Tablet POS systems, Android tablet systems, and Windows-based tablet systems have been very successful in the restaurant POS market. iPads and Android tablets typically rely on onsite PCs with an “always-on” Internet or wireless connection. This limitation does not apply to most PC-based systems or Windows-based tablets. However, this limitation applies to most cloud-based and software as a service (SaaS) point-of-sale systems.
In the past, many PC-based restaurant point-of-sale systems have relied on back-office PCs. This means that if the back office PC fails, all POS terminals will also fail. This also seemed like a big limitation, but most restaurants haven’t had a back office outage that lasted more than a few minutes, and the same is true for Internet access.
Almost all restaurants use point-of-sale systems for credit card processing, and you also need internet access to connect your restaurant to your credit card processor. These systems do not require an “always-on” internet connection, but time is important when guests present their credit card for payment. Fortunately, most restaurant point-of-sale systems can handle credit cards using a mobile phone backup connection from a network router when a restaurant loses its DSL internet connection.
So how does a tablet restaurant POS solution overlap with a traditional Windows PC-based restaurant POS solution? There is no doubt that it is smaller and more portable than PC-based POS terminals. However, if you need to enter your order at the tableside, keep in mind that most PC-based point-of-sale systems have an optional iPad or other tablets available.