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What Restaurant Retailers Should Look for in a Point of Sale Solution 

Contributors: David Patterson

Point-of-sale (POS) platforms serve a critical role in operating an efficient retail business. Within the context of the food service industry, speed at the point of sale becomes imperative. A POS solution for restaurant retailers should improve the services provided to customers, not hinder them. A robust point-of-sale system within restaurants consists of both the software and hardware that restaurants utilize to manage both the front-of-house and back-of-house to orchestrate the guest experience. In this piece, we outline what restaurant retailers should look for in a point of sale solution. 

More Than Just A Point Of Sale 

Businesses now require a POS solution to do more than just order and payment processing, and the right system will improve the quality of service, not only for restaurant employees but also customers, with the goal of delivering faster service to meet ever-increasing customer demands.  

Your POS hardware can be as simple as a tablet or smartphone supplemented with a card reader, or multiple terminals with peripherals such as scanners, cash drawers, and customer-facing display screens for front-of-house (FOH) operations. Back-of-house (BOH) hardware could include kitchen display systems, kitchen printers, and recipe viewers. As your restaurant looks to upgrade your POS system, whether you decide on an on-premise or cloud solution, it’s imperative that your networking and infrastructure meet the POS platform’s requirements. You’ll also need to consider exact hardware configurations and networking capabilities based on that decision. 

Advantages of The Right System 

You’ll want to find a point-of-sale software that can offer your restaurant the following: 

  • Direct payment integration: Best-in-class payment terminals ensure Near Field Communication (NFC), Europay Mastercard and Visa (EMV), contactless payment, and Magnetic Stripe Card (MSC) are supported, all while reducing the restaurant operator’s exposure to audit risk. 
  • Customer engagement and loyalty programs: Your point-of-sale platform can help you turn one-time guests into returning visitors by rewarding them for their recurring business. The best POS solutions seamlessly integrate brand-specific loyalty programs into the guests’ in-store journey. 
  • Inventory Management: A built-in inventory management tool can reduce the margin of error when it comes to inventory turnover and optimize employee productivity by shifting time spent on inventory functions to providing customers with a superior experience 
  • Comprehensive Reporting Capabilities: Integrated reporting and analytics will help your restaurant keep up with performance in real time and allow you to pivot your offerings whenever necessary. 
  • Service Model-Agnostic Ordering Solutions: Allow guests to take control of their ordering experience by browsing the menu from a mobile device, ordering from a self-service kiosk, and closing their check with contactless payment options. Best-in-class POS solutions for restaurant retailers do all of this while keeping their transactional data centralized and secure. 

Selecting A POS Solution for Restaurant Retailers

It’s typically a daunting experience to select a new strategic technology vendor, and that’s understandable. There is a lot to consider. Your restaurant’s format, geographic reach, pace of growth, and strategic goals are each important facets to a vendor selection process. We often see our clients prioritize the following when partnering with us on the vendor selection journey: 

  • Flexibility: The system should offer a high degree of configurability and extensibility to accommodate the ever-changing nature of the restaurant industry, supporting varying modes of dining, accepting different payment methods, and allowing employees the opportunity to manage their schedules remotely. 
  • Integrations: Collecting customer data, customizing guest experiences, implementing promotions, building out loyalty programs, integrating online ordering and delivery options, and managing inventory and staff are some main integrations that should be considered when selecting your new solution. 
  • Scalability: Understanding that working styles differ by location will allow the selection of a system that can add new services, technologies, software, and hardware to eliminate unnecessary procedures and integrations across the business. 
  • Insights: The right system will help you understand how the business is doing while creating reports to reflect when increases in staffing or customized promotions are necessary  

Clarkston’s Vendor Selection Methodology  

Decisions made during the vendor selection process are crucial and will continue to affect the business years down the line. Investing the time to take a disciplined approach to selecting a new point-of-sale vendor for your restaurant is critical. With Clarkston’s proven Vendor Selection Methodology, and experience applying the methodology to restaurants, restaurant operators can enjoy peace of mind knowing their POS evaluation will be closely guided by the criteria most important to keep their employees and guests happy.  

If streamlining operations, customer engagement, guest loyalty, and overall efficiency are your goals, Clarkston can help gather requirements specific to your business to find the right solution for you.  


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Tags: Vendor Selection & Advisory, Point of Sale