Aloha Point-Of-Sale software is one of the industry leaders in restaurant POS systems and most restaurant owners have some familiarity with the system. Its convenient, integrated touch-screen systems offer competitive benefits for independent restaurants, local franchises and national chains. Critics of the software feel that the costs are too high, and customers must pay for every upgrade. However, Aloha, like Micros, has a long history in the restaurant industry, causing a wide range of opinions.

Who Uses Aloha

Large operations and chain stores gain many benefits from Aloha software, but smaller restaurants might consider other options or buy limited versions of Aloha for their immediate needs. The Aloha brand has been around for years in the restaurant industry, and many owners have pretty passionate views about the system. But Aloha, in its current form, is a result of the combination of several POS systems.

NCR, one of the biggest ATM makers, recently completed the acquisition of Radiant Systems, the developer of Aloha, and the company offers commercial restaurants new hardware and software options for comprehensive restaurant management. This benefit creates a double-edged sword: the company actively encourages hardware sales, generating implementation costs that exceed some owners’ resources.

Touch-screen Efficiency Reduces Training Time

Most POS systems make it easy for staff to learn how to use them, but Aloha surpasses industry standards by offering more than 300 training modules to educate employees and management teams. However the sheer volume of training might send a manager’s head spinning. Luckily, you only need a fraction of them to be a proficient user. Getting the most from the three systems offers benefits in four key areas of restaurant operations:


Faster processing speeds empower real-time seating strategies, incorporate customer requests and give more accurate waiting-time estimates.

  • The Guest Manager function tracks customer-seating status and recommends optimal seating configurations for large parties by joining available tables.
  • The system generates future orders, reorders and dessert-service requests at the proper times, automatically generating fulfillment copies to the right stations.
  • Intelligent tracking systems include on-screen dashboards that update in real-time to assist in management decisions in both FOH and BOH areas.
  • Personalized service identifies repeat customers, remembering their preferences and keeping track of VIP guests.
  • This bullet-proof software assigns servers to their stations and manages opening and closing duties.
  • Aloha software generates advanced delivery-service benefits by printing custom itineraries for drivers, which include turn-by-turn directions and incorporate traffic backups and construction delays into route-planning strategies.

Back Office Benefits

Ordering strategies prove critical to restaurant success because perishable foods have limited shelf lives, and this software helps to develop restaurant specials to use highly perishable ingredients within acceptable time guidelines. Managers can reduce their inventories and never risk running out of key staples with Aloha’s assistance. Tight inventory control reduces waste, spots inefficiencies and detects incidents of employee theft.

  • The system helps to create efficient labor assignments and work schedules.
  • Kitchen managers can schedule periodic maintenance, regular cleaning projects and daily duties.
  • The software’s order-processing capacity keeps track of workflow and multistation drive-through windows and carryout stations.
  • Built-in redundancies automatically transfer orders to the best workstations that offer the fastest delivery times.

Management Decisions

The Aloha system offers complete control for system administrators, who can assign different levels of management access to key staff members to make decisions. Managers have the tools to prevent fraud, review custom reports and monitor video surveillance at any station, but these advanced capabilities depend on investing in additional equipment.

Advertising and Promotion

System tools track frequent diners, store customer-feedback information and analyze in-store and online ordering statistics to help managers craft better advertising campaigns. Customer-loyalty programs help to keep customers returning, and advertising incentives include the ability to create professional ATM-style gift cards for holidays and special occasions.

Drawbacks of Aloha Software

Technology advances create increasingly affordable POS options such as wireless devices that might offer easier transitions for small restaurants. Many smaller operations find the cost of Aloha systems a significant obstacle. Other drawbacks include the following issues:

  • Service efficiency depends on the choice of vendor. Standards vary widely, so customers need to research the companies that market and install Aloha systems in their areas of the country.
  • Minor changes often require rebooting systems, which poses real problems during busy times.
  • Older equipment often fails to work properly with the software, requiring owners to invest in new hardware.
  • Just like other big restaurant POS systems, NCR Aloha is known for an aggressive sales force that may or may not know the restaurant industry.
  • The latest technology works well for major restaurant operations, but neighborhood eateries might have more training problems and get better results from simpler systems.
  • One of the weaknesses of Aloha is it tries to do everything, meaning that customization is often required. Finding the right settings however can be a time-consuming learning process.
  • Some restaurant owners have gripes about the customer service.

The restaurant business changes quickly, and new technologies include online ordering, menu access from mobile devices, and social media reviews of restaurants. Aloha POS system is a proven company that pushes the envelope in restaurant POS systems, giving restaurant owners the tools they need to manage their businesses today. Additionally, they incorporate new modules for growth and to leverage new technologies. But an owner must consider what they will use and will it be worth the money the thousands of dollars in investment. Smaller restaurants might consider limited versions or choose other POS options, especially in a very dynamic POS environment.