Software 4 Retail Solutions Releases S4Vision For Unified Customers

Software 4 Retail Solutions has released S4Vision for Unified Grocers customers participating in Unified’s “Scan Advantage” store data and analytics program. S4Vision is a self-service business intelligence platform that accumulates and analyzes real-time point-of-sale (POS) transaction data, giving store owners and managers actionable reporting and analytics on their desktop, tablet or smartphone.

S4Vision connects store managers directly to high-level summaries of trends and performance, with detailed drill-down whenever and wherever they need it, Software 4 Retail says. Managers can see chain and store real-time sales, with period-over-period trends including metrics such as customer count, basket size, average retail and items per basket. They also can dive deeper into department sales and metrics to examine strong or under-performing areas of the business. The platform provides daily projections to help managers anticipate product demand and customer visits.

S4Vision’s capabilities include measuring key performance indicators such as open department sales, no sales, refunds and voids so managers can track store labor and prevent loss. Real-time alerts are issued for abnormal activity and performance. Additionally, customer traffic can be measured against cashier labor to validate labor schedules.

“We are very pleased to be a preferred technology partner with Unified Grocers,” said Rick Goertzen, GM of Software 4 Retail Solutions. We’re confident that Unified’s retailers will enjoy the convenience and control of having S4Vision’s real-time data and analytics in the palm of their hands, and quickly see increased performance and sales growth storewide.”

Brian Legate, manager of retail analytics at Unified Grocers, said, “We’re delighted to add S4Vision to our suite of mobile offerings to help our independent retailer customers better compete and grow in their marketplaces. S4Vision is well-suited for helping our retailers take full advantage of Unified’s Scan Advantage program and all that it offers.”

PAR Technology and RDS Press Release

PAR Technology Corporation (NYSE:PAR)

FOR RELEASE:  March 9, 2016

Giardino Gourmet Salads Selects Cloud-Based PAR Brink POS® Software to Help Maximize Profits, Loyalty and Operational Efficiency

New Hartford, NY – March 9, 2016 — ParTech Inc. (PAR), a leading global provider of point-of-sale (POS) and food safety solutions to the restaurant industry and subsidiary of PAR Technology Corporation (NYSE: PAR), announced today that Giardino Gourmet Salads, has selected PAR Brink POS software for its corporate and franchised stores. Giardino’s is a premier fast casual salad chain with 12 locations, based in southern Florida. Retail Data Systems (RDS), a reseller of PAR hardware and software and a long-time partner of Giardino’s facilitated the process to find a POS solution that would best serve the needs of their growing brand. The goal was to implement a technology solution that would enable loyalty and online ordering while providing enterprise level management to efficiently and proactively support their franchisees.

The cloud-based architecture of PAR Brink POS optimizes enterprise operation management across the brand, without the need for a back office computer. The implementation of Brink POS has eliminated the need to manage menu changes from each store location, saving valuable time and resources. As a franchisor, Giardino Gourmet Salads will have access to reports and real-time data including labor and sales on individual locations chain-wide to help franchisees make informed, proactive decisions to drive revenue.

Giardino Gourmet Salads is one of the first restaurants to deploy the Punchh mobile loyalty platform that was recently integrated into Brink with the latest software release. The Punchh-powered apps will help the brand drive loyalty and guest engagement and provide powerful analytical tools to grow the business and better understand the full network of its customers.

“We were planning to franchise from the start and never wanted Giardino Gourmet Salads to be a mom-and-pop restaurant, so implementing a scalable technology platform was a priority,” said Kenny Lugo, founder of Giardino Gourmet Salads. “At an industry event, we spoke with loyalty and mobile ordering providers who both highly recommended Brink for our business model. From these interactions and our relationship with RDS, we knew PAR was the right partner for us and that using Brink POS to its fullest potential would give us a pulse on our business from anywhere, supporting our aggressive growth plans.”

“Cutting-edge, cloud-based technology, like Brink POS, offers optimal scalability through its simple deployment and enterprise management capabilities, making it an ideal solution for growing fast casual and quick service chains like Giardino Gourmet Salads,” said Matt Sutton, general manager at RDS Miami. “We believe a partnership, like the one we have with PAR, allows us to provide not only the best solutions, but also smoother installation, more in-depth training and more efficient help desk services for our customers.”

