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Serving Up Mobile POS … Your Way

ANALYSIS FROM
KEN PAULL,
CEO at ROAM

Dietary preferences and dining décor may come and go but one trend in the QSR restaurant category has stayed the same for a very long time: POS expenditures are its largest IT line item. When combined with costs related to POS integration with back office systems, they compromise roughly 60% of IT spend. It’s no wonder that QSR executives are eager to find ways to reduce those costs while improving the efficiency of their establishments.

One of the ways that QSRs are solving this problem is via mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) systems. These mobile phone and tablet-based solutions obviously cost considerably less than traditional POS terminals and offer a number of opportunities to customize configurations that meet the specific needs of a QSR. But, with all of the many options and providers in the marketplace today, what should a restaurateur know in order to make the right decision for his or her establishment?

Here are a few questions that seem to come up all of the time when talking to merchants across a variety of industry sectors, including QSRs.

Can it solve my major pain points?

Obviously, any kind of solution has to solve a pain point and add value. When it comes to QSR’s, in our experience the three biggest pain points that an mPOS solution can solve are:

*Enhancing customer service that range from enabling “line-busting” solutions to integrating back office and front office applications that help manage inventory, loyalty and customer engagement programs, and customer purchase history. For example, food delivery transactions should be able to be completed at the door rather than over the phone, which will not only make the consumer feel more secure but will also greatly reduce the cost of payment acceptance with a card present rate and decrease the risk of incorrect data entry and misuse of card information.

*Expanding revenue sources so that establishments can go beyond their existing “bricks and mortar” locations to provide catering services, create “pop-up” events for fundraisers and other special occasions, man food trucks, and more.

*Insuring business continuity so that establishment is never without a POS solution. Service interruptions can come from a variety of sources including POS systems service interruptions and extreme weather conditions which could result in substantial lost revenue and customer dissatisfaction if an mPOS backup is not available.

Is it possible to get a solution off the shelf – and if so, wont it be too generic to fit my needs?

This is a really great question that comes up a lot. There are a couple of things to consider.

Any mPOS solution has to include certain features and functions that are quite simply “table stakes” today: tablet and smartphone functionality, end-to-end transaction encryption, quick set up and easy access to funds. So, regardless of the industry sector, an mPOS solution has to include this as a baseline.

But, tech Savvy consumers want to see the technology they are already seeing and using in other parts of their lives incorporated into their fast dining experiences. And, that is where having a platform that enables a modular yet end to to-end secure mobile Point of Sale solution can really help give QSRs what they need, when they need it. Such a platform should be able to deliver a variety of front and back office solutions that help QSRs cultivate customer relationships by tracking transaction history, serving offers and other engagement inducements, tracking inventory, dynamically adjusting pricing and updating menus on the fly – and do it across a number of mobile devices and tablets.

As you well know, the costs of the traditional POS systems are over a thousand dollars and have pricey monthly maintenance costs. We believe that since the technology associated with static POS systems are quickly out of date and obsolete, and that can be money badly spent. Leveraging solutions that are delivered via an end to end platform really provides the best of all worlds – functionality of a large-scale mPOS solution when it is needed at a very competitive price point.

Can turnkey solutions really reflect my own brand?

That is a really important consideration and something that is often a trade-off that merchants believe they have to make when selecting a mPOS provider. But, we actually think we have solved this problem for merchants – and in this sector, our motto is “let QSRs be QSRs!” We’ve made a conscious decision to make our hardware and software services available on a white label basis so that the QSR can focus on its brand and building a customized solution to meet their needs and those of the customers they wish to serve rather than wrapping their business around the POS technology available to them off the shelf.

We’ve also taken a page out of the QSR handbook and really do believe in letting the customer have it their way – QSRs can decide which aspects of the solution they need now and into the future – hardware, hardware plus some apps, and/or hardware plus apps and integration to existing systems.

At the end of the day, we have built ROAM on the idea that retailers and merchants should be focused on one thing and one thing only- serving their customers in the most efficient and cost effective way that they can. The platform enables employees and management to view inventory and back of house data from the sales floor and answer customers questions in less time, which will improve customer service and efficiencies. We pride ourselves on offering world-class customer support from the first conversation about our system to the training and on-going questions users will have. Our clients may also take advantage of ROAM’s Professional Services Group to streamline the complex mobile commerce integrations and get back to business.

The bottom line – is really about your bottom line. The real goal of any mPOS system is to enable QSRs to think less about the register and more about the customer. And that is our mission, and why we are proud to be a market leader in offering mPOS solutions to many of the most successful players across a variety of industry sectors.


Ken has over 20 years in senior management roles in the electronic payments industry including Senior Vice President at RBS Lynk”¨ (now WorldPay), Vice President at Triton Systems and General Manager at VeriFone. He was responsible for building and rapidly growing what is now WorldPay’s national account payments division while also directing the turnaround of what had been a declining ATM processing business. While at Triton, the company surpassed NCR as the second largest domestic ATM supplier and also became the global leader in retail ATM deployments. At VeriFone, Ken built their major account, retail division which has become one of the largest segments of their business. Most recently, Ken was ROAM Data’s Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Prior to joining ROAM, Ken served on the Board of Directors of Access to Money, as Director of Market Platform Dynamics and President”¨ of PAX US. A native of the Boston area, Ken holds a B.S. in Marketing and Communications ”¨from Babson College, as well as an MBA in Telecommunications Management from Golden”¨Gate University.

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