Can we get away with no POS?

Do you think we could get away with not using a POS system. They are extremely expensive for the small startup of our business. We are just a couple of guys opening a kitchen in a bar and will be doing delivery and take-out pizzas as well but are only investing a few thousand each into the business as well as our time and hearts/souls. I just want thoughts from those of you who currently run your own place if you could do it without the POS system. I know that they are great for keeping customer data and tracking purposes. Any ideas welcomed.


Certainly you could log all the deliveries, transcribe every order, make a second copy for the kitchen and one for the customer, maybe a third for the cash drawer. You can manually keep track of your food costs, labor, profits, inventory, work schedules etc. People used to do that all the time. Of course, most stopped in the 80’s…

teasing you know, sleep deprivation and all. but sure, you CAN do it by hand…but if you don’t have a ton of extra cash laying around, which btw puts you solidly in the majority, and you really want to go POS, check out Point of Success, grab a couple of cheap used computers and some old touch-screens and make it easier on yourselves.

Yep. A starter system, like Point of Success or POSPizza will save you hours and money. It will also pay for itself within 2-3 months after installation. A breakdown for Point of Success done on the cheap:

Software: $599 (you will want a second monitor when you have some cash $200)
Hardware: 2 refurbished Dells : $300
Used receipt printer: $140
Find a cheap report printer.
Networking stuff (cables and a hub/router) $50

You are going to want to add on things like a makeline monitor, box label printer, and cash drawers, but the stuff above is the minimum you will need.

If your sales are $5000 a week, that is 250 - $20 orders. If you plan half those as deliveries, that is 500 deliveries a month. Sending out one database mailer to 500 address should get you a 15% response, or 75 orders. At $20 an order, that is $1500 in sales. In just two months, after taking out food and labor costs, you have paid for the above system.

Its always a challenge knowing where to cut initial expenses as well as ongoing ones…

If the budget is so slim to not include a POS, then perhaps you are not ready to embark on this phase of business…

After all, you don’t need a true pizza oven either…the oven under the six-eye burner will cook a pizza as well…

But a conveyor or deck oven will cook a better pizza and a POS will eventually prove to make you a better operator as well…

I appreciate the responses. I think I am going to break down and buy a POS or put one together at least. Have you either of you used PizzaPOS before? I am playing with the demo and it seems to have more feature built in that you would have to pay separately for on Point of Success. I like the layout and suspect that Point of Success is a better POS system. Patriot, trust me I have thought maybe it’s not good to be cheap or that we should wait but us here in Nevada pretty much had opportunity handed to us. There was a law enacted 4 years ago that didn’t allow food in bars that had smoking so the owners had to decide whether to keep food or keep smoking and those who kept smoking shut their kitchens. A couple weeks ago the law was lifted and all these bars are opening up their kitchens again. I was able to get a kitchen with most of the equipment I need AND the only monthly expense to me is utilities and phone lines/internet. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give it a shot! Again, I am all ears about any advice that anyone has.

Thanks again for being on this amazing forum!

I used POSPizza in 4 of my shops. It is great for a lot of things, especially setting up a POS on a budget. The best feature it has is the ability to download the customer database into a CSV file that you can play with in excel. You can tweak the numbers and the order times/dates to really increase the effectiveness of your marketing.

My best response rate for a monthly mailer of 2000 post cards was 26%. That targeted new customers, and 30-60-90 day new customers. To give you an idea of what that meant:

Example of a May mailer:
Thank you post cards to all new customers who ordered in April
$3 off to all customers who ordered in March, but not april
$5 off to all customers who ordered in Feb, but not March or April
$7-9 off for customers whose last order was in January (ie 90 days without an order)

Twice in many years of doing it, I broke down the specials further into big combos and small deals. By getting the customers average order amount, you can see if they traditionally order a lot of food, or a single medium pizza. It did increase my sales, but it took a lot more time to get that far into managing the database.

When I set up POSPizza the first time, I spent $50 on hardware. At the time, I had more time than money (and sense). Going with junk is an easy way to spend less money, but getting it to work and dealing with breakdowns sucks time. On the flip side, you do not need the top of the line machine. The $150 refurbished machines I found on Amazon are perfect. Even better with a $50 RAM upgrade to make them run faster. A POS does not tax the system. I paid for the license and the hardware with the first direct mailer I sent out.

The support at POSPizza is great as well. 24/7 Phone support is useless in most cases. If you PC breaks, you are screwed anyway. In 11 years of using POSPizza, I had one software problem with a corrupt database. I did the database maintenance from the manager screen, and was back up and running in a few minutes.

How was pizzapos for inventory control?

I would have liked to see better inventory control, but I got around it by putting strict portion control in place. Every bit of cheese was in a measured topping cup and portion cups for the other toppings (pepperoni and the like counted).

Re: POS Pizza

I normally don’t post here but I wanted to let you know that inventory has been improved (along with many other things) in POS Pizza v6. You can download the free version and use it as long as you want to to see this and other features in the software. The free version never expires, and requires no registration. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

Scott Slater
POS Pizza / Summit Computer Networks, Inc.

What Scott said. I haven’t used that POS in over 3 years, so there are probably some very good changes implemented.

Short answer to OP, no. Long answer, no, unless you want to spend more time staring at spreadsheets instead of actually making sales, thus earning profit. POS systems are worth the money in the long run.

I operated a pizza joint doing less that $300K a year, and our lives were transformed when halfway through we added the POS. Those carbon, moisture-stick pizza sheets create profound issues in peak hours . . . and just frustrating issues most other times. I was paying .05 per item for 3-part carbon order sheets. The printed box labels from my POS run less than a penny each. Accuracy, legibility and speed of ordering are enough reasons to get an inexpensive POS . . . the reporting, marketing tools and real time order tracking during shifts are what pay for the thing.

BTW Point of success has a free version (2-station)available as well.

Point of success has a free version (2-station) available as well.

We do. Point of Success Special Edition is designed for a small operation that doesn’t do deliveries. It has the same features as Point of Success Standard - Its ordering system is like the first version of Point of Success before we added features to support complex pizza ordering, pricing and discounting.

You can get it here:

After nearly 6 years we have finally gone POS.
Did we survive without it? Sure but it was hard work, inaccurate and lost us heaps of money from incorrect pricing of orders.
Has it made a difference? Absolutely. Just after less than a week i feel we are over $100 up from incorrect ordering under the old pen and paper system. Orders are expedited, long ques have disappeared, phone rings are shorter as staff are getting orders done 3 times as fast. Errors have declined on the makbench and we now take customers names instaed of giving them the tear off numbered slip form the order pad - they are now a person rather than a name and they love it.
Don’t procrastinate like I did - just do it and do it now.