What You Should Be Asking When Purchasing Restaurant POS Software
The restaurant industry does a whopping $799 billion a year in sales, and most of those checks are tallied and charged through a point-of-sale (POS) system. The modern antidote to pen-and-paper inventory and chaotic kitchens, restaurant POS systems serve as organizational powerhouses — streamlining operations and improving customer service along the way.
For all those reasons and more, choosing a POS system is a crucial part of running a successful restaurant. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself — or your POS sales rep — before signing on the bottom line.
What Do I Need My POS Software to Do?
When it comes to program features for your new POS system, sometimes more isn’t better, it’s just more. Having a ton of unnecessary bells and whistles just makes it harder for employees to do their jobs and easier for everyone to make mistakes. Conversely, purchasing a POS system that lacks certain functions your restaurant requires could be a mistake of epic proportions.
Make a list of features you need, features you want and features it would be nice to have, and prioritize them in that order.
Is the Software Restaurant-Specific?
All successful businesses need sales, but not all sales are the same. Restaurants run on data sets that are markedly different from those used in retail shops, spas or car part stores, and they require different functionality. Can the POS system you’re considering create and price daily prix fixe menus? Is there a way to easily change a recipe? How about splitting one bill into several checks? Will you be able to use system-generated data to identify buying patterns or analyze labor costs by position or department?
Non-restaurant specific POS systems may work just fine, but they won’t help you achieve your next-level goals.
Will I Have to Switch POS Systems?
Many credit card processors require customers to switch to the provider’s proprietary POS system to use the processing software. It’s obviously a good deal for the company that then has a monopoly over restaurant operations and gets to sell two products in one fell swoop. For customers, however, switching systems is a complex and often frustrating operation.
Retraining your staff, opening outside of normal business hours, or even closing up shop for a day could cost you more money in lost revenue and labor expenditures. Whenever possible, partner with a processing company that offers software compatible with your existing POS system. You’ll be glad you did.
How Is Customer Service?
Even great software has the occasional glitch. Add human error and the typical learning curve, and there will more than likely be at least a few times when team members will want to reach out to your provider’s support team for assistance.
Is someone going to answer? Restaurants don’t operate on a typical 9-to-5 schedule, and your POS system’s customer service line shouldn’t either. Before buying, ask your vendor about after-hours availability and what kind of training those representatives have — an agent with no technical training won’t be of much help if your POS terminal freezes during the dinner rush.
Buying a restaurant POS system is a big decision. You can trade in a car or renovate a home, but a faulty or underperforming POS system is like a bad haircut — you’re kind of stuck, and the downsides are beyond stressful. Revzi offers restaurant owners best-in-class analytics software and POS technology that empowers everyday decision making and fuels sales.