What is a Restaurant POS System?

May 23, 2023

Intro to Restaurant POS Systems:

POS systems (Pont of Sale) have revolutionized the restaurant industry, providing a comprehensive solution for transactional moments such as ordering and payment. If you're new to the industry or still relying on traditional methods, it's crucial to understand the benefits that modern POS systems bring, including increased efficiency, enhanced customer experiences, and improved overall success. In this article, we will delve into what a POS system entails, how it works, which types of restaurants can benefit from it, necessary hardware components, operating system compatibility, advantages and disadvantages, and considerations for choosing the right POS system.

What does a POS System do for a restaurant?

A POS system serves as the externalized brain of a restaurant, combining hardware and software that operates on computers and mobile devices. It acts as a comprehensive restaurant management system, encompassing inventory tracking, sales data, guest information, and payment processing, among other functionalities.

How does a POS system work?

POS systems offer a wide range of customizable options and features tailored to specific restaurant needs. Most modern POS systems are cloud-based, storing data on remote servers instead of local computers within the restaurant. With each order placed, whether by a server or a guest, the POS system records the transaction details and synchronizes them with inventory. Additionally, POS systems generate comprehensive reports, enabling data-driven decision-making for restaurant owners.

Who should use a restaurant POS system?

Full-Service Restaurants: POS systems facilitate communication between the front and back of the house, streamlining operations.They can also help with waitlists, reservation systems, and maintaining customer information like birthdays. Common full-service restaurants include fine-dining, casual/family dining, and any other casual sit-down restaurants.

Quick-Service Restaurants: POS systems with self-service kiosks expedite the ordering process, enhancing speed and efficiency. This reduces wait-times and matches what the customers want most: convenience and speed. Quick-service restaurants include boba tea shops, cafes, bakeries, fast-food chains, and food courts.

Bars, Breweries, Wineries: Alcohol restaurants need a blend of quick service and full-service POS features. And often they need inventory management support as well to manage their latest stock.

Food Trucks: POS systems can be adapted for mobile use, enabling food trucks to accept credit card payments and expand their customer base.

What hardware is required for a POS system?

Key hardware components typically found in a POS system include:

  • POS terminals: These are the devices, often tablets like iPads, on which the POS system operates. They can be portable or permanently stationed with the help of tablet stands.

  • Kitchen display system: This screen serves as the command center for the back of the house, displaying all incoming orders and replacing traditional kitchen printers.

  • Printer: While digital receipts are popular, having a printer on hand for those who prefer paper receipts is still necessary.

  • Payment terminal: This device allows guests to swipe, tap, or insert their credit cards for payment.

Which operating system is suitable for a restaurant POS system?

POS systems are compatible with various operating systems, such as Apple (iOS), Android, and Windows. The choice of operating system determines the hardware required—iPads for Apple, compatible tablets for Android, and computers for Windows.

What is mobile POS?

Mobile POS refers to systems that operate on handheld devices, enabling servers to take orders and process payments directly at the table. This technology, popular in Europe for years, has gained traction in the United States, offering faster turn times and improved customer service.

Top Benefits of a Restaurant POS System:

  • Real-time sales statistics

  • Detailed sales and inventory data

  • Seamless online ordering

  • Simplified tax information management

  • Menu item performance insights

  • Improved communication between servers and the kitchen

  • Customizable loyalty programs

Top Considerations When Picking a POS System:

  • Data backup: Regularly backing up data is crucial to avoid potential loss in case of technical glitches.

  • Integration with other tech tools: Ensure the POS system integrates smoothly with existing technology infrastructure.

  • Reporting capabilities: Evaluate whether the system provides the desired reporting features.

  • Cost considerations: Assess the costs and ensure they align with the restaurant's budget.

  • Credit card security: Opt for POS systems that prioritize the security of customer credit card information.


Looking into POS systems can be a daunting task! Hopefully this article was of some help in your research. To learn more about POS systems and what might be the right fit for you, book a POS demo/consultation with Chowbus! We're the #1 POS tech system for US-based restaurants!

Recommended resources for restaurant owners: