ARBAPRO EMV Compliance

ARBAPRO POS Solutions are EMV-Ready

ARBA Retail Systems, working with industry leader VeriFone, is fully prepared to help you become EMV- compliant and ready for the liability shift in October 2015.  ARBA Retail Systems has worked with VeriFone to interface our Point-of-Sale Software with VeriFone’s EMV-compliant POINT Payment Solution. By using chips as an active part of the payment transaction, EMV cards and devices help prevent credit card fraud from stolen account numbers and cloned payment cards.  Moving to the POINT Payment Solution will allow you to accept payment via Debit with PIN and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, such as GoogleWallet and ApplePay, and facilitate signature capture.

EMV stands for “Europay Mastercard and Visa” and it is a payment technology standard that was originally created by these 3 companies. EMV Cards (also called “Chip Cards” or “Smart Cards”) are credit cards embedded with a chip containing your encrypted credit card data. These chips allow for greatly increased data security and encryption, stronger validation of the card and cardholder, and identification of payment devices as authentic, approved payment devices1. All these elements allow for greater fraud protection, decreased fraud, and increased security.

What is the importance of the October 2015 deadline?

October 2015 is the liability shift date for all the major credit card providers. Each provider has different incentives related to being EMV-compliant. What this means is that by being EMV-compliant you not only provide your business and customers with greatly increased data security in a world plagued by credit card security breaches and worries but also, depending on the credit card provider, you will benefit from:

  • 50% to 100% relief from occurrences of credit card Account Data Compromise (ADC)2
  • Elimination of annual Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) validation requirements and
    waiver from PCI DSS audits.

Essentially, if you do not take steps to be EMV-compliant, you will bear liability for credit card fraud and data
compromise and be subject to increased data security constraints.

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How Bar Code Scanning Helps Your Retail Business

Most retailers today use UPC bar code merchandise scanning at the point of sale, and for receiving merchandise into inventory. Everyone from the large well known retail chain, to the small independent retailer uses the UPC bar codes as an essential part of their retail business operation.

Although UPC Bar Code usage is widespread, most retailers should be taking greater advantage of this technology as part of their inventory control solution. In POS management, bar code usage can greatly help the retailer increase sales, profitability, and operational efficiencies while improving customer service. Here are a few examples:

Faster customer check out time

Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than waiting in line while a cashier fumbles at the register looking up a price or department, or checks with their manager to see if an item is on sale. When scanning bar coded merchandise at the point of sale, merchandise information is controlled through software, making check out time much faster and accurate than manual entry or typing a SKU number. This provides better and faster customer service, while ensuring that merchandise is sold at the correct price.

When used with a good POS Inventory Control system, UPC bar code scanning can facilitate the handling of quantity price breaks automatically, or enable preferred pricing for customers who are part of store loyalty programs.

Pricing Control

Protecting your profit margins and selling your merchandise at the appropriate price point is vital for the success of any retail operation. Nothing erodes margins faster than ringing up merchandise at an incorrect price due to cashier error or price tag switching. Price changes and discounts can be implemented immediately, saving valuable time and handling costs.

Inventory Control

In a point of sale system when a bar code Scanner used with inventory control software, scanning bar coded merchandise as items are sold, returned and received ensures that on hand inventory levels are accurately adjusted. Scanners are extremely accurate compared to key entry, which helps maintain more accurate inventory levels.

By monitoring and tracking inventory levels, the retailer can make better informed decisions. Knowing which items are selling fast and need to be re-ordered prevents revenue loss due to out-of-stocks, or perhaps losing a valuable customer altogether because the competitor down the street always has their favorite item in stock. Valuable inventory capital can be released for more open-to-buy when the retailer can quickly identify their slower selling items, and reduce them for clearance.

Get more information about Point of sale System and read more about Bar Code Scanner

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Gain Tighter Cost Control in Your Food Service Operation When Receiving Food and Beverage Items

In non-commercial Food Services operations, most Food Services Directors and Managers are responsible for an operating budget. Even if the purpose of the on-site employee cafe or coffee bar is to serve as a benefit or perk to employees, profitability of the operation is still measured, and the finance department wants to know if the operation is in the red, at break even, or in the black.

There are two ways to improve profitability: increase revenue or reduce operating costs. This article explores the reduction of food service operating costs through the use of tighter cost control in Food Services’ purchasing and receiving activities.

