A product of NCR, Aloha point-of-sale services over 75,000 restaurants around the world. Despite Aloha's user-friendly design, the absence of transparent pricing information and ample reviews citing high costs and poor customer service mean that newcomers like Square and Clover may be better alternatives for your business.
The Aloha POS software gives restaurant owners the ability to take and process orders, accept and process payments and overall manage the whole of their business operations. NCR offers a variety of different Aloha POS hardware options, including traditional countertop and handheld terminals.
NCR provides a lengthy list of all the things that Aloha POS systems are capable of doing for your business.
Orders and fulfillment
With the Aloha POS software and hardware (whichever you choose), you can take and process customer orders in the way your business requires — whether your restaurant needs to accommodate quick service, fast-casual, table service or bar operations. With Aloha point-of-sale, you can manage your menu, create food order modifications and prompt sale suggestions. You can enable takeout and delivery orders, even working with complex pizza and wing functionality. The Aloha POS system gives you the ability to automate kitchen scheduling, integrate loyalty programs and gift cards and store customer information. Aloha point-of-sale also offers check-splitting and seat-by-seat payments, multilingual versions and store location management.
The Aloha restaurant POS software gives you the capability to accept credit card payments (including EMV chip cards), as well as cash, debit cards and mobile wallet payments. Payment processing with Aloha is secure, containing both point-to-point encryption and tokenization. In addition, with Aloha POS you receive end-to-end transaction support on payments, as well as multi-level integration with direct connections to all major credit card associations.
The Aloha POS system provides you and your employees with the tools necessary to manage time and responsibilities. Aloha POS includes a training order mode for new servers, time clock capabilities and alerts for overtime and server management systems. Additionally, the Aloha POS has tips sharing functionality, making it easier for employees to divvy up checks fairly.
Site and system operations
Since Aloha POS is a cloud-based application, you have access to your restaurant operations wherever you have an internet connection. You can remotely monitor your systems, as well as centralize management of your menu, promotions, items and price changes across databases. Additionally, you can automate your file system, secure one-click access to site systems, set up multi-factor user authentication and manage users, security alerts and communications. Furthermore, Aloha gives you the ability to work with over 250 of its certified technology partners to increase your capabilities with third-party application integrations.
If you’re on the go or managing your time between restaurant locations, you can check in on your operations using the Aloha POS mobile app. With this app, you have access to your business’s performance and metrics including net sales by hour, employee working hours and inventory levels. You can also see tables, number of guests, full check details, staff clocked in and more. This mobile POS app gives you the ability to set up alerts to notify you of particular issues that need attention.
With your Aloha POS dashboard, you have access to sales, product and employee reporting information. You can compare and contrast your restaurant data points across multiple stores and time periods, look at operational targets vs. actuals, see product trends and changes and calculate labor costs by month or as a percent of sales.
For access to more in-depth information, request a demo from the NCR Aloha sales team.
To complete your POS system, you can choose from a variety of Aloha hardware terminals to run your POS software. NCR offers two main categories of hardware: traditional countertop terminals and mobile POS terminals.
Aloha POS can be run on three types of central terminals, which NCR refers to as 10-inch, 12-inch and 15-inch terminals. The 10-inch terminal, or PX10, runs on Windows 10 or Android and has an LED backlit LCD glass screen and touch technology. You can mount a seven-inch display on the back of the PX10 so that customers can visually track their order as it’s entered.
The 12-inch terminal, or the P1235, is a faster, more energy-efficient countertop hardware. The P1235 has more connectivity options, LED color and a flat-front project capacity touchscreen.
Lastly, NCR offers three varieties of the 15-inch terminal — the P1532, the P1535 and the XR7. All three of these hardware options are built for value-based, mainstream and high-performing operations.
For more flexibility with your POS system, NCR offers two mobile hardware options. First, it has the NCR Orderman handheld device, which can be used for table-side ordering. The Orderman uses radiofrequency to operate throughout your restaurant.
