The benefits of tablet point-of-sale systems in restaurants

The new face of point-of-sale systems are emerging and they're in the form of a tablet.

Restaurants have followed the same, traditional model for payment for as long as they've been around. A diner enters the establishment, sits down, orders food and then once completed with the meal, waits at the table to pay for his or her dining experience. It's a relatively straightforward concept, but the recent advent of portable device technology has drastically impacted how restaurants will charge their customers going forward.

Tablet point-of-sale systems are emerging as one of the most popular trends going forward in the restaurant industry today. Traditionally speaking, bulky and cumbersome cash registers were the primary mode of charging customers for meals. More recently, merchants have utilized debit and credit cards , which operate using the magnetic stripe on the back of the card. Nowadays and perhaps in the near future, tablet POS systems could be making a widespread jump into the restaurant industry.

A new survey released from data services company Infogroup found the number of merchant respondents deploying mobile checkout systems will triple in the next five years . Twenty-six percent of respondents already use some type of mobile POS system. It seems as if most restaurants and retailers hold some sort of interest in the new technology, with just 23 percent of respondents saying they're not at all considering mobile POS hardware in the near future.

Keep pace with tablet POS 

The restaurants that don't adopt some type of mobile POS system face falling behind in an increasingly competitive foodservice marketplace. With more restaurants opening up each day and consumers' appetites difficult to compete for, restaurants must do all they can to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack. One national food chain, Chili's ®, is not only experimenting with, but planning on rolling out tablet POS systems at each table in their locations across the country. 

According to the Washington Post®, Chili's® has installed 45,000 tablets at more than 800 locations in the U.S. as of last June. Other fast-casual chains, such as Applebee's®, Uno's Pizzeria® and Red Robin® are also experimenting with tablet POS systems at the table. It's a win-win situation for the restaurants as pay-at-the-table solutions not only heighten the customer experience, but  also improve turnover time, which helps get more hungry customers fed during hours of operation. What's more, restaurants can use predetermined upsell suggestions right on the tablet and pair certain items together in hopes of providing a highly enjoyable dining experience.

Customer satisfaction can also be improved upon with tablet POS systems. For instance, Chili's® prompts its diners to fill out a five- to seven-part survey before paying the check. The questionnaire asks about the food, the service and the overall experience. A direct link to the customer has led to a 25 percent response rate on average, with about 500 replies per location each week. Robust reporting and easy integration have made tablet POS systems a popular form of payment processing in the industry.