In two previous articles, titled “Choosing a Point of Sale – Part 1” and “Choosing a Point of Sale – Part 2”, we discussed some of the features to look out for when choosing a point of sale supplier. The features you needed to look out for were if the system records customer data, offers reservations, online ordering integration, tableside ordering, adding menu items, discounts, adding menu items and various other features. These features may seem a little daunting but you will find they are most beneficial when you implement them. Believe it or not, there are still a few more features you should look out for, such as:
- How Quickly Can Items Be Rung Up? If a patron visits the bar, purchases a beer and hands you R50, can the server do a quick sale? The bartender should be able to tap on the beer, tap R50 as one of the denominations that shows up and then the cash drawer should open while displaying the change due. This feature is often most useful in bar areas, fast food and QSR restaurants.
- Can Tabs Be Facilitated? Most POS systems are ticket based which means a virtual ticket is created when a server adds a menu item. The ticket can remain open indefinitely until the tab is settled. It is also beneficial to check whether the system can hold details of the customer, such as an ID number or credit card details. Keeping the customers details is a good safety net in case they run out on the bill.
- Can I Specify What Each Job Type Can See? You should ask your point of sale supplier whether or not their system can handle job types. This would allow you to set restrictions in place so only the alcohol items show up for the bartenders and only the food items show for the servers. Setting this in place will eliminate the time wasted hunting through items to find what they are looking for and presents a less cluttered screen to work with.
- Is My Data Stored and Backed up Somewhere? Not planning for the worst won’t stop it from happening and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. There are unexpected disasters that can happen and affect you, such as power outages or hardware failure. If this does happen, how will it affect your system? Different POS suppliers use different types of databases and each type has its own pitfalls. Remember to enquire about a backup option and what can be done in the event of a disaster.
- Is My Pos Setup Scalable? You may get to a point where you would like increase the number of terminals or add in other features, will the existing system allow for this. Your system should be allowed to accommodate additional features without having to completely change the hardware thus incurring high costs.
- How Is the Printing Handled? Most POS systems will handle the printing in one of two ways, either the entire order is sent to one printer or specific items are sent to specific printers. With the first option, the drinks and food will print on the same printer and on the same ticket. With the second option, drinks can be sent to the bar and food can be sent to the kitchen. Ultimately, the option you choose will depend on your specific setup.
It does seem a little daunting when you start looking at all of the features you need to be asking about but, by asking all of these questions, you can make an informed decision when selecting a point of sale supplier. You may not need all of the features discussed in the article, you will need to decide which features are important and your chosen supplier can offer them to you.