A POS system or Point of Sale system is a computerized ordering system for restaurants and retail establishments. Typically a server will log in using a specific I.D. or swipe in with a card reader. Then he or she will enter the order, usually on a touch screen customized with your menu and beverage items. The order is then transmitted to the kitchen, printed on a paper receipt or monitor screen and then prepared. The system saves money by simplifying the order process reducing errors and re-orders.
So how can a POS system benefit me or my restaurant?
POS systems designed for restaurants enable the owner or manager to monitor every function of the business, even from a remote location. The information gathered from POS systems helps you manage labor costs, forecast the budget and give you all of the financial information you require to run your business. This system can reveal overlooked profit potential such as hot selling specials or certain hours of the day that could be promoted. Multiple location operations can be managed using the same system and software.
Managing employees is much simpler with a POS system because it can also be used as a time clock. It can also give you data on the best performing servers or counter staff by measuring sales or even promotional item sales. You are able to see speed of service for each order and even employees depending upon your set up. The ability to keep an eye on your employees' time it helps you control your payroll cost and reduce the time it takes to run your weekly payroll.
Theft and shrinkage are insidious problems experienced by all restaurant owners. A good POS system can record each and every sale and at the same time adjust your inventory levels accordingly. This allows you to act quickly when you detect inventory levels differing from what they should be. Also, employees are much less likely to waste or give away product when they know they are accountable and that everything is being monitored. In restaurants without these systems you will find greater theft issues. Management usually does not find out about it until well after the inventory is posted which can be 4 to 6 weeks after the fact.
Another benefit of a POS system is improved inventory control. Too high an inventory can mean over buying and resulting loss of product due to spoilage. Being able to identify these issues on a day to day basis can save you money. You can create a special to use up the overstocked item, cost it, price it and even see who of your servers sells the most of that item all from your POS system.
The restaurant POS system is your extra accountant; bookkeeper, storeroom clerk and manager running silently in the background helping you make the right choices and more profits every day. By further adding business intelligence software to read POS data, reporting is greatly increased and will further provide management with additional information and a competitive advantage.