Nimble and our parent company, Aegis Foundry, have been serving up technology solutions tailored to restaurants for 25 years. Through custom development of point of sale systems and hardware solutions, we have experience in iPads in restaurants. There are a few main reasons why iPads have become popular in restaurants:
- Cost. Cost is the primary reason a restaurant uses an iPad based system. iPad based point of sale systems tend to cost less overall. The total cost of ownership is less than a typical POS system and the entrance cost is more economical. iPad based POS systems generally are plug-and-play, so they don’t require professional services to implement. Plugin the shiny new iPad, download the app, mount it on the counter, and you are in business. The traditional terminal-based POS systems can require several hours to configure and install per register. Online maintenance costs are meager and generally bundled with ongoing software subscription costs.
Reliability. Perceived reliability is another reason iPads have increased in popularity. iPads have no fans and many fewer components for things to go wrong. You can guarantee a couple of years of utterly trouble-free service when choosing an iPad for hardware. However this is not always a guarantee; there are many clients with traditional fan-less and solid-state terminals still operating that are well over ten years old. iPads likely won’t make that distance and would necessitate replacement before then.
Convenience and Simplicity. The convenience of replacement and simplicity of upgrades is another advantage of iPads for point of sale. You can buy a new iPad down the street for a few hundred dollars when your POS register breaks. Broken registers cost money because it decreases service capacity by slowing the business down. With iPads, there is little wait time for replacement equipment, and you are almost instantly back in business without the need for Vendor involvement.
Space Saver. Precious counter space is another benefit. Tablets take up less valuable counter space and tend to be mounted lower, enhancing the guest experience. An employee can smile and interact more because the bulky hardware terminal is not in the way. The additional counter space can also be an opportunity to upsell a customer with baked goods, gift cards, hats, tshirts, etc.
Cool-Factor. iPads are sexy, and store owners know them. They probably have an iPhone in their pocket and an iPad in their briefcase or backpack. Restaurant owners understand iPads and realize what they are capable of accomplishing. Many owners feel that guests will appreciate the modern look of an iPad based POS system integrated into the restaurant’s decor.
While most of these considerations are correct, your mileage may vary. Hyper reliable hard-wired industrial hardware ruggedized for the intense atmosphere of a restaurant combined with proper support from a trustworthy vendor still has its place in more extensive operations. Traditional systems continue to be more feature-rich, but that’s mainly due to iOS software solutions being much newer. Over time the feature gap is closing, and the fact is that most iOS modern point of sale systems are wholly centralized, and cloud-based means they will be able to deliver features and integrations much more quickly. Ultimately this translates to far less maintenance and less downtime; except for connectivity issues.