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I spent some time today digging into my pile of “nerdy stuff” to do. For those of you that read these posts for beer talk, let me save you a little time and let you know that for today’s post I use the word beer twice and you have already seen both of them. For those of you that don’t mind the ramblings of a small business owner trying to source his own technology, then carry on.
The nerdy task that surfaced to the top of the pile and, I found myself attacking today, was that of sourcing a proper Point Of Sale (POS) system for the pub. My original thought was to use a standard old cash register. This was really a cost driven decision I made about six months ago. In my day job I spend a lot of time speaking to POS vendors that intend to interface with a digital menu board system. To say that this can be complex, is an understatement and I really didn’t want to bring that complexity to the pub. BUT As we are getting closer to opening day an we are starting to work and talk out our processes we really thought it would be best to reevaluate the point of sale system. As with most things with this project, the goal posts have moved, away from the “simplest” solution.
A quick Google search resulted in far too many possibilities for me to even read through, so I minimized the web browser and brought out the pen and paper to write down our requirements.
First and foremost, I wanted a system that would be easy managed when we are away from the pub. After all, the founding partners do have lives and if this could be managed from the behind the bar or from the comfort of my back deck that would be a plus.
Secondly, I was looking for a system that really helped us manage and understand our “dayparts trends“. It is important for us to know not only what product is being sold, but what day of the week and by what server. This will help us stay on target against our projection and understand when we have to fire up to brew system to keep up with demands. Inventory management is key to any business.
I was also looking for a system with as few moving parts as possible. At the end of the day, I am the IT staff and I really like when things that “just work.” I would much rather spend time doing about anything else besides troubleshooting a Point of Sale system.
Finally, we were looking for a system with integrated reward accounts, we have been very excited about the Tap Handle Club and want to make sure that our members have a way to track and be awarded for being our best customers.
I pulled open the web browser and started limiting my search. It became quickly apparent that I would be best served with an iPad based POS. For those of you that know me, know that when I came to this conclusion a little piece of me died inside. They are relatively cheap, mostly bullet proof and you can buy them anywhere.
What I found, and in my opinion looks to be the best of breed for iPad POS, is the POSLavu platform. It is a hosted solution, with inventory management and complex reporting. I quickly signed up for the demo and I am very happy. Here is a quick screen shot of the version our 0.1 of the menu in the POS. (Don’t assume this is how it will look or prices will be, but it is a sold proof of concept)
Time will tell if we made the right decision to drift away from the “simple” cash register, but I guess we really will not know until a few months after opening.