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POS Advice?

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18 replies to this topic

#1 DeliGirl

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 12:47 PM

Hey EGulleters!


I own and operate a deli-gourmet grocery-bakery-sandwich shop-wine store-breakfast establishment. 


We sell prepared foods (breakfast, sandwiches, salads, soups), inhouse baked goods, beer, wine, imported food stuffs, charcuterie, cheese, gifts, beverages, etc.


It's gotten busier and more complicated over the past 9 years that we are desperate to add an effective POS system that doesn't cost us an arm and a leg.  We currently take orders manually and run excel spreadsheets and quickbooks for everything else, but we need to streamline the whole shebang. I'm hoping to come in under $5k all in.


Does anyone have any experience, pos or neg, with any of the new IPad systems? Any customer or user input would be welcome.


I've located a company in the Bay Area called Revel Systems.  Anyone have experience installing one of their systems?


Thanks so much!


#2 Beebs

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:09 AM

Hi DeliGirl


I worked in a retail / cafe establishment and we used Microsoft Dynamics RMS.  I can't recall how much it cost but I don't think it set us back that much, probably under $5K.  I really liked this program, very user-friendly, had all the bells & whistles of what we needed for a simple retail operation, including inventory control, purchase orders, customer profiles, etc.  Because it's Microsoft, it integrated with Excel (I don't know about Quickbooks...probably not).  Quite a step up from previous POS systems we used. 


However, it is a retail system, not restaurant, so if your establishment is more restaurant-y than retail (ie, putting food orders into the kitchen, seating, etc), MS Dynamics probably won't work for you.  It's been over 6 yrs since I've used that system, so I don't know what has changed. 


Good luck!

#3 DeliGirl

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 09:48 AM

Thanks Beebs!  the crickets were killing me.  We need to find something that does both jobs: restaurant-y and retail-y.  I appreciate your taking the time to let me know about this Microsoft product; I will look into it as they may have made some upgrades and have more uses in the current iteration.

#4 eternal

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 01:51 PM

I drive by this company all the time and see their stuff frequently in restaurants. I know nothing about it


#5 DeliGirl

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 08:30 PM

Eternal: thanks, I'll check them out! A quick look at their website looks promising. 

#6 Saara

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 12:47 PM

Hey DeliGirl!


I've been researching the POS subject for a couple of years now and have not found an affordable "perfect" solution yet. 


We have a seasonal bakery/deli/pizzeria and a candy shop. Two different halves of the business, but we need a POS solution that can support both. They are out there, but they average about $20k. Since we only operate about 4-5 months/year, we can't justify that sort of outlay.


Currently I'm keeping an eye on Android-based solutions and am hoping that they will develop quickly to become robust enough to support us in the next couple of years. Meanwhile we muddle along with 3 ancient registers in the candy shop and 1 newer Sharp on the cafe side. This year we're trying to get a new merchant services account set up before we open for Easter sales in ... a week. Hmm ... maybe not.


One of our chocolatier friends is relatively happy with the iPad-based ShopKeep system. Since we have to build pizza orders, it won't quite work for us, but it seems to be working, is affordable, and is updated regularly. That was about $1500 for hardware and software per station if I recall correctly. He's running it in two shops.


Anyway, you're not alone in your search. Please keep posting here with your findings. I will do my part as well. 


http://www.merchantmaverick.com/ has some good reviews on POS (and merchant services), but I don't see DinerWare on there. Let us know if you get a ballpark figure from them. :)

Kitchen Manager/Baker/Dish Pit

The C Shop


#7 StanSherman

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 02:09 PM

For a quick and reasonable card reader/service look at https://squareup.com/  The reader is free or very reasonable and you can be set-up in a day.  I've got it on my android and it works great.  They have POS systems starting at $250-500. 

Edited by StanSherman, 09 March 2013 - 02:20 PM.

#8 sct4a

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 06:29 PM

Take a look at microsale - not to be confused with micros. We have it at over 20 locations and are very happy with it. The actual company is a complete nightmare to deal with and has by far the worst service but the product is quite nice and works great.

#9 Saara

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 07:50 PM

Just to clarify, we gross about $350k per 4 month/season. We need to be able to run cards fast. Square is not there. We own our own terminals, but we just need to update so we're not getting screwed by our current provider. We're also bank-shopping since a certain American bank wants to charge us for making cash deposits over $10k. 


