You recently decided to start a restaurant business. You have found a suitable location. You have bought everything – chairs, tables, utensils – you think you will need to get started.
While that might sound like good news to you, running the business without a good POS system could make your lovely investment a huge money pit. Unfortunately, most POS systems come in different varieties and are made to serve a different set of needs. Finding a good POS can be a mind experience for many people.
In this post we are looking at some of the defining qualities of a good Point of Sale system that can help you through your journey to purchasing a POS for your business:
1. Competitive pricing
Small businesses often run into financial constraints. If you are new to industry, news is that you have entered at a great time. While most standalone POS systems have high price points, the advent cloud computing has made things a little bit better for you.
Today, you can easily find a reasonably priced model cut for your specific needs. News is, there are still many on the market today. And finding the best for you – competitively priced with transparent pricing – may not be easy.
2. Speed and ease of use
Your POS should be easy to single-handedly install and use. Even when it comes to training your employees, it should not be a month-long affair. Few minutes, even for part-timers it should suffice.
- Why is it important? A poor quality POS can be maddening to your employees.
- Does it have a steep learning curve?
- Is the layout too sophisticated for the average user?
Then chances are your cooks, managers, waiters will be intimidated by the POS. That means you will be treating your customers to a dreadful Breaking Bad experience that would surely hamper profitability.
3. Good for keeping inventory
Inventory woes scare every restaurant owner more than a warrior wasp’s sting. Poor inventory could be the easiest deathbed for your business. But if you have devised effective methods of inventory management and reporting, then you are able to tell when and where you make your most money.
Since restaurants are head-to-head with this extremely competitive space, a good inventory-capable POS can be your blessing in disguise. So you can easily and almost effortlessly keep track of every drink, item (and even every ingredient) sold.
4. Excellent reporting features
In the modern business environment, business intelligence is everything. And numbers do not lie. That means as a manager or business owner, you need to have a sophisticated, industry-specific system that gives you numeric insight into what all the departments are doing, items preferences, how time is spent, how many customers have been served, etc.
A good POS should offer real-time reporting and update you with pricing, logging times, inventory, promotional and procurement.
5. Above reproach customer/technical support
If you have ever worked in a restaurant environment, you must be familiar with the panic mode that engulfs the employees when the POS system breaks down.
If you can’t get anyone on the line to help, you troubleshoot the problem in less than 24 hours, think twice before taking the plunge.
Consider buying from the vendors who offer (and can guarantee) you prompt response to your call/emails just when things go awry.
The support team should also be ready to help you with credit card help, training and software upgrades if need be.
Related: Restaurant Sample Business Plan
Your POS should allow connections to other apps and tools that are equally important for your business. For example, if you want to collect customer emails for follow-ups campaigns, you may want to integrate your POS with.
That means when you are sending emails to your loyal customers, you can skip that point of having to update your email list. There so much integration you can do. It all boils to your specific needs.
While it is so easy to rent and equip your restaurant, steering it to profitability is not always easy. To succeed, you need to get efficient systems that help them manage their businesses. Unfortunately for starters, getting a good POS can be a daunting task. And it gets worse if you know your specific POS needs and how to choose the best system for your business.
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Making The Case For FTTH With BDCOM
Successfully making the case for FTTH with BDCOM, Miro offers tangible solutions when deploying last-mile fibre connectivity through cost effective PON technology.
As a service provider, deploying a fibre network may seem daunting, expensive and unappealing; this stems from the capital expenditure required, as well as the added risk of the civil work needed during application. With the gaining popularity of fibre amongst various sectors; from service providers, to the end-users who demand high-speed internet, the demand for fibre is only gaining continuous traction; from the rising use of video-streaming platforms, to the ever-stable demand for reliable connectivity solutions, both for business and home use.
Given these facts, as well as the lingering hesitancy of expanding with fibre, the possibilities of this much desired optical connectivity can be realised through PON. Passive Optical Networks are currently transforming the face of last-mile fibre deployments. A world where sending data happens at the speed of light is now tangible at a tenth of the cost with PON. All the advantages which arise from optical fibre are now available in a cost-effective solution.
The demand for cost-effective, last-mile fibre solutions are also increasing due to the high bandwidth requirements of households and businesses; the large expenditure on active equipment and the on-going challenges of delivering high-capacity internet in densely populated areas are only some of the existing concerns. These, amongst other challenges faced by service providers, are accelerating the interest in deploying fibre optic networks to provide higher bandwidth delivery, reliability and lower latency levels.
The hesitancy of deploying fibre within a service offering stems from the myth that a fibre roll-out, especially in last-mile applications, can be a great expenditure in terms of infrastructure and operating costs. This myth can now be proven false with our FTTx solution from BDCOM.
