The 8 Most Important Types of Technology Used in a Restaurant

By: AJ Beltis

5 Minute Read

Aug 15, 2018

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Handsome Concentrated Bearded Waiter Swiping Credit Card Through The Computer Terminal In Cafe 478716 Edited

It's an exciting time to own a restaurant.

Yes, competition is fierce, but the industry is full of passionate professionals, causing diners to fly to new restaurants in mass numbers.

To stand out from the crowd of other restaurants, you'll need to offer great food, impeccable service, and unbeatable efficiency. These days, all three of these can all be achieved with restaurant hardware and modern technology.

Read on for a list of 8 useful pieces of POS hardware and restaurant technology used in a restaurant.

Free Resource: The Definitive Guide to Restaurant POS Systems + POS Comparison Tool


1. Touchscreen Terminals

Modern POS technology, like touchscreen terminals, exists to increase efficiency. Most of these terminals are equipped with restaurant software designed with an intuitive interface that lets new hires start taking order immediately and effortlessly.

An easier order-taking process speeds things up, which leads to more orders coming into the kitchen (and more food coming out). Some terminals even contain an attached credit card reader, so cashiers can swipe and have the customer sign on screen in a matter of seconds without any waste of paper (or time).

2. Receipt Printer

As beneficial to efficiency that digital receipts can be, most restaurants - especially full-service restaurants - still want to have the option of paper receipts. Typically, you'll have two choices when it comes to receipt printers - impact and thermal.

Impact Printer 
best restaurant receipt printer

One kind of printer is the ink (or "impact") printer. This is a favorite for the back of the house due to its louder printing process. If chefs are tied up, they might not notice a new slip show up in the printer. Impact printers help to avoid this kind of problem by catching the attention of cooks in a more alerting way.

Thermal Printer

The other option is a thermal printer, which most find to be useful for the front of the house. It prints faster than traditional ink printers and is less noisy. Since these receipt printers don't use ink (they "burn" the paper with thermal heat), you won't have to waste time or money swapping out ink cartridges. Again - efficiency is a big reason why one would want a thermal printer in their restaurant, but both have a necessary place in many restaurants.

3. Cash Drawer

Above all else, a cash drawer is essential for all restaurants that value safety and efficiency. It's not exactly the newest piece of technology on this list.

If you're looking for a more modern approach to managing your restaurant's cash drawer, sync it up with your POS so  all transactions can be recorded. Naturally, you should also lock your cash drawer overnight and empty it out regularly for added security.

4. Self-Order Kiosk

best restaurant kiosk

A growing trend in quick-service restaurants, self-order kiosks have been gaining popularity since appearing in restaurants like Protein Bar, Panera Bread, McDonald's, and Wendy's.

This restaurant hardware is surging in popularity due to its ease of use and visual nature - both of which encourage upselling in a way that isn't too pushy.

I could go on and on about the benefits of kiosks - how they're empowering restaurant guests, how they shorten your lines, how they free up your staff to do other tasks, and so on. But the main takeaway on kiosks is that they are seeing increased demand from both restaurants and diners in QSRs.

5. Handheld Server Tablet

Imagine if your servers could close a check with one visit to the table instead of the four it takes to ask a party if they're ready for the check, bringing them their check, taking the check, and bringing back their change if they paid in cash.

Handheld tablets for restaurants allow for at-the-table ordering and payment so servers can turn tables faster and customers can wait less time for their food and their bill. This increases the number of customers you can serve and the number of orders you can fulfill in a given shift, not to mention satisfying your servers with more tips.

See how Odd Duck in Austin, Texas uses their handhelds to boost revenue by $500,000 each yer.

6. Pole Display
best restaurant display

If you want patrons at your bar or restaurant to follow along with their purchase, a pole display screen is the way to go.

Pole displays show the itemized price per each food or drink ordered. Since this is a legal requirement in some areas of the country (I'm looking at you, San Diego!), an item like this may be needed in your restaurant in order to comply with restaurant and retail law.

7. Kitchen Display Screen

Some restaurants have quite a hectic kitchen, and so printed tickets might not be the most viable option. Instead, these kitchens rely on a kitchen display system, or a KDS.

kds - 01

Mounted to the kitchen wall, a kitchen display will show all open orders for the back-of-house team to see in one place. This makes it easier to stay organized in the back of the house, which keeps things sane in the front of the house as well.

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