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Keeping ROI on Track: Six Mistakes to Avoid When Buying POS

posera1_8-25-15.jpgHere’s a simple fact about any IT purchase—one you probably already know: it’s all about money. Either making it or saving it. There’s no other reason a business of any kind implements technology of any kind.

Whether it’s virtualizing servers, integrating supply chains, creating mobile order entry...or implementing a restaurant POS. “Save It Or Make It” is the business mantra beneath IT.

It’s likely that saving and making money is on your mind as you think through a POS implementation. If it’s not, it should be.

1. Restaurant POS makes money—through better customer experiences, innovative marketing, fewer errors, and more.
2. Restaurant POS reduces costs—through operational efficiencies, optimized resources, centralized data, and more.

Each POS function—the core system, the add-on modules and the third-party offerings—must be evaluated not by how interesting, or trendy, or technologically superior it is, but by where it falls in the make-or-save calculus of your business. Sometimes it’s easy—knowing how many bump boxes to order for instance. Sometimes, it’s not so easy. Loyalty sounds like a great idea, but after all costs are calculated and forecasted, it might just cost too much and bring in too little.

The Make/Save focus brings with it a danger. Building a POS system that saves money and makes money can also be the primary reason why the POS ultimately fails to deliver on its ROI. They’re the right objectives, but restaurant owners, time and again, look to accomplish them in the wrong ways. They cut the wrong corners, license the wrong modules, establish the wrong protections—all in the name of saving money or making money.

posera2_8-25-15.jpgDon’t Bump the Plan
You can’t draw the blueprint after construction is finished.
It’s not because owners think planning is unimportant. Sometimes it’s because they don’t have the right resources with the right expertise. Sometimes, they overthink things, complicating planning to the point where they’re just overwhelmed by the process. Sometimes it just seems like there’s no time to plan. The reasons planning doesn’t get done may be many. The result is always the same—and never good.

Owners fail to plan for some, and sometimes all, of these areas:
1. Technology plans have to be set, from the transport protocols you’ll use to the APIs you’ll call to the storage and horsepower you’ll need.
2. Security plans have to be in place to protect your business data and the inviolable identities of your customers.
3. Marketing plans have to quantified to ensure you have both the resources and the expertise to make them work.
4. Training plans need to be formalized. Many owners use “viral” training: one employee trains the next—a great way to preserve and even codify bad habits.

Keeping ROI Intact
Saving money and making money through IT is never as simple as the ROI calculator says it is. It is a path that’s not always smooth, and one with more than its fair share of traps. Without proper planning, an able and agile environment, and careful product and product component selection, there are plenty of pitfalls on the way to a POS purchase.

Here are a few guidelines to help you make the best decisions.

1. Establish baseline standards for what you require in your POS and in the environment in which it runs. That way you know that every element can deliver the right functionality and performance.
2. Ensure you’re buying something you’ll actually be able to use: your spreadsheets have to match your reality.
3. Make training formal. It doesn’t have to be fancy. But it does have to be complete. And accurate. And up to date.
4. Be safe. Implement security that delivers both protection for your customers and compliance for you.

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