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Costs, Benefits and Features of Cafeteria POS Systems

Read This Buying Guide Before You Purchase a Cafeteria POS System

Installing a point of sale (POS) system in your cafeteria does more than provide a means of accepting electronic payment from your patrons. Modern systems include inventory control and reporting capabilities that help you streamline operations.

How Does a POS System Benefit a Cafeteria?

The name "cafeteria" has become a catchall for any facility where diners serve themselves from various stations and then pay a cashier before entering the dining room to eat. The term applies to public restaurants as well as the dining facilities of K-12 schools, colleges, and universities.

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At first glance, it may seem that there are few POS system benefits beyond offering diners the ability to pay with a credit or debit card, or with one of the "smart" payment methods via their phones. Of course, expanding payment options for your clientele is a pretty great benefit all on its own, but there are others.

Starting with school cafeterias, one of the greatest benefits is to the students, who typically have little time for lunch before they have to head back to class. POS systems typically include touch screens, making processing the order quick and easy. In addition, they have the ability to quickly process payments, including meal cards and smart cards, as well as debit and credit cards for secondary school students.

For public cafeterias and school cafeterias alike, a POS system promotes improved, more efficient inventory control. These facilities maintain sizeable inventories of both perishable and nonperishable food items. Ensuring you have enough stock on-hand, as well as that your stock hasn't reached its expiration date, presents a challenge.

A POS system with an inventory management module provides detailed usage reports. This allows more efficient, proactive inventory management and helps eliminate waste. You can also take a proactive approach with a system that allows you to automatically order stock when totals reach a certain threshold.

What Should I Look for in a Cafeteria POS System?

Features and options vary dramatically in POS systems, since so many choose personalization. However, there are features and components common the nearly any restaurant POS system, including:

  • POS computer
  • Customer display screen
  • POS software designed for restaurants
  • Cash drawer
  • Touch screen monitor
  • Printer
  • Scanner
  • Keyboard

Before you purchase a system, ask the vendor to let you take it out for a test drive, so to speak. This helps you discover how intuitive its controls are.

How Much Does a Cafeteria POS System Cost?

Costs vary widely due to the numerous options and features available. For a complete package, expect to pay at least $2,000 for a single terminal system, and over $6,000 for a system with multiple terminals. If the system you choose includes extensive personalization and multiple terminals, you may be looking at closer to $20,000.

If you already have a POS system and want to purchase components or personalize it, you'll pay between $500 and $2,500 for software licensing for each station. A complete system with one terminal comes in at around $2,000 and includes the computer, touch screen monitor, software, and receipt printer.

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