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The Two EPOS Markets: Retail and Hospitality

Point of Sale Systems Buyers' Guide

There are significant differences between EPOS systems for retail and hospitality. These differences reflect the variations in business practices and environments between the two sectors.

Retail EPOS Systems
Retail EPOS systems are available for every type of shop on the High Street. They can cover:

  • multi save deals such as three products for the price of two
  • product returns and the subsequent refunds, exchanges or credits
  • sales and promotions

They can also link to digital scales that weigh fresh produce.

The EPOS systems generally work by using bar code scanners but you can combine these with push button entry for those products that aren't wrapped and don't carry codes.

Your EPOS system can also handle a product matrix that allows you to keep a record of not just the sale of an item but also, for example, its size and colour. This is particularly useful information for fashion and shoe shops.

Hospitality EPOS Systems
Hospitality includes businesses such as hotels, restaurants and pubs. In hotels, an EPOS system keeps track of guests' bills as they use the restaurant, the bar, room service and any other facilities on offer. The result is an accurate itemised bill at the end of each guest's stay. The EPOS system may not be compatible, however, with any property management software.

Pubs that serve drink and nothing else need a straightforward EPOS system that calculates each order and records the type of beverage consumed. But many pubs now serve food; if so, you want an EPOS system that notes table numbers, sends orders direct to the kitchen, and allows the customers to run up tabs.

The needs of a restaurant differ according to the establishment's style. At a restaurant with table service, a hand-held EPOS system terminal can give the kitchen instant details of the latest order. It can also store the table number and the name of the server. At a self-service restaurant, the EPOS system is similar to those at retail outlets. But if customers must place orders for certain dishes, the EPOS system needs to send this information to the kitchen.

The key factor for an EPOS system in any busy eatery is efficiency. No restaurateur wants to rush customers, but if an EPOS system relays orders immediately and promptly prints and processes bills accurately, it can help increase turnover.

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