How to Know When It's Time for a Restaurant POS Upgrade

By: Sam Kusinitz

5 Minute Read

Nov 17, 2017

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In many cases, restaurant owners put off investing in a new POS system for as long as possible -- even if they are unsatisfied with their existing solution.

Why? Well, some restaurant owners simply don’t feel it makes sense to prioritize investing in a new POS when they have such a limited amount of time to shop for one. Others have poured so much time and money into their existing system over the years that they are not willing to part ways and invest in something new.

Regardless, 73% of restaurateurs are planning on upgrading their restaurant technology within the next year. They may know it’s time for a change, but consistently put it off because they don’t know exactly when it’s the best time to upgrade.

The truth is, restaurant technology does not last forever. Over time, it can break or grow less effective as more and more issues arise with age. You don’t want to wait until your restaurant POS system finally breaks and shuts down forever, leaving you unable to serve a room full of impatient guests, to decide it’s time to upgrade.

So, the question remains: how do you know when it’s time to upgrade your POS system?

When you begin the restaurant POS search process and start talking with sales representatives at various companies, they will likely start by trying to get a sense of your current situation, your most pressing needs, and what you want to gain specifically from your next POS solution. By asking yourself similar questions, you can determine whether or not it’s time for you to make a change, and be more prepared if you do decide to move forward and begin your search for a new point of sale system. 

4 Questions to Ask to Determine If You Need a Restaurant POS Upgrade

1) How does your POS system serve your restaurant’s purpose?

In the ideal scenario, what do you hope to gain from your restaurant POS system? There are no right or wrong answers to this question. However, the key is not to simply list the benefits of the system, but to go deeper to arrive at the goals you hope to accomplish with the help of a POS system.

Want a POS system that improves operations? Go a step further and ask why. Do you want to increase revenue, improve the customer experience, and/or have more time to spend outside of the restaurant? These are the types of goals you need to identify as answer this initial question.

For the purposes of this post, let’s say the top restaurant goals you want your POS system to help improve are: increasing revenue and having more time to spend outside of the restaurant. 

2) How is your current solution helping you to achieve these goals?

Think about how your existing solution is helping you meet those goals.

Does your POS system save you and your staff time so you can serve more customers during your busiest hours? Does your cash register save you time, or do you actually find yourself investing a lot of extra time because of its deficiencies?

If you cannot easily come up with a list of how your current solution is having a positive impact on the business, that’s the first red flag. It might be time to dump that P.O.S. and upgrade to a solution that can offer more to help you meet your goals. 

3) How is the system getting in the way of you achieving your restaurant goals?

There are an endless number of ways a POS system can help you increase revenue and spend more time outside the restaurant, which means there are just as many ways a system can sabatoge these goals.

Start by asking yourself some more general questions:

  • Is it difficult to make changes in the existing system? 
  • Do you have to be on-site to access the data stored in your system?
  • If you want to change the price of a menu item, is it a huge production to make the change and have all of the connected terminals reflect your update? 
  • Does the system offer any additional features designed to help you increase customer retention or revenue, and if so, are they effective?

Once you’ve done that, try to focus on some of the specifics. Ask your staff what they think the most frustrating aspects of the system are. What tasks are required of them that could be eliminated? Is a ton of their time taken up by the POS system?

Finally, think about the complaints you hear most frequently from your customers, including online complaints. At the end of the day, your guests’ perception of your restaurant is really what matters most, and providing a poor customer experience is a surefire way to miss out on future revenue. 

4) How can a restaurant POS upgrade help you overcome these challenges?

You’ve already determined what barriers your current restaurant POS system poses to achieving your restaurant goals. Now, imagine exactly how a restaurant POS system would help you overcome these challenges. Let’s map it out:

Goal: Spending less time on the system and more time outside the restaurant

Barrier: It’s extremely difficult to make modifications. You have to be on-site to access any restaurant data stored in the system.

Solution: Cloud-based systems offer remote access and specific quick-edit features taht make it remarkably simple to make modifications onsite and, more important, from anywhere using a mobile phone, tablet, or desktop. 

BONUS: The Difference Between Cloud-Based and Traditional POS Systems
Compare traditional and cloud POS systems side by side with our competitive grid, including cost, software, hardware, data storage, and more.

You may find that you’re not able to identify specific solutions to every challenge. However, if you are able to identify key challenges your existing system poses to your ability to fully achieve your goals, it’s likely worth investing the time to start researching new restaurant POS systems.



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