“It is a true example of partnership between PAR, RDS, and our integration partners to provide Giardino Gourmet Salads with a POS solution that will support their business and drive their brand growth,” said Karen Sammon, President and CEO of PAR Technology Corporation. “The selection of PAR Brink POS by Giardino Gourmet Salads, a company that has been included on’s Top 100 Movers and Shakers list for the past three years, further strengthens our position in the market as the POS solution for the growing fast casual operator. We are honored to add them to the PAR family and grateful to RDS for the continued support and expertise they provide to our collective customers.”

Giardino Gourmet Salads expects to have 14 stores open by the spring of 2016 and franchise commitments to open an additional seven additional locations in South Florida, Nashville, TN and Raleigh, NC.

About Giardino Gourmet Salads

Giardino Gourmet Salads is the premier fast casual salad concept in South Florida. Founded in 2004, the gardener chefs at Giardino serve the widest variety of individually hand-crafted, great-tasting salads and menu offerings using premium ingredients like freshly baked croutons and homemade deli salads. Currently with 11 South Florida locations and one in Nashville, TN, please visit for more information.

About PAR Technology Corporation

PAR Technology Corporation’s stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PAR.  PAR’s Hospitality segment has been a leading provider of restaurant and retail technology for more than 30 years.  PAR offers technology solutions for the full spectrum of restaurant operations, from large chain and independent table service restaurants to international quick service chains. Products from PAR also can be found in retailers, cinemas, cruise lines, stadiums and food service companies. PAR’s Government Business is a leader in providing computer-based system design, engineering and technical services to the Department of Defense and various federal agencies.  Visit for more information.

About Retail Data Systems

Retail Data Systems is the largest provider of point-of-sale hardware and software in North America. Founded in 1950, RDS now operates over 25 offices serving customers across the nation providing complete point of sale technology.

Our list of industry leading POS hardware and software products provide a variety of solutions for companies large and small. For more information, visit


Microsoft Windows Operating System XP Embedded Approaching End of Life

An Issue You Will Need to Deal With Sooner Than Later – Microsoft Windows XP Embedded‘s End of Life is in January.

XP Embedded, the workhorse of the modern Point of Sale age is going away.  After a more than 14 year run, extended support for the product is ending.  The reason?  Vulnerabilities in older encryption protocols such as TLS 1 will no longer be supported by Microsoft as they cannot get them to new standards on Windows XP based operating systems.  This will essentially render all systems with the XP operating system to be non-PCI compliant effective January 13, 2016.EndofLife

Included in this group are:

  • Microsoft Windows Embedded XP

Not updating your POS system to a compliant operating system will put your POS environment in violation of PCI compliance in at least 3 areas (quoted from PCI DSS v3:

  • “6.2 Ensure that all system components and software are protected from known vulnerabilities by installing applicable vendor-supplied security patches.”
  • “11.2.1 Perform quarterly internal vulnerability scans and rescans as needed, until all “high-risk” vulnerabilities (as identified in Requirement 6.1) are resolved.”
  • “11.3.3 Exploitable vulnerabilities found during penetration testing are corrected and testing is repeated to verify the corrections

This means if you are running a POS system with Windows XP, you have to do something now.   Please contact us ( for an assessment on if your environment is at risk.

By Patrick Solum

The Busiest Airport in the World – Catches Restaurant Thieves with Our Help!

RDS Southeast has about 20 restaurant customers in the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Recently, we invited one of our restaurant group customers to install Restaurant Guard by NCR Hosted Solutions. With Restaurant Guard installed for only two weeks, yesterday we were told that our customer had caught three employees stealing red-handed and fired them!

Two employees immediately confessed and the third denied the charges but RG reports and video surveillance confirmed all three were thieves.  Police escorted the three out of the airport and charges are pending.

The scam the thieves were using was the “Reprint” scam. When a guest would order a common menu item like “Combo Number Two” and pay cash, the employees would reprint several copies of the receipt. Then, whenever another guest would come along later and order the same menu item the cashier would ring in the sale and hand the guest the pre-printed receipt. After the guest paid and walked away with their food, the cashier would simply clear/delete the items on the ticket without ever completing the sale. The $8.00 cash would go right in the cashier’s pocket!

