By The Florida Natural Gas Association

A staple in the food service, hospitality, and lodging industries for decades, natural gas appliances have never been so easy to use while saving money. Have the ability to; prepare food, heat water, dry linens, and provide other services to keep your business going with limitless natural gas. Not to mention the rebate incentives available on top of the substantial energy savings.

Natural gas appliances are the smartest choice for your business. Why? Because you can enhance your equipment’s performance standards, reduce equipment failure, and save money on overall energy costs by replacing electric appliances or even old natural gas appliances with new natural gas equipment.

Consumers can identify appliances that are energy-efficient by looking for Energy Star certification. According to Energy Star, if all commercial water heaters sold in the United States were Energy Star certified, energy cost savings would be nearly $890 million. In addition, more than 17 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented from entering the atmosphere each year.

Wondering how to make the jump? Florida’s natural gas providers are committed to helping Floridians switch to cleaner, cost-effective, and reliable natural gas by offering appliance rebates, which help to accelerate the conversion and keep even more money in your pockets. These rebates include thousands of dollars in qualifying commercial equipment, such as natural gas commercial water heaters (tank and tankless), natural gas commercial ranges and ovens, natural gas commercial fryers, and natural gas commercial dryers.

Some utilities offer rebate programs tailored to specific industries like hospitality and lodging, food service, laundromat and cleaning services, and small businesses. Different rebate options are available for electric to gas replacement, gas to gas retention and new construction.

In addition to rebate programs, some utilities like Peoples Gas, have an energy conservation program, which provides cash-back allowances to eligible businesses, designed to help your business start saving right away.

To check if your utility has a rebate program or for details regarding rebates that your business may qualify for, visit your utility company’s website to learn more.

Lower your energy costs with high-performance, energy-efficient natural gas equipment, and save even more with natural gas rebates. Saving energy and reducing costs has never been easier.

Gas South Makes an Impact with Giving in the Southeast

By Topher Jensen, Director of Commercial Sales at Gas South

One of our biggest priorities at Gas South is giving back to the communities we serve, which is why our mission is to Be A Fuel For Good. Each year, we’ve committed to giving 5% of profits to children in need, which takes many forms. One unique and powerful way we give back is through our annual impact investments, where we award $50,000 to six deserving nonprofits.

Rather than simply selecting groups our leadership team is involved with or donating money to the same organizations year after year, our employees get to decide the beneficiaries, making the impact investments so much more personal and meaningful.

The process to distribute the $300,000 in critical aid begins by assessing the needs in the community. We open an online portal for applications in the spring of each year, and organizations are encouraged to be specific in explaining their mission and how the funds will be used.

Once the nominating window is closed, we empower our employees to drive the selection process, providing video interviews of the applicants and even opportunities to meet them in person to learn more about their goals and overall mission. Our success and ability to give these game-changing gifts is because of the tremendous work our employees do every day, so putting them in control of this decision is a key pillar of our corporate culture.

This year, our employees chose to reward two Florida-based charities making a meaningful difference, with $50,000 going to both the Ronald McDonald House and North Central Florida YMCA in Gainesville.

Ronald McDonald House Florida supports “Our House,” a home that provides lodging and meals to families traveling to Gainesville to seek medical care for ill children. The nonprofit is currently renovating to expand its services to more families, and Gas South’s donation will sponsor a room at their new location.

The North Central Florida YMCA offers programs that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all, and the donation will be used to build a community STEAM lab for local children and teens, giving them the ability to learn life-changing skills and explore new technologies.

Additionally, our impact investments in the backyard of our corporate headquarters in Atlanta will allow more children with special needs to receive therapeutic horse rides from Beyond Limits Therapeutic Riding, fight childhood hunger across the city through Feed the Children and Second Helpings, and inspire teenage girls to be confident leaders through Girl Talk.

Once the $300,000 is delivered to the selected organizations at the end of the summer, we take a step back to fully appreciate the impact the donations have on the organizations receiving them. We never take for granted the opportunity to impact the lives of children and families, and we’re so grateful to our customers for being the engine that allows us to Be A Fuel For Good.


Lease Renewal Do’s & Don’ts for Restaurant Tenants

By Dale Willerton, The Lease Coach –

Approximately two million commercial lease renewal transactions take place every year in North America. Negotiating a lease renewal is not an overnight process. It can take some time and involves a number of steps (as found in our book, Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals FOR DUMMIES, and as summarized below):

Do start the lease renewal planning process well in-advance. Beginning 12 – 15 months in advance allows ample time for negotiating, completing paperwork, searching for alternate sites (if necessary) and accounting for Murphy’s Law.

