I was recently asked: "What are the top 3 features a restaurant owner should look for in a point-of-sale system?"
3 features? Only 3? Why, we've been developing these systems for years, adding features all the time. We must have hundreds of features, thousands even. And the three that are most important to any particular restaurant owner are definitely not consistent. While one may find it absolutely critical to be able to mark items out of stock, another may think that labor productivity reporting is key, and another is absolutely obsessed about formatting printed tickets "just so".
So to answer this question, we have to look beyond individual features and focus on the big picture. A restaurant point-of-sale system is a big investment, not just financially, but also in the time and energy you and your staff will spend configuring it, learning it, and feeding it data. You definitely want to get the right one. Here's how to know if a system is right for you.
Feature #1: Fit to Your Business
OK, so I guess this one is cheating a little bit, because it encompasses all those features everyone gets so crazy about. But rightly so. Every restaurant runs a little bit differently. A coffee shop is not going to have the same needs as a sports bar or a pizza delivery restaurant, even though they may all serve sandwiches! Make sure to look for a point-of-sale system that can fit your specific business and has the flexibility to adapt to your business workflow.
You know what annoys you about the POS systems you've used - and what you love about them. Don't assume that every system is going to work the same way. It's shocking how often restaurant owners purchase a system and then realize that it doesn't do that critical thing. Maybe it doesn't handle your crazy coupons, or it doesn't route your items to the right printers, or it doesn't price your pizza right. Make sure you double check. Check references, take a test drive. If you are specialized in any way - like pizza delivery, or coffee, brew pub or yogurt shop - look for a system that was designed for the likes of you!
Feature #2: The Connections Count
The point-of-sale system is at the heart of your operation but in today's world, many other technologies interact with your POS system and your customer. Credit card processing, gift cards, customer loyalty, online ordering, social media, mobile ordering, business intelligence -- all have a role to play and need to play nicely with your POS system. Many restaurant owners make the mistake of choosing a point-of-sale system and assuming that they will be able to tie all these pieces together. It's hard to integrate these technologies - especially if you are working with 3, 4, 5 different vendors! Don't make it hard on yourself. Choose a vendor that can bring all of these technologies to the table for you to use now or in the future. Focus on making this part of your technology equation simple.
Feature #3. Business Insight.
Good POS systems do more than just ring up orders these days. Look for features that help you improve your business. Reporting that makes sense, and highlights things you might want to take action on. Alerts that push critical information to you, rather than expecting you to go looking for it. Marketing solutions that reach out and bring customers back more often. Labor schedules that communicate to your employees automatically. You are constantly feeding your technology data - with every order, it learns more about your business. The data your POS system collects should be working for your bottom line.
Granbury Solutions has the affordable, powerful technology you need to help your restaurant thrive! We specialize in business-boosting tools that work together - from Point-of-Sale to online, mobile & self serve ordering, business reporting, and innovative customer loyalty programs. We want to hear what your 3 critical features are!