Restaurant Billing Machine is a device that helps keep track of money that flows in and out of a restaurant. Traditionally, these were typical drawers that later graduated to a much fancy Cash Register. Cut to 2019, modern Point Of Sale system has taken over as the new restaurant billing machine for recording sales and money as a whole.
Buying a restaurant billing machine is an important decision. The quality of your billing machine would most certainly impact the performance of your restaurant, particularly because of the plethora of features and benefits it has to offer. In this write-up, we will take you through the things that you should know while making your choice.
But let’s start with the basics.
The need for a Restaurant Billing Machine and the problems they solve
The restaurant industry has evolved and so have their demands. Today, managing a restaurant is no more a task. All you need is a billing machine that has high operational efficiency.
With the recent influx of technology wherein a couple of decade’s time, we have seen its beauty in helping human life become easier and more efficient. Restaurant business that traditionally focussed mostly on hospitality is tilting towards taking help from technology via software and hardware interventions, both driven at easing manual operations. One of the more popular tools which have evolved around these developments are simplified mechanical machines connected with a variety of payment integrations and accounting tools. All with the objective of helping business owners solve problems related to identifying financial transactions, obtaining clarity towards expenses and income, helping with taxation and making the transactional process quick and convenient.
A modern-day Restaurant Billing Machine does much more than just managing cash flow and billing. It’s tax compliant and calculates sales based on the time, menu item, outlet and source of order, whether it’s placed at the restaurant or received via third-party aggregators.
Let’s further talk about the three types of Restaurant Billing Machines used in businesses today.
Restaurant billing machines had humble beginnings when a mechanical cash register was invented by James Ritty in 1879 who owned a Pub in Dayton. He was frustrated with his employees for stealing and hurting his profits. The inventor created a cash register that has now evolved itself to be commonly found as a mechanical or electronic restaurant billing device for identifying and recording transactions. The register gets its name as the machine is attached to a physical drawer for cash storage and a printer that can print out receipts, both for customer and business. Nowadays, restaurant cash registers come attached with printers for printing invoices and KOTs. The cash drawer opens only when a sale is recorded at the cash counter for any physical exchange of money. The order transaction is complete only when the cashier closes the drawer. And since everyone now prefers to go cashless, these cash registers come connected with credit/debit card readers.
Cash registers greatly helped simplify the cash management process. Below, we will highlight some of the key features and benefits of the cash register.
There are multiple unique features that Cash Registers offer when it comes to easing out billing and other financial operations at a restaurant.
- Ease of cash management: Lock-in facility for tangible security.
- Price range of a Cash Register is on the inexpensive side.
- Life of the register extends for up to 15 years.
- Speeding check-out process by reducing TAT of transactions.
- Ease of high-frequency calculations.
- Learning curve is simpler & quicker.
- Performs functions such as reporting and printing.
- Reduces margin of error.
Top Cash Registers in the market currently
- Casio’s brand of cash registers
Price in India – Rs. 16,000 – Rs. 35,000
Features – Bluetooth communications that can be linked with smartphones, individual reports, thermal printer for fast and quiet printing, multi-purpose tray and an anti-bacterial keyboard to facilitate efficient restaurant billing.
Where to buy from – Amazon, Flipkart
- Swaggers’ brand of cash registers
Price in India – Rs. 14,000 – Rs. 30,000
Features – Thermal printing, credit card terminal links directly to the cash register, menu-based maintenance, easy to learn and use for quick restaurant billing.
Where to buy from – Amazon, Flipkart
Restaurant POS System
A restaurant Point Of Sale machine is relatively new in the market whereas Cash Registers have been there for more than ten decades! Nonetheless, restaurant POS systems are soon catching up to tech-savvy demands of business owners. They understand the plethora of benefits that this technology is able to curate for them in measuring business success via recording financial transactions with other optional value additions. Their function is not limited to that of a traditional cash register, it does plenty more. It helps understand and implement the right business focus by analyzing business reports. POS systems single-handedly destroy the idea of manually dealing with cash while running a restaurant. They are designed to calculate prices according to the tax system followed in your area. A Point Of Sale system automates sales tracking and makes it comparatively easier to handle restaurant data and cash.