Do create competition for your tenancy. Restaurant tenants should negotiate on multiple locations simultaneously – especially with lease renewals, even if they don’t want to move. Create options and play one landlord against another.

Do talk to other tenants. For lease renewals The Lease Coach often talks with other tenants at the property who have recently renewed leases, asking how these renegotiations went and what the landlord was willing to agree to in terms of rental rates and further tenant incentives.

Do negotiate for lease renewal incentives. Restaurant tenants often neglect or are simply fearful of negotiating for lease renewal incentives. Ask yourself what inducements (e.g. free rent/tenant allowances) would the landlord give to a new tenant coming into the property?

Don’t accept an inappropriate lease length. When renewing, a tenant should not automatically sign for the same terms as the initial lease without considering their own future. The business may be sold and/or a restaurateur may retire. Don’t get locked into a long-term lease renewal if a shorter term is desired.

Don’t settle for the same rental payment. Achieving a rent reduction on a lease renewal is a very real possibility and something The Lease Coach specializes in for clients. If the landlord is leasing space to new tenants at less than what the tenant is currently paying, a rent reduction could be achievable.

Don’t allow the landlord to retain the deposit. If the tenant has paid the landlord a deposit, they should ask for this back upon the lease renewal date. If the tenant has faithfully paid rent over the initial term, then why should the landlord keep this money?

Don’t unnecessarily exercise your option. This may prevent you from getting a rent reduction or other incentives.  Alternatively (if the landlord wants you to stay anyway) The Lease Coach simply negotiates a Lease Extension and Amending Agreement in your favor.

Dale Willerton is The Lease Coach. A professional lease consultant, Dale is the author of Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals FOR DUMMIES and frequently speaks at industry events such as the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show where you can see him again this year. Visit to request your complimentary copy of Dale’s book.


National Restaurant Association: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Report

The National Restaurant Association recently released a landmark diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) report measuring the awareness and perceived effectiveness of DEI practices among employers and employees in the restaurant industry. The research, conducted in collaboration between the National Restaurant Association(Opens in a new window), the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation(Opens in a new window) (NRAEF), the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance(Opens in a new window) (MFHA), and Cornell University Nolan School of Hotel Administration(Opens in a new window), found an association between the impact of DEI strategies and foodservice workers’ job satisfaction. The study also highlighted differences between a company’s perceptions about its DEI effectiveness and its employees’ experiences. Ultimately, the report reinforces the critical importance of effective DEI policies in driving employee engagement and retention within the restaurant industry.

To support the development of effective DEI programs across the industry, MFHA created ELEVATE – A Menu for Change. The framework provides restaurant operators with proactive business strategies and plans for building a more diverse, inclusive, and engaged workforce.

Key Findings of the Report

Employer reporting of employee demographics over-estimates the number of historically marginalized communities in the restaurant industry, especially at the mid- and upper levels of management, compared with how employees self-report.

Employee and employer perceptions of current DEI initiatives differed on the effectiveness and awareness of the policies.

When restaurant employees leave the industry, many do not return. Respect and a culture of belonging are associated with job satisfaction and intent to stay in the industry.

ELEVATE – A Menu for Change Framework: A Proven Guide to Creating Successful DEI Programs

To drive positive change in DEI initiatives for enterprises and employees, the MFHA created ELEVATE – A Menu for Change – a step-by-step toolkit with proven best practices and proactive business strategies. Each step reflects actions to be taken by company management to create and foster effective DEI programs. The framework includes tools to help enterprises assess DEI throughout its organization, identify stakeholders, examine what it currently offers, and establish a strong foundation for meaningful change. It also covers topics such as fostering stakeholder communication, establishing goals and success metrics, conveying value to employees, and resources for building successful training and measurement practices.

MFHA plans to support industry execution of the ELEVATE framework by providing a range of supplemental resources, including expert-led DEI sessions among stakeholders, employers and employees, management coaching, and ongoing support for groups of similar organizations moving through the framework together.

“The restaurant workforce is the most diverse across the U.S. economy. The new insight provided by our research and the MFHA’s ELEVATE framework creates an opportunity to develop a standard for meaningful DEI programs across the industry,” said Michelle Korsmo, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association and CEO of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “Our industry historically has welcomed all people looking to chase their American dream with a solid career and ownership potential. As our current and future workforces focus on new goals and change their expectations, we want the industry to continue to be a place that welcomes all and supports personal and professional growth.”