Here’s the Astronomical effect of this “petty” theft:

Combo meal price:          $8.00

Reprint Scam if used only 5 times a day = ($8 x 5 times a day) = $40 a day

20 restaurants in the airport. Be conservative and say it only happens in half of them…

10 restaurants = ($40 a day x 10 restaurants) = $400 a day

7 days a week= (7 days x $400) = $2,800 a week

50 weeks a year = (50 weeks x $2,800) = $140,000 a year!!!!!    This restaurant group was losing over $140,000 in revenue a year to theft!
Restaurant Guard Price: $125 a month per location x 10 stores = $1,250 a month

$1,250 a month (10 stores) x 12 months = $15,000 a year.

Pay $15,000 a year to get $140,000 increase in sales? Not a bad investment! Remember also, this was just one scam caught. It may be just “the-tip-of-the-iceberg”.

The other employees saw the police lead the thieves away in handcuffs. What effect will that have to stopping other theft?

The moral of this real-life experience is that RDS is our customer’s friend and consultant. Don’t be shy about asking about and listening to what worries our customers the most. It’s often not about being high-tech, email marketing, tablets or new social media apps. It’s about cutting their costs, improving their profits and making their quality of life better!

We have some of the best people in the industry around us. Bring them with you when you visit your friends (customers) and you will be successful! Good Selling!

E-M-V: What does it mean to me?

By October 2015, the Payment Card Industry (PCI) has a deadline that all merchants should be able to accept EMV payment cards or face charge backs and bad transaction fees.  So what is EMV?

EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa, a global standard utilizing an integrated circuit embedded within a plastic payment card (Chip). EMV has been the payment standard in Europe since 2002.  The combination of the card (Chip) with a PIN number provides a strong level of protection for the consumer against identity theft.

So how will this technology effect your business or your pocket book. Let’s exam a few Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. If I don’t make the October 15th date will I go to prison or face fines? No, EMV is not a law, requirement, or a mandate. The only penalty imposed will be a charge back if you the merchant accept a fraudulent EMV capable credit card without using the EMV reader.  So if you accept an EMV capable card for $25.00 and the EMV card is found to be fraudulent days later, you will lose that money plus pay a $20.00 bad card fee total loss would be $45.00. This is the shifting of liability the payment card industry is talking about.
  1. Don’t I have to do EMV to be PCI compliant? EMV is only one component of PCI protection but it is not mandated because it does not stop Cybercriminals from hacking your system and stealing your customer’s sensitive data. It merely reduces the threat of someone recreating a fraudulent credit card. EMV will not reduce your cost of PCI compliance.
  1. If I don’t have an EMV reader, I won’t be able to accept Chip embedded cards? Not true. Only 20-30% of card holders in the US will even possess a chip card by October 15th and if they do all of them still have the magnetic stripe to be used in the event the merchant cannot read the card. Most industry experts anticipate a 3-5 year adoption rate to move completely away from the traditional Magnetic stripe card.
  1. So, all I have to do is purchase a device to read the EMV card and my restaurant is ready to go? Not True. Not all EMV devices may be compatible with your POS system. So, your first step should be to contact your POS provider. They will be able to tell you the devices and processor’s they are compatible too.   If you do not know your POS provider then contact your credit card processor they will be able to recommend a solution for your business.
  1. How great is my risk if I don’t make the deadline? The risk you face is an individual decision. The main basis is you will be responsible for the amount charged in your restaurant on the fraudulent card plus you will pay a bad card fee.  If your average check is $100.00 you are at greater risk than restaurants with a $15.00 Average check.  You have to decide on your own.

Currently there is a lot of confusion surrounding EMV. If you would like to speak with an RDS representative about EMV, please fill out the form on this page.

A Day in the Life of an RDS Hospitality Help Desk Support Technician

View the PDF.

“I Feel Like My Job Matters”

A Day in the Life of an RDS Hospitality Help Desk Support Technician

One of the most highly valued services we offer is our Skilled Help Desk Support. Manned around the clock by over 30 trained technicians, the help desk is here to provide troubleshooting and support for your Point of Sale system. As much as we would prefer them to be completely infallible, software and hardware do sometimes encounter problems. If you have a maintenance contract with RDS, you can pick up the phone and speak with one of our skilled technicians like Chris (pictured here).






