What to Avoid in Moving Your Operations to POS Technology

Owning a small to medium-sized retail business, operating a service or proprietorship within the hospitality industry, and other such for-profit endeavors are all on the verge of coming with a requirement to integrate POS technology into every aspect of operations. Those whose limited understanding prevents them from getting on board will simply fade out — unless they have a very generous benefactor who enjoys wasting money. If your spectrum of knowledge pertaining to POS technology — and all of the various operational tasks it streamlines — consists of envisioning it as a high-tech form of checkout, it’s time to POS-up.

More than a Fancy, High-Falutin’ Cash Register

A POS system is vastly more than an improved method of producing speedier checkout processes, although POS technology is certainly capable of doing that. By Integrating POS technology into your operations, you have a tool for creating, most efficiently and effectively using, storing, accessing, assessing, retrieving, comparing, counting, replenishing, projecting — just to list a few. Within the scope of POS functionality, you have broad spectrum information and impeccable aptitude for effectively micromanaging every component of your responsibilities — including products or inventory, employees, vendors and customers. A POS system, while being a super-charged form of accepting payments, is also about the furthest-away business tool that you could ever conceive of — no matter how hard you tried.

Your Best Worker, Ever

With a well-matched POS system to complete your business operations, it becomes your financial advisor, your manager, your CEO, your accountant, your bean counter, your customer satisfaction engineer, your undercover security system and much more. And unlike humans — even the most well-intentioned ones can occasionally slip up, with some others who are not so lacking in harmful intentions capable of providing incorrect information that could prove nearly ruinous in the right scenarios — so unlike humans, your POS can not let you down. This is, obviously, provided that the info is entered in correctly and succinctly. This being stated, at the very foundation of POS technology lies the critical need to match functionality with need, mostly on a “by industry” basis.

Educated Choosing is Imperative in POS Shopping

It is your responsibility as a business owner to make sure the POS system is well-suited for your business. A small, Mom and Pop-style business in Zeb Oklahoma will certainly have different needs than a Food Truck enterprise consisting of multi-trucks and operating out of NYC. In the same manner of thinking, a sit-down dining establishment and bar’s POS requirements would not be the same as those best-suited for a trendy boutique that’s selling sunglasses at a mall kiosk. You must first learn enough to be able to narrow down your choices by need. A program loaded with an excessive number of features will prove to be more overwhelming than helpful — particularly for the novice. On the other side, not having a way to manage a business’ core operations would parlay into a waste of time and money. The time you spend on getting the right system will pay off, exponentially.

Prevent Problems with a Smart POS Start

There are a number of ways in which a less than stellar start can threaten your relationship with your new potentially best friend — your POS. The following are among the most frequently shared POS “don’t dos,” from now-seasoned POS fans whose starts almost nixed the deal:

  • Don’t Neglect Training Your Employees. A great aspect of POS systems is the training they provide, ensuring the same information and methods are given to each employee.
  • Don’t Give Blanket POS Access to everyone on Staff: While certain POS components are designed for use by different sectors, like servers, bartenders, sales associates and more, limit all other access to only one or two trusted employees in addition to yourself.
  • Don’t Dispense with Customer Support too Soon: Make sure you’ve thoroughly “got it” before winging it on your own.
  • Don’t Think Because One Type of POS Works for a Buddy, it’s What You Need: Again, every business — even two different ones within the same industry — will have different priorities. YOU do the homework and YOU do the choosing.
  • Don’t buy the POS Hardware Before Studying Software Options. Just don’t, and you’ll understand why, rather quickly.
  • Don’t Take too Long to Program Your POS, Fully: Snooze ya lose, or better, piecemeal starts are a good way to become frustrated to the point of giving up. Invest the time, and your POS will make you a happy camper, all the way around!

Could Your Restaurant Benefit from a Multi-Check Dashboard?

