How To Select The Best P.O.S. System For Your Restaurant
QUESTION FROM: Susan
Frustrated AF with my POS. Been asking everyone I can which system they like best and why and thought I's ask you guys to weigh in before making my decision.
Thank you HH, Sue
Most people will tell you that the best system they've ever worked on is, ironically, the one they have the most experience with. Aloha, in my opinion is much better than Micros but my first experience with micros was back in the monochromatic green on green (and orange on orange) screen days.
We had to use micros in a few casino outlets due to the fact that those casinos were already using micros for their front desk and other F&B offerings and we needed to be able to accept comps issued by those primary core systems ....so sometimes you don't or won’t have a choice.
But a lot of folks have had their fill with Aloha and are now considering newer web-based / cloud-based solutions since Aloha's hardware (and software) are now quickly becoming dated.
With so many options on the table, the ability to integrate into other systems and the overall intuitive use for a younger generation of servers have become key features that are as attractive as overall dependability.
I like what industry veteran, Bob Watson, had to say on the matter:
We love TOAST. We literally looked at everything we could get our hands on in Q1 & Q2 2018. There are many tablet based systems that were all similar and all have positive sides. Look at them all & think of everything that can come up in a daily, weekly, yearly scenario. Ask the sales person every question possible. Ask for references and PERSONALLY REACH OUT TO THEM. Don’t ask what they like- any salesperson should be able to feed that to you, ask what they don’t like. Or what the shortcomings are. That’s where you’ll find your best insight.
For us, our biggest concerns was making sure the system was robust and could handle those high traffic days. After talking with other larger establishments they were happy with TOAST. Are there other systems out there that could do the same? I’m sure there are but everything we heard from about TOAST was positive. The one short coming I heard from everyone, no matter the system, MAKE SURE YOUR INTERNAL NETWORK CAN HANDLE EVERYTHING AT PEAK TIMES. The people with the best insight were those that learned the hard way. This doesn’t matter if it’s TOAST its all of them- over build and put in fail safe features to prevent failure. Have 3 different backups. We completely reworked our entire network. We split off & isolated major bandwidth to allow TOAST to have first priority. Knock on wood, we only had 1 major issue that was quickly resolved and we were able to operate through it. Since then it’s essentially been flawless.
We are a larger account. There are days we are pushing 6,000 checks. This next year we’re anticipating 8,000 checks. Checks, not people. There may be 2-??? People on a check. Or the same person may open or close a check a couple times. And in those high volumes days we don’t skip a beat.
From everything listed above we know the reliability is there. The other MAJOR positive was the TOAST GOs. Handheld tablets/terminals that servers carry, that wirelessly handle all table service. They can be used anywhere FOH- Host desk, along with bartender as well as BOH to assist KDS and food expo. They’re well built with full shift battery life.
The cloud based system and the freedom it provides is amazing. We can always access our backend. Make menu changes and see what’s happening in real time no matter where we are- on site, home or a vacation (LOL).
Rewards program, online ordering, ease of menu changes/ backend ease of use all make for a system we couldn’t be happier with TOAST.”
When you do decide...whether it's Breadcrumb, Aloha, Square, Toast, Harbortouch or any other one of the numerous options that can make your head spin at the NRA Show in Vegas...the overriding most important feature of any POS system is: response time...especially if the system is not web/cloud based.
Ask "Where are they based?"
How many techs are in your area?
Are you locked in as far as credit card processing goes and which fees are fixed / may potentially rise?
How long are you left on hold when you call tech support?
What is their response time like when your system goes down at 7:45 on a Saturday night?
Do they offer additional hardware or cloud-based services to run in redundancy when your base goes down?
Do they integrate with other outlets, delivery services, website or web/app based ordering systems, etc...?
Service plans, availability and training are some of the biggest aspects to evaluate when making this big decision as well...just remember - no matter what system you go with: be sure to invest in stress-avoiding and time-saving "Crash Kits" (i.e., menus with updated pricing, calculators, carbon copy chit pads and zipper bags for a bank in a plastic case under each one of those new POS terminals because even handheld tablets storing transaction data eventually need to be re-charged.