As part of inventory management, food and beverage items should be tracked in an inventory file or database, making it possible to monitor purchasing expenditures and to make informed purchasing decisions. Whether ordering inventory by purchase order or non-purchase order, it is vital to enter the received items into inventory accurately to maintain the integrity of on hand inventory count and cost. To ensure that items arrived exactly how they were ordered, verify the quantity and cost of all items being received against the invoice.

Most cafeterias and coffee bars have many inventory items, such as canned soda, bags of chips, and bottled water, which are always in stock and are then re-ordered when inventory levels reach a defined level. When receiving these items that already exist in inventory, compare the current cost to the previous cost. If the actual cost of the item is different that the cost at which you ordered or previously received it, then enter the new cost into the inventory system.

If the cost has increased, you have an informed decision to make; either absorb the price increase by continuing to sell the item at the current price, and thus accept a reduced profit margin on the item, or maintain your current profit margin, and offset the cost increase with a price increase. For example, if bottled water has been received in the past at a unit cost of $1.00 and is sold at a price of $1.35, then the profit margin is 25.93%. Should the unit cost increase to $1.10, you may decide to continue selling each bottle of water at the $1.35 price at a lower margin of 18.52%, or increase the price to $1.48 offset the cost increase. Either way, you have made an informed decision weighing profitability against what you believe customers are willing to pay for a particulate item.

Daily, monthly, and year to date receiving reports will show you all the items you have received on a selected day or month or during a date range. Use additional reports, such as end of day, stock status, inventory analysis, and sales history reports, to view sales and profitability performance by item, meal service, vendor, department, or user sort. These views give you the ability to manage profitability by department and thus offset low margin items with other higher margin items within the same department or category.

To learn more about what inventory control software can do for your cafe or coffee bar visit ARBA Retail Systems at https://arbapro.com/pos-corporate-cafeteria or https://arbapro.com/products/hospital-food-services.

Author:   Kathy de la Torre, ARBA Retail Systems

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How to Make Global Changes to Your Inventory Items

In this article, we focus on making global changes to the items in your inventory. Global Changes is a feature that affects a group of inventory items, and allows changes to be made to a defined group of items rather than making changes to just to one inventory item at a time. This makes it easy to make changes or put a large block of items on sale, and simplifies an otherwise time-consuming task.

The ability to make changes to the price and cost of multiple items at one time can be especially useful and efficient when managing your inventory files. For example, let’s say one of your vendors increases cost across the board by a percentage or by a dollar amount. This is a perfect time to use Global Changes to make the cost increase to your defined group of inventory items, which in this case would be defined by a specific vendor. There are other scenarios where the use of global changes will save you time, such as when you need to make a change to the price, cost or margin of all the items meeting a set of selected criteria that you define.

Before you begin to utilize Global Changes, your inventory items should be set up by departments then broken down by User Sort for Global Changes to work effectively. The use of User Sort is strongly recommended when a department consists of several types of items. Take for example your jewelry department where you have necklaces, bracelets, watches, rings and earrings. Let’s say you want to put all bracelets on sale at 30% to clear out all bracelets in inventory, and make way for the new season styles arriving. Placing this group of inventory items on sale is fast and easy to do with Global Changes, if bracelets are set up as a User Sort under the Jewelry department. Another example is your holiday merchandise. You should have a user sort for every holiday you get merchandise in for. This way, it doesn’t matter which department the merchandise is in, because the criteria for Global Changes may be defined by the user sort. On November 1st, you’ll be able to easily put all Halloween merchandise on sale, even if that merchandise is in several different departments.

Accessories is another department that lends itself well to user sort with purses, scarves and wallets each set up as their own User Sort under the accessories department. Even your candy department can be broken down by bar candy, fancy candy, bagged candy and individual candy.

Let us know how you’re using Global Changes and User Sort in your shop or store, and how this feature has saved you time.

Author:  Kathy de la Torre, ARBA Retail Systems

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Top Three Cafe Menu Trends

As we work with our corporate and hospital food service customers, we see menu trends in their Cafés and snack bars mirroring what’s trending in restaurants today. Many of the Cafés have added grills, pizza stations, grab ‘n go areas and in some cases even a sushi bar as part of their remodeling projects to provide a better dining experience for their employees and guests and attract a high guest count. To appeal to an even larger group of patrons and cater to savvy consumers, many Cafés are also offering menus with healthy and organic food, more diversity and local sourcing of raw ingredients.

