Why One POS Provider is Better Than Many
If you’re looking to embrace self-order at your concept, it’s natural – at first – to try to keep your existing operation as unchanged as possible. You might think of self-order technology as the icing on the cake of a well-designed guest experience: why not keep your existing POS provider and just add kiosks?
However, when deployed correctly, kiosks become the primary point of sale, absorbing 90% of in-store orders. Self-order is not the icing. It’s the cake.
Credit card, loyalty, and even reporting interfaces are necessary for restaurant operations, but POS integrations are not. We’ve developed dozens of interfaces, and POS interfaces are our least favorite because the benefits of all-in-one Self Order POS far exceed the cost of switching providers.
Consider the consequences before paying homage to the Many-(inter)Faced God, and be sure to ask the following questions before moving ahead with multiple POS partners:
Operational Data Synchronization
- How will data like menu items, prices, and LTOs be shared across systems? Will you have to maintain the two in parallel (doubling the work and the potential for errors)?
- Our Self Order Kiosks, for example, can store and display ingredients and calorie counts. How will the traditional POS handle data like that, or will it get lost in translation?
- How will reports be integrated or trued up?
Customer + Loyalty Data Synchronization
- Will orders taken by the 3rd party POS be integrated into customers’ previous order histories at kiosks? In our experience, the answer has always been no. POS integrations usually run in one direction, thus fracturing the guest experience.
- How will loyalty programs and rewards work seamlessly across both systems?
- Does the traditional POS support payment submission through an API? Tokenized payments (P2PE, E2EE) won’t work through an API, so what procedure will you put in place to keep payments fast and secure at all payment points?
- What payment types are accepted?
- Does the POS interface support split-tender capabilities?
- How does the POS calculate taxes, and will it match the way kiosks calculate taxes?
- How does the POS calculate value meal pricing, and does it match the way kiosks calculate value meal pricing?
Reliability + Fault Tolerance
- Does the 3rd party POS work if the internet is temporarily down? An interface inevitably introduces a big single point of failure.
- Does it accept payments when offline?
- Who will you contact if the interface malfunctions or breaks?
- If the 3rd party POS pushes out an update that breaks the interface, who will be responsible for making it right?
- Who will be financially responsible if PA-DSS recertification is required for the 3rd party provider or for NEXTEP?
- If malware breaches the setup who will be responsible and who will be indemnified?
Total Cost of Ownership
- Which is less expensive: one solution or maintaining two systems in tandem? Account for the cost of creating and maintaining the interface itself, and the financial analysis is a no brainer.
You’ll find that in this case, 1 + 1 equals 0. POS interfaces are not worth the unavoidable sacrifices in functionality. Once you’re ready to reap the benefits of self-order technology, POS terminal switching costs will be negligible in both the short and long run.