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Alejandro Swaby

Alejandro Swaby

Alejandro is the Director of Sales at Cervion.

Recent posts by Alejandro Swaby

2 min read

Three Ways to Prepare Your Restaurant for Internet Outages

By Alejandro Swaby on February 27, 2020 at 10:16 AM

Have you experienced the pain of an internet outage on a busy night? Many restaurants have. The worst possible news a restaurant owner can hear is that the point of sale system cannot process credit cards. The dining room is full of patrons, and the bar has many tabs open... delivery and pickup phone orders come to a screeching halt. Internet outages can cost restaurants thousands of dollars per year.

Here are 3 Ways to best prepare your restaurant for internet outages:

 

1. POS Software

The point of sale system is the central technology hub of a restaurant operation. Selecting the right POS software to run your restaurant may be just as important as a manager or chef hiring decision. Many basic providers do not offer offline mode, so when the internet drops - the POS system will not operate. Other point of sale systems have limited offline functionality, so features like credit card processing or offsite reporting will not function. Restauranteurs are often stuck making a very difficult decision balancing features when comparing legacy point of sales to newer Apple iPad based systems. It is important to ask your local POS dealer about all the offline options and features available.

2. Upgrade your Router or Firewall

Some commercial routers offer multiple WAN (wide access network) connections giving you the ability to connect multiple internet carriers. For instance, you can have a cable provider and fiber optic provider’s modems connected to one router. One of the modems can act as a primary internet connection, and the other as an automatic failover internet connection. An alternate connection method is called “load-balancing” - where the two connections help share and improve bandwidth across the network. Restaurants who choose two internet providers have a slightly higher telecom bills, but it's a small expense to pay when compared to the thousands of lost dollars during outages.

Other commercial routers may have SIM card ports for integrated cellular connections. By connecting though a cellular connection, your restaurant router can be configured to use cellular backup when the internet goes down. Placement of the router is important - especially in this scenario - since you want to be sure you have a healthy cellular connection. Some cellular carriers have highly specialized connection accounts with security features designed for business.

3. Add a Battery Backup

Internet outages may also be related to electrical power issues. It’s recommended for the POS to be on its own dedicated electrical circuit, but the reality is that most restaurants are build out to accommodate fridges, walk in freezers, and kitchen equipment - more so than dedicated electrical circuits for point of sale (or employees charging iPhones). Even small power outages, power blips and brown-outs can cause a modem to reboot. This will take a few minutes before reconnecting to the router. Reports show where adding a battery backup with line conditioning to the network area (modem, router, switches) dramatically improved the stability of the internet connection restaurant-wide.

Value Added Resellers (VAR) like Cervion offer real, local solutions for restaurants looking for point of sale systems with offline capabilities. Cervion offers a full line of 4G cellular capable routers and Apple iPad based POS systems with features designed to operate in a busy restaurant environment. With Cervion’s As A Service (AAS) subscription program, these solutions can be easily added to your restaurant operation, and save your restaurants thousands of dollars a year.

 

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Cervion is a point of sale provider with offices in New York, Pennsylvania, and South Florida. Founded in 1996, with over 20 years of experience, Cervion is one of the leading restaurant focused VAR (value based resellers). Cervion provides local sales and service for modern, tablet-based point of sale systems, and affordable As A Service plans for new and existing restaurants. For more information, please call (877) 476-7246 or email sales@cervion.com.

Topics: Financial Success Cloud POS iPad POS Hardware & Software
3 min read

Four Critical Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Restaurant POS Provider

By Alejandro Swaby on February 27, 2020 at 9:44 AM

If you are running a Windows-based point of sale system in your restaurant, you may be in for a surprise. Microsoft announced that Windows 7, a common operating system for most legacy point of sale systems, would face end of support January 14, 2020.