Trouble Tickets

When our clients call with a question, our phone technicians open a file in our system called a “trouble ticket.” We use this tool to document our interactions with customers to track the details of all calls and to keep customers informed of the status. To be sure each problem is handled efficiently, we evaluate and handle the calls based upon levels of severity. A site being unable to accept payment, or 50% of terminals on site being down would be examples of the highest severity level warranting the most immediate response. After opening a trouble ticket with detailed notes, the technician would end the phone call and would begin a series of problem-­‐solving exercises. Calls that have the lowest level of critical need such as custom reports or changes in contact information for the files would still be resolved from 4 hours to the next business day.

Once an issue is resolved, we “close” the trouble ticket. There are many advantages to using this system. When the support desk receives multiple calls from a client, technicians are able to address any patterns that may need to be addressed through extra training, or that point to deeper investigation into system issues.

Typical Day for a Hospitality Support Desk Technician

Chris comes in at 9am. Light call traffic before 9:30 allows him to handle any non-­‐emergency calls from the overnight shift. Call volume picks up and is at its heaviest between 9:30-­‐1:30pm. He grabs a late lunch around 2pm at his desk during this slower pace. During the lighter afternoon call traffic, he moves on to address any open cases from the prior business day. Additionally, he helps other technicians requiring assistance on more difficult calls. He leaves the office at 6pm when the next shift takes over.

“I take pride in helping my customers by working to exceed the standards for call-­‐back times.” He can relate to issues at restaurants since he worked in that industry for 10 years. “I know what it’s like,” he says. “This is their livelihood. Their businesses cannot function without their equipment. We need to quickly help them get their problems resolved. I feel like my job matters.”

csrep 2





Most Common Calls

The top three most frequently received calls in the hospitality call center are concerning forgotten passwords, Internet connectivity-­‐related credit card processing problems and reporting issues. Roughly 85% of all calls are resolved within 30 minutes without being escalated to a higher priority. That’s good news for our clients.

RDS conducts regular training activities to keep our Help Support Desk technicians up to speed on all equipment, and the best ways to communicate solutions with our clients in locations all across the country.

RDS Veterans and July 4th

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July 4th is the quintessential American holiday complete with picnics, parades and fireworks. It’s a great time to kick back with family and enjoy a patriotic celebration. Of course, the holiday is about our nation’s independence, and we celebrate our founding fathers and their blueprint for the extravagant freedoms we enjoy today.

Have you read the Declaration of Independence lately? You can see the text and learn more about this living document by clicking here.

Protecting these freedoms has been an ongoing endeavor for our nation’s military. So as we sing about the “free,” we also think of our “brave.” We see them on the news all the time-—the touching homecoming videos of the soldiers who have served on the front lines of freedom. But after these stories run their courses, these same brave men and women transition back to civilian life. If your company is lucky, you might have a veteran or two working in your ranks.

We would like to thank all veterans for their service in protecting our citizens and our freedoms. In the RDS family, we have the good fortune to have 11 veterans working among our ranks and one highly decorated spouse. July 4th is a great time to be reminded of their service.

Santiago Arango, Installer – Southeast | Marine Corps

Anthony Basile, Service – Southeast | Marine Corps

Mike Belden, Warehouse – Southeast | Navy

Nathan Collins, Service- Southeast | Army and Air Force

Jewell Hannibal, RPOS Help Desk | Air Force

Eric Hanson, General Manager, Iowa | Army

Nathan Kerr, Sales – Southeast | Marine Corps

Daniel Lister, Army | Husband of Inside Sales Team Member Veronica Belden-Lister – Southeast

Jerry Pelzel, Service Technician, KS | US Navy

Alex Rodriguez, Staging – Southeast | Air Force

Derek Sutton, RPOS Help Desk – Southeast | Marine Corps

Matt Sutton, General Manager, Miami | Air Force

Harold Stout, Bench Technician, KS | US Navy

John Trimble, IT – Southeast | Marine Corps


A Glimpse at Service


Santiago Arango, Marine Sergeant, served 5 years attached to Medium Tiltrotor Squadron VMM -162 working on Osprey military aircraft providing assault support of combat troops, supplies, and equipment. He was deployed to Afghanistan earned him a Sea Service medal. Arango was also recognized for his performance with a number of awards including 3-time Expert Marksman, Marine of the Quarter, Good Conduct and a Meritorious Promotion. These days, he stays on the go as an installer working out of the Southeast Office.

