June 30, 2016
For years, on premise point of sale with a server on-site has been the answer. For many concepts it still is. On-site point of sale systems like the Oracle Micros 3700 and ASI’s Restaurant Manager are extremely rich and stable. They’re also sold, configured and installed by a local office thereby providing better and more readily available support. Cloud based point of sale systems are improving though, and are definitely cementing their place in certain markets where they fit.
Mother’s Juice Cafe has been a fixture in Bend, Oregon for years. When they decided to open their 3rd location, they had a decision to make: Purchase another on-premise POS solution and run 3 disparate systems or move to something with central management in the cloud. I sat with the owner, Mike, back in late April to discuss the pros and cons of both options.
With on-premise point of sale, there’s no dependency on the internet which leads increased stability. The system is also purchased outright with no monthly fees for hosting. There’s also the increased functionality and stability that comes with a system that has been developed and built over 15+ years. But in this case, those things weren’t as important. Sure it’s nice to own the system with no monthly fees, but the additional up front cost counteracts that. And for Mike, those additional features and functions just weren’t the ones that he needed for his business.
That brought us to cloud based options. The option we settled on was MobileBytes tablet point of sale system. It solved several issues. First of all, the up front cost was much less of a barrier. MobileBytes runs on iPads which he purchased himself. We provided peripherals like printers, cash drawers, iPad enclosures, networking devices and mounts. They also saved a good amount on the up-front labor by having managers sit in on a training meeting and then programming the majority of their own menu. The second huge benefit of the cloud based point of sale for Mother’s is the ability to manage the enterprise from anywhere. They can add a menu item once, and push it down to any or all the stores with just a couple clicks. The reporting consolidates these to a single item so they can see enterprise wide sales of menu items etc. without having to add numbers from disparate point of sale systems.
We also helped Mike address some of the drawbacks of a cloud based point of sale solution. The offline capabilities offered by MobileBytes are unmatched in the cloud point of sale world. A loss of internet doesn’t cripple the system like it would with most other cloud solutions. The fragile nature of running on consumer grade hardware (iPads) was also a concern for Mike. Our iPad enclosures and stands are all heavy duty, metal, and offer a lifetime guarantee. The magnetic card reader (used for credit cards) for iPad systems uses the audio jack on the iPad. Anybody that uses headphones regularly will know how fragile these ports are, so our enclosures pin that card reader against the unit and keep it firmly bolted in place. Last, but certainly not least, is the local installation and support. Other cloud based offerings are just purchased via a website and not tailored specifically to each restaurant. Support is offered via email or phone only and is typically routed to a single call center somewhere in the US (at best). Mike has met my staff in person and we all know his system and his business. He knows he can count on us 24/7/365 for support, programming help, or on-site service.
All in all, I worked with Mike to make sure his decision to move to cloud based point of sale was the right one. From there, implementations specialist Andrew worked with Mike and his general manager to configure the system, train their staff, and make sure that the transition was a smooth one.
If you’re in Bend, be sure to check out Mothers Juice Cafe at either of their locations (location 3 coming soon!) for a great healthy breakfast or lunch!
June 22, 2016
They must be doing something right! Falling Sky opened their 3rd restaurant and public house this week in the basement of the EMU on the U of O campus. Almost a year ago, Rob Cohen with Falling Sky came to me and told me that they had won the bid to open another location in this space. He has the Oracle Micros e7 at the other two locations and loves the stability and simplicity of the product. The Pizzeria was a new concept though so we wanted to make sure to explore the options and make sure we found the right fit.
After looking at the requirements on the software side, we settled on the Oracle Micros 3700. The features that pushed us to that product were the pizza ordering module (and reporting) and the kitchen display capabilities. We spent a significant amount of time discussing how a pizza concept is such a challenge in Point of Sale because of the half and halves, different crusts, sizes, toppings, sauces and the amount of menu customization that the patrons expect.
Our implementation specialist Kevin Schulman handled the project. Fresh off the heels of his installation for the Stone Fire pizza concept at LCC, we thought he would be best suited. Kevin installed 3 workstations at the counter, where customers form a single line and go to whichever register is open next (like at Jerry’s Home Improvement). Another workstation serves as an order entry point for the bartender to add additional rounds to open tabs.
Two (soon to be 3) kitchen display systems (KDS) serve as the order output in the kitchen. This allows them to see reports of how long a ticket takes from being sent to the kitchen until completion. The KDS also allows them to color code their items, so a priced modification shows in red, salads show in green etc. The KDS monitors are wall mounted so they are up and out of the way, with a wireless keypad used to indicate when orders are complete.