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How to Select a Concessions Point-of-Sales System

Follow these six steps toward creating a more profitable food-and-beverage operation.

Concessions operators live and die by their point-of-sales systems. Here are six ways to protect your livelihood when purchasing a new system:

Perform reference checks.

Find out who has purchased the system; both past and current clients will offer valuable information. Suggested questions: How easy is it to program new prices, new screens or other options? How easy is it to set up new displays and navigate? How would they rate the company's service and system training? Do the reports provide enough detail so you can create a specific path for each food product, rented item or ticket? Are you able to run hourly, daily, weekly and monthly reports? Can the system handle special modifications?

Know all of the system's needs before setting it up.

Make sure all the power, USB lines, Ethernet or phone lines are ready before the equipment arrives, and have the specifications far in advance. Do not let yourself experience any failures on opening day.

Test the system.

Test all payment features, and run credit cards to ensure the modems, phone line and DSL are operational.

Keep things simple.

Don't complicate life by making the screens hard to use. The more details included in the questions or the more buttons to push, the longer and more difficult the process. Customers do not like long wait times for a simple sale. Plus, remember that young team members will be operating the systems.

Monitor all the systems.

If one system has a problem, it can domino throughout the network. Get feedback from front-line staff on how they feel about the system. Always try to streamline the system to ensure its success.

Protect yourself.

Make sure you have a warranty and a backup system in place. Any company worth dealing with should be willing to support its product. And always have a Plan B, whether it involves plain-old cash registers or simple calculators. It is important that your sales do not stop when your point-of-sales fails.

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