A POS system is a must-have for the success of almost every retailer and restaurant operator, but it also represents a significant financial expense. While there is no avoiding 100 percent of all POS system snafus, there are several common issues with the technology that can easily be avoided, in turn safeguarding your investment. Let’s take a look at some of these issues and how to prevent or minimize them.
- Power-related problems. Spikes and surges emitted by other restaurant or retail store equipment—everything from microwave ovens and freezers to elevators and space heaters used to warm up outdoor dining areas in cooler weather—can cause noise in your power supply, inflicting damage on your POS system and causing it to fail. To eliminate these spikes and surges, you can connect the POS system to a power protection device; some companies manufacture devices designed especially for use with POS hardware. In addition to stopping high-voltage power surges and lightning strikes from damaging POS terminals, these devices perform such tasks as filtering low-voltage spikes and shielding POS equipment against the effects of over-voltage.
You can also install a dedicated circuit with an isolated ground that is used only for your POS equipment. In all cases, implement battery POS backup that will kick in should a power failure occur.
- Problems associated with cables. Retail stores, restaurants, and food trucks are all very busy places. Employees, in their rush to ring up sales or enter orders, can unintentionally trip over your POS system’s power cables, accidentally unplugging the hardware and possibly leading to temporary system failure as well as lost sales. Similarly, when cables are plugged in seemingly anywhere without rhyme or reason, someone is bound to accidentally disconnect one sooner or later—again potentially causing the POS system to stop working temporarily and putting you at risk of seeing customers walk out the door without ordering food or making a purchase. A good cable management system that organizes cables in a logical way and makes it obvious that cables connect to the POS system (and therefore should not be touched) can eliminate these cable-related headaches.
- Software snafus. There is no denying that using existing PCs or iPads as components of a POS system can save retailers and restaurant operators money. However, many of these devices are consumer-grade and are not “retail-hardened”—in other words, they are not manufactured from industrial-grade components and able to withstand the rigors of retail use, nor are they properly configured to run robust, full-featured POS software. To circumvent this type of incompatibility, check with your POS system vendor prior to making a purchasing decision. Garner an understanding of all computing requirements for running your software and select only a POS system that can effectively do so.
More likely than not in the course of operating a retail store, restaurant, or similar establishment, you will experience some type of minor difficulty with your POS system. As we have discussed here, certain issues and their repercussions can be avoided through a proactive approach. To push things up a notch, purchase all hardware and software from a single POS provider—after all, it staves off finger-pointing—and ask about tech support options at every turn. The more problems with your POS system that you can prevent ahead of time, the more hassle-free it will be to run your operation on a day-to-day basis and avoid unnecessary headaches at every turn.