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POS, What's your Point?


Todays blog comes to you with some animosity on my part. I'll try to stay within my legal rights while discussing POS systems. POS means point of sale. A restaurant POS, or point of sale, is a system of hardware and software that work together to handle workflow and transactions for a food and beverage business. But a modern restaurant POS is capable of so much more than taking orders, it can also Increase your sales. Improve your guest experience. Inform your business decisions. Here are the top 5 POS systems in Canada.


  1. lightspeed

  2. touchbistro

  3. square

  4. tillpoint

  5. epos now

A LITTLE MORE INFORMATION...

Not unlike many of the computers of yesteryear, the old POS systems were bulky and slow at best. Most now are cloud based making for improvements in speed and hardware. As far as computers are concerned, off-the-shelf versions are usually newer and hence more powerful than proprietary POS terminals. Custom modifications are added as needed. Other products, like touchscreen tablets and laptops, are readily available in the market, and they are more portable than traditional POS terminals. The only advantage of the latter is that they are typically built to withstand rough handling and spillages; a benefit for food & beverage businesses. The key requirements that must be met by modern POS systems include high and consistent operating speed, reliability, ease of use, remote supportability, low cost, and rich functionality. Retailers can reasonably expect to acquire such systems (including hardware) for about $10,000 (as of 2019) per terminal. Many companies have month to month plans to soften the blow, but hardware is almost always extra. You are basically paying for software and service.


WHAT REALLY MATTERS?

The hardware is pretty much all the same, these are database intense applications. What really matters is the software and the service....especially the service. Now for my little story about POS. As you can imagine running several paid membership websites, I require a means to collect revenue. POS isn't really needed for this, many web service providers have integrations for shopping cart features. However, not all my business is virtual, I still do private catering from time to time with corporate accounts. Sometimes these companies are limited in there means of paying...for example credit cards at the point of sale. So this brought me into looking at a POS for myself. Something simple and inexpensive to deal with these occasions. And again I stress customer service as a governing feature! I tried two American based companies initially, HONEYBOOK AND SQUARE. Both companies are terrible on so many levels...especially customer service. Gratefully I didn't lose any money with Honeybook, but I have with SQUARE, A LOT! Fortunately I discovered MONERIS, a Canadian company that has seamless integration with RBC, my bank. Although not listed in the top 5, they should be. I would also like to point out that LIGHTSPEED is also Canadian, but more suitable for full service restaurants. The point I am making is to be careful about your choices. and remember it's all about the software and service.

MORE ABOUT SOFTWARE

Software is the what gives you the functionality you need. Here is my list of most important features. Oddly, but not surprisingly most POS systems are Front of House focused, often being weak in the chef tools department.

  1. Speed up transactions; Serve more customers in less time. A restaurant POS can remove certain steps of the front-of-house workflow and help increase the speed of each transaction. And the more customers you serve, the more money you make.

  2. A restaurant POS can break down food cost percentages and contribution margins by day and by menu item. When you know how much a menu item is costing you to make, you can spot opportunities to optimize your menu prices.

  3. A restaurant POS can help combat employee theft – leading to an increase in actual sales – in a few different ways. First and foremost, a POS ensures that all ordered items are tracked. To get a BLT from the kitchen with extra bacon, for example, the barista has to enter it into the POS.

  4. Use the customer database collected through your POS loyalty program to target marketing campaigns for individual customer preferences.

  5. Streamline online orders from takeout and delivery apps like Uber Eats, Grubhub, Delivery.com, DoorDash, and more.

  6. Know exactly how much your front-of-house staff are selling, how many voids they’re entering, and how long they’re taking with each customer or table.

There is a ton more reasons here;

Also check out my preferred POS; https://www.moneris.com/


CONCLUSION

To wrap this up, one last point. I mentioned the weakness of most POS systems is the lack of tools available to chefs and kitchen managers. This was true 15 years ago, and to some degree is still true today. By this I mean the organizational tools like recipe costing, inventory management, and kitchen management. I recommend using a separate platform for these tools. I use mastercook software, an affordable, functional, multiplatform tool. Mastercook offers solutions for most types of operations from personal chef to healthcare, and everything in between, at affordable pricing. The customer service is excellent as well! Consider joining the pro chef network to get this program at a highly discounted price, with hundreds of other essential tools that every Chef of Cred should be using. Cheers, and have a great weekend!



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