Choosing the best point-of-sale (POS) system for your restaurant can be a difficult task. This may explain why, of the thousands we talk to each year, 63 percent of restaurant owners still don’t have a POS system in place.
Despite this, there’s an emerging trend among this group:
Tablet-based systems are more affordable than desktop POS software, making them a great option for restaurants adopting their first POS system.
What it all boils down to is this: mPOS software improves customer experiences and can have a profoundly positive impact on revenue.
Given this shift toward mPOS adoption, we’ve created this checklist for you to use while considering adopting an mPOS solution.
Whatever vendor(s) you may be evaluating, make sure their product meets all of the following criteria for the best chances of success.
Mobile Restaurant POS Checklist
Is Easy to Use
No matter what kind of POS system you adopt, it needs to have a user-friendly interface for servers and customers alike. This should be the very top priority on your POS checklist. The system should also offer easy customizations for the front and back of house.
More than anything else, your POS should enhance your operation; not burden it.
For example, Taylor Moore, marketing communications specialist for mobile POS provider TouchBistro, says the mobility offered by mPOS systems enhances restaurants by reducing server errors.
“Now servers can actually punch in the order at the table [and send it]. This helps reduce order errors because there’s not as much room for mistakes as when servers are writing down orders or trying to remember them.”
Taylor Moore, TouchBistro
Mobile POS systems are also making it easy for your servers to help improve your bottom line.
“A huge benefit for restaurants is the ability to upsell on the fly,” Moore of TouchBistro says.
Here’s what she means: Many mPOS systems feature forced modifiers, or prompts that notify servers to make specific recommendations based on customer orders.
For example, a prompt might show a list of add-ons for a burger that a server has to choose from before moving on.
This forces them to ask the customer if they’d like to upgrade. The prompts can also recommend entirely new items, such as recommending a signature coffee drink to accompany a dessert.
Another area that restaurants use to upsell is featuring color coding on certain items. For example, if you pull up your rums or gins [on the POS], there might be featured ones that are colored in a different way. That will tell the server to promote that specific product when they’re taking the order.
Taylor Moore, TouchBistro
Includes All Necessary Functionality
Along with all these front of house, server- and customer-focused features, you also want your mPOS to feature easy-to-use backend capabilities—most importantly, inventory management and sales reporting and analysis.
With these features, you’ll be able to better manage your food and drink costs and determine which menu items your servers should recommend based on which yield the best margins.
So even though you’re moving to a smaller, sleeker physical system, it still needs to pack the same functional punch as a traditional POS system.
This means your mPOS shouldn’t slouch on capabilities such as inventory management and sales reporting.
Sales reporting features are also crucial for growing your bottom line. These features can pinpoint the most popular and most profitable menu items.
Used together with inventory management, you can see at the most granular level how much revenue you’re bringing in per item.
In addition to these valuable features, you’ll also want to choose a system that offers integrations with other types of business software.
We like to give our [users] the ability to integrate with whoever they want. It’s kind of an idea of an ecosystem, with your point of sale being at the heart of it and all of your other systems (loyalty, inventory, accounting) operating in a seamless way with your POS.
Taylor Moore, TouchBistro
Has Essential Customer-Facing Capabilities
The biggest difference between mobile POS systems and traditional POS systems is … the mobility (obviously). With an mPOS system, servers not only carry a tablet around with them to input orders, but use them to engage customers.
For example, Software Advice published a recent report that found that engaging customers by turning the mPOS system over to them to complete the payment process can actually lead to an increase in tips.
Most mPOS systems feature preset tip options displayed on a screen during the payment process, which makes it very easy for customers to leave whatever preset tip percentages you’ve chosen.
To further improve customer engagement, Moore says that many mPOS users take the time to make their menu visual by photographing food and beverage items offered:
“The visual menu is a definite ‘Wow!’ factor. The server can turn around an iPad and say, ‘Feel free to flip through this visual menu we have so you can see all of our features and pictures of what our desserts look like.
Trying to make a decision without a picture or more information can be challenging. On a traditional menu, items that have pictures attached to them traditionally do better, so being able to look through an entire menu with images is really great for customer experience.”
Along with the visual menu, mPOS systems also improve customer experiences from a payments security standpoint—servers can complete transactions at the table without having to take the customer’s card out of their sight.
Completing the payment at the table with a tablet also enables servers to review the order with customers. This is especially helpful with splitting checks.
“Especially with millennials, [splitting checks] is the norm now,” Moore says. If you’re not providing that option in an effortless way, you’re really going to separate yourself out as a restaurant that people aren’t enjoying their experience at.”
While this isn’t a comprehensive POS checklist of everything your new system needs to offer, it contains the critical features and capabilities you, your staff and your customers will all benefit from.
If you need help narrowing down the options to select the right mPOS system for your restaurant, speak with a trusted software advisor today by calling (888) 234-5187.