When evaluating your point-of-sale (POS) options, you might think that an iPad POS system cannot compete with the level of depth that a PC-based system offers, but this is a misconception. There are many different types of POS systems for restaurants, and some are designed specifically for iPads. These systems let you conduct your sales, track your inventory and accept gift cards directly from the iPad. Plus, restaurant iPad POS systems can be mobile or stationary, allowing you to ring up customer orders from any location. If you’re considering an iPad POS system for your restaurant, learn about the many ways it can benefit your business.
How an iPad POS system can benefit your restaurant
Restaurants have unique POS needs, and tablet-based systems are often a great solution. If you are considering a restaurant iPad POS system, here are a few of the benefits and features they offer.
Tableside payment processing
With iPad POS systems, you have the luxury of being mobile. Some restaurants have even started putting iPad at tables so customers can order and pay without talking to a server. When customers’ checks are ready, you can process their payments right at the table. Instead of taking a credit card or gift card to the POS cash register and bringing back a receipt for signature, you can process the payment and accept a signature directly on the iPad. This streamlines the payment process for both customers and your employees.
Did you know? A recent study by Oracle found that 46% of customers prefer to pay their bill on a mobile app, without the help of a server.
Your iPad POS system helps you with inventory management by automatically tracking your inventory. It can also provide you with a detailed list of which items need to be restocked as well as send you email notifications. A good iPad POS system can show you which ingredients are popular. This lets you stay on top of your ordering and enables you to see which items are customer favorites.
Editor’s note: Looking for the right POS system for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.
The information your iPad POS processes is stored in the cloud. This means that you can access your account from any internet-enabled device. If you need to make changes to your inventory, you can easily do so from your desktop computer. When you make changes from there, the system will automatically update so you can see all of your changes on the iPad in real time.
One of the most significant benefits of using an iPad POS system is how easy it is to use and set up. All that is required to operate an iPad POS system is an iPad, the cloud-based software and a credit card reader, which is often provided by the credit card processor your POS provider partners with.
After you set up your account, your employees can instantly use the iPad POS system to assist your customers and place orders. The simplicity of an iPad system ensures that nearly everyone will be able to use the program without needing in-depth training. If you do need to offer training to your employees, many POS system providers can help you get started.
Best iPad POS systems for restaurants
There are several highly rated iPad POS systems on the market, but the best one for your business will depend on your specific needs and your budget. To help you find the best POS system for your restaurant, we spent countless hours researching and analyzing various POS systems. Here are a few of our top choices for iPad POS systems.
- Lightspeed: Lightspeed offers POS systems for the restaurant, retail and golf industries. For those looking for a restaurant POS system, pricing starts at $59 per month. You can also add restaurant-specific features like a customer-facing display system, a kitchen display system, a self-order table menu, e-commerce for restaurants, a loyalty app and program, a self-order kiosk, and delivery integrations. Check out our Lightspeed review to learn more about how it can benefit your business.
- Linga POS: Another top iPad POS system is Linga POS. It is especially useful for quick-service restaurants. Plans start at $19.99 per register per month and allow for unlimited products, items and users per register. Linga offers a wide variety of restaurant-specific modules that can be added to your plan, such as those for loyalty programs and scheduling.
- Square: Square is an excellent POS option for quick-service, fast-service and fast-casual restaurants, as well as bars, breweries and ghost kitchens. It is one of the only POS systems we analyzed that offers a free plan. It also offers paid plans starting at $60 per device per month. It has several restaurant-specific features, like menu management, table management, floorplan customizations, and contactless order and delivery.
- TouchBistro: This all-in-one POS system is compatible with iPads, iPad Pros and iPad Minis. Plans start at $69 per month. TouchBistro has more than 200 restaurant-specific features, such as ingredient-level tracking, tableside ordering and payments, drag-and-drop table management tools, customer management, and loyalty programs. Check out our TouchBistro review to learn more about how it can benefit your business.
How to turn your iPad into a POS system
There are only a few things that you must have to use your iPad as a POS system. These are the iPad itself, a card reader and the POS system you choose. You will need to take some steps to set up your iPad as a POS.
1. Set up the iPad.
Since they are generally meant for personal use, the default iPad settings are often geared to this. You’ll want to change them before you use an iPad as a POS. First, create a new Apple ID or use one that you use for business purposes only. If you use your personal ID, your personal information will be available on the device.
Next, you will want to turn off auto updates and disable Siri. You aren’t likely to need her when using your iPad as a POS. Updates are important, but you don’t want them occurring during business hours.
You may need to disable the screen lock and turn off the auto-sleep setting, particularly if you use it as a kiosk. You may need to turn off the auto-brightness function as well so you can select the brightness that works best in your environment. If you are concerned about what employees or customers may do on the iPad, you can set up guided access. When the tablet is in guided access mode, it will allow you to access only the apps that you choose for guided-access mode.
2. Find and set up a POS.
Once your iPad is ready for business, you’ll need to download a POS app. You can find these in the App Store. To find a POS for your business, browse the App Store or check online reviews for top-rated options.
Tip: Read our guide on how to find the right mobile POS system before making any commitments.
Once you’ve chosen and downloaded a POS app, you’ll need to sign into a merchant verification service to begin processing payments. You’ll also need to add your menu items and the number of tables at your restaurant. You may need to enter your inventory as well so that the POS system can keep track of it for you. The POS system will guide you through this process.
3. Add peripherals.
Many businesses find that they need peripherals for the iPad POS. These include a receipt printer, a tablet stand and a cash drawer. You can purchase equipment bundles to ensure that everything is compatible. Just be sure that they’re also compatible with your POS system and iPad. Once you have connected your peripherals to your iPad, you are ready to use your iPad as a POS.
Whitney Sanchez contributed to the writing and research in this article.