RPOWER POS - How to choose a restaurant POS system

How to choose a restaurant POS system

How to choose a restaurant POS system

Between managing staff, attracting new customers, keeping costs in check, and everything else that goes on behind the scenes, running a restaurant is no easy task. And without proper systems and technology in place, it’s even harder.

Fortunately, restaurant point of sale software can help; it streamlines almost every aspect of restaurant management to ensure your business is as efficient and effective as possible. However, with so many options at your disposal, it can be difficult to figure out which point of sale system is best. Every business has different needs, so it’s important to compare your options to find the right one for your situation.

Having trouble getting started? We can help. Here’s a quick guide on how to choose a restaurant POS system.

Step 1: Determine your must-haves

Unless you’ve got an unlimited budget, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get every single feature and functionality you want. Instead, you should figure out what aspects of a point of sale system you can’t live without. Is accounting a major pain point for your business? If so, you’ll need to make sure your POS of choice has an accounting function or the option to integrate 3rd party accounting software. Is online ordering a major issue? If so, you’ll need a restaurant point of sale system with either a native or integrated system. The bottom line is, determine which features and functionalities are absolutely essential for your business in order to weed out products that don’t offer the solutions you need.

Step 2: Determine your would-like-to-haves

Beyond the essentials, there are sure to be plenty of things that would be nice to have, but not necessarily mandatory. These could be minor things like a customizable interface or employee self-service to major things like offline mode or curbside pickup, but in the end, the choice is yours. These features can help set one restaurant point of sale system apart from the others, or just offer additional value that helps you get more value out of your investment.

Step 3: Set a budget

The next step towards finding the right point of sale system is setting a budget. Only you know your business, so you’re the best person to determine the right amount, but we can provide some guidance on what to consider:

Initial costs

You’ll need to cover the cost of any hardware, infrastructure, setup, and support to get your new system up and running. The initial costs will vary from one provider to another, but the following are not uncommon:

  • Point of sale terminals

  • Mobile point of sale terminals

  • Receipt & Kitchen Printers

  • Credit Card Terminals (EMV/NFC/MSR)

  • Kitchen display systems

  • Local Network & Wireless Infrastructure

  • Customer facing displays

  • System Installation, Menu Programming, Staff Training

Ongoing costs

After the system is setup, understand any monthly fees for your restaurant point of sale software and any add-on services provided. These fees could include:

  • Software fees ($20 - $50 per month per workstation)

  • Support fees ($99 - $399 per month)

  • Annual updgrade fees ($300 - $999 per year)

  • Processing gateway fees ($30 - $300 per month)

  • Online Ordering ($99 - $199 per month)

  • Loyalty programs ($30 - $199 per month)


In order to get the most out of your restaurant point of sale system, you’ll need to train your staff. Which will cost both time and money. Some POS system providers offer training as well, but their rates will vary. Some important questions to ask are:

  • Does the installation come with Menu Programming and system training?

  • Are these available on an ongoing basis?

  • What documentation does the provider have available?


In the event that there’s an issue with your point of sale system, you’ll need to get support from your provider. If they don’t include free support, you’ll need to pay to bring a technician in, so you’ll need to find out how much they charge for ongoing software support.

  • What are the initial costs?

  • What are the recurring costs?

  • What is the total cost including setup and training?

  • Can I pay in installments? If so, when? And what is the interest rate

  • Is it a flat fee or monthly-recurring payments?

  • Are there any additional fees to be aware of?

  • Do you offer a warranty and/or ongoing support?

Step 4: Ask questions

Now that you’ve narrowed down your options and figured out exactly what you’re looking for, it’s time to start asking questions. While you don’t need to ask all of these, a combination of them can help you understand whether or not the provider is a good fit. 


The features of a potential point of sale system can make or break a deal. Chances are you’re buying a point of sale system to address an issue, so it’s up to you to ensure that the one you choose has the solutions you need.

  • How does it handle credit card processing?

  • Does it integrate with other software? Accounting? Gift & Loyalty?

  • Does it provide real-time reporting and business analytics?

  • Does it offer workforce management? Is there a time clock? How does it handle tips?

  • Does it offer table/dining room management?

