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Rob Jones
Written by Rob Jones
September 19, 2017

9 Signs That Your POS System Needs to be Replaced

Like any technology system or platform, the quality of a hospitality brand’s point-of-sale system determines how well an organization can adapt to changing times, like changes in customer behavior, or new integration opportunities. A point-of-sale is the primary hub for sales, inventory, and other operational factors. In the cloud, POS becomes a more efficient channel to inform actionable strategy to keep momentum going around guest experience and competitive advantage.

Importantly to that goal, there are signs that POS systems are no longer helping companies do that, and actually hinder them in moving forward. As a hospitality professional, how do you know that your POS system needs to be replaced?

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Here are 9 signs to look for that help answer this important question, especially during a time when the technology landscape in the hospitality industry is shifting fast.

1. Your POS isn’t cloud-based

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. You might have expected this one to be at the top of the list from us at Vivonet. We’re passionate about the cloud and what can be done in the cloud. But this isn’t about how enthusiastic we are. It’s about the ability for brands to stay competitive. If your POS isn’t in the cloud, keeping up with brands that are is going to be a challenge. 

One of the key advantages of cloud-based POS is the immediacy it helps restaurants, hotels, and foodservices organizations to achieve. The incoming data from cloud-based POS systems connects to integrated applications that collect data in real-time from various sources at once. Simply put, this means that organizations can act much faster on what their data is telling them, whether management is at a location or not. At this point in history, that advantage is not a luxury. It’s absolutely necessary to success.

2. Your POS doesn’t synch with back office tools in real time

Cloud-based POS synchs front of house and back of house to give organizations a more meaningful view of how that relationship translates to growth and success. If your POS doesn’t fulfill this role in real time, it’s costing you the chance at a more immediate and complete picture of what’s happening, and what isn’t happening, and what absolutely needs to happen where day-to-day operations are concerned. All told, this can cost you a competitive edge.

The information you’re getting from your POS system should be an integral part of your ability to report on sales, spend, and stock in real time. It needs to feed (and be fed by) enterprise management tools, inventory data, food cost reporting, and labor costs and scheduling in real time to enable this most effectively. This allows you to set budgets and plan buying schedules as efficiently as your competitors can.

3. Your POS depends on outdated hardware

When your POS system depends directly on any sort of proprietary or legacy hardware, it can be difficult to stay ahead of the curve when that hardware goes out of general use. Your organization should have the ability to add the latest model of terminals and other devices as needed across multiple locations, without interrupting the ability to process transactions. Having to plan installations around specific makes and models of hardware can slow you down.

Industry leaders have invested in cloud-based POS that is hardware agnostic, giving them the ability to maintain operations even as aging hardware is replaced by new. Your organization should have that same resilience to undergo a hardware end-of-life process while not ending the life of your company's competitive momentum. A POS system that won't play well with new hardware limits that resiliency.

4. Your POS UI isn’t user-friendly (and your staff hate it)

An aging, outdated POS system can keep hospitality brands from creating a guest-friendly sense of welcome. It can do this by being unfriendly to the staff who use the point-of-sale during their shifts to serve those guests. When staff are hindered from doing their best work because of tools that don't help them do their jobs effectively, that strikes at the heart of what your organization is trying to build; a competitive brand represented by happy, helpful staff.

If your staff hate using your POS system because it's unforgiving when it comes to voids, refunds, split payments, modifiers, and last-minute changes to order details, that's a sign that things need to change. This isn't just a technology issue. When things go wrong because of POS errors, guests notice. It's inconvenient, and it looks sloppy. Sometimes it's hard for guests to justify a return visit even when an issue has been resolved.

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5. Your POS doesn’t connect with current payment options

Payment technology has evolved in leaps and bounds even over the past few years. Your POS needs to keep up. If it doesn’t, you may be missing out on sales and on gaining competitive momentum as new payment methods gain traction. Not every POS system is fitted to serve every single payment method or technology at any given time. But, any POS in operation by this point should be based in an ecosystem that potentially allows payment options to be added easily.

The goal of any hospitality brand is meeting guests where they are. More specifically, your POS system must be in support of guests who adopt emerging technologies in their everyday lives, like mobile payments or pay-at-the-table options, for instance. Offering the payment methods and other technology that guests prefer is fundamental to your ability to serve them. Your POS should at least potentially serve that expectation, too.

6. Your POS makes consumer and business data vulnerable to attack

As reported by this year's Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, data attacks through POS systems in hotels, restaurants, and foodservices are notoriously common. Thanks to the advent of new technologies that tighten up security protocols and the means to manage sensitive and private data, the instances of data attacks have receded over the last year. But the POS is still the leading weak point of external attacks for the industry.

The implications are clear. Your POS must be in line with the latest security measures to protect it from attack. This means your point-of-sale has to meet current requirements. An investment in a point-of-sale that is PA-DSS compliant in conjunction with payment partners who are held to similarly strict standards helps hospitality businesses to avoid data breaches. In turn, it helps them avoid the costs that associated with attacks, which can be significant.

7. Your POS doesn’t compensate for outages and terminal failures

No system is perfect and outages and hardware issues occur all the time, often at the worst possible moment. The question is: how do these circumstances affect your point-of-sale? Can you continue to serve guests during an outage or hardware failure incident? Does your POS system have the functionality to compensate when any terminal goes down? If not, then this is yet another sign that your POS needs to be replaced. 

