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Restaurant Management Software – Desktop or Web Based?

11 Feb

Restaurant Management Software – Desktop or Web Based?

When you think of a restaurant as a customer, food is not the only thing that comes to your mind. In fact, you would rather be willing and excited to visit or select a restaurant with good customer service. You can say that these increasing expectations of customers from restaurants have made accounting software (also called POS software) important. Now, what exactly is restaurant accounting software? It is not wrong to say that the POS solution improves restaurant accountancy with its basic modules including:

  • General Ledger
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Accounts Payable
  • Purchasing
  • Inventory Control Systems
  • Customer Relationship Management

But this is not the complete description of restaurant POS because it helps restaurants in improving their customer relationship management that ultimately affect their financial performance. Do you know how? Let me brief you the mechanism of restaurant POS. It records customer details that help in making operations efficient and providing customized offerings to customers depending on their preferences which results in improved customer relationship management.

There are two broad categories of restaurant POS, Desktop and Web Based:

Desktop Restaurant POS

You might have heard the term “On-premises POS” while searching for a POS solution for your restaurant. Because they have dominated the industry for years. Basically, they require an internal network for storing and retrieving data. In simple words, desktop POS systems can only be operated by people available on the installed internal network. Can you access the documents on your office computer, ones that are saved in your personal laptop? Same goes with Desktop POS, the data on one computer cannot be accessed on any other device if it is not available on the local server.


  • Security: Desktop POS solution provides high data security by reducing the threat of data hacking.
  • One time cost: Restaurants are only required to bear the one time cost for getting the rights of using that POS software forever.
  • Your Ownership: After purchasing the POS solution, it becomes the owner of the restaurant, therefore, they can increase the number of users on the internal server as per their requirement. While the ownership of your restaurant data is also only limited to you.


  • Limited Mobility: You need to be physically available in the restaurant for data entry and retrieval.
  • Expensive: Initial costs of restaurants POS software are comparatively expensive from cloud-based POS software. Maintenance cost also makes them less affordable for small restaurants.
  • Communication Barrier: Desktop POS systems make it difficult for representatives to remain in contact with their customers if they are not physically available in the restaurant.

Cloud-Based Restaurant POS

Cloud-Based POS systems are new in the restaurant industry that has distracted the market by offering an extended accessibility feature. They are not required to be installed on the local server of your restaurant, but you can purchase the rights from the software company, request customization as per your requirements and start storing and retrieving data on the remote server.


  • Accessibility of Data: The data can be managed without any geographical restraint. This CRM makes the restaurants more responsive in catering to their customer requests and queries.
  • Affordable: Most of the Cloud-Based POS software follow the SaaS model, therefore, their monthly costs are relatively cheaper.
  • Easy and Quick Upgrades: These POS systems can be easily updated online instantly. This cloud-based POS software will inform you about the available updates and will execute it without any manual efforts of your manager.


  • No Ownership: You cannot claim the ownership of these cloud-based POS systems. Plus, the backup and recovery option gives the ownership of your restaurant data to the service provider.
  • Hosting Charges: Apart from the POS monthly expense, you are also required to pay hosting charges simultaneously.
  • Internet Dependency: These cloud POS solutions can store data without the internet in the created back-based office system, but can only be retrieved after restoring the internet connection.

Key Features of Good Restaurant Accounting Software to Consider Before Purchasing

Built-in Features

Although POS does require minimum customizations to adjust as per your restaurant operations, you cannot make the purchase decision without considering its built-in features. After having a strong and updated database, restaurant management should be featuring effective order management, table reservation system, inventory management, billing system, accounts management and CRM.


It is not easy to find the perfect customized and stand-alone restaurant software as per your working preferences. Whereas, restaurants, experience, operational changes due to the changing demands and expectations of their customers. This makes flexibility of Restaurant POS to support integration an important factor to consider.

Ease of Operations

Having extra options in simple accounting and billing software makes them inefficient and irrelevant as well. If your restaurant management software reduces the processing time of your orders, then it is a good POS. A good Restaurant POS solution should be performing multiple tasks including table reservations, order confirmation, adjusting order quantities, menu recommendation, managing repetitive drink orders and adjusting the bill, apply loyalty codes and etc. You have to ensure that a restaurant POS have all of these features along with the capability of managing all relevant options efficiently.

Restaurant Finance Tracker

If your POS is not updating you with the spending costs and earned profits, then it is just a showpiece. Restaurant POS has replaced the manual accountancy practice by offering an additional feature of keeping the management updated about the profits that are directly calculated from the bill payments. If a POS is unable to reduce the complexity of estimating food costs and tracking the utilized amount, waste and theft items, then, it is just an expense for your restaurant. Do consider the credibility of the POS in measuring the actual costs of the food in order to easily track your restaurant finances.


One of the key features to consider in Restaurant POS software is analytics and reporting. It should be efficient in storing and retrieving your customer details including their name, contact, preference, payment method and etc. With this data, you can effectively identify your strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, effective marketing campaigns can also be generated from this data. This makes it important for Restaurant POS to generate these collected data points in easily understandable formats.

They should also be generating two reports. One should be illustrating sales and menu analytics while others for representing inventory and procurement analytics. Without being aware of this analytics, you cannot improve your decision making. In the end, you will find no difference made by the POS in your restaurant.

Data Security

POS will be recording your customer information, employee’s data, inventory detail, restaurant operation details, and its finances as well. Therefore, you should be ensuring that your data is protected from any attack in the deployed POS.


Both, Desktop and Cloud POS have their pros and cons, therefore; you should be purchasing the one that matches your restaurant approach. If you are more focused on giving exceptional experience to your customers by remaining connected with them 24/7, then cloud Restaurant POS is your friend. And if you prefer restricting your operations within the restaurant, then Desktop POS is the best choice. A piece of advice for you is to purchase the POS that perfectly aligns with the vision of your restaurant. Then it will become a one time expense for you that can be updated in the future as per your restaurant’s requirement rather than repeating the whole purchasing procedure.

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