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Unlocking the Hidden Capabilities of Your Restaurant POS System

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Many payment solutions offer advanced features you may not be using. Here's how you can do more with them.
By Nicole Bryan April 2017 Expert Insights

Over the past few years, the number of technological advancements made in the payments ecosystem has given merchants from retailers to restaurateurs more power when they process card-based transactions. However, not every business knows about the ways in which these positive changes can affect them, and as a result they might not be getting as much benefit out of their modern point-of-sale investments as they possibly could.

Of course, many restaurant owners have long since recognized the vital need to be able to handle potentially large numbers of transactions in a timely manner, but those that haven't updated yet—or those that have but still use these devices in much the same ways they always have—might not be getting all the benefits, according to The Balance. In general, the bigger the restaurant operation, the more important it is to have a fast and secure POS machine installed, but given the ways in which consumer preferences are shifting, many diners might see the ability to pay by card as a "must-have." This means any restaurants that don't meet that expectation may lose out on repeat business.

Finding the Right Fit
Often, when it comes to the best POS solutions for any given restaurant, there's a lot to consider, according to Shopkeep. Some devices are relatively easy for workers to use, and focus on being able to process all transactions as quickly as possible. Others are more feature-rich and allow for additional technological benefits like processing and filing costs, inventory, and so on. Still more offer in-system technical support that can make it easier to sort out issues that may occasionally arise.

Some machines may also be able to include customized information on receipts, ranging from coupons to help ensure repeat business to social media and website information that can help people stay connected to everything going on with a restaurant. How these benefits will work for each restaurant's needs is obviously up to them to decide, but given how many options are out there, upgrading owners may need to do their research to ensure they're getting the most out of POS devices.

Going Mobile?
In many cases, it might also be wise for restaurants (and other merchants) to look into the benefits of a mobile point-of-sale system so that customers don't have to worry about payment security, Shopkeep further advised. These devices are often sleeker and easier to install and use—not to mention less expensive—than traditional POS, and moreover can often be brought right to a diner's table so that they can keep their cards within sight at all times. All that can provide one additional benefit: catching the customer's eye. When they see the ease of use these systems often provide, they may end up being more likely to frequent that establishment again and again.

A Significant Strength
Even beyond the numerous advanced offerings now available to restaurateurs, it's also important to keep in mind the hidden power just about any POS device will provide, according to All Business. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of modern point-of-sale is that it provides significant insight into how a company is operating, and does so far more accurately than with simply doing the manual math for cash and check transactions.

That, in turn, helps to provide an ongoing return on investment in these machines, because while they often cost thousands of dollars—an initial cost some owners might think is difficult to justify—the amount of time they save in terms of not having to do the math, and not having to go back and fix past errors, can add up quickly. Moreover, because a large and growing number of people prefer to pay with cards, POS can also provide strong ROI simply because more business is likely to come through the door.

Restaurant-Specific Benefits
In addition to the benefits modern POS devices provide to all businesses that adopt them, restaurants in particular can unlock even more benefits because of the nature of their operations, according to Restaurant POS Central. For instance, most merchants aren't going to worry about customers asking to split a bill, which is of course common in restaurants, and don't have concerns related to making sure all orders are right as a transaction progresses.

The fact is that restaurant customers are likely to keep adding to their order as time goes on, and then want to divide their tickets based on what they personally ordered, and modern restaurant POS devices are ready for those demands in ways that older models might have struggled with.

In addition, servers and other restaurant workers won't have to worry about things like clocking in on separate devices when they arrive at a restaurant, or how they're going to address errors that will occasionally crop up in the course of doing business, according to Focus POS Systems. That can all be handled within modern POS devices and allows for greater ease of use from servers right on up to owners.

Given the huge number of options that have become available when it comes to point-of-sale devices, restaurant owners need to consider many aspects of their business on an ongoing basis. The more research they can do before arriving at a decision, the better off they will be when it comes to meeting their ongoing needs.

Nicole Bryan is the digital content writer for Sterling Payment Technologies, a payment processing company based in Tampa, Florida. Sterling is a payment processor that offers solutions that help grow their customers’ businesses more profitably and efficiently.