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Hospitality POS Systems - Top Ten Mistakes to Avoid

July 03, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 180

A professional quality POS system is a competitive necessity to any modern restaurant business, no longer an option as in the recent past. This is because the key to success in the competitive food industry is efficiency. Minimize order errors and waste. Streamline the ordering and serving processes. Maximize table turns. Control and manage food and labor costs. Manage and enhance delivery operations. These and many others are tasks performed by a well designed professional POS system; tasks which often mean the difference between success and failure in the food service business.

If you run a small food service business, you can afford a POS system if you know the fine points of how to select one. Here are the most costly mistakes to avoid:

1. Don't confuse a POS System with a 'toy'. A POS system does lots of necessary tasks to benefit your business. A toy is nothing more than an overpriced credit card machine and order entry device on a computer screen.

2. Don't underestimate the true cost of a POS System. Much like your car, the initial price tag is just the beginning of the cost of ownership, far from the final number. How much will service contracts cost?... yes you will need service sooner or later. What are the coverages and exclusions? Who will perform out-of-warranty repairs, replacements, and maintenance? How long will your business be shut down awaiting repairs or replacements? How much will mandatory PCI and software upgrades cost, and who will facilitate and pay for them? Who will you call when (not if) you need tech support or customer service, and how much will it cost? Costly and annoying pay-per-occurance fees every time you need help are real budget busters.

3. Don't confuse a 'live' POS with a 'back office' POS. The difference is important as you will soon realize if you don't know the difference.

4. Will the POS you are considering support future technology you may want or need to remain competitive? Or will it be obsolete before it's paid for? Things like iPad integration, reservations modules, gift cards, caller ID and so on.

5. Avoid long-term leases if possible. If you must lease, understand what a lease is. A lease is NOT the same as a month-to-month rental. There are lots of smarter, better, less costly ways to get a good POS system installed in your restaurant.

6. Allocate your dollars wisely. Unless money is no object, spend the dollars you have where it counts on marketing your business. Don't tie up your money in equipment like your POS. See # 5 above.

7. Don't assume the options you may need are included in the software package. Often, reservations modules, fresh sheet modules and others are only available as very costly third-party add-ons. Know what you're getting.

8. Don't underestimate upfront costs like down payments, lease or financing fees or closing costs, deposits,installation, wiring, DSL, and training expenses. Who provides? How much?

9. Don't forget back-ups. Included? Auto or manual? Who provides? How much?

10. Don't settle for generic off-the-rack POS software. The programming, organization, menu, layout, and general look and feel of the POS program needs to fit your particular and unique operation, not the restaurant down the street. There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all POS programs.

The days when professional POS systems were only within the financial reach of the major restaurant chains are long gone. Now they are easily attainable by food service operators of all types large and small... IF they know how to go about it and avoid the pitfalls. Solutions and creative alternatives to all of the above mistake scenarios are there for the asking for those who know where to find them.

Barry Godofsky operates Automated Merchant Solutions, Inc., a Florida based Independent Sales Office (ISO) representing several of the largest credit card processing Acquirer institutions in the nation. For more information regarding small business credit card processing issues including unbiased tips, FAQs, and resources, please visit

Source: EzineArticles
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