Our Top 3 POS Systems

by

Feb 1, 2016

Advanced point-of-sale (POS) solutions are revolutionizing the restaurant and hospitality industries by integrating the front-end and back-end into a streamlined workflow.

You don’t have to shell out big bucks for bulky legacy systems – some of which cost upwards of $10,000 – to reap the rewards either.

Android and Apple tablets have introduced affordable, mobile, flexible, and user-friendly POS platforms into the market. These systems transcend basic order taking and payment processing to perform actions as complex as inventory control, instant menu modification, employee management, and loyalty programs.

Some platforms are a cut above the rest because they were designed specifically to address the challenges and accommodate the needs of small to medium-sized food establishments.

Following are three of the best reviewed POS systems:

 

  1. TouchBistro: It’s No 1. For a Reason

Used by over 3000 companies worldwide, TouchBistro is an iPad POS solution that has quickly set the benchmark for excellence. It is the “#1 Food and Drink Apple App” in 34 countries, and was recently named the “Best POS System for Restaurants” by Business Insider.

Pros:

  • “One for All” solution: Can be used by a variety of food establishments, including full-service restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and food-trucks.
  • Easy Order Taking: Go where your customers are – whether that be at a fancy table in fine-dining restaurant or in line at a coffee shop – to take orders and process payments for fast and accurate turnarounds.
  • Eco-friendly Receipts: Email-based receipts save paper costs, but the app also integrates with standard industry printers and peripherals.
  • Bill Splitting: Indulge the often confusing billing requests of your customers by splitting bills with a few simple swipes and taps.
  • Advanced Order Modification: A Triple, Venti, Half Sweet, Non-Fat, Caramel Macchiato? No problem! Accommodate customers’ special requests to their satisfaction. Track custom orders to spot trends, increase profits and enhance customer experience.
  • Quality Customer Service: Offers 24/7 phone and email support, one-on-one training, a database of step-by-step videos, and a searchable repository of how-to guides, FAQs and other documentation.
  • Automatic Pricing: Apply preset prices and discounts for particular days, durations, or events. Automatically resets to the original pricing afterwards.
  • Take Control of Register:  Establishments with no floor plan or sit-down area, such as food trucks, can use the ‘Register Mode’, which locks the system into a regular register, to bust lines quickly and efficiently.
  • Flexible Payment Options: Works with a multitude of payment options, such as cards, cash, mobile, and gift cards.
  • User-Friendly Pricing: Plans are based on the number of licenses (from $69 to $399), and not features, meaning every business can access all features.
  • Easy Account Management: Keep accounts open for loyal customers and settle tabs at the end of the month, week, or day with a simple tap.
  • Intuitive and Colorful Interface: Acts as both a “POS and digital menu” with high-quality, full color visuals of each menu item. Customize floor-plan and color-code tables according to server.

Cons:

  • Not Fully Cloud-Based: TouchBistro uses a local wireless network, limiting its mobility. Data is stored locally, either on an iPad or on a local server, although it’s expanding its cloud capabilities.
  • Limited Reporting:  Expert reviews suggest that its inventory management, accounting and reporting functions are still limited compared to other POS systems.
  • No CSV Support: Inputting entire menu and floor plan by hand is a laborious task for larger menus.
  • Exclusively Apple: Apple-only tablets limit ability to customize your hardware to your specific needs.

 

  1. Toast: The Android Way

Toast is a mobile, customizable and integrated Android-based POS system with advanced back-end management and reporting capabilities.

Pros:

