There’s no such thing as “the best.” In any field, really. Crystal stemware may be the best choice for an upscale restaurant, but isn’t it a bit much for a fast food joint or a dive bar? This goes for software, as well. Some people love Microsoft Office, others do all of their writing in Google Docs. It comes down to your needs and your preferences. This can make shopping for software difficult because they don’t always come with a free trial, and you often have to make a major investment blind just to try it out.
In any event, when we say that something is “the best,” we mean “it’s the best for me.” We’re telling people that if they have similar goals, similar needs, and of course, a similar budget, then this one might be worth considering. Sometimes “best” even comes down to having a preference for one software’s user interface over another’s. There’s some personal preference that goes into it. But by seeking people who are in a similar place to yourself, it’s easier to narrow the list of “best” down to just the ones that might be right for you.
If you’re still in the earlier stages of running your business, that is to say, if you’re starting to find your feet, but you only just got there, then you can afford decent software, but you can’t afford to be spending hundreds, or thousands of dollars trying every one of them out to see which one works for you. You’ve brought on a few employees and it looks like the business has legs, but you’re not exactly swimming in cash just yet. If any of this sounds familiar, then you just might be the ideal user for PAR Brink POS.
And, Brink POS might be perfect for you if you’re in the process of expanding your business and you need to outfit multiple locations quickly and cheaply. Brink POS comes at a reasonable price point, it’s easy to install, and it has great customer service. It might not be perfect, there are some complaints that more users than not will tend to share, but if you’re looking for a low-risk investment when it comes to your point of sale system, Brink POS is one of the better options available in today’s backroom software market for business owners.
What Can We Expect From Brink POS?
Brink POS is an effective solution for one-location retailers and restaurants, but it’s really built for franchise businesses and chains. Getting your software set up with a POS system can be a pain, and it can be a huge time sink when you have to get set up at multiple locations at once. In seeking a fix for this concern, Brink POS have developed a cloud based system featuring automatic updates. Users note that it is fairly easy to install, and that the automatic updates ensure that every location is guaranteed to be running on the same system.
The low entry price is a big contributor to Brink’s popularity. Where some systems can cost thousands of dollars to get set up, plus hidden fees added on top of the monthly licensing costs, Brink POS runs just ninety dollars a month for a single location. The second, third and fourth locations will be another fifty dollars each. We can’t find any reviews pointing to hidden fees and sudden price spikes, so we’re going to go out on a limb and say that this is the set-in-stone price, and that they are not likely to nickel-and-dime you from month to month.
The cloud based service may be troubling for some users. If you can’t rely on having consistent internet 24/7, then there will be times when you cannot connect, and with many POS systems, this means you’re going to have to put a sign up on the counter reading “cash only.” With Brink POS, the system will store the data locally and upload it to the cloud when a connection is available. We couldn’t tell you why every POS system doesn’t use this simple solution, but for some reason, they haven’t all caught on. In any event it’s not a concern with Brink.
This system works for updates, as well. If you’re offline when an update comes through, then it will automatically download the next time you’re connected. This sort of thing might not be a big deal for those who are located in the city and can expect a constant connection, but for those in rural areas, for people running businesses in small towns, or gas stations out on the highway, being able to operate at 100% even while the Wifi is down is a big selling point, making Brink a POS system of choice for people who work in the middle of nowhere.
The automatic updates are especially attractive to many business owners who run multiple locations. With a traditional solution, you have to go and visit every location individually to ensure compliance every time an update rolls out. With automatic updates, a store manager who isn’t tech-savvy is no longer a setback. You don’t have to spend your weekends driving all around the state making sure everyone installs the updates, you can just wait for Brink to send out the updates, and everyone will be brought up to speed and working on the same version of the system.
Although the low entry price makes Brink attractive to smaller business owners and people with only a few locations, it’s actually the system of choice for some major chains, including Five Guys Burgers And Fries, the D.C.-based restaurant with around thirteen hundred locations across the country. At this level, you may be moving beyond the $50-per-location model and be dealing directly with the company to arrange a deal on outfitting your locations. You might not have thirteen hundred locations in all fifty states, but it’s good to know that Brink POS will be there for you when and if you’re ever ready to expand, be it statewide, nationwide, or just building a second location across town.
That Brink is built for growth is a major plus for many business owners. It’s not uncommon that a growing business will have to abandon the POS system that they’re used to, that their employees have been using for years, and switch to something new, and perhaps more expensive, because the old one is really only intended for single-location stores or for businesses with fewer than two hundred employees. Brink POS is suitable for single-locations, but it will grow with you along your journey to the top of your industry.
The customization options are somewhat limited, but more than flexible enough for most users. The user interface is fairly intuitive. If you can’t learn it in an hour, you’ll learn it quickly enough with a bit of help. That is to say that you might not be able to just hand it to your employees and leave it to them to figure it out, but if you take some time to train them, and trust them to train each other, then you’ll be able to have the whole staff familiarized with the interface in a single afternoon.
Brink POS: Are There Any Downsides?
Brink POS isn’t perfect. There are some downsides that could be deal-breaking for some business owners. There are certain features and options that you can generally expect from a POS system, but which are notably lacking in Brink POS. You can generally work around these missing features, but when you’re investing in one of the more popular POS systems available, you generally don’t expect that you’ll have to “make do” with what’s available. It’s up to the individual user to determine whether these shortcomings are game changers or not.
For instance, you can calculate breakdowns of sales and breakdowns of labor reports, but you can’t calculate labor hours against sales to determine how to get the most out of your staff. You have to pull two different reports and do the calculations manually. This might not be a big deal, but when you’re working with several locations and trying to figure out how your business can be more efficient, this can have you adding a couple extra hours to the time you spend balancing the books at the end of the month. This isn’t the only feature lacking in the backroom software, but it’s emblematic of the kind of thing that should be a no-brainer but which is missing from the list of options.
The loyalty program is also pretty underdeveloped. The customization options are in-depth enough to allow you to build your own rewards program from scratch, but you really shouldn’t have to. If you want to give someone a free drink on their tenth visit and you don’t have time to set up a whole program for loyalty and rewards, you could well be better off using a punch-card and shouting the order back to the kitchen without even ringing it up.
The hardware has some issues, as well. Namely, there’s no customer-facing screen to let your patrons know what they’re spending or to look at their order before confirming it. This can really slow you down at the cash register. It might not be a big deal if you see relatively modest foot traffic in your store, if you’re running a sleepy small town diner or grocery store, but it can be a bit of a headache at major outlets and restaurants when customers are constantly asking you their total and so on.
Brink POS: Is It Worth It?
Brink POS is a great system with a few glaring shortcomings. For the price, it’s one of the very best on the market. Brink do not hit you with hidden fees, and their customer service is responsive and well-informed. Unfortunately, there are those issues with the backroom software, loyalty programs and the lack of a customer-facing screen, and these could all be deal breakers for some business owners. Brink POS is, overall, a very strong POS system whether you’re running a small business or a national chain, and it’s priced to move. Whether it’s perfect for you is another story.
Our advice: Check out a live demo and see what you think. Consider whether the loyalty program is really a necessity and whether you want to deal with the lack of a front-facing screen. The issues that some users have with Brink POS might not be a major concern for you at all, while for others, it might be what leads them to competitors like Square. You might just plain not like cloud based software, and that’s fine. Again, it’s not about finding the best system out there, it’s about finding the system that works best for you. Take your time, shop around, and select what works.