What’s a POS System?
Whether you’re a small or multi-location business, you will need a point-of-sale system to process orders and manage your restaurant. These days, more and more businesses are ditching their old cash register and upgrading to a POS system that does much more than handle sales transactions.
That being said, it is important that you choose the right POS software so that you can accept credit card payments, process online and in-store orders, check your inventory, along with full access to multiple data points that can help you compare sales performance over time.
If you’re not on the same boat as other businesses, then it is time to make a move and look for an easy-to-use POS that will help you grow your business and sell everywhere from one platform.
To save you some time, we’ve done the research and created a guide to help you choose a POS software that fits with your type of business.
What is a POS system?
A point-of-sale (POS) system or electronic point of sale (EPOS) is a software that processes and records transactions between a restaurant and its customers. A POS is considered the center of the business, which can record sales, process credit and debit cards, manage inventory, employees, and integrate with different tools. Typical requirements for a point of sale system include:
- Tablet & iPad stand
- Payment terminal
- Cash drawer
- Receipt printer
List of the components of a point of sale system
Modern POS systems consist of hardware and software components. Here is a breakdown of what you need:
Every point-of-sale system is composed of software with a user interface, a database to track your day-to-day cash flow, and other features to manage your business. It can either be downloaded on your device (if using a cloud-based system) or installed locally.
If you’re looking for a POS system, you’ll have to choose between a traditional POS or a cloud-based system. Before investing in a POS system, doing your research ahead of time can help you make sure you’re making the right decision for your business.
A traditional POS, also known as legacy POS is basically a desktop computer linked to a local server that is set up separately on the business location. As a consequence, it makes it difficult to manage as it needs constant updates and requires store access to keep track of sales data.
In today’s technology, the costs of deploying and maintaining an in-house legacy system are leading businesses to demand innovative and cost-effective solutions for their business.
On the other hand, a cloud-based POS system is a web-based app that does not rely on a physical server, but rather an internet connection. Cloud-based POS is becoming more popular as it requires minimal setup and offers more functionality and integrations.
There are many different components of POS hardware and some businesses might need more than others. Here are some of the essentials components:
Tablet/touchscreen PC monitor
Most POS System companies require a device where transaction details are registered. Nowadays, POS solutions mostly operate on mobile devices like iPad tablets and touchscreen PC monitors.
There is a wide variety of iPad POS stands in the market. The type of iPad stand will greatly vary according to the type of business. In the restaurant industry, for example, an iPad stand needs to be durable, versatile, and mobile – making it easy to take it in the line-up during rush hours.
Additionally, a stand protects your iPad from damage and theft and allows for better handling – making the order process faster.
According to a recent article, cash is still the second most used form of payment after debit cards. Other than storing cash, a cash drawer can also be used to store vouchers and receipts.
This piece of hardware is an essential part of POS hardware as it is not only used to print out the customers’ receipts and credit card slips but also print kitchen chit. Though Kitchen Display Systems (KDS) are becoming increasingly popular in the restaurant industry and especially for fast-food restaurants where speed is crucial.
The most popular POS printers are:
– Thermal printer
– Inkjet printer
– Dot Matrix printer
Whether you’re using a cloud-based or on-premise system, you will need a network setup that connects to the internet. The setup can be a router, server, or modem. A cloud-based system makes it much easier to access data in real-time while an on-premise system requires a dedicated data server.
If you’re going to accept credit and debit card payments, you need a payment terminal to process transactions. All payment processing solutions come with standard features and should be compatible with the POS system you used. Integrating a payment solution and pos system prevents from missed sales and transaction delays.
A POS system does much more than just take payments. A versatile and easy POS software can effectively save you time and money.
What type of business are you running?
To help you narrow your search for the best POS system that truly fits your needs, here are the top 3 categories:
- Quick-service restaurant POS (such as fast-food, fast-casual, coffee shops, food trucks, pop-up restaurant, ghost restaurant, gourmet grocery store)
- Full-service restaurant POS (fine dining, casual dining, bars)
- Retail POS (clothing stores, bike shops, etc.)
The amount of features you will need depends on your business type and size but there are main features any business needs to help them grow. Let’s take a look at them:
- Easy-to-use system: A point of sale system should be easy to navigate in and intuitive enough for your staff to quickly take orders and payments.
- Reporting & Analytics: This feature is essential to any business. Reports give you an overview of your entire operation and allow you to make decisions based on sales data, ultimately generating more revenue.
- Integrated payment solution: A POS system should offer a wide range of payment solutions that integrate with the system. It should also allow customers to process payments using cash, debit, and credit cards and online payments.
- Inventory management: With an inventory management module, businesses can control their stock and lower their food cost.
Many POS systems are tailored-made to specific types of businesses. For example, a fast-food restaurant will likely need a POS made to process high volume transactions to move line-ups quickly.
When looking for a POS System, consider one that has one of the following features:
- Integrated online ordering system: It is no wonder why mobile order-ahead continues to become more popular amongst restaurants. Delivery companies such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Skip The Dishes are charging excessive commissions, pushing restaurants to look for an online ordering system that integrates with a POS system.
- Multi-location POS: This is probably one of the most important functions of a POS system if you manage franchises or multi-location businesses. Accessing all locations’ data from one single dashboard is a must!
- Staff management and scheduling: Not having enough employees can seriously affect your business while having too many staff members can make you lose money. A POS system should help you control your staffing based on your sales revenue.
- Kitchen Display System (KDS): If you are in the restaurant business, having a Kitchen Display System (KDS or also known as a Kitchen printer) can speed up the order taking process and improve communication between your kitchen staff and servers.
- Ingredient tracking: Tracking your ingredients can also significantly impact your bottom line. Not only can you save on food costs, but you can also forecast future inventory.
Which POS system is right for you?
Selecting a POS system can be an overwhelming process. With so many products on the market, how do you know which one is right for you? To help you with this process, we recommend to write down answers to the following questions to help you narrow your choices:
- Is my business a single location or multi-location?
It is important to differentiate POS Systems for independent businesses and those designed for multi-store, such as franchises. Choosing a POS system that keeps track of all your data and centralizes your locations in one place should be on your top priority list.
- Does it integrate with other software?
At the minimum, your POS system should integrate with other business management tools such as accounting software (i.e: Quickbooks) or payment processing solutions (i.e: Square).
- Is this POS made for my type of business?
When choosing your POS system, first choose one based on your industry type. Are you a restaurant owner? Then you should look for a restaurant POS. Keep in mind, however, that there is no-one-size-fits-all-solution.
- Is the system easy to use?
Your POS system should be easy to use for you and your staff. Make sure to get a personalized demo to see how the system works. A system that’s easy to use and understand will help you process more orders and reduce your customer wait times.
- What features do I need?
No two businesses are alike. For this reason, your POS system should be tailored to the needs of your business. Not only a POS system is built to take payments but it can also offer a variety of tools such as:
- An inventory management to control your inventory.
- An employee management to track employee hours using a clock in/out tool.
- A Kitchen Display System to relay orders to the kitchen.
POS System vs. Cash register
Even though businesses rely mainly on point-of-sale systems, modern cash registers are still being used by specific industries, such as retail and hospitality.
What’s exactly a cash register?
Simply put, a cash register is an electronic device for recording sales transactions. Its uses range from basic reporting to processing transactions.
The difference between a cash register and a POS system is that the cash register is used to ring sales only, while a POS system serves as the operations hub of your business.
Here are 5 reasons why small businesses choose a cloud-based POS system over cash registers:
- There’s no server needed: you just have to connect to the Internet and download the app.
- It’s customizable: a POS System can offer a variety of features and integrates with other software.
- It’s accessible from anywhere: Real-time reporting gives you the ability to understand your business and make better decisions from anywhere.
- It saves valuable counter space: an all-in-one POS system takes less space than a bulky cash register.
- It saves time and money: with a touchscreen POS, your staff can easily and quickly take orders, reducing your customer’s wait time.
Best cash registers in 2020
If you’re on the look for a cash register, here is a list of the best cash register brands for restaurants and small businesses:
- Casio cash register
- Sharp cash register
- Royal cash register
POS software pricing
Since POS systems can range wildly in price, with some well under $100/month and some over $300/month, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to choose.
If you’re a small business, you should expect to pay between $40 and $100/month for one cash register.
On the other hand, multi-location and franchise businesses can expect to pay between $100 and $300/month.
Additionally, the one-time purchase for hardware should be around $1500-$2500 per location.
The cost of POS hardware will greatly vary from one model to another. To give you an idea of the required budget here is how much you can expect to spend for a basic setup:
Ipad POS hardware:
- Apple iPad 32GB with WiFi: $430
- iPad Stand: $130
- Receipt printer: $300
- Cash drawer: $190
- Network access point (Router): $250
Total costs: $1300
Installation, Training and Support Pricing
Installation and training are two crucial steps to consider when choosing a new POS system. To ensure that the system and network are properly installed and the staff is comfortable using it, most businesses rely on their POS vendor.
Here is the average cost of a POS installation and training:
- Training and onboarding session: $149
- Remote installation: $149
- On-site installation: $250
- Menu build: $150
Where to buy POS and cash registers
With so many POS companies in the market, finding the right POS system can be an overwhelming task. There are seemingly endless features and options that can improve your business operation and increase your bottom line.
And if you’re still wondering where to buy a POS or cash register, here’s a list of companies that provide advisory services and user reviews on POS software:
What is the best POS System for my business?
Choosing the right POS System is critical for the success of your business. Consider what your needs and requirements are along with your budget to help you point in the right direction.
Here at Koomi, we offer a POS system designed for fast-food and quick-service restaurants. It has features that help you manage all your restaurants in one place and is easily integrated with the tools you already use. Plus, it offers an online ordering system, inventory and employee management and provides the best customer service.