Anyone whose job at one time entailed the arduous days of Excel spreadsheets, and spending hours on end trying to make sensible disbursement tallies from endless cells of numbers pertaining to restaurant operations does not want to be reminded of it. Thanks to modern POS systems — particularly Software as a Service POS systems, all of that stuff is typically built into the software. You can expediently locate any needed report in real time on the cloud, and by using any device, from anywhere. Now, the best POS systems provide a customizable-by-priority POS dashboard for all your reporting, based on the details that work best for you, or whomever is to use it.

How a Multi-Check Dashboard Makes the Server’s Job Smoother

Typically, the amount of time and energy your servers must spend on guest checks — from printing them, to splitting them and closing them out (often requiring more than one payment form,) winds up reducing any opportunities they might have otherwise had to sell menu items. A Multi-Check POS Dashboard makes it possible for your servers to easily add subsequent orders to the check, and at the very same time, they are able to see all their open checks simultaneously, where they can perform a multiplicity of functions on multiple checks. They never have to leave the dashboard, in the former standard requirement of switching back and forth. And from this same multi-check dashboard, each server can print and close out the bill. With this dashboard, management can seamlessly overview each server’s performance for any shift and make key assessments to determine each server’s strengths and weaknesses.

The Dashboard Improves Special Payments

With the POS dashboard, orders are smoother, quicker and almost impossible to screw up. Additionally, the dashboard takes carryout orders consisting of several different orders paid by just as many individual parties to a new level of proficiency, with both pickup and those orders placed in-house. Staff-personalization optimizes productivity, providing the creation of up to thirty commands up for personal touches. The prior tedium of applying discounts, specials, promotions and gift cards is improved, as all become expediently and easily handled.

Dashboard-Facilitated Sales Reports

Obviously, sales are what sustains your business, and are your number one priority. The POS sales report dashboard gives you an excellent overview of every transaction that was completed within a time span which you select. This at one time, would have been more complicated to navigate, and a general headache. The most sought-after POS features to look for include net sales, charged gratuity and tips, total of guests served and table turnover time. It should include the different service types as well as the various methods of payment. Your restaurant’s sales report dashboard will give you an overview created from the operational metrics most important to you. Then, specific categories can include details broken down as finely as you need to develop the most profitable strategies and to operate with the highest level of organization. With the benefit of the multi-check dashboard, managerial diagnostics are best facilitated with the best succinct evidence.

Integrate Video Surveillance with POS to Curtail Employee Theft

The chief reason for any business — of any kind, size, location and age — was, is and will be to generate revenue. Profits don’t always have to be in the form of cash or money — they can consist of anything deemed to be of value to the proprietor. And on a side note, the IRS is just as interested in bartered transactions as it is cash, but that’s another story, for another time. Because revenue generation is at the forefront of all business ambition, it makes sense that anything stopping its progression or otherwise detracting from it would be regarded as counterproductive, and unfavorable. Among the most frequent revenue-reducing issues that businesses today face are:

  • Being closed
  • Being understaffed
  • Decline of traffic/purchases
  • Products or services becoming obsolete
  • Competitors offering better deals
  • Increase of overhead
  • Theft

Surely, ever since the dawn of retail, some kind of theft has been an issue. In many ways, it’s one of the most personal affronts a business owner can face, and because of its prevalence, most large corporations actually factor in a certain amount of loss by theft into their budgets, along with monies allocated toward loss prevention.

The Classic Employee Lift

Most employee theft occurs during the checkout process, by artful manipulation of a transaction, whether it be to the cashier’s advantage or the purchaser. Among the methods most commonly practiced you’ll find register/cash drawer totals reduced by surreptitiously-entered refunds, discounts and voided sales. They can modify prices, cancel completed transactions and report the purchase’s inclusion of nonexistent coupons. In restaurants, it’s estimated that billions of dollars are lost annually from food, alcohol, cash — supplies, equipment and more are taken by employees.