Healthy and organic has become an important menu trend as Americans now have a higher awareness for healthy eating, and are more educated about their food choices. Consumers want to see menus that offer fresh produce, leaner protein options, and smaller desert portions. With a growing number of Americans diagnosed with type-two diabetes or heart disease, it has become greatly important to offer a menu balanced with food options which help manage these conditions. Flagging menu items as heart healthy or offering a discount on healthy menu items is a great way to promote healthy eating, while informing guests that you offer these options to them. Healthful food choices can range from leaner breakfast proteins like turkey bacon and turkey sausage to smaller desert portions offered at lunch and dinner. Catering to health conscious consumers doesn’t mean a hugely popular chicken fried steak or rich macaroni and cheese entre must be removed from the menu rotation completely. It’s just about offering a range of choices that caters to many needs.

Consumers are also looking for diversity in their dining experience, so a second trend emerging in Cafés is the availability of authentic dishes from various parts of the world. Taking another cue from commercial restaurants and fast serves, the Cafés menu often showcases cultural dishes from countries like Mexico, Argentina or Vietnam. The spices, herbs and raw ingredients for these dishes have become much more widely available than in past years, making it possible for chefs to create their own authentic versions or fusions in their food service operations.

The educated café patron is now aware of what’s in season, and which raw ingredients can be locally sourced. These consumers want to be informed of where their food came from, and may even expect to see nutritional and sourcing data. Not only does sourcing locally satisfy a growing culinary preference, but it’s often less costly and certainly a greener alternative.

Let us know what exciting new items you have added to your menus, and they performed in your Café.

Author:  Kathy de la Torre, ARBA Retail Systems

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Payroll Deduction Policies for Your Employee Cafe or Coffee Bar

Payroll deductions are a highly popular cashless payment method which gives great convenience to employees. This program is particularly well suited for the busy health care worker with limited break time, who is running around the hospital without their wallet or purse, or the office worker who wants to get their lunch and return to their desk as quickly as possible. The ability to scan the badge carried to buy breakfast, lunch or snacks is viewed by staff members and workers as a convenient benefit. Payroll deductions are all about saving time, and moving employees through checkout faster so they spend less time in line and may return to work faster.

So how does your company or health care facility protect itself from employees who may leave the company or facility with an unpaid payroll deduction balance? The most common method is to set a payroll deduction limit, which works very much like a revolving credit account. The difference of course is that deductions are to be taken from future paychecks, rather than making payments on a billing cycle. This limit is usually determined by weighing what is a reasonable amount for an employee to spend per pay period combined with how much the company or hospital could afford to lose if an employee leaves and the remaining balance is not deducted before the final paycheck is issued. Cafés and coffee bars will often arrive at the spending limit by estimating the maximum realistic amount of food and beverage purchases an employee could potentially make during the pay period. Other facilities operate their café or coffee bar purely as a benefit and convenience to their employees with a goal of breaking even on costs, and therefore elect not to enforce a limit. They find that the goodwill and benefit the café provides their employees is of primary importance, and far outweighs any potential risk.

Finally, some human resource departments require their employees to complete an enrollment form to sign up for the program, with language specifying responsibility for any outstanding payroll deduction balances should employment end. Usually, this serves to discourage employees from running up a high balance that their final paycheck cannot cover. Signature lines on register receipts for payroll deduction transactions also helps enforce payment, however keep in mind that this will add time to the transaction.

Has your company or hospital implemented a Payroll Deduction Program? If so, please share your experience with the program.

Author:  Kathy de la Torre, ARBA Retail Systems

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How Hospital Cafeterias Use Bar Code Technology

A cashier scanning bar coded merchandise at the check-out point of any retail store is a very familiar and expected occurrence. Weather items are waved in front of a standing devise, scanned by a hand held model, or swept across an in-counter scanner; bar code scanning is a standard part of any retail environment and POS system to help get customers on their way fast. The retailer gains many operational benefits when bar code scanning is used together with a POS Inventory Control system, including the adjustment of inventory levels as items are sold or returned, and tighter control and management of merchandise pricing.

Although highly common in virtually all areas of retail, bar code scanning was not widely used as part of a POS System in hospital cafeterias until fairly recently. After all, most of us don’t think of food as being “inventory,” and therefore don’t see a logical connection between a UPC bar code number and a yogurt parfait. The increasing number of cafeterias offering pre-packaged “Grab n Go” items, however; has changed this traditional view.

