Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What is right for you a Cash Register or Point of Sale System?

So you are about to open a new business and are facing hundreds if not thousands of decisions that need to be made quickly.

So let me help on this one. Should you use a cash register or POS system? Well lets get a few things out of the way first. Rather POS or Cash Register the first job of either of these is still security, second is efficiency.

Another big factor in this decision is whether your business will be owner operator or will you rely on managers and other employees? If owner operator a cash register will often make more sense then an expensive POS system. You are there all the time, you are running the cash register so why not use a simple register!

However owner operator or not, if you plan on keeping a real inventory, tracking in and out and what should be on the shelf, do not try and use a cash register. If someone tells you a cash register can do this, well technically they are correct, realistically they are DEAD WRONG! If they are telling you that, it is not real world, it is theory! How do I know, well it has been our family business for 30+ years! We have seen everything tried! And tried a few ourselves until we got tired of hitting our heads against the same brick wall. So to summarize YES a cash register and software combo is capable of inventory control, but would you choose a hot air balloon to travel across the country or a commercial Jumbo Jet? Both will get there, but only one is efficient!

Be honest with yourself about keeping inventory or not. Yes it is possible, yes it is a good practice, yes it takes 10+ hours a week if not more for most small stores! We have had thousands of small stores as customers of the years and we have seen it all. Most of these thousands did not keep a live inventory, and a handful did! We have had successful customers from both schools of thought! Bottom line here is be real with yourself. PC based or Register Based inventory takes time each and every day or week, a computer does not equal magic!

Myself I would do an inventory system if possible but again IF POSSIBLE! If you decide on an inventory control system first buy a computer/software based POS/Inventory control system like Keystroke, or RMS for retail, or Digital Dining if a restaurant. Next step you will need to set aside 20 to 40 hours of your time to plan your work and work your plan. YOU WILL NOT INSTITUTE AN INVENTORY CONTROL PROGRAM DURING THE COURSE OF BUSINESS! Do yourself and your loved ones a favor and carve out the time to do it before you are in the trenches of the retail or restaurant battle!

OK so maybe inventory is not for you, you just want to ring up sales by category and have the register compute tax and change and a daily report of what you sold right. Should this be the case with you opt for a commercial grade cash register like those from Sharp or SAM4s. Using a cash register does not mean you can't have security or good record keeping because you can. Should you decide on going home or heaven forbid go on vacation make sure you are following some basic security principles found in all decent commercial grade cash registers. Please look for some of my other post on how to stay secure using a simple cash register.

So I hope this was of some help to you! Follow this link If you are looking for a Cash Register

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cash Register News

Well yes it may be a little booring to those of you not in the Cash Register business but it has been an exciting couple of months for those of us in the Cash Register industry.

First off all there are two new models of cash registers from Casio that comes with a credit card interface for both credit and debit transactions. These registers are being offered for FREE when you sign up for United Bank Card for Merchant Services. Your can find both models for free at these links Casio TE-1500 and Casio TK-1550

Second bit of cool news in the Cash Register world is the new models of Samsung Cash Registers or I should say SAM4s Cash Register as they have not been called Samsung for quite awhile now. The new models are the SAM4s SPS-520 and the SPS-530 cash registers. They are a hybrid created by combining classic cash register features and new state of the art touch screen technology. This is one of the most powerful and scaleable registers I have ever seen. Check these links if you are looking for a good price on the SAM4s SPS-520 and the SPS-530

Friday, July 24, 2009

SAM4s SPS-520 Cash Register

So the wait is over! The SAM4s SPS-520 series has been released. What a cool machine this register is. This cash register features a standard cash register keyboard and a touch screen. The best of both worlds is found with the SAM4s SPS-520 Series.

The SAM4s SPS-500 series is comprised of several models.
  1. The SAM4s SPS-520rt which is a raised keyboard register with a two station printer. The cashregister is designed for retail stores and includes options like bar code scanner and credit card interface
  2. The SAM4s SPS-520ft comes with a flat keyboard designed for all types of restaurants. Plenty of options like Kitchen Printers, Kitchen Video, and Credit Card Interface
  3. The SAM4s SPS-530rt is just like the 520rt except it comes standard with a single station 3" printer.
  4. The SAM4s SPS-530ft is also just like the 520ft keybaord except is has the single 3" thermal printer instead of the dual station found on the 520ft.

The SPS-500 series is priced right, and has very affordable options.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

SAM4s ER-650 vs the SAM4s ER-5200M Cash Register

Often times we speak to people that are puzzled about which register to buy. The question is often in regards to which is better; the SAM4s ER-650 or SAM4s ER-5200M Cash Register.

There is no easy answer to that question as they are both great cash registers designed for restaurants. However there are many difference. So lets explore which one has the best features for you. Below I try to point out which machine has the better feature in important categories.

Keyboard: No doubt the ER-5200M has a much bigger keyboard at 117 item buttons.

Display: With question the ER-650 kills the ER-5200M in this category. The 650 features an 8 line LCD display that makes operating and programming much easier.

Printer: Well this one is a toss up depending on your needs. The ER-5200M features a two station printer with both receipt and journal tapes. The ER-650 only has one tape. If you want a journal you use the electronic journal feature. Both machines printers are high speed thermal printers.

Cash Drawer: A draw! They are both the same. 5 bill 5 coin

Kitchen Printer: Features I think the ER-650 wins this feature. Although they can both have a kitchen printer the ER-650 makes better use of modifiers and add-ons

Rear Display: A Draw! They are the same

Credit Card Interface: Draw! Both cash registers interface with Datacap credit card interfaces and Gift Card Interface

Computer Interface: Draw! They both interface to two different computer to cash register software packages

Inter-Register Communications: The ER-650 takes this category hands down. The ER-650 features standard register to register communications that allow program downloading and report consolidation. The ER-5200M does not have this feature

Scale Interface: Draw! They both have it.