Alex Rodriguez was attached to the 402nd Electronics Maintenance Group at Warner-Robins Air Force Base. His unit was part of larger logistical team that executed aircraft maintenance, repair, overhauling and other support activities. As someone always interested in the mechanics of how things work, the opportunity to work on sophisticated systems of military planes was the ultimate experience. Awarded Marksman and Razor Sharp medals, Rodriguez focuses on keeping a razor sharp Staging Department at the Southeast office these days.

Eric Hanson graduated top of his class in the ROTC program at Iowa State University. He was a 2nd Lieutenant serving the US Army for 6 years. His military involvement and encouragement lead to an incredible 4 of his 6 children serving in different branches of the military. RDS Veterans 2

Daniel Lister, Retired US Army Corps of Engineers, husband of Southeast’s Veronica Belden-Lister, began his military career in 2002. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom II, III, V and X. During his last deployment, he encountered an IED at close range. As a result, he spent 1-½ years in Walter Reed Army Hospital healing from an amputation and other life-threatening injuries. Lister was awarded the rare Bronze Star for valor and a Purple Heart Medal. He was also awarded the Joint Service Achievement Medal, NATO Medal, Army Commendation Medal 6x, Iraq Campaign Medal 4x, Army Achievement Medal 3x, Good Conduct Medal 3x, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and more. This true American hero and father of now 5 children married RDS Southeast’s Veronica Lister in 2014. Together they promote the importance of treating PTSD for returning veterans. As for July 4, 2015, the couple will celebrate their first wedding anniversary on that day. RDS Veterans 1

How Will You Spend the Day?

We asked some of our veterans what the holiday means to them and how they’ll be spending the day.

Anthony Basile, Service Department Manager at RDS-Southeast and former Marine Corps Sergeant says the significance of the holiday has changed for him since his service. “You can’t have people you know and serve with come home in boxes without coming to terms with why we choose to serve. We were willing to lay our lives down for this country.” Worried that Americans have become complacent, he says, “we train hard and fight harder against those who search for ways to do us harm, and come home to a nation that is losing it’s will to survive. There will always be those people that will fight to enslave you for their own benefit.  The 4th of July is when we honor the Americans that valued free lives for their families and communities more than they held to their own comfort or even survival.  Whereas others in this world go to war for the right to rule over you, Americans got to war for your right to rule over yourself.” He plans to spend the day celebrating with his wife and four children.

Nathan Kerr, Account Manager for ALOHA/Counterpoint and former Marine Captain, shared his thoughts. “l was raised in a small town in Tennessee, and patriotism was not in short supply.  The 2 holidays that changed for me after my service are Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day.  I always knew Memorial Day was a day to honor those that died for our freedom (NOT those who served, like me, but those who DIED).  But it really hits home when you serve with those heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy.  Veteran’s Day is now a holiday for me.  I haven’t worked on Veteran’s Day since I got out, and I never will again.  That’s the day I remember friends I served with, living and dead, and the good times and bad I had during my tour.” His July 4th plans are usually low key, but as he says, “I do make sure Old Glory is flying that day. Semper Fi!!”

Matt Sutton, Miami GM and former Air Force Staff Sergeant, said his level of patriotism grew with his Air Force service. “I joined the military right after high school as I was still very upset about 9/11. I have always been very patriotic, but joining the military has increased my patriotism. 4th of July, Memorial Day and Veterans Day mean a lot to me and I am glad I had the opportunity to serve this great country. I met many friends I will have for a lifetime.” On how he will spend the day, the married father of a new baby girl said, “I usually spend the day with friends and family up in MN. I prefer to be on the lake, and of course around the BBQ. This 4th of July will be special as we will be with our friends in MN and our new addition.”

Want to show support for our troops overseas? Click here to learn more.

What’s the VALUE in Value Added Resellers?

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Running a business is hard. Everybody realizes that it requires long hours and dedication. In an effort to stay focused on the product, many business owners find it difficult to become fully educated on how to select the right POS system for their business. Too often, an IT department is a luxury affordable by few, leaving management to add becoming a POS expert to their considerable list of tasks.

