POS for Retail?

the business of coffee houses

Postby onocoffee on Sat Aug 12, 2006 5:20 am

Got the quote for the Aloha POS yesterday and it's quite substantial: $8489.00

The Breakdown:

Software $1319.00
- Aloha single user quick service, including 1 year software enhancement
- Aloha credit card +MX1 Term
- PC Anywhere

Front of House Hardware - $3120.00
- Radiant P1510 Touch Screen Terminal w/mag swipe, WinXP and power filter.
- TM-T88III single station thermal receipt printer with auto cutter
- APG 16" wide vasario 320Multipro cash drawer with cable, black, dual media slots
- 56K external EDC modem with modem serial cable, keyboard and mouse

Installation and Support - $3200.00
- 1 terminal system implementation to include: hardware installation and set-up, manuals, database design & programming, training & one day live coverage & one year telephone support

Enterprise Products - $850.00
- Aloha Enterprise.com activation fee - per location
- Aloha e-card set up fee
- Aloha e-frequency set up fee
- Aloha Enterprise.com monthly service - per location
- Aloha e-card monthly fee (billed quarterly)
- Aloha e-frequency monthly fee (billed quarterly)

Options
- Radiant 5.25" OCD LCD customer display - $895.00


At $8489.00, the Aloha system has priced itself out of my available budget. I told the rep straight up that it's just more than we're willing to spend and that if they could bring the price down to $5500 then it's a deal. Of course, there's hemming and hawing and all sorts of reasons why the price is high like "it's the best system out there" or "you're only buying one terminal", etc, etc.

When people come online and ask "what espresso machine should I buy?" one of the popular responses is to find a machine with local service and support. Aloha offers two strong points: local service/support and greater expandability and flexibility than the competitors, but does it justify the significant price difference?
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IBM

Postby homelessroaster on Sat Aug 12, 2006 5:02 pm

Jay...have you looked at the IBM POS systems? I've worked with them in the past and have been very impressed both with ease of use and backend information. I imagine the most important thing with these is the software. I know the pos systems are available used on ebay and I would think with a little tinkering you could get them to work on whatever software you wanted.

As far as the way orders are processed...the machine I used had a touchscreen "register" where you would enter in the order and then a touchscreen "kitchen display" where the orders would come up (located by the espresso machines.) As a drink was made you simply touched the order and it disappeared. The system tracked the time between the order being placed and the time the order was 'touched' or finished. The software also kept very detailed customer flow information and was easily changed and tweaked as needed. It also integrated with a windows based pc.

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Postby onocoffee on Sat Aug 12, 2006 8:20 pm

Interesting Robert.

Do you know what application ran on that IBM system?

One thing I'm a bit hesitant to do is to find a system that I "have" to tinker with. Time is getting to be of the utmost essence and need something that we can implement relatively soon.

But I'm always open to possibilities. Let me know more about the system you're talking about.
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Postby barry on Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:30 pm

Alistair Durie wrote:yet through countless demo's i have not found a pos package that i feel is of good value. many bad designs at high prices.



http://l-ane.sourceforge.net/


i knew a guy who used this quite successfully for his coffeehouse. it is the system that i would first consider if i were doing the POS thing (which i keep teasing myself about).
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Postby Brent on Sun Aug 13, 2006 2:00 pm

onocoffee wrote:Got the quote for the Aloha POS yesterday and it's quite substantial: $8489.00


It does include hardware and installation though...

onocoffee wrote:The Breakdown:

Software $1319.00


Thats pretty reasonable!

onocoffee wrote:Installation and Support - $3200.00
- 1 terminal system implementation to include: hardware installation and set-up, manuals, database design & programming, training & one day live coverage & one year telephone support


Is this an off the shelf package? if so, database design and programming is a scary proposition - what is the effect of the customisation on your upgrade path. I have worked in software development, and the biggest single challenge in adding custom features is in not orphaning that site from normal upgrades. Database design screams expensive and difficult upgrades in the future. That would be the one area I would pay VERY close attention to, and get the answer in a signed format for future reference.

onocoffee wrote:Enterprise Products - $850.00
- Aloha Enterprise.com activation fee - per location
- Aloha e-card set up fee
- Aloha e-frequency set up fee
- Aloha Enterprise.com monthly service - per location
- Aloha e-card monthly fee (billed quarterly)
- Aloha e-frequency monthly fee (billed quarterly)


presume this is loyalty stuff, in which case, it's only $850, and if that is going to aid retention then cool. You should still know your best customers :)

onocoffee wrote:Options
- Radiant 5.25" OCD LCD customer display - $895.00


I would suggest that your customers are more interested in their drink than seeing some flash display that may or may not make sense to them...