Right now, leading hospitality brands see the importance of having flexibility around switching terminals to serve multiple revenue centers if needed, with guests still being served and the requisite transaction data continuing to be collected appropriately. Cloud-based POS systems are designed to achieve continuity of service and greater flexibility that legacy systems can't match under the same conditions. In this, industry leaders that use them have a distinct advantage over organizations that don't. 

8. Your POS no longer serves the expectations of guests

This is something touched on by a few of the points made above. Demographic shifts are a big part of the “rapidly changing industry” equation right now, with millennials becoming more and more influential on the industry with every passing day. You may have even read our recent article all about that. For this new and rapidly emerging generation of consumers, flexibility is key to a great guest experience. What does this mean for your POS?

It means that if your POS doesn’t connect easily with loyalty programs, self-serve kiosks, and electronic receipts functionality, it won’t connect with how your guest wishes to interact with your brand. For instance, your point-of-sale should allow guests to be served and billed right where they are. It should allow them to use loyalty apps easily, and to split a bill between various modes of payment according to their convenience, not the system's. If your POS is letting you down in these areas, it’s time to say goodbye to it.

9. Your POS isn't supported by the right technology partner

At Vivonet, we've found that industry leaders are looking for tools like cloud-based POS systems that are intuitive and easy to use, but also emphasize user empowerment to solve real problems and make operations better. They're also looking for technology that will scale in accordance with industry trends, and for partner expertise behind that technology to support those products to help brands achieve stability and growth. 

Because hospitality technology moves so fast, it's important to plan a roadmap with the best possible allies on your side. This means choosing the right technology partner who understands your position in the market, understands your goals, and has a clear idea on the kinds of tools you need to get your organization to where it needs to be in a competitive industry. This is absolutely applicable when you're seeking to invest in a point-of-sale system, or any technology.

Of the 9 points we've listed above about replacing a point-of-sale system, which ones stand out for you the most? What's your relationship with your POS right now? 

If you haven't already talked with us, we'd love to hear your story. Just click the button below to get started. 

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POS Vivonet POS Vivonet restaurant cloud technology technology cloud POS Quick Service software hospitality technology kiosk Growth article award hospitality industry Franchise SaaS recognized restaurant pos POS Provider Profitability Reporting trade shows Franchisee HITEC Mobile Sales Transactions Vivonet Mobile client success Cafe Case Study POS Software Payment Processing product Booster Juice Business Tool Guest Experience Hitec Recap 2017 News QSR Support Table Service appointed executive new hire operations quick serve 100 Million Canada Cash Register Convenience Customer Fast Casual Frozen Yogurt Integration POS Ownership Productivity Restaurant Operators Restaurant Technology Sodexo Stadium POS Vivonet Cloud Platform business strategy culture data management hotel industry implementation improvements restaurant Point of Sale self-ordering upgrade vp 2012 Business Intelligence, Credit Card Processing Employee Spotlight Enterprise Manager Fast Causal Full Service Global Franchise Health Holiday Infographic Inventory Management Labor Scheduling Menu Mobile Insights NRA National Restaurant Association Owner Point of Sale solutions Press Release Quickbooks Report Restaurant Chain Restaurant Hardware Restaurant Ownership Ryan Volberg Transaction Fees Trend Trends Vivonet Mobile Ordering Vivonet Tablet Vivonet Video Winter Meetings business data consumer data analysis enterprise management food services hiring operator product development product launches ready to rocket release notes restaurant owner technology partners workplace 130 Million 2010 olympics Advantage Magazine American Grilled Cheese Kitchen Batch Times Boston Budget 2012 Cash Register Partner Catalyst Charity Charles Crouch Chef Ramsay Classic American Consumer point of Sale Contest Cookbook Data Data Security Delaware North Employee Sales Mix Report FSTEC Federal Government Fine Dining Flexible Forced Modifiers Foreign Workers Program Franchises Froyo Fourm Frozen Yoghurt Fruit Smoothies GFS GST Gordon Food Service Gordon Ramsay HST Holiday Guide Hurricane Industry Info Graphic Joe Coffee Jugo Juice Juice Bar POS Jusu Bar KDS Kavi Kitchen Display System Kitchen Nightmares MSP MURTEC Merchant Service Provider Mobile-Based Technology Modifiers Multi-Unit Multichannel Restaurant POS MyCheck New York Nickel Rounding Omni Channel POS Online Ordering Orange Leaf PCI Compliance POS Fund POS Terminal POS Tips POS marketing PST Pin Pad Processing Rates Processor Relief. Fund. FEMA Restaurant Experience Restaurant Owners Restaurant Sales Report Restaurant Sales Tracking Ryan Banks Sales Tax Scheduling Security Small Business Smoothie Software Trends Stick Kebob Shop Switching POS Providers Syrus Syrus Acquired TD Garden POS Tax The Big Salad Thomas Cuisine Thomas Cuisine Management Time Travel Industry UNICEF Vivonet Acquisition Vivonet Cafe Vivonet Case Study Vivonet Reporting Vivonet Team Vivonet Tech Support Vivonet Tips Webinar When To Manage Yoghurt Yogurt automatic blog post business cloud-based technology consumer solutions deloitte development fast 50 fast 500 in-seat ordering labour limited service mistake multi location performance pioneer product management quality assurance restaurant table side ordering restaurant tips tablets technology trends usability values video