5 Undervalued or Overlooked Elements to Opening Your Own Restaurant

If you’ve decided to open a restaurant, there are a lot of things you’ve probably thought a lot about. Hopefully, some of these include concept, location, recipes, vendors, location, decor, and...location. If any of these elements have not been a big part of your planning, you should probably take a step back and figure them out before you move forward. Opening a restaurant is expensive, both in terms of time and money. You want to make sure that you get it right so that your new business can succeed.


While the elements listed above tend to be front and center in the mind of a potential restaurateur, there are other things that may not cross your worried and harried mind until it’s too late. We’ve put together a list of 5 undervalued or overlooked elements to opening your own restaurant.



1. A Signature Dish

Having a signature dish isn’t something a lot of people talk about, but it’s definitely something worth thinking about. It doesn’t matter what it is, but you should have something that is exceptional on your menu. This is the item that makes people say, “Hey, let’s go to that one restaurant, they have the best ________________ !” In the age of social media, you may think that word of mouth is dead, but that’s not true. Word of mouth is alive and well, and it’s found a comfortable home online. Social media can make or break a businesses these days. Finding your signature dish and encouraging your customers to post or tweet about it can make a huge difference to your success.


2. Pricing

There’s a lot to consider when deciding on your pricing. You’re opening a restaurant to make money, and the profit margin on restaurants is lower than in many industries. That means your prices have to be exactly right—like Goldilocks right. Your prices have to be high enough to cover your overhead with a little left over at the end of the day, but they can’t be so high that people won’t be willing to pay them. The all-important location plays into this one, too. If you want to open a fancy steak and seafood restaurant, you don’t locate it in a low-income area. 


3. Cash Reserves

Most people seriously underestimate the amount of money they should have in reserve when they open a new business. The sad truth is, it takes time for a restaurant to really find its stride. To be quite frank, you should probably have enough money in reserve to run your restaurant without any monetary inflow for several months to a year. Equipment breaks, customer bases take time to establish, and disasters happen. A good reserve lets you stay open despite early setbacks.


4. Restaurant Computer Systems

If you really want to survive, a restaurant computer system can really make a difference. They represent a big initial investment, but they tend to be worth it. These systems are designed to help you with everything from ordering and receiving to employee data. They can even help you track sales volume and food waste. A good restaurant computer system can save you a lot of time and hassle when it comes to the large quantity of paperwork it takes to run a successful restaurant.


5. Having a “Cold Open”

Face it, it’s going to take a few days or weeks for everything to start running smoothly. A cold open gives you the chance to work out the kinks before your Grand Opening. Unfortunately, the only way to find out if your equipment works right is to use it. A cold open gives you the time to find things that aren’t working right and fix them. It also gives you a chance to make sure your new staff gets the chance to learn how to work as a team. People that come in during a cold open expect things to be a little rocky, so it’s okay when everything doesn’t go perfectly.

We’re not going to lie to you, opening a new restaurant isn’t going to be easy. However, we hope that these tips help you to be successful in doing so. Follow your dream, and make it worth the time and money spent.

A Day in the Life of a Shop Owner in the 1950s

A Scene of the 1950s

In the early 1950s, the shopping scene was much different from the operations of store owners of today. The way people lived was changing, in part because:

  • The television was a new and powerful way of exposing Americans to an "ideal lifestyle" through tv programs. This led to the desire to mimic the lifestyles portrayed on these tv shows.
  • More and more people had access to automobiles, and new highways were constructed.
  • Much of the population moved into new, low-cost development areas, allowing the birth of suburbs.
  • The rise of shopping centers contributed to people being able to get more shops and services without needing to travel into the big cities.
  • Credit cards were invented, gaining popularity and use through the 50s. This was leading people to a “buy now, pay later” mentality.

Shop in the 50sA Day in the Life

Let’s look at a day in the life of a retail shop owner in the 50s. Let’s say our owner is named Jim. Jim owns an appliance store in a shopping center in rapidly expanding Miami, Florida. Business was good as people were seeing the new appliances in the television programs and wanted to achieve this new standard of living.