“Over the past few years, more and more of our hospital cafeteria customers have added a “Grab n Go” section as a convenient way to offer appealing yet quick food choices to their employees and guests,” said Kathy de la Torre of ARBA Retail Systems. By offering a varied selection of pre-packaged food items which can be purchased quickly, the cafeteria attracts patrons who otherwise would not have enough time to eat. The added traffic definitely helps increase cafeteria revenues, which more and more hospital retail areas are required to attain. Placing a scannable, bar code label on each food item in the Grab n Go section means the purchase can be quickly scanned at the point of sale, getting patrons on their way very quickly to return to work or visitation. After all, if patrons have to wait in long lines to pay for their Grab n Go items, the convenience of pre-packaged food offerings would be completely lost.

A traditional retail store monitors and tracks inventory and sales as merchandise is scanned and sold at the cash register. Similarly, the hospital cafeteria needs to monitor sales as well so that kitchen production can be in synch with the speed and quantity at which food items are being sold. It’s all about getting out the right food, in the right amount, and at the right time. Imagine the hospital healthcare worker who finally has a few free minutes in their busy day to run down to the cafeteria to get a quick sandwich, only to find that the Grab n go cooler is completely out of sandwiches. Or worse; consider the hospital employee who regularly heads to the nearest fast food restaurant to eat because the cooler in the cafeteria is frequently out of their favorite soda flavor. Over the span of a year, that lost business translates to lost revenue. In today’s economy, that’s something no retail area wants to see happen.

Hospital cafeterias are not limiting their use of Bar code scanning to just Grab N Go items. Most POS Software can capture and recognize the manufacturer’s UPC bar code information on everything from canned soda and bottled water, to chips and candy bars. Some hospital cafeterias have taken the next step in retail automation, and have set re-order points within their POS Software for these items which are consistently re-stocked. To learn more about POS software designed for your corporate cafeteria visit Arba POS Cafeteria Page. To learn more about POS software designed for your hospital cafeteria visit Arba POS Hospital Food Services Page.

The best way for a cafeteria to have an accurate picture of what’s selling, in what quantity, and at what time is with the use of bar code scanning technology combined with a good POS system. Visit us at https://arbapro.com to learn how our POS solutions can help.

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Theft in your Foodservices operation

Theft is an unfortunate problem that every retail operation deals with, and your café or coffee bar is no exception. In this week’s Blog, we identify the creative and not-so-creative ways customers and employees can steal from you, and take a look at how to prevent or minimize it happening in your operation.

Who is stealing?

Theft comes in many forms. It can be the cashier who doesn’t ring up all the items a friend or colleague has on their tray at the checkout line, or gives an “unauthorized” discount to a coworker. It may be an employee boldly stealing cash out of the register till when they think no one is watching or will notice, or a customer casually walking out the door with unpaid food or beverage items. Whether the intent is to do a friend a favor, a feeling of entitlement or deliberate malice, the financial impact is the same because theft hurts the bottom line of your foodservices operation. Even if you are operating your Café or Coffee Bar as a convenience to your employees, operating costs are still measured and theft is a huge cost.

How do you identify employee theft?

It’s really important to have security measures in place in your operation to identify any problem areas. Your Point of Sale system should be tracking all sales, and allow you to use either shift or transaction security on your registers. The ability to reconcile each cash drawer by cashier is particularly needed in foodservices operations. Always review your system variance reports for discrepancies, and look for patterns in frequent cash shortages to see they map to when a particular employee works. Frequent cash overages may also be a sign of stealing, resulting when an employee stealing cash from the register “light rings” too much to cover for the amount taken. Also look for a high number of “no sale” or “void” transactions during anyone’s shift, as this is a potential red flag for theft activity. To learn about POS solutions for Corporate Dining visit us at https://arbapro.com/pos-corporate-cafeteria or POS solutions for Hospital Food Services at https://arbapro.com/products/hospital-food-services .

The scenario that’s a lot more difficult to identify is when cashier are giving “freebies” to their friends, and not all sales or all items are being rung up at the cash register. Security surveillance helps to control this problem, and serves as a deterrent to theft when employees see surveillance in place. There are many ways to see what is transpiring on the floor, even when you can’t be out there. Be sure to review your sales reports for emerging patterns. Do the average sales of a particular cashier fall below the average sales of other cashiers during the same meal periods and the same days? Is there a higher amount of discounts given during the times a particular cashier is working? These indicate signs of possible employee theft. Find out more about POS solutions at https://arbapro.com

What can you do to prevent or reduce customer theft?

