In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world, is it truly possible to future-proof your restaurant’s point-of-sale system?

It’d be nice if this were the case.

But unfortunately, it’s not likely.

The truth is, making your point-of-sale (POS) system 100% future-proof is just not realistic. The speed of industry changes forces the obsolescence and replacement of hardware, software, and systems at some point as features and functions become more powerful.

Even with cloud-based systems, you are not immune. iOS and Android devices will all become obsolete when they can no longer run the newest software versions.

The good news is that while it isn’t 100% possible to future-proof a POS system, its impact can be minimized.

There are certain steps you can take to stay ahead of the curve and ensure that your restaurant is set up for success.

Want to minimize the impact of technological changes on your POS system and prepare for the future? Here are seven steps that are sure to help you in the long run.

1) Invest in modular systems that allow for upgradeable components.

Even if you’re purchasing a tablet-based POS solution, your full POS solution will most likely consist of different peripherals and accessories like displays, desktop mounts, cash drawers, RFID/NFC readers, magnetic stripe readers, and receipt printers.

Because the vast majority of POS systems are not all-in-one, but consist of different peripheral components and products, you won’t have to purchase an entirely new system should one of these components fail. Further, these peripheral devices can be updated individually as the need arises.

It is strongly recommended that you do an annual system review with your technology partner to discuss any future needs. By planning for and acting quickly when upgrades or replacements are required, you can minimize the expense of whole system upgrades.

2) Regardless of the type of system you are purchasing, make sure you have service plans and extended warranties.

From smartphones to tablets and laptops, the trend has been for smaller, sleeker, and nonmodular devices without removable batteries and pieces.

And this trend makes sense, of course. After all, slimmer devices offer mobility, take up less counter space, and can improve the customer experience.

The main problem with nonmodular hardware is that if any of the dozens to hundreds of components inside fails, the entire device must be replaced.  You can’t easily open it and replace broken pieces or upgrade parts.

Even traditional terminals, printers and the like will eventually fail.

That’s why it’s important to have service plans and extended warranties. These types of plans offer the ability to quickly swap the failed device for one in good working order and the least impact to your business.

3) Choose POS software that’s constantly innovating and updating.

Imagine trying to run your business today using Windows 95 or dial-up internet. Seems impossible, right?

Software, systems, and hardware constantly change to keep up with the demands of customer demand as from the core product as well as outside factors such as payment trends, security measures like PCI compliance, and global standards like EMV.

These requirements, which are often imposed by third parties, generally require the latest in hardware and software. These requirements are beyond the control of the POS developer, which is yet another reason why future-proofing isn’t guaranteed.

As a result, we recommend that you choose a POS software platform that provides software upgrade, hardware refreshes, and are future-thinking in regards to hardware.

Think of your smartphone’s operating system; updates are often released to add new functionality and keep your device operating securely. You want the same for your POS software.

4) Make sure your anti-virus software is continuously updated.

We briefly discussed this in our past article about 10 tactics to make your restaurant more PCI compliant, but as a refresher, using anti-virus software is an absolute must for protecting your business against harmful malware and viruses. But did you know that it’s also an easy step

Even if you purchase new hardware and software every year, if you don’t have the right protections in place for security purposes, your technology will remain vulnerable to security threats. This is a scary thought when faced with the fact that data breaches increase every year.

A quick solution, then, is to use anti-virus software and make sure it continuously updates. That way, no matter what POS system you’re using, you’ll be able to protect your business and customers’ data from potential threats.

5) Work with a technology partner that offers bundled solutions. 

When you think of a POS system, what comes to mind? It’s not just hardware or software anymore; today’s POS systems include any technology, systems, and services that will help your restaurant to run smoothly and assist you in serving, recruiting, and retaining customers.

This means PCI compliance measures, pay-at-the-table solutions like TableUp, online ordering, mobile pay, online gift card solutions such as Netmasons, and more.

Finding a partner who offers bundled solutions to fulfill your needs can help you ensure that you have the right technology for your business needs. But not only that: an experienced partner will also ensure that your technology works together seamlessly.

So, in this case, looking for a technology partner who provides you with solutions from one or any number of companies will work to your advantage.

6) Pursue cloud solutions while being prepared for internet outages and downed servers.

Whether cloud-based or on-premise, modern technology is made possible because of the internet. This means simplified access to systems and reporting wherever and whenever it is convenient for you in terms of remote access and management.

But sometimes the internet goes down.

When the internet is down, accepting card payments becomes a dangerous business at best, but at worse, no internet = no cash flow. Consequently, we advise that you invest in that can eliminate these outages and more.

That’s why Midwest POS offers services including Midwest Cloud Backup, Midwest Remote Access, and Midwest Cellular Failover. These services help to guarantee that critical POS data is always there when you need it, protect your restaurants from catastrophic events, and protect your restaurant from stalled cashflow.

Having such services or solutions in place is paramount to safeguard your business and protect you from unexpected events.

7) Work with a trusted – and stable – technology provider.

The nature of today’s POS marketplace is that systems are coming and going in the blink of an eye and that companies are constantly being acquired or merging with one another.

So, how do you keep up with who’s who, what’s the best solution for your restaurant, which technology is temporary, and which technology is here to stay?

Working with a stable, trustworthy, and experienced technology advisor like Midwest POS – one with decades of experience, longevity, and permanency – can help you make sure that you have the right POS system for your restaurant both now and in the future.

With Midwest POS, you can be assured that you have a team of trusted advisors to help you select from the right best-of-breed solutions for your business’s unique needs.

Conclusion

While it may not be possible to future-proof your POS system, by following the seven steps we outlined here, you will be able to stay ahead of the curve and minimize the impacts of technological changes and obsolescence on your restaurant.