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Migrating POS Systems: How to Make the POS Switch for Your Restaurant


Tessa ZuluagaAuthor

As of 2022, 32% of restaurateurs reported that installing a new Point of Sale (POS) system was a priority. This is most likely because a significant aspect of modernizing your restaurant is migrating your POS system. While this may sound like a daunting task, a well-executed POS switch can enhance efficiency, improve customer experiences, and boost profitability. In this article, we'll explore the key steps to successfully migrate your restaurant's POS system.

Ready to make this switch? Let’s get started.

How to start migrating your POS system

As time goes on, technology advances and your current POS might become out of date. In 2023, it’s essential to have a point-of-sale system that’s your all-in-one solution. One solution that has integrations such as online ordering, credit card processing, and much more will make your day-to-day operations easier. Switching POS systems may seem intimidating, but it’ll help your business in the long run. Let’s evaluate how to make this switch.

Evaluate your current system

First things first, what’s missing from your current POS? Take some time to make a list of everything your POS software lacks, that slows down your restaurant business. Or maybe just write out what the right POS would entail. Some factors to consider are:

  • Cloud-based

  • Optimal steps of service

  • Night mode capability

  • Search bar option

  • Printer access

  • IT & customer support available

  • Online ordering integration, commission free

  • Reservation system integration

  • Easy to use

  • Payroll & employee management offerings

  • Transparent pricing

  • No hidden fees

  • Easy menu management

  • Tableside service option

  • Analytics & reporting

  • Fast payment processing capabilities

Define your goals

Based on your findings above, determine what’s most important to you in your new POS system. Maybe your bulky, outdated POS doesn’t blend with the aesthetic of your restaurant. Or, maybe what’s most important to you is an easy payroll & employee management add-on. Define what’s the most important for your business, on your POS solution.

Research and compare

Now, take those findings and discover the best POS system for your specific business. One important decision included in this process is what type of point of sale is best for your restaurant. There are three different types of POS systems that we’re going to break down for you: Legacy, Cloud, and hybrid.

Legacy POS

Legacy POS systems are the grandparents of point of sales. If you work at an older restaurant, you might know what we mean. A Legacy POS, also known as “on-premise” or “traditional” POS, stores data on local servers and runs on a closed internal network. An example of on-premise software would be family photos saved on the desktop of your home computer — not accessible via the internet anywhere else. These systems take up quite a lot of room and need to be manually updated by technicians only.

Examples of legacy POS systems include:

  • Micros POS

  • Squirrel POS

Cloud POS System

On the other hand, cloud-based systems, 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 in real-time wherever there’s wifi because the cloud is everywhere — you access the cloud every time you log in to Facebook, Gmail, or your online banking application. For a POS, this means you can change a menu item from your living room couch.

Examples of cloud-based POS systems include:

Hybrid POS

Hybrid POS systems are exactly what they sound like, they’re a combination of both. They’re not quite as advanced as Cloud POS Systems, but they do function on a cloud-based platform while still leaving hardwired connection to your restaurant.

For a comparison of these different point-of-sale types, check out this article that breaks down pricing, maintenance, and so much more.

Examples of these systems include

  • TouchBistro POS

  • OrderCounter POS

To choose the best POS for your restaurant check out this article: How to Choose the Best POS for Your Restaurant.

Analyze your steps of service

Having efficient steps of service can help turn tables, drive sales, and increase your bottom line. Your steps of service refer to the steps it takes to greet, serve, and check out a customer. Fewer steps of service make your staff’s job easier. With this in mind, consider where you want your POS systems set up on your floor plan, and how many. For example, high-volume restaurants with large floor plans might want 2 POS systems side by side in every server station. However, a small business may just need singular systems, and only 2 total.

This is also where modern restaurant technology such as Toast Mobile Order & Pay for fast-casual restaurants and Toast Go Handhelds for full-service restaurants. Toast Mobile Order & Pay can speed up service for fast-casual concepts, as guests can easily scan a QR code to browse the menu, order, and pay, all from their mobile devices. Plus with Apple Pay, guests can pay in less than 10 seconds.

Full-service restaurants can take contactless payments, streamline your ordering, and keep service hustling with Toast Handheld POS systems. These bad boys are ready for inside, outside, drive-through, curbside, and more. Try them out for patio season to save your servers so many steps!

Host staff trainings

Once you’ve chosen the right option for your business needs, it’s time to prepare your staff! Change can be hard, and we understand that. The good news is, the concept of all POS systems is relatively the same. You have categories of items and you put them in, for your tickets to be sent to the kitchen. With this being said, it won’t take your staff long to become pros. Before your system is installed you can let some of your staff check out your free demo to get a sneak peek to start.

