May 8th, 2014 by Mike Spence

Looking to buy a POS system?  Great!  It is a big decision and we realize that it can a little overwhelming.   I thought it would be helpful (and a little fun) to move through some of the common configurations that we see out there  and detail some things to think about when looking at a POS system.

Let’s take this through a couple different concepts and propose some questions for you:

Dedicated Drive Thru: 
If  you have a dedicated drive thru, do you need to have two separate POS terminals or can you use one POS station for both windows.   If you start with one, and have a double sided drive thru, get pricing on what an additional station would be down the road.  You ARE going to be busy enough at some point right?

If you are using one POS in the drive thru, then maybe you want to look at multiple drawers on one station.  That will allow you to keep cash accountability with the employees.

Who will be making the drinks and how close to the window(s) is the espresso machine?  Are you  going to remember or call out drinks?  If not, then you will want to either print a slip out of the receipt printer or have a dedicated barista printer / monitor.   A lot of this depends on the volume you will be doing.

Do you plan on doing any line busting with the cars that are stacked in the drive thru lane?  If so, then a tablet may come into play for efficiency.

The first question with a cafe is: Are you carrying food?  If so, will this be grab and go items from a cold case or are you going to be prepping or building sandwiches  or other items?    If you have a kitchen, then we will want to  have a kitchen printer or monitor.    This way the kitchen operates independently of the front counter.   Remember, anytime your staff needs to walk away from the POS, they are also walking away from the customer.  You could use the receipt printer to print a sandwich ticket but that would have your  employee running back and forth and losing that important face time with your customer.

All of the above holds true with the espresso machine as well.   If that is not right next to the POS system, then you should look at a separate printer or monitor for that as well.

What about expediting the order?  If you have a sandwich and a drink, how will you put them together so that you can put the whole order together.  Can you print a separate slip out of the receipt printer?   We have the ability to also include the other printer stations on the ticket (Barista ticket says that there is food / food ticket says there are drinks).

Will you have retail?  How much?  Our general rule of thumb is that once you get over about 100 unique retail items you may want to look at a scanner for the POS station. But retail does not stop at a scanner. If you are selling bean by the pound or loose leaf tea, then you will want to look at an integrated scale system.

If you have a drive thru attached to the cafe, then you may want to look at a 2nd point of sale terminal  for that aspect of the business.    I’d always recommend checking what the price is for down the road.

Are you going to be doing any outside seating or plan on having a busy line?  A tablet for line busting might make sense. If you are having one POS station, you may also want to look at multiple cash drawers for the cash accountability side of things.

Will you have any seating?  Will you call out the customers name or ticket number after they order at the counter?  Or, are you going to give them a table tent and then bring the order to the customer.   In some cases we have customers that add beer and wine and then even handle a little bit of table service during some times of the day.  Do you need to make sure that you have a table service option for down the road?

Phones, timed orders and catering.  Will you have people order over the phone?  Do you need to have customer and phone number tracking so you can record those orders?  Are you in an area with a lot of pharmaceutical reps or warehouse / factory locations?  If so, you may have people that order early in the day and want it ready for lunch. Do you need to make sure your POS can automatically print those orders 30-60 minutes before they are due (hint:  we handle that)?    When it comes to catering, do you need to be able to provide price quotes and even the ability to deliver to multiple addresses?

Are you going to offer delivery?  Will you have dedicated delivery drivers?  You might want to consider if you can pay them different wages when they are delivering as opposed to when they are working in the store.     Speaking of payments, how will you re-reimburse a driver?  By mileage, per ticket, percentage or something else?

If you are doing a lot of delivery, then you will most likely look at a boxlabel printer so you can tag each box or bag with the address etc.  You could use that tag as the delivery driver receipt but you also might want a separate driver printer or slip.

Two other things to consider and ask:
Credit Cards:  Can you use any credit card processing company?   If not, how negotiable are the rates now and in the future?  It’s ok to go with your POS companies preferred processor as long as you have the ability to re-negotiate later on.

