How to choose the right point of sale system for your hospitality business

In hospitality, finding ways to unlock efficiencies is what will help your venue stand out from the crowd. 

In hospitality, finding ways to unlock efficiencies is what will help your venue stand out from the crowd. 

Whether you’re a pub, club, bar or restaurant, you want to do everything you can to streamline ordering and payments, easily track stock levels and understand how your business is performing. 

That’s where picking the best point of sale (POS) system comes in. With so many different POS software options on the market, it can be hard to figure out which solution is right for you. 

That’s why it’s important to figure out what to look for in a hospitality POS system, what to consider when selecting your software and how to use this tech to streamline your operations and work smarter, not harder. 

What is a point of sale (POS) system?

Let’s get some key definitions straight. A POS system uses both hardware and software to help businesses (like hospitality venues) make sales, manage inventory, track sales business and so much more. 

Historically, a POS system was a cash register where staff would ring up orders. Today, modern POS systems offer incredible capabilities, blending both physical tech with back-end software to help business owners run reports, check stock levels and assess venue performance.  

As Rose Francois (Senior Director of Business Strategy and Partnerships at Lightspeed) explains, “There are two components to a POS system: hardware and software. Hardware generally includes a tablet or computer, a card terminal, a cash drawer, a kitchen printer and/or display for staff to reference orders while making them, and a barcode scanner for those venues selling products. 

POS software is the actual software application that runs on the tablet or computer. It generally  includes a register component, inventory management, reporting and analytics, online sales or e-commerce capabilities, and customer marketing functions.”

What are the benefits of a POS system?

Are you curious about why you should consider using hospitality POS systems? 

From fast-tracking ordering and payments to gaining deeper insights into the performance of your venue, the right POS system can allow you to lower the chance of errors, streamline staff onboarding and support your team during peak service times. 

  • Level up your customer experience: with a cloud-based POS system, your team can use roving tablets to take and place orders in real-time, whether they’re sitting at the bar, on the rooftop or even by the pool. That means shorter wait times for food and drinks and even more flexible ways to split the bill, too. 

  • Support your staff: take the pressure off your team (particularly during busy service periods) with tech that allows your staff to spend less time inputting orders and more time delivering great hospitality to your customers. That means fewer forgotten orders, less ordering errors and even the ability to update menus in real-time to reflect wait times. 

  • Easily track business insights and analytics: make data-driven decisions about your venue with transparent reporting about everything from stock levels to wait times and team performance. The best POS systems will allow your management team to analyse trends, compare service periods and find ways to unlock efficiencies in how you run your business. 

What are the most important things to look at when choosing a POS system?

There’s no shortage of POS systems available, with many offering purpose-built tools and features for hospitality businesses. But what do you need to keep in mind before making your pick? Here are three important questions to ask yourself. 

What features are most important to your venue? 

Your venue’s goals and workflows should guide all your decisions, especially when it comes to picking your POS system. Start by figuring out the needs of your business, any pain points your team are facing and create a list of priorities to help you compare and contrast tools. 

Rose Francois encourages venue owners to get clear on their current and future goals by considering these questions:

  • Do you want to scale your loyal customer base? 
  • Are you planning to add new locations? 
  • Are you looking to diversify your revenue streams? 
  • Do you want to use data to get a competitive edge?

“Once you have established what goals you would like to achieve, look for a solution that can best meet these needs, as well as grow and adapt with your business as it evolves. A cloud-based POS is your best bet as it allows for flexibility regardless of device or location,” shares Rose.

Does the software offer a seamless user experience for staff and customers?

The best POS systems are intuitive, user-friendly and easy to navigate. That’s why it's important to find a tool that your team can start using effectively from day one, without navigating a steep learning curve or needing to relearn how to complete simple tasks. 

Kevin Dixon (Director of Partnerships at Tevalis Limited) shares his insights, “An industry-leading POS system will be easy to use for staff and provide granular performance data on a hospitality business's front-of-house and back-office operation. This balance gives vital insights to the management team whilst enabling them to maximise profitability across all areas.” 

This could mean easily generating reports that show insights on employee performance, your venue’s busiest hours and even top-selling menu items. 

For customers, it’s important to look for a POS system that offers flexible, fast payment options (from split bills to mobile payments) as well as the ability to send orders to the kitchen seamlessly through a tablet to reduce wait times. 

Will the system allow your business to grow and scale? 

This last bit is arguably the most important. The system you select needs to support your venue’s operations, both now and into the future, too. 

If you’re planning to open new venues, offer outdoor dining or even expand to home delivery, you need a POS system in place that can easily make this happen. That means looking for a tool that offers multi-location support as well as robust integrations with QR code menus and at-table ordering tools (like me&u) to safeguard your quality of service as your venue scales. 

Other questions Ben Williams (Director of Sales APAC at H&L) prompts venues to ask: 

  • Are you a stand alone venue or do you have expansion plans into multi venue?
  • Is cost analysis, transparency and ultimately profitability an important consideration?
  • Do you wish to save time by having all elements of the venue's operation talking to each other via the POS system? 
  • Do you want your POS to be specifically designed? 

Integrating your POS system with me&u

Integrating your POS system with me&u has never been easier. We make it easy for hospitality venues (like you) to unite your existing POS system with our QR code menu and at-table ordering system.

It’s as simple as this: with me&u integrated, you’ll be able to print dockets, track inventory and track daily takings with ease. 

We allow you to configure dockets to sync with multiple printers (both in your bar area and kitchen)  and we’ll always stay in sync with your POS - no manual updates needed.

Ready to work smarter, not harder? Chat to a venue consultant from me&u today: 

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