When you’re on the hunt for a new point-of-sale system, it’s easy to become buried in the mountain of information that salespeople can throw at you. But you can avoid becoming overwhelmed by keeping these little-known secrets in mind. Here are five important things that most people don’t know about when purchasing a new POS.
1. Always Purchase Software Before Hardware
One of the most common mistakes restaurant owners make when purchasing a new point-of-sale is picking out hardware components before deciding on a POS software provider. Every provider will have its minimum hardware requirements, and many pieces of hardware aren’t going to be interchangeable. So if you go out and spend hundreds of dollars on bar code scanners, PIN pads, fingerprint sensors, and display monitors, you could make the horrifying discovery that some or even all pieces aren’t compatible with your new software provider.
The simplest way to avoid this is by always ensuring that you wait to purchase any new hardware until you’ve finalized the decision on your point-of-sale software.
2. Installation Costs Are Often Higher Than the Quoted Price
Many POS providers will break down their quotes so that everything is itemized. Itemizing allows you to get a better idea of exactly how much you’re paying for each part of your new POS system. However, even the most detailed quote sheet isn’t going to help if not all of the necessary items are included. One area where hidden costs often occur is installing of the point-of-sale.
When a provider offers on-site installation, it usually means you’re on the hook for the travel and accommodation costs, but you might not know that if not stated in the quote, not to mention the costs of training you and your staff on the new system. So what might seem like a low installation cost at first could turn out to be a lot more than you expected when these hidden costs are finally accounted for (which tends to be when you get the bill).
“While the support from SpeedLine is amazing, the best support that they ever gave us was teaching us how to do it. We spent probably a good 10 hours in training on how to build everything on the back end ourselves so that we were able to make changes as needed on the fly without having to call anyone for support.” - Todd Vierra, Spinato’s Pizzeria
3. Good Support Is Worth the Money
Most restaurant owners look at POS support as an optional cost that has little-to-no impact on their restaurant operations. However, as anyone who’s dealt with lousy support will tell you, the quality of the POS support available to you will make a world of difference for your business.
As Andrew McElderry, the owner of Andrew’s Pizza & Bakery, explains, “The number one reason why I’ve stayed with SpeedLine is that the Support is fantastic. I can call the support guys, and they’re on the phone with me, working out a problem in a heartbeat. A lot of times with POS companies, they leave you to figure it out on your own after a certain amount of training support. SpeedLine is easy. With SpeedLine, you’re still dealing with the SpeedLine company when you call support. Whereas, a lot of the other companies will have you calling some other support company that is dealing with four or five other programs, not just your POS one.”
If and when a problem occurs, you’ll need the very best customer support at your fingertips to get everything up and running again as soon as possible. Each second spent waiting on a solution is going to hurt your profits, your customer’s experience, and the reputation of your business. So when it comes to support services, the average wait time is something you should pay attention to.
“The support that SpeedLine gives is like no other. I love it because as soon as I have a question, I call them, and within three minutes, I'm on the phone with someone.” - Domenick Colandrea, King’s Pizza Pronto
In addition to quick response times, you’ll also want to look at the type of services offered by your POS support program. For example, SpeedLine Premiere Support gives you access to monthly menu changes, online ordering site adjustments, automatic software upgrades, and phone and email support requests available 365 days a year.
“Premiere Support is awesome. It’s a bit pricey but definitely worth it.” - Frank Prainito, Jet’s Pizza
For an individual restaurant with plenty of managerial staff, handling your menu changes and software upgrades might not seem like a big deal. However, restaurant owners with limited time on their hands or overseeing numerous locations will find much more value in an extensive support program.
“Support can be kind of expensive, but it’s worth it when you need it.” - Tom Dioguardi, Primo Pizza and Catering
4. Cloud Reporting Is Priceless
Your POS shouldn’t be limited to the walls of your restaurant. An invested owner will likely want to check in on their restaurant, even when they’re not there. To do this, you’ll need a point-of-sale with cloud reporting capabilities. With a standard POS, you’re only going to be able to access your reports from the home terminal, which is typically at the front counter or in the manager’s office in the back of house. So once you’re outside the building, you’re essentially in the dark regarding your business operations.
“The labor reporting keeps us at good profit levels. Before, we never had an accurate read. We keep an eye on Labor vs. Sales in SpeedLine every day.” - Nate Haas, Krazy Karl’s Pizza
When you upgrade to a POS with cloud reporting, you gain the ability to monitor your restaurant from anywhere. As long as you have a web-accessible device, you can get near real-time data from any and all of your restaurants and never be left in the dark again.
"My wife used to handwrite our reports. But now, all of my daily reports go through my email to my accountant for payroll. My wife doesn’t have to do anything anymore, that’s why I love SpeedLine." - Derek Ross, Pizza Factory
5. All-in-One Isn’t Always Best
A complete POS system requires the software, hardware, and additional components like payment processors, online ordering providers, and loyalty program providers. Depending on what POS company you end up partnering with, you might not always get the freedom to pick and choose which providers you work with for these additional services.
Some companies will provide an "all-in-one” POS package, which means their software comes with a bundled payment processor and hardware. While this has a particular convenience to it, an all-in-one package will also limit your choices and often saddle you with higher fees than you would otherwise be paying. The price you're paying with a bundled POS can end up being hundreds of dollars more per month, especially if you're a multi-location business or already experience a high volume of orders.
So if you want to save money while still getting the best POS system possible, then you may want to look for a POS provider that allows you to choose which services you use for payment processing, loyalty program, and other operational services.
"About 7 years ago, we did an RFP and looked at a bunch of POS services. What I liked about SpeedLine is that I could pick my own online ordering provider, my own loyalty provider, and they would work and then integrate together with the POS.” - Reed Daniels, Red’s Savoy Pizza
Most people have to learn these tips the hard way. But now that you’ve acquired them, you’ll find it much easier to get a point-of-sale system that you’re happy with and will continue to be pleased with for a long time.
Posted on Wed, Mar 02, 2022 @ 09:03 AM.
Updated on March 2, 2022 @ 5:31 PM PST.