There are a lot of different aspects to consider before purchasing a new POS system for your restaurant. Being that the entire staff and management team will rely on your POS system to run the daily operations and to track key metrics, it is an important investment and business owners should take the time to find the system that is going to be the right fit for their specific wants, operations, and budget.
When it comes to POS systems for your restaurant, buyers should beware. Many POS vendors are not concerned with whether the system will actually be the best match for their customers and they tend to go to great lengths to persuade buyers to invest. Therefore, even restaurant owners who take their time doing research can find themselves in an undesirable partnership with their POS system. Here are four common mistakes and oversights that owners typically make.
1. They do not consider the future costs of owning a POS system
When you purchase a POS system, it is important to calculate the future costs that will be associated with maintaining and supporting the system. Ask yourself:
- "Will I have to purchase an expensive support package?"
- "Will I pay an hourly rate to get the support I need when an issue arises?"
- "Am I going to have to pay for system updates each year to keep my system running properly?
- "How much will I have to spend on IT technician visits?"
These are all questions you should ask before choosing a new restaurant POS system.
2. They are not up to date or aware of upcoming changes in the industry
In 2015, the U.S. began the process of converting to EMV payment standards. In order to adhere to EMV compliance, restaurants will need to invest in new hardware and software that is capable of accepting pin-and-chip card payments. Restaurant owners who are unaware of that change could find themselves paying for another system all over again in order to follow the updates and requirements. In order to avoid getting you and your business in this type of aggravating circumstance, make sure you do your research before buying a new POS system and ask how they plan to transition into the new regulations.
3. They do not research the vendor of the POS system
When you purchase your POS system, you are engaging in a partnership and an agreement with the vendor. In a lot cases, the vendor will help you build your menu digitally, install your system for you, train your staff on that system if need be, and provide support when you have an issue with your system. Make sure you choose a vendor who has a great reputation. Choose a company who cares about your experience, who has a reputation of high-quality installs, timely responses, and five-star customer support.
4. They do not ask about the fine print in financing
Payment plans offered can be an enticing option, particularly for new restaurants and restaurants who initially, have very slim profit margins. There is nothing wrong with financing options, but owners should proceed with caution about what they agree to when they enter into a payment plan. In many cases, payment plans can act as a way of luring restaurant owners into a long-term contract. If you enter into a finance plan and find out very quickly that the system is not a good fit, you may not be able to get out of your payment plan contract without paying off the remaining balance. Some payment plans will even hold you responsible for paying off the leftover balance regardless if your restaurant goes out of business.
Choosing the right POS system for your business can prove to be a tasking experience. Asking yourself and the vendor the right questions can help you find the perfect solution for your particular restaurant's needs. Be smart and know your options. A POS system can make or break a business. Give yourself, your staff, and your business the peace of mind knowing you are supported by your POS system.
Rich Peterson is the Divisional President of Integrated Point of Sale at Sterling Payment Technologies