Setting up a robust POS system is crucial to efficiently running and optimising your hospitality business. Far from just a cash register, your hospitality POS system is your platform to connect front-of-house to the kitchen and the office. Let’s take a look at what a best-practice POS looks like, and how to set one up.
What is a POS?
POS stands for ‘point-of-sale’, which is the interface for exchanging money between you and your customer – traditionally a cash register. Hospitality specific POS software has evolved significantly to add value to your business. As well as accepting a multitude of payment types, POS systems today also run on software that gathers more customer data, has more detailed sales reporting, staff management capabilities and ways to optimise floor plans and get more seatings.
Modern POS systems should be seen as a management tool to increase efficiency and provide you with more insight about your business operations.
Features to look out for in a POS for restaurants and other hospitality businesses
Your business requirements
As well as customer-service management and sales analytics, there are many features available on hospitality point-of-sale systems. You may require inventory tracking if you sell products as well as run a restaurant, for instance. Or perhaps takeaway is a growing sales channel and you need integrations with delivery services.
Getting clear about your must-haves and nice-to-haves will be useful when building a POS that works for your business.
Compatibility with accessories
What POS equipment do you need? Typically, a front-of-house POS will include a cash drawer, a printer for receipts and a monitor to run your software. You’ll also need a card reader or terminal for taking card payments.
Square’s hardware store lets you choose the equipment you need, or purchase a full POS kit if you’re just starting out. We have a range of affordable options including iPad-based POS solutions like Square Stand. You can add to your cart an iPad, accessories such as barcode scanners and even printer paper.
You can also purchase an integrated POS system like Square Register, that is compatible with accessories and specialised hospitality POS software like Square for Restaurants.
Hospitality software that suits your business
As well as making and keeping track of sales, creating customer profiles and adding employees and locations, here’s a list of capabilities that Square for Restaurants POS software includes for cafes, restaurants, bars and hotels:
- Menu management to highlight best-selling items and popular add-ons for quick service and to prompt up-sell opportunities
- Online store integration for easy item selection for your customers for take-away orders
- Bulk additions for efficient menu changes, including adding taxes, so you don’t have to manually make edits per item
- Advanced discounts for promotions like happy hour or lunch specials
- Reports for sales data and menus to monitor trends and identify top-selling times
- Table management and timers to organise floor plans for large bookings, and to see when tables are about to turn
- Shared settings to keep your hosts, waitstaff and bartenders on the same page about bookings and orders
- Course management to get the meal pacing right for the kitchen and servers
And more! You can check out the full list to get a feel for how each feature works.
Integrating your POS with your other systems
Linking up the systems you already have in place with your POS is essential to build a powerful POS. You can use Square’s POS integrations to plug into your current business operations set-up:
- Link to your accounting software, and automatically import your sales, refunds, and transfers.
- Connect your and delivery services providers.
- Integrate your staff scheduling system to manage employee schedules, time and attendance, tasking and communication.
Other considerations to look out for
Set up costs
Depending on what equipment and software you have already, setting up your POS from scratch can be quite costly, but worthwhile to run your business efficiently now and as it grows. Be sure to customise your POS for your business needs.
Consider purchasing a package that saves you time and money researching and trying to fit together incompatible devices. Square’s Restaurant POS Kit includes a Square Stand, contactless and card reader, cash drawer, and printer (for receipts and kitchen orders) with paper.
You can then download Square’s POS software for restaurants to use on your new hardware. Pricing ranges with your requirements and you can see more about pricing here.
A POS that grows with your business
When building your POS, think about the future. How will your menu change or grow? Are you planning to open more locations? How many employees or managers will you be adding?
Make sure you set up your hospitality point of sale system to account for your scaling strategy, so your technology doesn’t hold you back from learning more about your customers, equipping your teams to communicate efficiently or reporting on and improving performance.
There are lots of hospitality POS systems on the market, and it’s vital to select the hardware items and software features you need to sell seamlessly to your customers, now and as you grow. To customise and build a POS that works for your hospitality business, you can set up easily with Square.