Having a reliable and well-implemented restaurant POS system can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
According to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), more than 80% of restaurants use an electronic POS or register system, yet only 12% of restaurant operators believe they’re on the cutting edge technologically. This disconnect is interesting, considering a growing number of customers are expecting technology to be part of their restaurant experience in one way or another.
If you’re in the market for a restaurant POS solution, there are a bevy of options available to you. You can opt for the “one-stop shop” approach, which puts the hardware, software and support in the hands of one vendor, or you can mix and match to build a solution that works for the situation you’re in right now. Regardless of how you go about setting up your POS, the onboarding and deployment process will likely involve several important steps to make your life a little easier.
What to Expect
Every product implementation process starts with a discovery and general onboarding period. During these phases you’ll have to determine what you want your POS to do, figure out where you want your terminals to go, build out menus and learn how to use the software. It’s during discovery and onboarding that you’ll also have to figure out what options are most important to you and what changes may need to be integrated into your POS system over time. If you’d like to launch an online ordering system or create a loyalty program, this is the perfect time to ensure your POS can fully integrate and support those features.
It’s important to keep in mind that no matter how large or small your organization is, your services should always be tailored to what you need, both from a software and hardware perspective. It might be cheaper to go for a bare-bones POS system that includes parts and pieces from a handful of vendors, but will that decision haunt you down the road when you want to add new components? If you decide to work with one vendor, this eliminates many of the problems associated with getting multiple companies on the line when problems do come up.
The next step in the process is performing a pilot test by installing the system into one or more stores, depending on the customer’s size. While it’s great to see how a POS works in the confines of a controlled environment, the true test comes from putting it to work in a store where people will be constantly interacting with the equipment. This helps iron out any issues that might pop up while employees are using the software and allows managers and operators to determine if anything else needs to be added to the system.
If the pilot test is successful, then the POS gets rolled out to other stores. Employees at each location will be taught how to operate the new software and hardware and final adjustments are made. Lastly, depending on which vendors are brought in to perform the work, customers will receive ongoing help, including technical support, on-site or mail-in repair services and other troubleshooting.
Installation, Security and Employee Training
As you’re working with your vendor, you’ll likely have several options available to you at each step of your POS buying journey. Software developers today are doing their best to make sure every product they create is easy to use. Though it might seem like a good idea to go ahead and install your new POS software yourself, sometimes it’s safer to have a professional come in and set it up for you. This will help you avoid problems and gives you an added peace of mind knowing the work was done correctly the first time.
Other things, like security, also need to be considered when selecting a POS system. An on-site POS system will store your information on a hard drive, most likely on a computer located in a backroom somewhere. A cloud-based POS system stores information online, meaning you can access it from anywhere with an internet connection. Other features, like EMV processing, need to be thought of as well because failing to do so could leave your business liable for customer fraud and other mishaps.
Like most things in life, practice makes perfect. When instituting a new POS in your quick service or fast casual restaurant, the last thing anyone needs is a staff that doesn’t know how the system works. Take the time to carefully train each employee so they understand the ins and outs of the system, and make sure there are plans in place in the case of an issue. Despite our best efforts, internet access can be fickle and interruptions happen. If the internet goes down, will your staff be able to run the system in offline mode until service is restored?
Does Having One Vendor Matter?
There are dozens of POS options available to restauranteurs these days, ranging from free or low-cost options that can run on a smartphone or iPad to full-service ones that come with software, hardware and 24/7 support. At PAR, customers can check out our EverServ® 8000 terminal, purchase software like our cloud-based Brink POS software to run on their existing equipment or combine them for an all-in-one experience.
While it might be worth mixing and matching vendors to create a one-of-a-kind POS system to save money, it may cause problems down the line when the software needs updating or the hardware becomes outdated. In this case, an operator will likely have to make more than one phone call to get all their vendors on the same page and ensure they’re receiving the right answers to their questions.
Having one organization in charge of your entire system eliminates the trouble of having to get multiple points of contact on the line, especially when problems arise. When you go through a single supplier, they will likely have an intimate knowledge of how the hardware, software and services work together, meaning they can fix problems quickly. They’ll also be ready to help you when it comes time to optimize or upgrade any part of your POS system.
Ready to learn more? Check out our Restaurant Point of Sale Solutions Guide, and begin your journey to better restaurant management today!