3 Ways Customer-Facing POS Tablets Can Increase the ROI of Your Restaurant Point of Sale System

By: Kendal Austin

6 Minute Read

Apr 17, 2019

Guest facing kiosks

Customer-facing technology in restaurants is now an everyday part of the dining experience for many QSRs, FSRs, and even full service concepts around the world.

Whether it’s a self-ordering kiosk, a stationary terminal that flips to face a customer during counter service, or small handheld tablets brought to the table by a server like Toast Go, these modern, customer-facing point-of-sale systems have the potential to make a major impact on your restaurant’s bottom line.

Whether you’re a QSR, FSR, or full service restaurant, putting your point-of-sale system in the guests’ hands can increase the money in yours.

Here are some ways to see return on investment from customer-facing POS tablets.

1. Save Money (and Trees) with Digital Receipts

It’s absolutely baffling to me that we’re still printing paper receipts. Everything else we do is electronic: banking, navigation, dating, grocery shopping, catching a cab.

And yet, at the end of our meal, we’re still handed a flimsy slip of paper that goes directly into our pocket and doesn’t appear again until it’s crumpled and damp at the bottom of the washing machine.

One of the (many) benefits of using customer-facing POS tablets in your restaurant is that they give guests the option to receive a digital receipt to their phone or email. During the payment process, a guest using a customer–facing POS tablet simply selects their preferred receipt delivery method, enters their contact and payment info, and then chooses whether they’d like to receive their receipt via text or email.

How many times have you heard restaurant reviews like “the overall dining experience was great but we had to wait 10 minutes to get our check and another 20 to finish paying”? Heck, you’ve probably said it yourself once or twice. Digital restaurant receipts available on customer-facing POS tablets prevent that (previously unavoidable) receipt bottleneck, and both guest and staff get time back in their day – the former doesn’t have to wait for their server or bartender to run their card, the latter doesn’t have to run and fight for air time at the terminal.

Digital receipts are far more than just a proof of purchase; when leveraged effectively, a digital restaurant receipt can be used to increase gratuities for front of house staff via a suggested gratuity call out, to collect honest guest feedback, and to drive sign ups to your restaurant loyalty or rewards program.

CEO of Software Advice Don Fornes had this to say about paper restaurant receipts in restaurants:

“I certainly don't need a paper receipt – I have no desire to return a taco. There is no reason – legal or otherwise – why consumers or retailers need paper receipts. Electronic receipts are completely valid and they are far more efficient.”

If you’ve run a P&L analysis on your business lately, you know that every tiny expense can impact the restaurant’s bottom line. Reducing or eliminating paper receipts by implementing a customer-facing tablet or terminal could save you major money in the long run. This receipt-printing cost calculator can help you determine how much you could be saving by reducing or eliminating paper receipts. Not to mention that paper receipts generate 1.5 billion pounds of waste every year in the US, according to the Huffington Post.

2. Increase Your Table Turn Times by 15% or More

Restaurants who use customer-facing POS tablets for tableside ordering and payment have seen table turn times improve by 15%.

After introducing the Toast Go last spring, the first handheld point-of-sale technology built specifically for restaurants, we wanted to know the impact this new handheld technology would have on revenue and table turn time.

So, we did a little experiment with the help of the team at Odd Duck in Austin, TX. Using two servers assigned to the same six-table section, we gave one server a Toast Go to use for the duration of the shift and the other a pen, paper, and terminal to use.


At the end of our experiment, we found that Steven – the server using a Toast Go – cut 46 mins off of his overall table turn time and took 2,000 fewer steps than Jeff over the course of his shift. Steven was also always one table ahead of Jeff with regard to table turn.

Customer-facing POS tablets save time by drastically reducing server trips to the stationary terminal. Customers complete their transaction directly on handheld tablet – rather than waiting for the server to pick up their credit card, run it, and return to the table (while juggling 10 other tables).

The time it takes for the customer to view their bill, tip their server, and get their receipt (digitally or printed) is faster, which means the restaurant is able to serve more people in a night.

Customer-facing tablets – like the Toast Go – allow QSRs, FSRs and fast casual restaurants to consolidate the entire guest checkout process digitally so customers can tip, sign, and get a receipt in half the time it takes to complete the transaction on paper. Decreasing table turn time means your restaurant will be able to accommodate more guests per shift, increasing sales, revenue, and gratuities for front of house staff.

3. Increase Server Tips by 30%

In a fast-moving counter service line, time is money.

The time it takes for a guest to analyze their total bill, decide on a percentage to tip, then calculate said percentage is akin to creating a pothole on an interstate highway. For the rest of the shift, traffic is undoubtedly a little backed up as a result of this tip calculating bottleneck, irritating both the customer and staff.

The best customer-facing POS tablets and kiosks, like those available to Toast customers, have a suggested gratuity feature that takes the guesswork out of the sometimes awkward tipping process.

Restaurant management are able to pre-program a suggested gratuity callout in their restaurant point of sale; they can either suggest guests leave a fixed amount or a percentage of the overall bill.

In a QSR or FSR that uses tablets to facilitate ordering and payment during counter service, the simple flip of a screen with predetermined gratuity suggestions will empower guests to tip without an ensuing slowdown to allow them time to calculate. By using the suggested gratuity feature on your customer-facing point of sale technology, staff also stand to make an estimated 30% more in tips.


Customer-Facing POS Tablets Create Repeat Customers

Adopting customer-facing point of sale tablets into your restaurant operations may seem like a sizable investment, but it’s a smart longterm play that stands to benefit your bottom line.

Both staff and guests will be able to spend less time worrying about the logistics like ordering and payment, and spend more time connecting over the menu and the overall dining experience.   

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