If you’ve been in the restaurant business for a while, you may think you’re too accustomed to your legacy POS system to make the switch to a new one. You’ve seen your colleagues and competitors upgrade their systems and you’re coming to terms with the truth: a modern POS system can lead to new business, less hassle and greater efficiency for your restaurant. And while the transition may seem daunting, the benefits are likely too good to pass up, especially in such a competitive market.
Through the process, keep in mind these keys to making your POS transition as painless as possible:
By incorporating these best practices into your plan, you can ease your transition to a modern POS platform and take your restaurant into the 21st century.
Step #1 – Ask associates about their experience
Fortunately, there are thousands of restaurants and other businesses that been in the exact same situation. If you’ve been in the industry a while, you likely know other restaurateurs and small business owners who have made the transition to a modern POS system. Ask them about their experiences to get a picture of the challenges you will face throughout the process.
What kind of questions should you ask to get the information you need? Below are a few that should be helpful:
Online reviews are helpful as well, but it is definitely worth taking the time to talk to someone you know so you can ask any specific questions that the internet may not address.
Remember that you are not necessarily trying to find the best POS system money can buy—just the one that will work best for your restaurant.
Step #2 – Involve your staff
Only you can decide what system to implement, but it’s also important that you ask your staff their thoughts.
Your staff is on the frontline and will be using the restaurant POS system as much, if not more than you. So, it makes sense to take into account their needs as well as yours when making your decision.
This process can also serve as a sort of “pre-training” by introducing your staff to some of the important concepts and possible changes they will encounter. If you are considering a major switch, like one from a legacy to a mobile POS, ask them if they have any anxieties or concerns regarding the change.
Then, keep them involved as you weigh the options and begin installing your new system. Continue to brief them on your decisions and ask them for feedback so they never feel left out of the process. The more engaged your employees are throughout the installation of your new POS system, the more comfortable they will be with it when it goes live.
Step #3 – Make a choice
Now that you’ve learned how to research and engage your employees, it is time to determine what features your restaurant needs and, ultimately, what POS system you want to go with.
One of the first questions you need to ask about your next restaurant POS is whether or not you want a mobile system. Mobile point-of-sale systems offer a range of features that can revitalize your restaurant’s preparation and service processes. Consider this option if you are ready for significant changes in the way your restaurant operates.
A mobile POS system enable your servers to take and send orders, charge customers, handle electronic signatures, and show suggested tip options, all from the table. These types of features generate extra efficiency which can lead to improved table turn and better revenue.
However, many restaurants prefer not to implement such a significant change and choose to stick with a stationary POS option. For these businesses, a more modern system can still offer a slew of time-saving features while taking up less space than legacy systems.
While the choice between a mobile and stationary system will be one of the most influential decisions you make, there are some questions that are important to ask:
#1. Does the system track and compile data to help you manage your business?
Most modern POS systems offer much more sophisticated data tracking and business analytics features than legacy systems. Weigh these against your management practices to make a decision that works for you.
#2. Does the interface work with your methods/does it offer significant customization?
Only you and your staff know what works best for your restaurant. You may want to customize your new interface so it resembles your current one to minimize the need for training, or you may want to overhaul your interface to improve efficiency.
#3. Is the system secure?
A digital POS has to be secure, so make sure that your new system is PCI compliant and meets other cybersecurity guidelines so you never experience a hack or other emergency. With plenty of high-profile examples in the past year, you want to keep yourself and your customer’s data safe.
#4. Does the new POS work well with online ordering?
If your restaurant receives a lot of business through online orders, you’ll want to make sure your new system supports that. Some systems can send orders straight to the kitchen from the web, saving a step for your restaurant’s host or cashier. This is an especially useful POS feature for business such as burger joints or pizza parlors.
If you don’t already have several specific requirements in mind for your new POS, these questions will help get you started with the research process. As you learn more about the options, you’ll develop an understanding of your needs so you can choose the right system for your restaurant— and then start the transition.
We hope these tips and questions have been helpful to you as you take the important step of updating your POS!
Serious about updating your POS? Check out the Northstar POS system to improve the power and effectiveness of your restaurant!