Jim would come in early to start the day by accounting for his inventory and figuring the number of toasters, refrigerators, and washing machines he would need to re-order soon. This was done by walking through the showroom and the back room where the rest of his inventory was stocked. Jim would then check the sales data from the previous week since the last shipment had come in and then check the cash register to find out how much cash he was starting the day out with. Once completed with his rounds, the time would come to open his doors.

Cash and checks were the gold standard as Jim had gotten into the industry, but credit cards were the new payment method with which he was becoming well acquainted. Charging for products was becoming the norm during Jim’s era, and he was able to take advantage of this because more people were able to buy his expensive appliances than ever before. Jim would keep track of his sales and new orders in his logs. At the end of the day, Jim would have to add up the cash in his cash register, the checks, and the credit card payments with which the customers had paid with. Keeping track of the income for the day with the accounting skills that he would have had to know, Jim would deposit the money at the bank and go on his merry way.

Back in 2014…

Looking back on this time period, we can realize the changes in the economy and the way that society functions today. Similar to the leaps that credit cards made on the shopping experience, we as a people have made many advancements in technology that are game-changers. Our appliance store owner had many hats to wear and jobs to do throughout the day. Technology allows many of those barriers that Jim had to deal with to become smaller. With modern technology, shop owners can now rely on different operating systems to take care of the day-to-day business while they have the opportunity to focus on what they truly excel at: selling their products.

Buyer's Guide to POS Systems

What to Know Before You Buy!

What you need to know before you buy a POS system really boils down to one, basic question: What is included? Okay, it’s a little more complex than that, but that really is the gist of it. We’ve put together a list of questions you should know the answers to when purchasing a new POS system.


1. What hardware do I need?

You will need to determine how many workstations, tablets, cash drawers, printers, card readers, scanners, pole displays, routers, and/or modems you need. If you have a good idea of what you need, it will be much easier to find the right system for you. You’ll also want to make sure the POS system you buy is designed for your industry.

2. Is the software included?

POS software is generally licensed monthly or purchased outright. If the software is not licensed and has to be purchased outright, you will want to know up front how much more it is going to cost. Another consideration is if the software costs are per machine or per system.

3. Is training included?

You’re going to need training on your new POS hardware and software. If you have to pay an additional large sum just for the training, that can be a major influencing factor.

4. What kind of support is available?

Many companies have a reasonable monthly support fee. These fees often cover phone support, software licensing, and software upgrades. If you don’t have a monthly support fee structure, you’ll want to be aware of how much support calls cost.

If you do have a monthly support fee, it usually covers support phone calls during regular business hours. If your business has extended hours, or if you are in a different time zone from the provider, you’ll want to know how much emergency support costs.

5. Is financing available?

A POS system is a big investment. Going with a company that has available financing can make that investment much more attainable.


Configure Red or Bold Accent Printing

BPA Restaurant Professional and Delivery Professional have the option to print modifiers on the kitchen ticket in red or bold. The red printing functionality does require a compatible two-color printer. Printers that have been tested to support this functionality include the Epson TM-U220, Citizen CT-S501, and the newest version of the BPAPOS dot matrix printer. If you have one of these supported printers, follow this guide to configure color accent printing.


Configuring Accent Printing

1) Go to Restaurant System > Manager Functions > Misc Definitions

2) Select Printers & Devices on the left side

3) Click the Advanced Printer Options button

4) Click the button, Configure Kitchen Accents


5) Select whether you would like to use the Red or Bold accent or both.

6) You may select which modifiers you would like to printing using the accent setting by placing a “Y” next to the list. You may choose to print any side list, custom side list, cooking instructions, special notes, mixing modifiers, or toppings list using these accent settings.

Benefits of Using a Modern Point Of Sale System

When you are looking for a great way to improve your business operations and to boost functionality and efficiency, the clear solution is to invest in a modern point of sale system. There are customized POS system solutions available for many types of business environments. For example, some are designed for use in a restaurant or food services environment while others have features and benefits that are better suited for use in a retail environment. Because of the variations in these systems, the benefits that you may enjoy by using them will vary from system to system. However, there are some general advantages that you will have access to with most of these systems.


