How to Select a Receipt Printer for Mobile POS
Is your restaurant or retail store ahead of the technology curve?
Be honest – is it even close?
In this day and age, customers expect to see their favorite restaurants and stores using technologies similar to the ones
they use on a daily basis. That’s why today’s top retailers and restaurateurs are turning to tablets and Apple™ iPads® to
run their businesses.
In 2014, this concept of mobile point of sale (POS) is very flexible. Mobile elements, such as mobile POS devices and
mobile POS printers, can be mixed and matched with your existing assets to accommodate your specific business and/
or budget needs. Mobile POS can include:
• A mobile device secured on a stand, integrated with a stationary printer and cash drawer
• A mobile device integrated with a magnetic stripe reader and a portable printer
In both retail and restaurant environments, a combination of stationary and portable printers can be used to enhance
your employees’ capabilities and maximize the effectiveness of your POS system. For example, Apple retail stores use a
stationary printer at the counter and equip their salespeople with portable iPod Touch® devices enabling them to engage
with customers and complete transactions on the sales floor.
Depending on your specific business needs, you can choose from a range of applicable printers to gain the necessary
mobility to improve your operations. For example, your business may integrate mobile devices with stationary printers or
equip employees with portable printers to be used on the sales floor.
This eBook will outline the benefits of a mobile POS solution, as well as the first steps you will need to take in selecting a
receipt printer for your mobile POS solution.
Benefits of Mobile POS
Mobile POS solutions allow you to extend your reach and streamline your sales operations. They are ideal in stores and
restaurants where technology is valued, space is limited and mobility is vital. Think about it: a state-of-the-art mobile
POS system – complete with a printer – can perform end-to-end transactions in the time it might take a customer
to travel to a traditional point of sale at the counter. With an effective printing solution, employees can complete
transactions and generate receipts from handheld units.
Here are a few ways the technology can improve your productivity and profitability:
1. Increased functionality for a fraction of the traditional cost.
When comparing the cost of mobile POS devices with traditional enterprise POS systems, retail and
restaurants can benefit from significant savings. Your business can be operated by simply purchasing a
mobile device, a POS printer and an app, which costs about $1,500 to $2,000. A traditional POS system
could cost $5,000 or more and doesn’t allow mobility.
2. Speed up the checkout process.
Mobile POS devices allow customers to complete transactions right from the sales floor so they can “skip
the line.” Speedy, streamlined checkouts allow retail and restaurant businesses to increase transaction
3. Improve customer service.
Employees can not only improve the accuracy of order entries, but also focus more on the customer than the
transaction. In a restaurant setting, the wait staff can send order tickets to a kitchen printer straight from their
mobile POS device to speed up preparation times. Rather than taking extra steps to enter data on a desktop
computer, they help guests straight from the sales floor or at the table – making sure orders are correct and
the customer is satisfied.
4. Expand your selling capabilities.
With mobile POS devices and printers, transactions can be completed anywhere with a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth
connection – patios, tent or sidewalk sales, catered events, pop-up shops, etc. By expanding your selling
capabilities to include outdoor areas and remote venues, you can expand the audience of your restaurant or
Not to mention, through tableside ordering and more time spent with customers, employees can take
advantage of upselling and cross-selling opportunities to increase the average ticket size and tip amount.
Defining Your Business Needs
Defining your business is the best way to start the buying process. It not only helps you to avoid overlooking vital
requirements, but also to narrow your list by ruling out options that don’t meet your criteria. To do so, think about what
processes or features are unique to your restaurant or store – specifically, what aspects do you seek to improve with
your printing solution?
1. Involve your team in the buying decision.
Your sales team or wait staff will be using your new hardware the most, so it’s crucial for them to be on
board with your buying decision. If they aren’t, operational and organizational issues can result. They may
not understand what the printer does or how it works.
To ensure that you make the most out of your new mobile POS solution, ask your employees about their
strengths, weaknesses and challenges of your current system. This will help you determine the amount of
flexibility your mobile POS printer needs, how intuitive and user-friendly it should be and how many printers
are needed to accommodate your store or restaurant.
2. Determine which printer type fits your goals.
As mentioned, there are two ways to go about selecting a printer for mobile POS applications. Retail and
restaurant businesses can either use mobile handheld devices connected to stationary printers or portable
printers. Depending on each printer’s design and connectivity, their functionality and mobility varies.
To produce an image, thermal printers selectively heat coated thermal paper
as it passes over the print head. Their advanced design makes them ideal
for modern, fast-paced restaurants or stores with a mobile strategy.
Impact printers (for kitchen printing needs)
Impact printers use pins and ink ribbons to produce a series of dots.
These printers can usually print black and red ink as well as graphics.
Restaurants might favor this type of printer for their kitchen environments,
as the paper used with thermal printers can be affected by extreme kitchen
The sleek, compact and lightweight design of portable printers allows the
operator to step out from behind the counter and engage the customers on
the floor. They can be worn by retail or restaurant employees on a belt or
shoulder strap, allowing their hands to be free to operate a mobile device
for payment processing, tableside ordering and line busting applications.
Because they are purpose-built to be used with smartphones and tablets,
they are compatible with iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices.
They are able to print wirelessly using either Bluetooth or wireless LAN
Bluetooth and LAN connectivity
Bluetooth and local area network (LAN) technologies both provide
wireless communication, but are designed and used differently. Bluetooth
technology is a wireless technology that utilizes radio waves to allow
wireless communication between devices, limited to a short range of about
30 feet. Bluetooth-enabled devices communicate with other Bluetooth
devices (paired one to one), whereas LAN devices allow a network of
devices to communicate with one another with a much wider range.
With Bluetooth or wireless LAN connectivity, receipts can be printed from
the sales floor to the kitchen or other areas in your retail store to streamline
operations and improve productivity.
Considerations for Your Selection
Your value-added reseller should provide you with printer options that will seamlessly integrate with your new mobile
POS system and allow the mobility needed to bolster your store or restaurant operations. The following are a few of the
necessary requirements of a printer to be used in mobile retail or restaurant environments.
To be able to print receipts while away from a stationary POS system, it’s necessary for your printing solution
to include Bluetooth or Ethernet printing capabilities. The point is to perform store operations without
limitations, so your receipt printer should allow you portable or flexible printing options with the development
tools available for use with popular mobile platforms.
As mentioned, it’s important to understand that Bluetooth connectivity is paired one to one, acting as a
single connection between two Bluetooth-enabled devices. Ethernet/LAN connectivity allows wireless
printing on a local area network -- a helpful feature in environments where many printers are deployed
and used at once, or where printers must travel distances further than 30 feet. Consider these factors to
determine which option more closely matches your mobility needs.
If your retail store or restaurant requires employees to bust lines and check out customers, be sure that
your portable printer model will