Why You Can’t Use a Retail POS for a Restaurant – Part 1

A typical mistake restaurant managers/owners make is unknowingly purchasing a POS system that’s designed for retail stores.

Although the similarities can be deceiving, hospitality businesses that do not use restaurant-oriented POS systems are missing out on crucial restaurant POS capabilities that could help customize and streamline restaurant processes.

What is Restaurant POS Software?

A restaurant POS software is a point-of-sale system that handles transactions at a restaurant. Initially, a typical point of sale was simply a piece of restaurant billing software that took orders and issued a receipt. 

However, with the introduction of cloud technology, the basic POS system grew into a complete restaurant management system. A restaurant POS reduces human labor and streamlines operations by providing Stock & Inventory Management, Smart Reporting & Analytics, Customer Relationship Management, and other features. 

When combined with interfaces with other third-party apps such as Online Ordering, E-wallets, Table Reservations, Loyalty Programs, and so on, the restaurant POS system becomes an end-to-end solution for restaurant administration.

The cloud-based restaurant POS software works both online and offline, so even if your internet goes down, your POS will keep your business running.

Significant Differences Between a Restaurant and Retail POS

Differences in Software

Numbers drive the retail-oriented point of sale software. The barcode for the product, the inventory amount, the price, the total price, the tax, and the transaction cost. Following the display of the entire cost, payment must be made using cash or debit/credit cards. The procedure is virtually instantaneous. In some cases, the program may detect extra stock in a warehouse, notify you of low stock, and keep you up to date on shipping progress.

In contrast, restaurants want a more flexible and user-friendly system that allows products to be changed from day to day to accommodate daily or seasonal specials. Furthermore, restaurants are outfitted with tablet terminals, which are frequently portable rather than a traditional register. 

This program will show menu items based on their description, iconography, or both. When an order is placed, it does not require payment right away. Customers or servers can always add more information later, and orders can still be forwarded to the bar or kitchen.

Differences in Hardware

The hardware for retail and restaurant POS systems is very similar. The contrasts, though, are what make them both so unique. In retail businesses, purchases are often handled promptly, and tipping is not as frequent as in restaurants. 

As a result, retail outlets do not have to be as mobile as restaurants. It has been said that having a mobile POS terminal can improve your restaurant flow immensely, from reducing queues to improving payment processing. When you can provide the ease of ordering at the table, it improves the whole customer experience.


Your POS system is the lifeblood of your company. Selecting the right POS software to meet your specific needs and objectives is essential for good operations and long-term development. We hope that today’s post has helped you solve the mystery of how restaurant POS differs from retail POS and why there are two unique, industry-specific solutions for two sorts of businesses.

Are you looking for the best pos system software for restaurants? You’ve come to the right place! Nimble POS is a complete restaurant point of sale system that builds around your business. We manage every step of the process by arranging the hardware, coordinating installation, customizing your menu, providing staff training and many more. Contact us today to learn more and get a free quote!


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