Is Your Restaurant Ready for a POS System?

The right point-of-sale (POS) system can have a positive impact on your restaurant business, giving you effective control of critical processes for improved productivity and profitability. A good POS system can certainly cut down on inventory shrinkage due to waste, misuse, or theft; ensure that every menu has the correct prices; and generate detailed reports that can help you make strategic business decisions. But does your restaurant have the requirements to warrant an investment in the technology?

Determining Whether You Need a POS System

Whether your restaurant specializes in fine dining or self-service, there are POS system requirements to consider before you make an investment. Most restaurants with annual revenues of $900,000 and more need a POS system to streamline processes. For restaurants that earn less than this, and even for start-ups, a POS system may still be a viable investment for more effective reporting and monitoring. In any case, before setting up the system, there are a few requirements that should be met:

  1. Do you have a dedicated computer responsible for maintaining the information database and software? This computer should be fast and robust, without requiring a special operating system. This will serve either as the back-office computer or the server computer.
  2. Are there enough ports in your computer to accommodate the peripherals? For the peripherals to integrate seamlessly with the POS system, the necessary cables and ports must be properly set up. The peripherals include the magnetic card-stripe reader, receipt printer, and cash drawer.
  3. Do you have provision for dot-matrix printers and the corresponding cabling in your kitchen? This is the suggested printer for restaurants, because thermal printer paper blackens when exposed to heat, oil, or grease.
  4. Do you have a cabling system that reaches the kitchen? Parallel interfaces and serial connections can reach up to 100 feet, while USB interfaces are limited to 15 feet and Ethernet requires a 300-foot connection.
  5. Do you have an uninterrupted power supply? You need a steady power source that will keep the POS system running for at least 20 minutes after a power outage to give you time to store transactions before the system shuts down.
  6. Do you have a reliable off-site backup? This is an important requirement to protect your database in case of fire, burglary, or natural calamities.

Whether you operate a fast-food establishment, cafeteria, coffee shop, or any other variety, a POS system makes placing orders, taking payments, and generating reports faster and simpler. Just make sure that all POS system requirements are in place before you purchase one.