- Associated subscription fees: Costs for restaurant POS machines are divided into Hardware and Software. The cost for the software is generally paid as annual subscription fees. Hardware costs are fixed costs that are payable once.
- Integrations: Modern-day systems need you to be integration friendly. POS systems today integrate with Order Online aggregators, CRM systems, inventory, and more.
- Easy to set-up: POS systems (especially cloud POS systems) are extremely user-friendly and fast to set-up.
- The turnaround time of processing sales transactions is quick (as opposed to doing it manually).
- The margin of human error is considerably lower due to the automated punching-in of customer data.
- Helps integrate restaurant CRM functionality on each sales transaction and customer behavior insights.
- Add on features also include restaurant Inventory Management, Cashback & Loyalty Programs, Accounting and Payroll, etc.
- Multiple modes of payment can be integrated with a cloud POS system. This includes cash and cards. In-demand transactional partners, like Paytm and Paypal, can also be incorporated on a POS system.
Top Restaurant POS systems in the market currently
Price in India – Rs. 69,999/unit
Features – Multi-position folding base, customer-facing application, sufficient storage capacity with expandable memory, multi-touch support.
Where to buy from – Indiamart, Company dealers
Price in India – Rs 18,000/unit
Features – Locally installed, functions offline except for initial installment and software updates, cloud-based.
Where to buy from – Indiamart
Restaurant POS Systems vs Cash Registers – Which is a better choice?
When it comes to restaurant billing, POS systems are a one-step evolution to the traditional hardware only Cash Registers. Today’s POS systems include a variety of additional services and improved functionalities.
- Complete Restaurant Management: POS systems have in-built abilities towards inventory and employee management services for identifying critical stock, employee check-in and check-out. Added to that, restaurant POS systems also integrate with CRM systems (loyalty and feedback), KDS, order management system (to manage all your third-party integrations), to provide a holistic restaurant management experience.
- Transactional Convenience: Today, customers not only depend on cash or card-based payment services but plenty of other options such as Apple Pay, NFC, QR Code Payments, UPI, etc. Cash registers in this case run down on their functionalities as they record cash-based transactions only and seldom have integrations with card swiping machines. Whereas, POS systems generally provide most of the above.
- Efficiency and Accuracy: The turnaround time for transactions in a POS system against restaurant Cash Registers is significantly lower. Also, the ability for human error decreases in a POS system due to its custom-designed UI/UX for its users.
- Analytics and Reporting: Restaurant POS machines post a strong win-win because of this feature against traditional Cash Registers. The former helps restaurant owners measure their key business metrics such as sales, employee-wise sales, wastage, etc. to solve for future productivity.
- Elevated Sales: Restaurant Marketing helps make running a restaurant more effective. Unlike a typical Cash Register, a Restaurant Point of Sale system records customer data with each order. This data is then used to segregate customers based on their age, order frequency and more. This information comes in handy while sending targeted campaigns via emails and SMS which will drive repeat business.
- Systematic and Faster Order Processing: The restaurant POS technology helps conserve time by automating the entire order taking process. Managing multiple orders that flow in from directions (online and otherwise) becomes smooth, greatly reducing the wait-time. This level of productivity was not possible with the conventional Cash Registers.
- Smooth Integrations: Cash Registers are incapable of accepting online and delivery orders directly. The cashier has to manually punch them and segment these individually, making the process cumbersome. With a restaurant POS system, this process becomes redundant since all orders can be managed on a single platform.
- Organized Inventory Management: Restaurant POS systems today come with an integrated Inventory Management System. One that timely notifies of any stock level depletion. This also helps keep track of all raw materials and food items that are coming in and going out of the restaurant kitchen.
- Reduced chances of possible thefts: There is a higher chance of pilferage during rush hours in restaurants. Restaurant POS systems provide clear visibility into who is operating the system and managing transactions. This greatly helps avoid any mishandling of money inside a restaurant.
Why should restaurants be on the Cloud for their billing requirements?
Traditionally, Point Of Sale systems were synonymous with bulky machines that were fixed at one place within the restaurant. They were used to print Kitchen Order Tickets and punch-in orders manually. Being immobile and enormous to carry around, order processing was a huge hassle. Data security was considerably low too. All of this coupled with the changing trends called for a shift towards cloud-based Point Of Sale systems.