The research survey was conducted in August and September 2021 in two tracks: An online survey of 200 enterprise representatives from a population representative of the U.S. restaurant and foodservice industry; and an online survey of current and former employees, and individuals who have never worked in the industry. The combined 5,180 individual respondents were representative of the U.S. restaurant and foodservice industry workforce.

Find more information about the DEI Report on the Restaurant Industry 2022 and ELEVATE – A Menu for Change framework here(Opens in a new window).

About the National Restaurant Association 

Manager’s Tip- Establish Team Trust

Manager’s Tip- Establish Team Trust

By Andrew Baughman

Establish Team Trust

Statistic: 33% of hospitality workers say that a lack of trust from or with management is one of the most stressful parts of their job.

Problem: A certain amount of trust is demonstrated when someone is hired to do a job. Despite this, employees often encounter stressful displays of distrust, such as unnecessary micromanagement, surveillance, and suspicion from leadership. This can cause low morale, bitterness, and lots of stress—very unhelpful when considering turnover rates and team success. In fact, “feeling trusted can lead to improved service performance,” so pursuing a trustful relationship with employees is a win for everyone.

Solution: Communicate and demonstrate trust in your team; encouraging trustworthiness goes a long way when it comes from leadership.

  • Assume that your employees have the best intentions.
  • Model trust by actively listening to your employees when a conflict or challenge arises.
  • Trust your employees’ needs when they request time off.
  • Trust your employees to know what is best for their health, unless you are given reason not to.
    • Most employees do not have medical benefits and cannot afford to pay for a doctor visit. Asking them to prove their illness with a doctor’s note is problematic.
  • Tell your employees about your trust in them, even if it is difficult.

For resources and more information, visit or contact us at


Active Minds, Optum. (2021). Creating a Culture of Support in the Workplace: A Best Practices Resource for Managers in the Hospitality Industry. Washington, DC; Active Minds.

Jigang Fan, Xiaolong Wei, Ilsang K., How do hotel employees’ feeling trusted and its differentiation shape service performance: The role of relational energy, International Journal of Hospitality Management, Volume 92, 2021, 102700, ISSN 0278-4319,

November Mindful Minute: National Diabetes Month

November Mindful Minute: National Diabetes Month

By Andrew Baughman

As of 2016, 7.7% of service industry workers in the US said they had been told by a doctor or nurse they had diabetes. This means that diabetes is more prevalent in our industry than in it is most others, for a variety of reasons that deserve more attention. Shift work, lower-incomes, race and ethnicity, and less access to health care are all interrelated factors that create risk factors of their own, and some are named below. One in ten adults in the world were living with diabetes in 2021—now is the time to learn about it, help those living with it, work to prevent its prevalence in the future.

There are three major types of diabetes:

  • Type 1: an autoimmune disorder that usually manifests in childhood; the immune system destroys cells that make insulin
  • Type 2: develops over time, usually in middle age; the body is unable to use insulin properly to regulate blood sugar
  • Gestational: occurs during pregnancy; the body does not use insulin properly


Diabetes can put people at risk for a number of serious health issues, including nerve damage, heart disease, limb injuries, vision issues, and an increased risk of serious COVID-19 symptoms and side effects. People are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if they are older than 45, overweight, physically inactive, have a family history of type 2 diabetes, and have had gestational diabetes in the past. As mentioned before, systemic inequities cause significantly higher rates of diabetes (specifically type 2 and gestational) for people with lower incomes, people of color, and other underserved communities in the US.

Prediabetes is even more common, affecting over one third of Americans. You can stay informed about being prediabetic by getting your fasting blood sugar tested regularly, and don’t worry—both prediabetes and diabetes can be managed!

Here’s how you can help prevent and manage prediabetes and diabetes:

  • Consume fewer processed carbohydrates and foods with added sugar; consume more unprocessed foods and non-starchy vegetables—a healthy diet is the most powerful tool in managing prediabetes and diabetes
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise daily, five days a week
  • Monitor blood glucose levels regularly, and take any medication as prescribed
  • Get support from friends and family
  • Start small, because too much change at once can feel overwhelming and unsustainable


Together we can build a world that minimizes the risk of diabetes and helps those living with it. Consider what you can do within your hospitality workplace to address the risk factors workers face. Visit for resources to help you and your team stay physically and mentally healthy throughout the year.



