Monday, December 1, 2008

How do I take an order from start to finish?

How do I take an order from start to finish? Seems like a simple enough question right?

What do I use for POS (Point of Sale)? An old school register or do I get a full blown POS system?

Benefits of the old school - simplicity and cost. It is easy to use and implement and I can find a register on Craig's List for about $50. No credit card transactions with the old school either. I wonder how much that will affect sales in the beginning days at the Flea Market. Not much is my guess. Honestly, I already know this is the way I am going for the beginning. I just wanted to think things through (TTT - anyone remember the halls of MBNA?).

Benefits of the new school w/a full blown POS application (I am thinking web based too) - most of it has to do with access to detailed information on sales and inventory i.e. business intelligence. This solution is also scalable, meaning (if)when I open multiple locations, this POS will grow with the business. It also integrates periphials like a credit card reader, the cash drawer and the reciept printer. All of these things are good, but cost A LOT more and also make more sense in a larger store, so I will keep this in mind.

So, for the near future, here's how it is going to work - Customer orders, I ring it up, they give me cash and I give them a receipt, food and change if needed. Oh, speaking of change. I mostly hate change, change as in coins. My prices will always end in a denomination of $0.25 and will always include tax. When I give change, the only change will be paper bills and quarters. I won't accept pennies, nickels or dimes... just kidding about that last part =).

1 comment:

Kristin said...

A friend of mine wrote the following advice. She and her husband run their own business.

Well....starting small, you stick with old school IF (and this is a BIG IF) you are going to be running it yourself and you alone.

The advantages of a POS system are making it more difficult for employees to steal (i.e. not ring in the food item, make the food and give it to the customer and then pocket the money) - with POS they HAVE to enter the order and get a ticket printed in order to process the order.

Other aspects to POS...faster for employees, less training of employees, etc. Everything is programmed so they don't need to memorize. Also, order tracking... you print out a report and see what's selling and what's not.

However....BIG DOWNSIDE to POS is cost. Expensive equipment and software, unless you've got an "in" on that =)

For starting up and seeing how things go, I'd get a basic register - it's only you right? You'll know prices, etc. and they are cheap.

Also, we used to take credit cards and stopped this season to see how things went. People who tried using their card would just pull out cash when we told them we didn't take cards... it didn't affect our sales. I think fast food type places can still get away with it.

And you are so right... when you go multiple store, you'll NEED the POS for security, reporting, credit card, etc.

You'll also need one of those security camera operations =) We’ve learned all of that through experience. People will rip you off in sooooo many ways.