Picking a Point of Sale Company: What You Need and What You Can Live Without

This is your guide on what you as a hospitality business absolutely need from your point of sale (POS) company, and what you can stand to live without. 

Point of Sale
NoDa Brewing Company using Arryved point of sale

Deciding on a point of sale company requires patience, strategic decision-making, and a little bit of help from the experts. This guide breaks down what you as a hospitality business absolutely need from your point of sale (POS) company, and what you can stand to live without. 

Nice-To-Haves: What You Can Live Without

First thing’s first: this list of nice-to-haves is not de-valuing these POS features. In fact, they’re all incredibly helpful in growing your budding business. BUT, if you’re in a position to scale down to the pure necessities, here is what you can live without in a point of sale company:

1. Loyalty Program

A loyalty program assists you in building a loyal customer base, encouraging repeat business, and increasing a guest’s average tab at your bar or restaurant. Here are some specific examples of how insider programs are used in the hospitality industry:

  • Exclusive access. One selling point of joining a loyalty program is having member-specific items or events available to you. This could be insider-branded schwag, limited edition brews, or access to exclusive events with free food ‘n beverages! 
  • Point collection and redemption. Some businesses reward loyalty members with points when they spend money. Guests can then redeem points in a gift card-like fashion!
  • Mug club. Breweries, bars, and other beverage-focussed businesses use their loyalty programs much like a traditional Mug Club. For an annual membership fee, guests can drink out of (typically larger) Mug Club vessels, get discounts on the pours, or even get free pours on their birthday! 

Why you can live without it:

Membership programs like this are great for growing your fan club and getting customers excited about spending money with you, and having one should definitely be a goal on your long term roadmap. However, it takes some work to establish and maintain, and if you’re just getting started, this can be on the back burner for now. 

It’s worth inquiring with your potential point of sale company on what they offer in terms of loyalty programs, keeping in mind that you will eventually be ready to use one!

2. Online Storefront

An online storefront allows you to dive into the ever-growing e-commerce industry! Here, you can sell merchandise, to-go orders of food and beverages for delivery or pickup, or even orders to ship cross-country. 

Some point of sale companies offer the ability to host an online store through their system, which is great for inventory management and reporting purposes. 

Why you can live without it: 

While some point of sale companies do offer easy-to-setup-and-manage online store capabilities, not all do. And if your team is stacked with hospitable cooks and servers instead of tech-savvy website professionals, building a storefront like this can be a large lift. 

Another reason to consider putting this feature on hold is the extra workers it would require to offer to-go, delivery, and shippable orders. Fulfillment is no joke, and if you don’t quite yet have the bodies to do it, this can wait. 

Guest scanning QR code to get order their round

3. QR Code Menus, Ordering, & Payments

If you’ve eaten out in the past couple of years, you’re familiar with QR codes. These digital menu and ordering assistants popped up on tables in a majority of food and beverages spots during the pandemic as a socially distanced way to expedite orders and work with a smaller staff. 

QR codes allow guests to view menus, order, and even close out their own tab all via a digital scan from any smartphone. This saves staff time of the administrative tasks of swiping cards and retrieving receipts and also quickens the process of getting round after round for guests.

Why you can live without it: 

Perhaps you are fortunate enough to not be experiencing labor shortages, or you’re busy onboarding and training with your newfound point of sale company. If that’s the case and you don’t find yourself needing an avenue to expedite the ordering process quite yet, you can hold off on QR code implementation. 

For now, get some good face time with guests and dazzle them with exceptional service. Then, when you’re ready, think about trying QR code ordering before the summer rush is in full swing!

Essentials: What You Absolutely Need

Now for the features of a point of sale company that you should absolutely not compromise on. These are the bread and butter of great POS systems, and if you have all 7 of them, you will set your business up for success in the long term. 

1.  Mobile & Cloud-Based System

Mobile refers to the actual mobility of the devices a point of sale works with. Gone are the days of a stationary terminal where all payments must be made. Nowadays, POS systems use mobile smartphones and tablets that free up servers to take orders and check guests out tableside, without the need for an order pad and paper tickets for the bar and kitchen. 

Cloud-based refers to where all of your business data is stored—in this case, in the cloud! Cloud-based point of sale companies track ordering and payment data in real-time, and it can be found in one comprehensive sales dashboard online. 

Why you need it: 

If those two definitions didn’t scream “ease of use” to you, then we don’t know what will! Mobilizing your staff means all you need is a server, a smartphone, and product, and you can sell from anywhere. (Think: farmers markets, outdoor concerts, etc.) Opening the door to new venues to sell is a good idea to get your brand out there and attract some new fans. 