Once your new POS is up and running, ask your staff to stop by even if they’re not working to see the new system. Give them an opportunity to ask questions, put in test orders, and play around in the interface. Pro tip- change your POS overnight, the night before a slower day of the week. This way, by the time the busy weekend rolls around your staff and restaurant operators will feel more confident with their new POS hardware.

How to switch your POS overnight

For Toast POS, installation usually takes around 4 hours. With this being said, you can close your restaurant, start the process, and operate normally on your new POS by the time you open the next day. Toast provides you and your team with the best resources needed to make this switch as easy as it can be. Prior to opening any boxes, Toasts asks you to review the Site Readiness Guide to ensure a smooth and seamless installation. For your convenience, you can also contact your Onboarding Consultant at any time to answer questions. 

For more information, you can check out this step-by-step guide. Toast also provides you with educational how-to videos, such as this video on how to configure prep stations. 

Why Restaurants Switch to Toast from Competitor POS Systems

Compared to other industry leaders, Toast stands out in a few key areas. One is Toast’s wide range of digital ordering capabilities, with access to online ordering pages and Toast’s Takeout app. Toast also facilitates a seamless experience for restaurant patrons, who can use Order & Pay to manage their own service from a table-specific QR code.

Another key point of differentiation is that Toast offers 24/7 customer service availability on all of its plans, while many competitors reserve on-demand support for higher price tiers. Toast prioritizes the day-to-day restaurant experience and understands the time-sensitive nature of many potential issues. If a problem arises, its restaurant clients know there’s a reliable support team ready to provide assistance via email, live chat, or phone. Many restaurant owners turn to Toast to avoid an upcharge for this standard service offering. 

Lastly, restaurant owners switch from many competitors, including Square and Clover, because Toast was built just for the restaurant industry. Toast users don’t have to wade through features that are built for the retail space or describe common restaurant scenarios to customer service. Since Toast is tailored to restaurant owners, everything from the feature list to the onboarding process is designed with restaurant goals and constraints in mind. 


Training Manual Template

Use this restaurant training manual template, a customizable Word Doc, to provide your staff with the rules, guidelines, and clarity they need to do their jobs efficiently.


Hear from customers who made the switch

Eclipse di Luna had been using NCR Aloha for its existing locations. But when the team decided to open a new location in Alpharetta, GA, they decided to take a leap of faith and try something new. With Toast, the Eclipse di Luna team is seeing vast improvements in (what should be) simple, everyday actions, such as daily specials, pricing changes, or 86ing items.

“We do daily specials here all the time, for drinks and food, and adding that to the system is so simple.” shared Joni. “With Aloha, we didn’t have that functionality and it would take some time to do it.” Time, of course, is of the essence in a fast-paced restaurant environment. By saving time, the team is able to focus more on the guest experience. When Joni looks back at using Aloha, he can’t believe how much work it was to do simple tasks. “Creating a daily special with Aloha, I remember it just took so much work,” he shared. “So many steps and so time-consuming when, really, we needed to do it right away. With Toast it’s super simple.”

Saucy Asian decided to give Toast a shot. “Once I signed on and started playing with the backend, I was impressed,” he said. “And still to this day, I’m impressed. When I need to make a change, I go in there and what I need is already there. [Toast] pretty much has everything that I need.”

Andrew Shinn, like many restaurant owners, isn’t shy about sharing his true feelings on POS platforms. 

“Normally, POS is a restaurant owner’s headache,” Shinn laughed. “And you guys are not,” he added. “Every other POS I’ve used at a restaurant, it’s just burdensome. Toast is efficient. It makes my life easier.” You can read more about Saucy Asian and their experience with Toast here.

The Mama’s Restaurant Group uses the Toast Platform to Grow. “The downtime was the biggest question. How long were we going to be down for the install and implementation?” OwnerJackie McCusker, shared. She went on to add:

“I don’t really remember too much about how it went, but I guess that’s a good thing! It was pretty seamless. It was easy. We had people here on-site to support for a few days while we were in service to make sure that things were done correctly and that our menus were in correctly.” To read more about The Mama Restaurant Group’s story, check out this article.

Ready to make the switch?

If you’re looking for a sign to switch your POS, this is it! Your restaurant management should have all the modern tools needed to operate their business at a functional and efficient pace. Say goodbye to bulky equipment and an out-of-date user experience. Boost sales and increase your bottom line today with Toast POS: built for restaurants, built for you. Mic drop!

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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.