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Understanding What a POS System Is in a Restaurant

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

Here’s how a point-of-sale system can save time, boost revenue, and take your business to the next level of success.

A restaurant POS system, or point-of-sale system, is one of the most powerful tools an owner or manager can use to improve operations and grow their business. Innovations in digital technology mean that restaurant point-of-sale systems can do much more than take orders and process payments. A state-of-the-art POS system can help schedule, analyze menu items, and alert you when inventory runs low—that’s just the beginning. Here’s an overview of restaurant POS systems and how they can help you and your business succeed.

How does a restaurant POS system work?
Restaurant POS systems consist of two parts: hardware and software. Hardware includes physical equipment like tablets, handheld terminals, and chip readers. Software is a computer program that performs tasks like processing transactions and running reports.

Think of a POS system as your restaurant’s central nervous system. It’s where information is collected, stored, and analyzed to keep many operations running smoothly.

Establishments ranging from fast-casual restaurants to wineries to luxury hotels use POS systems to manage daily operations, like tracking sales, keeping tabs on labor costs, and storing customer information. But today’s POS systems offer features and functionality beyond essential restaurant management tools.

A robust restaurant POS system can do everything except prep ingredients and bus tables. With powerful data collection and reporting, restaurant managers can identify their most profitable menu items, flag low-inventory ingredients, and provide more robust service to their most loyal customers. The best restaurant POS systems offer customers and staff an intuitive, easy-to-use interface. And, thanks to the cloud-based POS software many systems offer, you can manage operations without setting foot in the dining room.

POS system integrations for restaurants
Restaurant point-of-sale software doesn’t operate in a bubble. A robust POS system will offer seamless integrations with other tools such as reservation software, back-office systems, and other third-party apps that manage scheduling, reservations, online ordering, or delivery tasks.

By coordinating the functions these tools perform with your restaurant’s POS system, you can streamline operations and handle the many aspects of a restaurant manager’s job quickly and easily.

The benefits of a restaurant POS system
A powerful, versatile POS system with the right features and seamless integrations can significantly help your restaurant, hotel, or winery. Here are just a few of the advantages a point-of-sale system can offer.

  • Save time: Tracking everything from labor hours to ingredient costs with POS software puts information at your fingertips.
  • Stay organized: Managing guest reservations, staff schedules, sales reports, and more all in one place streamlines operations and lets you find what you need when needed.
  • Improve efficiency: Simplify tasks, reduce food waste, and maximize ROI on labor. Make guest transactions hassle-free with convenient, handheld restaurant POS terminals you can bring to their table.
  • Grow revenue: Learn which dishes offer the best margin, know your top-performing servers, and pinpoint areas for improvement with POS tools—then watch sales go up.
  • Build loyalty: Identify your best customers and track their preferences and history. Use that data to provide personalized hospitality and drive return visits. Some POS systems can even manage a rewards program to keep your most valuable diners returning and convert occasional visitors into regulars.

A restaurant POS system can be a considerable upfront cost, but the time and headaches you’ll save—and the lower costs and increased revenue it can create over time—make it more than worth the investment.

Learn more about how Tock integrates with restaurant POS systems.

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