Optimizing Restaurant POS Setup

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Restaurants are migrating towards modern POS systems in numbers never before seen. In fact, 1 in 3 restaurateurs plan on upgrading their restaurant tech within the next year, while 24 percent updated in the past year, according to a new restaurant technology report from Toast.

Purchasing, installing and learning new technology can be a massive undertaking. In this article, we’ll be discussing how modern POS equipment can be useful in any restaurant setup, how the physical restaurant POS setup should be, and how operators can make crucial, forward-thinking decisions using their tech.

The Benefits of a Modern Restaurant POS

Below are just a few benefits that all restaurants see when using a modern restaurant POS setup. After reading these, check out the next section to see what kind of hardware your restaurant would benefit from and how to go about setting it up.


Only restaurant professionals know how frustrating it is to hold their finger over the POS terminal looking for the right button, circling the screen a few times like a magic wand or a metal detector before finally finding the right button. Modern POS technology is intuitive and designed purposefully for maximized throughput so servers can enter orders faster and with more accuracy.

Easily Accessible Reporting

Some restaurateurs struggle with deciphering the metrics and measuring their sales. That’s okay – maybe you weren’t a math major. That’s why a POS system with easy-to-read analytics is a must for your business. Stop struggling and start crunching numbers so you can staff smarter and save money on inventory.

Reliable Hardware

Do you have a clunky computer at your house? Probably not – you likely have a laptop, tablet, or modern desktop and computer setup. So why wouldn’t you have the same for your restaurant? Older systems will slow you down and hold you back. It’s time to leap forward.

Full Service Restaurants

Full service restaurants tend to have the most moving pieces out of any restaurant operation. The staff is spread all over the premise and their roles are clearly defined. In an FSR, POS equipment should – first and foremost – streamline the process for your guests and employees.

To totally streamline your operations, your staff should use end-to-end technology. If your restaurant is big enough, servers should have more than one point of sale to enter orders into. This is particularly true if you have multiple sections or dining rooms, as one terminal per section may be beneficial. During peak hours, servers should be equipped with handheld tablets to fire orders straight from the kitchen.

New orders should appear in the back of the house on a kitchen display screen to save on paper costs and keep the kitchen systematic – particularly if there are multiple prep stations. Once guests finish their meals, servers can take payment right at the table with their tablets.

What You Need

  • At Least 1 POS Terminal
  • At Least 1 Kitchen Display Screen
  • Optional: 1 (or more) Server Handheld Tablet

The Benefits

Full service restaurants see boosted efficiency from modern POS hardware. Server handheld tablets save time between taking an order and placing the order, while multiple POS stations mean that servers don’t have to wait in line to input orders.

Overall, this efficiency leads to an increase in sales – sometimes as high as 20 percent – meaning more happy customers for your FSR and more tips for your staff.

Quick Service Restaurants

QSRs are focused on getting guests in and out as efficiently as possible. The POS helps with that!

Unlike an FSR where servers will go to the POS multiple times per party, QSR guests typically have all of their POS needs taken care of at once – the order is entered and the payment is made within a matter of seconds.

To maximize efficiency, QSRs should have one or two POS terminals at minimum. If the restaurant gets swamped at certain times of the day, explore the options of self-order kiosks. Handheld tablets also let restaurants “line bust” by having staff work their way down the line and send orders to the kitchen faster.

POS setup for restaurants like Five Guys where orders are made after the order is taken, a kitchen display system is a smart idea for the back-of-house crew. For meals made before they are entered into the POS (at a restaurant like Chipotle), a KDS isn’t necessary.

What You Need

  • At Least 1 POS Terminal
  • Optional: 1 Server Handheld Tablet
  • Optional: 1 Kitchen Display Screen
  • Optional: Restaurant Kiosks

The Benefits

QSRs are notorious for their peaks and dives in sales throughout the day as guests look for a quick bite for lunch or dinner. POS equipment makes a quick service restaurant serve quicker and can increase sales. Kiosks, for example, can improve QSR sales by 5-10% per ticket, and have been adopted widely in restaurants like Panera, Wendy’s, and Shake Shack.


Bartenders making drinks all night results in wet POS screens. Your POS hardware must be durable and responsive if you want to keep serving customers.

Your bar should have at least one POS terminal. Pending on the size of your bar and how many bartenders are in an average shift, it wouldn’t be unheard of to have several more than just one.

If your bar serves food, a standard stationary terminal near the kitchen and a KDS may be needed, as well as server tablets if you offer table service.

What You Need

  • At Least 1 Bar POS Terminal
  • Optional: 1 Server Handheld Tablet
  • Optional: 1 Kitchen Display Screen
  • Optional: 1 POS Terminal Near the Kitchen

The Benefits

No one likes a long line at the bar. Having multiple POS terminals located conveniently for your staff means bartenders can spend more time on crafting the perfect beverage and less time waiting in line for their turn to ring someone up. POS systems that allow for credit card preauthorization (or “preauth”) let bartenders manage a tab without holding onto a card, saving even more time.


Pizzerias see a large portion of their orders come through the phone or via online ordering. Because of that, a pizzeria restaurant POS setup should be equipped to integrate with caller ID and a custom online ordering system. One terminal can suffice, but when you’ve got customers at the door and on the phone, you’ll be wishing you had two terminals.

A KDS can also be utilized in the back of house for a pizzeria. If you have two stations – say one for pizza, one for subs and plates – you can explore the option of two kitchen display systems for your restaurant POS setup.

What You Need

  • 1-2 POS Terminals
  • Optional: 1-2 Kitchen Display Screens

The Benefits

Since you have orders coming in online, in person, and over the phone, the POS that can handle all of these means orders are input faster. You can get your delivery drivers out the door ASAP and keep customers happy.

POS Technology in Your Restaurant

Moving into 2018 and beyond, it’s imperative for restaurants to start using advanced and responsive POS technology. If you haven’t already, start looking for a modern restaurant POS setup to improve your efficiency.  

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