Discover the key differences between a POS and a dataphone for your restaurant

Looking for an efficient payment solution for your restaurant? Explore the advantages and differences between POS and dataphone in terms of functionalities and choose the right option for your business.

Cristina Martín

August 24, 2023

Discover the key differences between a POS and a dataphone for your restaurant

Today we are going to delve into the exciting world of restaurant payments. When it comes to getting paid for that delicious meal you enjoy in your restaurant, there are two main protagonists: the POS or the dataphone. Do you want to know what their differences are? Then get ready to dive into this tasty debate!

What is a POS?

The POS, also known as Point of Sale Terminal, is a piece of equipment located at the reception or cashier's desk of a restaurant. It's like the financial brain of the place. Think of it as the orchestra conductor that coordinates all the payments. The POS is in charge of receiving your credit or debit cards, processing the transaction and confirming that it was successful. It also gives you options to pay cash, print receipts and even manage tips. It is the cashier's faithful companion and ensures that your payment is secure and hassle-free.
In addition to this function, restaurant POS systems usually include other functionalities such as table management, ordering and invoicing.

Along with the menu or the plan for setting up a restaurant, it is a fundamental aspect in the first steps of a restaurant business. How will you charge customers? But wait, because you can also opt for a dataphone. Let's first take a look at the salient features of a POS system:

Functionalities of a restaurant POS

  • Recording and processing of credit and debit card payments
  • Order and table management
  • Generate invoices and sales tickets
  • Inventory and stock control
  • Integration with accounting software

Advantages of a restaurant POS system

  • Optimization of the payment process and reduction of errors
  • Efficient order and table management
  • Ease of generating invoices and sales receipts
  • Improved inventory and stock management
  • Increased integration with accounting systems

What is a dataphone?

On the other hand, we have the charismatic dataphone, that small portable device that you have surely seen in the hands of waiters while they serve you. The dataphone is a technology that has arrived to facilitate and speed up the payment process. Like the POS, it accepts credit and debit cards, but with the advantage that it can go directly to your table. You can swipe or insert your card into the dataphone, enter the amount to be paid and, voila, the transaction is done in a matter of seconds.

Unlike POS, dataphones do not include table or order management functions.

Functionalities of a dataphone for restaurants

  • Recording and processing of credit and debit card payments
  • Generate sales tickets

Advantages of a dataphone for restaurants

  • Ease of use and portability
  • Reduction of errors in the payment process
  • Lower acquisition and maintenance costs

If you already understood the differences, you may also find it useful to read this other content in which we talk about tips to make a good cash closing.

Differences between a POS and a dataphone


The POS offers a wide range of functionalities, such as handling multiple payment methods (cards, cash, vouchers), tip management, receipt printing, and in some cases integration with inventory management and accounting systems.. The dataphone, on the other hand, focuses on the basic functionality of accepting card payments quickly and efficiently.

Costs and maintenance

In terms of costs, POS usually requires a higher initial investment due to the hardware and installation required. In addition, there may be monthly fees associated with the POS service, including device rental and transactions. On the other hand, dataphones tend to be more affordable in terms of upfront costs, with lower monthly fees.

Data storage capacity

POS typically have a higher transaction processing capacity due to their stationary nature and wired connections. This means they can handle a higher volume of payments and perform faster transactions. Data entry terminals, while portable and convenient for tabletop service, can have limitations in terms of processing speed and simultaneous transaction capacity.

Information security

Both POS and dataphones must comply with information security standards to ensure the protection of customer and restaurant data. However, POS terminals usually have greater security measures due to the amount of information they store.

User experience

POS allows for a more complete and personalized customer experience, as orders and tables can be managed more efficiently. On the other hand, dataphones offer a faster and simpler payment experience.

Which option is the most suitable for my restaurant?

Considerations to be taken into account

When choosing between a POS and a dataphone, it is important to consider the size and type of business, as well as the functionalities required for its correct operation. For example, a small restaurant with few tables might opt for a dataphone, while a large restaurant with multiple tables and orders might require a POS.

Advantages and disadvantages of each option

The advantages and disadvantages of each option should be evaluated in relation to the specific needs of each business. For example, a dataphone may be cheaper and easier to use, but may not be sufficient for the complete management of a restaurant. 

On the other hand, a POS can offer a more complete and personalized experience, but may require more investment and maintenance.

How to choose the best POS or dataphone for my restaurant?

Required functionalities: Evaluate the specific needs of your restaurant. Do you need a POS with advanced features such as inventory management and integrated accounting? Or do you simply need a dataphone to make card payments quickly and easily? Define the essential functionalities your business needs to operate efficiently.

Connectivity and capacity: Consider the connectivity options available. Do you have access to a stable Internet connection? If so, you can opt for a POS that connects via Ethernet or Wi-Fi. If your restaurant has outdoor areas or requires mobility, a dataphone with cellular connectivity may be more appropriate. Be sure to also evaluate the transaction processing capacity of each device, especially if you expect a high volume of payments.

Investment: Compare the initial costs and fees associated with each option. POS terminals usually require a higher initial investment and may have additional monthly fees. Data entry terminals are usually more affordable in terms of upfront costs and may have lower monthly fees. Carefully analyze these aspects and choose the option that best fits your budget.

Security: Security is critical when processing payments. Ensure that both the POS and dataphone meet security standards, such as PCI DSS compliance. Verify that the devices use data encryption and offer fraud protection measures. Also consider the physical security of the devices and the ability to lock or disable them in case of loss or theft.

User experience: Evaluate the experience each option will provide for both your employees and your customers. Consider the ease of use of the devices, the intuitiveness of the interface and the speed of transaction processing. If you opt for a dataphone, make sure it is portable and rugged for trouble-free tabletop use.

How to install and configure a POS or dataphone in my restaurant?

The installation and configuration of a POS or dataphone should be done by a specialized technician. It is important to follow the provider's instructions and make sure you have a stable internet connection for proper operation.

What advantages do POS or dataphones offer in the management of my restaurant's accounting?

POS and dataphones allow greater integration with the restaurant's accounting systems, which facilitates the invoicing process and the recording of accounting movements. In addition, they allow greater accuracy in the recording of payments and reduce the probability of errors in accounting.

How to improve the user experience with the use of POS or dataphone?

To improve the user's experience with the POS or dataphone, it is important to have an efficient and easy-to-use system. In addition, actions such as offering varied and personalized payment options and training staff in the use of the system can be implemented to ensure quality service.

How to ensure the security of restaurant data when using a POS or dataphone?

It is important to choose reliable providers and ensure that they comply with information security standards. In addition, security measures such as the use of strong passwords and encryption of sensitive data should be implemented.

In conclusion, both POS and dataphones are useful tools for handling payments in restaurants. The choice between one or the other will depend on the specific needs of each business and the functionalities required for its correct operation.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use my dataphone to make online transactions?

No, the dataphones only allow credit and debit card payments to be processed in person.

Is it necessary to have an Internet connection to use a POS?

Yes, a stable internet connection is required to use a POS.

What security measures should I take to protect my customers' data when using a POS or dataphone?

It is important to choose reliable providers and ensure that they comply with information security standards. In addition, security measures such as the use of strong passwords and encryption of sensitive data should be implemented.

Is it possible to use a POS or dataphone in my business without paying high commissions?

Yes, it is possible to find providers that offer competitive rates and no hidden fees. It is important to compare prices and offers from different providers before choosing an option.

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