A long time ago, in a land far, far away, people paid with cash.
It sure seems that way, doesn’t it?
If you ask someone today if they have change for a $20, you will likely be met with a blank stare. As a restaurant, you are probably keenly aware of this if your POS (Point of Sale) system has ever malfunctioned. Tell your customers to go to the bank machine and they will likely never come back. It is the Bermuda Triangle of excursions.
We are used to living in a time of extreme convenience. A high-quality, well-functioning POS System is probably the most useful piece of equipment you can invest in for your restaurant.
Setting up your POS is not difficult, even if you grew up in a slower and less technologically dependent time. You need to make some decisions, such as figuring out which POS System is the optimal choice for your restaurant. You also must choose the computer that will be in charge of maintaining the system and information database. This should be the computer within your restaurant with the most memory. Your server computer should be as healthy as a horse. Or as healthy as a brand spanking new, virus-free computer.
Then, realistically determine how many other POS terminals are required to enter orders and process payments. Notice that it doesn’t have to be complicated – at all. A very simple POS system example is a card reader attached to an iPhone. Of course, it can get increasingly more complex. If you have multiple computers and systems, consider investing in an uninterrupted power supply. In the event of a power outage, this will help you to save your last transactions by keeping your system active for 20 additional minutes. Those 20 minutes could be the difference between you with a full head of hair or you having a look more like George Costanza of Seinfeld fame.
If you are still kicking it old school, rocking your high tops and your old timey cash register, you might be reluctant to see why it is important to “get with the times” and invest in a POS System for your restaurant. With David Lettermen set to retire, we have made our list a top 8, so that he can keep his claim-to-fame. In no particular order, here are the top 8 reasons you should put your money where your POS system is:
1) Tracking Your Sales.
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All POS Systems ring up sales and track inventory. They will help you to track your success and adapt your menu accordingly, rather than having you stuck with a whole lot of paperwork at the end of the month. Even if you like the creative process, you can free up the right side of the brain for the things that matter. If you are paying someone to uncover this information, it is time to embrace the robot.
2) More Secure For Customers, More Secure For You.
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Although late night television programs tend to focus on the POS hacks, there are ways to increase the security of your POS, allowing both you and your customers to sleep better at night. Some examples are: using strong passwords, updating POS software applications and the good ol’ standbys: firewalls and antiviruses. To further add to the security bucket, many POS Systems act as credit card processors, making swiping credit cards more secure for the customer and for your business.
3) Simplify Your Communication.
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Remember the day when you realized that you could check your email from your phone? Suddenly, it was much easier to get your work done from anywhere. The verdict is out as to whether or not that it is a positive thing, but we will keep the debating for another time. Your POS system will simplify the communication between the kitchen and the staff. There will be fewer misunderstandings and a happier staff will lead to happier customers. It is a small step towards world peace. Who knew a machine could help with that?
4) Make Payroll Easier.
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Everyone loves a payday, except, perhaps, the person behind the scene of those checks. Payroll services are often integrated into your POS. It can help you do everything from direct deposit to printing out paychecks. It can coordinate with the labor schedule that you input into the system and it can even help you with your taxes. The only thing it won’t yet do is call your mother.
5) Speed Up Service.
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Your customers often walk in the door hungry. Although you can buy some time with a well-placed bread basket, it certainly isn’t going to delay the signs of impatience for long: the drumming of the fingers. The tapping of the feet. The well vocalized sigh. No one likes a disgruntled customer. Your POS system will help to speed up the order-taking process and can deliver the order directly to the kitchen. Supply some exceptional training for your staff (although many POS systems can be learned in under 15 minutes). Less employee turnover and more customer turnover per day; win-win. Just give us an apple turnover and we might call it the best thing ever.
6) Getting With The Times.
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Your grandpa might be able to get away with a flip phone, but it is not wise in any industry to stay behind on the technological trends. A cash register might be going the way of the typewriter: charming but inefficient. The vast majority of restaurants in a recent survey said that the next upgrade they intend to make is adding a mobile POS. Are you keeping up?
7) Foster Healthy Competition.
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From tablet integration to social media savvy, restaurants around you have already entered this century. Without a proper POS, a business is likely to fall back on the cutting edge (who, you?). Your POS System will help you to remain competitive, in a friendly sort of way.
8) Prevent Shortage of Supplies.
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It is not exactly the most professional move to have a customer step into a restaurant and be told what they can’t order rather than what they can. In order to stay on top of your ingredients, your POS can help keep the inventory at your fingertips. Not only will this help to keep everything from fresh basil to toilet paper in house, it will also prevent you from wasting any excess.
The great news is that there are so many POS systems that are vying for your affection. Many offer free trials, so let them try to woo you. Keep in mind that you need to be able to customize orders easily, as without that function there is almost no point of a POS. However, don’t overbuy. You can always get the bells and whistles later. For now, all you need is a machine that will make running your business a little easier.
Are you convinced? Will a POS upgrade affect your restaurant?