• (800) 846-4472
best point of sale for small restaurants

How to Select the Best POS System for a Small Restaurant

Chris Allen

It's an understatement to say running a restaurant is hard work. Almost every decision you make, from scheduling shifts to making changes to your menu, has an effect on your bottom line.

The dining industry is also one known for a lot of churn, as 60 percent of restaurants close their doors during their first year and 80 percent of eateries shutter within five years, according to a Cornell University study cited in Business Insider.1 That said, a small restaurant needs all its technology working for it at all times, from the burners on the stove to its point of sale system, so that people can focus on winning over people.

So, what's the best POS system for a small restaurant and what should a neighborhood cafe or bistro want out of one? Here are a few things to keep in mind when you go about your selection process:

An intuitive POS
If you operate an eatery, you know that tables must be turned over quickly, especially if your location is small. You depend on your busboys, waiters and waitresses to properly serve your guests and then clean and prepare the seating for new parties. Time is of the essence, so you don't want a POS system that's so complicated for your servers that it wastes valuable time and delays the payment process. NerdWallet said restaurants wanting a quick table turn around and the ability to serve customers rapidly need a POS that's straightforward.2

EMV compliance
Since many restaurants operate on thin margins, they can't afford to lose any money if a diner paid with a stolen credit or debit card. A POS system that's EMV compliant, meaning it can read the new computer chip-enabled payment cards, can help prevent this liability. The chips that store a customer's financial information are much harder to copy than those featuring a magnetic stripe. On top of the EMV card rollout, businesses without EMV-compliant hardware are liable for any fraudulent payments they receive if the magnetic strip card turns out to be stolen. No one likes a bad tipper, but certainly don't leave your cafe open to scam artists looking for a free meal.

Saving space
Making due with the space you have in your restaurant is essential. Your restaurant POS system shouldn't take up valuable room from your kitchen, prep areas or counter space. Therefore, consider a sleek and small POS that can integrate with a tablet computer. These types of systems can track inventory, allow you to analyze customer data and keep tabs on your table layout without taking up too much space.

Rates and fees
Take a look at how much revenue you bring in on average. Some POS systems charge a flat monthly rate while others take a percentage of each transaction made. Because of this, it's smart to do your due diligence to find the one that suits your needs.

  1. http://www.businessinsider.com/why-restaurants-fail-so-often-2014-2
  2. http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/small-business/pos-systems-point-of-sale-restaurants/

Get An eBook All-Access-Pass

  • eBook About POS
  • Grow Your Business Guide
  • Improve Your Business
  • 5 Steps Secure Your Business

Subscribe to our blog and get an all access pass to our past, present, and future eBooks for FREE.

At Your Fingertips

Download the POS Buyer’s Guide

It's a big job to buy the perfect POS System. This is a robust guide to get you equipped to ask all the right questions to potential providers.

Find a Local POS Provider

With this FREE service we can point you in the direction to providers who can meet your needs, and potentially exceed your expectations.

Take The Next Step

Get Mercury and discover how we continually earn the industry’s top spot in payment processing and excellent customer service.

Thank you for your interest in
Vantiv Integrated Payments.
We just need a little info to get started.