If you run a restaurant, you need a point-of-sale system. Current POS systems have the technology to improve customer retention, protect customer data and drive sales. But what if you run an on-the-go restaurant? What if you don't want to pay for POS hardware but still want to offer your customers great features?
Mobile POS systems allow restaurants to increase sales and retain customers all while using their own tablets or smartphones. This means business owners can have lower upfront costs and still enjoy great software.
"The best mobile restaurant POS systems can operate seamlessly on relatively cheap hardware and deliver an easy-to-use interface that drastically increases the value to the operator," said Rory Crawford, CEO of BevSpot, a Boston-based restaurant software management company.
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There are some clear advantages to using mobile POS systems. Here are the five main benefits.
1. Lower setup costs
One of the benefits of mobile POS systems is the reduced upfront costs and ease of implementation. Instead of installing brand-new hardware, you can often download an app or work directly with your POS provider to set up software on mobile devices you already have. In a business with already tight margins, this can reduce overhead when you switch to a mobile POS solution. It can also give greater flexibility down the line.
"Mobile POS systems are compatible with all devices, so restaurant owners don't need to worry about investing in additional proprietary hardware or equipment in order to integrate a POS system into their existing operations," said Mary Fabro, CMO of Hostme. "That means owners don't need to lock themselves into any additional vendor contracts."
2. Ease of use
Mobile POS solutions are usually intuitive and very easy to use. In addition to helping your staff, this means you can process transactions quicker, turn tables faster and increase the efficiency of your system. Many mobile POS systems also feature paperless options, so customers can opt for email or text receipts. Eliminating steps in the checkout process means your team can focus on taking orders and your customers can get their food quickly. [Interested in POS systems? Check out our best picks and reviews.]
Some mobile POS systems are known as at-table solutions, which means guests can pay using a business's device directly at their table. Erik Ploof, vice president of business development and marketing for TableSafe, said these solutions help with efficiency.
"Restaurants also gain greater waitstaff efficiency, affording them the time to provide more in-person service instead of ushering checks," Ploof said.
3. Transparent operations
These systems can also provide businesses with better reporting and a more transparent record of operations. For a small business owner, it's important to have clear information around your POS system. By prioritizing reports, you can get better insights into each terminal, how your staff is leveraging this technology and how to retain customers.
"Mobile POS systems give restaurant owners or managers the ability to closely monitor their establishment's operations, even when he or she is not onsite at the restaurant," Fabro said.
Because mobile POS solutions involve the latest technology, it's easy to keep them up to date and integrate them with other platforms your business uses. This can include accounting software and order management software. By using mobile POS technology, you can create another data trail to integrate with your operations.
"These mobile POS systems are also much easier for other critical mobile restaurant systems, including staffing management, online ordering and delivery, and cost management to integrate with than traditional systems, which provides the user with greater overall value," Crawford said.
5. Customer service
Perhaps the biggest benefit of using a mobile POS system is customer service. Customer profiles can be linked in the software so you can set up reward programs for repeat visitors. You can also store valuable customer information so you can treat them like family when they visit your establishment. If you keep your software up to date, it also helps keep customer payment information secure.
"Restaurant operators can gain greater efficiencies and increased customer satisfaction, both of which contribute to a stronger bottom line," Ploof said. "It's really about giving consumers peace of mind."