If you are in the market to purchase a new restaurant POS system and you’re not sure what questions to ask, you’ve come to the right place. When it comes to selecting the appropriate point-of-sale (POS) system it can be a laborious task. But if you don’t ask the right questions, the pain you will feel running your business with a crappy POS system will be far worse.
So before investing your hard earned money, I’m going to provide you with the exact 10 questions you need to ask when buying a pos system. Because it is crucial that you are informed about all aspects of this purchase before making an investment that could potentially make-or-break your business success.
As you will hear me say over and over again: your POS system is the central nervous system of your business and it can help launch your business to new heights. That means better efficiency, saving time and making more money. With that said, you need to ask the right questions or you aren’t going to get the right answers.
If you want to check out my recommendation for the #1 restaurant POS system on the market, you can do so here:
Ok, off we go then…
Table of Contents:
- What features does the POS system offer?
- Is the system cloud-based or on-premise?
- How much does the POS system cost?
- Are there any additional fees or charges?
- Does the POS system integrate with other systems you use, such as accounting or inventory management?
- What kind of hardware is required to use the system, and is it included in the cost?
- Is there any training or support available?
- What reporting and analytics are available?
- Can the system handle multiple locations?
- How secure is the system, and what measures are in place to protect customer data?
- FAQs in Relation to 10 Questions to ask When Buying a Pos System
1. What features does your POS system offer?
When looking for a POS system, it’s important to consider the features that are offered. A good POS system should offer an intuitive interface and easy-to-use tools that help streamline restaurant operations. Here are some of the key features you should look for:
The ability to quickly take orders from customers is essential for any restaurant. Look for a POS system with an intuitive touchscreen interface and customizable menus so your staff can easily enter orders into the system. Also look for systems that enable customers to make their own orders via tablets or kiosks. This includes having an intuitive touchscreen interface and customizable menus.
Your system must be able to process multiple payment forms, including: credit cards, cash, checks, gift vouchers and digital payments like Apple Pay or Google Pay. It’s also important to make sure your POS is compliant with PCI standards in order to protect customer data and avoid costly fines due to noncompliance.
An effective inventory management tool helps ensure you always have enough stock on hand while avoiding overstocking items that won’t sell quickly enough before they expire or go bad. Look for a POS system with built-in inventory tracking capabilities so you can keep track of what ingredients need restocking at all times.
Reporting & Analytics
Having access to detailed reports about sales trends can help inform decisions about menu changes or staffing needs in order maximize profits and minimize waste throughout the business cycle. Make sure your chosen POS has excellent reporting capabilities so you can monitor sales performance in real time as well as analyze historical data over time periods like days, weeks, months etc.
Without a doubt, Lightspeed POS has the best reporting and analytics of any POS system anywhere. It can increase your ROI by leaps and bounds. Toast POS and Rezku also has very good reporting, but they can’t quite match Lightspeed.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is also an important feature to consider when selecting a POS system. CRM allows restaurants to retain info about their patrons. This includes contact information, preferences and loyalty points. Your goal is to create long-term relationships with customers as well as boosting customer loyalty. Search for a POS system with inbuilt CRM capacities, allowing you to readily trace this data and utilize it to refine your business processes.
A Kitchen Display System (KDS) is definitely something you’ll want when selecting a POS system, assuming you have high-volume in the kitchen. This tool displays food orders on screens located near kitchen staff, allowing them to quickly and easily know when new orders come in. It can be especially beneficial during peak hours, as it reduces wait times for customers and makes managing incoming orders much simpler. Having paper tickets scattered around the kitchen area is a thing of the past. Additionally, if restaurants use delivery services, this feature can make order management more efficient.
Many current POS systems offer various capabilities. Depending on the requirements, further choices could be accessible. When shopping around for a new restaurant POS solution, make sure these core functions are included. Then add additional bells and whistles based on how advanced you need your setup to be.
The features offered by a POS system can make or break your restaurant’s success, so it is important to ask questions and get the answers you need before making any decisions.
2. Is the system cloud-based or on-premise?
When selecting a POS system for your bar or eatery, it’s essential to decide whether you’d prefer a cloud-based or an onsite solution – both having their own pros and cons. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to understand the differences before making a decision.
A cloud-based POS system stores all data in the cloud instead of on local servers. Users can conveniently access their data from any device connected to the web, thus facilitating businesses with multiple branches or personnel who work remotely.
Cloud-based systems can be more reliable in terms of security than onsite options. This is because they are managed by external providers with expertise in safety measures such as encryption and firewalls. However, these systems may require additional fees for hosting services and software updates.
An on premise POS system stores all data locally on servers located at each location. This type of setup requires upfront costs such as hardware installation and maintenance but offers more control over security since there is no need to rely on third party providers for protection against cyber threats.
