In the fast-paced and demanding restaurant industry, it’s important to prepare for a POS system crash or network failure. Restaurants can take precautionary steps, like staying on top of software and network problems, updating software, and purchasing a POS crash kit, but sometimes POS system failures are unavoidable.

If a POS system goes down, front-of-house employees should try to stay calm to not interrupt the quality of service until the problem can be resolved. Restaurants can limit revenue loss and maybe even improve customer loyalty with a little quick thinking in the face of an outage.

Here are 3 important tips that will help you recover from a POS crash without losing business:


Prepare Ahead of Time

In the event of a sudden crash, both managers and employees may start to panic. With the right preparations already in place, this disruption in service can be avoided.

A POS crash kit with a manual credit card imprinter will come in handy when restaurant technology fails, allowing customers paying with a credit card to still enjoy a meal. Just a few minutes of preparation can save your restaurant from customers walking out or complaining about the service.

Make sure to properly train employees how to respond to a POS crash beforehand. They should be able to take orders by hand and work the manual credit card machine in a crash kit. The right training will keep staff calm under pressure instead of distracting diners from their meal.

RMagazine suggests keeping an organized collection of POS systems and Internet providers phone numbers so no time is wasted searching for customer service lines. The sooner that managers are able to reach out to customer service, the sooner the problem will be fixed.


Survey the Area

Immediately after a POS crash, managers should survey the area for any identifiable issues that caused the outage. Make sure that all power plugs and wires to terminals connected to the POS are intact. Try restarting the terminal if the system is unable to process credit cards.

If the problem isn’t solved by plugging wires back in or restarting the POS system, it may be time to contact the customer service professionals for your POS technology.


Keep Customers in the Loop

While the staff waits for the problem to be resolved, it could be beneficial for servers to calmly let customers know what’s going on. Most diners will appreciate knowing the truth, and will understand if they have to wait a little extra for their meal to come or payment to be processed because of technology issues.

Starbucks recently experienced a POS system crash that shut down across the U.S. and Canada. Faced with a huge outage, thousands of locations chose to give away one free drink to customers who came into the store. While they waited for the system to be repaired, these Starbucks locations likely gained a few more loyal customers than they had before.

If restaurants are able to continue servicing customers as close to normal as possible (or even throw in a perk for the trouble) a POS failure might not be as damaging to profits.


Final Thoughts

Even if restaurants stay on top of software updates and replacing outdated technology, POS crashes can and will happen. According to Backblaze, 20% of hard drives will fail before they’re four years old, and 50% will fail by the time they turn six.

Maintaining the quality of service and getting tech support as soon as possible can minimize revenue loss that can occur if you’ve had your POS technology for more than a few years. Sometimes a little quick thinking in the moment, as in Starbuck’s case, can even boost customer loyalty and keep diners coming back to your restaurant after the problem is resolved.

Does your restaurant have the ability to recover from a POS crash?