Managing tips with a great POS system

Adding gratuity to expenses is one of the possible perks of a restaurant-friendly POS system. The use of updated electronic terminals allows tipping automatically through a pre-programmed system. However, there are some special steps businesses should take beforehand to limit confusion when it comes to processing customer card payments. Aside from user convenience, there are multiple advantages to working with a "smart" POS, as Monica Parpal noted in a 2014 piece for Food Service Warehouse.

One of the issues involved in electronic tipping is accurate tip reporting. With direct access to financial data, the POS offers businesses a way to keep track of tips and regulate transactions. As Parpal described, some features inherent in POS systems make it easier to integrate tip information into real improvements.

She said that a POS can "prompt a message requiring servers to 'report all tips' before allowing them to clock out from their shift. The employer might be able to set a 'threshold' of cash tips at a certain percentage, so that employees who are not reporting enough or truly did not receive enough can come to the manager to discuss it first."

Mobile POS options may especially encourage patrons to tip by putting the option directly in the customer's face. This can come with the downside of what one Fast Company piece calls "guilt tipping," that fills a screen with the decision whether or not to leave extra. While this could be seen as pressure, one unnamed business mentioned by the source did state that tips at their business may have increased by as much as 45 percent after adopting Square's mobile payments.

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