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    Restaurant Technology Articles

    Frequently Asked Point of Sale Questions

    Below are some of the most frequently asked questions.  Have a question? Feel free to contact us.

    Point of Sale  (POS)

    Q – What is POS (Point of Sale)?

    “POS” is an acronym for “Point of Sale which is in itself a shorter form of “data capture at the point where a sale is made”. The term came about as evolving computer hardware and software made it possible to capture the sale information at the time the sale was made.

    Q – What is tax-inclusive sales tax?

    In some states it is legal to include the sales tax in the item price. This is popular with bars that do not want to deal with coins. The drink prices are tax-inclusive which means the bar is paying the sales tax from the drink price instead of adding the sales tax as a separate line item. A bar with tax-extra sales tax might charge a lower price but the addition of the sales tax would create odd amount transactions which could slow down the bar staff.Note there is a big difference in the net profit of a tax-inclusive drink at $5.00 vs. a tax-extra drink at $5.00 since the bar is paying the sales tax due from the $5.00 tax-inclusive transaction yielding a smaller net profit than the $5.00 tax-extra transaction.

    Q – What is a locally-based POS system?

    A locally-based point of sale (POS) solution means the POS system runs from a self-contained software program installed on one or more onsite POS terminals (PC’s). The POS application does not require an always on Internet connection but Internet access would be required for credit card processing.

    Q – What is a web-based POS system?

    A web-based POS solution means the POS system runs from a web-browser such as Internet Explorer and could be dependent on an always on Internet connection.

    Q – How are bar codes used in a restaurant or bar?

    Bar code scanning is popular in retail operations and is used for several purposes in restaurants and bars. The most obvious use is to scan retail products such as shirts, hats and other items sold at a cashier station. A second use is to scan full bottle sales of wine and liquor in restaurants and bars to eliminate the chance of entering the wrong PLU code or selecting the wrong item button. For restaurants with a cashier operation the guest check number can be printed as a bar code by the POS on each guest check and scanned by the cashier eliminating the possibility of entering the wrong guest check number. Coupons can also include a bar code to speed up the discount process and accurately track various coupons. Bar coded VIP cards, Discount cards and Frequent Guest cards can be scanned to input the card number automatically instead of using more expensive magnetic cards.

    Q - How are Fingerprint ID readers used with a POS system?

    Fingerprint ID readers are used for time keeping functions requiring the staff to validate themselves with their fingerprint when clocking in and out of the POS system. This eliminates the opportunity for buddy-punching which can create unearned payroll expense for the restaurant. The second use of fingerprint ID readers is to limit manager access to the POS system by requiring them to validate themselves when doing voids, discounts or other manager functions. Fingerprint ID validation also improves manager accountability since the manager must be present to access the POS system.

    Q - How is my POS system connected to my credit card processor?

    Most restaurant POS (point of sale) systems utilize an Internet connection to transmit the credit card transaction data from your POS system to the credit card processor for authorization and settlement purposes. Your POS system connects directly to a credit card processor or could require a third party interface such as Datacap Systems, IC verify or PC Charge to process credit card transactions. An always on Internet connection is required for most POS systems.  This Internet IP external connection could be via a DSL, Cable, ISDN, Frame Relay or VSAT (Satellite) connection.

    Q – What is PCI DSS and why is it important?

    PCI DSS or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, is a strict set of standards designed to protect the cardholder’s data from credit card fraud and misuse. The PCI Security Standards Council is an organization dedicated to the development and implementation of security standards for protecting credit card data. PCI Data Security Standards are developed and implemented by a collaborative effort from American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB, MasterCard Worldwide and Visa International.
    If your restaurant point of sale (POS) software isn’t compliant with PCI DSS you could be subject to hefty fines. It’s critical that you choose a PCI-compliant restaurant software that will protect your customer’s credit card information as well as your business.


    POS Advice™, is a proud supporter of both the National Restaurant Association and the Retail Solution Providers Association