wand-restaurant-posWhen it comes to restaurant POS systems, speed is the name of the game. The faster you can process orders accurately, the more money you can make. When looking for a new POS, a user-friendly interface is a feature that potential buyers consistently place at the top of their list of requirements. .

A user-friendly POS is a register interface that is simple, intuitive, and easy to learn. The expectation, and often part of the return on investment analysis, is the easy to use interface will lower labor costs by reducing training time, eliminating errors, and improving overall speed-of-service.

A well designed POS interface should certainly be able to live up to those expectations.  Unfortunately, with so many POS systems to choose from – many of which have interfaces that look nice and feel user-friendly – it is not always easy to identify the ones that are actually well thought-out and can deliver on improving speed-of-service.

Here are a few things to consider when evaluating a user-friendly point-of-sale interface.

  1. Too Many Buttons

A common technique to improve ordering speed is to “flatten” the design by increasing the number of buttons on a single screen. The rationale is that cashiers then do not have to navigate down through multiple layers of menus to make a selection.  Unfortunately, interface designers can take this concept too far – especially those using the number of “clicks” or button presses as the primary gauge of speed. This can result in buttons that are too close together, too small, and with inadequate descriptions that force the cashier to slow down to find items and avoid making errors.

  1. Too Many Icons

Another pitfall is an interface that relies too heavily on the use of icons. This is common with many tablet point-of-sale providers that build incredibly elegant designs using beautifully handcrafted icons to designate the various cashier functions and activities. Often the design decision made here is to eliminate helpful text labels in favor of a clean, more aesthetically pleasing look and feel – potential sacrificing speed of use in the process.

  1. Ignoring Performance

The evaluation of a POS interface for usability and speed of use should take into account the entire interaction with the device. A well designed user interface that is easy to learn, easy to find items, and effective at reducing errors – yet is not responsive to touches or is sluggish overall – will likely not translate into improved speed-of-service.  The POS interface should be designed for the devices it will ultimately operate on.

  1. Designed for One Type of User

More often than not when a POS provider asserts that their interface is user-friendly, they have in mind the ease of which new users can learn the interface and become productive on the system. While an intuitive interface is important for driving down training costs, its ability to improve the speed of the most tenured users should not be ignored. Design decisions that negatively impact “power users” for the sake of the less experienced users could adversely affect speed-of-service. A well designed POS interface will have kept both types of users in mind and therefore be able to deliver reduced training costs while still improving overall speed-of-service.

Speed-of-service is a critical component to limited service restaurant success. Be sure your restaurant POS is designed for speed and accuracy. Have an old POS system but dragging your feet to make an upgrade? Be sure to read our blog post to understand the four hidden costs of an aging POS system.