onocoffee wrote:At $8489.00, the Aloha system has priced itself out of my available budget. I told the rep straight up that it's just more than we're willing to spend and that if they could bring the price down to $5500 then it's a deal. Of course, there's hemming and hawing and all sorts of reasons why the price is high like "it's the best system out there" or "you're only buying one terminal", etc, etc.


they have a couple of things there that look moveable - the e-frequency thing, the implementation (especially if they DON'T customise it).

onocoffee wrote:When people come online and ask "what espresso machine should I buy?" one of the popular responses is to find a machine with local service and support. Aloha offers two strong points: local service/support and greater expandability and flexibility than the competitors, but does it justify the significant price difference?


Jay, only you know if it's worth it. My take (working with financial systems as I do) is that there is a portion in any system that you have no choice about - your need a system anything could do it. The extra bits is what should drive your final choice.

Options start with a manual cashbook (a few $$$ at a bookshop) and a school excercise book for writing orders in. Total cost a few bucks. Time cost - eventually quite substantial if you want to do any analysis. Major advantages if you want to fudge turnover.

After that you start adding things - a cashbook program that helps you control your bank, and purchases but gives you limited analysis on sales. Add a POS and you get sales analysis, the POS doesn't have to have a back end, and could be a till.

When you link it all up, you add more complexity, but better analysis etc etc

What you have to decide is how much that simplicity of reporting etc is worth to you - and then the right system will be obvious (irrespective of price).

In short - $8,000 for a system that does everything, and includes hardware is probably not to bad, especially if it allows you to grow it, and link multiple locations in the long term - as long as each location isn't another 8k.

of course it is also nearly half the big screen you were looking at - which will help generate the most return for your business?

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Postby barrett on Mon Aug 14, 2006 4:35 pm

you can probably shy away from the e-card and e-frequency stuff at present, and subsitute a promo button/ punch card system and add it later if you desire.

aloha is solid. we use it every day - also where we punch in and out, so everything is automated, and a lot less paperwork. the tracking abilities and control that you get with a system like that is only a must if you are very busy, or have multiple locations/ lots of staff. I'm glad to report that I don't have any horror stories to match the ones I have heard about Squirrel crashes.

"back in the day" i used a much simpler system, a combination of the pen/paper and a simple POS it was the type with the board with the sea of buttons - something like you'd expect at McD's or something. When you hit, 'small'...'drip' there were options on the little lcd, prompting you to hit a number for the corresponding type of drip - or sandwich, or muffin, etc. Probably a lot cheaper that $8k.
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Postby Brent on Mon Aug 14, 2006 4:48 pm

barrett wrote:aloha is solid. we use it every day - also where we punch in and out, so everything is automated, and a lot less paperwork. the tracking abilities and control that you get with a system like that is only a must if you are very busy, or have multiple locations/ lots of staff. I'm glad to report that I don't have any horror stories to match the ones I have heard about Squirrel crashes.


Jay, there is a positive user comment!

The other thought that just occurred to me in reading this is simple - if Aloha is way over the top this month, but where you want to be in a year or so, do it, and do it now, it will be cheaper than implementing when you are already operating.

Sounds like it will also allow you to link to other locations if necessary. Sure that may be long term, but if they will do you a deal, and it's what you want...

and to put it in perspective - the system I work with starts at around $5k, with no POS, no stock :) so $8k including hardware and implementation sounds like a steal to me! But it is still all relative.
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Postby onocoffee on Fri Aug 18, 2006 3:27 pm

Brent-

It's not necessarily about what looks relatively affordable and has mostly to do with the amount of physical cash I have on hand to spend on the unit. I've heard more favorable reports on Aloha but I've got more investigation to do.

However, I have taken the discussion to heart and am taking my time to think more about our wants and needs - in spite of the fact that the shop is now operational.

We are currently using little pieces of paper (with a printout of items and prices on a grid - I couldn't resist!) to process orders and it's a bit slow but kinda cool in an Old Eastlake Hines Meets Inventory Control kind of way. Which leaves me without credit card capability that will probably surface as a problem next week.
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Postby Brent on Mon Aug 21, 2006 12:01 am

Jay, a rushed decision will probably be one you will regret, irespective of the price.

Fully understand the $$$$
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Postby aaronblanco on Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:23 pm

aaronblanco wrote:have you looked at selby soft?


has anyone here looked at/used a selbysoft sp-1 system??? the demo i've seen of it is fully pictoral. they claim anyone could walk on and be completely familiar with it within an hour. price was good relative to csm.
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Postby Mike Gregory on Wed Sep 05, 2007 12:06 pm

This thread dropped dead a year ago, but I know a lot of us have purchased or evaluated POS applications in that time. Anybody using Halo? Anybody written their own?

