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Having Proper Computer Systems Can Help Your Restaurant POS System Perform At Its Best
Regardless of whether you are looking at a system for your office or restaurant, there are a couple of things you must keep in mind when installing systems that will help run your operations and store all of your critical data.
1. Network cabling. Most systems are PC-based, designed to run on MS Windows technology. Which means your workstations and peripherals most likely will communicate over standard Ethernet networking. Although wireless communications have been the talk of the town these days, it's still much better to "hardwire" your computer stations. Some vendors include this service in their bid; others specify that cabling must be arranged with a third-party vendor.
Regardless of who will work on the cabling, all must be properly plugged and tested before installing any equipment. Each piece of equipment needs to have a cable drop. A drop is considered the cable connecting from your remote printer or PC back to the networking source such as a patch panel in the mechanical room or office.
For POS systems, the restaurant should be wired with CAT 5 or 6 network cabling that connects every conceivable POS workstation, remote printer or KDS, office computer, hostess station, delivery order desks, cashier stations and network server to a "home run" area such as a central patch panel, preferably located in your telephone or electrical room or closet. Cabling routes need to ensure that cables are at least 24 inches from fluorescent fixtures, neon transformers and electrical motors, because these devices can cause communications interference.
2. Electrical. Installing a dedicated and isolated circuits for your restaurant POS equipment such as your POS computers, network devices like hubs and routers, and phone systems that can share. No other electrical equipment should be in this circuitry. Preferably, your network, phone, and electrical service will be near one another. An isolated circuit means that its ground is separated from that of the main electrical service. This helps prevent spikes and surges that may disrupt motherboards and hard drives. Note, however, you may still want to use surge protectors at each workstation.
3. Properly designed workspace. When designing your workstation area, make sure to leave enough space to comfortably fit the equipment needed there. Tabletop space for server stations should be large enough to place your computer monitor, guest check printer, and possibly a credit card terminal if you're planning to use separate credit card equipment. Make sure you have enough space below the tabletop to hold your computer, the surge protector, power strip and your UPS.
If you want to place your workstations on millwork surfaces such as granite or woodwork, have your contractor pre-drill holes if needed to run cables or power cords beneath the surface. A 2-inch hole should give sufficient space for cords and cables on most POS systems.
For cashier and bartender stations, the tabletop space should also be ample enough to fit a cash drawer and an order confirmation customer display. Most cash drawers have a footprint (space requirement)
4. Service Plans. Many vendors will offer service plans as part of your original purchase. The fact is, business grade systems are composed of hardware that will not last forever especially in a restaurant environment. Printers will eventually break, fans will fail, and hard drives will crash. How often is dependent upon the conditions under which they operate. Dirt, dust, heat and moisture are not friendly allies to office and restaruant POS equipment.
There are those people who rarely experience problems with their computers while others continue to suffer the same problems. The best thing a retail business owner can do is to invest in good equipment and then protect that investment by maintaining it. Many restaurant POS solutions provider will offer ongoing service agreements that are basically extended warranties. The annual cost for these services usually ranges from 10% to 20% of the original purchase price.
Computer systems represents as a sizable investment. But if you dedicate the time and planning required to properly put in place and maintain the system, you are more apt to be rewarded a return on your investment by getting the most from your system in cost reduction, labor savings, and ensuring that you can account for all cash.
Got a Question?
If you would like to know more about this topic or have a question in mind, you may ask for advice with our Restaurant POS professional serving your area.
The author of this article is the Vice President of Customer Relations at http://www.pos-
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