A point of sale system (POS) is essential, especially for a restaurant business. It helps in managing and updating inventory, completing transactions as well as in keeping track of employee productivity. Buying a POS system is one of the best decisions that you can make for your restaurant.
If you have made that prudent decision to buy one, then there are crucial questions that you need to ask the vendor before you make your final decision.
In this article, we’ll discuss key questions that you should to ask when buying a restaurant POS system.
Some POS vendors usually require buyers to pay for upgrades. These updates come with a hefty price tag. If the system involves updates, then you need to know before you make a purchase. You also need to know if those updates are free or come at a price.
You should only consider buying the POS system if the vendor offers free updates for the life of the system. With security requirements continually changing, it is not fair to pay to keep your POS system functioning at top notch.
Remember that you will use this system every day to run your restaurant business. As a result, it needs to be something that is comfortable for you and your staff.
In addition to asking the company if the software is user-friendly, go one step further, get a live or online demo to gain firsthand experience as to whether it is as user-friendly as they claim.
Customer support is very important for POS systems. You need to know if the vendor provides in-house support or if it is outsourced.
If support is outsourced, then it means that it will take time before you have the issue fixed because of a potentially long chain of communication. In-house and local support (in your city or country) is the best option because you can communicate directly with the product developers – this means that they can fix any potential technical issues fast.
Some vendors provide technical support for a certain period while others require you to pay for technical support from the start. It is important to know if you will be required to pay and if yes, then the vendor should specify the amount that you will pay per month or minute.
Many of the new and modern POS providers will usually provide support as an included service as long as you’re a customer.
Every restaurant owner’s dream is to expand his/her business. If you have dreams of expanding your business in the future, then you need to ask if your point of sale sofware and hardware can be upgraded to meet the growing demands of your business.
The vendor should tell you if you will be required to purchase a new system if you want to expand your business or if you can scale up the POS solution that you already have.
Some vendors offer POS solutions that allow you to integrate with the existing software – this is important especially if your restaurant already has payment, loyalty, accounting, and online ordering tools. If the software does not integrate with other systems that you have, then you will find yourself overlapping functions.
If the restaurant POS system can integrate with other systems that you already have, then you will avoid malfunctioning patches, reduce the overall cost of ownership as well as unify separate systems.
You will find ,however, that most software providers are agnostic, and providers want you to use their software and equipment to keep everything running smoothly.
You need to ask the vendor if the restaurant point of sale system that you are considering is PCI compliant. PCI compliance is important because it helps to keep you out of trouble especially when processing and storing client credit card details.
No matter how good the vendor says about their system, you should not just believe everything that they say. Of course, it is complicated for the vendor to say negative things about the system that they are selling. The best person to give you unbiased information is the customer who has bought the system and is currently using it in his/her restaurant. Request the vendor to connect you will one of their customers so that you can learn about their experience – his will help you genuine review of what to expect when you finally make a purchase.
If the vendor is willing to connect you with an actual customer, then that is a clear indication that they sell a quality POS system. However, if they are skeptical of linking you with their previous clients, then that should concern you.
Also, look at online reviews to get an idea of other customer experiences, but keep in mind, it’s more common for someone to complain about their POS than it is to rave about it.
Some vendors provide warranty for all their hardware while some don’t. In most cases, vendors usually give warranty for brand new and refurbished POS system. Most vendors don’t provide a warranty for used POS equipment.
If the vendor provides a warranty, you should ask them to specify how long the warranty is valid. In most cases, brand new POS systems have a longer warranty than refurbished ones. The longer the warranty, the more reliable the POS system is. You should worry if the vendor does not issue a warranty.
Some vendors provide menu building and installation services at no extra cost while others require you to pay a certain fee or not offer these services at all. It is good to ask if you have to look for an expert to install the equipment and program the software menu or if they will do it for you.
For example, a company like Harbortouch will install and program the menu for your restaurant POS anywhere in the USA at no additional cost, you can visit here to learn more.
Other companies may just ship the software and hardware to you and you are on your own to install everything and program the menu yourself.
In conclusion, a POS system is a huge investment. Before you purchase one, you need to ask crucial questions to be sure that you are buying the right system that will add value to your restaurant.
Remember that there are no bad or childish questions. If you have anything that bothers you about the product, then don’t hesitate to ask.
When purchasing a new restaurant POS system, keep in mind it plays a vital role in connecting all your restaurant activity. It is therefore crucial to ensure that you purchase the right software and hardware and that can only happen if you ask the right questions before you make a purchase.