What makes a good restaurant POS system?

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Ever wondered what makes a restaurant work? How a single collection of cooks, chefs, waiters, and managers can seamlessly oversee the creation and delivery of dozens of orders at once?

Most people, as restaurant patrons, take for granted how difficult it is for a food-based business to cook and carry out the many dishes and diner requests with speed, accuracy, and efficiency. As customers, most people are only mindful of their meals, whether they were correctly made or delivered on time and taste to their liking. Yet, if you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, be it as a server or a supervisor or any position in between, you know that it takes a lot of effort, communication, and work to serve patrons the dishes they desire.

The primary means by which today’s cafes and cafeterias are able to run smoothly and successfully is by utilizing specially-designed computer systems built specifically with the unique nuances of a restaurant in mind. This software is known as Point of Sale systems (POS). These systems come in a variety of forms and with a variety of features, as they are used not only by restauranteurs but also by retailers in other industries as well. Yet, when it comes to restaurant owners, choosing the right POS system is critical.

What makes for good restaurant POS systems? Due to the fact that there are so many particular differences between restaurant types and needs as well as so many different POS software designs and capabilities available, it can be difficult to choose and purchase the right one. However, in general, there are certain features that all restaurant owners should look for when choosing a POS system. Here are five considerations every restauranteur should look for in deciding on the ideal POS system for their business.

Efficiency

Above all else, a restaurant’s POS system must work easily, efficiently, and with speed. Restaurants are all about timing, as every minute matters in the process of getting food cooked quickly and correctly and out to patrons as soon as possible. A POS system that is slow or has an interface that is difficult to navigate will not only cause its users frustration, but will also result in essential seconds lost in the process. Seconds that, in all reality, can and do make a difference.

Sales Mix Analysis and Inventory

Few people consider the inventory essentials of a food-based business. However, the itemized accountability of all the needs of a restaurant, from produce to plates, aprons to advertising copy and menus, is beyond extensive. Managers and owners know how critical inventory reporting and control is. Having a POS system that can work with the smallest of details of every single item and function with acute accuracy is the key to maintaining a successful business, ensuring both long-term success and overall profitability.

Marketing

The rules for advertising and publicity have changed in the past ten years. These days, the Internet has become the dominant arena for generating a reputation – good or bad. A well-designed website and subsequent presence on social media and various review sites is key for today’s eateries to earn success. While, traditionally, POS systems didn’t do much in terms of online marketing, the growing shift towards web-based publicity has made it an essential factor for success. A good POS software choice is one that can market to customers in real time through these online outlets.

Customer Engagement Tools

The rules for advertising and publicity have changed in the past ten years. These days, the Internet has become the dominant arena for generating a reputation – good or bad. A well-designed website that provides online ordering is key for today’s eateries to earn success. A good POS software choice is one that can market to customers in real time through online outlets as well as loyalty and gift card solutions.

Reporting

When it all comes down to it, a restaurant is a business like any other.  That means, at the end of the day, it all comes down to the numbers. Basic mathematics and statistics that signal the prosperity of a company – how many units sold, at what expense, hourly wages, labor costs, and so forth. All of these calculations can take a lot of time and energy to compute, but today’s cutting-edge software, such as the Aloha POS, is able to do all of that with ease. Quality analytics and real-time reporting capabilities can make or break a good POS system.

Technical Support

Computers break, software crashes, and systems fail. It’s an inevitable part of working with technology, no matter how good it is. However, a POS system that offers quality customer support and troubleshooting help at any given time of day is critical. In addition, technical support in the form of initial set-up, software upgrades, and credit card assistance is also key.