Take a moment to think about the last time you had to upgrade your smartphone. You probably didn’t walk straight into the retailer and grab the first phone you saw. If anything, you may have taken some time to look at several different smartphones, compare a few brands and styles and then finally settle on the one that best fit your needs now and in the future.
While buying the latest and greatest smartphone may not be the same as a large-scale restaurant point of sale purchase, the two experiences carry more similarities than differences. For example, when looking for a prospective POS system, you should probably consider how easy the system is to use. If you and your employees don’t understand how it works, you likely won’t be taking full advantage of all the things it can potentially do.
There are a variety of options currently available on the market, and each system has its own benefits and pitfalls. Is there a risk of your systems getting greasy? Wet? What if an employee drops your POS tablet on the floor or spills water on it? Will it continue to work after falling on the ground a few times? These are only a few of the many questions a restaurateur must consider before deciding what system to settle on.
Software and Cloud Computing
The first thing to consider when purchasing a new POS system is whether it will be a traditional one that stores data on-site or a cloud-based one that uses the Internet to store data at off-site facilities. On-site terminals need more memory and larger hard drives to store all the data, while cloud-based systems like PAR’s Brink POS software use less space and have fewer hardware requirements, making them more nimble. You can learn more about cloud-based POS systems in chapter one of our eBook or by checking out our blog post about the topic.
When choosing the right restaurant POS software for your needs, it’s worth taking a moment or two to consider what aspects of a cloud-based system are most appealing to you and your business. Consider the monthly cost associated with different options, what add-ons are available, how the software interacts with your current hardware and whether 24/7 support is available if a problem pops up. PAR has been developing POS software and hardware for four decades, and that kind of skill and depth of knowledge is tough to replicate. This makes PAR a great choice for everyone from the world’s largest quick service restaurants to the local coffee shop down the street.
Touchscreens and Hardware
Today, quick service restaurants and other fast casual locations use touchscreen terminals to place orders. Although the style of touchscreen a restaurant chooses is largely based on preference, Projective Capacitive (PCAP) and Resistive Capacitive screens offer different benefits depending on the type of environment they’ll be used in.
PCAP screens allow for multi-touch capabilities, better touch accuracy, provide high-quality images and can even support drag and drop options. The downside to this type of screen is that it tends to be more expensive compared to Resistive Capacitive touchscreens. It also doesn’t work well when employees are attempting to ring in orders while wearing gloves. The glass on PCAP screens is also the same as what you might find on a smartphone, so it is a little less sturdy than its resistive counterpart.
Resistive touchscreens are a bit more rugged and come at a lower price point than PCAP screens, but don’t offer multi-touch support and have poorer contrast images. On the bright side, these screens can still be used while an employee is wearing gloves, or they can use a stylus. They’re also more resistant to water and dust, but the screen’s increased sturdiness means the operator has to press down harder to register an action.
Looking into the Future
Just like your smartphone, laptop or favorite NFL wide receiver, there comes a time when your restaurant POS system starts to lose a step. The typical POS system lifecycle is about 5-7 years, though it can decrease or increase some depending on how employees and customers interact with the equipment.
If you’re thinking about your next piece of hardware, keep in mind what things might look like in the future. Today, customers have a number of different ways to stay connected with their favorite eateries, from ordering online through mobile apps to kiosks or pay at table tablets. According to the Restaurant Technology in 2016 Industry Report, roughly four out of five restaurant operators said technology helps them drive sales, increase productivity and compete against others. To keep up with the rapidly changing landscape, having a POS system that’s easy to update, upgrade and use is paramount to success.
Consumers are largely following the same technological trend, mirroring those in the restaurant industry. About two-thirds of all adults, and more than three-fourths of those ages 18-34 say technology increases convenience. More than half of all adults also agreed that technology both speeds up their total service time and increases order accuracy. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but customers really enjoy getting the food they ordered quickly.
By choosing a POS system that is powerful and adaptable enough to take advantage of today’s options, your restaurant can cultivate an atmosphere where it’s easy to pivot based on the ebbs and flows of the industry. PAR’s EverServ® 8000 Series can handle a variety of integrations seamlessly but also accommodate future industry requirements and changes in customer preferences.
At the end of the day, your POS system should be making your life easier. By ensuring your equipment is agile enough to change with the industry and can help you build a loyal fan base through unique promotions and programs, your business will be much better positioned to compete in an ever-evolving industry.
Ready to learn more? Check out our Restaurant Point of Sale Solutions Guide, and begin your journey to better restaurant management today!