When considering restaurant technology solutions, the choice is essentially between the numerous android restaurant POS systems available, and the apple restaurant POS.
It can be a bewildering decision — both systems have their dedicated advocates – and there’s no doubt that personal tastes and preferences play a part. But that being said, there are certain objective considerations of which you should be aware.
We set out here some of the most important.
Cost shouldn’t be the only factor in any technology decision, but in the low-margin, highly competitive restaurant business, it’s always going to be a key factor.
With that in mind, there’s no doubt that android and Microsoft POS systems are appreciably cheaper than an iPad restaurant POS option, not only in terms of initial set-up but also necessary maintenance and replacement.
Apple fans love the company’s products for the elegance of their design and sleek looks, but while that’s fine for personal devices it may make them less practical for use in busy restaurants. In the rush of service, tablets will inevitably get dropped or splashed with food or drink, making the replacement of damaged or broken items a regular requirement.
Using cheaper-to-replace android devices could, therefore, save you considerable sums in the long run.
And on a separate but related point, android devices are probably less vulnerable to theft than the highly consumer-desirable Apple products.
Security of payments and customers’ confidential data is increasingly important for all businesses, and certainly an issue when choosing a restaurant POS system.
Both iOS (Apple) and android POS offer the enhanced security of being cloud-based systems but there’s some evidence to suggest that iOS restaurant POS systems may be superior in this respect.
Apple, for example, does not share API codes with third-party developers. Security updates (patches) are released automatically, on a regular basis, and its privacy settings and permissions are regarded by IT professionals as more rigorous than their Android equivalents.
No major data breaches or malware attacks have been reported in relation to iOS, whereas Android devices appear to be a particular target for hackers.
On the other hand, the flipside of iOS’s superior security may be a lack of flexibility. The openness of android systems makes them relatively easy to customize, and for businesses that require a bespoke POS solution, this may be an important advantage.
Android systems are also available in a much wider variety of hardware formats and sizes than the iOS iPad, making them readily adaptable for use in a wide variety of restaurant types.
That said, there are Apple devotees who insist that the user experience for staff is significantly better with iOS-based POS systems. The Apple interface, they say, is faster, smoother and far less prone to glitches than the android. Apple is the provider of both hardware and software for the iPad, allowing both to operate in harmony; and excellent after-sales service is a given.
With the increasing importance of mobile and contactless payments, it’s also worth noting that iPad systems can be seamlessly integrated with Apple Pay, currently the most popular mobile payment method available.
This has been just a brief look at some of the key issues of which you need to be aware, and it’s clear that the choice is not a straightforward one.
There are, for example, market-leading POS providers whose systems operate only on android and some who use only iOS. Then again there are those that can work with either, according to your preference.
So there’s no objective “right” answer here. In the end, all that matters is how cost-effective and efficient a system is for you. And this decision will be guided by the particular characteristics of your individual restaurant, your budget, the requirements of your staff and your own personal preferences.