New technologies are hitting the restaurant market at breakneck speed, with a number of new restaurant POS trends taking hold. Let’s take a look at the top three such trends and what is motivating operators to jump on the bandwagon.
- Mobile/tablet POS: Of all restaurant POS trends, this one rises to the top of the list. Driven by an increased desire and a push to enhance customer service, boost sales and reduce costs, restaurant operators are implementing tablet-based POS systems as a way to extend the range of service and enhance traditional POS terminals.
Many restaurateurs now equip servers with tablets for the purpose of taking diners’ orders at the table and transmitting them directly from the table to the kitchen. This improves customer service because orders reach the kitchen faster and, in turn, meals make it to the table quicker than ever before. Better customer service means repeat business and often spurs diners to order additional items rather than simply leaving the restaurant after finishing their meal.
Some restaurants are also installing tablets at individual tables. These units function as digital menus customers can use to review their food and beverage options.
In both cases, tablets can allow for mobile POS. Instead of settling their tabs by handing a credit or debit card to a server, who then initiates the transaction at the front counter, patrons enjoy the convenience of “pay-at-the-table” functionality. Servers can use tablets or other mobile devices to process payments tableside, or patrons can complete the task themselves using tablets that have been integrated into the table.
- POS software in the cloud: Also on the list of restaurant POS trends is the emergence of the cloud-based POS model. Cloud-based POS systems can be accessed from anywhere there is internet access and across any device (desktop computer, tablet or smartphone), enabling restaurant operators to keep a closer eye on their businesses no matter where they are.
Cloud-based software has climbed to the top of the restaurant POS trends hotlist in part because many operators do favor its cost-effectiveness, as well as the rapid pace at which it can be deployed. Under a cloud-based POS umbrella, operators often do not purchase an entire system at once. Although cloud-based POS systems can be purchased outright, many come with a monthly licensing fee and minimal or no additional hardware costs. The licensing fee covers all upgrades and updates, which are handled by the provider.
- Self-service kiosks: It’s no wonder self-service lands squarely on any list of restaurant POS trends, given that self-service in general has become a popular concept in the restaurant and retail worlds alike. According to Self-Service World magazine, 60,000 self-service terminals are expected to be shipped to businesses in 2018, up from a mere 27,000 in 2012.
In some quick-service restaurants, self-service kiosks conserve labor by functioning as order-takers. Instead of – or in addition to – equipping an employee with a mobile device for taking orders as customers queue up for the cash registers, some quick-service operators give patrons the option to input their orders into self-service kiosks and pay for them there. Such implementation of kiosks means restaurant operators can assign fewer employees to work the counter and/or line, thereby using their resources more efficiently.
As mentioned above, the cadre of top restaurant POS trends also includes a heightened tendency among some operators to provide tablets at tables. When customers use these tablets to handle their own beverage orders or process their own payments, servers are freed up to assist other diners, conserving labor without compromising the quality of customer service.
Restaurant POS trends will likely change with time. However, mobile POS/tablets, cloud-based POS solutions and self-service technology are currently garnering a significant portion of restaurateurs’ attention and merit exploration by operators of all sizes.