The Plant-Based Food Movement

The plant-based food movement is gaining momentum as more and more people are choosing meatless and dairy-free options both at home and when dining in restaurants. In fact, results from the National Restaurant Association’s 2022 What’s Hot Chef’s Survey in Culinary Trends indicated that plant-based foods are one of the top 5 restaurant food trends for the year. Many restaurants have chosen to offer plant-based foods to round out menu options for guests that prefer vegan foods or guests that make a point of eating plant-based foods with regular cadence.

Dan Follese is a chef/culinary consultant and founder of Food Trend Translator.  With over 30 years of experience, he is a classically trained chef who focuses on “unleashing your products potential.” He is an expert in consulting and marketing the new food trends. He is helping to further the plant-based food market by supporting food manufacturers who create and market restaurant quality food items that are sold in restaurants as unique and tasty vegan food offerings. Susie McKinley, editor of FR&L spoke with Dan about this trend recently for the FR&L’s Food issue.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with FR&L Magazine. It’s no surprise that plant-based foods are finally becoming mainstream, but it has taken some time.

Can you explain what plant-based foods, also known as vegan foods, are and what makes them unique?

  • Susie, this is a loaded question and one that causes a lot of confusion. Plant-based and Vegan are not exactly the same thing. Vegan is much stricter in that it can-not have any animal product in its ingredients and plant-based tries to adhere to this often they will slip in a functional ingredient that is not plant based to help complete their product, items like whey isolate from dairy or certain amino acids like L-cysteine used to soften breads can often go unnoticed by a plant-based eater but a Vegan will have nothing to do with this item.

Can you share with readers what has changed the demand for the plant-based food market in recent years?

  • Plant based has become more available in retail so consumers have been able to test the waters but still seek the away from home dining experience with these new options.
  • Flavor, texture and color of plant based foods has advanced significantly, making these a more viable option.
  • Consumers are not labeled like they were 10, 20 years ago. It’s no longer considered weird to eat something plant based and not every meal or all items on the plate need to be plant based. Sandwich shops offer plant based aioli on a turkey sandwich making this a gateway to trying something new while having an item you are familiar with.
  • Chef’s are no longer feeling shamed to present plant based offerings, some chefs are actually gaining fame and celebrity status for these new offerings.

Can you share some of the reasons that folks are interested in plant-based foods?  Is it health?  Is it allergies?

  • Initially these foods were looked down upon by chefs, consumers and just about everyone until science caught up with the ability to mimic flavor, texture and even the heme from plants to deliver the expectation of eating an alternative meat. The visual of tearing open a Plant-Based chicken breast can actually look like whole muscle or exactly like an animal version nugget. Flash forward to today and the majority of consumers are in what’s called the Flexitarian category, people that typically consume traditional animal-based foods but are interested in something new. The Vegan group is statistically small, but they are outspoken and hold tightly onto the animal free way of eating. Today chefs are creating plant-based in their own kitchens, capitalizing on the trend that is not going away and flexing their capabilities to explore and create a new type of cuisine.

Is there a particular profile of foods best suited to the plant-based food translation from those with meat?

  • Ground animal protein has been at the forefront of this transition as it seems to translate better than whole muscle. Although they were not the first to deliver an animal free burger patty the Impossible brand broke through and created the most success by launching with Burger King over 5 years ago. Something McDonald’s has been challenged with; however, they are working on it.

Can you discuss some of the misconceptions about plant-based foods?

  • The biggest misconception is healthy, there is a false health halo over these foods. Read the ingredients, compare them to traditional like items and then taste it side by side with your current offering to see if it stands up to your testing. Today’s consumer is more focused on ingredients than in the past, Panera and Whole Foods have literally created the bible of “No, No Ingredients” that many operators and manufactures strive to reach.

What is vegan cheese comprised of?  Are the textures and tastes similar to animal-based cheeses?

  • This is often a blend of a starch like tapioca, arrowroot, potato and blended with plant milk like coconut or soy. This is a category of great frustration for many as natural cheese like Cheddar and Mozzarella is hard to create with plants. Mouthfeel is often gummy and sticks to your mouth or leaves an oily residue of flavor on your tongue. Plus, the essential pull you get from cheese is due to the molecular structure that naturally happens with dairy and not with plant-based cheese, not yet.

Can you tell readers about any hot new products that you’ve seen?

  • There are many cool alternatives happening, perhaps the freakiest idea is cell generated animal proteins. This is created when a culture of a live animal is used to “test tube” grow and deliver parts of the animal. This has been successful in chickens already but not yet scaled up for production.