While systems running this operating system will technically still “work” - there are some significant risks associated continuing to run Windows 7 past the deadline. This includes the lack of updates or security patches, some of the most important pieces of maintaining a PCI-DSS compliant processing environment. Some restaurants counter these update requirements by installing stand-alone “non-integrated” credit card terminals, or hoping that Microsoft will extend the date of the end of support - but there has not been any announcement. Unfortunately, credit card processing companies struggle to communicate information to merchants when these types of security-related software upgrades occur.

Remember TLS 1.2? It was only a few years ago when restaurant owners were surprised by these security requirements. Restaurants experienced processing outages before the TLS 1.2 deadline sometimes even on busy weekends with no announcement. Other restaurants chose to just upgrade the legacy applications and systems - but with significant costs and interference to the restaurant operation - hoping to stay in front of the next upgrade.

Here are 4 Reasons to consider upgrading to a modern tablet-based point of sale:

 

1. Lower Costs

Remember the last time you had to replace that all-in-one POS terminal with the fried motherboard or hard drive? The costs of replacing and servicing hardware is expensive, and requires specialized labor or logistics to get a proprietary part RMA (return merchandise authorization) - which sometimes days or weeks to ship. If you're really in a bind most local POS dealers offer on-site services, but watch out for premium charges if its after hours or weekend.

With a modern tablet-based system, like the ones offered by Cervion, you can use a relatively inexpensive iPad - under $500 device - which is widely available and easy to replace, with no specialized labor requirements. This route will save money on hardware replacement costs. Reports show that the reduction of outages increases customer satisfaction, and garners repeat business.

2. Subscriptions

Software as a Service monthly programs have been popular with applications like Office 365 and Netflix, but most traditional point of sale companies still sell systems outright - for thousands of dollars per terminal, with an additional charge each year for service.

With a Software as a Service subscription plan you have the benefit of knowing that your system will always be up-to-date, just like you receive new shows and content inside your Netflix account. These programs also include 24 x 7 technical support and equipment replacement! Cervion makes purchasing or upgrading to new systems easy, affordable. You won’t break the bank with traditional upfront capital requirements.

3. Upgrades & Enhancements

Unlike buying a walk in-freezer or overhead exhaust, a point of sale system is designed to be a manager for your restaurant, one which works for you 24 x7. To keep your restaurant operating, updates are critical to deliver key operational and security features. Doing so keeps you ahead of the big-name competitors, and in many cases, with better security controls. As the centralized control center of your menu, reporting, transactions and time clock, your POS system gives you the ability to maximize the guest experience and business profits.

Enhancements give restaurants the ability to implement new feature sets designed to increase revenue. New functionality allows for restaurants to stay competitive, integrate into new service providers, and enable must-have features - like commission-free online ordering programs and employee scheduling apps. When purchasing any point of sale system, it's important to consider the upgrades and enhancements available to you.

4. Cancellations

When technology changes, having tens of thousands of dollars invested into a purchased point of sale is a tough pill to swallow. Some well-known restaurant groups continue to operate out of date legacy systems simply because of the previous resources dollars and time invested. Like a bad stock pick, sunken costs are difficult to part with - and restaurants may be losing potential future revenues that a modern point of sale could bring.

Bundling has become very popular with some modern POS providers, including bundling of proprietary payment processing services. The danger of bundling is that these providers charge cancellation fees for the POS but also liquidated damages of future processing revenues they would have received from these services. These fees can range from thousands to tens-of-thousands of dollars.

Cervion offers local trusted advisors who can tell you more about the Processing Pledge, a commitment to our customers to offer a wide range of transparent payment processing options.

 

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Cervion is a point of sale provider with offices in New York, Pennsylvania, and South Florida. Founded in 1996, with over 20 years of experience, Cervion is one of the leading restaurant focused VAR (value based resellers). Cervion provides local sales and service for modern, tablet-based point of sale systems, and affordable As A Service plans for new and existing restaurants. For more information, please call (877) 476-7246 or email sales@cervion.com.

