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Opening a restaurant is easy, but maintaining one is extremely difficult.
If you are in the restaurant business or considering opening up a food-and-drink establishment and have no idea how to manage all the crazy tasks that go along with it, this is the most important post you will ever read.
How do some restaurants survive the dreaded first-year jinx, while others crash and burn within the first 12 months?
You may be thinking, “That’s simple, they have a great location, excellent food, and great investors.”
That’s part of it, but a small piece.
Restaurant POS (point of sale) is the gatekeeper to everything.
Payments, service, menu selection, customer loyalty programs, and accounting are all facilitated by good point of sale software.
This guide will improve your chances of being a successful restaurant owner and how you can scale your business to places you dreamed of.
Let’s dig in.
The 5 Best Restaurant POS Software
- Lavu – Best mobile POS software for restaurants
- Sapaad – Best franchise restaurant POS software
- Loyverse – Best integrated CRM and loyalty program
- BIM POS – Best delivery and catering solution
- Poster – Best POS menu management
When It Makes Sense to Invest In Restaurant POS Software
Restaurants are always in a constant state of organized chaos.
Point of sale software brings order to that chaos. It does more than take payments and orders—it also tracks revenue and offers reporting that would be a nightmare to gather without a modern POS solution in place.
Beyond that, there are further features that help improve your service and bottom line.
For example, setting up self-ordering kiosks can enhance and simplify your guest experience. Not only does it empower customers in your bar or restaurant, it improves efficiency and increases table turn and revenue.
Or, if you need help with inventory or ordering from suppliers, POS software can streamline these tasks as well.
By using a restaurant POS you can alleviate any confusion, by simplifying ordering and improve the accuracy of how your business is run.
#1 – Lavu — Best Mobile POS Software for Restaurants
We all dislike long wait times at restaurants and, even more than that, we hate slow service and a restaurant that’s disorganized. Lavu solves this problem with its mobile device-based POS software.
Lavu allows your servers to float around the restaurant taking orders with an iPad or iPhone. This leads to faster service and happier customers.
Say a guest is sitting in the lobby waiting for a table and they’re thirsty. Lavu allows your server to take a drink order for someone while they wait for a table, store their payment information, and provide service for them while they wait to be seated.
Speaking of payments, Lavu makes it extremely easy to collect payments in any way the customer prefers. The platform also works offline so customers never have to wait because your system is down and orders are always synced between the devices you’re using Lavu on.
This is an amazing feature. No matter what, your front-of-house, bar, and kitchen are always on the same page, never becoming disorganized while orders are coming in.
Lavu makes task management easy with its Lavu Pilot iOS app. It helps you navigate total sales for the day and you can get as granular as tracking every hour. Plus, keep apprised of taxes, any voided orders, and credit card and cash payments.
Plus, Lavu Pilot will let you track labor. Managing timesheets is a pain, but with Lavu you can track trends regarding labor costs through the percentage of sales.
Here are some other useful features of Lavu:
- Customer pre-ordering for carryout
- Menu combo builder
- Optional ordering through self-service kiosks or digital menu boards
- Go green with decreased paper waste and use email receipts
Pricing starts at $69 per month for one Lavu terminal. For multiple terminals or enterprise plans, you must contact them for a quote.
Either way, Lavu will create a plan tailored to your restaurant, cafe, or food-and-beverage franchise.
#2 – Sapaad — Best Franchise Restaurant POS Software
Sapaad is a franchise-building machine. Imagine establishing, organizing, and managing inventory for all of your restaurants with a click of a button.
This powerful POS system allows you to expand your restaurant empire with ease. Take your business from local to global with this turnkey solution.
Being able to easily replicate your processes and standards is what franchising is all about. But opening new restaurants can be complicated. Sapaad helps you take your business and easily set up the same design and functions of your new restaurant in a few clicks.
Easily set up order-taking processes, loyalty programs, and account integration for each one of your businesses no matter where they are located.
Having multiple locations usually requires you to set up software for each storefront you have, which can drastically increase costs.
But, with Sapaad, you can take advantage of cloud-based POS software that can manage all your daily business, no matter the size of your operation. It’s all controlled from a single web browser.
The ease of pushing changes to all of your locations from a central location is what not only saves you time, but also gives you the power to make adjustments and experiment with new menu items, combos, and other functions of your business quickly.
Sapaad’s ease of use helps your franchise employees, too. This simple and clean POS interface gives employees with no technical skill a low learning curve to incorporate the software. It’s customizable for them and is very adaptable for workers’ needs.