Can you explain to readers about your business and your food tours?

  • My pleasure, our business is about unleashing the power of your products potential so from an operator perspective it’s simply how can we create multiple uses for the least amount of ingredients. Space is limited in the cooler and freezer and most teams are challenged with staffing so optimizing in house pantry to create LTO’s or streamline a menu for operational ease is one way we can help. Our food tours have been created to bring innovation and inspiration, having been apart of many tours I find the missing element is in capitalizing on what you experienced. We help by bringing these moments together, create concepts with your goals in mind to drive craveability with purchase intent.

What’s the difference between a cash register and POS system?

The 1870s have a lot to show for themselves, with the most riveting to us in the tech space being the inventions of both the telephone and cash register.

Looking at the transformation the phone has gone through in the last nearly 150 years, it makes sense that we would have seen the cash register go through dozens of variations as well, no? Probably not as many as you’d think. Today’s basic cash registers really aren’t far cry from what inventor James Ritty first debuted in 1879 at all.

That being said, other technology that builds on what cash registers can do has come to market. If you’ve landed here, you’re probably already at least a little familiar with the terms “point of sale” or “POS.” What you might not be familiar with, though, is the difference between a cash register and POS system. Clearly they look different, but at the end of the day, don’t they do the same thing?

We’re glad you asked.

The critical difference between a cash register and a POS is that cash registers are only useful for processing transactions. POS systems on the other hand are the heart of your entire business operation.

In addition to taking and recording payments, restaurants, retail stores, service businesses and others use their POS for inventory management, customer relationship management, employee management, sales reporting, ecommerce…we could keep going (and we will — keep reading).

Before we dive in, though, let’s take a step back and define some differences even between types of cash registers and modern POS systems.

Difference between basic cash registers and electronic cash registers

The most basic cash registers really aren’t much more than large calculators with cash drawers and receipt printers. Traditional cash registers have analog screens, and many require you to calculate and add tax and discounts manually. And while there’s definitely something to be said for their ease of use, the caveat is, they’re easy to learn and train on because, well, there isn’t a whole lot to them.

The same is essentially true for electronic cash registers, but ECRs are slightly more advanced. Users have the advantage of a digital display, and some have barcode scanners so you don’t have to manually type the item price. Some even have basic reporting and inventory features, but we’ll cover those later.

Difference between cloud point of sale systems and on-premise point of sale systems

Cloud POS systems use subscription-based software that stores your data in the cloud — that is, over the internet, instead of on a physical server or hard drive. You can access this data from anywhere with internet access, and it’s updated in real time.

On-premise (also called legacy or server-based) POS systems require the user to be – literally – on premise to ring sales. And unless you’re willing to conduct some tedious workarounds that involve logging in remotely, you can’t access any part of your back office if you’re away from home base, since data is stored locally.

OK, now that you have a grip on those definitions, back to the real question at hand: POS versus cash register — let’s go!

The difference between cash register and POS hardware

POS system

Whereas most of today’s cash registers have the same look and feel, point of sale systems can take many forms.

Most cloud POS software can be run on desktop and laptop computers, smartphones, iPads and other touchscreen tablets.

Most cloud POS software can be run on desktop and laptop computers, smartphones, iPads and other touchscreen tablets. POS companies may lease proprietary hardware, or you may be free to choose your own.

They come in all shapes and sizes too — like Heartland’s Terminal+, which doesn’t look like much more than a sleek credit card processing terminal. But it’s actually an entire mobile POS in the palm of your hand. Users can track inventory, take card payments with a built-in card reader and print receipts with a built-in receipt printer. You can even log into the back office to run reports and manage things like taxes and promotions.

For on-premise point of sale systems, though, add a server to that hardware checklist — since data is stored locally on it, instead of in the cloud.

Whether using an on-premise or cloud system, you’ll also likely need a cash drawer if you accept cash, and if you operate a retail business, a barcode scanner (many modern POSs support Bluetooth scanners, instead of a clunky plug-in). Depending on your POS software provider and payment processor you will either have a separate card reader, or one that is already built into your main POS device.

Cash register

With a cash register – for better or worse – what you see is what you get. Cash drawers and receipt printers are most often built into the same physical device as your keypad and screen. That means they’re pretty bulky, so where you set them up in your store or restaurant is where they will stay, versus flexible tablet or mobile POS systems.

