5 Signs its Time to Upgrade your POS
An Up-to-Date POS is the Backbone of your Business
Budgeting for the unknown can be difficult. When you purchase a point of sale, your investment extends far beyond the initial cost of the system. Like any technology, your point of sale should receive regular software and hardware updates in order to keep your restaurant running smoothly and at full functionality. It's important to keep in mind that, like your smartphone or desktop, a point of sale system is a perishable piece of technology that is not meant to last forever. So, when you're forecasting future costs for your business and point of sale, you might not want to employ the mentality: "Drive it until the wheels fall off." Your point of sale is the backbone of your business and can help support and grow your brand. Conversely, an old, out-of-date point of sale can be a huge detriment to your business, costing you valuable time and even profits. Simply put, if you want a reliable system that will help and not hurt your business, you can't buy a point of sale then just set it and forget it. Include the cost of software updates, hardware warranties and/or hardware replacements in your point of sale budget and plan on replacing your terminals and back office server every 5-6 years. If you're not sure whether or not you're ready for a change, here are 5 key signs that it's time to upgrade your POS.
1. Your POS system is more than 5 years old If you can't remember the last time you invested in your point of sale - or if there was an entirely different president in office when you purchased your POS - then it's probably time for an upgrade! An out of date point of sale can cause costly unforeseen complications and super inconvenient system outages. When your restaurant is filled to capacity on a Friday night, the last thing you need is your aging system to crap out on you mid-shift. But, really, you can't expect reliability and speed from a piece of technology that hasn't been upgraded or replaced in years and years. Try firing up your old Motorola flip phone and see if you can put Tiny Wings on there. Not only does an old point of sale cost you time and money, it can also be a huge security risk for your business. Eventually, obsolete terminals and servers reach a point where their software versions cannot be upgraded any higher because the hardware cannot support it. Meaning these obsolete terminals and servers cannot receive the latest security updates and patches. Running your system and accepting credit cards on outmoded software is not only extremely dangerous, it's also not PCI compliant. So protect your business and your customer information by keeping the hardware and software on your point of sale system updated and current.
2. Your POS is sluggish or lagging If you've noticed your point of sale system's performance beginning to suffer, or if it starts failing altogether, it's may be time to replace it. Older terminals and servers are made with different processors and capacities that eventually run out. Loading new software versions or more software programs onto an outmoded terminal or server can cause your system's performance to suffer greatly. If you notice that your terminals are starting to lag or go down with increasing frequency, then the problem could be the age of the equipment. A lagging system can cost precious time during a hectic dinner rush and frustrate your guests to the point that they leave with a bad taste in their mouths - so to speak. Short order times and a speedy checkout can increase table turns and tips, making happy customers and a happy staff. Is your back office server taking longer and longer to come up? Are your terminals randomly and constantly rebooting or "looking for fileserver"? These are all possible indicators that your point of sale hardware and/or software needs to be upgraded or replaced altogether. While investing in new hardware and software can be stressful, it will pay for itself in loyal customers, higher sales and faster point of sale system performance.
3. Notices from your credit card company about out-of-date software versions Major credit card companies such as Visa/MasterCard are constantly changing and releasing new credit card mandates that merchants must comply by. In order to keep your credit card processing software PCI compliant, credit card processors require all their merchants to stay current with these updates, including your point of sale software. If you start receiving notices from your credit card processor that your point of sale and payment software is out of date, then you will need to upgrade your POS software and/or hardware in order to prevent possible credit card fines or an interruption in credit card processing services. If your point of sale hardware is too old and cannot be upgraded to a higher software version, then those payment terminals will not be compliant with new credit card mandates. Until those outmoded terminals are replaced, they are not secure or compliant to run credit cards. Running credit card payments on a non-complaint software version is dangerous and could result in your credit card processor cancelling service. In order to ensure that your business is staying complaint with the latest credit card mandates and payment regulations, be sure your point of sale software is receiving regular updates
4. Inability to upgrade POS software versions Maintaining a secure and compliant point of sale takes active monitoring and regular updates. Just like your smartphone or laptop, the software on your point of sale requires constant security updates and version upgrades. Many people think that a point of sale is a one-time purchase that can last the entire lifespan of your business. However this is not the case if you do not regularly maintain and upgrade your point of sale. A car with an engine that has never been maintained or oil that has never been changed is probably not going to be very reliable. And similarly we should not run our business with out-of-date POS technology that hasn't been serviced or upgraded. Both the firmware and the software of your point of sale system should be upgraded regularly in order to maintain stability and full functionality. The software version you are currently running on your point of sale can only go so far before it needs to upgraded. And this can only be accomplished on point of sale hardware that has the capacity and ability to run a higher software version. An end-of-life terminal that is no longer supported by the operating system (i.e. Windows) cannot receive the necessary POS security and software updates for PCI compliance. So your decades old hardware may be squeaking by on performance, but chances are the software it's running is not compliant or secure.
5. Increase in hardware failure Sometimes the signs that it's time to update your POS can be subtle or noticeable. While other signs are blaringly obvious. One way to tell that your point of sale hardware is ready to be replaced is the physical condition that it's in. Even hardware that's been care for well and maintained regularly will experience some normal "wear and tear" throughout its lifespan. But once your hardware reaches a certain age, you should notice a definite drop in performance and/or quality. Minor issues such as a fading terminal backlight, bad credit card reader or misaligned terminal calibration can all be indicators that your terminal has reached its end of life. As part of your business budgeting and forecasting, it's important that you keep the age of your point of sale system in mind. POS Solutions can help provide the total cost of ownership over the life span of your system, including hardware warranties and software upgrades. So you can know exactly how much your point of sale system will cost you and what you can expect in the future. If you want a point of sale system that will work for you and set your business up for success, then be sure to take care of your POS system and know when your restaurant is ready for an upgrade!