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On Cash Registers and Pos Systems — What’s the Best for Your Restaurant?

Calculating and recording sales transactions are the critical functions of a cash register. International food chains and famed restaurants owe their successes to this simple machine in enabling them to take the shots at establishing their business and growing it into something that went beyond their expectations.

Cash register machines practically eliminated the need to cover the mundane tasks of doing quick maths and memory games in calculating and accounting a business’ cash flow. Over time, the mechanical body of cash registers underwent significant changes as it added more functions than just computations.

With the advent of the internet and proprietary business software, a new machine was born—one that was given the capability of doing cash register functions as well as other related restaurant management tasks. This machine is now known as the point of sales or POS system.

A POS system does what a cash register can do—and more. Times have tremendously changed the look of the hardworking cash registers and POS systems, as well as their impact on the food and foodservice industry.

cash register vs. POS

Now that you will soon put your stake in this thriving industry, which one will you use? Is it a cash register or a restaurant POS system.

Cash register benefits

The key benefits of using cash register root from its simplicity. People who would not want to deal with complicated schematics of in-synch and web-based cash flow, business transaction management, and record keeping, should stick to good old cash registers. That way, you can better appreciate the simple transaction processing functions of this machine. Not only does it store money efficiently and securely, for someone who’s just starting in the restaurant biz, but this machine also allows you to get started quickly. It covers the basics: transaction processing, low initial investment, low learning curve, low power consumption, receipt printing, and optional sales record or report.

POS benefits

In addition to transaction processing and sales record and report, a dedicated POS system offers more management possibilities for your restaurant’s daily operations. Besides sales, it also automatically keeps track of and manages refunds, time clocks, menus, and item prices, which in turn maximizes revenue.

It can also do advanced functionalities like table management and reservations, particularly for big restaurants with varied and big dining areas.

And because this system is virtually and practically linked to everything that’s going on inside the restaurant, it offers ease in managing staff workflow, improving customer service, increasing customer through-put, and inventory management—with back-office integration.

Overall, the main advantage that POS systems have over cash registers is that in the highly competitive and fast-paced nature of restaurant management, POS gives you the opportunity to synchronize all the terminals you plan on using in your restaurant, integrate all their data inputs, and process them in such a way that makes it convenient for you to monitor all aspects of your operations using only a single machine.

Which one offers better service?

Being quick in taking orders and delivering must be the motto of all restaurants these days. People these days are always in a hurry so make every second count. Fast order is critical, so to deliver exceptional restaurant service, you need a machine that will speed up your establishment’s operations.

With a restaurant POS system, you can immediately find a seat, take orders, and inform the chef and kitchen staff of the requests of the customer the moment they come in. In case of delays, the synchronized system in which POS displays operate allows your personnel to serve the plates as soon as they are done and minimize or anticipate delays, promptly informing the concerned customer.

On the other hand, cash registers are better suited for smaller table service restaurants. Cash registers are designed for quick services, such as those you see in drive-throughs, cafeterias, bars or lounges. Thanks to business cash register utility software, more functionality has been added to cash registers—that includes accommodating transactions for credit or debit card.

Which one will your staff prefer?

Given a chance, will your staff choose to use a cash register or a restaurant POS.

Easy to learn and with instant feedback, your staff can easily choose to use a cash register machine because of its typically large keyboard and a large display. It can quickly ring up the cost of each food item and its running total. The device has either the combination of a two-station printer with receipt and hard copy journal printer or one printer and one electronic journal feature.

However, if your staff is assigned to handle a spacious dining area, with numerous operations tasks happening simultaneously, a POS system may give you better service. For one thing, its itemized, coded, categorized, and generally organized displays and systems can be accessed via convenient touchscreen operations. The system uses an intuitive interface, which will enable your staff to serve dozens of customers quickly and accurately in one single wave.

Which one gives better value?

A restaurant POS may cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000. This cost will depend on the number of terminals, accessories, and servers that you need to run your restaurant smoothly. That could be a far stretch for someone who wants to start small. Cash registers are far cheaper than POS, which makes them ideal for low-cost startups.

Should you choose POS, your restaurant will be rewarded with high efficiency on both front-of-house and back-of-house operations. A cash register can only track sales. If you demand more service for such a dedicated machine, like tracking menu item sales, employee time clock, customer reservation, inventory management, kitchen management, and more, then a restaurant POS will save you from the hassle of buying separate machines that businesses typically use to do the same mundane tasks a POS can do in one single tap on its slim display.

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