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Quick Guide to Restaurant POS Systems

According to recent studies, the main concern of restaurants is “shrinkage," the loss of inventory due to theft, human error or mismanagement. One way that shrinkage can be prevented is through the use of a P.O.S., or point of sale, system. A restaurant POS system act as an electronic cash register. It allows restaurants to manage inventory, process orders, track employee time, and record sales information. These systems help speed up the ordering process and allow the chefs in the kitchen to create orders quickly to keep customers happy.

There are two types of POS systems: A stand alone system (the most basic system that consists of one terminal where all transactions are made) and a network system (a system consisting of multiple linked terminals with a single station acting as the primary terminal). Which system you choose depends on the size and configuration of your restaurant.   

POS software is the backbone of any POS system. It determines the features that you use and makes your hardware run. There are two types of software: web based and purchased software. Web based software is paid for monthly, requires an internet connection and can require more technical support. It also has the advantage of third party data backup which helps prevent a loss of data which can result in the closing of businesses. Purchased software is usually paid for with a flat, one time fee although it is sometimes free. It is owned by the business and requires more maintenance from the owner. 

Web based software is paid for monthly, require an internet connection and can require more technical support. Web based allows for a third party backup of information. Purchased software can range from free to several thousand dollars. It is wholly owned by the business and requires the purchaser to update, upgrade and maintain it.

You'll also want to take in account POS software features when making a decision. There are typically three main functions: transaction based, inventory control and customer management. Transaction features are those that deal with the software’s capability to perform certain tasks at the point of purchase. These features include application of discounts and taxes, customer returns and voids, Price and availability lookup and employee clock in/clock out features. Inventory control features track the amount of certain items that a company has on hand. Features include transaction reporting, store inventory check and back ordering and item request tracking.

Customer management features help you create a database of customers and details about their past purchases.