“Have you tried unplugging it and plugging it back in?” The situation is all too familiar for many restaurant owners and staff alike: it’s Saturday night, the bar is slammed and the restaurant is packed when you realize you’re facing an outage. Suddenly, your restaurant POS is rendered useless. Your servers can’t swipe cards, turn tables or create checks, and everything comes to a standstill.
Whether you have a cloud-based restaurant POS or not, when the internet goes down — or worse, the power goes completely out in your restaurant — you can’t process payments. So how do you recover from an outage? Follow these steps.
Don’t panic – Switch to offline mode
The good news: most modern point-of-sale systems can still process payments in a safe way. Many offline terminals use a similar queue system that allows you to accept and complete the transaction (Heartland’s is called Store and Forward). The data from the transaction is then stored in the queue until the internet connection returns, which is when the terminal sends the transactions for approval. Make sure you check right away to ensure you’re operating in “offline mode” (or whatever term your POS uses).
Get in touch with customer support right away
Whether or not you have an offline mode, immediately notify your payment processor’s customer service or support team. Alerting them to the problem helps customer support find underlying issues and protect you from future losses. If it’s a true internet outage, you might need to contact your service provider.
Switch to manual mode
In some cases, it might be time to break out the calculator, pen and paper. That’s where staff training is imperative. Make sure employees know menu prices and how to tax them.
Communicate with guests
The worst thing you can do is not tell guests about the problem. Technology is bound to have its glitches, and everyone can understand that. Your guests will appreciate you being honest about the potential for increased time to run their cards, close their tickets or even send out their food. Most people, when they understand you’re doing your best, will sympathize and be patient.
Understand your POS capabilities
You can follow all the right steps, but in the event of an internet or power outage, if you don’t understand the way your restaurant POS works, you won’t know which steps to take. Heartland Payment Systems offers several options for processing payments during an outage with its terminals or point-of-sale systems.
The Store and Forward system operates through queue technology to process payments after the point of sale. Store and Forward integrates with Heartland terminals and point-of-sale systems and prompts the merchant before going into Store and Forward mode, giving them control over how transactions are processed. That means business owners don’t have to worry about losing transactions if the internet connection is lost.
While you’re inoperable without power, Heartland’s point-of-sale systems and card terminals have the ability to close a batch of transactions, which means any previously processed payments won’t get lost, and your business won’t lose sales.
Source: National Restaurant Association