You know what they say about assumptions. Never assume because you’ll make … a mistake.
Take, for example, this startling statistic. According to a study by Software Advice, 63% of restaurant owners still don’t have a POS system in place.
So what, you ask? Let’s look at this stat in a different light. This also means 63% of restaurant owners are relying on manual, error-prone processes. It means that over half of restaurateurs are encountering communication discrepancies, bottlenecks in food delivery, and billing processes, which potentially frustrate customers. It means that an overwhelming majority of restaurants are playing with fire, taking an unnecessary risk with not just their financial and inventory records, but with the very backbone of their offering: their customer service.
Of course, there are reasons for the common dismissal of adopting a POS system. The history of traditional POS systems is anything but stellar. You’d be hard-pressed to find a long-term hospitality professional who hasn’t been frustrated by a poor user interface, or perplexed by the hardware set up, or otherwise infuriated by a system that’s too slow. The image of the archaic POS continues to cloud the perceptions of many, even in the face of giant leaps in POS tech advancement.
In this article, we’re going to flip through three common POS myths that have cemented themselves in the minds of many restaurateurs – perhaps even in yours – and drill down to the truth to discover how modern, mobile POS systems can benefit you, no matter the size of your business.
At one time, this was true. POS systems were too expensive. Legacy POS systems came with a long list of costs: hardware, installation, updates, repairs, long-term contracts, and training. All of these weighed heavy on the budget. On top of this, you would have been locked into the contract for what could seem like eons, sometimes beyond the life of the restaurant itself.
Next generation POS apps are sold at a price point that favors the consumer. The contracts aren’t so much contracts, but monthly agreements.
The best restaurant POS systems, like TouchBistro, are built as mobile apps for iPads. “Maintenance” is the simple press of the ‘update’ button. “Training” is a convenient phone call and hands-on tutorial of a user-friendly interface. “Hardware?” The cost of an iPad is modest compared to the price tag attached to legacy POS systems. It’s also not a bad investment. As a highly desirable technology, iPads are easily bought, sold, and repurposed should you ever decide to scale up or down.
While these are the more obvious benefits of adopting a cloud, iPad-based solution, there’s also hidden cost savings. What, you ask? When used to their full potential, POS systems can reduce your waste – many offer inventory tracking – and because they can be used tableside, the chance of order errors is virtually eliminated. How does that save you money? Seamless service is a big contributor to a guest leaving happy and, of course, returning. Plus you won’t have to comp any meals at your expense.
“We’ve done it like this forever.” People said the same thing about the typewriter, snail mail, the floppy disk, the printing press, and taxis. But then came the computer, email, airdrop, the laser printer, and Uber. How quickly we all adapted, forgot, moved on and now we couldn’t imagine living without these things. The same goes for your POS. At times, in any business, we become so used to the systems we have in place. So ingrained, in fact, that the thought of learning something new immediately overwhelms us and despite the promise of ease, the pain of learning might seem like an unfavorable alternative to the ‘good for now’ processes we’ve pieced together.
Embrace change. Yes, true: when implementing a new system, there might be a bump or two along the way, but the thing is that technology has advanced in such a way that systems are literally made with errors in mind so they’re avoided. Software is gamified and designed to ensure ease-of-use. Even subtle nuances like thumb placement vs. button placement are taken into consideration. User experience has gone from a “nice to have” to a designated profession.
New POS systems evolve as the industry does, so when consumer preferences change – think: bill splitting and table-side payment- the system evolves immediately to match it. Not to mention, these systems often go above and beyond the requisites. All software systems are looking to differentiate themselves from one another. Systems like TouchBistro work to not just streamline your billing process, but your host’s seating rotation, your inventory tracking, order taking, staff scheduling, sales reports, and more.
You may think, “Hey, we’re just a ma and pop shop. We don’t need a fancy POS system. We have Excel and QuickBooks. We manage just fine. POS systems are for the bigger businesses… maybe one day.” At one time this was true. There was little point for a small shop to invest in a huge legacy system, when a cash register and a spreadsheet met needs, despite the humdrum of manual reports. The costs of legacy software were too high, the systems underused and too complex for smaller shops to justify the investment. Fair enough. But times have changed.
Today’s POS systems are designed to scale with you. And that’s a good thing, because a solid POS system is an integral part to spurring growth. Whether you’re running a one-person show food truck business or managing an entire roster of dining and bar staff, mobile POS apps adapt to you. How so? POS systems come in all shapes and sizes. TouchBistro, for example, offers Food Truck, Brewery, and Bar-specific POS applications. What’s the difference? With the same automation, analytical insight, and order management power of a full service restaurant POS, you can bypass the floor plan and seating capabilities and lock the system in register mode. Here, you can add the order, collect cash or swipe a card, print the bill and move to the next sale in rapid speed.
Getting back to what smaller operations are really concerned about – it’s all about the money, honey! And the experience… – next generation POS systems have designed pricing and user models with lean budgets top of mind.
While POS systems of years passed were built with the big guys in mind, the tides have changed. POS companies aren’t just trying to think like restaurateurs or hospitality professionals; they’re built by them and tested for every venue type. It’s time to put old myths to bed and try on something new.