Point of sale (POS) systems are the lifeblood of many small businesses. These powerful terminals combine the software and hardware needed for all types of businesses to accept cash, credit cards, debit cards, and much more. Yet the true benefits of POS terminals run far deeper and can include a myriad of bookkeeping and management features. When it comes to retail businesses and restaurants, the way in which POS terminals are used can vary dramatically. In fact, there are some POS systems that are specifically tailored to be used for each industry.
Today, we will review these topics by defining exactly what POS terminals are capable of and identifying the differences and similarities between how retail and restaurant businesses utilize point of sale systems to run their operations.
Defining Point of Sale (POS) Terminals
Point of sale (POS) systems are “a critical piece of a point of purchase, refers to the place where a customer executes the payment for goods or services and where sales taxes may become payable.” In other words, POS terminals are the physical hardware and software required to accept cash and/or electronic payments. Additional features of POS terminals can include customizable menus, business reporting, and a robust app market.
For example, Clover POS systems come bundled with the Clover app market. A large number of first and third-party apps are included for no additional charge, with some third-party apps being purchasable. One of the most important aspects of an integrated POS system is that it allows small business owners and operators to track all of their relevant business data in one centralized location.
Many business owners view their POS terminal as simply a way to accept credit cards and debit cards. With modern POS solutions, the advantages are far greater. This is exactly why retailers and restaurants may choose to use their POS systems for a wider range of applications that are tailored to their individual needs.
How Retailers Utilize POS Systems
So how exactly can one tailor a POS system to be perfect for a retail environment? That all comes down to the ability to utilize different apps and reporting services that are included in many POS platforms, including:
Inventory management: one of the biggest practical problems facing any retailer is making sure that they are well stocked for customer needs. Not only are POS systems capable of running standard inventory checks, but they can also track customer spending habits, industry trends, and run other reports to keep small businesses ahead of the curve. It should be noted that many restaurants can also use inventory management software for their business needs.
Detailed sales and employee reporting: this type of capability is certainly applicable to both retail and restaurant businesses. As mentioned above, POS systems are able to produce real-time reporting for different business aspects including sales, inventory, employee hours, employee sales, and much more.
Multi-location reporting: another key feature of integrated POS terminals is their ability to sync up across multiple locations, including any online retail outlets. This includes inventory management, sales, and all other data entries.
How Restaurants Utilize POS Systems
As you likely noticed, many of the functions which pertain to retail businesses also pertain to the restaurant industry. The bigger difference between the two comes when we examine specific needs of the restaurant business that can be managed through a powerful POS terminal. Some of these needs include:
Taking reservations and table management: a unique need for restaurants include booking reservations and tracking occupied vs. vacant tables. Powerful POS systems can allow for simple and easy input for both in-person table management and over-the-phone/online reservations.
Tip management: nearly all POS systems will allow for your employees to adjust bills for tips. The real crux is how the apps/software handle these transactions, store them, and produce convenient reports for employers and employees alike. When tips are difficult to track with a variety of payment methods, POS tracking software levels the playing field.
Sending orders to the kitchen: last but certainly not least, POS systems that are geared towards restaurants enable servers to input food orders directly into the system with a few touches of the screen. This not only automatically links back to the kitchen, but also begins the process of accurate billing, inventory management, and all of the other features we have already discussed.
True Merchant Helps Small Businesses Accept All Forms of Electronic and Cash Payments!
True Merchant is proud to offer both point of sale (POS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions for businesses of all sizes. With our focus on merchant services and secure payment processing, POS and ERP systems are a natural extension of our other features such as CardSecure, EBT Payment Processing, and much more. With True Merchant, you can rest assured that you will be getting the best available price thanks to our complimentary rate reviews.
If you are considering a POS system for your business, please feel free to contact us by calling 1-888-770-2018 or through our online email form. A qualified merchant service professional will be waiting to walk you through the process!