POS Technology Promises Theft-Reduction Solutions

Among the myriad of benefits derived from POS-transacted theft prevention is just how affordable it is. And according to statistics, it’s not so much shoppers (or in this case, shoplifters,) who are doing the pilfering, but employees. This particular discrepancy exists exclusively in the U.S., where employees minimally more than double their percentage worth of the world’s stolen stuff from businesses. The loss gets passed along to shoppers, who must pay more for their purchases, averaging around $400 per American household on a yearly basis. While no method of total eradication exists, POS technology is quite promising in reducing those numbers.

Video Surveillance with POS

From the moment employees know they’re being observed, employee theft will be significantly reduced. With your POS system, you can integrate security cameras and video recorders that record food and drinks being delivered, sales as they’re rung up, with the exact identifying details of each transaction superimposed in print onto the recording. These are stored in chronological order, for easy access when needed. Cameras can be set up to record anywhere staff handles cash, the traffic to and from all establishment portals, inside walk-in coolers or where other valuables are stored.

Beyond Video

Compare log-ins and server activity against the inventory control feature of your bar POS to find out which employees are giving away drinks or charging less for top shelf brands. By reviewing employee paid-outs and discounts, and auditing staff time and attendance records, you’ll have easy access to any theft-related inconsistencies. There is so much more you can do with your POS system to bring that bottom line to a much happier place.

How to Streamline Your Food Truck With POS

During the last decade or so, food trucks have been burgeoning on city landscapes everywhere, showing up at some of the most odd yet ideal locations to deliver a respite of nourishment and drink in spots where no such fare is available. They take a higher grade of fast food to practically anywhere, ratcheting up the venue to an improved level, just by being there. Food trucks offer for many people, a viable way to get into the restaurant business that doesn’t involve the expansive (and expensive) commitment of opening a traditional brick & mortar establishment.

There’s a Restaurant inside of Practically Everyone

The proliferation of food trucks provides perfect evidence of how inside of surprising number of people there lives a little chef, just waiting to get out to reveal his or her talent to the world. Does this describe you? Whether you have already invested your money and time in a food truck biz, or you’re calculating the prospects, you’re wise to include using a POS system. Having this amazing technology to operate, manage, organize, prioritize, execute and advertize your endeavor will be its lifeblood and the key to your sustained success. The caveat is – and this is everything – it’s got to be the right one for you, and best suited for a food truck business.

Understand Two Parts of a POS System

While this may sound a bit laughable, where it matters is in order of purchase. Before rushing into the purchase of a system, look at what you want one to do, then research all the tasks you didn’t know one could do, but you’d love to have (software,) and then put together a shopping list that is formed around the software, next finding the hardware to run it. If you were envisioning a single or small range of best POS options for food truck operations, sorry. You’ll find some consisting of high-functioning, state-of-the-art computers that will store and impeccably manage and track even the smallest of details, and provide options for how you can use a surprising number of them to streamline operations and even increase business. Particularly as a food truck entrepreneur, your best goal will be to keep your POS system on the simple side, in many ways, mirroring the manner in which a food truck simplifies operating a restaurant.

Getting Started

Each of the following items will require you to assess options and operating methods. One issue rather unique to a food truck POS will be size – as you already know, or will soon learn. In exploring each option, keep hardware and software compatibility in mind. In consideration of the more basic components, look at the following:

  • Standard computer
  • Pin pad
  • Cash drawer
  • Printer for receipts, as well as a standard printer – inkjet or laser
  • Display screen for customers
  • Credit card processor – can be the mobile variety, that can be attached to a tablet or cell phone.

