Growth Trends for Related Jobs

How to Operate a Restaurant Cash Register

careertrend article image

Operating a cash register for a restaurant is an important job. The person at the cash register is usually the person the customers see when they first walk through the doors of the restaurant, and they are also the last person customers talk to before they leave. This means that the cash register operator must know how to work the cash register correctly. Learning how to make change, verify ticket amounts, and entering in payment types is vital to operating a restaurant cash register.

How to Operate a Restaurant Cash Register

Make sure the ticket is correct. Repeat the customer’s meal(s) back to him or her to make sure the server billed them for the correct items before entering the ticket items into the cash register. If an item is entered into the cash register incorrectly, they can usually be removed by pressing the ‘delete’ key or, if the register is a computer program, clicking on the item and then pressing ‘delete’ on the screen or keyboard.

Give any discounts. It is important to remember any specials or discounts that might apply to certain menu items. Many combo items are directly in the machine, but temporary discounts might require you to enter in a code. Keep a list of available discounts handy so you know the correct codes for each discount. Some cash registers will prompt you for the code, while others require you to type in the discount amount and then press the ‘discount’ button on the keyboard or screen.

Ask about tips. Ask the customer if they would like to add any tips to their bill. Some customers will just ask for change so they can leave a tip on the table, while other customers will add the tip amount to their credit card receipt, which can be added in later by yourself or by a manager, depending on the restaurant's policies.

Learn how to accept all different payment types. Knowledge of how to accept different types of payment (such as checks, credit cards, gift certificates and debit cards) is vital to running the cash register accurately. On the cash register keypad or screen, there should be different types of payment. Enter in the payment amount, and then press the type of payment tendered. For gift certificate payments, give the customer the remaining balance of the gift certificate. For example, if the bill was $18.00, and the gift certificate was $25, the customer would receive $7 in cash.

Learn how to make change. Most cash registers will automatically give you the correct amount of change needed to give back to the customer. When giving change, make sure to give the least amount of coins and bills possible. For example, if the customer’s change is $20.22, give them a $20 bill, 3 quarters, and 3 pennies. Always use the biggest bills and coins possible, unless the customer requests otherwise.


Kelsey Childress runs a freelance creative business called Awen Creative that specializes in SEO Web content, social media marketing and blogging. She has been writing for online and in-print publications for over six years, and has a bachelor's degree in English literature and creative writing from Kansas State University.

Photo Credits