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The True Value of Handheld POS Systems in Restaurants

Handheld POS Systems

Learn how handheld POS systems and devices help you improve table turn times and operational efficiency overall.

With summer and warm weather comes the joys of patio season, and this has us thinking about two things:

  1. The beach

  2. The value of tableside ordering and handheld POS systems

We’ve talked about the impact of handhelds in a previous article, but we wanted to lay out some of the cold hard facts we’ve seen on how handheld POS devices help restaurants. Hopefully, this information will help you feel more confident in making the investment in restaurant handhelds to take your restaurant to the next level.

And to help you evaluate the tools along the way, you can download the POS comparison guide and check out the Toast vs competitors compare guide.

The Restaurant POS Comparison Tool
A free, customizable POS Comparison Tool to research and compare point of sale systems in one Excel spreadsheet.

Increase efficiency, focus on the guest experience

Did you know that, on average, a server walks back and forth to the POS 4-5 times for every table? Think about it:

  • Greeting the customer

  • Taking orders

  • Entering orders

  • Adding additional drinks

  • The entire check-out process

  • Printing a receipt

Any server will agree: This takes a lot of time.

With handheld restaurant POS systems, you’ll bring that number down to zero — servers will have the terminal with them wherever they go, reducing the time spent running back and forth across the restaurant.

This increases efficiency while also allowing your servers to focus on building deeper relationships with each table and improving the guest experience.

Turn down the heat and up the table turns

We’ve seen that restaurants using handheld POS systems can turn tables 15-20% faster than restaurants that don’t. This can mean 15-20% more sales during peak times, helping you get more revenue out of each table, server, kitchen, and restaurant.

Why is this? We've already covered the time it takes to walk back and forth from table to terminal, but let’s think about the bigger implications — using a handheld POS system means that food is getting sent to the kitchen 3-5 minutes faster, so customers get their food 3-5 minutes faster.

At the end of the meal, this reduces the number of steps it takes to close the tab. Servers don't have to be signaled for the check, run to the terminal, run back to the table, wait for guests to decide on a payment method, come back, run the bill, and bring back the receipt.

With a portable POS system, it becomes a simple one-step process. 

Whether it’s by getting to tables faster and offering pay at the table or getting out from behind the counter and busting lines during busy hours in a QSR, these systems work.

Odd Duck, a restaurant in Austin, TX, has seen the positive effects of using handheld POS systems first-hand. Since using handheld POS devices, they’ve noticed a stark decrease in ticket times, and turn times dropped anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes per table. With this came an impressive increase in revenue — an additional $500,000 a year in sales.

How much could a switch to handheld POS systems mean for your restaurant?

Loyalty programs never seemed so cool

The third area that’s improved by handheld POS systems is loyalty programs. With restaurant handhelds, we’ve seen that loyalty sign-ups increase 10x as compared to traditional methods.

Loyalty programs allow restaurants to drive repeat visits, upsells, and customer engagement. Each restaurant will value this differently, but we’ve seen that these programs can increase customer visitation frequency by 35% and drive on average 45% more spend. Done right, tableside ordering and loyalty programs can lead to more regulars for your restaurant.

Embrace an unbeatable ROI

If you own a restaurant, you have to think like a businessperson. ROI (return on investment) may sound like a corporate term, but it’s equally important in the restaurant industry.

By building deeper customer relationships, increasing table turn rates by 15-20%, and increasing loyalty by over 10x (which can drive 45% additional spend), the value of handheld POS systems pay for themselves. Serving more customers more efficiently and enticing them to come back for more means more profit for your business.

This is the ROI you can get from a restaurant POS system, and it shouldn't be ignored.

Restaurant technology that pays for itself

These are some of the facts we’ve learned and the stories we’ve heard. Does this reflect the experiences you’ve had or heard of? We’re always open to capturing more information on the value of restaurant handhelds to help you learn and grow.

Toast Go® 2
The Next Generation of Handheld POS