Point-Of-Sale Systems Review

MICROS POS systems has become the POS system of choice for restaurants interested in the top-of-the-line systems.

MICROS POS systems have become the POS system of choice for restaurants interested in the top-of-the-line systems. Its offerings are a complex mix of hardware and services that must be customized to the individual restaurant or restaurant chain needs.

MICROS has captured a large portion of the market for all sizes and types of restaurants, but many smaller operations might get equivalent benefits from simpler systems. The MICROS systems offer many back-of-the-house benefits, especially now being owned by the hardware and software giant Oracle.  Other point-of-sale systems offer more intuitive and arguably robust front-of-the-house management capabilities.

Over the last few years, MICROS has adapted to the trends of newer POS systems, especially those whose hardware is off-the-shelf tablets such as iPad or Android based ones. MICROS, however, has kept to their traditional system of pairing hardware with software, adding an additional upfront expense and making it less easy for a restaurant to change POS systems.  One main drawback of MICROS is because of the proprietary systems, a restaurant is compelled to sign up for expensive maintenance programs, as any breakdowns can interrupt restaurant operations.

MICROS has every base covered, though some things are included with POS systems, while others are add-on services. Software options have training modules for staff to learn menus, cooking techniques and wine appreciation, but each additional module or upgrade costs extra and produces its own implementation problems and system glitches. The kitchen management tools include detailed station-closing checklists and inventory tracking of ingredients in each dish so that staff can manage inventory more accurately. All these tools are excellent for very large operations as managers tend to be overstretched.

Choosing an Appropriate POS System

MICROS POS systems offer several options for restaurant owners. Integrating credit card sales with kitchen stations, accounting systems and server-input terminals offers benefits for larger restaurant operations, but the costs of computerized POS systems might make them impractical for smaller restaurants that gross less than $700,000 annually. MICROS costs are on the high-end of the spectrum.

  • MICROS offers touch screens to simplify ordering, and the system fulfills the demands of fast food and fine dining establishments, but neighborhood diners and casual restaurants might prefer simpler systems with fewer technical demands.
  • The MICROS systems include several options for single restaurants, chain operations and multiple-restaurant properties such as hotels, casinos and resorts.
  • This POS software interfaces with other software systems, but new hardware might become necessary.
  • MICROS now has tablet-based ordering & POS systems, called mTablet. It enables customers to confirm orders, increasing accuracy. MICROS have smaller mobile device for ordering and credit card processing, speeding up service. Both can have suggestive selling prompts so servers remember to upsell.  Each syncs with the POS stations.

Types of MICROS Systems

Types of systems include a basic POS option that works with one personal computer and up to six work stations. MICROS  offers highly specialized features or the ability to manage large enterprises and multiple properties.

  • MICROS e7 provides simple, user-friendly communications to speed up orders, cash-register operations and kitchen processing of orders.
  • MICROS RES offers more advanced reporting tools, guest-services features and applications that help to manage BOH operations. It is the most popular system.
  • MICROS Simphony is the highest line and is a true management platform. It works with multiple Windows platforms and MS-SQL and Oracle operating systems for managing comprehensive accounting, surveillance and POS operations over multiple restaurant locations.

Computer Crashes, Reboots and Other Operating Problems

All POS systems have disadvantages since they depend on their Internet connections to operate. System crashes pose potential problems unless management organizes backup procedures for handling credit-card and cash transactions manually.

  • Simple FOH tasks, such as separating guest checks by seats at each table, create greater difficulty with MICROS software than many other POS systems.
  • Restaurant owners must buy extra modules for different functions like inventory control, time-card functions, gift-card processing and other upgrades. Although MICROS has nearly every capability imaginable, many of them cost an additional amount.
  • Although restaurant owners can start with basic systems and expand as their needs grow, they can expect to pay significant premiums for each new feature.
  • Advanced systems usually require expensive hardware upgrades to work properly and realize the full benefits of the software.
  • Many customers find that the company has little interest in growing smaller businesses and establishing working partnerships. The MICROS technology costs more than many other POS systems, and some small restaurants simply do not need the advanced capabilities when starting in business.
  • Despite the cost for new modules and features, the company charges no software upgrade fee for as long as the original client keeps the service.

Support Services Hold the Key to Satisfaction

The company offers a 24-hour help desk, and they promise to send out a technician to troubleshoot operating problems. However, customers might arrange to buy their systems from local vendors with roots in their communities and strong reputations for reliability. Buying a used system is a risky strategy because the company offers service support only to the original software licensees.

MICROS offers solid performance for operations that have high volume and simple management requirements, but highly customized systems will require large capital investments, putting them out of reach of most new operations. Although the company supplies training modules, these features cost extra. Touch-screen interfaces offer easy operation for service staff, but management functions require better training or experience with POS systems.

The advantages of MICROS systems outweigh the disadvantages only if restaurants need superior analytical capabilities, gross $1 million or more annually and can afford the initial hardware and software investments. Trying to integrate old hardware almost always results in major headaches, awkward downtime and steep learning curves. Entrepreneurs who own small restaurants can often make do with electronic cash registers, inexpensive accounting systems and POS credit-card service providers until they can afford to invest in more expensive equipment. Choose the POS system that meets basic goals and objectives and save the advanced capabilities until business volume warrants the investment.