Restaurant business owners and managers spend thousands of dollars every year investing in POS systems, hardware, software, and maintenance. All of the money spent on these components is spent in the hopes of automating their business and providing the best service to the customer. What happens to these investments when they are handed over to the staff?
Unfortunately, most employees don’t really care about the restaurant’s hardware and would never dream of handling their own laptops or cell phones in the same fashion they handle the POS hardware. As an owner, what can you do to help get the most out of your POS investment? Here are some simple tips to help you extend the life of your hardware.
1. Do a daily spot check of the hardware. In your pre-shift meetings, each work group should be assigned to check one component of your POS hardware. For example, the kitchen staff can check the POS kitchen printers, the bussers can confirm that there is paper in each of the check printers, and the servers can check the POS terminals. Each staff member should do a quick cleaning of each piece of hardware with a damp cloth (avoid using harsh chemicals). Employees should report items that are damaged back to the managers immediately to be remedied before the start of the shift.
TIP: If specific pieces of hardware like handheld computers, pagers, kitchen knives, etc., are given to staff members, the manager should take a personal item to make sure the equipment is returned in good condition. Make this part of the check out and check in process. Items such as a driver’s license, car keys or cell phones are items that we have seen to be successful.
2. Make sure all your kitchen stations are working properly. As a part of pre-shift, someone should be assigned to send an item to the kitchen that contacts each station. Set up an item in your configuration that goes to every station. Also, a simple $1.00 credit card authorization needs to be run to make sure your credit card software is operational. There’s nothing worse than starting a shift and realizing something isn’t working properly.
3. Final check at the end of the shift. As part of their checkout process for the end of their shift, each member of the team should do the same simple checks of the components. Make this as routine as refilling the salt and peppershakers and sugar.
TIP: Be sure to look for any signs of wear or damage such as scratches on the touch screens, frayed wires, water damage, and other things that will prevent the equipment from functioning as expected. Be as proactive as possible in repairs to ensure fully functional hardware for next shift.
4. Hire trained technicians to do a full maintenance once per year. Similar to a tune up for your car or your annual physical, each POS system should be inspected at least once a year. Many times your POS provider or hardware provider will offer these services.
Think about replacing the most used components on a regular basis. Not all POS hardware items are subjected to the same kind of abuse. Items like kitchen printers tend to see more abuse because of the environment in the kitchen, whereas POS terminals at the host stand are not exposed to the high temperatures, flying grease, and other hazards found in the kitchen and these tend to have a longer lifecycle. Knowing the environment in which your hardware is operating will allow you to set a reasonable lifecycle management system for each device.
First, it is incredibly important to accept the fact that your hardware won’t last forever!! Getting a good grasp on each unit’s lifecycle, then developing a plan for a life cycle refresh will ensure the continued successful operation of your POS hardware and keep your restaurant technologically relevant. One customer CBS serves has a useful lifecycle date for each piece of equipment in their restaurant. They use the standard of 6 years for a POS terminal, 4 years for a kitchen printer and 8 years for a POS printer. These are the dates that work for their restaurants, but these lifecycles could be very different for your restaurant.
Contact CBS today to see how we can help you get the most out of your POS system at www.cbsnorthstar.com.