Considering the cost, are POS systems really better than paper records?

In restaurant point of sale systems, it doesn't really matter if you have the latest and most expensive system, it's all about having just the right one that can meet your needs. So you won't have to waste your money on unreliable POS systems.
 
 
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Sept. 9, 2009 - PRLog -- Concerns About Restaurant POS Systems? Here Are The Answers!

Every restaurant owner knows that by manually taking records can take a very long time, for some it'll probably take weeks or months! But it still doesn't include the time to make copies of the information into a spreadsheet or database for further analysis! If you don't want to regret loosing valuable time on these tasks, try using a POS system that will take care of all your sales, taxes,inventory, etc. so you'd be able to concentrate 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.

Will I be able to use POS and its functionality even though I'm not tech savvy?

You should be able to handle a POS system with no problems. You can have your vendor help you to set up the software to perform the tasks that you want. And then be able to navigate a POS system's menu easily. When your POS vendor sets you up, they will provide full training with you and your employees for how to use it. And in case of problems, a POS customer service professional is just a phone call away!

Any equipments required for setting up?

You will need a phone connection, Internet access, and working electrical outlets. If you have these components, vendors can set you up with POS in a cinch! You don’t even need to own a computer since most vendors provide one as part of the entire system package.

Can I eliminate theft using a POS system?

Shrinkage is one of the threats that you need to eliminate!. There are various applications allow you to track every item in your inventory for you to have an exact estimation of how much profit you should expect at every sale, as well as be able to pinpoint weaknesses within the business. If there are differences on the sales reports, it'll raise a red flag so you can address the problem head-on.

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

Your POS can handle both task! You can enter all the information 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 tracking of 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 for targeting effective sales campaigns and fill your shelves with their mostly purchased items.

When should I go for wireless?

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.

Should I go straight for a flat-screen LCD monitor, or start off with CRT monitors?

You can get more benefits using LCD monitors over to CTR monitors, and of course it also depends on the work environment. LCD monitors are far more attractive for customers, easy to place on top of any counter table, uses less electricity and lasts longer. CRT screens would be fine for low volume sales and if you're not certain that POS is right for your business. But with the additional benefits afforded to flat screens, there's only a bit cost difference between the two.

What printer is best for my restaurant: a dot matrix printer or a thermal 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 have. However, dot matrix printers are safer choices in hospitality kitchens because of the heat from the ovens, grills, and fryers could warp thermal paper and ink.

What happens if my POS suddenly breaks down during business?

This is one of the reasons why you should regularly back up your database. System failures can happen for a variety of reasons – power outages, system crashes, viruses, natural disasters, etc. By having a backup solution ready (preferably offsite so your important data is protected), you are assured of being able to restore lost or damaged files, and be able to run the business back in no time. More importantly, with backups, you can ensure that you can easily restore all customer information, sales figures, and custom reports you have saved prior to the crash.

About customer support; what type should I expect?

Well, customer support vary from vendor to vendor, so there isn't a simple answer to this question. Others may have a 24/7 phone support, while others only offers support during business hours and can schedule you for repairs on the next 24 hours.

This is one of the reasons you should keep in contact with your POS vendor. Since customer support is likely one of your most pressing needs, you can look into the offerings of different vendors and take your time before making a purchasing decision.

What POS will I need 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. First, you can have each location operate independently with its own POS terminals and software. Then send their reports over to the corporate offices at the end of the day or each week.

For the second option, you can have all their POS terminals connected to one server so you can easily upload and download data in real time. What you'll benefit from option number two is that it's available remotely. But, since several POS terminals will be working on the same server, expect backlogs when sending information all at once.

With both solutions, it’s imperative to have a robust back up solution since the central server connects all locations – and if it fails, all locations may shut down its operations.

Does my POS software needs licensing?

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.

Is a service contract required?

It’s certainly worth the expense if you want to stay up and running at all times. Once your POS system is set up, you will use it for day-to-day operations and analysis for future plans. If your computer breaks or suffered a disaster, you probably don’t want to keep it any longer.

Depending on the vendor, a maintenance contract can cost a few hundred dollars per year and provide you with peace of mind so you can concentrate on running and growing your business.

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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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