The main purpose of a POS system is to help you and your employees facilitate sales transactions, so they can speed up sales processing while also helping you to track sales and inventory. Some provide you with the opportunity to generate detailed, customized reports. They can be used to help you better determine when you need to order more supplies for your restaurant or more products to stock your store shelves with. Many of today's advanced point of sale systems also have an employee log in feature. They may be designed to allow employees to punch in a code to log their hours, or they may give employees the ability to swipe a card when logging in. This makes it easier for employees to honestly track hours, and it can facilitate the payroll processing task in your company. In addition, some highly advanced systems have a tablet-style feature that can be used in restaurant environments. These give waitstaff the ability to instantly input orders into the system while standing at tables and for the kitchen to quickly begin working on orders. This means customers will get their orders more quickly, and your restaurant can serve customers more efficiently for maximum profitability.


These are only a few of the benefits associated with using a POS system. By reviewing some of the more advanced point of sale systems available to choose from, you can learn more about how you can take advantage of the benefits they provide.


How A POS System Can Automate Transactions | Business Software Solutions

Restaurants are labor-intensive environments, and the busiest restaurants may be fully staffed with dozens of employees or more during peak dining periods. Everything from chopping vegetables to serving patrons requires some level of personal attention from staff members, and the overhead associated with labor can be tremendous. As a conscientious restaurant owner or manager, you may constantly be looking for ways to reduce overhead by streamlining certain functions, and you understandably may have an eye of automating certain processes to decrease the amount of labor that is required for certain activities. One option to consider is to invest in a POS system for your restaurant.

A POS, or point of sale, system is designed to automate the checkout process for your waitstaff. For many decades, it was common for waitstaff to take down orders with a pen and paper and tally the total amount owed for the bill at the bottom of this hand-written order. While some restaurants still operate this way today, you may discover that there is considerable benefit associated with automating the process with a POS system. Other companies have already invested in an automated system, but their system may not be as beneficial as more modern or advanced systems. These modern systems can be tailored specifically for a restaurant's menu options. Waitstaff can select the items that were ordered by a patron, and the receipt will print automatically. In addition, the point of sale system can be used to take cash or credit card payments, and it will automatically track these transactions. This provides for an improvement in the speed and accuracy of backroom efforts related to financial records and accounting. Furthermore, customers can receive a printed receipt, and this creates a more professional experience.

There are several different models of the POS system available for you to consider, and some provide you with the opportunity to customize your system by selecting the right number of work stations for your needs. You can begin exploring the options available today, and you may be surprised how beneficial the right point of sale system can be for your business.

Changes to Restaurant Gratuity | Business Software Solutions

The IRS has recently mandated changes to the way restaurants treat auto gratuity. For payroll purposes auto gratuity must be treated as a service charge. This means they must be tracked separately and are no longer considered eligible for a social security deduction. As a result of these changes we have introduced a number of changes to the way the BPA software tracks and reports gratuity and auto gratuity.


Claim Tips at Clockout

If the option is enabled for your server to claim tips when they clock out, you will notice some significant changes to the clock out screen. Gratuity and sales are now broken out into three separate groups.




Auto Gratuity: This box reports any auto gratuity that was recorded on the closed sales.
Charged Sales: This box shows any sales that were closed with a tip with a payment method of credit card, gift card, or placed on account.
Charged Tips: This field reports any tips left on a sale that was closed with a credit card, gift card, or placed on account.
Tip % of Charged Sales: This percentage is automatically calculated based on the charged sales and charged tip amounts.
Other Sales: Other Sales includes sales that were closed with auto gratuity or items that are marked to be excluded from gratuity. Because auto gratuity is not treated as a tip and is considered as wages, tips do not need to be claimed on this sales amount.
Cash Tippable Sales: This field includes cash sales as well as any charged sales on which no tip was added. If no tip was added to a charged sale the system assumes the patron left a cash tip. There is an option to exclude dine out orders from this total which will be discussed later.
Tip %: This field allows you to claim a percentage or your cash sales as tips. You may change this percentage by entering the percentage on the keypad on the left and then selecting Load Value.
Cash Tips: Cash Tips is the amount of cash tips that you are claiming. This amount may be calculated by entering the percentage above or you may adjust this amount by entering the tip amount on the keypad on the left and then selecting Load Value.
Declared: The declared field contains the amount of charge and cash tips claimed.


