Don't harm your business by choosing the wrong POS system

By Sarah Al-Waleed
Choosing a POS system for your restaurant

Managing a business is a rigorous process that demands a comprehensive skill set, such as leadership, administrative know-how, and attention to detail. And, since the goal of any business is to run efficiently enough to generate revenues and make profits, you need to be particularly mindful of your business's operating systems.

An efficient point of sale (POS) streamlines most aspects of your restaurant's operations and day-to-day tasks. Restaurateurs that invest time and resources in such systems have continued to reap huge benefits

But first things first, what is a POS system, and how can it help your restaurant?

Simply put, a point of sale system is both the software and hardware restaurants use to take customers' orders, accept payments, manage inventory, and ultimately run their entire operation. In the modern enterprise, POS systems have evolved from the traditional cash register to digital cloud systems you can access from virtually anywhere. 

Nowadays, POS systems offer much more than simple payment processing. They integrate various customizable features and capabilities that can help restaurants bolster their revenues, such as:

  • Inventory tracking
  • Menu optimization
  • Better customer relationships (CRM)
  • Loyalty and discount programs
  • Automatic analysis of reports
  • Error control by reducing human mistakes in communication
  • Advanced security from fraud and data loss
  • Scalable dashboards to control operations remotely
  • Employee management

There's no doubt that a sound POS system adds so much value to a restaurant's business processes. At its core, it makes them simpler, easier, and faster. This application reduces table turn-around-times, increases profits, and contributes to the business's overall growth.

What to consider when choosing a POS system?

Before investing in a POS system, it's prudent to conduct thorough research. The heart of this research should be identifying the tools your business needs to grow and optimize its performance.

Getting the right POS system for your business can make all the difference. And, to aid you on your quest, we've highlighted some of the main factors you need to consider before making your decision.

1. Employee usage and training

No business can afford to invest in a system that is difficult to use. So if you want to remain as productive as possible, it's essential to choose a POS system that is easy to operate and use daily without constantly needing to refer to the manual. It should have the following:

  • User-friendly interface.
  • Plenty of training resources to minimize training time for your staff.
  • Secure logins for all employees.
  • Easy-to-use tools that optimize staff performance.

And, it is worth remembering that a user-friendly POS system will reduce your staff's turnover while enhancing the customer's experience. 

2. Set-up costs and compatibility

Set-up costs and compatibility are among the top factors to consider when selecting a POS system. These systems can cost as little as a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands for highly customized solutions.  

Generally, the running costs of POS systems are low compared to the set-up costs. So, you may want to invest in software compatible with your existing hardware to avoid spending more money on barcode scanners, cash drawers, and the like to make your systems compatible.

3. Cloud-based or in-house server

Conventional POS systems are based on servers either at your physical location or somewhere else belonging to your company, making these systems reliant on in-house servers. However, most businesses are increasingly switching to cloud-based POS systems, making it easier to rely on the internet to access data through a remote server anytime, anywhere. 

One advantage of cloud solutions is that they can integrate multiple sales channels, enabling your business to enjoy centralized processing, storage, and better security. Since all data is automatically synced and backed up, it's easier to update and protect business information.

Other benefits of cloud-based POS systems are the following:

  • Increased data visibility
  • Increased mobility
  • Minimal downtimes during upgrades
  • Enhanced data security
  • Better information management across several geolocations.

4. Support

One of the most important services that a great POS provider can offer is excellent customer support. Even if your POS is easy to install and straightforward to operate, there will still be times when you may need support. 

Customer support that is competent, available around the clock, and accessible through multiple channels can help you overcome any glitches. This kind of support is crucial for your bottom line.  

5. Integration with third-party software

Yes, this is another vital aspect of POS systems. A basic POS system may work just fine when you're starting out. However, as your business grows, you may need to introduce more features to your existing POS system to let you do more. 

For example, a third-party delivery service integrates with your POS so that when a delivery order is made, it goes directly to the restaurant's order printer without requiring manual input. It then alerts your staff that an order has been made, processes the customer's payment, and runs the entire transaction through your POS, all without lifting a finger.

Third-party integrations simplify business processes and streamline your operations. It's a valuable feature in any dynamic POS system.

6. Inventory tracking

All businesses have stock, and stock-taking can be time-consuming and burdensome. Fortunately, most POS systems make this process simpler and straightforward, which is particularly important if you handle large volumes of inventory daily. 

A sound POS Inventory management system allows you to have multiple sales locations and track inventory at each location without being present. It could also help you request, purchase, and produce inventory items and transfer them to and from your branches.

7. Support business growth

Restaurateurs need scalable POS systems that can grow as their business does. So, before investing in a POS system, choose one that offers support for multiple locations and enables you to add as many registers and outlets as you need ( whether for a permanent new location or a pop-up shop).

8. Reporting

Business success only happens when you truly understand your business. More often, this means having access to crucial information that empowers you to make the correct decisions. Big data drives today's businesses; the more you can harvest and analyze, the better you can direct your efforts.

A sound POS system would have more reporting options. It can highlight your top-selling or lowest-selling products, busiest restaurant hours, and online vs. in-restaurant sales, among many things. 

Where to go from here...

Now, this is all the tip of the ice berg. You need to go out there, do your research, and see which POS systems satisfy your needs best. And, to hit the ground running, check out this list of some of the best POS providers in the Middle East.