Handheld POS Systems for Restaurants (Portable POS Systems)

September 28, 2023

Handheld POS Systems for Restaurants have redefined how dining establishments operate, offering unparalleled efficiency and enhanced customer service. In the fast-paced world of modern restaurants, where time is of the essence, these compact devices, known as 'portable POS systems,' have become indispensable tools for restaurant owners

Why? Because they deliver on the promise of faster service, pinpoint accuracy, and a personalized touch that keeps customers coming back for more.

In this digital age, where diners crave efficiency without compromising quality, Handheld POS Systems for Restaurants have emerged as saviors. They empower your staff to breeze through orders, ensuring they reach the kitchen promptly and accurately. Imagine a dining experience where errors due to miscommunication or illegible handwriting are ancient history. With handheld POS devices, precision is standard, translating to fewer mistakes and, most importantly, satisfied customers.

In this article, we will delve into what exactly handheld POS systems are, why they are essential in modern restaurants, how they work, the different types available in the market, and their numerous advantages. Let’s get started!

What are Handheld POS Systems for Restaurants?

Handheld POS systems for restaurants are compact, mobile devices that enable servers and staff to take orders, process payments, and manage transactions right at the table. These cutting-edge devices are designed to streamline restaurant operations, reduce errors, and enhance the overall dining experience for customers.

With a handheld POS system, restaurant staff can swiftly transmit orders to the kitchen, ensuring that each dish is prepared accurately and promptly. Customers benefit from shorter wait times, more personalized service, and the convenience of settling their bills without the hassle of waiting for the server to return to the POS terminal. It’s a win-win situation that enhances both staff productivity and customer satisfaction.

The Need for Handheld POS Systems in Modern Restaurants

In this era of technology and connectivity, where convenience and speed are paramount, handheld POS systems have become a necessity for modern restaurants. Here’s why:

  1. Enhanced Efficiency: Handheld POS systems streamline the ordering process, reducing the time it takes to input orders and send them to the kitchen. This means faster service and happier customers.

  2. Improved Accuracy: With orders entered directly into the system, the chances of errors due to miscommunication or illegible handwriting are virtually eliminated. This leads to fewer mistakes and greater customer satisfaction.

  3. Mobility and Flexibility: Handheld POS devices give servers the freedom to move around the restaurant and interact with customers more effectively. This personal touch enhances the dining experience and encourages repeat business.

  4. Better Data Insights: These systems provide valuable data on customer preferences, peak dining times, and popular menu items. This information can be used to make informed decisions about menu changes and marketing strategies.

  5. Reduced Costs: Handheld POS systems can lower labor costs and increase profitability by streamlining operations and reducing errors.

How Handheld POS Systems Work

The basic process of a Handheld POS system is straightforward and efficient. When a customer places an order, the server or waiter uses the handheld device to input the order details, which are instantly transmitted to the central POS system. 

This seamless communication ensures the kitchen staff receives orders promptly, minimizing delays and errors. Once the meal is ready, the server can also use the handheld device to notify the customer’s table, ensuring the food arrives hot and fresh.

But the functionality of Handheld POS systems doesn't stop at order placement. These devices are equipped with integrated scanners and receipt printers, allowing for quick and convenient payment processing right at the customer's table.

This not only enhances the overall dining experience but also helps increase table turnover rates and boost tips through easy tip selection functions.

For seamless operation, Handheld POS systems often require integration with your central POS system and other restaurant management software. This ensures that your inventory, menu items, and customer data are synchronized across all devices, minimizing errors and saving valuable time.

Types of Handheld POS Devices

Handheld POS devices come in various forms, each catering to specific needs and preferences. The two primary types are:

  1. Tablet-based POS Systems: These are the most common handheld POS devices in restaurants. They are lightweight tablets or iPads equipped with specialized POS software. Servers can carry them to each table, take orders, and process payments with ease. Tablet-based systems are versatile, allowing restaurants to customize the software to suit their menu and operational requirements.

  2. Handheld Terminal POS Systems: These devices resemble traditional POS terminals but are compact and portable. They often feature built-in receipt printers and card readers, providing a complete solution for tableside ordering and payment processing. Handheld terminal POS systems are robust and durable, making them ideal for high-volume establishments.

Both types of handheld POS systems offer seamless integration with a restaurant's POS software, ensuring that all orders and payments are synchronized with the central system, reducing the chances of errors and discrepancies.

Advantages of Handheld POS Systems

The advantages of adopting handheld POS systems in your restaurant are abundant and can significantly impact your business. Here are some key benefits:

  1. Faster Service: With orders sent directly to the kitchen and bills settled at the table, the dining experience becomes more efficient, reducing wait times and increasing table turnover.

  2. Improved Accuracy: Handwritten orders can be prone to errors, but with handheld POS systems, orders are clear and precise, minimizing mistakes and enhancing customer satisfaction.

  3. Enhanced Customer Experience: Waitstaff can provide more personalized service by answering questions about the menu, making recommendations, and accommodating special requests seamlessly.

  4. Efficient Inventory Management: These systems help track inventory levels in real-time, preventing stockouts and minimizing wastage.

