You have the passion for cooking, the mind of the entrepreneur, and the finances to start your own restaurant business. One of the things you don't know much about involves how your restaurant will record customers orders, how will those orders be sent to kitchen staff, and what software will be used to accept debit and credit transactions for paid orders.
Point of Sale (POS) machines are used by all types of restaurants to record customer's orders and accept payments. These machines are an integral part of the business to make sure that customers receive the right orders and those orders are priced accordingly. There are different POS software based on the type of restaurant you will be operating. When purchasing software, you'll need to decide on which POS software works best and fits into your budget.
Years ago, a POS system did not exist stores ran sales on a cash register that could print out a receipt. With our growing technology, we now have computerized systems that make the restaurant business more efficient. Basic computerized POS systems consist of a computer, monitor, card reader, and a receipt printer based on the type of restaurant business you are running you can even add on extras that send orders directly to your kitchen. There are many options available to help you track orders, keep food costs low, and overall maintain a more effective communication system between each section of your restaurant.
The latest trends in restaurant POS systems consist of a LCD touch screen. This screen has programmable options where restaurants can take predefined orders by just clicking on the appropriate icon. LCD touch screens can be combined with keyboards for restaurants that take reservations for dine-in sitting.
You need to completely understand the size of your restaurant and what food you are offering to determine what types of POS software systems will work the best for you. Understand that you can either purchase full POS software with the complete features or you can customize the features so that you only have exactly what you want.
If you are operating a dine-in restaurant, you will need more features than a restaurant that is strictly for take-out or drive-thru. Special features you should consider:
Other features to consider for your dine-in restaurant include kitchen order printing and kitchen video display that allows the cook staff to receive the orders without wading through slips of paper to ensure the meals are going to the right tables. This will ensure that the proper food is getting to the right table. You can enhance your kitchen printer to include a screen for your food runners as well. Having an effective POS System can cut back on loss of food due to long hold times. Credit card, gift card, and gift certificate processing are additional features to consider for optimal efficiency.
Take-out/Carry Out Restaurants
Take-out and carry out restaurants do not need the same features as dine-in restaurants. You won't need reservations software or bar menu/tab features. Since most of your orders will be taken by phone or walk-ins, you can have simple LCD touch screens with defined menu tabs if the food on your menus doesn't change. You also need to consider the right software if your restaurant is offering delivery services.
Fast Food Restaurants
Most fast food restaurants offer drive-thru service. POS software that is ideal for these type of restaurants are LCD touch screens with predefined menu tabs. You will need more touch screens for fast food restaurants than you will for any other type of restaurant. It is also ideal to have kitchen order printing and inventory control to keep track of your food supplies.
Mobile Food Carts
Mobile food carts are unique restaurants compared to any other restaurant. You will be driving to areas and taking orders, so you will not need phone integration, seating for dining, or delivery services. Your POS software system does not have to be as complex as the others, but is does need to be mobile.
Wireless POS systems are ideal for food cart vendors. No matter where you are, you can have access to Web-based point of sale services so that you can handle credit card transactions while taking orders. Wireless POS can be used on mobile printers, laptops, and even cell phones with wireless access. The days of a big bulky carbon copy machines are over with. Swipe a card and have the sale in your account immediately. This will reduce the risk of having a decline after you have sold your merchandise. Some companies even offer a text message receipt that goes to your customers cell phone.You can still have the same POS software that a brick-and-mortar restaurant has no matter how big or small your food cart is.
The POS software, POS hardware, and the number of devices you need must be based on how large of a restaurant you are running, the number of employees you have, and the available budget. You should decide on one that will last for years without needing many changes. But don't be afraid to upgrade when finances allow so that you have the most up-to-date technology.