Will Vendor-Sponsored Training Boost Your Hospitality Software Sales?
Changing technology and the introduction of Windows 98 make training essential for VARs who want to increase sales, say two vendors.
VAR training is an important issue when it comes to selling point of sale (POS) software in the hospitality market, say two software developers. "We're making 1999 the year we focus on technical education for VARs," says David Puzas. He is director of marketing for Ibertech (Hurst, TX). Ibertech develops software for both fast food and fine dining restaurants. Founded in 1992, the company has 150 employees as well as a second location in Syracuse, NY.
"VARs have to know how to work in Windows to sell POS software today," says Lino D'Angicco. "But they also have to understand the needs of restauranteurs." D'Angicco is CEO of PixelPoint, a privately held company in Toronto, Ontario. His company develops point of sale (POS) software for fast food, table service, fine dining and pizza delivery restaurants.
What Restaurant Owners Look For In POS Software
Restaurant owners look for three things when considering POS software, says D'Angicco. First, they want strong reporting capabilities, he says. Owners need to easily generate reports to operate their businesses. These reports relate to such things as food costs, inventory and employee time and attendance.
Owners also want the software to be easy to use because of high employee turnover. "It can't take more than 30 minutes to train a new restaurant employee on a system," says D'Angicco. Lastly, restaurant owners look for a reliable product, especially with the release of Windows 98. There have been compatibility problems with some POS software packages running with Windows 98, says D'Angicco. Because technology is changing so rapidly, not all hardware and software products are fully tested in every combination with Windows 98, adds D'Angicco. This is where additional training will benefit VARs.
"Knowing where to look for the problem first will save the VAR time and money," says D'Angicco. What may appear to be a POS software problem may in fact be a problem with a hardware driver. He suggests that VARs invest in POS equipment of their own to test and troubleshoot the popular system configurations they sell.
Training Results In More Trouble-Free Installations
Ibertech's David Puzas says his company now requires all of its VARs to be certified by Ibertech before selling its Aloha product line. The problem, he says, is that VARs are selling software faster than they are able to install and support it. He says some VARs aren't able to install a system until six to eight weeks after it is sold. "In hospitality, it should take two weeks or less to sell and install a system," says Puzas. With additional training, in Windows NT, Microsoft SQL and Report Writer for example, VARs should be able to meet that two week time frame. "Well-trained VARs should expect more trouble-free installations and fewer service calls," says Puzas.