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Scorecard 2009: Restaurants Rate Top POS Trends

Ask any operator, and they will tell you that point of sale (POS) systems are at the heart of restaurant management systems. For the past eleven years, Hospitality Technology has tracked the latest POS technology developments and trends within the restaurant industry with its "Annual Restaurant Technology Study". This year, HT asked respondents across quick service, family/casual, and fine dining restaurants to rank with POS features matter most, when they plan on replacing their POS, which peripherals are the most important and more.

POS features
For the last four years, operators have indicated accounting/financials as the leader in POS system functions (77% of respondents in 2009). This year, this is followed by labor management (71%), enterprise management (67%), business intelligence (64%), CRM/loyalty (55%), and take-out/delivery (55%).

In a cross tabular analysis of POS system functions and restaurant type, more than 90% of quick service restaurants place accounting/financials as the most important feature, followed by 67.8% of casual/family restaurants, and 77% of fine dining restaurants. Nearly 73 percent of casual/family restaurants place labor management as the more important function.

On the POS peripheral front, touchscreens were cited as the most important peripheral, followed by receipt printers, credit card swipes, and cash drawers. Additionally, the ranking of wireless handhelds increased to 41.5% in 2009. This year's surprise increase was seen in biometric fingerprint readers with 32.2% of respondents indicating it as an important feature.

For the first time, this year's study asked respondents guests about online ordering, pay-at-table and gift card integration. A little over 80 percent of the respondents ranked gift card integration as an important peripheral, while 38 percent ranked online ordering as an important peripheral. Nearly 30 percent of respondents ranked pay-at-table systems as important.

POS replacement
The Restaurant Technology Study also tracks the percentage of respondents who are likely to replace their current POS systems in the coming years. As expected, in 2009, the number of respondents who are likely to replace their current POS system in the coming years, decreased as compared to the last four years. The percentage of respondents who reported that they will replace their POS system within the next 3-4 years time increased to 28.2% in 2009 (on a cross tabular analysis: 18.2% of QSRs, 37.3% of casual/family, and 23.1% of fine-dining). These statistics show that POS system replacement, although slowing in the short term, will not be significantly affected by the reduction in IT spending as it is a mission-critical system.

Download the 11th Annual Restaurant Technology Study to read additional coverage on wireless POS terminals and labor management systems/technologies.

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