The 3 Biggest Innovations to POS Restaurant Systems

Restaurant POS systems make it easier than ever to streamline your business


Over the course of its journey from brass levers and wood construction to gleaming glass touchscreens, the point of sale (POS) has changed remarkably. That increasing technological sophistication has proven a boon to restaurants, where the industry’s demands have found answers in myriad innovations to POS restaurant systems. Now, ordering food and paying the bill is easier than ever for customers and restaurants alike. Read on to see where these systems began, to learn which three innovations made the biggest impacts on modern restaurants, and to get a taste of what the future may bring.

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A brief history of POS restaurant systems

Any storefront in which employees handle money is exposed to the possibility of theft. In 1879, saloon operator and inventor James Ritty decided to do something about it and patented the first mechanical cash register: Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier. It displayed how much money customers had paid and kept track of the number of transactions performed, but it had no receipt printer or cash drawer. Ritty sold a single unit to one John H. Patterson (remember that name) before selling his factory to Jacob H. Eckert. Eckert added the cash drawer to the design before selling the factory and company once more to Patterson in 1884. He renamed it the National Cash Register Company (which continues to do business under the name NCR), added a paper roll to print receipts, and brought us the register we recognize today.

Well, nearly. Eckert’s basic design persisted until the 1950s when electronic tills began to emerge. IBM released practical store systems that allowed for all of the computers in a business location to communicate in 1973. In 1986, Gene Mosher introduced the first graphic touchscreen interface. Many elements of Mosher’s design remain in modern systems, but the innovations didn’t stop there. The first cloud-based POS systems for PCs appeared in the U.K. in 2002, and the advent of Square Reader in the 2010s made it possible for even the smallest merchants to accept credit card payments through their smartphones.

Smartphones remain at the forefront of restaurant POS integration efforts. They’re at the heart of CityCheers’ ExpressCheck feature, an app that makes mobile checkout faster than ever by empowering customers and helping your restaurant serve more tables in less time. Book a demo with us to learn more.

The three biggest innovations of POS restaurant systems

Much has changed in the nearly 150-year history of the modern point-of-sale system. POS restaurant systems are now capable of much more than simply calculating change and serving up a receipt. Here are three of the greatest advancements in the POS restaurant systems we use today.

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Automatic inventory management

Any restaurant industry veteran can tell you: Inventory management is a pain. They’ll also tell you it’s absolutely essential for successful hospitality operation. Without a close eye on what you have in stock, you can find yourself over-ordering unpopular ingredients, under-ordering the components of menu standouts, and falling victim to both ingredient waste and employee theft.

POS restaurant systems can help solve this problem by automatically linking customer orders to inventory. As soon as the couple at table three puts in an order for a burger and a chicken sandwich, the components of both can be deducted from your remaining stores. This makes it easy to stay on top of what you have in stock, which means more efficient and better-timed ingredient re-ups, a clearer picture to prevent theft, fewer customers disappointed when they learn the dish they wanted is unavailable, and less waste. Restaurant operators who perform a weekly turnover calculation can avoid the 10% of food purchased by restaurants but ultimately wasted by identifying ordering trends and adjusting accordingly. Less waste means more profit, and POS restaurant systems make that process easy.

Data and analytics reporting

Restaurants and bars have enough to keep track of during peak periods without manually tracking the performance of individual menu items. On the other hand, knowing which items sell in what volumes empowers operators to make better-informed decisions about menu design and ingredient ordering. Data and analytics can also reveal unexpected trends in your busiest hours, leading to more efficient staffing decisions.

This is where modern POS restaurant systems shine. By automatically recording and aggregating sales and labor data, they provide a resource that operators can use to optimize how they run their businesses. 95% of restaurateurs say technology improves their business efficiency, and 78% of those operators consult their metrics daily.

Mobile payments

Cash was growing less popular as a payment method even before the pandemic hit; now contactless payment isn’t just an amenity, it’s a customer expectation. Good thing, then, that many modern POS restaurant systems can accept mobile payments. Transactions are completed more quickly and smoothly than traditional payment methods by eliminating the process of fumbling in a wallet for the right card and wrestling with faulty magstripe swiping. In fact, American Express says mobile payments are 63% faster than cash and 53% faster than traditional credit cards.

The future of POS restaurant systems

What’s on the horizon for POS restaurant systems? One exciting prospect is the integration of artificial intelligence (AI). Automatic inventory and labor reporting become even more useful with AI, as the technology can identify trends and inefficiencies on its own. That saves operators precious time and money. Mobile point-of-sale devices are also on the rise as they allow servers anywhere in the establishment to send orders and other information directly to the kitchen, streamlining the dining experience from seating on through to payment.

CityCheers’ ExpressCheck feature is another option pushing dining into the future. Customers store their payment information in the CityCheers app and can pay without even waiting for the check to arrive, giving them a positive final impression of your establishment and freeing their table up faster. The CityCheers app offers restaurant POS integration with many of the top providers, making the onboarding process simple and quick. Book a demo with us if you’re ready to learn more.