Thursday, June 7, 2012
New Sandwich Shop, New Cash Register
When we bellied up to the counter to pay our bill, we couldn't help but notice that their cash register was an iPad connected to a cash till and credit card printer. They were excited to show off their high tech point-of-sale (POS) system which got me wondering if it was actually cheaper - in terms of total cost of ownership - than a traditional cash register.
Realistically, an alternative solution, like Square, seems practical when processing only credit cards on the go. A fixed POS system needs to securely store cash as well as process credit cards and it should be somewhat rugged.
A basic cash register, with a till, starts at about $200. Then add one or two hundred more for a printer and credit card swiper. On the other hand, a new iPad 2 (previous generation) starts at $399 plus the cash register app, printer and till will bump up the cost. A key benefit of an iPad POS is that it has more features and can collect more data than a basic cash register.
I still can't help but ponder how this will hold up. Even though most cash registers at retail chains are actually stripped down PCs which are networked into servers - I wonder if the iPad POS will work as expected or if it'll end up being more like a portable GPS system on your car's dashboard vice a navigation system built into your car. In other words, it's the difference between a dedicated tool for a specific job or, perhaps, a solution looking for a problem.
Of course, if the iPad POS was wirelessly connected to the kitchen - which I don't think it was - that would be a no brainer in terms of efficiency. But, regardless, the nicest benefit of a mom-and-pop shop using an iPad cash register is that they can take it home at the end of the day and use it for more proper iPad duties.