On premise systems also tend to be less expensive in the long run since there are no ongoing subscription fees associated with them like there would be with a cloud based solution. The downside is that they don’t offer the same level of flexibility as cloud based solutions do when it comes to accessing data remotely or scaling up quickly if needed due to increased demand from customers.
Considering whether the POS system is cloud-hosted or locally installed should be taken into account when deciding which one to buy, as this will influence both cost and upkeep demands. It’s critical to factor in the cost and upkeep needs when picking a POS system, so ensure you inquire about these matters prior to buying.
3. How much does the POS system cost?
This question is probably at the top of your list, but I want you to remember that cheap is not good here. Even though your POS system may cost more than you’d like to pay, it is going to save you so much time and make you so much more money that it’ll be worth it. I promise.
In regards to buying a restaurant POS, the cost is contingent on various elements. The type of POS system you choose, the features and functionality included in the package, and any additional hardware or software needed all play a role in how much you’ll end up paying.
The most basic POS systems require only a computer with an internet connection and printer to operate. If your business needs more than just these basics, such as cash drawers, barcode scanners, kitchen printers, or other peripherals for specific tasks like inventory management or customer loyalty programs then those items will need to be purchased separately. The cost of these gadgets may differ from $100 to $5,000, depending on the requirements.
The actual software used by the POS system is usually sold as part of a subscription-based service plan which includes regular updates and support services along with access to new features as they become available. Subscription plans typically begin around $50 per month, though the cost can vary contingent on user count and extra features like analytics.
Back in the day, software subscriptions costs were low and the hardware costs were high. Now it’s sort of reversed because POS companies want that recurring revenue, so the monthly subscriptions are much higher. If you do choose to go with a system like Lightspeed, you can get a huge discount on your hardware (up to $2,000) by clicking here and signing up for a demo. Free stuff never hurt anyone.
Installation & Setup Fees
Many companies charge an installation fee when setting up their POS systems which covers things like training staff members on how to use it properly and configuring settings within the software itself. This is so that everything works correctly once it’s live in your store/restaurant/bar etc.
Such fees can range anywhere from $200-$500 depending on what kind of setup is required, but some providers may waive this cost if you sign up for longer term contracts with them instead of opting out after just one year or less time period has elapsed since signing up initially .
4. Are there any additional fees or charges?
Comprehending the expenditure of a POS system is critical, so don’t overlook to ask about any additional or hidden fees they might try to throw in there. Be crystal clear about how much everything is going to cost you so there is no surprises.
It is essential to be cognizant of any extra expenses or tariffs that may apply when deliberating a POS system for your bar or restaurant. While the cost of the software itself is usually fairly straightforward, there are often additional costs associated with setup and maintenance.
We’ve already talked about this in the previous section, but I want to throw it in here too in case they are hidden. Many POS systems require an initial setup fee in order to get the system up and running. The fee for setting up the system can vary from a small amount to an extensive sum, depending on the intricacy of your requirements. The setup fee typically covers things like installation, training, and customization of the software for your business.
Some POS systems necessitate a recurrent fee to be paid every month in order to avail their services. This type of payment structure allows you access to all features and updates without having to purchase new hardware or software every time something changes or improves. However, this can add up over time so it’s important to factor this into your budget when deciding which system is right for you.
Many providers charge transaction fees each time customers make purchases using their credit cards through your POS system—so keep an eye out for those too. These fees vary by provider but generally run between 1-3% per transaction so it’s worth doing some research before committing long-term so that you know exactly what kind of costs you’ll be dealing with each month/year moving forward .
Support & Maintenance Fees
Most providers offer support packages that include help desk assistance along with regular maintenance checks on both hardware and software components at an extra cost—usually around $50-$100 per month depending on what level of service is needed/desired.
Be sure to read through all contracts carefully before signing anything so that you understand exactly what kind of support comes standard versus what requires an extra charge .
Overall, while many businesses don’t think about them until after signing up, understanding potential additional fees ahead of time can save money in the long run and help ensure that whatever solution chosen fits within budget constraints.
5. Does the POS system integrate with other systems you use?
A restaurant POS (Point of Sale) system is a software application that manages a restaurant’s orders, payments, and inventory. Integrations with other systems and services are important for a restaurant POS system because they can enhance its functionality and provide a more seamless experience for both customers and restaurant staff.
Here are a few examples of important restaurant POS integrations to think about:
Payment processors: Integrating a POS system with a payment processor allows restaurants to accept a variety of payment methods, including credit cards, debit cards, and mobile payments. This helps reduce the risk of fraud and eliminates the need for manual processing of payments.
Online ordering platforms: Integrating a POS system with online ordering platforms like Uber Eats or Grubhub makes it easier for customers to place orders online and for the restaurant to manage these orders in real-time. This integration can also help reduce errors and improve order accuracy.
