The latest electronic point of sale (ePos) systems are so flexible that special features may be developed to better match the special needs of specific industries. Restaurants are one fine example of such an industry, where tailor-made ePos may have a significant impact on productivity. Here’s a synthetic presentation of the specifications and benefits of a true “made-for-restaurants” ePos.
Hardware and software specifications of a true restaurant ePos
A true restaurant point of sale system relies both on specific hardware and software in order to allow what some industry experts call “tableside ordering”, and bring measurable benefits.
1) Restaurant- specific hardware
On top of the usual attire of a common ePos system, restaurant versions will most likely include :
• Mobile terminals,
• Mobile, wi-fi connected PDQ terminal,
• Touchscreen displays
2) Restaurant-specific software
Related software will need to handle restaurant-specific business operations, such as :
• Table mapping,
• Table billing,
• Per-seat ordering,
• Waiter identification and reporting,
• CRM integration.
Benefits of a restaurant ePos
According to the a study by Hospitality Technology, tableside ordering and payment devices are the single largest growth area in full-service restaurants. Here’s why no less than a third of respondents to this study are planning to rollout a restaurant ePos system by the end of 2015.
1) Benefits of tableside ordering
When properly implemented, tableside ordering allows many benefits.
• Easier ordering, as waiters do not need to travel back and forth to get information on dish availability, day items, special pricing, etc.
• Easier billing, as waiters do not need to get back to the main desk to operate a credit card reader for payment, that all their colleagues are occasionally fighting to use at the same time during rush hours,
• All of the above resulting in noticeable table turns increase, with more guests served and shorter waiting times, keeping potential customers from walking out.
2) Benefits of restaurant ePos CRM integration
Most restaurant-specific ePos software either connects to the most popular CRM programs, or include an in-house designed CRM. The benefits are considerable :
• Relevant upselling options are proposed to the waiter as he enters the order,
• These options can also be suggested as the waiter enters the customer’s ID, in case of a loyalty program.
When an average two thirds of restaurant customers are returning ones, these benefits do make a marked difference.
Extra benefits with more advanced - but not necessarily more expensive - restaurant solutions
A more evolved ePos system, relying on popular hardware and easy-to-use cloud-based software and may be especially beneficial to restaurant owners.
1) iPad compatible software
Among the most recent developments in ePos technology, the fact that many software vendors are developing their solutions to be natively compatible with terminals such as the iPad is great news for restaurant owners.
• iPads are widely available, and do no tie the business customer with a specific reseller,
• These mobile, durable, versatile devices with large displays, represent the perfect ePos terminal for restaurants, from a waiter’s perspective - and from an end-customer perspective.
• Adoption rate by staff members will be high, as they are very likely to be already familiar with such tools
2) Cloud-based software
The cloud computing revolution has reached the point of sale, which means :
• Dozens of specialized software providers,
• Easier rollout and implementation of an ePos system in restaurants,
• Easy updates and customization.
• Flexible, usage volume-based payment options, and therefore lower initial investment.
However, given the specific constraints of a restaurant environment, interested business owners may prefer restaurant ePos solutions with fully operational offline-mode capability, in case the connection gets lost.