OpenBravo Retail is an excellent, user-friendly POS system that any tech-savvy do-it-yourselfer can set up and manage. But don’t panic; the company also offers comprehensive professional support. OpenBravo runs on Linux, Mac and Windows, and there is extensive documentation and good community support.
You can download and install it on your own server, or take advantage of the cloud service option called OpenBravo on Demand. This puts all the headaches of system administration on your service provider. You pay $25 per month for each terminal, and $49 per month for each back-office user (with a minimum of three).
- Touch-screen optimized
- Sales and refunds
- Daily reporting
- Warehouse module
- Restaurant module
- Manufacturing module
- Professional services module
- Real-time inventory view for sales clerks
OpenBravo Retail is part of OpenBravo ERP (enterprise resource planning), which gives you the option of setting up an integrated ERP environment for managing customer relations, finances and accounting, document management, messaging, business intelligence. Just like SLEPOS, OpenBravo grows with you.
ViewTouch for Restaurants
ViewTouch is a small shop that operates out of Eugene, Oregon. Founded and run by Gene Mosher, it's been around since the 1980s. Mr. Mosher claims that ViewTouch was the first touch-screen POS.
Figure 2: Gene Mosher showing the original ViewTouch POS at Comdex back in 1986 (Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons).
ViewTouch is a one-stop shop that offers complete hardware and software bundles for restaurants: touch-screens, tablets, printers, mobile touch-screens and video-ticketing systems for the kitchen. ViewTouch software supports big-screen HDTV menu boards, so you can have slick, easy-to-update displays.
ViewTouch supports all the primary functions required by a restaurant: Time clock and payroll, easy menu authoring, guest-check management, cash balance and expense tracking. One of the most important parts of any POS is good reporting, and ViewTouch offers flexible reporting that pulls up whatever data you want: food and beverage performance, employee performance, totals at different times of day, large trends and small data points.
You can slice and dice your data pretty much however you want. Pricing is very reasonable and straightforward, and they will help you customize your system to fit your needs.
Apache OFBiz, the Apache Open for Business Project, is a high-powered software suite for small businesses with complex needs and the developer talent to install and customize Apache OFBiz. It is a powerhouse suite that rivals the best commercial POS/ERP business suites.
There is no vendor support, but there are independent service providers if you need outside help. However, any experienced Web developer should be able to put it together and make it do what you want.
Unicenta is a free-of-cost fork of OpenBravo. (There are several mentions on the Unicenta website that OpenBravo is dead, which it is not.) It's very capable, optimized for touch-screens, and it's a good general-purpose POS system that supports any type of business. You won’t find much in the way of documentation and community support, so this is for the self-sufficient and tech-savvy user.
Carla Schroder is the author of The Book of Audacity, Linux Cookbook, Linux Networking Cookbook,and hundreds of Linux how-to articles. She's the former managing editor of Linux Planet and Linux Today.
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