Inventory management systems: Integrating a POS system with an inventory management system allows restaurants to track their inventory levels in real-time. This helps them avoid stockouts and overstocking, which can result in food waste and lost revenue.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software: Integrating a POS system with a CRM software allows restaurants to collect customer data, such as contact information and order history. This helps restaurants build customer loyalty by providing personalized experiences and promotions.
Employee management software: Integrating a POS system with employee management software can help restaurants manage employee schedules, track hours worked, and monitor performance. This can help improve employee productivity and reduce labor costs.
Accounting software: Integrating a POS system with accounting software can help restaurants streamline their bookkeeping processes by automatically syncing sales data, expenses, and other financial information. This can help reduce errors and save time, while also providing a better understanding of the restaurant’s financial health.
Loyalty programs: Integrating a POS system with a loyalty program can help restaurants reward customers for their repeat business and build customer loyalty. This can be done by providing discounts, free items, or other rewards for reaching certain spending levels or for repeat visits.
There are literally dozens more, so make to ask what they offer, as well as the pricing so you know what you’re getting yourself into.
6. What kind of hardware is required to use the system and what are the costs?
When it comes to POS systems, hardware is an important factor. Depending on the system you choose, you may need a variety of different pieces of equipment. This includes computers, monitors, printers, cash drawers and more. The cost of the components can range from inexpensive to extravagant, contingent on the kind and excellence you go for.
The good news is that many POS systems include some or all of this hardware in their package price. If your chosen system does not include any hardware then it’s important to consider how much additional money will be needed for purchasing the necessary components before making a final decision about which system to use.
A computer is essential for running most restaurant point-of-sale systems and must meet certain minimum requirements in order to run efficiently with no issues or errors. Many restaurants opt for desktop computers due to their affordability and durability but laptops are also becoming increasingly popular as they are easier to move around if needed.
Monitors come in various sizes ranging from 15 inches up to 24 inches or larger depending on what size works best for your needs and budget constraints. Touchscreen monitors are often preferred by restaurants as they allow customers to interact directly with the menu instead of having someone enter orders manually into the system via keyboard input which can save time when taking orders during busy periods such as lunchtime rushes etc
Printers are used mainly for printing out customer receipts at the end of each transaction but some models also have other features such as being able to print labels or tickets which could be useful if you offer takeout services or delivery options etc There are two main types available; thermal printers (which require special paper) and inkjet/laser printers (which require regular printer cartridges).
Cash drawers store cash securely until it needs counting at the end of each shift so having one installed near your register area is essential if you accept payments in cash form from customers regularly throughout service hours etc Most modern cash drawers connect wirelessly via Bluetooth technology so there’s no need for cables running across floors between registers etc., however wired versions do still exist too should this be required by your particular setup/location circumstances etc
Scanenbrs facilitate the speedy entry of product information into a POS system, while card readers enable customers to pay using debit/credit cards quickly and without staff having to manually enter details into terminals. This saves time when dealing with multiple transactions at once, especially during peak times such as lunch hour rushes.
The cost of hardware can be quite varied, depending on the system selected and how many terminals are necessary. Most POS systems come with all necessary hardware included in the purchase price; however, some vendors may charge extra for certain items like printers or cash drawers. It’s important to read through any contracts carefully before signing so that there are no surprises down the line when it comes time to pay for new equipment or upgrades.
Prior to investing in a POS system, it is essential to ascertain whether the hardware specifications are encompassed within the cost and factor this into your decision-making process. Knowing this information will help you make an informed decision about which POS system best suits your needs.
7. Is there any training or support available?
A POS system is an intricate, sophisticated software program that can be challenging to comprehend without the correct instruction. Without training, you may not be able to take full advantage of all the features your POS system has to offer.
Fortunately, most POS systems come with some form of customer service or technical support. This could include access to an online knowledge base, live chat support from trained technicians, or even on-site installation and setup services. Many businesses provide comprehensive training plans for their patrons to ensure they can get operational swiftly and effortlessly.
It’s important to find out what kind of training options are available before you purchase a restaurant POS system so you know exactly what type of help is available if something goes wrong or if you need assistance setting up the system correctly.
You should also ask about any additional fees associated with these services as well as how long it will take for someone from customer service or tech support to respond in case there’s an issue with your hardware or software down the line.
If possible, try finding out what other restaurants have used this particular brand of POS system before making your decision—you might be able to get valuable feedback from them regarding their experience with customer service and technical support offered by the company in question. Furthermore, ensure that any external providers of related services (e.g., payment processing) are acclaimed for their expeditious reactions and effective solutions in the event of difficulties.
