Terminal Pursuit

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Choosing a point-of-sale (POS) system for your foodservice business can be daunting. With so many options on the market, it’s tough to know which one is right for you. But, with a couple of considerations from those in the know, narrowing it down can be done.

FIGURE OUT YOUR NEEDS
There is no one-size-fits-all for foodservice POS, so defining your expectations is the first step. Sean McCaughan, Business Development manager at Calgary-based IQ Interactive, says when potential customers come to him looking for a solution, he suggests first working out what problems need to be addressed. “It’s not about what’s the best thing, it’s about finding the best thing for you.”

For example, he says, a food truck with six menu items might look for portability first, putting reliability farther down the list, as falling back to pen and paper wouldn’t be too disruptive. However, a 200-seat fine-dining restaurant would have reliability and customer service at the top of the list, eliminating the risk of a system freezing mid-service.

CONSIDER THE RELATIONSHIP
McCaughan also urges restaurant owners to consider the service relationship when choosing a POS. “Buying a POS isn’t like buying a microwave; it’s a relationship you’re building with a company and you want to make sure whatever company you go with, you want to be in a relationship with them.” If you expect on-demand customer service, make sure to find out if that’s in the cards, but if you’re comfortable troubleshooting on your own, then a more cost-effective solution might be for you.

ACCOUNT FOR COST
Alex Wallen, owner of Sugo, a busy full-service restaurant in Toronto, chose iPad-based system TouchBistro because of its efficiency and cost-effectiveness. “Other terminals are astronomically more expensive and with long installation times. This was easy, cheap and, for what we need, it’s perfect.” He continues, “When you’re opening a restaurant, you have to watch every single cost. When you’re spending $150,000 to $200,000 and it’s everything you’ve got, the difference between being able to get something for a few grand and wait a week and having to wait a month and spending $15,000 to $20,000 — it’s a no-brainer.”

PONDER MORE THAN A POS
Amanda and Greg da Silva own and operate El Camino, a Spanish restaurant in Cobourg, Ont. They use their POS to tap into the back-end analytics to mine for data to make responsive decisions. “You can look up what happened on that day last year, compare it and then prepare,” says Greg. Having detailed information available makes decisions on everything from real-time labour costs to planning a holiday special faster and easier.

When it comes to finding the right POS, Wallen has a solution, “Go to the places you want to emulate and see what they’ve got. If they have a good operating procedure and everyone is using the same system, then that might be a significant marker.”

Written by Andrea Victory

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