Cloud-based restaurant billing machines are robust technological advancements being made in recent times with high levels of personalized and localized functionality. They provide regular updates in order to be abreast of the fast-paced and continuous transactional evolution. When put against traditional Cash Register Systems, the POS machines offer a much richer ecosystem of advantages for restaurant businesses. Modern restaurant POS machines come with add-on facilities which include (but not limited to) data gathering for CRM initiatives, financial data gathering for insights and identifying focus areas, automated inventory management to raise purchase orders, order management abilities as per the fast-paced food delivery ecosystem which are of primary importance for today’s restaurants.
Furthermore, cloud restaurant POS machines have also helped identify themselves with the capability of offering business insights which are essential but truly lacking when it comes to other forms of billing machines. There are add-ons of automated sales reporting and analytics, billing reports and customer segmentation. The ability for a targeted approach to obtain customer retention and engagement in restaurants is not only being done by the Big Mac! But also by daily restaurateurs’ who want to understand their customers with numbers and engage with them on a personalized level.
Other advantages include
Plug & Play: Cloud restaurant billing systems are convenient. They are an easily deployable plug and play system against traditional billing machines which have a tedious and time-taking setup process that requires manual labor and a variety of integrations.
Accessibility: cPOS systems help with the accessibility of a transactional database which is later stored on cloud servers making the data accessible on any device at any time.
Updates: Regular updates are easier to push on cloud-based systems to ensure that the technology used in the system always stays fresh.
Data Storage and Security: Data collected by your POS systems is critical as it fuels your customer retention, analytics, and overall strategy. Any data that comes in is stored on remote servers instead of local servers that keep it safe and secure.
On the go: Cloud makes it easier for restaurant owners to stay on the go and manage the business from remote locations. The legacy systems required owners to be physically present at the outlet for making any changes to the system. Cloud billing machines allow you to make changes from anywhere and keep track of key business metrics at all times.
Laptop linkage with Restaurant POS software
The third possible option for managing your restaurant billing process would be integrating the POS software on your laptop. This process would be pretty much similar to the restaurant POS. All the cloud features would be retained as nothing changes on the software front. In addition to the laptop integration, a printer can also be integrated with the restaurant billing machine so that it can help in the receipts and invoice generation process as well. Where a complete cloud restaurant POS system (such as POSiflex) would cost you anywhere between 20-30k INR, you could save on the hardware cost and directly purchase the billing software.
|Particulars||Billing Machines||Traditional POS Systems||Cloud POS Systems||Laptop Integration|
|Upfront Cost||High/One Time Investment||High/Setup Costs + Monthly Subscription Fee||Low/Monthly Subscription Fee||Low, A Laptop is needed|
|Software||N/A||On-Premise||Cloud, Online||Cloud, Online|
|Hardware||Only Hardware||Hardware + Software||Software + Cloud||Laptop + Cloud|
Our Pick and Why – A cloud POS System
Wouldn’t James Ritty have loved today’s evolved restaurant billing machine where all he has to do is swipe on his Smartphone and find out who has been stealing amongst his employees by tallying his employee sales numbers?
Even today some restaurants opt for Cash Registers. They believe that POS systems are a lot of work and come at a heavy price. Even though cash registers are cheaper, the additional costs of setting up external devices like printers and payment hardware, add up to a large upfront cost. Restaurateurs also prefer Cash Registers over POS systems because they are thought to be less complicated to work on. However, what they fail to realize and acknowledge the expanded functionality of POS systems.
A cloud restaurant billing machine is a complete solution for your restaurant’s management. It fits in smoothly and helps drive the key restaurant functions – operations, integrations, finance, marketing. It allows you to be mobile and get updates on the go. Moreover, data stored on the cloud is safe and secure can now be used to fuel your CRM campaigns. A cloud POS is a strategic addition to your restaurant artillery.
As the restaurant industry keeps evolving, so do their necessities. Restaurants need to be operationally efficient and simultaneously engage with their customers. To keep up with the same, a cloud restaurant POS machine with its value-added functionalities and high abilities of integrations, add to not standing-out but standing-in with the market. As business keeps becoming more and more competitive with time, a cloud POS becomes a carefully chosen answer with functionalities helping businesses be more efficient and quicker than their peers!
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