How We Went from Restaurant Owners to Developing a POS System for Restaurants
September 17th, 2011. It’s a day I’ll always remember for many reasons, primarily because it was opening night for our restaurant, Blood & Sand. My business partner, TJ, and I had been dreaming of this night for four years. Our idea to serve food and cocktails to people who loved them as much as we did was finally here.
Having been in the restaurant industry our entire adult lives, we had been part of many successful restaurant openings.
Our soft openings for friends and family the previous two nights went better than expected. There were the usual minor hiccups, but nothing major. Unfortunately, we didn’t know we were sitting on a ticking time bomb that would lead to disaster on our opening night.
The doors opened at 5pm and half of our 130 seats were already filled by 6pm. Everything was going extremely well. We all had a cautious optimism that our first night would be a success. That all changed around 6:30 when all 6 of our servers came rushing towards us at roughly the same time, with similar looks of panic on their faces.
We Were About to Experience the Restaurant POS Nightmare
“I can’t ring in anything. When I try to send the order, it stays frozen!” said one server. “My order sent, but it took 3 minutes for it to go through,” said another.
As more people came in and we started to near capacity, our POS problem continued to worsen. If the orders actually went through after multiple minutes, some of them failed to print to the kitchen and bar. Chaos was building.
We immediately called our POS provider…and got their voicemail. We emailed them and tried calling several more times. Nothing. It seemed inconceivable that there was no immediate customer support at 7pm on a Saturday night, but it was a reality that we were in for a rough night. We tried troubleshooting as much as we could, but it became clear this issue was out of our control. As kitchen ticket times grew to 45 min because of all the confusion, we made the decision to abandon the system and switch to handwritten tickets.
Circumstances like this are incredibly challenging for an experienced, well run restaurant. For a restaurant on their first night, operating at max capacity, with a staff that’s never worked with each other, it was devastating. Our 45 min ticket times grew to 1 hour. You could see the frustration on our staff’s faces from all of the mayhem.
Things Were About to go From Bad to Worse
Then came the nail in the coffin: we could no longer process credit cards. Since most of our customers didn’t have cash, and we had already forced them to wait exceedingly long for their food and drinks, we felt there was no other choice but to comp their meal and salvage our reputation. In total, we lost over $5k. We finally got a call back from our POS provider 4 hours later. They said, without any hint of empathy, they were having issues that were affecting all of their customers.
It was at that moment that we realized there needed to be a better POS system for restaurants. While this experience would undoubtedly rank as one of our top POS failures, there were numerous others with virtually all of the dozens of other systems we’d used over the course of our restaurant careers. Like all of my restaurant friends, I understood POS was an acronym for Piece Of Sh**.
Out of Chaos Came Inspiration
That night became the inspiration for us to create a restaurant POS system that solved the industry’s core problems. We believe restaurants should have a system that is reliable, easy to use, with responsive customer support. A system that doesn’t add to your stress, but makes running a restaurant easier.
We invite you to take a look at a POS system for restaurants that was developed by restaurant owners who understand your needs. We’ve been there and know what it’s like to see your night spiral out of control when your POS goes south.
Avoid obsolete technologies. Contact us for a demo to see what a good restaurant POS looks like.