Forgotten Point of Sale System Features | Grand Totals

Jerry Wilson

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Restaurant point of sale systems have loads of features that POS salespeople love to talk about. Some are glamorous, others are flashy and some are unique to their product. When showing off these new and fancy features too often these salespeople forget about the basics and why cash registers were invented in the first place.

Preventing theft. That is the purpose of a cash register. Ringing up items and safely storing cash if the fundamental philosophy that created a now multi-billion dollar industry known as the Point of Sale Industry.

Why then are so many point of sale companies, software manufacturers and POS salespeople forgetting about the fundamental principles that are still valid in today’s business environment? The answer eludes and frustrates me because valuable profits are being lost by not utilizing these basic and important features.

Reporting Grand Totals

Would you buy a car without an odometer? Then why would you buy a point of sale system without a grand total? The principles are the same. They track how far you go and subtracting yesterdays total from today’s total tells you how far you went today.

Point of sale systems today have gotten away from this extremely important feature that securely reports on the total sales of your business. Cash registers still have this feature as a standard feature. But even with this feature too many people do not know the importance of the feature and how valuable it can be in stopping theft and letting management know when there is something wrong with your business.

Not too many years ago I was helping a fast food franchisee open a new location. We were going over the system, mostly reminding him of the features of the system, which he already had installed in several other locations. I mentioned the grand total and he questioned me on what that was.

I explained that this number was just like a car odometer and tracked every dollar sold and kept incrementing after every sale. Take today’s number and subtract it from yesterday’s number and you knew exactly how many dollars in sales you had.

To add to this number, the point of sale system he had also had a reset counter that showed how many times the system had been closed since first installed. Each day’s report should be incremented by 1, thus they should always be sequentially numbered.

With this knowledge in hand we returned to his office and began a quick audit of one of his problem stores. We quickly found that the daily close count showed missing reports. We also checked the grand totals and found missing sales.

What was happening was the closing store manager was running the end-of-day report between 10:00 pm and 11:00 pm and then running another close at midnight, the time when the store was supposed to close. The closing manager was pocketing the sales rung between the first and last closing reports and turning in the first closing report as the daily sales report.

Had it not been for the grand totals we would never have caught this thief. The closing manager even went as far as to change the time on the register to keep the elusion complete. It was those little used grand totals that eventually caught up with him.

The sad thing is, most point of sale systems have gotten away from the grand totals. Not only are they not even offered, if you ask about them you will probably hear excuses why they aren’t important.

Grand totals are important. Without them the scenario just explained above could be repeated every night on a point of sale system without these totals and you would never know it. When I say never, I mean never. You would eventually go out of business because your closing managers would be taking all the profits and leaving you with all the expenses.

Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Demand the security that your point of sale system should provide. You wouldn’t buy a car without an odometer. Don’t buy a point of sale system without grand totals.

Jerry D. Wilson has over 25 years of point of sale experience helping business owners stop employee theft and increase profits. Please visit DirecTouch POS and DirectRetail POS for more information on other features that are important to your point of sale needs.


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