What Type of Restaurant Do You Manage?
At this point, you should have a firm grasp on features and capabilities that a POS system needs to be effective in a restaurant, but let’s take a deeper look into how to choose the right system for your restaurant specifically.
No two restaurants are exactly alike, but they can often be grouped into a few common categories. The category your restaurant falls into will make a big difference in the type of POS system you choose. A few of the most commonly-used categories are:
Quick Service restaurants are often franchises geared toward very quick service for customers who usually purchase in the Drive-Thru.
These restaurants are typically what comes to mind when thinking of “fast food”. Menu items are generally low-ticket and of average quality, and sold primarily through a drive-thru line. Inside the restaurant, the quick service kitchen is often hidden behind the service counter, placing food prep out of sight of the customer.
If you own a quick service franchise, you’ll need a system that facilitates fast turnaround time and can scale and adapt as the franchise grows.
Features such as multi-unit management, complex discounting, and the ability to create combo meals from your menu are all extremely useful in the quick service environment, as customers and managers alike have come to expect these features as the industry norm.
As Fast Casual restaurants continue to trend upward in popularity, many Quick Service Restaurants are co-opting some Fast Casual elements, resulting in something of a gray zone in recent years.
There are, however, still many hallmarks of the Fast Casual restaurant that clearly set it apart.
Like Quick Service restaurants, Fast Casual restaurants also typically offer a walk-up service counter, but unlike the vast majority of QSRs, the Fast Casual service counter is often where the food is assembled, with direction from the customer. The kitchen area is also frequently visible from the service counter, sometimes even part of it.
As it is often prepared right in front of the customer as they order it, the food at these Fast Casual restaurants is usually of a higher quality, with much fresher ingredients than you’re like to find in a QSR.
Lastly, as opposed to a drive-thru, most customers at a Fast Casual restaurant are encouraged to dine in, with delivery and pickup options becoming more standard as well.
As you choose a POS system for a Fast Casual restaurant, ensure it carries features that will allow you to keep operating costs and prices as low as possible, such as robust inventory management, complex coupons, and in-depth reporting.
Forty-three percent of consumers say they avoid going to fast casual restaurants because they’re “not affordable” and thirty percent cited “lack of deals.” So keeping costs low–and by extension prices—will go a long way to getting more customers in the door.