So Where Do I Get My EPOS System From?
Purchasing an EPOS system for your pub will require a significant capital outlay, which, will have to be financed from reserves, working capital or from your revenue stream. In any event careful consideration should be given to the supplier you choose as will the competing factors of price and utility.
When speaking with a potential supplier you should be clear about what you expect the system to do for your business, what your business might require from the system over the next 3 to 5 years in terms of expansion or increased functions and how the system will need to be customised to meet your pub business’ requirements.
The system should be as “future proof” as possible, for instance the latest EPOS systems are offering contactless payment technology, that is to say, they are equipped to deal with the more than 5 million contactless credit/debit cards issued in 2011 and the expected one in seven cards that will carry this technology by the end of the year – think the Barclaycard roller coaster advert – no PIN needed, perfect for busy bars. Another area of “future technology” that is already upon us is the “smart-phone” and already direct payments from these devices is being trialled.
There are innumerable companies out there who will be more than willing to take your money, the trick is to choose an IT partner (as they like to be called) who will not only provide the kit and the software (beware of buying these elements from separate companies), but will also provide 24/7 support at a reasonable cost.
Make sure that they are prepared to offer up a full demonstration of their system and explain fully what it will and won’t do – this could be at their premises or at another pub where their system has been successfully installed. Be prepared to invest several hours in a demonstration and always follow up on any references or testimonials the supplier gives you.
As far as possible do a little research on the supplier – are they going to be around for the life of the system? If your supplier goes out of business you may find it very difficult to get another supplier to take on your system. Do a little research on the systems available, the larger the company providing the hardware the better, as the chances of upgrading and repairs being effectively handled when required will be greater over the short to medium term at least.
Buy or Rent?
As with all major capital outlays there is the age-old question of whether to buy outright or rent/lease the system. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options and you should discuss this with your accountant in terms of cash-flow, depreciation, capital allowances on your business tax etc.
Upgrading or Changing Your EPOS ?
You may inherit, from a previous tenant or owner, an EPOS system that doesn’t fit your business needs, in which case you will need to either upgrade or replace it with another system. In order to minimise business interruption here’s a handy tip sheet on how to organise a successful transition to a new EPOS system. Although it is aimed at restuarants, the tips are just as pertinent for the pub trade; its inclusion here is not an endorsement of the product, just the process.
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