask them the real questions about what they’re doing to disrupt the industry.
These questions can include:
- How often do you release software updates?
- Is there extra cost associated with new core software updates?
- What are some features your POS has that few (or no) other systems have?
- Do you offer loyalty/online ordering/handheld tablets/inventory integrated into the system?
Getting a sense for the company’s vision and drive for innovation keeps will let you see just how dedicated they are to making your job easier instead of just making themselves more money.
To reiterate a previous point, it’s impractical to suggest there will never be a bump in the system. When If that time ever comes, having reliable support from your POS provider can mean the difference between headache and happiness.
When dealing with POS vendors and doing your research, take a good look at the reviews with regard to support. After all, if these companies outsource all of their support agents and have terrible support reviews, would you really expect them to take pride in their services? Remember that the sales process is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to interacting with your POS provider.
PInstead, partner with a POS company that is ready to address immediate problems as they arise and work with you on long-term solutions to your restaurant operations.
5. Remote Access
Just because your servers and cooks can’t work remotely doesn’t mean that you can’t.
No one likes spending Friday night in a back office or showing up extra-early in the morning to do some metrics reviewing, especially when you could do the exact same task at home, on a bus, or sitting by the beach. With cloud-based POS systems offering remote access, you can run your restaurant from anywhere with internet access.
As a culture, we’re striving to achieve a better work-life balance. Naturally, you should be spending a good amount of time in your restaurant, but you shouldn’t be spending every waking moment there! Trust your managers to do the managing, and when the workload takes its toll, head home and check your sales before bed.
Making Your Life Easier
Running a restaurant isn’t a walk in the park. It takes dedication, patience, flare, passion, business-savvy, and persistence. With all of these, it’s easy to love what you do in this industry, and the right POS system can help you attain the data-driven mentality required to run a successful restaurant today.
Not to mention, it’ll make your work easier and more accurate.
Looking for Restaurant POS software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Restaurant POS software solutions.