Another clarification, we're in the food service industry. We net approximately $20. No k's. ;)

Kitchen Manager/Baker/Dish Pit

The C Shop


#10 qrn

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 12:49 PM

I had a car once that was aPOS,,,,,(joke,probably in bad taste,however

#11 DeliGirl

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 03:15 PM

Bud: as long as your bad taste doesn't roll into your food prep, it's all good! :biggrin:


Saara: sounds like we are in similar situations.  We should top 1 MIL in sales this year (woohoo!) but only net like $25k at the end of the year.  We are running a dinosaur register with a regular swipe credit card scanner that takes forever.  I don't think square will work for us as there are still too may bugs to work out and from what I've seen it will not address complicated functions like ours. 


For banks, we switched from (probably the same) certain American bank to a local small bank and LOVE them!  You know when you fill out a credit app and they ask you for your bank contact?  Who do you currently list?  Righto, no names just an 800 number with a rotating cast of characters.  Now I have a name at the bank who knows me and my business, a bank president who eats at my establishment 4 times a week, and people who actually care about my business.  I never have cash deposits in excess of $10K, but I'm sure if I did, they would not charge me to deposit them!  They recently refinanced our real estate loan for us and were a dream to work with.  I highly recommend going local for banking for small businesses!


"The actual company is a complete nightmare to deal with and has by far the worst service but the product is quite nice and works great."

As the official CFO, HR Manager, CEO, Chef, Buyer, Accountant and Clerical Assistant (to name a few of my many hats) in our small business, I'm afraid the above line scares the bejesus out of me.  I need great customer service from the company we partner with or it might just push me over the edge!  Thanks though for taking the time to write.  If their service improves, lmk!


I'll keep ya'll posted as my research continues, and let you know if I find something worthy of your taking the time to read!


Thank you!

#12 DeliGirl

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 12:59 PM

Just a quick update: we are meeting this week with a rep for the system POSLavu.  I met with a business developer at our local Apple store last week and he recommended Lavu, so I'm going to give it a look.  I'll let you know how it goes!


DinerWare did not have an inventory function.


#13 jjahorn

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 01:10 AM

I work for a company that does PoS systems - mostly large scale, but I they have solutions for smaller firms too.

They are big in Asia and Europe, but not so much in North America.


Maybe you want to look at what they offer though - Wincor Nixdorf



I don't know about this product - I work on supermarket solutions, but they are very flexible.

Unfortunately I also can't tell you anything at all about price...

#14 Graphix

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 09:46 PM

Take a look at Harbortouch. http://www.harbortou...touch/overview/ . I was forced into trying it at the restaurant I was managing by owners who didnt want to shell out for micros. I actually ended up really liking it. Most of my servers who were all used to Micros said it was the easiest POS to learn. You have to use them for credit card processing (the rates are pretty competitive)  but they provide the equipment at much cheaper rates than other POS companies. There is also free 24 hour support where they can 'screen connect' to remote access the terminals and help troubleshoot problems. 

#15 Rich Bennett

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 08:51 PM

Hi DeliGirl,


There might be a few options out there for your business.  The cheaper systems, in my opinion are not worth it.  Now you don't necessarily need a giant POS system either.  I view an ipad POS system as not being as functional as you would need it to be.


One major consideration you need to keep in mind is setting the system up.  Part of that is what you're paying for.  Setting it up on your own could be very overwhelming and you might not get the system to do everything you need it to do.


It sounds like you should be able to get away with 1 POS terminal, 1 kitchen printer, and 1 receipt printer to start with. If you feel you need more, you could always expand onto it down the road.  I would guess this would be in the 8 to 10k range.   I'd look into FuturePOS.  I've set up many stores similar to how you're describing yours and it's been working out great for them.   I don't do it any more, so I don't hold me on the exact cost.  But that 8 to 10k range sounds about right.


I'm certain you'll find that over time the POS system will be one of the biggest assets to your business and will almost pay for itself


Hope this helps a little

#16 ebert

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 05:54 AM

Hello Bennett,


There are many configurations in set up of a POS system. Not Only 1 POS + 1 Printer, the set up's  1POS + 1Printer + 1 Tablet or 2 Tablet will also work out. It all depends on the customers turn out. I have kept 1 POS + 1 Printer + 1 Tablet in my restaurant and I am running it smoothly without any problem. I admit with you that cost is major crieteria in setting up of what type of configuration of set up one would like to have. 

