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Strengths and limitations of QuickBooks point of sales software

QuickBooks point of sales software has proven to be highly adept at handling retail operations. But does that mean it works equally as well for restaurants? Let’s take a quick look by comparing the two industries.

Two women shopping in a retail storeQuickBooks point of sales for retail

Long regarded as a solid, affordable POS solution by smaller retailers, QuickBooks is available in two editions (Basic and Pro) and includes a number of features that were previously available only through costly software packages.

In particular, QuickBooks point of sales software is cited for the unification of inventory management and real time sales and payment processing. This provides an effective method of tracking stock levels, simplifying the reorder process while also reporting on your best- and least-selling products. The QuickBooks platform is highly popular among small businesses for its reportedly simple installation, with wizards that guide the user through software setup and provide additional customizations with point-and-click availability.

This level of intuitive operation continues into the usability of the software, with basic entry screens that allow the user to enter new customer data and begin working with it immediately. With far less complexity and screen clutter than other programs, QuickBooks facilitates quick entry and access to customers, inventory, purchasing, employees, financial data and an extensive array of reports. Plus, cashiers are able to search for customers or even add a new one via the sale screen, potentially increasing your customer database for future marketing with every sale.

QuickBooks point of sales for restaurants

As detailed above, QuickBooks has received good reviews from small businesses that spend time on inventory management. But this functionality doesn’t necessary translate to the hospitality industry. In fact, with exception to back of house operations, the platform lacks a number of critical capabilities that make it usable within the average restaurant – chief among them: customization.

QuickBooks doesn't offer the chance to customize ordersThe QuickBooks point of sales software accommodates specific products and keeps track of them in precise order. But that level of precision is limited to a pre-defined variable and not open to individual customization. So for example, if a customer at a restaurant wants rice instead of French fries, there would be no easy way to indicate that preference within the QuickBooks platform. In addition, the software will not allow a server to hold a ticket open (not good if they’re hoping for a tip) and also prevents them from sending separate orders to the kitchen and bar, forcing wait staff at both locations to wade through an entire order.

In addition, some restaurants who’ve tried to use QuickBooks have found difficulties related to accounting, with no automated way to account for inventory usage or surplus, forcing bar or restaurant managers to periodically go through their stock to ensure that the system totals match reality. If you own a restaurant or bar, you might want to read our guides to finding a POS system for restaurant or a bar point of sale system.

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