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A guide to restaurant point of sale technology

Cover Image for person's hand entering an order into a restaurant pos system
By Lenora Houseworth

In today’s rapidly evolving restaurant landscape, a point of sale (POS) system is not just a transactional tool—it’s the heartbeat of your establishment. Whether you’re looking to elevate the customer experience, streamline kitchen processes, or dive deep into data-driven decisions, there’s a POS system tailor-made for your restaurant’s needs.

What is a POS system?

At its core, point of sale systems complete transactions between a business and its customers. The system typically comprises hardware like cash registers, barcode scanners, and receipt printers. Effective POS software can process payments, track sales, and manage inventory, but its capabilities extend beyond these essential functions. 

Types of POS systems.

Here’s a breakdown of the typical POS options that can cater to your restaurant’s distinct needs:

  • Traditional: Also known as “legacy” systems, these  POS setups have adorned restaurants since the 1980s. These systems employ stationary terminals with touchscreens linked with an internal server for seamless operation. All payment processing occurs at the terminals.
  • Mobile: Ideal for food trucks, pop-up eateries, or any establishment seeking mobility, mobile POS solutions operate on tablets or smartphones. These systems offer flexibility in processing payments and managing orders anywhere within your venue.
  • Tablet: Effortlessly modernize your restaurant with tablet POS systems. Waitstaff can take orders directly at the table, streamlining the order-to-kitchen process and enhancing customer experience.
  • Cloud-based: Cloud-based systems store data on remote servers, allowing real-time access from anywhere with an internet connection. These systems provide scalability, automated updates, and simplified maintenance, reducing the burden on your IT infrastructure.
  • Self-service: Empower your customers to place orders and make payments independently. Self-service POS are typically kiosks that speed up order processing during busy hours and cater to tech-savvy diners.
  • Integrated: For seamless operations, integrated POS systems synchronize with other software your restaurant uses, such as accounting or inventory management tools. This integration boosts efficiency by reducing duplicate data entry.
  • E-commerce: For restaurants delving into online food delivery and takeout, e-commerce POS systems seamlessly integrate with your website, streamlining online orders, payments, and delivery management.
  • Specialized: Certain restaurants may require specialized POS systems tailored to their niche. For instance, bars may need POS solutions with advanced drink management features, while fine dining establishments could benefit from systems that support elaborate tasting menus.

Things to consider when selecting a POS.

When selecting a POS system for your restaurant, consider your restaurant’s style, payment processing needs, and your team’s strengths. For instance, if you thrive on number crunching and trend analysis, opt for a POS system that excels in financial reporting and performance assessment. If you are a restaurant that needs help monitoring ingredient costs for an ever changing menu, select a POS system that specializes in inventory management. Finally, consider how important collecting guest data will be. Typically, sit-down restaurants, tasting rooms, and other service-based dining operations benefit from knowing guest preferences and personal details. 

Can Tock work with your POS system?

Tock’s all-in-one reservation and table management platform integrates with POS systems like Toast to offer real-time communication between reservation data and the point of sale. This translates to more timely table turnover and streamlines overall operational efficiency.

Other benefits to integrating Tock with your POS system are as follows:

  • Enhance guest experiences: With Tock’s POS system integration, your staff will instantly know the guest’s name, party size, past dining history and prepayment details when reviewing the auto-created POS check.
  • Ensure accurate billing and payment: Tock’s integration ensures the correct charges are applied to the guest’s bill, avoiding prepayment discrepancies or misunderstandings.
  • Work with data-driven insights: With access to a guest’s past reservation history and associated POS checks on Tock, you’ll gain actionable insights, including spending habits and favorite menu items, which can guide pricing strategies, development, and future marketing campaigns.
  • Make record keeping effortless: Say goodbye to the need for manual data entry, reducing the chances of errors and saving valuable time. Automated prepayments push to your POS records reservations revenue in that system’s reporting.

Learn more about Tock’s POS integrations:

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