A point-of-sale (POS) system is a computer system used for ordering, tracking and ringing up sales. POS systems are custom designed and programmed to suit the individual needs of different types of restaurant to increase profits and efficiency. Many successful restaurants rely on POS systems to keep their operations running smoothly.
As Needed Components
Larger establishments with numerous categories of business—for example, a restaurant that also has a deli, bakery and gift shop—may consider a full package POS system that includes multiple components and work station terminals. Smaller restaurants, like a sandwich shop or bar and grill, may purchase components and software individually in an "as needed" manner. Some commonly-used POS components include cash drawers, touch-screen monitors, small printers, bar code scanners and keyboards. A benefit of POS systems is that they can be custom built to suit individual establishment needs.
Time Reduction & Management
Using a POS system in a restaurant can save time for servers, cooks and bartenders. For example, when a server places an order for drinks, appetizers and entrees in a restaurant that has separate prep areas for each item, they may place the entire order at once. Instead of having to make three trips to order items from each station, the orders will be individually sent to three printers, one in each station, while a full order receipt is printed at the server terminal.
Point of sales systems in restaurants also eliminate, or at very least reduce, the rate of human error. Poor penmanship sometimes results in misinterpretations of handwritten orders. If an order is misread by a chef or bartender they may prepare the wrong item which results in waste and loss of profit. When ordering through a POS system orders are neatly printed at the prep stations and easily read.
Credit Card Processing
When purchasing a POS system for a restaurant you will have the option to add a magnetic stripe reader to process credit cards. This can be quite useful if you accept credit cards in your establishment as you can process, adjust, run reports and keep detailed records of all credit card transactions without having to purchase and install a separate credit card machine.
Detailed Business Reports
One of the most popular benefits of a restaurant POS system among managers is generating detailed reports. Because every order of business is recorded in real time through the system, generating reports for sales, credit card transactions, server's sales, stock, inventory, popular items, profits and loss can be achieved in at any terminal, at any time. Implementing a point of sales system in your restaurant can aid in creating simple and efficient record keeping and eliminate excessive hard copies by creating a digital file cabinet of sorts.
A common profit reducing problem for many restaurant owners is theft. When servers neglect to charge customers for items, or take orders home without paying for them, it may create considerable loss in profit. By using a POS ordering system, restaurant owners and managers can track exactly what was oredered, by whom, and if it has been paid for.
Michelle Renee is a professional trainer and quality assurance consultant in the career, education and customer service industries, with two decades of experience in food/beverage and event coordinating management. Renee has been published by Lumino and Career Flight as well as various food, education and business publications.