Software – the Heart of Your System

Find out whether or not the hardware you’re considering will limit you to strict use of their proprietary software only. There are plenty of options that allow use of third-party solutions. You may prefer to put all your POS marbles in one cannister, so to speak, or your best choice might be to be more specific and comprehensive in choosing your own There is no right or wrong choice, here, only what works for you. The following are some of the most prevalent POS-managed tasks:

  • Record food orders successively and even process customer-customizing requests.
  • Print out each order, chronologically, for the cook.
  • Process multiple orders, all at the same time.
  • Manage and track inventory – including notifications when an item is running low, and temporarily removing a menu selection when key ingredients are depleted.
  • Process payment transactions – cash, check and plastic – and even authenticate and process gift cards and specials extended by you, such as customer rewards programs (includes discounts and coupons.)
  • Compute sales tax, and even create options for adding gratuity.
  • Split a bill in any manner, as requested by customer.
  • Split payments made by multiple methods
  • Generate invoices
  • Manage customer accounts, vendor accounts and manage employee scheduling and employee profiles.
  • Manage vendor accounts
  • Track your business via social media.
  • Allow you to keep up, in real time, with every aspect of your business from anywhere, meaning you don’t have to be on site to manage operations and know how they’re going.

Mistakes You Shouldn’t be Making

Mistakes are not anything we want to spend time on, and even when we realize one has been made, most people would prefer to just acknowledge it and move on. There is a way you can avoid ever making another mistake again. All you have to do is nothing. that’s right, the only way you can make a mistake is by trying. In other words, mistakes come with the deal of all productivity. Some are more significant and some are nominal. What lies waiting on the other side of every mistake is a chance to start over or regroup, and within every mistake there’s an excellent lesson to be learned, which becomes easily committed to memory, due to the pain of the mistake. Most people would prefer to be the one to discover their own mistakes, as it’s not as painfully embarrassing as when a coworker happens to point it out to us. A lot of important information we use in technology comes from costly mistakes that our predecessors made in paving the way for us. We have no more immunity than they did, when it comes to other mistakes we might be likely to make. And so it goes.

The Big Reveal

Of course, the worst kind of mistakes are the ones that cost money, and a horrible truth to face is when you’ve invested in equipment and/or technology for your business, only to find out too late that you purchased the wrong stuff. It’s unlikely that anyone purchasing a POS system for their business doesn’t experience a degree of prepurchase and postpurchase fear. It would seem unnatural to not have a little tug of your conscience or self doubt. These are actually healthy, and show our humanity. The problem would be if you let such feelings prevent you from moving ahead with integrating this important technology into your operations. Buying POS software is a sizeable investment, capable of greatly impacting the future of your business. Most consumers have no idea of just how many POS systems there are to choose from. Each one is different, and there can be so many considerations for so many components that anyone could become overwhelmed and confused. No matter what – Don’t allow anxiety to force you into a hasty purchase. Take your time, and make sure you know what you’re buying, and that it is what you need. The following are some of the mistakes you should not make.

Never Buy POS Hardware First

Entering into POS technology is unlike most other ventures. It would be perfectly warranted and acceptable to go out shopping for a Sony Playstation 4 and then later going shopping for games to play on it. You could buy a house first, before buying furniture for it. Buy a vacuum cleaner before you buy accessories to go with it. Buy the bed before you buy the bedding linens and spread. Not so, with transitioning to a POS system, as the area where you’ll find your operational needs best addressed will be in the software. If you conduct the proper search and study up on the different forms of software for your particular needs, finding hardware to support it will be a breeze. Choose your hardware first, and then, you will be met with wall after wall, a pitiful limit to what you can accomplish and the way it’ll be used. Additionally, each different software program will offer restricted compatibility to a specific type of printer, scanner, card reader, cash drawer and more. Most software is designed for a specific version of Windows, MAC Linux, Unix, etc. Buy your POS software, then get the most highly recommended hardware and operating systems you can afford.

Who You Talkin’ To?

Don’t make the common mistake of confusing a computer consultant with a POS technology wiz. Most are NOT. They’re unqualified to make decent recommendations for your business. Not to undervalue computer consultants, who are excellent resources when it comes to computers, hardware and even networking. That’s what they do, and what they’re trained and authorized to do. Talk can be cheap – especially when someone stands to lose and gain nothing. Try asking one to tell you how many different types of POS systems there are, and you’ll get a good idea as to his or her scope of POS knowledge. Even someone with their own POS experience is not qualified to direct your purchase for the specific needs of your business.

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