Mobility Drives POS Upgrades for Restaurants

As mobile point of sale systems become more affordable, more operators are better positioned to implement the technology. Upgrading to mPOS systems can offer many benefits including increased efficiency and accuracy. Recent research from Software Advice, a site that offers comparisons of restaurant POS systems, reveals that 72% of restaurants are seeking out mPOS solutions. Justin Guinn, restaurant researcher at Software Advice, about the study’s focus and findings. 
Your new research highlights how many restaurants are still operating without a POS system today. Why do you think this is?
Justin Guinn: It’s baffling that in this day and age, with the advances and affordability of restaurant point of sale systems, 63% of buyers still operate their business with manual methods and have no POS system in place at all. There are so many advantages to be gained by adopting a POS system, not to mention the mobility that a restaurant operator can achieve with an mPOS system. In general there may be a sense of “comfortable disorganization” at play here. Essentially where a restaurant just says, “We’ve been operating this way forever, so why change?” As scary as change can be, these days there really are affordable solutions that could completely improve the way a restaurant is run from the perspective of the owner, management, staff and customers.
Your study highlights the fact that mobile point of sale (mPOS) solutions are becoming a more common way to run a restaurant more efficiently. Why is that?
Our research points to the fact that more and more restaurants are looking to mPOS systems as the answer to their outdated software, or the solution to not having anything in place at all. These systems offer newfound affordability and easy set-up compared to more traditional, legacy systems. In fact, we found that 72% of restaurants are seeking out an mPOS solution for their establishment.
Along with the affordability of these new tablet-based systems, most of the options available today feature user-friendly interfaces that make it easy for servers to pick up and start using right away. Almost everyone is familiar with using touch screen technology, which makes these systems super easy for staff to get accustomed to.
But perhaps the most differentiating feature of these mPOS systems is the mobility they provide servers. Now servers can manage all their tables — inputting orders and processing payments — without having to leave the floor. That means no more going back and forth to a terminal to input orders to the kitchen. They get sent in right from the tablet in the server’s hand as they’re getting the orders from the customers. Mobile POS systems can handle all the ordering and payments so that servers are always available to help patrons.
What are some of the ways that mPOS systems can impact a restaurant’s bottom line, and ultimately revenue?
These mPOS systems are having very positive impacts on the bottom line of restaurants who are using them. More than anything, mobile POS systems are leading to quicker dining experiences. This means restaurants are able to turn tables faster and pack more customers (and thus, revenue) into each shift.
Plus, now that servers aren’t spending time running back and forth from POS terminals, it enables them to cover more tables and ensure customers are having a great experience. Some restaurants are using this newfound server availability to actually staff fewer servers and spend those labor resources on more kitchen staff and food runners. One operator told us that his restaurateur friend has seen a 15% increase in business since adopting their mobile system and making that labor reorganization.
Another mPOS feature leading to higher revenue are “forced modifiers,” which are notifications that pop up on the screen as the server is inputting a customer’s order. The notifications prompt the server to upsell additional add-ons or recommend new items entirely. For example, if a customer orders a dessert, the server may be prompted to recommend a signature latte to accompany it.
If a restaurant operator is interested in a mobile POS system, what should be their next step?
We hear all the time that choosing a POS system feels like a very overwhelming process. With all the different options on the market today, there can be a lot of pressure to select the ‘right one’ that will work for the front-of-house and back-of-house staff. It’s an important decision to make because much of the way a restaurant runs will likely depend on the functionalities of the chosen POS system. We talk to thousands of restaurant owners and operators each year who are in that exact predicament: they know they want a POS system, but aren’t sure which one to choose.
One top thing we suggest is to take an objective look at the way their restaurant is running and make a simple list of what they want to improve and what they think simply isn’t working (in other words, what they can’t stand to put up with anymore). The silver lining to all of this though, is that adopting a mobile POS can truly change the way a restaurant operates, improving the experience for both customers and staff alike.
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