Mobility is also key when your business is bustling on a Saturday night. Mobile POS systems reduce ordering friction for guests, and save your staff time on running back and forth from the kitchen and bar. 

The cloud-based aspect of a point of sale company will have your number-crunchers rejoicing. Having all of that information in one place and updating in real-time organizes your business operations and makes gleaning insights from your sales a much easier process. This feature of POS systems is absolutely vital, and once you experience the ease of use yourself, it’s a hill you’ll be willing to die on, too. 

2. Fast, Durable Hardware

This is a no-brainer: Fast, durable hardware is tech that works well and doesn’t break!

Why you need it: 

You’re in a messy business—drinks spill, food can splatter, and the hardware you use is shuffled between staff every single day. When picking a point of sale company, make sure that the hardware available to you can withstand the everyday jostle of hospitality, and still perform at tip-top speed. This is a necessity because you and your beloved staff simply don’t have the time to worry about a broken or turtle-paced device when you’re focussed on serving up the best customer experiences.

Bartender using mobile POS device with guests

3. Robust Reporting 

Robust reporting is a dashboard of data that gives you insights into what’s working and what isn’t in your daily business operations. 

Why you need it: 

To put it simply, robust reporting helps you understand your business better. The best POS reporting will help you save money and allow you to make proactive decisions on staffing, menus, production schedules, events, and overall business operations. 

Insights regarding menu items, hourly sales by product, weekly sales, and employee performance give you quantified information about your overall business. You can make an educated decision about a path forward, check back in reporting in a few weeks, and determine whether that decision was a good one, or if you should try something else. There is no all-encompassing playbook when it comes to running a food and beverage business, so it’s smart to trust the numbers and let them speak for themselves. 

4. Integrations

Some point of sale companies integrate with other management systems to automate and streamline the flow of information for businesses. This organizes your business operations, ensures that your data is accurate, and saves your back of house staff a lot of time. 

Why you need it: 

Finding a POS that integrates with business management, inventory management, accounting management, and other softwares serves the key purpose that your point of sale should: making your life easier. 

By syncing your POS with other systems, you can reap the following rewards:

  • Business management: Eliminates manual processes and duplicate entries, reduces physical bookkeeping, helps gain complete visibility to key metrics
  • Inventory management: Tracks ingredients that are running low, ensures that nothing is being sold to a customer that is no longer in stock
  • Accounting software: Daily sales are imported, so you can cross-reference your POS reporting with bank deposits

When you see the time and money that integrations save, this feature will climb high on your list of essentials!

5. Security

Secure point of sale companies handle your customer and business data with care, meaning they have systems in place to protect that information from leaking to dangerous parties. 

Why you need it: 

Your business collects a lot of sensitive information—credit card numbers being the most obvious. You need to be able to trust any potential POS with securing the privacy of that information, for the sake of both your business and your customers. One misstep could mean a loss of loyal customers if not your business entirely, so security should always be on your list of must-haves. 

6. Unlimited Email & Phone Customer Support

Point of sale companies are in the business of serving customers, too. The ability to reach someone by phone or email to answer any questions about the system, or to report a dire issue during a packed Friday night separates a good POS company from a great POS company. 

Why you need it: 

Most point of sale companies do offer some sort of customer support, but make sure to read between the lines before you commit. Some companies charge per month or per request for this feature, and many times you won’t receive an answer for hours or even days. Beware of point of sale companies that limit your contact with them or charge you ridiculously high prices to do so—those companies are clearly not committed to your business’s success, and you should avoid them at all costs. 

Guests toasting to great beer at NoDa Brewing Company

7. Staff Buy-In

Now, this isn’t necessarily a component of any point of sale company, but it’s important to identify as an essential when you’re picking out a POS. Staff buy-in is when your team feels like their needs are met and their feelings are heard regarding what kind of system is the best fit. 

Why you need it: 

The hospitality industry breeds staff that feels like family, and as you all work toward a common goal, you need to involve your staff in making your decision around a point of sale company. Plus, including servers, cooks, and bartenders in the decision-making will likely help you identify things you hadn’t thought of yet, or features you didn’t realize would expedite certain processes. 

Now that you know everything you absolutely need in a point of sale company, and what you can put on the back burner, you can sift through your options confidently—good luck!


Arryved POS was designed to wow business owners with technical savviness, a helpful team of experts, and a proven track record of success in elevating guest experiences. Book a free, personalized demo today!