For Restaurants



AEA Portal will help you with the planning, installation, and training of the product that is right for you. We’ve contracted with a software company that can provide the POS software for under $9,000 and is capable of doing everything a good restaurant POS should be able to do as defined below.

Understanding What Makes a Restaurant/Bar POS Different

Restaurant/Bar Point of Sale (POS) systems differ from retail POS systems, such as QuickBooks POS. POS systems for restaurants are much more complex, and they need to be. They are also often very expensive too, ranging from $20,000 up to $35,000 – just for the software (but read on anyway, AEA Portal has a better solution at a lower cost)!

Differences between Restaurant and Retail POS systems:
Characteristic

Restaurant/Bar POS

Grocery Store POS

Production State When Ordered Unfinished Finished
Customization of Product High (hold the pickles) None
Timing of Payment After consumed Before consumed
Cost of Goods Sold Varies with each order Same for identical products
Unique Customers? Yes. Requires split ticket. No. One receipt per customer
Delivery of Order By waiter (serving) By customer (shopping)
Order Prepared By Kitchen staff Customer
Gratuity Given? Yes No

The above list is not all-inclusive, but it should provide an idea of the differences that cause a retail POS system like QuickBooks to be ineffective for restaurant applications.

Basic Requirements of a Restaurant/Bar POS

Restaurants and bars are service providers. For the most part, the service is in the production of a meal or drink, which often occurs after the customer has ordered it.

A restaurant/bar POS should take into account the following process flow:
The Typical Transaction Flow of a Restaurant/Bar
  1. The customer gives an order to the waiter and the waiter records it.
  2. The food or drink item is produced before and/or after the order is placed
  3. The service is completed by several individuals
  4. The waiter brings the ordered item to the customer
  5. The customer consumes the item and requests the bill
  6. The waiter prints the bill without finishing the transaction, bringing the bill to the customer for review
  7. The customer authorizes the bill, adding gratuity when appropriate and signing the receipt (for credit accounts)
  8. The bill is then recalculated based on the addition of gratuity and charged to the customer’s account

The process needs to be understood because a good POS system for restaurants has algorithms for each of the above activities.

Even when the basic functionality of the POS system for restaurants or bars is understood, it can still fail miserably. When associations pay large sums and don’t receive the extreme productivity enhancements they were expecting, disappointment is sure to follow. This is often due to misunderstandings of what was needed and/or a lack of training.

Beyond the Basics

If your organization is planning on making the investment in a POS for restaurants, you will likely have budgeted quite a lot. Don’t settle for a system that doesn’t give you all that software is capable of providing. Many systems will not even integrate with QuickBooks, which is the typical accounting system used by employee associations.

A good POS for restaurants should also allow you to:
  • Place orders on hold until the customer finishes the meal
  • Customize the customer’s order (hold the pickles, hold the lettuce…)
  • Relay information about the order to the kitchen staff
  • Integrate with the accounting software (especially at the end of the day)
  • Add gratuity and split it up among waiters at the end of the day

There are also some nice-to-have features for a restaurant/bar POS. Those are as follows:

  • For associations, it must charge the member’s account when the order is completed
  • An extremely complicated POS will also charge cost of goods sold (COGS) as orders are processed
  • The original order can be processed wirelessly using a hand-held device

Before ordering the perfect system, associations need to have solid plans that take care of personnel transitions. After all, boards often change before the systems are put into place, leaving the project in limbo.

What We’re Committed to Do

AEA Portal will help you with the planning, installation, and training of the product that is right for you. We’ve contracted with a software company that can provide the POS software for under $9,000 and is capable of doing everything a good restaurant POS should be able to do.

At the very least, AEA Portal will share its experience with associations freely in this area. If you are a GM or Board Member, feel free to contact us here for advice in determining the POS system that is right for you. As an EFM-driven company, we’re happier when you succeed because EFMs reap the benefits also!

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