It’s a good idea to train you staff what to look for, and be alert to out of the ordinary customer behavior. Positioning the cash registers in such a way that it’s just not possible to exit the café without paying for food and beverage items is a huge deterrent. Many facilities have installed mirrors and surveillance cameras, and position the most tempting items in a place where taking them is more difficult.

Reduce Cash Management

The Cafes and coffee bars that offer cashless payment options such as employee payroll deductions and credit cards minimize the amount of cash that their staff handles, and as a result experience less cash overages and shortages. Payroll deductions and credit cards are simpler to manage from an accounting standpoint, and their use certainly reduces the amount of cash overages or shortages. To learn more about payroll deductions, visit https://arbapro.com/products/payroll-deductions.

Have you had the unfortunate experience of theft in your foodservices operation? Share your story about how you discovered and dealt with this all-too-common problem.

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Upgrade from Windows XP to windows 8

The world’s longest-ever supported operating system, Windows XP, has been set a retirement date: April 8, 2014.

That doesn’t mean all Windows XP will stop working from April 8, 2014 onwards, but it does mean that newly discovered security holes will not be patched by Microsoft.

Many customers of ARBA Retail Systems have already completed their move away from Windows XP to either Windows 7 or Windows 8, and most are well into executing their plan to migrate.  At a minimum, all IT departments are aware of the Windows XP retirement date, and know that action needs to be taken to avoid leaving their systems vulnerable and insecure.

If you’re curious what end of support actually means for users, try imaging Windows XP as a city and Microsoft as the police force. From April 8th, 2014 Microsoft, as the “police”, will stop investigating crimes or making arrests on new criminals in your city. The result is that, over time, the operating system will become increasingly insecure for users.

The end of support date is when Microsoft will no longer provide automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance. Without Microsoft support, you will no longer receive security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software that can steal your personal information.

If your organization has not started the migration to a modern desktop, you are late. Based on historical customer deployment data, the average enterprise deployment can take 18 to 32 months. If you haven’t already, you should begin migration planning and application testing immediately to ensure you deploy before end of support, and ensure you remain on supported versions of Windows and Office,.

A fun fact, did you know XP stands for Experience?

Upgrade Now

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Managing Employee Payroll Deductions, Gift Cards, and Layaways with your POS system

Payroll deductions. Every company or institution that offers employee payroll deductions in their retail areas such as cafeteria, coffee bar, gift shop, or company store has nothing but good things to say about the impact on sales. It’s the enabler behind a $5.00 latte purchase the day before payday. The key is automating it, so as not to slow down customer traffic. Manual systems can be tough, requiring cashiers and volunteers to check a list to see if an employee is valid, and write up a slip for the employee to sign. Every two weeks the food services and store managers combines and totals the employee’s payroll slips, and then send them to payroll for payroll to enter manually, and then posts payments.

What can be available is automated imports of employee files from payroll (which can spot terminated staff as well) that then supports swiping the employee’s badge, letting the software check the employee’s balance against the credit limit.  Automatic printing of the customer AND the signature receipt may be turned on or off, according to preference. Just before payroll runs, employee numbers and deduction amounts are automatically transmitted to payroll.  And then, crème de la crème, the actual deductions taken come back automatically from payroll, and the balances are adjusted.

Departmental charges are also automated, allowing for accurate charge backs to the appropriate department, as are physicians’ charges. Statements can be printed, or sent to accounting for their departmental adjustments.

LAYAWAYS  What if your company or hospital doesn’t permit Payroll Deductions? How can you make an expensive item obtainable to an employee or customer who isn’t able to spend a large amount of money all at once? Layaways are experiencing a revival in many retail areas – Target and Wal-Mart are now advertising the availability of Layaways.

Your POS product may be able to provide this tool for you. It can allow you to attach a layaway to a customer number (your employee’s badge), and track the items, and the payments as they are made against the items on layaway. So stockroom space is tight? If you can print an open layaway inventory list at any time, so you can see what items are due for pick up, and bring them over from the warehouse!

GIFT CARDS  Gift cards have been well received and are a great way to keep money in the retail areas. These aren’t just presents for one employee to give to another; they have a couple of other great uses! A gift card can be given to a customer to offset a return – the retail manager doesn’t have to give back cash, or write out a credit slip when a pricey item is returned. She’s keeping the money in the store. One other elegant use for gift cards has been the sale of those cards to administration, for a handling fee, plus the card value, for service recovery and employee rewards.

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