The True Value of a Handheld Restaurant POS System

By: Rob Hale, Director of Marketing, Demand Creation at Toast

Summer is certainly starting to heat up, and once summer hits, the restaurant industry is inundated with everyone eating on patios. This has got us thinking about two things:

  1. The beach.
  2. The value of tableside ordering and a handheld restaurant POS.

Restaurants are embracing handheld POS systems like never before. According to data collected by Toast, 41% of have server handheld tablets (or plan to by the end of 2017). Additionally, 68% of diners agree that these tablets improve their restaurant experience.

Let’s go over some of the reasons why server handheld tablets are on the rise and what you can highlight as the key features of this innovative technology.

Servers Keep Their Areas Covered
Did you know that on average a server walks back and forth to the POS 4-5 times for every table? I mean, think about it.

  • Greeting the customers
  • Taking orders.
  • Entering orders.
  • Adding additional drinks.
  • The entire check-out process
  • Even printing a receipt.

Any server will agree – this takes a lot of time!

With a restaurant handheld POS, they can take that down to zero – servers can have the terminal with them wherever they go, reducing the time a they spend running back and forth across the restaurant.

This increases throughput and also allows servers to focus on building deeper relationships with each table and caring about the customer as opposed to worrying about getting the order in time.

Up the Table Turn Like Never Before
Here at Toast, we’ve seen that restaurant handhelds can help turn tables 15-20% faster. This means 15% more sales for restaurants during peak times, which can help businesses get more revenue out of each table, server, kitchen, and location.

Why is this? Well, we’ve already covered the minutes it takes to walk from table to terminal, but think about the bigger implications here. That means food is getting sent to the kitchen 3-5 minutes faster, so customers get their food 3-5 minutes faster.

On the back end of the meal, this reduces the number of steps it takes to close the tab. Servers don’t have to be signaled for the check, run to the terminal, run back to the table, wait for them to decide payment, come back, run the bill, and bring back the receipt.

With a portable POS system, it’s just a one-step process.

Whether it’s by getting to tables faster and offering pay at the table or getting out from behind the counter and busting lines during busy hours in a QSR, these tablets work.

For one restaurant using handhelds, O’Maddy’s, this meant another $1,000,000 in revenue per year.

Loyalty Never Seemed So Cool
The third area to hone in on is loyalty. With restaurant handheld tablets, we’ve seen loyalty sign ups increase 10x compared to traditional methods.

We all know building loyalty programs allow restaurants to drive repeat visits, upsells, and customer engagement. Each restaurant will value this differently, but we’ve seen that these programs can increase customers visitation frequency by 35% and drive on average 45% more spend. Done right, tableside ordering and loyalty can be a self-promoting value proposition for any restaurant.

Embrace an unbeatable ROI.
Restaurant owners are business owners. It’s that simple.

If someone came into this industry to avoid using terms like ROI, tell them it’s time to rethink things.

With deeper customer relationships, increased throughput and table turn by 15-20%, and increasing loyalty by over 10x (which can drive 45% additional spend), we think the value of handhelds pay for themselves. Serving more customers more efficiently and enticing them to come back for more food means more profit for business.

This is the ROI from a restaurant handheld POS system, and it shouldn’t be ignored.