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Restaurant vs. Retail POS Systems

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Restaurant POS vs. Retail POS

In the market for a POS system for your restaurant? There is a lot of options on the market right now. One of the biggest mistakes restaurant owners make is going with a system that is more retail specific rather than restaurant. The National Restaurant Association says that point of sale systems are one of the most critical business tools for restaurant operators. It’s a system you will use every day, which you will eventually rely on to help grow your business, to help you more view sendinblue email review. If you purchase the right system you are essentially winning the lottery, and if you choose wrong you could hurt your business. With all of the different types of POS systems out there, it can be stressful in choosing the right one that fits your restaurant. As a restaurant operator, let’s explore the differences and benefits of each specific industry POS type.

Software Differences

Visualize the overall order and checkout process of a retail establishment verse a restaurant. Now visualize the order and checkout process of quick service and full-service restaurants verse a retail check out process. With all three there are different experiences. Restaurants have to be in communication with the kitchen when it comes to order completion. Usually, orders are not closed out immediately because of this. However, there are some exceptions in quick service restaurants. Where in retail, transactions are usually closed immediately, at the time of sale. Second, the user interface is usually different for retail and restaurant specific systems. Retail systems are usually designed for products to have numbers as the basis of its functionality. That means that the software is usually designed around the barcodes for each inventory item. Where restaurant systems are designed to be a bit easier to read with menu titles or graphics for quick implementation and management. Also, each section of the restaurant (kitchen, bar, the front of house, etc.,) has their own specific design and functionality to streamline operations.

Hardware Differences

It’s easy to see the similarities in hardware for retail and restaurant POS systems. However, the differences are what make them both so special. Typically transactions are processed immediately in retail establishments and tipping is not very common as it is in restaurant establishments. So retail establishments don’t necessarily need to be as portable as restaurants do. It’s been said that having a handheld or portable POS devices can help improve things in your restaurant from cutting down lines to how payments are processed. The main reason for this is the action of eating, and when you are able to bring convenience to the table, it makes the overall experience better.

Restaurant Specific POS Features

Restaurants and retail establishments each have their own set of specific features when it comes to POS systems. Below are the main features and how they cater specially to the restaurant industry.

1. Inventory Management
Think about it, retail inventory is not the same as restaurant inventory. Retail establishments don’t have to worry about spoilage or food waste. Retail establishments usually track their inventory with bar codes. In restaurants, you can’t add bar codes to every single ingredient in a restaurant. There is also a variety of ways that inventory can be taken in a restaurant. There will be the lesser experienced types that eyeball it or the more experienced who use weight and quantity with amounts constantly tracked in their POS system.

2. Customer Tracking
Customer’s dining habits are different from their retail shopping habits. There are people that will shell the mega bucks for a high-class steak dinner but will shop at discount store for their clothes or other retail products. The same can be said about men and women spending behavior vs. generation level spending behavior. Restaurant POS systems will track different menu items to give you insight on higher selling items for different courses in relation to inventory deadlines. Also, restaurants usually offer Wi-Fi services that are great for customer tracking, where retail establishments usually do not. This is due to the amount of time customers spend in the different types of businesses.

3. Online Ordering
You have to treat online ordering completely separate when it comes to restaurants vs. retail, or by the time you got your food it would be spoiled or you wouldn’t want it anymore. Usually, for retail, it’s custom that it takes a few days for you to receive the product. Where restaurants, people want their orders in under an hour. The percentage of people who make a purchase online also differs between retail and restaurants. In a 2017 study, 47% of shoppers reported purchasing apparel at a large retailer, while 43% purchase on marketplaces. For restaurants, mobile ordering is expected to be a $38 billion dollar industry by 2020. What’s the difference? With retail, you can try on your order, and shipping takes longer than delivery. You know more about what you’re going to get through restaurant ordering rather than retail. That goes without saying, you need a system that caters to the specific scenarios differently.

4. Table Layout
You typically don’t sit at a table in a retail establishment while you’re making a purchase, or even after your purchase. How weird would that be? You typically grab the products you want and head straight to the checkout line in retail stores. Where in both quick service and full-service restaurants, people usually sit at a table, or in delivery scenarios when they eat at their own table. Your table layout can make or break your restaurant. Knowing the status of every table within your layout is also important. It can help tell you your weak spots and therefore assist in turning your tables faster.

5. Customization
Restaurant menus are meant to be much more customizable than what retail establishments offer. If you’re a clothing store, you probably offer the option for customers to pick their size and color of different clothing. Where if you’re restaurant and serve one of the most basic foods, eggs, of which can be made in over 11 different ways. Restaurant menu

Make The Right Choice
Your business is your livelihood. Remember that your POS should be your business’s livelihood. Don’t sacrifice for the bare minimum in features or a system that doesn’t work for your industry.


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