Sure, an all-in-one hardware bundle does simplify things when you’re shopping for solutions. You have one provider to turn to when things malfunction, for starters. But on the other hand, it may mean replacing your entire system. Or even if it’s just a repair of one element, that renders the whole system unusable — distruping your business for who knows how many days.

89% of consumers want the option of a digital receipt – a feature traditional cash registers lack.

– Green America

POS systems triumph over cash registers in multi-channel businesses

POS system

If you do business in more than one location or channel (meaning – for example – online and in-store), a cloud POS with multi-channel functionality gives you a real advantage. Say, for example, you’re a retail business owner with three stores, plus an ecommerce site. You can be in any one of those three locations but just as easily keep an eye on the others. You can also take online orders via your website and fulfill them from any location, while still sourcing the sale to your ecommerce business.

Cash register

Unlike cloud POS software, most traditional cash registers can’t speak to one another — even if they’re under the same roof. This creates extra manual work and more room for error. Businesses with stand-alone registers have to manually tally each one’s sales at the end of the day. Restaurants who take delivery orders have to distribute them to the kitchen, ring up the transaction and dispatch the order — all separately and manually. Hello headaches.

POS system reporting features tower over cash registers

POS system

Reporting tools are an incredible asset to merchants of all sizes. Nearly all modern POS systems have built-in retail POS analytics tools, but the extent and sophistication of them varies. Some solutions come with, say, 10 pre-built reports. Others offer unlimited custom reports. But whether you have the ability to run one or 100, know that the more data you have, the better business decisions you can make, helping you grow profitably and stay competitive.

Cash register

Some electronic cash registers do offer basic reporting. Print, or even export to a thumbdrive, simple reports like daily sales, sales by clerk and sales by department or category.

Integrated payment processing is a key advantage for POS systems

Cash-only business? We know you’re tempted to skip this part, but hear us out. People who carry cash have – on average – $20 or less on them at any given time. That means smaller transaction totals for you and just one reason why a cash-only model is bad for business.

POS system

Modern POS systems support integrated payments, meaning your point of sale and payment processor speak to each other. When you total a purchase, the amount is automatically shown on your payment terminal, which a customer can then use to pay by card or digital wallet. That completed transaction’s data is then sent back to the POS. This means less margin of error – since you won’t be entering anything manually – a speedier checkout process and a quick end-of-day close.

Cash register

While some traditional cash registers have built-in card terminals, it is not the norm. In most cases, you’ll ring up a sale on your register, then manually type in the amount owed on your payment terminal. So, you’re looking at longer lines, an increased risk of human error and more manual reconciliation at every close of day.

Integrations are a unique benefit of POS systems

Simply put, cash registers don’t integrate with anything or anyone. Most POS systems – and especially those that are cloud-based – offer multiple add-ons and apps that help businesses grow and compete. That includes things like loyalty programs and gift card programs, accounting software (Quickbooks, for example) ecommerce, marketing and customer data software.

Cash registers are an upfront cost; POS system fees are recurring

POS system

The best POS system providers offer a number of plans to fit individual small business needs and budget. These days, many are cloud-based, and therefore a SaaS (software as a service) model. That means you pay for the subscription monthly or annually. Some users rent the equipment – building that into their monthly fee – or purchase it upfront.

Cash register

Because there’s no software involved, traditional cash registers are most often purchased outright. Many models are under $200, and there are no recurring costs. This, understandably, is a strong selling point for them.

While cloud point of sale systems may feel like they stretch the wallet further – since you’re likely paying a bill each month – they’re far more likely to save you money in the long run. Updates are automatic, and you shouldn’t ever be charged for maintenance. Plus, think about all the man hours you’ll save by automating tasks that a traditional cash register forces you to do manually.

Which is right for me?

Trying to decide between a cash register and POS system? If you have any of the following needs, you’re going to be Team POS:

  • Automated promotions and discounts
  • Customer profiles and customer relationship management
  • Integrated loyalty program
  • Inventory tracking and management
  • Integrated purchase orders
  • Reporting beyond daily sales reports
  • Online ordering or online storefront

If you have just one location, limited inventory and aren’t worried about setting different permissions for different users, you may be able to get away with a traditional cash register.

Keep your goals and growth plans in mind as you make your decision: You can easily buy as many cash registers as you need to fill locations, but cloud point of sale solutions grow with you — giving you a single back office and smart tools to manage your business, whether you have one location or 100.

Learn how Heartland’s restaurant POS and retail POS solutions help businesses of all sizes simplify, speed up and enhance everything from back office tasks to the customer experience.

