In just a few years, Point of Service (POS) systems became a new standard for most restaurants, cafes and diners. Technology is reshaping everything, and the food service industry is among the sectors that experienced the biggest changes of the digital revolution. Customers now expect their food and services provided to be as smart and efficient as their smartphones are, while traditional menu papers and waiters are rapidly becoming an obsolete part of our past.
A POS is now a necessity more than just a commodity, but finding the right one among the hundreds available can be a daring feat. A good POS software must provide a good degree of automation, possess an easy and immediate interface, provide you and your customers with a lot of feature, all while not being so much expensive to affect your monthly costs.
Although there’s no real best POS other than the one that is really suited for your own needs, you should still know which ones are the most important features that a good POS must include.
1. Accessibility and training tools
Employees may require time to get used to a new POS solution – time during which their efficiency is negatively affected. A lot of software can be full with overwhelming bloatware that needs to be skimmed before you can even start working with it, and once again, this may consume a lot of your precious time.
Look for those companies who offer video tutorials that can guide you and your employees towards learning the POS functions as quickly as possible. Some of them even provide demo features that can be used as training tools, saving you a lot of time and making the process of hiring a new employee smoother and simpler.
2. Inventory management
Keeping track of your inventory can be a dreadful and time-consuming experience. Inventory management is absolutely critical to ensure your business success, and a functional system that smooths out this process can help you save a lot of money, time and effort.
Having a system that helps you keep track of every items sold, ingredient consumed and the status of your stock can make a big difference. The best POS provide you with streamlined inventory management functions that will make these operations less terrifying and more efficient.
3. Be economic, but not cheap
If you just started your business and your budget is really low, there are a lot of POS system that come for free. However, the less they cost, the more you’ll have to invest your efforts to properly customize and make them work. Also, cheaper POS may be unstable, and you have to think about how much a clogged up queue of disgruntled guests may cost you.
More costly solutions may offer you a better customer service, tons of additional options and features and much more. However, if a POS costs too much, it may affects your revenue far too much that it should. A software that asks for a monthly license may seem more expensive than one that asks for a flat fee based on your transactions, but if your revenues are high enough the opposite may be true, also.
4. Customer experience
Some POS solutions provide better customer experience than others. Patrons like to be able to look t their orders in real time, watch pretty pictures, or know about the latest offers and upsells available. Some POS let your customers make online reservations, while others possess an advanced interface to entice them with gift cards and loyalty programs. On top of that, a good customer experience is extremely useful to improve your branding efforts.
5. Data Reporting
Collecting reliable data is the first part of a successful marketing strategy. Any business who even hopes to reach some degree of success must know all about his numbers, and food services are certainly no exception. Many POS will automatically collect and store all your data from labor and food costs, items sold, number of customers, sales by type, hour, day of the week and a lot more.
Knowing your numbers will help you narrow down your target, finely tune your strategies and, above all, increase your revenues. Look for POS software that provide better and more accessible analytics and data collecting tools to have a clearer picture of your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and goals achieved.
When you’re going to choose your POS software, take your time. Finding the right one may take a little while, but you’re going to use it for a lot of time and for a lot of things every day. It’s going to be your best friend, so do not hurry, and make a smart choice!