A History of POS and What to Look for

POS software systems are used to manage the billing and transaction process. Similar to how an electronic cash register works, POS systems can generate receipts, print vouchers and even create gift cards. The very first Point of sale software was developed in the early seventies by International Business Machines (IBM). This system had little in the way of the functionality when compared to today’s technology but laid the foundations for many of the advanced features we now use. A new wave of technology came about increasing the popularity of POS systems,  making it possible for a restaurant to take a customer’s order at the table and send order details directly to the kitchen.

The Features of Modern Systems

Most modern restaurant pos software is easy to use, feature rich, quick and efficient in its operation. They are designed for reliability.

A basic system should be affordable, easy to install, quick to setup and simple to operate.

Things to look out for when purchasing a system are the cost of extras such as the cost of service and support which can increase prices dramatically over time! This should not be a problem if the correct system is selected.

The benefits are many, from savings on staffing hours along with reducing stock holding, wastage and theft, important data such as sales reports hi-lighting best and worst selling items should offset the purchase cost of a new pos system within a very short space of time.

There are a large number of companies offering point of sale software online, it’s important to choose one that has a reliable reputation and provides good value for money. The type of management software you buy will largely depend on the type of hospitality industry in which you operate. For example, if you run a restaurant you will require hardware such as touch screen terminals, printers to print orders for the preparation area, card payment services, etc, on top of the actual software cost.


All hospitality management systems require hardware, allowing receipts, vouchers, etc to be printed at the point of sale. Most systems will include barcode scanners, receipt and order printers, credit/debit card readers, a cash drawer as well as other peripheral devices. The POS unit will more than likely be a flat panel touch screen. The larger restaurants will benefit from using multiple windows touch tablets for table ordering and billing as well as a kitchen display system (KDS) for busy kitchens.

Software Set-Up

Irrespective of what software you choose, setting it up can be daunting and time consuming, especially if you are not being offered any in-house demonstration or online help after purchasing the software.

So, what may be included with the software? Well, most will come with basic features with an option to purchase  extra add-on features if required. This allows you to begin with a bare bones system and add more features as and when your business grows and develops. Many larger businesses will opt for a desktop application with a cloud based backup solution, this gives added security should the system develop a hardware failure or other outage, and allows the restaurant to recall and import all important data files onto a new system or once your system has been reformatted.

Finally, some POS systems will include a website online ordering system, or offer a third party add-on, allowing customers to purchase food and drink online. This is a great option if you want to widen your client base and maximise your revenue.