5 Signs That You Need to Switch Your Restaurant POS System
Has your restaurant outgrown its existing point of sale platform? Looking for something to take your restaurant technology to the next level? Here are some signs it’s time to switch.
When it comes to running your restaurant, you have a lot on your plate. From staffing and training to marketing and cost control, restaurant owners have more than enough to juggle.
The right restaurant point of sale system (POS) should not only accept payments and take orders, but it should also make your restaurant management more efficient and help deliver a great customer experience.
And if your restaurant POS is “good enough,” it isn’t good enough.
So whether you’ve just started to research new POS systems for your restaurant or you’re absolutely positive it’s time for a change, let’s review some of the biggest signs it’s time to switch as well as questions you should ask when finding the right fit for your restaurant.
Signs it’s time to switch your restaurant POS system
If your restaurant is experiencing any of the following, it’s time to consider a new POS system.
1. You’re still using a legacy POS system instead of a cloud-based POS solution
Gone are the days where your restaurant needs to rely on chunky backroom servers and manual processes that keep you tied to your brick-and-mortar location for updates. Instead, cloud-based POS platforms, like Toast, allow restaurateurs more freedom to manage their locations from anywhere, at any time.
Let’s do a quick deep dive into what a cloud-based POS platform is and how it differs from a legacy system.
A cloud-based POS, also referred to as a software as a service (SaaS) platform or web-based POS, is a web-hosted point of sale solution that stores data on remote servers. This data is accessible wherever there’s wifi. For a restaurant POS, this means you can change a menu item from your living room couch.
A legacy POS, also known as “on-premise” or “traditional” POS, stores data on local servers and runs on a closed internal network. Examples of legacy POS systems include NCR and Oracle.
Some benefits of using a cloud-based POS platform for your restaurant include:
- Flexibility to view and update your restaurant POS system from anywhere
- Accessibility to view reports and data without having to physically be near your POS hardware
- Easy integrations with other restaurant management software, such as third-party delivery platforms, digital signage, inventory management, accounting software, and more
- Software updates that take place in the background and do not require a restart or manual process
While legacy POS platforms were the industry standard for a long time, they’ve become a bit of a dinosaur in recent years with many new restaurants opting for modern, cloud-based POS platforms instead. If your restaurant has been operating with a traditional POS, it may be time to see what you’re missing!
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2. Your POS doesn’t offer key features such as inventory management, customer loyalty programs, or customer support
Is your current POS platform good for payment processing but nothing else? Well, that’s just a cash register.
The restaurant industry has evolved so much in recent years. In 2023, using a POS system for your restaurant is so much more than accepting credit card payments. Instead, your POS system should offer ways to uplevel your business and increase profit margins.
Inventory management is a common need for restaurants. If your current POS doesn’t offer integrated inventory management software, you could be losing money on food waste, shrinkage, or expensive recipes that aren’t paying off.
Likewise, if your POS doesn’t offer customer loyalty programs, you could be losing money on lost guests. A customer loyalty program allows you to keep customers coming back by rewarding them for repeat visits and money spent at your restaurant.
And finally, even though you want to find a restaurant POS platform that is easy to use and reliable, sometimes we all need a little help. That’s when choosing a POS provider with customer support makes a world of difference.
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3. It’s too hard to use and onboarding new employees is a nightmare
Your restaurant point of sale system is supposed to make your job easier, not harder. And that includes employee management.
There is so much to consider when you bring on new staff in your restaurant. From providing proper training to getting them up-to-speed on your menu, the last thing you need is a complex POS that will have their heads spinning.
If your current POS platform is hard to use, employees are set up to fail from the start. Opting for easy-to-use POS software can help your new hires get started on the right foot and see success in no time.
Plus, cloud-based systems like Toast even offer built-in payroll and team management tools that make employee management a breeze. Toast offers an all-in-one platform to help manage your team across employee timesheets, scheduling, and HR. On average, customers on Toast Payroll & Team Management process payroll in ~30 minutes or less with 32% processing in less than 10 minutes.1
Right now, staffing is hard enough. Don’t let your POS platform make it harder.