  • Does it have online ordering capabilities? Does it integrate with major carriers?

  • Does it handle inventory internally or with 3rd party groups?

  • Does it offer food delivery functionality?


Before you can get started with ANY restaurant point of sale system, you’ll need to have infrastructure in place. Between a network, physical terminals, sufficient power, and other details, you’ll want to make sure the point of sale system you choose actually works with your infrastructure. And if it doesn't, be prepared to pay to put the proper into place. 

  • What are the hardware requirements?

  • What are the software requirements?

  • What are the network requirements? Is it hard-wired? Wireless?

  • How does the POS handle internet outages? Offline capabilities?

  • What existing infrastructure do I already have that we can repurpose?

  • Does it have mobile POS capabilities? Is contactless payment possible?

  • Is the POS system scalable if we add locations or terminals?

Merchant services

If you plan to accept debit and credit card payments (and you should), you’ll need a way to process them. Some point of sale systems/providers offer them directly, while others will allow you to outsource. Some may bake processing fees into the overall price, while others may charge a fee per transaction. The point is -- Merchant services are an important consideration when buying restaurant POS software, so it doesn’t hurt to ask a few questions:

  • How will you be charged for merchant services? Per month? Per transaction?

  • Are you required to use the POS Merchant Services?

  • Can you source your own Merchant Services?

  • How does the option impact your initial & ongoing costs?

  • Are there contract lengths/terms?

  • How does Merchant Services options affect initial, ongoing and total cost of ownership?


At the end of the day, no matter how many features a restaurant POS may have, it’s not useful if your team can’t use it. Make sure the system you choose is easy to use for both you and your staff, and ensure everyone can get the training they need.

  • Is it specifically designed for restaurants?

  • Can I customize the software for my restaurant? If so, how?

  • Is the interface easy to use? Can I see a demo?

  • How much training does this system require?

  • If there is a mobile POS, is it easy for customers to use?

  • Do you offer additional training sessions? Free or for a price?

  • Do you offer on-demand video training? Is there an online reference guide? Or am I stuck with manuals?

  • How are system updates handled? Are they automated, IF so, do update changes impact my operations or are new features changes an option for us to implement. How often do they happen, are we notified in advance?


While restaurant point of sale systems are reliable, things can happen. Whether yours goes down due to a hardware issue or just doesn't work the way it was intended, you’ll need to get support from your provider.

  • Do you provide on-site installation? Is it free or is it at an additional cost?

  • What are your customer support hours?

  • How do I contact customer support? Email? Text? Phone?

  • What is the typical answer/resolution time for support tickets?

  • Is customer support US-based or provided from a generic hotline? 

  • Do your customer support staff have restaurant experience?

  • Do you offer a transition team from an old POS system to the new one? 

  • Can you import our previous database from our old POS? Is there a charge?

  • Can I speak with some of your current customers?


Keeping your and your customers’ data safe is extremely important, so the provider/solution you choose should help you keep everything locked down.

  • How often does the system backup and how do I restore service?

  • How is customer data protected?

  • What payment processing technology is used for security?

  • Is the POS locally-hosted, cloud-based, or hybrid?

  • Does the POS have failsafe backups and/or offline mode?

  • What is your track record for stability and reliability?

  • Do you sell my restaurant’s data to third parties?

  • Is your payment solution PCI compliant?

  • Is this restaurant POS EMV compliant?

  • Can I access my restaurant data from offsite?


If you didn’t already know, restaurant point of sale systems are extremely effective tools for marketing. If you plan to use yours for the purpose, just make sure it offers everything you (or your restaurant marketing team) needs.

  • What customer data does it collect?

  • How can I access customer data? Can it be recalled upon new order?

  • Is there a built in loyalty or gift card program?

  • Does it save customer information from online ordering?

Final thoughts

If you’re not already using a restaurant point of sale system, now’s a good time to start. It can help you speed up manual processes, boost sales, reduce room for error, and ultimately, increase your profits. Finding the ideal restaurant point of sale system is not easy, but it gets easier if you know what to look for. Once you’ve figured out what you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to ask questions in order to pinpoint the best restaurant point of sale system for your business.


Have any questions? We are happy to help!