At the heart of restaurant technology is the modern cloud-based POS system that serves as the foundation for all of a restaurant’s operations. Establishments with outdated POS terminals are likely wondering whether it’s possible to upgrade old restaurant POS systems. Recent developments in POS technology make upgrades worthwhile, but the question becomes, “Is it more economical to upgrade or replace?”
Answering that question requires understanding the pros and cons of incorporating legacy POS hardware with new POS software and mobile devices. Consider these cloud-based and mobility benefits when deciding on upgrading your old restaurant POS system.
Cloud POS Upgrades
If your restaurant’s POS system is more than a few years old, it likely relies on the traditional client-server approach that uses dedicated POS terminals that are hard-wired to servers running the POS software. All the POS hardware—credit card readers, receipt printers, barcode scanners, and other devices—also attach to the terminal via cables.
With the cloud’s software-as-a-service model, your restaurant’s POS terminals and peripherals become unhooked from the server. The POS data your business relies on is stored in the cloud, where it can be accessed at any time and from any internet-connected device. Just as importantly, all of the restaurant’s operations can be managed from a single interface, which puts more power and functionality in the hands of your staff.
Here are some benefits of cloud-based POS over their traditional counterparts:
- The use of open application programming interfaces (APIs) reduces the restaurant’s operating costs by allowing new functionality to be added via plug-in modules.
- Your customers can interact with the business through custom mobile apps and customer-facing kiosks running on off-the-shelf tablets.
- It’s much faster and simpler to update your restaurant’s cloud-based POS software to change or add features, such as daily specials and new menu items.
- The appearance of your restaurant improves when you replace the big, boxy dedicated POS terminals with sleek, portable tablets that allow customers to place orders and pay for them using the payment method of their choice, including contactless cards and digital wallets.
- The pay-as-you-go SaaS model means you’re charged for only the POS features you need, without requiring any large upfront costs.
On-the-Go and Online Are Essential
Like any business, a restaurant needs to maximize the value it receives from the equipment it purchases. For a legacy POS system, that means squeezing all the mileage possible out of printers, card readers, cash drawers, and other hardware components.
While restaurants can mix and match equipment from old and new POS systems, they must be mindful of the potential incompatibilities that can arise. In addition, their new POS vendor may not be able to support the business’s legacy hardware.
Some restaurants choose to repurpose these devices rather than replace them entirely. For example, kitchen printers may be convertible to work with the upgraded POS software, but cash drawers and other peripherals that require RJ45 connections will likely be more problematic. The two most important upgrades you can bring to your old restaurant POS system are mobility and an online presence.
Mobile apps make placing and paying for orders more accurate and more efficient; your staff and customers will appreciate the greater control apps provide them. Today, a restaurant’s website is used for much more than displaying its menu, operating hours, and reservation information. It is also a place for your customers to order and for you to stay connected with your customers.
How to Assess an Old Restaurant POS System for Upgrades
Now more than ever, restaurants need to be sure that every penny they spend on technology will result in a positive return on the investment. The first step is to determine which aspects of your current POS setup are working well and which are creating bottlenecks or otherwise underperforming.
These are among the considerations when planning a POS system upgrade for a restaurant:
How much will it cost to maintain your current POS hardware and software? If the system is more than a few years old, the equipment is probably no longer under warranty or may simply be costly to maintain.
Is your existing system sufficiently secure? Old restaurant POS systems may be lacking necessary security updates, including patches for the operating system and other software. Legacy systems also create potential weak points in your efforts to secure physical access to the POS system.
Is your restaurant’s vital data securely backed up? Is your POS system resilient enough to recover quickly in the event of a device failure or power outage? Cloud-based POS systems facilitate fast system restores. Legacy systems are slower and are less equipped to handle large amounts of data storage.
While managing a restaurant’s daily operation, it’s easy to take your POS system for granted—until something goes wrong. Being proactive about planning a POS upgrade for your restaurant lets you take advantage of the advanced functionality of modern POS solutions while ensuring your business is maximizing the return on all of its technology investments.
In a period of change, talech has a number of POS solutions that can be integrated into your old restaurant POS system to add vital new features. From reaching new audiences to engaging with your existing customers more often, we give you the tools to adapt quickly and with confidence.
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