#17 maxwellandres

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 05:31 AM

Hi DeliGirl,


There are various POS system providers..and you can go for the one best suited for your business. Like you said you sell prepared food or baked foods, so a bakery pos system will be best suited for you as there are such particular systems are available for almost every industry. Go for the one with free customer service.

#18 DeliGirl

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Posted 19 May 2015 - 01:09 PM

Alright I'm back with a final summary of our attempt at installing an I-pad based POS system.  Two words sums it up for me:


Buyer Beware!


After researching all the options, and talking to many different companies, I decided to try one called talech.  I know there are a million options, but even one of the oldest and biggest, Shopkeep, could not have met my needs.  I know this because I did a trial with their software and it had the same problems as talech, in spite of their sales guy saying it would all work out.  I don't know why, but I was hell-bent on having an I-Pad POS.  Big mistake there!


The people working at talech were very nice and the free customer support was generally (although not always) helpful, so it pains me to say this, but they really are not ready for prime time, and do not really understand the type of business functions that we needed.  I got the feeling that they were growing way too fast as sometimes I got a techie who understood and could provide me with solutions, and more and more often, I got some clueless newbie who had no idea how to help.


I spent hours and hours uploading and getting everything ready to go live, with the assistance of the tech support.  At the end of the period, what I had was a system that:


1.Crashed often (even after hard wiring all the printers), since you have to be connected to the internet to use the app, any glitches in connectivity bind up the whole system.  Really.  Has anyone ever had connectivity issues with either wifi or wired systems?  It's pretty much the only thing you CAN count on.


2. Was not flexible enough between to go orders and for here orders, especially for those who were buying grocery items as well as ordering lunch items.


3. Could not meet the demands of taxable versus non-taxable foods, which is in constant flux (what business owner does not life in fear of a visit from the tax man?)


4.Required marketing information for every name (if Joe ordered a sandwich, you couldn't just enter Joe in the name area, you had to take time in the middle of a busy lunch rush to take down all his contact info). Tech support: "no sorry we have no way around that right now".


5.  Provided summary day end reports that were not formatted.  You had to download a spreadsheet and format it every day.


6.  Was way too complicated to allow modifications.  Have you ever been in an ordering line at a quick service restaurant, and the order taker is spending minutes swiping through menus to find the proper thing to push for "no onions?"  Mind bendingly tedious. 


7.  Was way too complicated to deal with multiple people at one table all paying separately.


8.  Barcode scanner sometimes found the items, sometimes not.  I don't think it was the scanner's fault but the system, for various reasons that would bore you more than I already am!


9.  Getting all the pertinent information to print on the order tickets was not intuitively built into the system.  Especially a problem when you have different stations (hot food, cold food, salad station) all preparing food for one table.  There was no way to connect the tickets for the various line cooks.  Oh, yeah, you could do it if you set the system so it printed at every station for every ticket, even if that station didn't have anything to do with that ticket!


10.  Required hardwiring of printers, although tech support initially told me it should work with wifi. 


At each step of the way, we would try something and it did not work, so we'd do the next thing. You have no way of knowing, when you start out, whether or not you will even like the system.  You have to keep doing the NEXT thing to make it work, and only when you have completed all the things that they told you you will not need to do, do you realize it's not a good match for you.


I could continue, but I think you probably get the picture.  Maybe for a less complicated business, this app would work, but if you are trying to do as many things as we do, it was a mess.  If you think about it, it kind of makes sense.  In most restaurants, they take your order with pen and pad, then go in the back of the house to enter the order into the system.  Standing in front of a customer trying to enter all the piddly little details is just not feasible.  I learned the hard way, through many hours of training, data entry, hardware investment, IT support, and hard wiring expenses.


We have now purchased a Sam4S cash register with integrated credit card swiper and love it.  We are back to taking orders by hand and running them to the kitchen.  Not ideal, but it is much faster and it keeps things moving.  I guess the human brain is still superior to a computer for some things.


Thanks for letting me vent.  I've been needing to get this off my chest!


If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them for you!


Have a great day,




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#19 Thanks for the Crepes

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 12:10 AM

Hey there, DeliGirl,


Thank you so much for coming back to this site to update your experiences.


I'm sorry you went through such an ordeal with the talech vendor, but your documentation of it will help the next people who Google for POS advice.


I'm so glad you found a system, that while not ideal, fulfills your needs and keeps your business cranking.


Much success and best regards!  :smile:

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