Choosing point-of-sale software for your pizza restaurant? Avoid these common pitfalls to get the most from your investment.
1. Forgetting the "pizza" part.
What's so special about a pizza point-of-sale system? Isn't a pizza restaurant just like any other restaurant? Many pizza shop owners get distracted by a local restaurant POS sales rep who convinces them that because XYZ software is used in thousands of restaurants nationwide, it will work just fine for them.
But pizza is different in so many ways. The ordering process is complex, with sizes, crusts, toppings, modifiers, substitutions - and don't even get started with halves, thirds and quarters. Then if you expect to price all these variations correctly when the customer wants extra cheese on half, hold the red onions on the other half and add double pepperoni overall - it takes a pizza software specialist to keep it all straight. Expect to track inventory
and food costs? Your pizza point-of-sale should be able to recognize that you use less sausage on a 5 topping pizza than on a 1 topping - but there's no general market restaurant POS system that will do that. (Download our free guide: The 6 challenges of Pizza POS)
You don't take any coupons at your pizzeria do you? Just think about the complicated pizza coupons out in the world and all the restrictions on # of toppings, type of crusts, etc. that you want to control. Don't see much of that at your local casual dining chain.
Of course, if you're doing delivery that adds another huge dimension to your needs for sophisticated pizza delivery software to track customers, drivers and cash.
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2. Confusing "Free" with "Good"
Whether you're just starting out or you've been in business for years, you don't want to pay too much for technology. So it's tempting to go with the low-cost or even FREE point-of-sale systems offered by credit card processors and mail-order websites. Keep in mind that these solutions are rarely full-featured. The frustration you'll find working around their limitations and the lack of controls over critical areas are likely to outweigh the low initial cost.
3. Paying too much for add-on features
On the other hand, you don't need all the bells and whistles immediately if you are trying to save money. Look for a system that incorporates the core features you want, and try to negotiate some of the "extra" modules as part of your system purchase. Don't pay extra for credit card processing software if you can get it free with a "preferred" processing partner (as long as they'll give you good rates). You might want to hold off on inventory software until you get a few months underway with the system, as many operators don't end up investing the time to really use inventory fully. Look for a company that offers an integrated online ordering solution, so you won't have to pay custom development fees or special integration fees to get this critical piece working.
4. Trying the DIY approach
Got a nephew that's a whiz with computers? Many restaurant owners try to save money by piecing together used or bargain hardware, or by skimping on implementation and training services. This works on rare occasions, but usually ends up in frustration for both the restaurant owner, who doesn't understand why things don't work, and the vendor, who isn't prepared for the variations in equipment and environment. If you've got more time than money, lots of patience with technology troubleshooting and you don't mind spending Friday night on the phone with tech support, you might save some money this way. But for most operators, it makes sense to go with the tried and true package deal the vendor provides. Then you have "one throat to choke" and you can hold your vendor fully responsible for the result.
5. Ignoring the POS Company Relationship
"Relationship? I'm not getting hitched - I'm just buying a point-of-sale system," you may think. But with equipment this connected to the heart of your business, touched every day by your employees and customers, responsible for your cash, you can bet you'll be emotionally involved in one way or another. Take some steps to ensure it will be a good relationship before you get committed. Look beyond your sales rep to the people you will be dealing with after the sale. Will you have a dedicated account manager you can call? How will the technical support staff respond? What resources does the company put into ongoing software development, and will you have any input into the future direction? Is the company large enough to stick around long term, or will your investment be obsolete next year if they go under? Are they people you think you can work with?
Your pizza restaurant's point-of-sale system may be one of the largest equipment investments you make. Choose wisely and your POS software will help you grow sales, reduce costs and increase profits while eliminating stress. Let us help you select the right POS software for your pizzeria - contact GRS for a free evaluation!