Investing in technology to help run your business is a no-brainer. The return on investment for systems and software that increases productivity is unparalleled. But would it surprise you to find out that 63% of restaurants still don’t use a point of sales system, citing price as the number one reason?

Yet 72% of operators are currently seeking some form of mobile solution. The mobile payment market is growing exponentially now that everyone has a smartphone. You can pay the bill without even asking for it, have your receipt emailed to you and even sign a virtual credit card slip. But keep in mind this time-saving tech is still a payment processing service that charges fees, so make sure you read the fine print to know exactly what those fees are and how they are structured.

Mobile POS is also gaining ground. These vendors require a monthly fee in order to access their software and your data on the cloud. There is little to no upfront cost other than hardware, which is minimal since the software is doing the heavy lifting and some vendors are including it with the price of admission.

Mobility creates an opportunity for increased functionality. Speed of service is greatly increased with orders and payments handled table-side rather than at a terminal station. No more running back and forth to punch in orders or process payments, cutting down service and table turn time and reducing labor by minimizing the staff needed to execute service. This new mobile model could land us somewhere between a quick service and full-service concept – casual quick full service? Mobile platforms also allow for a multi-use interface for the guests displaying menus, promotions, payments, and receipts. This allows guest information to be updated quickly and reduces your paper expense; no reprinting of menus, promotional cards or receipts.

What makes these systems unique is that they are SAAS (software as a service) aka cloud-based. Although this can be a double-edged sword, as we all know the internet is never 100% reliable, finding a product with a good offline solution is important. Software updates can be installed remotely and are usually included for the life of the product. Since the software is hosted on remote servers, an open architecture is created that allows for multiple solutions in a single destination including scheduling, loyalty, inventory, etc… these new mobile vendors are quickly adapting to our industry needs with an average build time for new features taking a few months instead of a year. We are living in an age of, if you can dream it, they can code it. And this is where these mobile platforms really start to set themselves apart by breaking the traditional POS chains of a dedicated back office server and having dedicated hardware installed on multiple terminals requiring on-site support with annual upgrade fees.

Competition is increasing in this market as more of these solutions come online and we will continue to see them evolve and grow. But as with any sales solution, it will benefit the diligent owner/operator to do their research and read the fine print before letting a potential Trojan horse in the door to help run your business.