Next, you can use the NCR 7779 tablet, which includes an eight-inch and 10-inch Windows tablet PC and accessories. Like with the Orderman, the 7779 tablet allows you added mobility and flexibility to your restaurant operations. This POS terminal also comes with built-in near-field communications for contactless tags and non-payment cards.
Finally, NCR also offers hardware peripherals to use with your different terminals including receipt printers and site controllers.
To determine the Aloha POS price, you’ll have to reach out to the NCR sales team and talk to them directly. However, there a few pieces to keep in mind that will contribute to the overall cost of Aloha.
First, there’s the software cost. Some POS providers charge you a monthly fee to use their software, whereas others, like Square POS, offer a free software option. Second, there will be the cost of the hardware you choose. The cost of hardware can range, but generally, the more traditional countertop terminals are more expensive than the handheld mobile devices. Finally, consider your payment processing. The fees associated with accepting credit card payments can vary based on the provider and its pricing structure, but you can expect to pay a fee per transaction. Overall, these three factors will certainly contribute to the price of Aloha POS.
What customers have to say: Aloha POS reviews
Sometimes, when you’re searching for a financial product for your small business, overviews and guides can only tell you so much — as a result, many business owners want to read through Aloha POS reviews from customers who are business owners just like them.
Positive Aloha POS reviews
Generally speaking, Aloha POS reviews from happy customers tend to focus on how user-friendly this POS system option is. Employees are able to ring up customers quickly and accurately. Plus, Aloha POS systems are able to handle more complicated orders like split tabs or checks by seat.
On top of that, because so many restaurants, bars and cafés use Aloha POS systems, most employees you hire will be familiar with the ins and outs of the Aloha POS manual. Consequently, you won’t necessarily need to worry about setting up a thorough restaurant POS system training for every new employee you onboard, especially if you tend to hire based on previous experience.
All in all, because Aloha restaurant POS systems are so widely used across the industry, its main advantages derive from that ubiquity.
Negative Aloha POS reviews
Most importantly, many negative Aloha POS reviews complain about Aloha prices. Though there are very few details on Aloha POS prices online — including on the NCR website — it is worth noting that many customers say they are unhappy with the pricing.
Another pain point that many users seemed to encounter is with Aloha POS support. Many reviewers say they were unsatisfied with the service they received from Aloha support staff. If you anticipate needing help with setting up or optimizing your new Aloha point-of-sale system, these complaints are something to keep in mind before purchasing one.
Two alternatives to the Aloha POS system
Whether you’re looking for a POS system for your restaurant, your retail store or your farm stand, you’ve got a lot of options to choose from. If you have even the slightest hesitation toward the Aloha restaurant POS, then you should shop around and consider your alternatives.
If you don’t already use Square for your small business’s transactions, you’ve almost certainly come across a Square POS as a consumer. Because of the affordable, straightforward and transparent POS systems that Square offers, it's a favorite of small businesses everywhere. Additionally, Square offers a POS software specifically for restaurants, aptly called Square for Restaurants.
This software will cost you a monthly fee, but it will include advanced restaurant management functionality, as well as a low in-person transaction fee of 2.6% + $0.10. Generally, Square processing fees will depend on the type of transaction and how it’s made, but they will be flat-rate and easily accessible online.
As for hardware, the cost of Square POS hardware can range anywhere from free to $999, depending on the specific terminal you choose.
Be sure to note, though, that four of the five POS hardware options that Square offers will also require an additional device — like a tablet or a smartphone — to function. If your business doesn’t already have access to one of these devices, you’ll need to calculate that into Square’s total cost for your business.
Similarly, Clover POS systems offer more affordable POS system options, and it's much more transparent about costs than Aloha POS systems. Unlike Square POS, however, none of the Clover POS systems will require you to come to the table with a smart device for its POS systems to be fully functioning.
Clover POS systems come with transaction fees that start at 2.3% + $0.10, and its hardware ranges in price from $59 all the way up to $1,499. You’ll also have to pay for a Clover software plan, which will set you back either $14 or $29, depending on which plan you choose.
Though Clover is slightly newer to the scene, its comprehensive POS systems are so intuitive as to give incumbent names like Square and Aloha a run for its money.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.