Any restaurant owner who understands the importance of researching an investment has done so before choosing a new POS system for their business.  However, it’s easy to underestimate how crucial it is to do your research about the vendor and provider of that very same POS service you’re interesting in buying.  No one likes to look back on a capital investment like a POS system and feel as though they saw little to no return on their investment.  With this in mind, owners and operators want to consider these five suggestions when shopping both for a POS system and a POS vendor.

  1. Industry experienceLine at Bar
    Obviously, you’ve heard the typical adages here. For example, “retail store owners have different needs from their POS than a restaurant owner does.” All of these are true, and certainly do not need to be repeated via this blog.  But it is absolutely crucial that anyone shopping for a new POS consider the industry experience of their software provider.  While yes that company that has been in the retail industry for 30-plus years has great pricing on their new restaurant POS, they’ve only been supporting it for 6 months. Do you really want to risk being the next guinea pig after beta testers for this software company?  Make sure that you stick with a company who has specific-to-your-industry experience to smooth your way in this extensive process.
  2. References and Qualifications
    It goes without saying that no one would hire a contractor, an employee or especially an executive without checking their references and qualifications, so why would you not do the same when you’re considering investing in the CPU of your business, the POS system? In fact, finding customers that will give you feedback (the good, the bad and the ugly) about the systems you’re looking at, as well as answer any questions about their experience with the vendor.  Questions specific to your needs, asking how vendors apply industry expertise for the business’ problems, what the service personnel are like, response time for support and more.As far as qualifications are concerned, it is not uncommon for prospective buyers to request information from the provider about their customer rate of retention.  Additionally, don’t forget to ask if they have any third-party recognition like certifications, awards or association memberships that can distinguish them from the competition.
  3. Stability
    The list of provider options for your new POS system should absolutely be short, and should certainly contain only those companies that are established in the industry and financially sound (they don’t have a lot of debt). Otherwise, you the purchaser could run a risk of purchasing a POS system that suddenly is no longer supported due to the fact that the company you bought it from is no longer in existence.  A company that has long been established in the industry and is financially sound is more likely to reinvest in things like new product features and functionality, research and development, as well as ensuring that their software solution retains its ability to be scalable for their customers’ needs in both the short and the long term.Tablet POS-web
  4. Implementation and Training
    The caliber of the system implementation, as well as the depth of training services that your prospective POS provider makes available for you will have a great impact on the success in the same way that the selection of a vendor in general will. Buyers will need to be able to rely on the fact that the vendor can keep up with the following:

    1. Reliable Installation — deployment is completed on schedule, all of the components have been tested to ensure correct functionality
    2. Thorough Training — Hands-on, with the guarantee, or at least an assurance from your management team, that they are comfortable with the system before training has concluded.
  5. Support
    Consistent, ongoing and dependable support is imperative to the success of a POS system, as even the most top-of-the-line system can have problems, errors, etc. Buyers need to be prepared, by asking questions like: will the POS system provider offer support by telephone, online, on-site or a combination of all of the above?  What are standard response times for support?  Where do the additional or separate charges for support come in?Regardless of whatever the answers may be to these questions, it is a software provider’s job to have a responsible and reliable support staff that is available and accessible seven days a week.

There are a myriad of options in the marketplace for POS systems, and it is certainly tempting to go with the first vendor or even the most economically priced system.  But is it really worth the risk to your investment and your business? No way!  You and your team need to vet out every prospective vendor the same way you would a POS system.  Using the five points above you will be in a much better position to make a purchase that will benefit your business for both the short and long term.