Bar code Scanner: Interface Draw! They both have it.

Quick Books Interface: Draw! They both do it using PC Poll Software

DVR Interface: Draw! They both interface to several DVR systems like the Talon DVR

Window Buttons: The ER-650 wins this one. With the ER-650 you can program up to 8 buttons that are windows of items. So maybe you have a sandwich button, you press the sandwich button and a list of up to 8 items pops up in the display, you then choose which item you want by number or by scrolling up and down. Not used often, but when needed it is a powerful feature!

Order Review on Screen/Display: Another win for the ER650, you can review your entire order on the display. The ER-5200 has no such feature you would have to look at the tape.

Selective Voiding via The Display: Again the ER-650 takes this one. The SAM4s er650 has the 8 line LCD display that makes that feature possible.

Programming Ease: Well the ER-650 takes the cake when it come to being easier to program then any other cash register on the market, not just the ER5200M. Not at all that the ER-5200M is hard to program it is just that the 650 is made much much easier because of the display. I have had customers program the machine without ever opening the manual

OK, I know the ER-650 won a few more categories then the ER-5200M, but look at the keyboard size and the fact that the ER-5200M has both receipt and journal. Just those two items can push the 5200M to the best choice.

Monday, March 9, 2009

SAM4s Cash Registers and Credit Card Interface

Interfacing your credit card payments into you cash register is not only a good idea but it is very affordable these days. The number one reason to interface your cash register and credit card payments to to avoid mistakes in tendering sales amounts in the credit card terminal after the cash register. As an example lets say you ring up a sale on your cash register and it totals $19.49 and your customer hands you a credit card for payment. Know you have to re-enter the $19.49 into the credit card machine. Problem is that is is very easy while in a hurry to enter that amount as $1.49 or 9.49 or $194.90 and in the rush no one notices. Don't believe me? Well then go back and match the sales in your cash register that were paid to the charge button to the amounts on your credit card machine. If you do any volume at all you will find some glaring mistakes. The larger your average ticket the larger your mistakes.

So when you interface your credit card payments in your cash register you can not short change the cash register. The register automatically inserts the sale amount the credit card is be to be authorized for. Yes it is possible for you to enter an amount less then the amount and the cash register will let you do that, BUT the cash register still won't completely finalize the sale until the amount is paid for in total whether by cash, or credit. This keeps your clerks from making those mistakes or at worst they notice right then so they can fix it.

So here is a great source for SAM4s Cash Registers that do credit card interface and here is a link to Datacap Systems who make the credit card interface device that works in SAM4s Cash Registers as well as Sharp and Casio Cash Registers

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Receipt and Journal

OK, we get this questions over and over regarding cash registers. What is a receipt and journal?What is an audit tape? What is an Electronic Journal?

So lets tackle the Receipt and Journal printer and Audit tape first

What is a receipt and journal? Well seems like a stupid question, but I guess if you are brand new to cash registers maybe you don't know. A receipt is a receipt paper that prints out the transaction to give to the customer. Right everyone knew that! The journal is the 2nd paper tape in a cash register that prints and stores the detail in the register. The journal is often called an Audit tape. The Journal or Audit Tape prints every entry as they happen. It is great to have when you need to research a problem with balancing, solving a overage/shortage, and the like. Normally it will print as you go and wind itself up on a take up reel in the machine. Most people never look at the audit tape, they just take it out and store it for years. They do seem to be seldom used but very useful when needed. Most cash registers these day are not being built with both a receipt and journal (R/J). The common phrases for this style of printer are @ station printer, R/J printer, and Receipt and Journal Printer.

There are machines that will use two ply paper to accomplish a receipt and journal printing. The top copy exits the machine for the receipt and it is usually white, the second or bottom copy remains in the machine and winds up on a take up reel or spool. The 2nd copy or bottom copy is the Audit Tape or Journal Tape. The 2nd copy is almost always yellow or canary in color. It is most often referred to as 2 Ply W/C. This practice is not as common as it was in the 80s and early 90s as the paper is more expensive.

OK, what is an Electronic Journal (EJ)

Well the Electronic Journal commonly referred to the EJ is a method of keeping an audit tape (see above if you don't know what an audit or journal tape is) with a register that only has one tape also known as a single station printer. The EJ is RAM Memory based in the register. Rather then print every transaction on a paper based journal or audit tape. Now when you need to see the audit tape or journal you print the E/J on the receipt tape, or in some machines you can view on the display. Pretty cool and does not waste paper. Again most folks never look at their journal tape and they just take up space in a closet somewhere! However that is not the end of the story! Registers can not store the E/J forever and most can't store more then a day of two worth of business if your store is a busy place. So most registers will overwrite the EJ as it fills oldest to newest. And the one biggee possible problem with an EJ is what happens if your machine dies after a busy day before you have taken reports? Well in that case you are up the creek without a paddle. There will be nothing other then your memory to recreate your sales figures. This would not be an issue with a hard printed journal tape!

But rest easy because modern machines very rarely ever fail completely! It does happen but so does lightning (ok you do have a better chance of your machine dieing then being hit by lightning) but you get the point. Modern machine do not fail nearly as often as machines from a decade ago!

Also keep in mind more stores and restaurants use computer based POS systems these days instead of cash registers with an R/J So that means they are using an EJ on a hard drive. Cash Register memory is more reliable then a hard drive!

Hope all that rambling helped!