Mobile POS Systems Take Flight

When we think about technology, one of the first things that come to mind is mobility.

Consider this - 50 years ago, nearly every person had a rotary phone with a long curly cord hanging up in their kitchen. Two decades ago, rotary phones were almost extinct, replaced by cordless ones you could take anywhere in the house. Today, mobile phones have replaced most landlines.

rotary phone

The moral of the story is that analog technology eventually becomes obsolete and is replaced by new digital products. No industry is safe from innovation and improvement, including restaurants.

Eating out is becoming an increasingly digital experience. From loyalty apps and QR codes to online menus and mobile ordering, technology is changing the way the world dines.

Restaurants are slowly taking flight with mobile point-of-sale systems designed for easy use and faster, more accurate ordering. But what makes mobile solutions popular with innovative restaurants? How are they improving the dining experience, and what does the future of mobile POS look like?

What is a Mobile POS?

A mobile POS system, or mPOS, is a point-of-sale solution that can run on a device like a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Though it has the capacity to move with a server or cashier, sometimes these tablets are used as stationary terminals in a few easy-to-access places around the restaurant. They’re fast, convenient, and safe, allowing employees to provide a high-quality dining experience without sacrificing time.

Unlike the dinosaurs we’re used to seeing plopped onto countertops and screwed into the walls of countless restaurants in the United States, mobile terminals can move with you. They’re easy to set up and are a low-cost option that quickly scales to your specific needs.

So, why go mobile? mPOS solutions are cloud-based, meaning all data is stored off-site on servers away from the restaurant. They also allow operators and owners to “plug in” third-party software to customize their restaurant ecosystems.

mobile POS system

Mobile POS Simplifies Restaurant Management

Bringing in a mobile point-of-sale system doesn’t just make your restaurant faster - it can raise efficiency across nearly every facet of your operation.

Doing More With Less

Did you know the vast majority of restaurants have fewer than 50 employees?

Nearly every business these days is having a tough time hiring employees, but the hospitality industry has had an especially hard time. Mobile POS systems allow servers and cashiers to quickly settle checks at the table or in the drive-thru, giving them more time to focus on other tasks. It might not seem like a lot of time, but those minutes quickly add up throughout the evening!

Oddly enough, according to point-of-sale company Toast, only about one-third of restaurants have a mobile payment option despite 85% of U.S. adults owning a smartphone.

Lightning Fast

You’re not using a flip phone still, so why make your staff use the POS equivalent of one?

New technology simply works better. It’s faster, takes advantage of the latest software and hardware, and opens the door for time-saving integrations that speed up the entire restaurant experience.

mPOS also comes in handy when your team - and guests - need to move quickly. From line-busting during the busy lunch rush to no longer needing to walk to a server station to swipe cards, guests can get in and get out with as little wasted time as possible.

Promotes Paperless Payment

The last thing most people want to deal with when paying for their food and drinks is an endless stream of paper receipts.

Although about 50% of people in a recent survey said they still liked paper receipts, more than one-third of respondents (36%) said they were fine receiving a digital one.

Mobile POS systems eliminate payment processing hassles, including all the paper. They prioritize contactless payments, making every swipe, tap, or chip transaction convenient, fast, and environmentally friendly.

Easily Scalable and Multi-Faceted

The average countertop terminal could cost you hundreds of dollars - and doesn’t even include the cost of installation, service, and maintenance.

If you’re using a mobile POS, adding a new terminal could be as simple as buying a tablet or other mobile device. This means you can quickly scale operations up or down without sinking thousands of dollars into bulky terminals.

Mobile solutions are also capable of going where countertop terminals can’t go. These modern systems are typically cloud-based, which means all the information you need for your restaurant can be accessed from your laptop’s browser, making inventory updates, managing reservations, and other procedures a snap.

Secure Payment Processing

Modern point-of-sale systems support up-to-date and highly secure payment processes.

From contactless Google and Apple Pay to 3D secure cards, mobile point-of-sale systems can process payments quickly and as safely as possible.


Restaurants Can Take Advantage of API Options

We’ve mentioned the cloud a few times in this article, but what is it?

The cloud is a network of servers online that securely collect and store information off-site. In the old days of POS, systems were typically closed, meaning all your data was stored on a dusty old computer in the back office. It’s inefficient and not very safe.

Fast forward to today, and cloud-based POS systems are commonplace in most restaurants, bars, cafes, and other eateries, opening doors to new and emerging tech you can’t get on older systems.

The Open API

Cloud-based systems typically feature something called an Application Programming Interface, or API. The API allows third-party companies like birdbill to access orders and menu data or post a payment, and with that develop software that enhances your POS system. Meanwhile, closed systems make it harder to set up third-party partnerships and are much less agile.

Gaining access to the API is a delicate process that can take months or even years to develop with each POS vendor, but lets companies like ours access proprietary code to create software specifically designed to work within their parameters.

It seems like a lot of technical speak, but API access allows bars, restaurants, and coffee shops to find and use tools that make their lives easier. These third-party apps help owners and operators do amazing things. Restaurants can integrate third-party apps ranging from loyalty and reservation software to gamification, pay-at-table, and marketing products into their existing system.

You don’t need to rely on the product offered by your POS vendor and can look around for solutions that match your needs (provided they integrate with your POS).


Mobile POS Can Help Your Restaurant Soar

Whether it’s a mad dash during the morning coffee run, a busy mid-day lunch rush, or a hectic Friday night dinner service, speed is critical.

Guests and patrons want better speed and convenience, allowing them to order, pay, and leave when they want rather than wasting precious minutes waiting for things to happen. Workers want a system that offers a great user experience and the functionality they need to get guests served quickly and turn tables as fast as possible.

Restaurants increasingly turn to mPOS solutions because they make it possible to do more with less staff, lower costs, and smaller terminal footprints. Even better, because the technology is already familiar to younger employees, it’s much easier to train them to use the system. As a result, the total number of mPOS payment users is expected to grow immensely, reaching as high as 85.6 million by 2025.

Time does not stand still. Neither does the technology we use to power our daily lives. Mobile POS systems complement traditional countertop and wall-mounted terminals, making your restaurant faster without sacrificing money or time.

Your guests will love the convenience, and your staff will be happier and more productive!