Buying A Cash RegisterThis guide is designed to help you to make the correct decision when choosing a cash register for your business. When purchasing a cash till there are a few important things you should take into account. 

Firstly you must consider the drawer size. A small cash drawer will usually consist of 3 note and 5 coin compartments whereas a full size cash register will have a drawer comprising of 4 note compartments and 8 coin compartments. If your business takes a lot of cash then a small cash drawer will not be sufficient.

It is also important to note that it is unlikely that a basic, small base cash register will have a customer facing rear display.

The Sharp XE-A107W is an example of a small base cash register. 

Departments & PLU's
The number of departments the machine has is an essential factor when making your decision. Departments are essentially groups of products; for example in a bar these could be draughts, wines, spirits etc. 

A basic cash register such as the Casio SE-G1 will only have a few departments and it is unlikely that you will be able to edit the text on these departments. 

With a more advanced cash register such as the Sharp XE-A307 you will be able to type a description, set an open or pre-set price and set a tax rate for each department. 

PLU's (Price Look Ups) offer a method of storing individual items on your cash register and can be used with departments. For example your department would be named soft drinks and you could store all your soft drink items on PLU numbers. With most hospitality tills an item stored on a PLU number can be saved to the keyboard. The Sam4s ER-940 allows PLUs to be saved to the keyboard in this way. For other cash registers the PLU number must be entered manually or alternatively the product can be scanned. If you wish to use your till with a scanner you need to check that it is recommended for scanning and if it is compatible with the scanner you have selected.

A busy bar or restaurant may be most suited to a touch screen terminal, these are extremely easy to use, can store thousands of items and have a vast range of functions including table management and clerk interrupt. With a touch screen such as the Casio QT-6600 you can store all of your PLU items on the screen and group them into departments. This means you can access any product in seconds and sell it at the push of a button, this can prove extremely beneficial at busy times. 

The printer is also important, a basic till will have a slow drum printer which uses an ink roller and won’t be able to print alpha text. A till with a drum printer is ideally used in journal mode as they can only give a very basic receipt. A more advanced till will have a thermal printer which is much faster, doesn’t use any ink, is very easy to load; can print text and can provide a customised receipt. 

Some tills will have two printers next to each other, in this instance one will provide a customer receipt and the other will keep a full journal which you can look back on at any time. The Casio SE-C3500 is an example of a cash register with two thermal printers. 

If a till only has one printer it can usually be set to either give a receipt or to keep a journal throughout the day. Some new cash registers with a single station thermal printer have the ability to store the electronic journal and this can then be printed at the end of the day for example the Casio SE-S10 has this function. 

You may decide that you would like to add additional receipt or kitchen printers to your till. If this is the case then you must check the till is capable of doing so and check compatibility with your selected printer. 

Clerks / Dallas Keys
You should consider whether or not you would like your staff to log in each time they make a transaction (compulsory clerk sign in) and if so how many members of staff (clerks) you would like the till to support. 

Some cash registers will also be equipped with a Dallas key reader. A Dallas Key is a magnetic key fob, these can be assigned to your staff and they will need to put their key on the reader whenever they are using the till. This helps to keep a record of each clerk’s sales and the keys can be programmed to restrict access and increase security.

You may also require clerk interrupt, this means that transactions can be interrupted before they are finalised. This is useful in a busy bar or restaurant as staff can enter multiple transactions. For example Clerk 1 can enter a sale and then go and pour the drinks, whilst they are doing this Clerk 2 can use the till and open up a new sale. When Clerk 1 returns to the till and logs on their transaction will be on the screen ready to finalise. 

Table Management 
If the cash register is for a bar, pub or restaurant then you may wish to consider looking at a till such as the Sam4s SPS-520 that can provide table management. This means that you can store sales to a particular table number and these can be held until the customer wishes to pay. 

Some tills come in a flat and a raised keyboard option. The raised option will generally have bigger raised buttons but will have fewer departments on the keyboard. A cash register with a flatbed keyboard is recommended for use in hospitality e.g. bars, cafes, pubs and restaurants as you will be able to store most of your food and drink items on the keyboard. 

If your till is going to be in an area where it could come into contact with spillage then you should consider adding a wet cover for protection.

A small number of cash registers can be battery powered as well as mains. The Sam4s ER-230 is an example of this, it has a rechargeable battery making it ideal for use at festivals or outdoor events where you will be without power.

A lot of the newer tills are compatible with SD cards, this means you can back up your program and in some cases view a number or reports on your PC.

Some more advanced cash registers can be set up with inclusive or add on tax rates, this is beneficial as your end of day reports will show the tax breakdown. 

All cash registers will be able to give you a daily Z report. This lists all department totals and will give a breakdown of cash, cheque and credit card sales. The more advanced the cash register then the more detailed your reports will be. 

Warranty & Support
Make sure the cash register you are purchasing comes with a 12 month warranty which can be renewed after this period should you wish to do so.

It is also important that you get technical support with the till you purchase and it is usually worth paying a little bit more to get this support, without it you may be left without a functioning till and you may have to pay for support from elsewhere. Make sure that the dealer supplying the machine can offer you free, 24/7 technical support. Also check that their support number is a freephone number as they can often be premium rate numbers.

Hopefully this guide has been of assistance and you now have all the knowledge you need to select the perfect till for your business. Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.