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Future of Food: POS becomes 'server farm to table'

Cloud computing will have a big impact on point-of-sale systems in restaurants, experts say.

POS systems have already incorporated innovations like online ordering, inventory tracking, theft reduction, loyalty reward programs and other marketing initiatives, plus administrative tasks like payroll, scheduling and deep-dive business reports.

But Fred LeFranc, founder and CEO of Charlotte, N.C.-based consultancy Results Thru Strategy, said point-of-sale systems are migrating to cloud computing, with the database stationed at a cluster of web servers far from the restaurant location.

POS is on the cusp of becoming “server farm to table.”

That means POS systems will be available at lower cost and reduced fees than legacy systems, LeFranc said. 

For example, Heartland Commerce’s new Xenial product will not only be cloud-based, but device agnostic, he said. 

“What that means is that it is not only cloud-based, but someone can go get an Android tablet, an iPhone — anything — and set up a POS system in a few minutes,” LeFranc said. “That will be pretty amazing.”

The platform means information from online, in-store, tableside and kiosk orders will all be handled the same. 

“Between the hardware and the software license, POS systems are never cheap. And you have to pay for updates all the time. This new Xenial model will update automatically in the cloud.” LeFranc said. 

The price will be based on the restaurant’s location volume, with tiered pricing for units earning $500,000, $1 million or $10 million in sales annually. 

“You can have as many devices as you want,” LeFranc said. “If a restaurant does $5 million a year and wants an iPad at every table — knock yourself out. There’s no extra charge.”

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

TAGS: Operations
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