“Is it time to invest in a new POS?” this is the litany that goes through many restaurant operators’ minds on a consistent basis.  Frankly, it’s something that any restaurant owner should be asking themselves all the time.  In fact, if you’re not asking yourself this question often, maybe it’s time to start.  It’s understandable, you’ve invested in a system that should be working just fine for you and your team, but there are glitches and problems, things you didn’t anticipate and now need to reevaluate.  If you’re getting feedback from your operators that this may be the case, here are four signs that should be pointing you to the marketplace to start shopping:

1. Little to no support

It is no longer the case that the ability to pay quickly for purchases is all that consumers need. A top-notch customer experience requires much more than fast transaction times, and operators are starting to realize this.  Loyalty programs, marketing promotions,  the ability to engage with customers based on their spending histories, offering the ability to order ahead online, and utilizing a multi-channel business model have all become requirements for a superb customer experience for any restaurant operator.  If your current POS system does not give you the tools to maximize your business’ ability to do any of these things, it’s time to find a new solution that will.

2. Hardware bringing you down

Most operators don’t realize that older systems that are heavily hardware based will often end up costing you more in repairs than an investment in upgrading the entire POS system. Frequent glitches, like monitors that won’t power up or printers that can’t connect to the system are key indicators that your system could very well be at risk of needing repairs at the very least, and in danger of failing completely at worst.Other hardware related issues can often signal that its more than time to upgrade to a newer POS.  Many operators who have legacy systems are now learning that a lot of the components and peripherals for these older systems are now obsolete. In fact, they’re so obsolete that the original vendors are no longer supporting the product at all.  The harsh reality for these operators is that even if these peripherals and equipment are still available, as their system ages, this equipment is going to skyrocket in price.  The result of this, is that operators are forced to operate their business with less equipment, and lowering the number of POS systems available will create a huge headache for your customer experience.  Additionally, this can also have a negative effect on the business’ ability to back up and restore data, which puts even more hurdles in your way to achieving success.

3. The umbrella of omni-channel and it’s problems

With the dawning of the eCommerce era over the past few years, customers have become accustomed to consistency from businesses in a brand sense. The marketplace has become much more of an in-demand arena for consumers, and businesses are struggling to keep up with their expectations.  It is no longer acceptable that a menu change has occurred but is not reflected in the menu itself.  Issues like this will frankly hurt the business in general, but most especially when it comes to customer retention.  Whether online ordering or a visit to a brick and mortar location, customers expect that everything across the board will be branded the same.With businesses facing these sorts of needs, a POS that can deliver real-time data and information to operators across all of the lines of the business is crucial.  Some owners and operators try to avoid upgrades to have the ability to get this information with “work-arounds” that might get a little bit of data out of the system, but nowhere near what they need to operate successfully in the current marketplace.  Using a “work-around” is never a good idea, as it can expose the business to errors as well as cause losses in productivity.  Opting for a system upgrade to your POS to something that can fully support all of the business’ needs is truly the best solution.

4. Analytics that are understandable

Operators are constantly striving to improve their business, but are really unable to do so without data that is actionable and analytics that truly show them where improvements can be made or are appearing. If your POS system does not have side-by-side capabilities where you can view a single store versus an entire district’s performance, it will be impossible for any business to implement the kind of change that it needs to positively effect growth.

Big or small, a restaurant business’ ability to upgrade to a newer, more efficient POS system is a sizable investment in both time and money.  But the truth of the matter is, if you the restaurant owner or operator are dealing with one or more of the problems addressed in this blog, it’s time to invest.  It is not hard to do a cost-benefit analysis and see the truth, that a new POS system will pay itself back exponentially in almost no time at all.