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Technology

Why Your Restaurant Needs a Subscription-Based POS

by

Jackie Prange

We’ve seen it with Netflix and Apple Music; paying small subscription fees for access to what we want, rather than emptying our wallets on a one-time buy, is becoming the norm. With the movie and music industries embracing these advances in subscription based technology – and having great success – we’re seeing the restaurant industry follow suit. Enter the subscription-based POS. 

What is a Subscription-Based POS?

For years in the hospitality industry, having a POS system was synonymous with upfront hardware investments, unavoidable support fees, and cumbersome – not to mention costly- on-site-only software updates. This way was acceptable, until now.  

Today, leading POS companies have taken to subscription based modeling, providing their customers with unprecedented flexibility, by way of affordable monthly and annual payment options, free support, and remote software updates available on non-proprietary hardware. What does this hardware look like? That iPad you just bought for your niece, or the tablet your brother shares photos from, that same technology can now be used to run your business.

How Do They Stack Up?

 Traditional Legacy TechnologySubscription-Based POS
Cost$3,000 – 50,000/ yearStarting at $70 a month
PaymentsUpfront licensing fee & upgradesMonthly & annual payment options
Data AccessOn-premise-only access to POS data & reportingAnytime, anywhere access to POS data & reporting
Software UpdatesDone onsite, costly & infrequentDone remotely, for free, every 2-4 weeks
Main FocusManaging day-to-day restaurant operationsDriving performance, improvement and revenue

But how does it really benefit your restaurant?

Here are 3 reasons restaurants are moving towards subscription-based POS systems:

Affordability 

Instead of the large upfront costs associated with legacy technology, a subscription-based POS system will go easy on your bank account thanks to their affordable monthly and annual payment options. With the choice between these monthly or annual fees, gone are the days of being locked into a five year contract period. With a subscription-based POS, you can opt out whenever you need to – no questions asked. The hardware itself is cheaper as well, with many subscription-based POS systems today being run off of iPads and tablets.

Trading in your legacy technology for a tablet POS will also save you time and money when it comes to software updates. Now, your POS’s software updates are as frequent and hassle-free as the apps on your phone. Never again will you be charged a fee just to stay on top of restaurant management trends, since every new release and feature upgrade will be given to you automatically and free of charge. 

Flexibility 

Are you a full service restaurant, serving a busy patio in the summer months, but fully indoors during colder weather? A subscription-based POS can give you the licensing flexibility you need, without the extra charges. Now, you have the option to scale up or down in subscriptions, depending on your business’s needs. For example, you can have a subscription license solely for your patio that’s only active four months of the year, while your other standard restaurant subscription licensing remains the same. With a subscription-based POS, you’ll only have to pay for what you need, when you need it. Unlike their legacy POS predecessors that will – more times than not- make you bite off more of a licensing fee than you can chew.

Versatility

Can you stream your favorite TV show, look at pictures, or keep in touch with your friends, all from your legacy POS? Of course you can’t. Legacy technology is built and purchased for one purpose and one purpose only. Now, imagine you had a POS that could give you more bang for your buck. With the non-proprietary hardware of subscription-based POS systems, your tablet or iPad is more than just a POS. If your business ends up changing direction, you can take your tablet along for the ride and put it to other uses.


Whether you’re a coffee shop, brewery, or even a fine dining restaurant – choose the technology that will not only set your business up for success today, but will support you in the future growth of your business. You’ll be happy you did.


Jackie was a Content Marketing Specialist and Social Media strategist at TouchBistro before moving into business development role. She covered the latest food, dining, and technology trends for the restaurant industry. A lover of all things coffee, Jackie’s hobbies include breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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iPad Screenshot with TouchBistro software