POS Systems

Ok. Right now I am leaning heavily toward Firefly for my POS system, but I have some questions that I haven’t been able to ask yet.

I’ve come up with a few things I would like to see on my system. I’d like to know if any of the major systems are lacking in these features so I can potentially eliminate them from my search. Here’s what I’d potentially like to have:

  1. Customized Reports
  2. Ability to use gift cards
  3. Maintain customer accounts
  4. A system that can handle catering. This may fall under customer accounts
  5. Remote access to system
  6. Ability to take orders outside of the store during busy periods
  7. Online ordering

These aren’t must haves, but it’d be nice to have them. Please tell me if a system has these or not. I have a ton of options I’m looking at and would like to narrow them down.


I’m not sure what you mean with #6. But Firefly’s system Phoenix does all the rest for sure. I’ve had Phoenix in both of my stores since Aug '05. There are only two functions I have not used yet; advanced delivery routing and the customer points. Gave Speedline a good look but in the end they couldn’t get two systems to me fast enough. My one store got hit with lightning which fried all but 2 of my RapidFire workstations. Firefly shipped me a couple used workstations so I could limp through until they got Phoenix going in the store. What’s freakier is on the same night my other store took a lightning strike that melted my phone system.

By #6, I mean that you have the ability to take orders from a different location. I saw on one system where you could take orders from your house or somewhere else if you wanted to. It opens up the possibility to help take orders from a remote location and help keep your labor down. I don’t know how much I’d use it or if I would, but it’d be a nice option. You could use less order takers on some nights then and definitely save some money.

bwatkin5 writes,

By #6, I mean that you have the ability to take orders from a different location.

Just as an FYI, you can do that by using LogMeIn. Google it, you’ll see what I’m talking about.


LogMeIn will remote control the station but no one else can use it. Some have a remote module so that you can work remotely. Others have a web interface. I am sure some will allow a server with clients.

You can also get pcanywhere.

Or use XP’s native Remote Desktop if you want a free solution and just need to control the desktop.

I just use a VPN to connect to the LAN at my restaurant. I have a copy of the POS running on my laptop and it’s the exact same as being there. It will cost you an extra license though, at least in most cases.

I used to own Firefly and I loved it. Some of my friends had it briefly and hated it.

The system has some pros and cons. Using PC Anywhere for remote access is NOTHING like what you can do with Firefly. No one even knows you are on the system when using the remote feature. If you are using PC Anywhere, or Logmein.com etc, people can watch you on the station.

Just talked to a bunch of different operators and see how they feel about their systems.

Great article in this month’s PMQ…You can read the digital copy at http://digital.pmq.com/pizzamagazine/200903/

I have been using Firefly for about 18 months. I would not recommend this system to anyone. It is very user friendly for the cashiers, but ONLY when it is working correctly, which is rare. Every time they have an update things get screwy. When you call tech support good luck getting someone on the phone or calling you back. When they do call chances are good that they will have no idea what the problem is or how to fix it. I have had multiple issues that went on for months and months. Granted, none of these were things that kept me from operating, they just kept me on the phone with them on a daily basis. I have much better ways to spend my time. AVOID.

We use gotomypc.com and remotely access the main server at each of our locations. We can then have our phones forwarded to our house, take orders, and do all kinds of things on the computer from the comfort of our own home (in the event our inside person needs to take a delivery). Sometimes we wonder why we didn’t get this a long time ago. Nice to sit at home and make menu changes, paperwork changes, etc. without ever having to leave the house or awe can work on stuff from home any time of the day or night.

Not sure what customized reports you have in mind. If a system has the reports you really need… anyway, Prism (Microworks) has a lot of built in reporting capability. You can certainly change the paramaters enough to get any information I have ever wanted in the 11 years I have been running it.

The system does everything else on your list.

Why would you want remote ordering? The people on the phones need to be in loop of what is going on in the store etc etc. Placing orders from your home or someplace else is just asking for trouble. How do you get the phone calls in any case? Besides, using the on-line order capability would take care of this. A better solution is to add a touchscreen to your manager/server station so it can also be an order station. When we are really slammed we add a phone person who sits in the office and does nothing but phone. It is far more effective than somebody on a laptop somplace would ever be without the added complexity of figuring out how to re-route the calls. They still have the ability to jump up and see if an order is going to be next to go or has already been made when someone asks for a change and can stay current on delivery times etc.

The main reasons I would buy a Prism system again if I were starting over:

  1. Software does what I need to and it is easy to train all my people to use it.
  2. Stable system that can intergrate credit card clearing and on-line ordering.
  3. Best of the best support. I have 11 years experience working with these guys. They get it done and it is done right.
  4. Quality hardware. (Yes they charge too much for the hardware)

Overall, you get what you pay for. When you go with the cheap POS opotions you get the kind of stories like those posted a couple of posts above.

Have had Foodtec for over 3 years and love it. Can do all that you need except #6. Two big thumbs up - very rock solid.

Have been a Firefly user for about three years now . . .

#6 is a cool feature but I honestly haven’t used it too much. It is a nice option to have, however, if one of your stations goes down. If you in the office its convenient to take phone orders while working on office work – takes a load off the staff.

Reports – has them but you have to export the data to Excel to really make use of many of them. i.e. Want to know your top 25 customers? You can do a report showing all your customers who have ordered over a certain dollar amount but the list will not come up in any order. You first have to export it to Excel and do a sort by highest dollar amount. Easy to do but extra steps . . .

Mailing Lists – Its a pain to print these out because there is no way to print out all the addresses in your system. You have to export all the addresses to Excel one zip at a time, combine them into one Excel document and then you can print them (which I do from Word). Tedious task to do every month.

Stability wise – never had it go down (that I can remember anyway).

Tech support has always been pretty responsive.

Have not tried gift cards but looked into the loyalty program and found that it is not complete (not as advertised or in docs). Loyalty seems to be pretty useless.

Tried to use it for texts (as advertised) but tech could not get it to work.

Remote access is a breeze. PCAnywhere and other like options are a pain imo. All you do is open your browser to access Firefly. No different than going to any website.

Its supposed to be able to handle customer accounts. I tried to use part of that feature to track credits due customers for our mistakes but the feature appears to be missing. Maybe it does handle accounts??? Verify!

All in all its been a good experience (which isn’t hard to accomplish when coming from Aloha). Had someone warn me before purchasing that the system isn’t quite complete. And, it appears that is the case because the documentation refers to things that do not exist. Sometimes programming things doesn’t work, but I find workarounds . . .

Obviously I have not tried every POS but it seems they all are incomplete to some point but maybe has an example of one otherwise. If this is your first time into purchasing a POS the decision will be more difficult without practical experience from other systems. My STRONG advice would be to actually go through each procedure that is important to you. Have it demonstrated – don’t take any company’s word for it. Absolute best advice.

Would be happy to answer any specific questions you may have . . .

Speedline and Revention were my runner ups.