This is the VALUE in VAR.  They make running your business easier by providing sound advice and access to customized turnkey solutions resulting in owner confidence and more time to focus on their product and their customers.

RDS has assembled experienced teams that know and understand the products available, and how businesses in your industry stay in the black. Better than working directly with a manufacturer who delivers a one size fits all product, a VAR analyzes your business and develops a custom solution that reinforces your brand with your customers.

How? Value Added Resellers work with you, giving advice and providing many services such as PCI Compliant strategies, employee training, IT functions, custom integrations, installation project management, maintenance, skilled help desk support, payment services and financing options. It may be surprising for customers to hear, but manufacturers prefer working with VARs. They buy in quantity and their business is understanding how the products work. This relationship allows for some pricing advantages that VARs can then pass to customers.

How important are these services, really? It’s easy to see the value in a discounted price on hardware or software. But let’s look at just one of these added values– what is the real value of help desk support? The hard truth is that technology sometimes breaks. When it does, it is important to be able to get the help you need –quickly. Not all VARs are created equal. A comprehensive POS provider, RDS provides qualified help desk support 24/7/365.  Our Help Desk works constantly to maintain high standards in customer service. In some cases, they are able to prevent a full day of lost sales. But don’t take our word for it. Here are a few comments from customers:

 “You guys immediately get on the system to fix the problem. In a case when a replacement was needed, a new component was shipped overnight. Business still continued to run instead of being dead in the water like with our last POS company. The new terminal was up and running in two minutes. Just a quick call and up and running. Best of all the sites are NEVER down.”


– Alan Meyer, Meyer Oil Company


“RDS works hand in hand with our back office system and I can’t imagine not having RDS for our cash registers. For Instance, if we lose internet connection, we can still process credit cards off-line so it doesn’t affect sales and customer service. Any time there is a problem that we need to communicate right away, we are able to use after -hours support by calling. We always get a response right away.”


– Helen Daigle, Owner with Daigle Arby’s Franchise Group – Louisiana


“Honestly your whole support team is above the other vendors we use, so all of them should be commended.”


– Anthony Mann, Atlanta Botanical Garden

RDS has been assisting businesses for 65 years with POS solutions. In 27 offices across the country, our IT professionals are adding value to POS in Hospitality, C-Store, Retail and Grocery channels. Are you ready to cross off POS expert from your TO DO list? Call RDS at 855-737-1500 to talk about your options.

What is an EMV Card?

Visa does a great job of explaining to the masses what an EMV card is, what it isn’t and what it means to consumers and merchants alike.   Click below and use the arrows on the left and right of your screen to see what this means to merchants and consumers when the EMV Liability Shift goes live October 1, 2015.

Have a look at the Visa Chip Business Toolkit

Also be sure to read our post by our own Janice Mackler, “What is EMV and what does it mean to you as the Merchant?”

The Myth of Free POS

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We recently had a call from a customer who is planning on opening a location in Virginia that will be a full service restaurant with a bar. They were inquiring about a POS system that would be able to handle both operations. They heard that some companies offer “free” Point of Sale equipment.

The customer referred us to one of these companies on the internet and we took the time to read about their offer carefully. In today’s world, anyone can post anything online and reader beware, but the interesting point of this particular Review site was that it stated they do the research so that “you don’t have to.” To their credit, they did state that the supposed Free POS systems were accompanied by long contracts and that the terms/conditions should be reviewed carefully. They listed the top 5 advantages as follows:

  1.  Low Upfront Costs
  2.  Simple to Setup
  3.  Overnight Replacement Part Shipping
  4.  Lifetime Warranty
  5.  They Don’t Make Money Unless You Make Money

I will be addressing each point shortly, but the bottom line is that there is no such thing as Free POS. They still make plenty of money even if you don’t.

RDS POS offers tailored Point of Sale solutions systems focused on Hospitality, Retail, Grocery, and Petroleum/C-Store. Customers demanding an honest single source for their POS solution come to RDS POS for the best in Service, Software, and Hardware.