  5. Data-Driven Decision Making: Handheld POS systems generate valuable insights into customer behavior and sales trends, enabling you to make informed decisions about your menu and marketing strategies.

  6. Cost Savings: Streamlined operations and reduced errors can lead to lower labor costs and increased profitability.

Choosing the Right Handheld POS System

Selecting the right handheld POS system for your restaurant is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Compatibility: Ensure that the handheld POS system is compatible with your existing POS software or offers comprehensive solutions if starting from scratch.

  2. User-Friendly Interface: The system should be intuitive and easy for your staff to use. Training time should be minimal, allowing your team to adapt quickly.

  3. Hardware Durability: Invest in reliable and durable hardware that can withstand the demands of a busy restaurant environment.

  4. Features and Customization: Look for features that align with your restaurant's needs, such as menu customization, table management, and reporting tools.

  5. Security: Security is paramount when handling payment information. Choose a system with robust security features to protect your customers and business.

  6. Cost: Consider your budget and the long-term value of the system. Factor in not only the initial purchase cost but also ongoing fees and support.

  7. Support and Updates: Ensure the POS provider offers responsive customer support and regular software updates to keep your system running smoothly.

Chowbus POS Handheld: Where Innovation Meets Convenience

One standout option in the market is the Chowbus POS Handheld. This powerful and portable device offers a range of features tailored for restaurant owners:

The Chowbus POS Handheld fits in the palm of your hand and features a built-in scanner, receipt printer, and a large, brilliant touch screen for capturing digital signatures. This device allows you to take payments anytime, anywhere, without the need for chunky hardware.

Key Features:

  • Fully integrated with Chowbus POS and Loyalty Program.

  • Connects seamlessly with Wi-Fi for real-time communication.

  • Sleek, easy-to-use interface for efficient order-taking and payment processing.

  • Increase table turnover rate by 25% by collecting payments and tips at the table.

  • Boost tips amount by 30% with an easy tips selection function.

  • Eliminate manual tips input after each shift, reducing errors and hassles.

  • Securely store customer digital signatures to reduce dispute rates by 50%

Future Trends in Handheld POS Systems

Looking ahead, the future of handheld POS systems promises exciting advancements. Emerging restaurant technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning are expected to optimize order accuracy and customer preferences analysis further. Innovations like contactless payment methods and biometric authentication are set to enhance the security and convenience of transactions. Keeping an eye on these trends can help restaurant owners stay ahead of the curve and continue to provide top-notch service to their patrons.


In the competitive landscape of modern restaurants, staying ahead of the curve is essential. Portable POS systems have proven to be game-changers, simultaneously enhancing operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. As a restaurant owner, investing in the right handheld POS system can transform your business, leading to increased profitability and loyal customers.

Don’t miss the opportunity to revolutionize your restaurant’s operations. Book a free demo of Chowbus POS Handheld today and experience the seamless integration of innovation and convenience. Elevate your restaurant’s performance, one table at a time.

Frequently Asked Questions About Handheld POS Systems for Restaurants

In this section, we will address frequently asked questions about handheld POS systems for restaurants, providing you with clear insights and valuable information.

What is the Best POS System for Fast Food Restaurant?

The best POS system for fast food restaurants is one that offers efficient order processing, integrates with online ordering platforms, and provides real-time inventory management. Consider systems like Square, Toast, or Chowbus POS, which cater to fast-paced restaurant environments and offer features to streamline operations and enhance customer service.

What are the Four Types of POS Systems?

The four types of POS systems are:

  1. Traditional (On-Premises) POS Systems

  2. Cloud-Based (SaaS) POS Systems

  3. Mobile POS Systems

  4. Tablet POS Systems

What System Do Most Restaurants Use?

Most restaurants use a restaurant POS (Point of Sale) system. This system is a comprehensive software and hardware solution designed to streamline various aspects of restaurant operations, including order management, payment processing, inventory tracking, and customer management.

What is the Difference Between POS and POS System?

POS stands for Point of Sale. It refers to the physical location where a transaction occurs, typically involving exchanging goods or services for payment. On the other hand, a POS system stands for a Point of Sale system. It is a comprehensive hardware and software solution businesses use to process transactions, manage inventory, track sales, and handle various other business operations.

While POS signifies the specific point where the transaction occurs, a POS system encompasses the entire setup, including the cash register, receipt printer, barcode scanner, and the associated software used to streamline and optimize the sales process.

Why is POS Better than a Cash Register?

POS systems outperform cash registers due to their speed, automated inventory management, detailed sales analytics, CRM capabilities, seamless integration, and advanced security features. These advantages enhance efficiency, accuracy, customer satisfaction, and overall business operations, making POS systems the preferred choice for modern businesses.

Do I Need a POS System for My Restaurant?

Yes, implementing a POS system in your restaurant is crucial for streamlining operations, improving efficiency, and enhancing customer satisfaction. A POS system helps you manage orders, track inventory, process payments, and analyze real-time sales data. By investing in a POS system, you can optimize your restaurant’s workflow, reduce errors, and provide better service to your customers. Don’t hesitate to integrate a POS system to enhance your restaurant’s performance and profitability.

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