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Postby barrett on Wed Sep 05, 2007 1:49 pm

We use Halo at the restaurants. It's all backed up on the web - and all changes are done online, so I can do them from anywhere. The aloha system I work on, I have to go across the city to make any small change.

I actually did a sit down with them a couple months back, and regularly forward product development ideas to them. Sounds as though their system is going to get even better by the end of the year.
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Postby JaanusSavisto on Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:27 pm

In the past i used Compucash 3000 which in my opinion is totally outdated now....
Another POS system that i'm familiar with is Micros-Fidelio. I'm comfortable to say that it is very flexible in the means of sales and accounting, plus it is really easy to operate both for the PBTC and for the manager in controlling revenue.
micros-products


edit: still can`t get rid of the f****n` typos..
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Postby Sebastian Sztabzyb on Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:56 pm

Jay, just out of curiosity, did you end up going for the Aloha system? If so, has is paid off?

Also, I read mentions of the TinaPOS, but the links appear to be broken. Is this open source package still available?

We're currently deciding whether to go the POS route in our cafe. We're using a Sharp cash register and sticky notes with an efficient short-hand, but it's getting pretty annoying to run the sticky notes from the cash to the bar, Clover, etc...
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Postby JavaJ on Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:42 pm

aaronblanco wrote:have you looked at selby soft?


I just got off the phone with Selbysoft and boy was it infuriating. I have to say very loudly DO NOT BUY THIS POS POS! As a long time IT guy, I have got to say their support is the most incompetent I possibly have ever come across. The features they claim they have implemented are barely implemented or totally kludged. For example, the message I get is

Code: Select all
Unable to allocate memory. Contact support.


when trying to settle credit cards from within SP1. I call support and apparently I'm supposed to ignore the menu that says "Credit card settlement" and settle directly from PCCharge. Hmmm...then why is the button there, and why is there no documentation and nobody told me not to use it? Why, because it's "legacy" code and doesn't actually work! I'm sorry, but I do recall being able to settle cards directly from the pos as a touted feature by their sales guy.

Now, even though it has worked perfectly well for almost a year, their support claims not only that we shouldn't be doing it that way, but they take no responsibility for the accuracy of the settlements!

I think the 3rd Wave or Specialty shop is better served by a traditional cash register. Selby is best geared to the hyper-frou-frou multiple syrup crowd. And even then it fails miserably. I have been using it for almost a year, and as my support is about to expire,(not that they've ever been of much help) I'm letting everyone know how terrible this software is.

If anyone wants to contact me about the other many issues I've had with Selbysoft (like them shipping me the first system DOA, or how the Win XP "Guest" account was enabled, or how stupid the menus are setup, or how...) send me a PM and I will be happy to share my experience with you.

Honestly, I don't know how these guys are touted as one of the top two options in the industry.

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Postby Robert Goble on Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:28 pm

JavaJ wrote:I think the 3rd Wave or Specialty shop is better served by a traditional cash register. Selby is best geared to the hyper-frou-frou multiple syrup crowd.
?????? That's just crazy talk. Whatever you use, use what works best given the resources you have available to you. a 3rd wave shop can use a register or a POS system -- just make sure it's a good system either way that allows you to accomplish the task at hand.
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Postby JavaJ on Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:10 pm

To me at least, a 3W shop is at least partially by definition a simplified menu. If we assume this to be true, then Selby is much more than is needed.

The menu system is a hierarchy of choices, where one modifier leads to another menu of additional modifiers. Perfect for syrups and add-ons. If I had it to do over again, I at least, would choose a cash register.

I'm not sure exactly what's crazy about that?

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Re: POS for Retail?

Postby Shane on Mon Sep 14, 2009 3:50 pm

Ancient discussion.... but what's the POS of choice 2 years later? I seem to see the same system popping up in pics of new Intelly / Stump / etc.. locations.

Anyone?
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Re: POS for Retail?

Postby geir oglend on Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:00 pm

Shane, we went with Scape/Dinnerware very easy to adapt to coffee shop, come up and have a look. We will go on line in a few days. We got this system second hand, local support!
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Re: POS for Retail?

Postby Duck on Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:03 pm

How funny. I remember this thread from when it first came out. We had CSM and I was never impressed with it, although I did appreciate the ability to use stored value cards without having to connect to a processing service like with the credit / debit cards.

I'd be interested to hear if there have been any new developments as well. I have a client who will be up and running late next spring and would love a heads up on what to advise them in terms of a POS.
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