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How many of you were immediately fluent in operating your first smartphone?

Yeah, we didn’t think so. Chances are, it took you a while to learn all the tips and tricks, and you are probably still learning about new app capabilities each day.

Don’t worry, it’s not a bad thing. New systems always have a learning curve. But when it comes to restaurant POS systems, not taking full advantage of the technology can potentially lead to lost efficiency, and even lost profits.

3 Mistakes that Restaurant Owners Make with their Restaurant POS

Buying the cheapest POS available.

Let’s start with an all-too-common problem – restaurant POS software is no longer a “nice to have” item for a restaurant. In order to keep up with competition, you need to embrace technology and leverage it to improve your restaurant’s performance. As such, buying a restaurant POS solely because of upfront cost could ultimately cost you a lot more in the long run.

Consider a POS system purchase like hiring people to perform those tasks. Would you select people based solely on low salary demands? Or would you hire the people most capable of improving your business performance now, and into the future? Of course, you’d choose the latter, right? Well, your restaurant POS is no different.

A proper POS system can be customized for your restaurant’s specific needs now, AND have the ability to adapt, upgrade and evolve along with your business, and the industry. Who needs to constantly buy new systems to accommodate changing payment trends, when a properly featured POS can do that, and grow alongside your restaurant?

This same logic applies to choosing a provider. A good POS service provider works with you and for you, not in the best interests of their own wallets.  Instead, take the time necessary to select a provider that gives your business the level of technical and operational support it needs, to ensure you’re not left high and dry when things go awry.

Not adequately training staff.

Now, I have to admit, I’m a self-taught computer guy. And for years, I lived in a bubble of delusion about how adept I was in handling my PC, its software, and tips and tricks to make things work better.

Then I met someone who took a $40 PC training course at a nearby Ramada. And I watched this person fly through every conceivable program and app with effortless abandon, realizing these things are capable of so much more.

This story was a very long way of saying that training all restaurant staff – from the front-of-house to owners and execs – on a new POS system is crucial for ensuring it delivers the ROI you need. If your provider offers free training, make sure your staff is there to learn, so you don’t waste time backtracking later, losing both efficiency and potential sales.

Using your POS solely as a cash register.

For all the benefits and features available in modern restaurant POS systems, it’s downright shocking how many restaurants use them as really expensive cash drawers. Sure, they might make that process easier, but using a full-featured POS just for payments is akin to buying a Big Mac for the sesame seed bun – there is so much more to enjoy, from itemized sales totals to restaurant inventory, that offers owners data to optimize operations from head to toe.

Though your iPhone is a natural extension of our minds and fingers now, it wasn’t that long ago that most of us fumbled around trying to make calls and unsend embarrassing texts. In the same way, it’s natural to make mistakes when using your new restaurant POS.

We’d also recommend checking out review sites that offer expert reviews of the most popular POS systems. But avoiding obvious shortcuts – like the ones detailed above – can go a long way to bringing your business some tangible return on investment.

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Brad Bortone is a writer, editor and content marketer, published in areas ranging from content strategy to music reviews, and seemingly everywhere in between. Brad's love of the food industry began during his tenure with Johnson & Wales University's web team, writing countless pieces about - and enjoying countless lunches from - the school's esteemed culinary program.
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