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Where To Start: Tablets and iPad POS Systems

ipad pos system

I want a tablet or iPad POS system. Now what?

What should you consider when looking for an iPad POS system or handheld POS tablets?

On average, servers walk back and forth to a POS terminal 4-5 times per table. While that is excellent for your step counter, there is certainly benefit to spending this time building your guest relationship instead – especially with 68% of diners agreeing that tablets improved their restaurant experience.

With dining rooms set to re-open for business in the coming months, we’re all hearing the term ‘tableside ordering’ circling again. Prior to the pandemic, staff tablets were one of the fastest growing restaurant technologies, and we anticipate this trend continuing upon the return to normal service. 

If you’re in the market for an ipad POS system or a handheld tablet POS solution, investing in the right hardware and software for your business is critical. 

Before investing, it is important to understand the benefits to guests and staff that tablets bring. iPad POS systems and tablets do come with hardware and additional service fees, but you are also bringing immense benefit to the restaurant such as:

  • Increased speed of service, meaning you will turn tables more quickly: orders go right from the tablet to the kitchen equipment without delay, improving service times by 5-10 minutes
  • Improved accuracy of orders: no more deciphering chicken scratch when you get back to the POS terminal, orders are placed right on the handheld reducing errors
  • Increased upsell and modifier usage: reminders for staff on upsells, modifications and customizations leads to larger average check sizes (and more tips!)
  • More face time with guests: less time spent at fixed POS devices or communicating orders to the kitchen

Most people are intimately familiar with Apple and Android products, such as iPads or Android tablets, so this seems like a natural place to start when selecting a tablet system for your dining area. However, analyzing all the tablet options available is critical to finding longevity, stability and convenience in the hardware product that you choose. 

Here are some questions to consider when you are selecting tablet hardware:

  • What type of dining environment do I have? Fast-paced, high volume environments may require more reliable or robust hardware to support lots of transactions very quickly. This is where selecting hardware that is commercial grade, ruggedized for POS environments becomes important. Your standard iPad may not have the processing power to ensure smooth service, and an Enterprise tablet may be a better option for you.
  • How can I make this technology transition easy for my serving staff? Depending on the demographics of your serving staff, implementation of a new iPad POS or tablet system can have its challenges. Selecting hardware that is highly portable, fits nicely into the serving belt, isn’t too heavy, and is durable to withstand drops or potential spills will help your staff feel more comfortable with the new tools. The last thing you want is to spend money on tablets and have staff refuse to use them. The goal is to help your serving staff make fewer mistakes, interact more with guests, and make their lives easier – not the other way around.
  • How long will my tablets or iPads last? There is always concern when implementing new hardware about its longevity. When consulting POS providers, ask about manufacturer or extended warranties that may be available, and ask for statistics on the hardware’s ability to withstand the rigours of food service. It may be worthwhile investing in slightly more expensive hardware if the risk of it breaking when dropped is significantly decreased. 

In 2021, enhancing the guest experience at your dining venue may include selecting new tablets for your dining areas. Keep in mind the questions above to ensure you select the handheld units that are best for your business, and help make your investment a worthwhile one.

Shannon Moyes

Business Development Manager – Volanté Systems


Learn more about how Volanté can help your business.