Sapaad provides you with:
- A detailed dashboard with reporting, giving you the ability to monitor how each location is doing remotely over secure internet connection.
- The ability to track deliveries from customer contact, through preparation of the order, and on to final delivery of the order all in real time.
- Some add-on features provide easy, precise control over your inventory through using monitoring tools like food cost, recipe management, purchases, waste control, and live visibility of your stock.
Sapaad also provides you with a mobile and web ordering channel to simplify customer online orders, which can be set up in minutes.
Pricing is based on the number of locations you have and starts at $53.99 per month for one location, billed annually. You can also choose to pay month-to-month, starting at $58.99 for one location. Sapaad also offers add-ons like a CRM and a custom online order solution.
The ability to grow from a small restaurant into a global empire is easily manageable with Sapaad. Start your free trial today.
#3 – LoyVerse — The Best Integrated CRM and Loyalty Program
LoyVerse offers a full-fledged, customizable point-of-sale platform. Where it really shines is with its integrated CRM and loyalty program which comes with the POS platform, with no strings attached.
Having happy returning customers is the lifeblood of any business, but what’s not clear is how to create a loyalty program that not only develops a devoted following of customers but also makes each customer truly feel special.
LoyVerse is the POS software that has cracked the code to this elusive need for food-and-beverage establishments.
With just one click, you can set up a percentage-per-purchase rewards program, meaning a portion of each customer purchase will go to a customized reward system you create.
Next, you can create loyalty cards with barcode scanning, so loyalty members can get discounts easily applied.
If you have multiple locations, reward program benefits are applicable to all your stores. This is made possible by the built-in CRM that gathers and tracks your customers’ information and purchase histories.
Plus, you have the ability to add custom notes to let you remember specific details about your customers, like their favorite dish or drink, their birthday, or any detail you want remembered. That can really separate you from the other places they visit.
You want to know something incredible? LoyVerse’s POS, customer display, kitchen display, and dashboard are 100% free.
That’s right, you can use LoyVerse for your restaurant operations and whipping up your own loyalty program for nothing at all.
No extra fees, apps, or equipment are needed, because the software turns any tablet or phone into a POS terminal or register.
LoyVerse gives you more than you get with some paid services.
There are a couple useful add-ons you pay for, as well.
For $5/month you can add its employee management platform and LoyVerse’s advanced inventory software is available for $25/month.
If you have been struggling with improving customer engagement, need reward programs ideas, or simply looking to boost revenue, incorporating LoyVerse’s custom loyalty program is a great way to start.
#4 – BIM POS – The Best Delivery and Catering Solution
BIM POS software is an extremely customizable, powerful, feature-rich software. And where we feel BIM POS really shines is in assisting restaurants that deliver and have catering options.
It all starts with BIM Dispatcher. This unique software component allows you to manage your delivery operations and measure kitchen and delivery driver efficiency to provide the best experience possible.
Through BIM Dispatcher, you can control delivery routes, send orders directly to the drivers, and cash them out after a delivery has taken place.
It syncs with two other BIM POS tools; its call center software that directs orders to the right location and tracks customer purchase histories and Webtrack, which provides your customers with real-time delivery tracking.
This is powerful software that drastically improves your businesses’ delivering and catering capabilities.
BIM POS makes it easier on wholesalers and caterers, too. The hassle of having to separate each type of payment for revenue management is extremely time consuming and errors can easily occur, causing inaccuracy in your revenue reporting.
This specific feature of BIM POS allows for easily creating special orders, setting up events of any price or number of attendees, and preparing quotes for your clients.
Set up your free demo and a sales representative will contact you. You can also contact BIM POS directly through their 24/7 hotline.
#5 – Poster — The Best POS Menu Management
Poster is a restaurant POS platform that has revolutionized menu management. Now you might be thinking, is this really that important? The answer to that depends on your restaurant and the customers you serve.
If you’re a restaurant owner that likes to mix things up or never have the same menu items twice (like so many Michelin-starred restaurants do), then this software is going to simplify how you plan your menu while making it easy on your servers to see what to present to customers.
What’s great about this software is it uses a very simple color-coded tracking system for menu items, allowing you to upload images to help waiters spend less time searching for specific dishes.
In Poster, you can also track ingredients used and manage things you make in-house but do not sell separately on the menu.
Poster gives you incredible control over your food budgeting and pricing by allowing you to calculate food costs for dishes automatically based on the stock balance and the supply of ingredients. Food costs are recalculated automatically.