The solutions available with PON (Passive Optical Networks) have been proven to reduce installation cost by up to 70% with the use of simple reflective devices, known as splitters.
Related: Embracing Technology For Business
PON, completely negates the need for active equipment (such as switches, boosters etc.) because it allows the light, to be reflected towards the intended receiver (ONU) which then talks back to the light source (OLT) which is situated by the POP (Point of Presence). PON take up less physical space and consume less energy than traditional Ethernet because of the reduced number of active equipment. PON deployment costs up to 50% less than Ethernet, this includes components, labour as well as materials. The requirements for cooling are also less than with Ethernet, offering the client a saving on their utility costs.
Furthermore, fibre optic cables have a lifespan of up to 50 years as opposed to the 15 year lifespan of Ethernet copper. By analysing these facts, PON technology is arguably the only cost-effective solution to a fibre roll-out because of the major decrease in deployment and maintenance cost; therefore, there is also no surprise as to why it has become increasingly embraced by hospitals, government agencies and universities, amongst other industries.
For more information on the best last-mile PON solution for your fibre application, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced sales team; introducing you to the possibility of FTTx, together.
The Curious Case Of AI And Legal Liability
AI is no longer a futuristic ideal from sci-fi movies. It’s here, and it’s affecting the way we do business. Have you considered the legal implications of the fact that the future is now?
While we couldn’t hope to provide an exhaustive analysis of the circumstances in which the use of artificial intelligence could result in legal liability, it is the intention of this article to provoke some thought about the way in which we integrate AI into our lives and, significantly, into our businesses.
While South Africa lags behind the western world in terms of technology adoption and diffusion, it is without question a matter that warrants a good measure of foresight. This was made particularly relevant when Uber’s autonomous vehicle killed a pedestrian in the US earlier this year.
Nowhere are these concerns around the intersection of artificial intelligence and legal liability more applicable. However, it bears mentioning that we have already been living with software systems which, to a greater or lesser degree, have artificially subsumed the role of a human(s) in a given process.
Consider the mid 1980’s case of Therac-25, a Canadian-designed radiation dosing machine that incorrectly dosed six patients with a fatal cocktail of radiation.
Conversely, however, the use of modern artificial intelligence and software processes to assist humans in their endeavours has yielded untold gains in efficiency and efficacy across innumerable areas of application.
Indeed, the uncertainty surrounding liability in our overly litigious society is likely to have hindered the development and commercialisation of many AI solutions that could have been revolutionary, for fear of the possible liability that could ensue as a result of their use. Little doubt, then, that sci-fi has not done very much to aid the cause of the AI evangelists. How then, do we attribute liability to AI?
The problem with conventional criminal and civil liability is that it relies, in large measure on the application of objective standards — criminal liability in South Africa specifically calls for the act (or omission) of a human being and must be a voluntary act. Attributing this standard to AI means that criminal liability cannot ensue for an AI system. Naturally, there are other forms of liability, but this — at its core — calls for a re-examination of the standards of what constitutes conduct for purposes of criminal conduct. This does not even begin to touch on the hurdles encountered in establishing ‘fault’ on the part of the AI.
The answer lies in the detail of the rationalisation of the decision-making process of the particular application of AI. Perhaps, if we are able to tease out the way in which the AI arrived at the decision as opposed to a black box approach that examines only the result, then we are making some strides to ascertaining whether liability should arise in a given circumstance.
What is clear, is that we need to have a framework in place for the promulgation of appropriate laws that would govern the proverbial Skynet and when liability should arise. The European Union has made some progress in this regard, having called for an EU-wide legislative framework that will govern the ethical development and deployment of AI, and the establishment of liability for actors, including robots.
It may sound far removed from your day-to-day business, but this may impact your business sooner than you think — from chat bots that enter into contracts, insurance AI that quantifies your risk profile and premium, and legal AI that diagnoses your legal cases using historical case law, to AI that aids judges avoid inherent biases and mete out appropriate sentences, the future is very much here.
From the leading edge
South Africa has an opportunity to lead the regulation of this new frontier and prevent the all too familiar lag of legislation in the dust of technology. It requires a regulatory approach where various formulations of product liability, design and programming liability can be negotiated by informed stakeholders to cater for these new forms of technology and the situations where they go awry, and to more accurately reflect the ethics and concerns of our society.
It is undoubtedly a tricky and murky road, where no system is error-free and wrongfulness of AI is a hard sell, but nevertheless, one which must be explored. In the interim, companies need to ensure that sound corporate governance is practised in all decisions that involve AI, to record the risks identified and to carefully manage its execution and implementation.
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