Great pizza operators are detail people. But even masters of minutia allow some things to slip through the cracks now and again. Electronic aides are handy helpers when it comes to crossing every "t" and dotting every "i."

Brad Randall learned this firsthand when he and partner Kris Kiser opened their first pizzeria six years ago. There were myriad challenges to running their business on a manual paper check system.

"We had drivers losing tickets or putting them in the wrong boxes all the time," said Randall, who co-owns two Aver's Pizza shops in Bloomington, Ind. "You'd have to pair up all the tickets, figure out which one was missing and try find which driver took it."

"But with the POS system, you don't lose tickets. They're in there permanently."

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Point of Success

With a third Aver's on the way, Randall is certain he won't operate without one in the future. "Doing it all on paper when we first started was one thing, but being as busy as we are now ... it would be insane. Having a computer system to track everything eliminates all the mental errors, which are a problem when you get busy."

Cashing out

Some of those mental errors, Randall said, used to show up in the cash drawer at closing time. His POS, however, has all but eliminated that problem by making the math easy.

Managers no longer calculate night deposits manually; they count the cash, and merge that information with check and credit transactions recorded in the POS. "You push a button and it spits out a number and says your total deposit should be this. It's so much easier that way," Randall said.

Using a POS system to handle such functions allows operators to focus on money-making efforts, said Jeff Ward, CEO of Inborne Technology Corporation, makers of Point of Success software.

"It handles the inconveniences that distract from more important activities," he said. "If you have to go back and balance the cash register drawers because something didn't balance out, that's inconvenient. But if you have something that will do it that first time without having to make corrections. That's a big plus."

Keeping track

POS systems also are excellent for tracking other details, such as employee contests, said Ward. "The operator can tell who's selling the most and reward them appropriately."

Posting results where employees can see them adds to the excitement of the contest, said Mark Ulrey, vice president of marketing for four-unit Flyer's Pizza, in Columbus, Ohio. Hoping to boost safe driving and accurate order delivery, Flyer's uses the POS to total each driver's error-free runs.

"We post the results to rank the drivers," Ulrey said. After a certain number of incident-free runs, drivers get cash and free oil changes. If they forget part of an order, it costs them five deliveries. "We also do incentives for order-takers, which the POS tracks. After they take 1,000 on the telephone, they may get movie tickets."

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