Is a Tablet POS Right for Your QSR Restaurants?

wand-tablet-posThe restaurant point of sale industry is wildly changing, with emerging tablet POS technologies at the forefront. With its elegant, user friendly interface, lower cost of hardware and simple set-up, many restaurants are considering making the switch to a tablet POS.

But, as we all know, making the switch to your restaurant POS system is a big decision. Especially in the limited service industry where there are more complicated situations including drive-thru lanes, numerous menu items and multiple payment types. And, where speed and accuracy is essential.

It begs the question, is a tablet POS system right for your restaurant? Use this handy checklist to find out.

Are you going for a more upscale look? There’s no doubt about it, tablet POS systems look cool. They have a fast, streamlined interface and are smaller and lighter than most traditional POS systems. If you’re looking to reinvent your brand image as one that is more upscale and modern than the traditional “fast food” restaurant then a tablet POS is one way to do this.

Are you trying to attract a younger audience? Studies have shown that younger audiences, particularly the millennials, are more apt to frequent establishments that accept new payment types such as e-wallets (Apple Pay, Google Wallet) and mobile payments (order/pay ahead). If you want to attract this younger audience then a tablet POS system with this technology built in is a good fit for you. You’ll have to do some more things to attract this millennial audience to your restaurant but a tablet POS is a good start.

Are you having issues with order accuracy? If you’re like many other limited service restaurants your staff is moving so fast that it’s easy to mess up an order, especially during a busy lunch or dinner period. Unfortunately, one limitation of tablet POS systems is they generally do not offer customer facing order confirmation screens so your guests cannot view and confirm their orders. If you want the ability to increase order accuracy in your restaurant you’ll want to look into a POS system that incorporates both tablets and register terminals so you can add an order confirmation screen that faces the customer. Not only will it allow you to increase accuracy but it will also allow you to display promotional content when screens are not in use, so they offer an additional way for you to showcase new LTOs or high-margin menu items.

Do you need to reduce your labor costs? Working in the restaurant industry you know labor costs are one of the biggest challenge facing operators. A tablet POS system can help reduce labor costs in two ways; self-service kiosks and advanced reporting. First, when you use a tablet POS system you can switch in and out of self-service mode that includes payment options. That means if you need to save on labor costs you can simply turn on a couple kiosks and therefore reduce the number of employees you need to have on staff. Second, make sure when you choose a tablet POS that offers advanced labor reports so you can more easily view labor overages, shortages, etc. and make updates to your schedule to reduce your labor costs when it makes sense. When your data is stored in the cloud in the tablet POS system you can do this right from your own tablet or mobile device so you and your managers can make decisions faster.

wand-pos-tabletDo you have a drive-thru? While tablet POS systems work great inside a fast casual or QSR dining room, the reality is trying to operate a busy drive-thru on many of the newer tablet POS systems is… challenging, to say the least! If you operate a drive-thru for your restaurant you’ll need a POS system that supports communication between tablets and register terminals so you can complete payment transactions at the first window using a register terminal and serve the food out of the second window using a tablet POS system. Trust us, your staff will appreciate the headache you save them from having tablets in the drive-thru!

Do you need line-busting help during busy dayparts? We’ve all experienced that situation where a limited service restaurant gets absolutely packed with customers. Whether it’s the local sports team that stopped by for a treat on the way home from the game or the business convention at the hotel next door goes on lunch break, when a restaurant gets packed it can be a lose-lose situation if operators can’t keep up with demand. One of the best things about a tablet POS is it’s mobile. It detaches from the POS terminal and your employees can use it to bust through that line and take orders and keep people moving quickly. Keep in mind tablets will need secure outdoor WIFI or Cellular, so you can work outside in the parking lot if things get crazy at the drive-thru!  Even better, it integrates with most digital menu board systems so in line busting scenarios you can quickly swap out your digital menu to feature items that are easiest to make so you can fly through orders.

Do you need a new Kitchen Video System? Another limitation of most tablet POS system is they do not offer KVS systems for your kitchen. Due to the nature of being tablet based this is hardware they typically do not provide. In some cases companies do offer this but the product offer is, quite frankly, sub-par and not build for the grease and heat of a QSR restaurant. Many busy restaurants wouldn’t dream of operating without their KVS and bump bars in the kitchen. If you’re in need of a new KVS you’ll need to identify a restaurant POS/tablet hybrid built for QSRs.

As you explore the different tablet POS options available to you we hope you keep this list in mind.  Whether you’re sticking with 100% traditional POS terminals, making the move to go 100% tablet or deciding to go with a 50/50 hybrid, the most important thing is to find the technology that meets the needs of your restaurants.