All to often we hear of Canteen staff and P&C executives bouncing the idea of buying or upgrading registers. Here are some of our thoughts - The argument for and against getting a cash register
The argument for-
If you want financial and stock control then registers are required. Without cash registers you cannot track your stock. Cash registers assist to secure your funds and eliminate mistakes from adding up in your head. If set up correctly they can speed up the lines. We see cash registers as vital in every school canteen regardless of its size. If you only spend money on one big purchase this year, make it on cash registers.
The argument against-
There is no argument against that holds up.
“It slows us down”- not true if you buy the right type, get it/ them set up correctly and train the staff
“We don’t have that kind of money or they are too expensive”.
You can’t afford not to have them. Apply for a grant or have a theme day special fundraiser.
“Our canteen staff refuse to have/use one”- The P&C operates the Canteen. The convenor manages it. Managing includes following instructions from the employer.
If you don’t have cash registers then you should make purchasing registers a priority.
What to look for in a cash register-
Make sure it does what you want it to do
It has enough keys so you can have one key for each product
Can have scan system capabilities if you want it later
You can reprogram it yourself rather than paying people to do it
It fits on your bench [with the shutters down]
Touch screens aren’t cheap but they are great
Buy one for each counter and make sure they match so you can go between registers if you need to
If you do have registers then make sure they are being used correctly. We see many canteens that are basically using their registers as an electronic cash drawer. This defeats the purpose of having them.
Each item should have its own button and those buttons should be used even for markdowns. if you don’t have enough buttons then consider adding the scan system or cut down on the items you sell as you may have too many items for sale
Have a written end of day banking/ register procedure
Never have an unders and over tin of money that you use to make sure the register balances
Never void or add just so your register balances
Make sure the register can give a correct tax invoice as per ATO requirements if a customer asks
Be aware of who can void and how often the no sale button is used
Leave the registers open overnight in case of a break in[ that way they won’t smash the register open to see if there is any money in it]
Lock the drawers if you leave the canteen as you can’t assume people in there won’t steal. Unfortunately this does happen.
Remember to regularly pull the drawers right out and check behind them.
Record excess and shortfalls on your daily takings sheet and never ever alter the takings so it matches up. If there is an excess or shortfall work out why it happened and try not to do that again.
Try to have one operator on each register so that person is responsible for the funds being correct. If people share the drawer you don’t know who made the mistakes and there is no accountability
Use the z read to find out actual numbers of what is popular and what isn’t
Offer training to people who use the registers don’t just throw volunteers on them
Colour code the keypads so it is easier to find things. E.g. frozen things all blue background, hot foods on a red background
Keep the registers up to date if you add or delete items for sale or the price changes. It doesn’t take long if you keep on top of it. This is a good job for student free days.
Remember you must abide by your associations guidelines on cash handling and cash registers. QLD schools can download the P&C Accounting manual for free at http://education.qld.gov.au/finance/procedure/pandc/
I have seen this cash register/POS team in several schools and I liked their back up service and the products I saw in place. He goes QLD wide but has contacts in other states. David knows tuckshops.