Numerous EPOS systems are available in the market today, and the number will keep growing. As a result, identifying the most suitable EPOS system for your restaurant business can be a difficult task. You need to decide what qualities you’re looking for in a good system, e.g. easy-to-use interface, affordability, excellent customer support, etc.
Establishing the requirements or needs of your restaurant is a good place to begin. You will certainly need to narrow down on EPOS systems specifically designed for restaurants such as yours. As is the case when you’re shopping for a new car, you need to zero in on the make and model you’re interested in, as well as unique features contained in the package.
The following are some considerations you need to make before you try out an a new restaurant EPOS software
It’s a good idea to first determine how much you’re able and willing to invest in an EPOS for your restaurant before you beginning searching for the best in the market. Beginning with a budget range is important because in addition to narrowing down your options, it prevents you from being bamboozled into spending a huge sum on what seems like the sleekest new system.
When considering the cost of a restaurant EPOS software, some points to remember include the cost of peripheral hardware, monthly support and license fee. Web-based restaurant EPOS software don’t typically charge a fee for licensing, unlike locally-installed systems that may charge a license fee that doesn’t usually exceed $2,500.
Compared to the cost of hardware bundles for locally-installed EPOS software, which cost $3,000 on average, web-based hardware bundles are less costly, ranging from about $500 to $1,600. As much as possible, you want to steer clear of vendors that charge cancellation fees and provide only long-term contracts.
On-site or Cloud-Based?
You might be interested in traditional restaurant EPOS system with which data is stored in computers on your business premises. Alternatively, you can use a web-based system that stores you restaurant data in the cloud, regularly updating remote servers.
Among the primary advantages of a cloud-based EPOS system is that all the restaurant information you enter into it, e.g., P&L information, customer information, sales reports, employee information, etc., can be accessed at any time and from any device with access to the internet.
Additionally, the provider of the cloud-based EPOS services is responsible for protecting your data from theft, tampering and physical damage. This leaves you to focus on what you do best, running your restaurant. In case your restaurant is damaged by fire or water, for instance, your sensitive customer information, inventory database, finances, etc. will be safe and secure.
Needless to say, all this comes at a price. Providers of cloud-based restaurant EPOS software typically charge a monthly fee, which is usually cheaper in the long run compared to the purchase, installation and licensing cost of locally-installed software. What’s more, cloud-based EPOS services run more effectively than on-site software in most cases.
A majority of cloud-based restaurant EPOS service providers provide free technical support and customer support as part of their package. Furthermore, you need not worry about frequently updating the software, syncing with third-party integrations, and fixing bugs in the case of cloud-based services, which are highly adaptable to the constantly changing business environment.
However, that is not to say that locally-installed restaurant EPOS software are without their advantages. To begin with, they do not require constant access to the internet. If your restaurant is located in an old building where the internet connection is not reliable, an on-site EPOS might serve you better as you need not worry about frequent system crashes due to lost connection.
You’ve now zeroed in on your options using your budgetary limits and whether you want a locally-installed or cloud-based system. The next step involves narrowing your options even further based on the features you’re interested in for your restaurant EPOS.
Start by listing the features that you must have in your restaurant EPOS software then add to the list features that you would want to have but are not necessary. As you venture into the market, your aim should be to identify systems that include all the core features you’re interested in and from those, consider the ones that have the additional features.
Considerations you need to make as you compare software features include the following.
- Integration with mainstream accounting software such as Quickbooks – You want EPOS for which integration is seamless or, in other words, real-time. Integration of this nature typically involves importing or exporting an IIF or CSV file.
- Ability to accept orders and reservations – To achieve this, some EPOS software build this functionality into the system while others integrate third-party apps such as Seamless and GrubHub for ordering and OpenTable for making reservations.
- Floor/table management functionality
- Inventory management for ingredients
- Ability to accept various forms of payments, such as credit cards and mobile payment
- Ability to split checks, open tabs or accept tips
- Time card management for employees
- Functionality for printing to the kitchen
A majority of EPOS software in the market offer free trials for their products. That is an opportunity for you find out how easy it is to use the software. You want to make sure that you test it as though you’re running it in a real environment. It is therefore a good idea to make staff members that will use the program a part of the trial run and factor in their feedback.
Needless to say, it is advisable to try out two or three restaurant EPOS software before settling on one. The aim is to identify the best option out of the two or three potentially good options.
Don’t rush your decision when choosing EPOS software for your restaurant. Carrying out some preliminary research is a must to ensure that you make an informed choice. Taking time to determine the unique needs of your restaurant will help you get EPOS software that most suits your business.
Albert S. Kinsley has worked as a consultant in the hotel and hospitality industry for 13 years and has written numerous articles and blog posts on topics related to restaurant management, including choosing a suitable restaurant EPOS system.