Topics: Mobile Ordering EMV Financial Success Cloud POS iPad POS Credit Cards
3 min read

Choosing a Multi-Year Agreement has its Benefits with a Value Added Reseller

By Alejandro Swaby on February 26, 2020 at 2:21 PM

The point of sale industry has always had some mystery surrounding the true cost of ownership. In reality, can you really own point of sale technology?

When calculating the true costs of ownership, you should be sure to include hardware, upgrades, support, and cost of replacements. The traditional model - restaurant owner purchasing hardware, and getting a few years of use out of it - has passed. Traditionally, post-recession affordable financing, leasing options, capital and emergency funds were limited. Different options have since emerged and subscription alternatives with low upfront costs are now available.

Cellular carriers have also jumped on the subscription bandwagon. For example, in late 2019 I began searching for new cell cellular carriers - my family plan was over $200 per month. The monthly billing was high, the phones were old, and there were lots of new unlimited options. It looked like I didn't have the buy a phone outright, either. Kimonia, a cellular services representative from a major carrier in my area, explained how equipment subscriptions impacted the cellular industry. “Its our most popular option, customers can choose the plan and phone they want.” Ultimately I decided to keep my account with the current carrier, as they upgraded my phones to subscription-based pricing with trade in coupons. I also lowered my bill significantly by going unlimited.

The question restaurant owners should be asking themselves: when should I choose a multi-year POS subscription instead of an outright purchase?

When shopping point of sale, it’s important to meet with a local dealer in person. Local POS experts, like Cervion, go through specialized industry-specific certifications and training for the software that they offer and support. Most provide a very high level of local service, in-house support, and modern hardware and software options. Having a local, trusted expert on your side provides powerful alignment with a partner whose business model is designed around developing tools to help boost your success and keep you happy.

Many of the well-known restaurant POS brands sell bundled credit card processing services. Their strategy is to gain market share by selling bundled discounted contracts - similar to the way a cellular provider sells a device subscription for only one carrier. While it's becoming commonplace to bundle services, most of these contracts are really designed to keep the restaurant owner on one specific processor, using proprietary POS equipment. Costs can often be too good to be true (or artificially low) and sound like a great deal, but could be a risky transaction. Why? Consider the amount of leverage the vendor has over the restaurant through the contract term, processing lock in and use of proprietary hardware. Processing fees may change over time, and rate changes are of concern - even with a rate match at the time of sale. Remember that a small rate change spread over a restaurant’s annual revenue can turn into thousands of dollars in fees. Most of these vendors include liquidated damage penalties, and very expensive cancelation fees (calculated as future profits) that can range from thousands to tens-of-thousands of dollars per location.

Aligning with The customer's needs was priority Number one when developing Our As-A-Service subscription.

Cervion is organically transitioning its restaurant customers to an affordable subscription, the As A Service plan, a rental model including hardware, service, equipment replacement and upgrades - without requiring a payment processing change, or upfront hardware purchase.

Industry experts agree that no matter the size of the restaurant, having a local service company is an advantage. In this area, Cervion has delivered. Instead of proprietary hardware, Cervion rents Apple iPads or allows customers to BYOD (bring your own device). The tablets are surprisingly reliable, and customers are very satisfied with the affordability of the subscription - when considering there is no equipment to buy. From the customer perspective, Cervion’s As A Service model gives restaurant owners a modern POS option with a high level of support, without holding them hostage with its Payment Pledge. The subscription program includes software upgrades, equipment replacement and is a true benefit provider - annually saving customers thousands of dollars.

 

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Cervion is a point of sale provider with offices in New York, Pennsylvania, and South Florida. Founded in 1996, with over 20 years of experience, Cervion is one of the leading restaurant focused VAR (value based resellers). Cervion provides local sales and service for modern, tablet-based point of sale systems, and affordable As A Service plans for new and existing restaurants. For more information, please call (877) 476-7246 or email sales@cervion.com.

Topics: Financial Success Cloud POS iPad POS