Also, real-time menu pricing allows updates to your menu to go live within 10 seconds.
If you own an ice cream shop and offer many different toppings, you can easily add menu modifiers offering your customers the opportunity to choose from your entire selection. This will also work for a steakhouse (for a level of tenderness or temperature), or pizza shop that offers an array of toppings.
What we found fascinating was the ABC analysis software. It gives you the ability to analyze which dishes sell the best.
You can quickly notice which items to remove from the menu or adjust pricing so you can find the sweet spot on what people will pay for a particular menu item.
Pricing is based on how many items you will have on your menu. It starts at $24/month, billed annually, for 100 products and dishes, and scales up to handling 1,500 products and dishes for $64/month, billed annually.
Methodology for Choosing The Best Restaurant POS Software
There are several reasons to use restaurant POS software and most have to do with managing your business’ accounting, inventory, menu, and delivery services. It can also help with preventing theft, managing worker attendance, and setting performance goals.
With so many out in the marketplace we carefully reviewed them to select the top five. In doing so we used a specific methodology to make it easier to find the best choices.
We want to share our methodology so you know what to pay close attention to when selecting your own restaurant POS Software.
Each one of the restaurant POS software services on this list can fully manage your business and keep you on track throughout your daily workflow.
With that said, each one specializes in operations of one size or another. Whether you want to scale to a global restaurant empire, manage a local cafe, or integrate your larger establishment with state-of-the-art custom menu software, choose one of these five that fits your scope best.
You want to make sure you’re paying close attention to what you need to organize your business and not pay for services that don’t focus on what is going to optimize your specific needs.
Customer Loyalty and Integration
Being able to bring in repeat business is a high priority for any consumer-based business. Some POS software offers customer rewards as part of the base package and some, like LoyVerse, go the extra mile and offer custom software to maximize this opportunity to grow your business and make your customers feel special.
No matter what software you select, it’s imperative it offers some sort of customer loyalty program so you can keep customers coming through the doors.
You can also look for a built-in CRM and other types of integration to make managing data simple. Keep reporting capabilities in mind when you are figuring which service works best for you.
Cloud-Based and Mobile Technology
Let’s clear up any confusion between these two features.
First, cloud-based technology allows you to access your business dashboard from any device. It gives you the power to make updates, see reports, change menu items, and review accounting details on or offline depending on the software provider. GPS tracking and SMS messaging are often included in cloud-based services.
Mobile, on the other hand, not only gives you cloud-based features, but it also allows your employees to take payments and make and update orders on the fly from anywhere inside your restaurant, be it tableside or while customers wait.
It gives your servers the power to maneuver from customer to customer with a mobile device and give a full restaurant experience efficiently, sending orders directly to the kitchen, minimizing order errors, and keeping the flow of service smooth.
Not all software has these capabilities, so if you own a business where long lines and wait times are a problem, mobile POS technology is an excellent solution to offer a refined customer experience.
Growth and Customization
Sapaad is the best solution for growth if you plan on owning multiple locations or building out a franchise. It makes it very simple to grow your business and manage it all from a single dashboard.
When you envision opening a restaurant, you might not imagine creating an empire, but it’s certainly possible! And if you do start with that in mind, deciding to use POS software that is scalable and easy to add locations to at the drop of a hat is a major benefit.
This list offers a few options for medium to large businesses. It also has options for starting small and scaling as large as you want.
Being able to customize your experience to fit your business removes an extra step you will need to take later if you outgrow your software provider. Losing precious data about customers because of migration errors is a mistake that can cost you thousands.
So, be aware of this when you are picking your software. If you know you are going to stay small or currently own a small to medium-sized restaurant, then selecting a larger restaurant software provider won’t be as helpful for you.
Individual Pricing and Reporting
Pricing is always on the minds of restaurant owners. Knowing what you’re spending and your budget is a common concern. We selected providers with generally quite reasonable pricing.
But having intuitive and easy-to-collect reporting will help you find additional savings elsewhere. Take Poster, for instance—they give you food costing and inventory tracking software that allows you to make quick adjustments before you overspend.
This can be critical in turning a profit every month, helping you see a quick overview on how to make the changes necessary to efficiently manage inventory and pricing for your restaurant.
Finding the right POS software doesn’t have to be difficult, but can be overwhelming because there are so many options. We feel our recommendations are a great start.
But if you decide to venture out and begin your search for restaurant POS software, this review empowers you with the best methodology and guidance to assist you in selecting the best restaurant POS software for your needs.