The life expectancy of most POS terminals should be about five to seven years, but this can be dramatically shortened or lengthened depending on the hardware you’ve chosen and how you use it.
Think of it this way: POS terminals get equal or more use than your personal cell phone, which most people have no problem replacing every three years or so, so you shouldn’t be surprised if your POS hardware is of this age and could use a replacement.
So, what are the signs that it’s time to upgrade?
Your hardware is impacting customer service.
There are few things worse than hearing a cashier apologize that the ‘equipment is slow’. If you hear your staff saying this, or if you have heard customers mention this, it might be time to consider a refresh. Outdated or inefficient hardware will cause longer lines, frustrated staff and most importantly: disappointed customers.
Your needs have changed.
Chances are you are not running the same operation that you were a few years ago. The way people dine and the things that they expect from your business has changed. Hospitality staff are also looking to work in venues that support tech-forward dining experiences that help make their jobs easier, so re-evaluating your technology is critical to retaining business and maintaining staff.
Here are a few facts to consider about trends in dining technology over the last five years:
- Restaurants are adding handheld tablets for tableside ordering, tablets on the table for customer-facing ordering, and line-busting tablets to improve and shorten cafeteria lines.
- Operators are upgrading from kitchen printers to KDS solutions to help their chefs run more organized kitchens.
- Removing kitchen printers also helps you use less paper – no more printed chits!
- Self-serve kiosks are quickly becoming a preferred method of ordering, so your business should consider how these can help your operations. Using a hybrid model of self-serve kiosks and staff can create an exceptional dining experience that is both tech-forward and personal at the same time.
- Kiosks also have a strong ROI, producing higher average check sizes than regular POS terminals.
- There are a lot of reasons that people leave jobs. Don’t let the technology (of lack of it) be one of them. Enable your staff by providing the tools to help them be successful. Reliable POS equipment is a small price to pay to keep your team engaged and productive.
Your equipment is slow or freezing.
We’ve all been victims of freezing or slow technology. It’s a pain in your personal life, but even more of a disruption when trying to run a business. Freezing and slowness can happen for any of the following reasons:
- You’re trying to use non-commercial equipment in a commercial setting.
You cannot expect an iPad for home use to handle high-volume transaction processing and tons of menu data. Make sure you’ve selected equipment that can handle your busy operation, or start looking for commercial-grade solutions that are designed for what you’re trying to achieve.
- Your hardware lacks the storage capacity it needs to function.
Sales data, menu data, customer data – it all needs somewhere to sit. Perhaps your equipment no longer has the power to store all the data it needs, slowing the system down. Cloud solutions are increasing in popularity, and are a good alternative to traditional on-premise models, but physical POS hardware may still be required to process sales, so you’ll want to evaluate both.
- Your software needs an upgrade.
Software evolves. Bugs get reported and fixed. You may need to upgrade the software. The thing about upgrading is your software is that a hardware refresh may also be required based on the nature of how software / hardware solutions work. New versions of software may not function properly on old hardware, so sometimes they go hand in hand.
You want to prioritize security.
Because hardware and software are linked, when hardware becomes outdated, your chances of a security breach or security issues increases. In addition to staying current, selecting an operating system that is less prone to viruses, like Linux, is a good way to help reduce your risk of intrusions like viruses. If you want to implement point-to-point encryption, a newer technology that helps protect credit card data, you’ll need to upgrade your POS terminals to support this.
Fortunately, upgrading to new hardware doesn’t always mean you are going to break the bank. Many POS companies, like Volanté, provide hardware refresh programs that help ensure you can refresh your hardware at a reasonable cost, and keep your business thriving for years to come.