Free restaurant point of sale (POS) systems are an enticing option for business owners who are looking for a solution for their business. After all, what’s not to like — it’s free! Well, "free". However, free POS systems may provide you with basic functions, but as your needs change and your business grows, it’s not uncommon to find yourself wanting more.Some companies offering "free" POS require you to pay for enhanced features, programs or reporting capabilities. Furthermore, most free restaurant POS systems are not industry-specific, which can translate to increased time and effort you need to spend trying to make it work for your business.
Here are a couple of indications that it’s time to upgrade from free POS:
1. Lack of Functionality
Free restaurant POS may limit your business in the following areas:
Payment Flexibility: If your free restaurant POS is tied to a payment-processing contract, you’re locked into a payment processor and fee structure. This agreement limits the types of payments accepted at your restaurant and prevents shopping around for a lower processing rate.
Delivery: If you are currently running a free pizza POS system and it doesn’t include the features found in full-service packages like last order recall, mapping functions and delivery reports, your business could be operating less efficiently than it could be.
Mobility: In a recent study, the National Restaurant Association revealed that consumers are “hungry for technology options in restaurants.” A growing segment of the population is looking to incorporate mobile ordering and payments into their dining experience, so your POS system should be able to accommodate their wishes.
2. You Can’t Provide the Experiences Customers Expect
The restaurant business is fierce, so you can’t afford not to offer exceptional customer experiences. Don’t allow yourself to get talked into expensive features you’ll never use, but here are some you shouldn’t leave out:
Loyalty Program: A new POS system will help you upgrade your loyalty program from a stamp/punch card to electronic tracking that rewards customers automatically. In addition, the data you collect will help with targeted marketing campaigns.
Scalability: A new POS system should take care of your current needs and give you room to grow with upgrades, peripherals and additional applications.
Kitchen Display System: Your POS system should support a kitchen display system. A KDS takes the guesswork out of orders by eliminating handwritten tickets, and the kitchen staff will save time and work more efficiently.
Intuitive Interface: A system should be easy to learn and use. Orders should be placed in as few clicks as possible, no matter how extensive the menu or how often it changes.
Online Ordering: More people are logging on to place their orders for everything from coffee to pizza to burritos. In a recent National Restaurant Association survey, 63% of respondents said that they would use online ordering if it was offered. Your POS system should support online and mobile orders.
If you’re getting ready to pony up some cash for added features, you may have outgrown your free restaurant POS. Don’t allow a POS system with limited functionality to limit your growth potential, which can cost you much more in the long run. If diners are asking for a more engaging experience that allows them to place their order online, pay with their preferred method and track their delivery, it’s time to start shopping for a new POS solution that will keep them coming back.