Restaurant POS: Looking for answers?

If you're having troubles whether to migrate to an automated system or not, here are a few good reasons why you should go for a restaurant point of sale system.
 
 
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Sept. 9, 2009 - PRLog -- Q&A to the most common concerns in Restaurant Point of Sale (POS) Systems

Why can’t I just stick with paper records?

Manually recording data can be a lot of time, just imagine recording every business transaction by hand, you will think that think it will take you weeks or even months. And that doesn’t even include the time to duplicate the information into a spreadsheet or database for further analysis! If you don't want to waste anymore of your valuable time on these, try using a POS system that will record all sales, returns, taxes, inventory, etc. so you'd be able to concentrate more on the other plans for your business' success. While POS takes an investment to get started, the time savings and productivity increase more than the expenses you make.

I'm not good with computers, can I still use a POS system?

Yes. A vendor can help you set the software to perform tasks as you want it to be. You’ll then be able to navigate through a series of menus that’s easy to follow. When the vendor sets your POS system, they shall provide full training for you and your staff on how to operate a POS system. And if technical problems occur, a POS customer service professional is just a phone call away!

When setting up, what are the equipments needed?

To begin, you'll be needing a phone connection, internet connection and working electrical outlets. If you have these components, vendors can set you up with POS in a cinch! Computers aren't even required since most vendors provide it as part of their entire package.

How can POS help prevent theft?

Stop shrinkage before it eats into your profits!. Various applications allow you to track every item in your inventory so you can estimate exactly how much profit you should expect at every sale, as well as be able to pinpoint problems within the business. And in case of discrepancies, it will raise immediate red flags so you can address the problem head-on.

Can I rely on POS to handle my sales or to manage my inventory?

Both! You can enter all the data you want AND check out the inventory... and those aren't just the only things you can do, there are lots more you can do with POS. POS terminal and software also allows you to track sales performance, allows you to generate reports, set up reminders for inventory that’s getting low, as well as plan for future sales campaigns. You can use the customer data you collect to target effective sales campaigns and stock your shelves with their mostly purchased items.

Do I need wireless technology?

Well, if you're a business person on the go, especially doing trade shows or processing orders in a restaurant, it's best if you use wireless technology. With this, you can easily process any transaction without having to go back to a POS terminal.

Which one is best; a flat-screen LCD monitor or a CRT monitor?

LCD monitors provides more advantages for a restaurant compared to CTR monitors. First of all, they look great on any counter tables, they take up less space, doesn't require much electricity and they last longer. For low volume of sales, CTR screens would be enough and if you’re not sure that POS will fit your business. But with the additional benefits afforded to flat screens, there's only a bit cost difference between the two.

What’s better: a thermal printer or a dot matrix printer?

For most businesses, a thermal printer works best. There are less moving parts so it’s less likely to break down. For wireless, it's the only option you've got. Even so, the dot-matrix printers are a safer choice for hospitality kitchens since the heat from the ovens, grills, and fryers could warp thermal paper and ink.

What will I do if my POS breaks down while conducting business?

This is one of the top reasons why it’s important to regularly back up your database. System failures can happen for a variety of reasons – power outages, system crashes, viruses, natural disasters, etc. By implementing a backup solution (preferably offsite so your important data is protected), you are assured of being able to restore lost or damaged files, and run the business smoothly. What's more important about backing up, you ensure you can retrieve all customer information, as well as your sales figures and reports you've saved prior to the crash.

What kind of customer support should I expect?

Well, customer support vary from vendor to vendor, so there isn't a simple answer for this question. While one might have round-the-clock telephone support and local repair technicians, others may only have phone support during normal business hours and can only schedule repair requests a full day in advance.

That's why it is very important to keep in contact with your POS vendor in case of problems, especially if you baught separate POS equipments from different vendors, look into the offerings of different vendors, take time evaluating each, and make a clear decision before buying.

What if I have multiple locations?

Generally, if you a few more of POS systems in various locations of your businesses, you can choose from two options. The first option, you can have all locations operate independently with their own POS terminals and software. Then send their reports over to the corporate offices at the end of the day or each week.

The second option involves connecting all terminals to a main server allowing reports and sales figures to be uploaded and downloaded in real time. What you'll benefit from option number two is that it's available remotely. However, having several terminals working on one server, you may experience backlogs if all locations try and send information all at once.

With both solutions, you will be needing a robust back up solution since all locations will be sharing one server – if it fails, every location could be inoperable.

POS software licensing, is it required?

You typically need an individual license for each terminal hosted on your network. There are vendors who'll offer you discounts depending on the number of terminals that needs licenses.

Should I purchase a service contract?

It maybe part of the expense but surely worth it. Once you get set up with a POS system, you'll be able to use for day-to-day business operations and analysis for future plans. If the machine breaks down or you experience a disaster, you probably don’t want to use it for too long.

There are maintenance contracts offered by vendors, depends on the vendor, which can cost a few hundred bucks per year who can provide you services each time a POS terminal of yours breaks, so you can go ahead and concentrate more in keeping your business running and growing.

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Need more information or perhaps an online resource?

The author of this article writes for POS-For-Restaurants.com, a VP of Customer Relations with over 20 years experience in restaurant point of sale system, helping restaurant owners nationwide increase their efficiency and bottom-line profits.

You may visit http://www.pos-for-restaurants.com for more information on how our national network of restaurant point of sale experts can help your business achieve greater success in these difficult economic times.

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