Heartland is the point of sale, payments and payroll solution of choice for entrepreneurs that need human-centered technology to sell more, keep customers coming back and spend less time in the back office. Nearly 1,000,000 businesses trust us to guide them through market changes and technology challenges, so they can stay competitive and focus on building remarkable businesses instead of managing the daily grind. Learn more at

Get Dine-In Customers To Order Online With These 4 Tips

One of the easiest ways to raise awareness of your online ordering with your current customers is using in-store marketing materials, like promo cards and targeted signage. Data shows that diners spend 30% more (and tip more!) when ordering online versus ordering in person or on the phone–so it’s well worth encouraging your regulars to embrace your restaurant’s digital side.

Here are four in-store marketing options for your restaurant to make your online ordering more successful.

Table Tents on Every Top

Table tents are great for speaking to your best customers–the ones already dining at your restaurant. Like tiny billboards on your own real estate, these in-store marketing materials serve up your top-priority messages. Use them to promote your commission-free online ordering for easy pickup or delivery, or offer a discount or seasonal special.

QR codes help smooth your diners’ path from reading the table tents to taking action. Simple to set up and use, QR codes on table tents give your diners something to do with their phones—after taking pictures of their meals, that is!

Promo Cards to Take Home

Send diners home with a physical reminder of a better way to order when you add promo cards to their check presenters or takeout bags. Once out of the hustle and bustle of a restaurant, these take-home marketing materials will reach your diners at a calmer point when they have a moment to take action—such as looking up your commission-free online ordering or downloading your app.

For best results, attach promo cards to the outside of bags or boxes, or better yet, have a staff member actually hand them out with a quick explanation of what’s on offer. That personal touch will go a long way towards making the message stick!

Signs to Make an Impression

Repetition is key, so it helps to promote your commission-free online ordering in several places as diners move through your restaurant. If they missed your sign on the door, for instance, they’ll get another chance to see it at the checkout counter or host stand.

Once these in-store marketing signs are placed, walk through your restaurant with a customer’s perspective, noting where your display can have the most impact.

Stickers as a Finishing Touch

Make your takeout packaging do double duty by advertising your commission-free online ordering with stickers. Adding stickers as a last-minute touch to takeout bags is easier than rebranding your existing materials. They can even be switched up seasonally or monthly to keep up with your specials.

Just make sure not to put your marketing stickers anywhere they might be torn, especially if you’re adding vital information, like a QR code, to them.

Even in the world of digital dining options, using in-store marketing for your online ordering is a tried-and-true way to get the job done. ChowNow has the tools and expertise to expand your takeout business and market your online ordering to your diners. You’ll help your diners with a new and convenient way to get their favorite food, and you’ll boost your business by highlighting an additional way to order—a win-win for everyone.

Food Safety Interview with Geoff Leubkemann

After 16 years in hospitality operations, Geoff entered public service, serving as top regulator for Florida’s food and lodging industry at the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).

In 2006, Geoff joined the senior staff of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA), where he leads the association’s Education and Training Department. This statewide team executes FRLA’s training mission in food safety, alcohol beverage compliance, workforce development, and high-performance training.

He serves on food safety advisory councils for DBPR and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and is active in the Conference for Food Protection and other national food safety stakeholder groups.

Geoff holds a degree in Economics from the Florida State University and lives in the Tallahassee neighborhood where he grew up.


Q: Are you seeing new products or trends that may be helpful in achieving food safety in Florida’s restaurants?

A: I’m seeing more automation of routine or record keeping food safety tasks that free up time for people to carry out food production and other tasks that need the human touch. For instance, remote temperature monitoring equipment can be connected to logging databases and populate temperature data that usually requires attention from and recording by a person. This type of automation can also alert key staff when refrigeration equipment is underperforming, even during non-operating periods. Integration of POS alerts for allergen ingredients is another automation that builds more reliability into communicating food allergy information among service and production staff, better protecting at-risk guests.


Q: Food safety took a backseat to the global COVID-19 pandemic; can you explain to readers how this occurred?

A: In two phases, first in dealing with the onset and immediate impacts of the pandemic, and secondly when emerging from it to a post-pandemic operating environment; each created unique challenges.

At the onset, operators were overwhelmed with new sanitizing procedures, constantly evolving best practices and guidance from public and environmental health officials and meeting guests’ sanitation and safety expectations – whether grounded in science or not. As the operating environment stabilized from constant evolution to one better understood, our industry was confronted with the realities of short staffing and increased turnover, each amplified an already difficult operating environment, and all this contributed to the opportunity immense distraction from core food safety mission.

