Your point of sale system is the central nervous system of your business. Which makes it somewhat ironic that the industry refers to it as merely a “POS”. Which is exactly what you’ll refer to it if it ever goes down on a busy Saturday night. Your POS system, being the nervous system of the business, is basically the system that is going to tie everything together. Therefore, depending on the businesses’ operations, a POS system can be an extremely complicated system for full hospitality businesses or just a simple payment processor for a small location like a coffee shop.

Mobile Solutions

This is the number one tip to remember. I’ve seen too many owners go in and just start buying fancy POS systems because of all the bells and whistles. Well unfortunately, those extra bells and whistles usually cost allot of money! They’re also super annoying if you don’t need them. For the more complicated POS systems, it practically takes an IT expert just to keep them up and running. Trust me, if you can avoid that whole headache, then you definitely want to avoid it.

So if you’ve got a coffee shop or a small cocktail bar, then I would find it hard to find any justification for a large scale POS system. If you’re a small independent shop, they’ve got all kinds of great mobile POS systems which require zero or very little upfront costs. With such low upfront costs, you’d expect them to be severely lacking in quality. But you’d be terribly wrong. Allot of these mobile based POS systems are incredibly powerful with great back end support. So don’t let the costs fool you, they can be just as powerful as full scale POS systems.

Full Service Solution

Now, let’s say you’ve looked at all the cheap mobile options and decided to go bigger. You’ve started looking at the full scale POS systems with all of the required hardware investments. Before going down that rabbit hole, ask yourself one more time. Seriously, look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself honestly if you need those features. Allot of those cheap mobile options integrate with all the required hardware systems. So if you underestimate what you need, then you can gradually grow into your systems. If you go too big with your POS systems, you may just have to live with it.

But for your full-service restaurants and bars, it’s unfortunately a requirement allot of the time to go with a full POS solution. These can require significant upfront investments depending on what suite you decide to go with. So with that increased cost, be sure you’re paying for the bells and whistles that are going to help you the most. There is no right or wrong here, just as there is no right or wrong for the mobile POS solutions. It’s just WAY easier to fix a bad purchasing decision if you choose the wrong mobile POS system. If you invest in all the required POS hardware then you better be incredibly confident in your decision.

Conclusion

I know everyone wants to be told what’s best and what’s worst. To see a ranking of all the top POS solutions. Well I can’t give that to you. People may claim to rank them, but really it’s so individual I can’t put much weight to them. I personally think you should talk to all the other owners around you and find out which companies have the best customer service. Just be wary of bigger than life claims from any POS provider. There is no one-size fits all and nothing is ever going to make you 100% happy. Try out a bunch of them, ask around, and don’t blindly spend on bells and whistles.


Also published on Medium.