Business and Operations
Choosing a POS: Giorgio’s corner
By Giorgio Tavernti
How to choose a POS system
By Giorgio Tavernti
Your point-of-sale system should serve your pizzeria’s every need. It should be able to tell you everything about your business at any point in time, past or present. As your business grows, so will its point-of-sale (POS) needs and when it’s time for a change, there are a few things you should know.
Although changes in technology can be intimidating and frustrating, they can help you succeed. POS systems have come a long way from the basic cash register. You can now effortlessly be wireless, paperless, and ideally, stress-less. You can monitor your sales from home, in a meeting or even on the beach. Almost all new systems come with savvy advances in technology and this can make it difficult to choose the right one for you. The best way to ensure that you do is to do your research: ask questions, make sure the system you choose is user-friendly and get feedback from staff who are using it. Most importantly, make sure any new investment in technology can grow with your business.
I have upgraded my POS system more than a few times and with each upgrade in technology I have redefined my business needs. Ask yourself what you really want from a POS. This question makes the selection process much easier and allows you to truly understand what is a make-it or break-it feature for you.
With so much innovative software out there, the idea of choosing one can be overwhelming. That’s why researching potential systems is crucial. During the process, you may come across software that seems promising but doesn’t have everything you’re looking for. Don’t discount a system right away because many suppliers will make modifications to the software based on your needs. Write down all your questions, call the company and see if any customization is possible. Before making any decisions, ask as many questions and run through as many scenarios as you need to in order to get all the information you need. Be sure to read reviews of the company and its level of service. A piece of software may be brilliant but if it’s not attached to an accommodating and friendly customer service representative, it can make a business relationship daunting.
New advances in technology are exciting and can increase your restaurant’s revenue, efficiency and exposure. They can even prevent a loss of income. However, it’s important to choose a user-friendly system. Posting on social media is about as tech savvy as I get, so when I recently switched my POS system I needed to make sure I could navigate and teach the new system to others. When I finished my research, I asked for a software demonstration version of the program I’d chosen. A system may have every feature you want and seem like a dream come true, but if it’s too difficult to navigate or customize, then is it really the right one for you? A demo will show you how to use the system with your business in mind, whether you’re a mama-and-papa shop like me or a big chain restaurant. This demo will help you narrow down your technological choices and allow you to see how well the potential new company works within your business.
If you’re impressed by the demo, then dig in further and see what the software includes. Is there a membership fee? Is there 24-7 customer service? Does the company provide staff training? Is the data backed up externally? These are all important factors to consider. You don’t want to be left alone after a single tutorial session with a program you haven’t yet mastered.
Don’t let the pizzazz of software features cloud your judgment. Your new system needs to be beneficial over the long haul. A system may have everything you need now but what about in the next two to five years? Can this new software or upgrade to your old technology grow with your business? This is a fair question for every business to consider, especially a small business. With advancements in technology happening so quickly, choosing an upgrade can be stressful. The cost and longevity of the software are definitely determining factors. Any new software is both an expense and an investment; therefore, a good POS system should be able to grow with your business needs.
You will learn new skills with any POS system. Take advantage of your system’s innovative features and use them to benefit your pizzeria. Be sure to make notes and continually modify your system to suit your needs and to make it the best it can be for you.
Giorgio Taverniti owns Frank’s Pizza House in Toronto, which has been in his family since 1990. A graduate of George Brown College’s culinary management and Italian culinary programs, Giorgio helped found a popular pizza-making workshop at the college and ran it for three years.