Restaurant POS: What questions to ask before investing in one?
Prior to making investments in any Restaurant POS, it is necessary to ensure that the POS is appropriate for the type of restaurant that you run. To have a deal breaker, it becomes essential to ask the right questions. Given below are 7 crucial questions which need to be answered correctly to help decide purchasing the POS software for the restaurant:
Q1. Is the software designed exclusively designed for restaurants?
A. Any generic POS is not likely to suffice the growing POS needs of a restaurant. For the restaurant business, the retail POS can be termed to be completely useless. It will be wise to use a POS software that is designed exclusively for restaurants by someone having adequate first-hand experience in the hospitality industry. Some of the out-of-the-box features include bill splitting, menu customization and changes, table management and floor plans. They are not to be deemed as extra addition which is to be custom coded to the software. Moreover, the restaurant POS needs to be specific to the food type served and cater to the specific restaurant type. Bakery, for instance, will require several features to include customers’ birthday and timely delivery. On the other hand, a fast food center will require a POS to help track home deliveries, central kitchen management and to update orders. A pub will require a POS to separate drinks bill from the food bill, etc. POS will be necessary for the pizza place, sweetmeat store, restaurants, café, ice cream parlor having several branches and to meet their specific needs. Hence, it becomes essential to go for a customized POS.
Q2. About the nature and frequency of software updates
Although a vital question among the lot, it is often the most lightly taken. To carry out software updates, some vendors are known to charge heft amounts. There are many owners who fail to update the software and are bogged down by slow and heavy software, which tends to become obsolete with time. Hence, the updates offered needs to be free of cost and prevent the above situation. At the time of final purchase, the owner needs to make absolutely sure that timely and free updates are provided by the software vendor. Moreover, regular updates are a must and the vendor is to work continuously to improve and enhance the product by including additional interesting features.
Q3. POS Software support: Is it in-house or outsourced?
At times, you may realize the greater need for better and enhanced customer service. Outsourcing the software might cause delay in providing support. There may arise communication gap between product knowledge specialists and customer support, which will lead to wasting lots of time trying to fix issues. Also may arise possibilities where few questions are left unanswered. It is possible to escalate the issue, in case of in-house support system to the product experts and developers, if it is found to be beyond the expertise of customer support personnel. There are also very high chances of getting to know the contact person to avail support, thus reducing significant time to address the issue, something not enjoyed with outsourced support. This is a sensitive question that is to be considered prior to investing in the POS software.
Q4. How to cater to expansion of restaurant business?
Scaling up the restraint can be exciting. But the very thought of having to buy another expensive POS can prove to be a real damper. The POS should be as such that it should allow meeting business expansion without the owner worrying about expenses involved in setting up additional terminal or as to how the existing terminal will support increased volumes.
Scaling issues can be taken care of by mobile POS. With great ease, it offers license upgrades and is easily available. No cumbersome process is required. Additional terminals not needed for mobile POS and comes with easy and inexpensive software maintenance and installation process.
Q5. Customer feedback and reviews
Irrespective of all product claims, customers are undoubtedly the best judges. It is essential for the restaurant owner to take out precious time to go through customer reviews and find out if it suits the business. Most vendor websites do come with customer review tab allowing potential customers to take proper look to help make correct decisions. At times, requests can also be made to discuss with an existing customer in person, to derive valid feedback. 3rd party technology review sites also exist that can be looked into. Mixed reactions are quite natural. If positive response is provided in overwhelming numbers, then it will be invest in that software.
Q6. Is it possible to integrate POS with existing restaurant software?
With advancements in systems and technology and new introductions in the market, there is available software for accounting, payments, staff scheduling, online ordering, etc. It will be wise to mention the software that is in use in the restaurant when purchasing a POS to ensure seamless integration. If not found to be fit, then it will be mean having overlapping functions, disparate technologies and unnecessary wastage of money.
Q7. Is there an offline mode in the POS?
There can be times, when the internet might not be functioning due to heavy server loads or power shutdown. Frequent downtime especially during rush hours will only mean loss to the business. Therefore, the POS to be purchased should be something that can be worked upon even in offline mode. When offline, the POS should be designed to enter all data and upload to the server as soon as the internet starts functioning.