restaurant POS system is at the heart of a QSR or Fast Casual restaurant and can make a huge difference in how profitable a company is.

POSBannerUnfortunately, a restaurant POS system, like any technology, have a shelf life. Many organizations debate for months (sometimes years) whether the time is right to upgrade to a new system. While we can certainly understand the reason for wanting to delay a switch we’ve uncovered several hidden costs of sticking with an aging restaurant POS system.

Here are four of them:

1. Reduced productivity. The older something is, the more likely it is to break. This is true of computers, cars, electronics, etc. What happens when stuff breaks? Someone at the restaurant needs to make a service call which takes them away from helping customers and into the back office to make the call. At the end of the day, staff time and productivity is wasted sitting on the phone trying to fix a broken technology.

2. Increased repair costs. Along with making help desk calls, when something breaks there is usually something that needs to be fixed, resulting in a service fee, hardware fee or some other fee. And the older the technology, the harder it is to find and replace since most manufacturers will have stopped producing it at some point, likely several years ago. Anyone who has owned an old car knows eventually they hit a break-even point where the cost of repairing it is more than the car is worth. The same thing is true of antiquated POS systems.

3. Lost sales. Any time a POS breaks sales are lost. Especially if it’s during a peak time. The last thing a burger establishment wants is a POS to break down in the middle of lunch and watch customers walk across the street to a taco restaurant with a working POS. The reality is busy customers won’t wait for a POS to be repaired, something that makes QSR and Fast Casual dining different than other types of dining experiences.

4. Lost sales…again. Even if a POS system doesn’t break, aging technology is slower than new technology. It’s a simple fact, the computer you have from five years ago is not as fast as the computer you have now. The same is true of your POS. And again, given customers’ desire for speed to get their food fast, a slow ordering system is going to make them frustrated and deter them from visiting again.

The bottom line is if you’re debating whether or not you should upgrade your restaurant POS system you must look at these hidden costs and analyze how much you’re losing staying with an outdated system versus how much you could gain from upgrading to an updated system.