You need a system that can interface!

By Dean Grimm
AccuBar founding partner and CIO

If you’re getting ready to buy a new POS, inventory system, or back-office system, this post is for you. I’ve been an engineer for a few years (or decades), I have developed dozens of interfaces between systems, and I remember well the days when systems wouldn’t talk to each other. Bad.

Well, this is the 21st century folks, and if you’re preparing to purchase a new system to manage any aspect of your bar, restaurant, hotel, etc, you are putting your hard-earned money at risk. You owe it to yourself to purchase a system that can properly interface to the other systems you own (or may own in the future). And note that by “interface” we don’t mean a system that you Z your POS/register and send it to a vendor who hand enters the data. Modern systems should be about reducing the possibility of mistakes, and hand-entry doesn’t achieve that goal.

Even if you don’t currently own a POS, your inventory system should be capable of interfacing to the system that you do eventually choose. That’s not to say it shouldn’t also provide input for Z totals from a cash register, because POS isn’t for everyone. But if you do have a POS, your system should be able to shake hands and say Howdy.

Here are a few questions to ask your vendor BEFORE you buy, to make sure you’re not shooting yourself in the foot and guaranteeing premature hair loss:

  • What systems can you accept data from? Inventory systems should be able to accept salesmix data from a wide array of POS vendors. Backoffice systems should be able to accept inventory counts from streamlined inventory systems, preventing double entry.
  • What systems can you provide data to? POS systems should be flexible in exporting sales data, and should either do a nightly “grind” of data that is readily available, or should have tools for creating custom export formats. Inventory systems should at minimum be able to export counts and item lists to other systems.
  • Does the interface require human intervention in order to run, or is it seamlessly automated?
  • How quickly can I see my results? For inventory systems, salesmix figures should at minimum be available soon after POS end-of-night runs.
  • Who can I talk to that uses your system, including interfaces? If you hear crickets chirping after this one, run…fast.

These are important questions to ask, and understanding the answers can save you time, frustration, and most importantly, money. AccuBar interfaces to numerous POS and back-office systems; see our full list here.