Regardless of what type of restaurant you have, or how technology savvy your employees are, Toast’s systems are so easy to use.
- Marc Buhagiar, General Manager of Harris’ Restaurant
4. Your restaurant has outgrown your existing POS
As your restaurant grows and matures, business needs change. The features you didn’t need on opening day may be absolutely vital now. And you shouldn’t have to make business decisions based on whether your POS can support them or not.
If your current POS system doesn’t offer the functionality you’re looking for, it’s probably time to switch. Whether it’s tableside ordering, back office support, upselling opportunities, or whatever else you can dream up — your POS should be more than a cash register, it should be the heart of your restaurant’s operations. The right restaurant POS software will help you reach new heights, not hold you back. If you’re feeling bogged down by a lack of functionality, it’s time to move on to something new.
5. The POS system is too expensive and you’re not getting the return on investment you’d like
Cost is only one piece of the equation when it comes to restaurant technology. After all, there’s no use in choosing the cheapest option if it doesn’t offer the functionality that your restaurant needs. Instead of price alone, it’s important to evaluate your return on investment, also known as ROI, when evaluating new restaurant tech.
As the owner of a small business, you’re likely already aware of ROI. Return on investment is an important business metric that helps evaluate and measure the profitability of something — whether it’s a technology platform, a new menu item, or a marketing campaign.
One easy way to calculate ROI is to use this simple equation:
ROI = (Net return on investment) / (Cost of investment) x 100%
ROI = (Final value of investment - Initial value of investment) / (Cost of investment) x 100
Business owners know that their bottom line, or profitability, helps determine success. So if your current POS system is dominating your expenses but not delivering on the revenue, it’s probably time to switch.
What to ask potential POS providers to find the right fit for your restaurant
Once you’ve decided to call it quits with your current POS platform, it’s time to research new alternatives.
It can be helpful to use a POS comparison guide when evaluating a new POS system. This will help you easily compare and contrast features for your restaurant business.
We recommend making a list of things that you know you’ll need from your POS. For example, restaurants often need online ordering, loyalty programs, payroll, employee management/scheduling, gift cards, and inventory management to either be built into their POS directly or offered via third-party integration. Once you are aware of what you’re looking for, it will be easier to identify the key players in the market and determine who to speak to next.
Finally, it’s time for the free demo. Some common questions to ask during a restaurant POS demo include:
- Is your POS platform built for restaurants?
- How does your POS software help me manage both the front- and back-of-house for my restaurant?
- What are your cancellation and early termination fees?
- Do you provide 24/7 customer service?
- Why should I choose your restaurant POS system over the rest?
If you’re looking for more guidance, check out our guide on how to prepare for your POS demo.
“We were scared, honestly, because we knew how long it took to set up our original POS system. But we took the jump. And it was super easy to work with Toast. We have loved the whole journey from beginning to end.”
- Delfino Vasquez, Co-owner of Oscar’s Authentic Mexican Grill
Toast is built for you
The restaurant industry has always done things differently. It’s never been about fitting in — it’s about forging your own path and finding your people along the way. We’re your people, and we build better technology for restaurants.
Our tools are built for simplifying a business with a million moving parts, making seamless work of complicated operations (so your guests never see you sweat).
They’re built for taking back control when everything seems totally unpredictable, empowering you to adapt and pivot. Staffing shortages? Record-high inflation? We’re on it.
They’re built for the future — whatever comes next. Maybe you’re enabling online ordering and delivery. Maybe you’re opening your 10th location. Go ahead, make your next move. We’ll see you there.
Built for restaurants. Built for you.
Request a free demo of Toast to learn why over 74,000 restaurants love Toast.
1Based on past performance at Toast Payroll & Team Management customers. Results may vary.
DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only, and publication does not constitute an endorsement. Toast does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, graphics, links, or other items contained within this content. Toast does not guarantee you will achieve any specific results if you follow any advice herein. It may be advisable for you to consult with a professional such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor for advice specific to your situation.