Restaurant POS software is the backbone of any successful restaurant. With so many applications and important functions for both front of house and back office operations, it’s imperative to choose a restaurant point of sale system with features that suit your business. But with so many options at your disposal, it can be tough to determine what to look for.
When selecting a point of sale system or upgrading to a new one, keep an eye out for these must-have restaurant POS features. They can help you streamline your operation, scale your business, and increase restaurant sales.
Must-have restaurant POS feature #1: Ease of use
Running a restaurant requires a great deal of coordination and attention to detail. As a restaurant owner or manager, the last thing you need is a complicated restaurant POS system with an interface or features that aren’t user-friendly. With so much to manage, a poorly-designed system can add significant time to your daily tasks and cause complications or costly errors if your staff can’t operate it easily and quickly. Plus, it could diminish your customer experience if there are issues with seating, ordering, payments, or any other aspect of their visit.
In order to keep things running smoothly and ensure that customers are satisfied, you should look for a restaurant point of sale system that is easy to use. The best POS systems make training easy and effective, come with shortcut keys for fast processing, and have an intuitive management screen for quick menu and staff changes. You should also be able to make changes from any terminal, which is common among cloud-based restaurant POS systems. Hybrid POS systems like RPOWER offer that functionality without sacrificing the reliability of a hardwired internal network.
Must-have restaurant POS feature #2: Multiple price levels
Whether it is Happy Hour, Wine Wednesday, Ladies Night, or any other occasion, specials and promotions are great ways to increase restaurant sales. Any solution worth its salt will have restaurant POS features that allow you to have multiple price points for individual items. Whether during slow times or high-volume periods, restaurants need the ability to change pricing during specific days, hours, or events. When searching for the best restaurant POS for your business, it’s important to ensure that your preferred solution offers that functionality.
Must-have restaurant POS feature #3: Fully integrated EMV
With so many customers paying by card, it is more important than ever before to protect both your business and customer data. With fully-integrated EMV payment processing, you can reduce your liability of chargebacks, ensure transactions are secure, and increase your customer’s sense of security.
Additionally, the solution you choose should offer both chip-card and near field communication (NFC) for payment through Apple Pay, Google Wallet, etc. For restaurants looking to get involved in the booming online ordering and delivery business, EMV at-the-door is vital to protecting both customer and business data.
Must-have restaurant POS feature #4: Speed
When it comes to the restaurant business, especially those in quick-service, bar, and nightclub environments, time is money. Beyond the delays that a slow POS system can inflict on your front and back of house, customers have little patience for POS software that slows down the checkout process. Long lines, slow technology, and complicated POS systems can all deeply affect your bottom line.
Any system you use should have restaurant POS features with line-busting capabilities. Look for platforms that can perform at high speeds, even when there is increased volume. RPOWER POS, for example, can even perform on computers that meet only the bare-minimum system requirements for operating systems, such as Windows 7+.
When searching for a restaurant point of sale solution, you should also look for a platform that keeps historical data in the background, so that each day is started with a fresh index file. Pay close attention to how the software platform is written. Platforms written from the ground-up in C++ or the like (not modularized or reliant on a web-browser), and those that are not fully reliant on Windows drivers or applications will help to eliminate hardware stuck spooling data or software crashing.
Must-have restaurant POS feature #5: Consolidated data reporting
For any business that has multiple locations, consolidated data reporting is one of the most important restaurant POS features. Multi-store reporting should come from one central location. Your POS should provide you with the ability to communicate data directly to third-party providers such as payroll exports, accounting software integrations, food vendors, inventory managers, and the like.
Centralized reporting can also provide you with deeper insight into the performance of each location, and allows you to streamline important back office processes across all locations. With a system that has cloud reporting, you can set up a remote access account to your reports so that your accountant has access to your financials without having to visit each location. And with weekly reports, you can completely eliminate the hassle of regularly exporting reporting data to your accountant.
Must-have restaurant POS feature #6: Superior redundancy
One of the most detrimental issues a restaurant can experience is the loss of important data from outages or technical issues. When looking for a restaurant POS, choose a provider that stores system data on a local file server, as well as other backup file servers, in addition to the cloud. It’s also important to look for restaurant POS features like offline mode, where you can maintain functionality even when the network goes down.
For additional security, look for a POS software provider with a local database structure, as well as PA-DSS v3.2 validation to store encrypted cardholder data. Then, if you need to be in offline mode, you can still operate at full capacity without customers or merchants ever knowing any different.
Must-have restaurant POS feature #7: Software integrations
Modern point of sale systems are packed with restaurant POS features that are designed to improve almost every aspect of your restaurant operation. However, it’s not uncommon to use third-party applications to supplement your business. The restaurant POS system you choose should be able to integrate with a number of third-party applications so that you can avoid manual transcription that could lead to errors or inefficiencies. The best restaurant POS systems offer a wide variety of third-party integrations -- from accounting software to online ordering, it’s important to find a provider that can accommodate the software that you’re already using.
Must-have restaurant POS feature #8: Table management & reservations
No matter how big or small your restaurant may be, any quality restaurant POS system should have built-in table management and the ability to take and manage reservations. This restaurant POS feature can give your staff the ability to view the status of your tables at any given time, quickly update availability based on customer reservations, and make adjustments on the fly. While this isn’t as important for takeout restaurants, it’s essential for any restaurant that has a dining room as it can help you reduce wait times and improve your customer experience.
Must-have restaurant POS feature #9: Marketing tools
Having the restaurant POS features and resources to market your business and attract new customers is almost as important as collecting money from customers. Beyond the obvious, like collecting customer data to help personalize the customer experience, you should look for restaurant POS features that can help you grow your revenue and keep customers coming back. Features like loyalty programs, gift cards, customer rewards, automatic discounts based on customer purchase activity, and special promotions to drive traffic during slow times are a few of the many restaurant marketing tools that can help you grow your business.
Must-have restaurant POS feature #10: Online ordering
To grow a restaurant business in today’s world, you need an efficient online ordering solution. A POS system that accepts online orders will allow you to improve your margins and boost efficiency, all while reducing errors and wasted time. The best restaurant point of sale systems integrate with your front and back of house processes to streamline workflows, allowing you to easily accept orders, send them to the kitchen, prepare them for takeout or delivery, and get them to your customers without interfering with dine-in orders.
Restaurant POS features can make or break a business, so it’s crucial to take time and research any POS system before selecting one for your business. While the aforementioned features are important for any restaurant to have, each restaurant has specific needs that must be addressed. No matter what niche of the food service market you carve out, RPOWER Point of Sale systems are tailored to meet your demands through flexible and user-friendly design.
Learn more about RPOWER, for restaurateurs ready to take their business to the next level.