The Major POS Vendors have 90% of the POS market. Their POS products are very stable and widely recognized. I have worked with them. After 35 years in this industry, I want to share my business prospective as an operator.
1) POS Hardware –The majors display their names on your POS System terminals. They have applied subtle setting changes in dip switches, cables, plugs and connectors which make their brand work only with their software. . They also remove standard WIN drivers and install their own POS drivers. You are compelled to purchase expensive support contracts forever so your system will stay running.
2) POS Software –Major players plug in a serialized licensed hardware key into one of the POS Station. Every morning on boot-up your POS System electronically looks for the hardware key to validate your company, dealer, # of POS stations, warranty expire date, track service history , and software version on file. This key limits your ability to program your own system. This key tracks you and encourages future support contracts at your expense. When you sell your restaurant or go out of business that serialized key must be re-licensed to the new owner at a considerable cost. This is often $10,000. A new Restaurant owner must negotiate this fee with the dealer before it will run.
3) POS Dealers–After you purchased a new POS System from a dealer/vendor, you sign the contract. From then on, only that specific dealer is authorized to work with you or support your future needs. That dealer controls your license through your serial number. If you sell your business or the POS System, the new buyer can only get sales, service and support from that dealer. A monopoly of sorts.
4) POS Software Version- When you purchase a POS System you are buying the current or installed version of the POS software. From that point forward updates, upgrades are charge at current rates.
5) POS Credit Card Processors– Major POS Dealers sign unilateral agreements with Credit Card Processor to bind them to you then deposit in your bank. to the POS System. This partnership is not cost effective to you. To begin the CC Processor offers you a rate of 1.6% to 1.8% but adds “other cost and fees.” These “tack on charges” end up as reward or royalty of (.2%-.4%) to the POS Dealer/vendor. To test this theory type their CC processors name in you browser followed by the words “Rip Off’ and press enter. See the facts. When you pick a system ask for a 30 day termination clause. If they say no, then find another POS. Only one is approved by the CRA and NRA.
6) POS Packaged Systems or “All in one deals”– Designed to talk in terms of your interest for now at least and get you into a POS System for a low start up cost. However you are leasing the system, not owning. There will be a minimum 5 years contract that you cannot break it unless you go out of business or change your business name. Low cost leases where you lease by the terminal charge are $60 to $150/mo each and end up costing 5X as much,. Compare this to a rental car or an apartment lease.
I am an operator like you, not salesmen. I don't sell things, I provide solutions that generate at ROI.