How to Select POS Hardware for Your Restaurant

Whether you are opening a brand-new restaurant, or upgrading your legacy hardware at an existing location, choosing the right restaurant POS system is a massive decision, one not to be weighed lightly.

When shopping around the various options, several factors need to be taken into consideration.

Perform adequate research and be prepared to ask the right questions.

While consumers can become easily distracted by the current market trends, fancy gimmicks and one hit technology wonders, it is imperative to determine what you actually need to run your business.

When selecting and implementing a new POS system, contemplate the following in regards to your hardware options:

Technical specifications

  • What do all the fancy acronyms mean, and how do they influence your profit?
  • Which technical specifications directly correlate to your business goals and support your pain points?
  • How many GB of memory do you need?
  • Do you want a hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid state drive (SSD), and how much storage do you need?
  • Do you want a resistive or projective capacitive touchscreen?

Modern cloud POS systems typically have minimal requirements for the hardware itself, as most of the processing requirements are loaded into the cloud, making the application that resides on the machine much less dependent upon the CPU and memory.

PAR’s EverServ 8000 Series or the PAR EverServ 600 are great choices to consider in this situation, based on your restaurant needs.

Touchscreen Technology

Touchscreen technology is another important aspect to consider when choosing a new POS system, and is based on personal preference and POS functionality.

Projective Capacitive (PCAP) is a popular choice, and is the same type of glass used on smartphones. The other common selection is Resistive Capacitive.

Both types of restaurant technology have their advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of PCAP Touchscreen:

  • Offers multi-touch capabilities
  • Offers protective shielding and longer lifecycle
  • Supports drag and drop/various gesture movements
  • Contains strong touch accuracy
  • Superior image quality

Disadvantages of PCAP Touchscreen:

  • Does not work if the user is wearing gloves
  • More expensive
  • Glass is more prone to breaking

Advantages of Resistive Touchscreen

  • More cost effective
  • High resistance to dust and water
  • Best used with a finger, gloved hand or stylus

Disadvantages of Resistive Touchscreen

  • User must press down harder to use
  • Poor contrast
  • Does not support multi-touch

Customer Displays

Utilizing a customer display on your restaurant point of sale terminal can be an easy way to optimize your guest experience and delight consumers.

After all, everyone appreciates watching their items as they ring up.

  • What size display are you looking to use with your guests?
  • Some customer displays simply show item descriptionsand price, as well as tax and total cost in a text format.
  • Graphical displays allow you to display advertising, as well as show a running order that can be used for order confirmation and order accuracy.

Again, which features best suit your restaurant’s needs and environment?

Environment

A restaurant can be a harsh place in terms of housing technology. Think grease, spillage, weather….not to mention dozens of employees manhandling your restaurant POS hardware on a daily basis.

  • What is the IP rating of a product?
  • Can it still function properly if its dropped?
  • Is it waterproof?

An IP rating tells you the level of protection a device offers against solids and liquids. The “IP” stands for Ingress Protection (or International Protection) and is followed by two numbers. The first number indicates the level of protection against solid particles (dust, dirt…) and ranges from one to six. The second number tells you how much water a device can handle without suffering damage and ranges from one to eight — the higher the number the better the protection.

The below chart summarizes how to read the IP rating of a product:

IP Chart

A purpose-built point of sale system is designed for the extreme conditions of the restaurant environment.

Aesthetics 

Your hardware needs to “fit” into your environment, and align with the ambiance of your atmosphere. Does your restaurant have a modern and sleek feel to it?

When choosing a new POS system, your new unit should complement and harmonize with your entire brand, not clash with it.

Many companies are trading in their bulky and unattractive legacy systems and replacing them for eye-catching and appealing cloud-based solutions.

Do you want your POS to create a barrier between you and your customer, or create an intrapersonal and inviting atmosphere?

Remember, even aesthetics contribute to overall customer satisfaction.

Ease of Use

It’s important to consider if your new POS system will be easy to use or not.

Will you and your staff be able to quickly learn and adapt to the new hardware?

Training employees can be lengthy and costly, so look for technology that is simple to implement.

Industry Experience

Research the providers you are considering.

  • How long have they been in the business?
  • How successful are they in the industry?
  • What is the mission and vision of the brand and products?

Since your new point of sale system is a long-term purchase, make sure the supplier has the reputation and long-standing experience to support you and your business needs, long after the purchase is made.

Support Services

No matter how “top notch” your new restaurant POS platform is, eventually a problem or issue will arise.

How do you solve it? Be sure to thoroughly investigate potential warranties and service license agreements.

You don’t want surprises when you have a problem that is affecting your ability to serve your customers.

Lifecycle 

Be sure to look at the lifecycle of your new point of sale.

  • Is the technology and the operating system at the beginning, middle or end of its life?
  • Will you be able to get repairs and updates throughout the expected lifecycle?

This not only should include hardware, but security patches and updates to the operating system as well.

What type of technology is your potential vendor providing?

A majority of current POS companies on the market currently offer consumer grade tablets as mobile POS options.

These devices are similar to your smartphone and typically need to be replaced or upgraded every two years.

Do you want to refresh your point of sale every two years?

Future Business Needs

Planning for the future is also something to consider when reviewing hardware options.

Thinking about your current needs, yet simultaneously setting your business up for success in an industry amassed with revolving changes, trends and transformations is also advisable.

Look for a company that offers technology equipped to handle the variations and fluxes of the restaurant industry to avoid purchasing new hardware each time a change occurs.

This will allow your business to remain compliant and keep your budget intact!