What Is a Cloud-Based Point of Sale System? Why Does It Matter?

Whether you’re a small chain restaurant with only a few locations or a large-scale quick service eatery with thousands of franchisees, having a reliable and agile point of sale system in place can make a huge difference.

Not only does a good point of sale system keep track of orders, money and inventory, it should be able to grow with your business, adapting to newly emerging technologies and clientele tastes.

Technology is constantly changing and evolving, meaning what may have worked decades ago is most likely gathering dust on a shelf today. For example, no one uses a manual credit card imprinter anymore. Instead, these businesses are relying on automatic transfers of money from various accounts to their stores and restaurants.

The future is now, and it comes with a variety of exciting opportunities for quick service and fast casual restaurants to take advantage of. This includes getting the most out of your point of sale software and systems. By utilizing the vast power of the cloud, your business can do so much more than it could only a few years ago. Whether it’s developing a loyalty program for your best customers, implementing online ordering or integrating social marketing solutions, choosing the right POS system can help your restaurant serve customers more effectively while keeping better track of how your business is doing.

A Modern Approach to Restaurant Transactions

Traditional (or legacy) POS systems have ruled the roost for many years, but their lack of agility makes it difficult for restaurant owners and managers to keep pace with what their customers want and need. Legacy systems often store data on-site, usually on a server hidden in a backroom of the restaurant. When changes need to be made, someone with administrative access at the restaurant must be in the building and logged in.

Legacy POS systems also have trouble with data accessibility, mainly because they are limited to the storage that a restaurant has available on its internal systems. They may be difficult to maintain, costly to upgrade and repair and could require middleware to help the systems integrate with the latest software. Updates likely require an IT professional to make a trip out to the location to install new equipment and software, taking the system offline and reducing productivity.

But in the same way the iPod revolutionized how people listen to music, new technology is offering restaurant owners another way to control inventory, store data and help customers make the most of their experience. Cloud-based POS software, which can run on most POS hardware, offers managers and owners the luxury of changing menus, looking over reports and making other changes from anywhere in the world. This is because the data is stored in large information centers and can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.

By taking their business to the cloud, restaurant owners can align their brands with success by promoting additional conveniences for their consumers through integration. This includes popular offerings like curbside takeout, customer loyalty programs, online ordering, text message ordering, in-store tablets, kiosk ordering, line busting and pay at table. The cloud is also a safe and secure way of storing customer data because sensitive information isn’t being held on-site.

Lightning Fast Results from the Cloud

Millennial’s are now the largest generation living in America and will likely soon have a larger amount of disposable income. According to Inc., millennials are more likely to eat out at restaurants compared to older generations and are much more likely to expect technology as part of their restaurant experience. Where it was difficult and costly to integrate new customer offerings and loyalty programs into a traditional POS system, part of the allure of cloud-based POS software for restaurants is its ease of use.

Whether it’s using tableside tablet pay options, line busting tablets during peak customer hours, mobile and text ordering or loyalty programs, each option can be quickly implemented across all terminals because they are all linked through the cloud. New installations and software updates are also a snap because they are automatically handled on every machine. By making the system easier to use and automating certain aspects, it requires little to no effort from restaurant owners, managers or other IT employees. This means business owners can spend less time worrying about how their system works and focus more on delighting customers and generating revenue.

Cloud-based POS systems aren’t just an attractive option to restauranteurs because of their ease of use and hands-off approach to updates. Unlike legacy POS systems, which are often expensive to set up and maintain, cloud-based systems follow a “software as a service,” or SaaS, model of ownership. What this means is that businesses can implement the software quickly throughout their locations without paying a licensing fee upfront and can expect lower maintenance costs over time. SaaS also offers a standardized and predictable monthly bill that can easily be budgeted into a monthly spending plan.

Meeting Changing Demands

According to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), 46% of all smartphone users use their phone to order food for takeout or delivery. The easiest and most effective way for every restaurant to grow its customer base is to create loyal fans who will share their positive experiences and find new and innovative ways to delight them every day. PAR’s Brink POS can accommodate several customer data points, including buying habits, birthdays, order histories and other contact information.

Restaurants have more ways than ever to keep in touch with customers and stay in front of them. By creating and curating custom loyalty programs, retailers can send customers promotions and special offers by text or email, track their purchases over time and reward them each time they make a purchase, visit a location or earn enough points.

Ready to learn more? Check out our Restaurant Point of Sale Solutions Guide below, and begin your journey to better restaurant management today!

Restaurant POS Guide