Smart Operators: 4 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a POS System
We often share tips for selecting the right point of sale for your business, but today, let’s shift our focus to common mistakes restaurant operators make in evaluating POS software, and the impact they can have on you and your long term profitability.
Most restaurant operators do their research— a lot of thought, preparation and keen business sense goes into the decisions you make for your restaurant company. Selecting your point of sale system requires that level of research and analysis. Most POS sales reps will be happy to tell you that nothing beats their product. Your job is to filter the sales hype and understand exactly how the software will fit your operation and help you meet your business goals.
So keep your skeptic’s hat on, and avoid these four common mistakes:
1. Failing to ask key questions. What do you know about the vendor?
- Are they established and financially healthy? You need a supplier you can rely on to support you for the long term.
- What experience do they have in supporting restaurants like yours? Are they staffed to provide solid, responsive customer service? What is their track record in handling installations like yours?
- What training do they provide?
- How long have they been in business?
- How many customers do they have? Who are some of their biggest clients?
- Do they specialize in point of sale software for your specific segment of the restaurant market?
- What are their customer service policies and metrics?
The point of sale industry has always been very competitive. New vendors come and go. Before you choose, be confident that both the product and the vendor company are the right match.
2. Not checking references. Of course most vendors will go out of their way to provide you with their best references. But by requesting them and following through with the right questions, you could save yourself the hassle of partnering with the wrong POS vendor. A local reference is great, if possible, since you can often learn more by visiting a restaurant to observe the staff using the POS. But a knowledgeable reference whose business model is a close match for yours may be even more helpful.
Remember to ask the important questions: What do they like about the product? How does it impact their business? What are their frustrations? How is the support? And most important, would they recommend it to you and anyone else?
3. Buying based on price alone. Everyone loves a deal, and you likely get solicited every day with offers of low priced hardware and point of sale software.
But a deal is only a deal if the product and vendor are the right match for your business. Resist the temptation of trying to save a buck on a low-end product that’s not scalable to meet the needs of your growing business. In the end, it may cost you more to upgrade the product, or worse yet, replace it when it doesn’t work. Think long term͔. A point of sale system that meets your needs and grows with your business is worth the initial investment.
4. Purchasing a One Size Fits All. Point of sale systems come in all shapes and sizes, and there isn’t a single provider out there that can fulfill every wish for every restaurant operator. Find a POS system designed specifically for your business model, not a generic solution that tries to be all things to all restaurants. Also make sure the software you choose can integrate seamlessly with third-party technology applications. Don’t lock yourself into a limited solution that won’t allow you to take advantage of the next wave of new restaurant technology.
For information on integration options with SpeedLine, see our current technology partners here.
Unlike many other purchases you make for your business, your point of sale system is a decision you will have to live with for years to come. Knowing what to look for and what to avoid can save you time, money, and headaches down the road. Remember to ask the right questions, check references, look for real value, and keep your options open. You’ll be glad you did.