Is anyone using the Apple POS system? If so, I'd love to hear what you think about it. Pros? Cons?

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Apple has a POS?
Where can I get more info?
We are MAC users and I hate the idea that I will have to use PC at the Coffee House.
Yes, they have a nice system from what I can tell. I just would like to find someone who is using it who could tell me about the pros and cons. Here's a link to Apple's website for POS:

http://www.apple.com/business/solutions/pos/
I have never personally used it, but I know a local grocer who does. They seem very friendly and I'm sure that they'd be willing to answer an email. Here is their website:

http://www.forwardfoods.com/

The have contact info on there.
I have seen a pos that is mac friendly called LightSpeed by xSilva, but mainly used in retail shops like clothing stores or integrated web stores. I would be careful and make sure any pos system is ready to handle LOTS of small transactions, and consider the lack of touch screen monitor, per transaction fees, loyalty cards, etc.

I am also a mac user, but when it comes to POS for retail coffee, things may not be "apples to apples" ... sorry.

- Matt

James Doyle said:
I have never personally used it, but I know a local grocer who does. They seem very friendly and I'm sure that they'd be willing to answer an email. Here is their website:

http://www.forwardfoods.com/

The have contact info on there.
Saraveza a bar in Portland on Killingsworth uses Lightspeed. Sara really likes it. I talked to her for a while about the pos and it seemed kind of spendy to me.
I'm just setting up shop now and I just purchased Sixth Sense Cafe/Coffee Shop POS. I did a lot of shopping around for a MAC POS and found them to be affordable. I can't give any real feedback yet but they do have a demo you can download from their website and play with. www.sixthsensepos.com
I second Matt's comments about being careful to find a POS that works in a cafe environment. I've looked at a ton of them in preparation for opening my coffeehouse and many are geared to retail environments, not quick-serve F&B operations. Although I too am an Apple fan, I have unfortunately yet to run across an Apple/Mac based system that is easily tailored to quick-serve and has all the bells and whistles I require. If there's one out there that matches the functionality of the Windows based systems I've seen, I'd be interested in reviewing it too.

I was in hospitality IT for more years than I care to admit and installed many POS systems and worked with many companies that installed new POS systems in their establishments. A common issue that arose was that six months or a year after installation the business realizes that they either 1) chose the wrong POS for their environment/needs or 2) never spent the time prior to opening properly configuring the POS to meet the needs of their business.

Often, businesses choose the "well known" or "popular" POS system even if it doesn't actually meet their needs. This can be a disaster down the road when a company realizes that they don't have the functionality or the reports that they need to help their business succeed and grow. Now this may not be as big a financial impact for a coffeehouse compared to a large hotel/restaurant, but proper planning and comparing "apples to apples" (forgive the pun) before choosing a POS will definitely be worth the effort down the line. To be worth the financial investment, the POS you choose should have the power and functionality you need, the reports you require, the customer/technical support you can rely on, and the price you can afford. Finding the proper balance between these four things in the proper proportions for your operational needs is the key.

In my opinion, a good POS is practically invisible to your day-to-day operations. A POS is a tool to make your life easier and shouldn't force you to work harder just to maintain it. It also shouldn't force you to drastically change your operations to accommodate it. Granted, a modern POS will require quite a bit of planning, forethought and set-up initially, but once up and running, ongoing maintenance should be minimal.

In my coffeehouse I will probably be using a Windows based POS, but plan to run the back office (reporting/config) modules on a Mac that is also running Windows. This way I will be able to use my Mac for all my non-POS related tasks and also use it to administer the POS when necessary.
Adrian: Thanks for the posting. Very insightful indeed. In looking at systems, have you looked at Microsoft Dynamics, which is Microsoft's POS system?
Another option to check out - POS/OE 4 by E.E.S. Companies - www.eesco.com, has powerful point of sale, but also much more.
John - I saw a brief demo of this once, but haven't looked at it closely. I think it's predominantly a retail POS, but I could be mistaken. It's important to be sure your POS of choice is designed for quick service and has an extremely well designed user interface for the cashier. The cashiers use the POS 95% of the time, the remaining 5% is what you will use it for (reports, etc.) So with respect to the "front end" of the system, make sure that it's extremely user friendly and efficiently designed. Most retail POS systems fall short in this area (when used in quick-service) because they are designed for scanner input (like in the grocery store, or at the GAP). Have you ever noticed how long it takes a grocery cashier, or the person behind the counter at the GAP, to use the computer if the item cannot be scanned?

John Owens said:
Adrian: Thanks for the posting. Very insightful indeed. In looking at systems, have you looked at Microsoft Dynamics, which is Microsoft's POS system?
You know, we are asked about this at shows and over the phone a couple times a year. One of the issues we found is that there is a) not enough demand and b) hardware driver issues as companies design peripherals for pc based systems. Most people who don't like a PC based system are talking about Windows. In a lot of cases we suggest that you look at the fact that the crew spends time in the POS and not in Windows. I don't think anyone jumps up and down because they are using Windows but it is almost the only game in town for most companies.

Adrian nails it with some of the comments - not sucking up for a sale here either Adrian :).
Adrian please tell me more! I am a 'born and raised MAC user' I never had a computer growing up in the early 80's (who did?). My husband asked me to marry him via his Zenith computer using a slide presentation (then fancy stuff). I used it for college reports but swore when I graduated I would not use it again. We bought our first MAC shortly after and our son (then 2yrs) and I learned together. I've never used anything else.
Mike of Selby Soft assures me that I will do fine on their system. Who knows maybe they can even create a bakery add on type system that will tie in my ordering of supplies, supply inventory to my products on hand to my the items sold. So I can log in my beans or bread orders , when they come in they are moved to received and it add them to inventory, and then when an item is made or sold it removes it from inventory and adds it to the accounting side.


Adrian Badger said:
I second Matt's comments about being careful to find a POS that works in a cafe environment. I've looked at a ton of them in preparation for opening my coffeehouse and many are geared to retail environments, not quick-serve F&B operations. Although I too am an Apple fan, I have unfortunately yet to run across an Apple/Mac based system that is easily tailored to quick-serve and has all the bells and whistles I require. If there's one out there that matches the functionality of the Windows based systems I've seen, I'd be interested in reviewing it too.

.... In my coffeehouse I will probably be using a Windows based POS, but plan to run the back office (reporting/config) modules on a Mac that is also running Windows. This way I will be able to use my Mac for all my non-POS related tasks and also use it to administer the POS when necessary.

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