Operators that already had a strong commitment to and operating system for food safety excellence were not distracted and maintained their standards.


Q: What trends could disrupt food safety in Florida?

A: Continued high turnover and operating short-staffed are two formidable challenges to maximizing positive food safety operational impacts. There is so much involved in preparing a new employee, even an industry veteran, that operations leaders must be extra vigilant that their focus on food safety is not diminished. It can be done, and done well, but it takes a conscious and intentional effort to do so.

To a lesser extent, margin pressures could tempt some operators to make decisions that compromise their effective execution of food safety best practices. Again, a strong commitment to a culture of food safety will safeguard the operation and ensure that shortcuts aren’t taken.


Q: What is the status of the hepatitis-A outbreak that was occurring in Florida prior to the pandemic.

A: While the multi-year spike in hepatitis-A appears to be relenting, operators’ constant vigilance for employee illness symptoms – every shift, every day – will go a long way to protecting guests, staff, and businesses. Ensuring food employees do not work sick and that proper and frequent handwashing are consistently executed are excellent front-line tools in reducing hep-A risk. The most recent hepatitis-A tracking data is available from the Florida Department of Health here, and its incidence appears to be diminishing.


Q: Are employee hygiene and handwashing still a huge part of keeping food safe?

A: These are two of the most effective food safety tools operators can use to reduce foodborne illness risk factors. An intentional system of adherence to regulatory requirements, Food Code standards, and operating best practices is the foundation of active managerial control. Managers that actively engage their teams – every shift, every day – will ensure proper and frequent handwashing and that ill employees do not enter the food preparation environment. These best practices coupled with highly engaged managers are proven effective interventions that reduce food safety risk.


Q: Florida has a strong food safety regulatory framework – can you briefly describe this?

A: In addition to being based on the latest nationally developed, science-based food safety standards, Florida’s food safety regulatory system is based on business type, rather than geography. This is a departure from the rest of the U.S., where the “health inspector” is typically a local government employee operating in certain city or county. These people may have responsibility for a broad array of environmental health inspections, from childcare facilities and hospitals or corrections facilities to well water and septic tanks to restaurants. Each of these is a complex system with its own best practices and regulatory standards. In Florida, our primary inspectors, from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation Division of Hotels and Restaurants, are responsible for inspecting only food service and lodging operations. This narrows the scope of laws, rules, and regulations inspectors must master, allowing them to become truly expert in observing and requiring correction for the sanitation and safety standards applied to our industry.


Q: How does training play a role in the food safety of Florida’s restaurants?

A: This is a great question, and the answer is rooted equally in industrial psychology and food science. In creating an operational culture of food safety, our holy grail is fostering behavior change. That is, getting our teams to do the right thing when no one is watching. One of the strongest influencers on this is arming our teams with the “WHY” of food safety, not just ordering them to do things a certain way because we said so. When a prep or line cook understands that their behavior coupled with food safety best practices can prevent putting a child in the hospital, they may be more apt to execute those best practices. Educating and rewarding our teams on food safety is the best defense for our guests.


Q: Can you describe what mandated food safety training in Florida is, and what the requirements for compliance are?

A: Mandatory food safety training simply means a food service licensee must provide approved food safety training to their employees, and Food Protection Manager Certification (FRLA uses ServSafe®) for managers. These are just the minimums, which a DBPR inspector will check for. There is actually a spectrum of food safety execution, from simple compliance to creating a “culture of food safety.” There is a minimum and a gold standard, and each operator gets to choose what they do. As an operator, imagine the conversation you would have with the family of someone you put in the hospital – or their attorney – and the choice is really easy.


Q: Do you have any food safety tips to share with readers?

A:  An excellent tool for owners or multi-unit leaders that may not be onsite daily is the operation’s DBPR inspection history. These are posted online immediately upon completion and are publicly available. It’s a good idea to know what your guests are seeing in your inspection reports, and it makes a great staff meeting or training tool. These are available on the DBPR website, and also accessible on mobile devices by downloading the DBPR Mobile app from Google Play Store for Android and the Apple App Store for iOS.

Highly effective operational food safety is not particularly complex but does require intentional, consistent commitment. Developing an active managerial control system and holding everyone in the operation from leadership to the newest prep cook or dishwasher accountable is the key to managing risk and safeguarding guests. I occasionally speak to operators that feel targeted or picked on by an inspector. I usually start those conversations with “Why was the inspector the first person to notice this?”