Is A Mobile POS System Right for your Restaurant?

Posted on March 31, 2015 by Michelle Locke

There’s a lot of information out there about mobile POS systems, like Square and Stripe. Many large businesses, like Whole Foods and Starbucks, have paired with Square and other systems to help customers speed up and simplify their payment process. But are mobile POS systems right for every restaurant? Let’s talk about the pros and cons of traditional POS systems and new mobile systems.

The Pros

There are some restaurants that benefit from using mobile POS systems. New, small restaurants can benefit from starting off with a mobile-based POS system because it is typically less expensive. A traditional POS may cost almost $20,000—but a mobile-based system may cost less than $10,000. For a fledgling restaurant, that can make the difference between a full kitchen or not!

However, does starting with a mobile-based system allow restaurants to begin on the right foot? The jury is still out on that one. Millennials might love quick, easy mobile-based payments, but others aren’t so eager.

The Cons

One of the biggest benefits of a traditional POS system is the ability to take cash payments and credit card payments on the same machine. Mobile-based systems still require a separate register for cash-based transactions. Some customers might be turned off by the lack of a cash option on a mobile-based system. Mobile-based systems are designed primarily for credit cards.

Another issue is reporting. Traditional POS systems have an amazing amount of reporting features and backend features that keep track of inventory, sales, and more. Mobile-based systems lack these heavy reporting features, which means you’ll have to use alternate methods to track important information, like inventory and product sales. Also, traditional systems manage customer data in a secure format. Since mobile-based systems depend on WiFi connections or cellular data, the information is not as secure.

Are Restaurants Ready to Go Mobile?

Mobile-based applications can be a benefit to restaurants. OpenTable and similar waiting list apps automate a restaurant process in a way that benefits both employees and guests. A mobile-based POS system can be a helpful addition to some restaurants, but others may struggle, especially if they use traditional POS systems for all of their reporting and inventory.

If you’re considering a mobile-based POS system, it’s important to ask plenty of questions about security, reporting, and cash-based transactions. Make sure you know what kind of system you’ll be using and what it can do for your restaurant.

There are many benefits to a mobile-based POS system, like Square or Stripe, but the technology may not be at a place where restaurants can get the most benefit.