Most of us have heard the phrase “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Or how about “if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is not true.” Then how is it that there are still advertisements claiming “Free POS?” Is it possible there is such a thing as free POS for your business? Here are some common (and mostly misleading) phrases we found when researching this topic:

“Upgrade your Business to Point of Sale FOR FREE”

“FREE POS System for Hospitality, Bar or Retail”

“Is a FREE POS in your budget?”

“A comprehensive FREE point-of-sale solution for your business!”

To better understand, let’s quickly look at the components and pricing of a POS system: 19475626_m
1  Hardware – This could include the POS touch screen, all-in-one touch pc or separate processor (computer), customer display, barcode scanners, cash register drawer, kitchen display, and thermal printers.
2. Software: It is defined as the specific program than runs the point of sale operations and does have a variety of features.
3. Credit Card Processing– you must use their services, no negotiating on rates or terms
4. Training–  all remote, no  local, qualified trainer with any experience
5. Service & Warranty– at their mercy, no qualified support for on-site, nor any night and weekend support

It is easy to understand that all the above components cost money. Some imagine that the revenue from credit card processing may be able to allow sellers of POS systems to offer the system for free. This is typically NOT true. The share of revenues the POS provider receives is way too little to cover the costs involved if you are to get a real system. So, how is it that you see advertisements for “free POS systems?”

We went searching and found the answers. Here is what we discovered when we tried to purchase a two station POS system for FREE for a restaurant from one of the nation’s leading advertisers of free POS:

  1. Basic Package: $60/month per station: Total: $120/month. Includes touch screen with receipt printer and cash drawer
  2. Optional Equipment: Total: $33/month. Includes remote printer (x2)
  3. There is a $250 per quarter maintenance. That is an extra $6,000 in the five year term.

Then we moved on to the fun part– THE FINE PRINT! Commonly, most business owners are so busy with setting up their business that they don’t read the pages of fine print and this is where you can come across surprises. We suggest that you spend the time to always read the fine print and ask questions. Here are a few interesting and frankly scary parts from it:

Terms: The monthly payment agreement is for 60 months and then it is automatically renewed for an additional 48 months if you don’t give them notice 60 days period to the termination of the first 60 months. Early termination fee is equal to the number of months remaining and the entire amount is due upon termination! So if after operating for 36 months, you want out, then you need to pay them 24 months’ worth of payments immediately.

Rate Hike: The POS seller can adjust the monthly service charges upon 30 days written notice. So at any point, they can raise the fees and you have to accept it.

Credit Card Processing: You have to maintain this service with them and pay any fees they like. There is NO OPTION! This is a huge unknown, and does not allow for any comparison in rates or costs. Count me OUT!

Equipment Ownership: They own the equipment and upon termination, you must return all the equipment in working condition.

The actual provider: Your POS provider is actually a bank. Don’t know if I want the bank to know everything about my transactions.  What does a bank know about POS?!?

We know it’s hard to believe, but feel free to read the entire contract yourself.
Cost of ownership: Basic Package + Optional Equipment + Tax
$120+$66= $186 x 60 months = $11,160
Plus 20 quarters of $250 = $6,000
Total: $17,106.00 (Depending on what State you are in, you may have to add applicable taxes to it.

This is the cost if they don’t decide to raise the monthly fee as they see fit and if you forget to cancel the term 60 days before the expiration, then you are stuck for another 48 months or $13,728. You still have to pay whatever they charge for Credit Card Processing and you still don’t own the EQUIPMENT and are at the mercy of the seller. And you are still stuck with low level service and support.

When we tried to bring up this to them and asked “how is this free?” we were told that this is like a cell phone contract. I am no fan of mobile phone companies, but at least with the cell phone companies you own the phone at the end and they can’t just raise rates on you if you are in a contract.

Directly stated, it is not only dishonest, but also grossly deceitful. One must wonder, if this is how a relationship starts, how will the rest of it go? The only factor we are not certain about is the service they provide when you have the system. You are obligated, so you can be at their mercy. They may be wonderful service providers, but in business, trust is everything and if they are this way in the beginning, who knows. A POS System is an investment in your business just like your employees who need to be trustworthy.

If you want an honest and reliable POS solution provider, then contact RDS POS Systems. Our goal is to help you build your business instead of locking you into fine print. Your success directly reflects upon us and brings success to us.

Contact us today with any questions: POS is what we do!

by Garry Easterling