Introduction to Restaurant POS Software
Restaurants have unique needs when it comes to point-of-sale (POS) software, as they handle time-sensitive inventory that significantly impacts their profitability. They must also be able to process various payment forms and generate sales reports to improve their performance. By choosing the appropriate restaurant POS software, establishments can leverage technology to optimize their control.
What to Consider When Choosing a Restaurant POS System
There are several restaurant POS systems available on the market, each offering a different set of features for specific models. Owners must carefully assess their customer payment preferences and processing capabilities to ensure they choose the correct solution.
Mobile, or contactless, payments began gaining traction years ago as companies, including Apple, offered a new way to make purchases. This technology allows customers to leave their credit cards at home and complete transactions with their smartphones. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more consumers prefer mobile payments as they limit contact.
Modern POS systems accept contactless payments, allowing restaurants to implement portable tablets so customers can perform their own transactions. This functionality reduces server travel time and human error during the ordering process. Now guests don't have to wait for their server to check out.
Restaurants also require extensive inventory control to prevent food spoilage and limit waste. Advanced POS software tracks stock levels with every customer purchase so establishments can accurately gauge reorder points. This functionality enables restaurants to avoid under and overordering ingredients to minimize food costs.
Cost reduction takes detailed analysis to pinpoint exactly where the restaurant is losing money and the most lucrative revenue streams. Report generation is essential for making data-based decisions and tracking progress. Sophisticated POS solutions offer report generation so management can monitor spending, sales, profit margins, and employee performance.
Top 5 POS Software
An adequate POS solution should provide the above functionalities, as well as meet each restaurant's unique needs. The following POS software solutions are multi-purpose and provide a high level of functionality through various features.
1. Plum POS
Plum POS offers a user-friendly interface that enables restaurants to use their own devices, such as tablets and computers. Starting at just $29 a month, establishments can access Plum POS software and its features.
- Cloud Storage
- Pre-Built Menus
- Pre-Programmed Table Layouts
- Sales Reporting
- Customizable Dashboard
Plum POS also offers hardware, such as touch-screen tablets, printers, and kitchen monitors, for businesses that do not have the equipment.
2. Toast POS
Toast POS is another multi-purpose solution that focuses on the primary restaurant tasks.
- Inventory tracking
- Employee management
- Payroll management
- Kitchen communication
- Mobile Ordering
Starting at $75 a month per terminal, restaurants can access Toast POS software. However, there are additional fees for hardware, card processing, and implementation. This provider also offers portable devices so servers can send orders to the kitchen from anywhere in the restaurant.
Toast now has a customer interface that enables them to pay from their table using their own portable device. This software sources additional features from third parties at the restaurant's request for add-ons.
3. Lightspeed POS
Lightspeed POS is available to restaurants starting at $69 a month per payment terminal. This version provides essential functions, such as order and payment processing, inventory control, and adjustable floor plans. Lightspeed POS caters to bars, cafes, and other restaurants of varying sizes. As an establishment grows, it can upgrade the plan to access more sophisticated features.
ShopKeep is a mobile-based POS solution that caters to startups and medium-sized restaurants. With mobile tablets, guests can place their orders and complete transactions right from their table. ShopKeep also provides inventory management and sales reporting features for more impactful decision-making.
However, their pricing isn't as straightforward. Restaurants must contact the provider directly to get a price quote for their personalized plan.
Square is a multi-purpose POS solution but is most known for its mobile payment processing. Because of their mobile functionality, many food trucks, cafes, and mobile vendors use Square software. This enables restaurants to mobilize their business and complete sales on the road.
Aside from mobility, Square offers other necessary functions, including-
- Menu management
- Inventory management
- Table outline
- Online store synchronization
Square's pricing is in tiers, where restaurants can pay more to access additional features. While there is a free option, they do charge clients a percentage of each credit card transaction. The next option is $60 a month per terminal, which includes all basic functions. Then at $299 a month, owners can access payroll, marketing, and other features.