  • Ease of Use: Take tableside orders, split checks, or void orders easily and efficiently for full-service and quick service restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs, bakeries, and pizzerias.
  • Stellar Customer Support: Offers on-site installation, platform customization and configuration, staff training, support tickets, 24/7 support, free monthly software, training videos, and other advanced learning resources.
  • Comprehensive Customer Database: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system creates a detailed profile for every guest based on their behaviors, interactions, payments and preferences.
  • Advanced Cloud Reporting: Appraise and augment your restaurant’s performance using robust sales reports, customer POS reports, labor reports and gift card reports. The product mix reports, for instance, show how specific menu items are contributing to your sales.
  • Customized Add-Ons: Provides tailored and integrated loyalty programs, gift cards, and online ordering capabilities that are tied directly to the cloud POS system, making it easy to track transactions, manage menus and analyze sales. Track deliveries from the moment they are submitted to the moment they are delivered.
  • Android-Based System: Compared to an iPAD POS, Android systems allow for more software control and hardware flexibility because Android tablets are manufactured by many vendors and in different sizes (from 7” to 22”).
  • Inclusive Pricing: Pricing starts at $100 per month – with $50 for each additional device – and includes all features, such as reporting, data tracking, 24/7 support, and unlimited software updates.
  • Any-Time Data Access: Access reports, menus, employee permissions, and more in real-time. Your updates will be instantly synced with the restaurant. Also capable of taking orders, processing credit cards and opening cash drawers in the offline mode.

Cons:

  • Add-Ons Cost Money: The loyalty programs, gift cards and online ordering add-on features are not free, which might drive away smaller establishments with minimal budget leeways.
  • Limited Payment Options: Must use the app’s proprietary payment processor, although they do match the rates from your current payment processor, which infuriate those customers who enjoy having the option to select other payment kinds.
  • Steep Learning Curve:  Takes a few weeks to master the rich array of features, but the exemplary customer support minimizes frustration and eases this transition.

 

  1. Lavu: Uniquely Yours

With a name as unique as its business model, Lavu, a cloud-based POS platform, is being used by 3000 restaurants across 82 countries. The team at Lavu have set themselves apart with their commitment towards continuous growth and impressive assortment of features.

Pros:

  • Customized Order Taking: Adapts to the specific order and layout requirements of each type of food establishment, such as fully customizable table grid for restaurants, traditional tab list for Bars, and basic quick serve ticket for cafes.
  • Hybrid Option:  Access real-time data from anywhere with the convenient cloud storage option. The Local Server option provides added protection against security threats and power outages.
  • Advanced Menu Management: Create your desired menu step-by-step using custom modifiers, forced modifiers, custom pricing, and custom discounts. Set up unlimited menu item modifiers to tailor orders and upsell efficiently.
  • Flexible Payment Options: Integrates with multiple payment gateways, such as BridgePay and Mercury Payments, to reduce errors and speed up transaction processing.
  • Versatile Customer Support: Offers varied support portals, such as email, phone, live chat, website support page, community forums, YouTube, blogs, and Lavu Certified Specialists
  • Employee Management: Track the hours of your employees, assign multiple positions and pay rates, and set employee access levels. Calculate overtime or double time based on daily, weekly, or holiday hours.
  • Comprehensive Inventory Management: Track inventory ingredient-by-ingredient or by complete dishes – and create alerts – from both the remote back office and front end register. The 86 Countdown feature automatically adjusts the inventory count after every order.
  • Efficient Order Taking:  Split checks, assign seats, courses, and table numbers, line bust, send email receipts, and wirelessly transmit orders to kitchen
  • Enhanced Delivery Services: Manage deliveries from order to destination down to the minute. Group multiple orders together to find the most efficient route to your destination.
  • Diverse Integrations and Add-Ons: Apart from the Lavu Delivery and Routing services, the app also supports other add-ons, such as Lavu Pilot – a free iPhone dashboard to monitor basic POS data in real-time – and Lavu ToGo, which allows customers to browse online menu and place to-go orders for pickup.
  • Lavu Loyalty: Reward customers with redeemable points per order.

Cons:

  1. Steep Learning Curve: Lavu’s extensive and customizable web portal takes some getting used to, but you can contact their customer service team at any time.
  2. Limited Customer Management: You can store emails from the digital receipts, but Lavu doesn’t offer sophisticated customer management services.
  3. Manual Import: Inventory and customer data has to be entered manually, which can become prohibitive for larger businesses. You can also not transfer inventory from one location to another.

 

Conclusion:

A digital POS system is the hub for your restaurant’s operations.

This list above is by no means comprehensive. Conduct in-depth research and testing to find the POS system that best fits your unique needs and provides utmost value for your money.