Finally, don’t forget about ongoing maintenance costs associated with using a restaurant point-of-sale solution—these can add up over time if you don’t keep track of them properly. Make sure that whatever provider you choose offers reasonable rates for regular updates/upgrades along with reliable customer service and technical support whenever needed throughout the life cycle of your product usage agreement(s).
Securing appropriate assistance and training for your POS system is critical to the prosperity of your enterprise, so it’s essential to inquire about this prior to making any acquisition.
8. What reporting and analytics are available?
This is one of the most important factors to look for when purchase a POS system. It can GREATLY increase your profits if used correctly. The right POS system can help you keep tabs on sales figures, customer behavior patterns, staff productivity metrics and beyond. This data is invaluable for taking sound decisions concerning the management of your business. It is also priceless when it comes to growing your army of regulars.
The type of reporting available will of course depend on the POS system you choose. Most systems offer basic reports such as daily sales summaries and item-level details like cost of goods sold (COGS). Some may also provide additional insights into customer behavior with loyalty program tracking or other advanced analytics capabilities.
It’s important to look for a POS system that offers customizable reports so you can tailor them to meet your specific needs. You should be able to filter reports by any criteria, such as date range or product type, which is pertinent to your operations. Additionally, many systems allow you to export these reports in various formats such as CSV or PDF for further analysis outside of the platform itself.
Real-time reporting affords proprietors and administrators the opportunity to view current data concerning their establishments from any location at any moment, through mobile gadgets or web browsers. This makes it easy to monitor sales activity while away from the store or bar without having to wait until closing time when all transactions have been completed before being able view results
Some restaurant POS systems even offer predictive analytics capabilities, utilizing past data points and current trends to make accurate predictions about future outcomes based on certain variables such as weather conditions or holiday periods. This allows operators to take proactive measures instead of simply reacting after something has already occurred.
Finally, some platforms integrate with third party software solutions such as accounting programs which enable users to gain deeper insights into their financials beyond just simple cash flow management. By connecting multiple sources of data together, operators get an overall better understanding of how different aspects of their businesses affect each other.
It’s important to understand the reporting and analytics capabilities of a POS system, as this can provide valuable insights into your business operations.
9. Can the system handle multiple locations?
Many businesses have more than one location, and a good POS system should be able to accommodate this. A multi-location POS system can help streamline operations across all of your establishments, saving time and money in the long run.
What are the Benefits?
The main benefit of using a multi-location POS system is that you can manage all of your restaurants or bars from one central dashboard. This means that you don’t need to log into each individual store separately; instead, you can access data from any location with just a few clicks. Moreover, with a single point of access to data from multiple locations, it becomes easier to observe sales patterns across different outlets and take informed decisions regarding inventory control.
How Does It Work?
A multi-location POS system typically works by connecting each store’s point-of-sale terminal with a cloud server where all the data is stored securely. This allows managers at each location to access real-time updates on sales figures as well as customer information such as loyalty points earned or discounts applied at checkout. In addition, reports generated by the software provide insights into overall performance across different locations so that business owners can better understand how their stores are performing compared to others in their network.
10. How secure is the system and how do you protect customer data?
For a flourishing food-service business, safety is of utmost priority. As customers confide in your restaurant, bar, or other food service business with their confidential information and particulars, it is essential to guarantee that all networks are secure from any malicious intruders. This includes any point-of-sale (POS) system you use for transactions.
The POS system should be equipped with strong encryption technology to protect customer data from hackers and other unauthorized users. Look for a system that uses industry standard encryption protocols such as SSL/TLS or AES 256 bit encryption to keep customer data safe. Ensure the system incorporates two-factor authentication, so only those authorized can gain access to confidential data.
It’s also important to look into how the POS vendor stores customer data after each transaction is completed. The best vendors will store this information securely on their own servers rather than leaving it vulnerable on local computers or devices used by employees at your business location(s). Enquire as to the backup methodology in place should an unexpected event or calamity arise necessitating the speedy and secure retrieval of all archived data.
Finally, consider whether the POS vendor offers regular software updates which include patches for newly discovered vulnerabilities as well as new features designed to improve security measures over time? Regularly updated software ensures that your customers’ personal information remains safe even if new threats emerge down the line.
In the End…
You’re going to want to make a list of your top three POS systems and then schedule a demo so you can see exactly how each one works, and then you can ask these 10 questions, as well as any other ones you have that relate directly to your business.
If you’re interested in seeing my top three POS systems, you are welcome to go check out my video on this:
Top 3 POS Systems of 2023
Here they are as well if you don’t feel like watching the entire video, including a bonus fourth POS I like. Clicking on any of these will allow you to sign-up for a demo as well. And by using these links, there are various discounts you will get that I have negotiated for my audience.
I hope this has helped. Thanks for hanging out with me today. I’ll see you next time.
Owner/Founder of Bar Patrol