What to Look for in a Restaurant POS System

 In 1. David Scott Peters, Food Costs, Inventory, Labor, Operations, SMART Systems

If you don’t have a modern restaurant POS system, it’s time to invest in one to streamline your operations and have access to all your important data.

A good restaurant POS system going to go above and beyond the obvious of sales transactions, recording and taking payment. Here is a short list you must consider when looking to invest in a POS (point of sale) system:

  • Will it take cash, credit card and gift card transactions? This seems to be a no brainer, because the whole intention of a POS is sales transactions. But you would be surprised at how many low-end POS systems don’t have a gift card system.
  • Does it have a time keeping module? This is extremely important because it’s not only for reporting hours for payroll, but when it connects to your sales you can easily see when you should start cutting labor hours as you see what your running labor cost is and how sales per half hour have been dropping.
  • Does it have the following reports:
    1. DSR (daily sales report): The daily sales report, also known as an end-of-day report, is important to make sure you know what your expected cash collected is for the day to ensure you get every penny expected to the bank.
    2. Comp and discount report: This report is for tracking any promotions and discounts you give on a daily basis. By doing so you can quickly see if you have service or food preparation issues that need to be addressed or a manager who is simply giving away the shop.
    3. Transfer report: A transfer report allows you to see any items that have been transferred from one ticket to another or completely to another employee. This report is critical to catching employees who are stealing by moving one items off one ticket to another when the customer pays cash for the bill, ultimately allowing that employee to pocket the cash.
    4. Void report: This report lets you see if you have training issues because items are being voided often. It is also a good tool to identify and prevent managers who are stealing by voiding cash transactions.
    5. No-sale report: This report shows when any employee who manages a cash drawer rings up a transaction, hits the no-sale button on the POS system, which immediately voids the whole transaction and opens the cash drawer. This report is critical for catching employees who are stealing when a customer pays with cash.
    6. Item-by-Item sales mix report (also known as a product mix report): When it comes to making real change in your business, this report is king! When you combine the counts of each item purchased by your customers with up-to-date recipe costing cards, you will immediately know your ideal (or theoretical) food cost. This number allows you to measure how your kitchen is performing and to easily engineer menu changes that will change your bottom line.
    7. Labor summary report: This report is a tally of regular hours/pay and overtime hours/pay for each position worked in your restaurant. By using these numbers you will be able to schedule on budget the next week.
    8. Time keeping report: This report is imperative to keep proper records required by state and federal government regulations and, more importantly, to submit correct payroll numbers.
    9. 8027 tip report: This report is a great tool to easily keep track of cash/credit card sales vs tips collected and reported and to fill out the Federal 8027 Tip Report Form each year.

There is an overwhelming number of options on the market. My warning to you: don’t go with the cheapest. Instead, look at something in the middle, especially if you’re new to a POS system.

If you’d like assistance in helping to choose a restaurant POS system, set up a free 15-minute consultation with us, and we’re happy to help you evaluate your needs.

David S. Peters
Aside from being the founder of TheRestaurantExpert.com and serving as a Member coach, David is also a dynamic and engaging speaker. He is available to present in large group settings targeting independent restaurant owners, whether they own one location or a multi-unit chain.
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