Gift Cards:  Is there a monthly or per swipe charge (there should not be).  Is it done directly?  In the cloud?  Through the credit card processor?   Keep in mind that you typically want that kept separate from the processor so you don’t have issues  if you decide to switch processors.

Whew!  Hopefully this helps in figuring out what you may need for opening and what you should think about for the future.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us!

Posted in Hardware Tagged with: ,

July 12th, 2011 by Mike Spence
Like the title? It’s a little tongue in cheek but hopefully makes you think about maintenance.

With summer coming and the heat (finally) starting to hit, we know that some of our customers will see hardware failures due to overheating start to become more common.

Most of this can be easily avoided. All it takes is a little preventative maintenance. What we are talking about is no different then getting an oil change, tuning your oven or backflushing an espresso machine. It’s necessary to keep things running along smoothly.

There are really three things to consider when checking out your POS.

  • Removing materials from around your POS computer. Are you one of those people with a roll of paper towels on your computer? Do you stack menus on top and around the computer? If so – Stop it! Computers (even those without fans) need air flow.

  • Cleaning. When you have a chance, open the case on your computer and spray it with a can of compressed air. You might be amazed at the amount of dust that fills the air! Do this once every six months and you will extend the life of your computer.

  • Printers. Don’t forget that those printers load up with dust from the paper rolls. Every so often, just open the lid, turn the printer upside down and tap it once or twice.

If you need some additional advice, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Contact us at:
Mike Spence
8326 Woodland Ave. E
Puyallup Wa 98371

Posted in Hardware, Uncategorized Tagged with:

August 30th, 2010 by ssadmin
Have you looked into spare equipment for your POS system? 

This blog is for those of you that are running systems that have seen better days.  All of us try to push the envelope when it comes to equipment.  I rarely have a customer that calls us up after 3 years and says that they want to replace the computers pro-actively! 
If your stations are 3, 4, 5 or more years old, then you might want to think about a spare computer.  You have extra product on hand right?  A spare tire in the car?  A spare house key or car key?  It makes sense to have a spare computer for one of the most mission critical pieces of equipment in the store!

Recently, we had a customer running a two terminal system with eight year old computers .  .  . on a Wednesday, his main computer died.  Sure, he was still up on station two but it severely impacted the business while he waited to buy a new computer and have it arrive and configured.
If he had a spare, he would have been up and running immediately!   
So, if your computer looks like the one below – call us and ask about options for spare equipment! 

Contact us at:

Mike Spence
8326 Woodland Ave. E
Puyallup Wa 98371

Posted in Hardware, Uncategorized Tagged with: ,

December 29th, 2009 by ssadmin
Would you like your computers to last?

Silly question I know but many of our customers never bother to take care of the equipment!

It’s really not that hard and will extend the life of the equipment significantly. Here are some basic maintenance tips (please make sure the power is off and disconnected before doing any of this!) :

Backups – Get an internet connection and sign up to have your data backed up online through SelbySoft! It’s FREE if you are on a support plan! Call us for more details about how to do this!

Computers Usually there are either thumb screws or regular screws holding the case on. Two screws and the top of the case slides off. A can of compressed air is a godsend to computers! Just spray it out – take care to hit all the fans (but be careful to not spin the fans so much that they whine). These fans are the most important part to keep clean – they control the heat in the system. While you are at it, open the cd or dvd rom and hit it with a quick burst of air!

Printers – Think about it, your printers are incredibly important. They are also very easy to clean. Pull the paper out, leave the lid open and gently shake it while upside down. Then blow any paper out that you can. Check for bits of paper stuck under the cutter etc. Finally DON’T use anything but authorized ribbons! They really can damage the printer.

Monitors – Touch screens are pretty simple. The biggest thing is to check the cables periodically and make sure the cables are tight. Clean the screen by spraying non-abrasive cleaner (windex etc) on a towel and wipe them. Make sure that employees are not using pens or anything pointy to ring up orders.

So, there you go. . . A few ways to extend the life of your system!

Contact us at:

Mike Spence
8326 Woodland Ave. E
Puyallup Wa 98371

Posted in Hardware, Uncategorized Tagged with: ,