10 Features of the Best iPad POS for Restaurantsby Derek Alam Sr Digital Marketing Executive @ Mind Digital Grou
You're at a crossroads. You are considering transitioning your restaurant to an iPad POS system. Aside from the fact that you love Apple products, your friend has also raved to you about their excellent iPad POS system.
If you are uncertain about making the shift because you don't know enough to decide which iPad POS solution is right for you, read on. This write-up will illustrate why you need to transition to a modern POS system and the features that characterise the best iPad POS.
Why You Need a Modern iPad POS Solution
A modern POS will make your life so much easier. Seriously.
Without an iPad POS
In a traditional restaurant, this is the typical restaurant ordering workflow. A server approaches the customers seated at a table. With a flourish, the server grabs the pen from behind their ear (or reaches for it discreetly from their shirt pocket), pulls the small server notepad from their trouser back pocket and asks, "May I take your order, please?"
And the customers go through the unwieldy menu, asking about each of the dishes that catch their eye. They ask the server for their recommendations.
There's a lot of back and forth. The customers inquire about the availability of something on the menu. The server runs to the kitchen then returns to report the response they got.
Then, after much deliberation, the customers recite their orders. They add specific preparation instructions, recant some orders, then adjust and replace them as they see fit.
Meanwhile, the server brandishes their pen like a weapon, furiously jotting down every word they can catch. When the customers finish ordering, the server says the orders back, bids the customers adieu, and proceeds to the counter so that the cashier can enter the order into the POS terminal.
Fifteen minutes pass, the service bell rings. The server collects the dishes, places them carefully on the table, and beams at the waiting customers, asking them if they need anything else before leaving them alone.
As it turns out, the customers need a lot of things. The steak is medium-rare when it must be well-done. The salad has onions and French vinaigrette dressing, but they want orange vinaigrette and no onions. And the honey-glazed roast is conspicuously absent while the lamb, which they replaced with the steak, is present.
With an iPad POS
A modern POS system will, at the very least, save you from the headache and costs that the above scenario – far too common in restaurants – is bound to cause.
A modern iPad POS system will streamline your ordering workflow. Servers will take orders table-side, as usual. This time, though, they will be armed with an iPad instead of pen and paper, and they need not rely on their memory so much.
With a tableside iPad POS, waitstaff can:
● Select the orders as they're given directly on the POS interface
● Customise orders taken according to add-ons and special cooking instructions
● Immediately tell the customers when a dish is unavailable; the chef can easily update the available options and implement menu changes before service starts
● Recommend the day's specials, clearly marked on the ordering screen
● Recite the orders easily, guided by the order summary available
● Show the customers what they’ve ordered (could include the price)
● Ask customers for confirmation before finalising the order
● Submit the order to the kitchen directly, without needing to go to a separate POS terminal, so that the back of the house receives the order instantaneously
Features to Look For in the Best iPad POS
The section above already hints at the features you need to look for in an iPad POS. Specifically, it should enable you to have an intuitive and efficient ordering workflow. That's the first requirement. Everything else takes a back seat to that.
Use the following list of features to find the best iPad POS for you.
1. Granular control
Your iPad POS should give you granular control over your menu and let you categorise your dishes and fully describe each one. Ideally, it will allow you to design an interface that makes practical sense according to your specific use-case scenario.
Perhaps it will let you incorporate the various customisation options available for every item. In a coffee shop specialising in single-origin, specialty coffee, for instance, the POS system should let you specify add-ons and toppings through tick boxes right on the interface.
A good POS will also let your servers add notes to orders to indicate if the customers are celebrating a birthday, which customer is celebrating a birthday, and whether anyone in the party has allergies.
2. Easy-to-update menu
The restaurant management or the back of the house should be able to easily make changes to the menu to reduce the server-customer back-and-forth and provide immediate feedback to customers.
Additionally, your POS system should let you mark items as out of stock if they are unavailable and create menu specials.
3. Direct communication with the back of the house
Orders finalised and submitted table-side through an iPad POS must be instantaneously transmitted to the kitchen. This feature ensures no tickets are lost.
It will save you time, too, since there will be no need for the server to type the order at a separate POS terminal.
4. Customised table layouts and numbered tables
Your iPad POS should let you customise your table layout and create multiple dining sections. For instance, you can set the main dining area, a bar, and a patio, among others.
For each dining section, your POS should let you create as many tables as you need. It should also let you arrange the tables to mimic your floor arrangement.
Each table should have a unique identifier, a name or a number that you can customise. Moreover, your POS should let you specify how many people each table can accommodate.
Through this feature, servers can take orders seamlessly from every table and avoid mixing up orders from different tables.
5. Match orders to seat number
The ability to assign orders to specific seat numbers at a table is another good POS feature. This way, waitstaff will serve the appropriate dishes to the correct customer when a table has multiple diners.
Moreover, if the diners at a table later decide to pay separately for their orders, it will be easier to compute the bill for individual customers.
6. Customise course timings
In a multi course dining restaurant, the iPad POS must also allow you to customise timings between courses. Ordinarily, restaurants estimate the interval between courses.
However, different diners eat at different paces. Thus, it would be nice if your iPad POS lets you manually prompt the kitchen to prepare the next course.
7. Has non-table order functionality
For restaurants that accept orders to go, an order may not necessarily be associated with a table. The same is true for pubs or restaurants with bars where orders may not be made from a table.
A good iPad POS provides a mechanism for taking and tracking the orders of those who are not dining or might be sitting at the bar.
8. Allows customers to move tables
For added convenience to your customers, your iPad POS should let you readily move customers from one table to another. For example, some customers may start their evening with a few drinks at the bar before moving to a table for dinner service.
If you can move customers from one table to another with a simple click on your POS, customers will not need to settle their bill separately at the bar before moving to the main floor.
9. Gives a visual feedback on the state of each table
Your iPad POS should also give you a bird's eye view of your restaurant floor. It should tell you which tables are empty, occupied with no order, and occupied with order taken, among other states.
It is good if the elapsed time per table is indicated in the table display as well. This way, you will be able to see which tables have surpassed the optimal wait time.
10. Provides for accountability
Every order taken and registered in your iPad POS should include the server's name. If orders indicate servers' names, there will be a clear designation of responsibility. It will be clear who is accountable for monitoring and tracking a particular order's progress.
Moreover, it would be great if your iPad POS system allows for server reassignments. This way, no tables will be orphaned if the assigned server takes a break or when their shift ends.
Shift to an iPad POS System
If you still haven't made the shift to a modern POS system, you should do so as soon as possible. A state-of-the-art POS system will propel your restaurant operations to new heights.
And if you are considering an iPad POS system, be sure to check all of its features first. Remember that the best iPad POS system is one that will give you a feature-rich ordering workflow.
AUTHOR BIORoss Smith is the Managing Partner at iPad POS Middle East. Based in Dubai, covering the whole of the Middle East, the company is passionate about helping restaurateurs and retailers alike find the most suitable point of sale system to meet the needs of their business. They specialise in iPad-based point of sales systems and are resellers of Revel and Vend.
Created on Oct 4th 2021 00:36. Viewed 20,413 times.