Gratuity and Payroll Options

The Misc. Definitions screen contains several new options that effect the way the software handles gratuity. To get to this screen, go to Restaurant System > Manager Functions > Misc Definitions.




If you select the Gratuity option on the left side, you will notice several new options. First, you may choose to exclude dine out sales from gratuity and the tippable sales amount. If the majority of your dine out sales are pickup orders or you have an employee that handles dine out orders that is not paid a server’s hourly rate, you may want to check this option.

You may also choose whether to pay out auto gratuity and charged tips at shift end or with payroll. If these options are set to pay at shifts end, the system assumes you will be paying out tips to the server from the cash drawer. If they are set to pay out at payroll, the system will report these tips to pay at payroll on the Daily Sales and Tips Report and the Time Clock Report. If you are using the BPA payroll module these tips will also be included in the payroll check.


Reporting - Daily Sales and Tips Report and Time Clock Report

The Server Tips Summary section of the daily sales and tips report has been updated to show the changes outlined above. Payroll tips and tips paid at shift end are simply broken out so servers and managers may easily identify these amounts. The time clock report reflects these same changes making payroll reporting a simple process.





Download Restaurant Professional Update

Download Delivery Professional Update

Please note that updates must be applied to each computer running the BPA software. For assistance updating please call (801)336-3303 between the hours of 8:30am-5:00pm MST Mon-Fri.


IRS Bulletin 2012-26 Outlining Changes to Gratuity


Holiday Gift Card Special | Business Software Solutions


The Holidays are Coming!

Don't wait! Get ready for the holiday season now with special offers on Gift Cards for use with your BPA Restaurant Professional, Hotel Management and Touchscreen POS software.

Make Money the Easy Way

19% of ALL gift cards are never redeemed and with our software YOU get to keep that profit!

Use Gift Cards for Sales and Marketing

Gift Cards are a great tool to increase your sales and bring new customers into your establishment. It also guarantees a return visit. Gift Cards let your customers do your advertising and gives you a convenient way to bring new people to your establishment.

Gift Cards are Inexpensive

Our Gift Cards are very affordable because they are re-useable. Once a customer has used a Gift Card, you can re-issue it with a new balance. Additionally, since the Gift Cards are processed directly through BPA and not through a 3rd party company, you pay no swipe fees and no transaction fees.

Customize Your Design

For a one-time setup fee of $50 we will use your logo for a custom designed card. We can also create custom designs. If you order 100 cards or more by December 13th, 2013 we will waive the $50 setup fee!

Click Here to view our gift card website!

Gift Card Pricing

New Orders
Order Quantity Card Price
50-249 $1.95/ea
250-499 $1.75/ea
500+ $1.55/ea
50 Card Minimum

Order Quantity Card Price
50-99 $1.95/ea
100-249 $1.85/ea
250-499 $1.65/ea
500+ $1.55/ea
50 Card Minimum
Custom Setup - $50.00   (Free when you purchase 100 cards or more!)
Card Swipes: $100.00/ea    ($75.00/ea when you purchase 50 cards or more!)
Gift Card Holders Available

Order Today!

Orders are processed in the order they are received.  Order today to make sure you have your Gift Cards available as soon as possible! Please place your order before December 13th to guarantee shipping prior to December 22nd. Express shipping is recommended for orders shipped after December 13th.Delivery date is subject to FedEx. FedEx does not guarantee delivery dates (even for express shipments) during the holiday shipping season, so order early! Contact our sales department for more information or to order today!
(801) 336-3303

Sample Gift Cards

Sample Card Images




Password Manager Card Configuration Guide | Business Software Solutions

BPA includes much flexibility for setting up manager/employee passwords in the system. BPA includes three levels of manager groups that allow you to give different levels of access to different managers/employees. This guide will walk you through setting up manager/employee passwords in BPA Restaurant Professional and Delivery Professional. Manager swipe cards may also be used in place of passwords. The password setup is done in the Business System portion of the software.

  1. 1) From the main menu select Business System.
  2. 2) Select Definitions on the right hand side.


  1. 3) Select Passwords for Modules and enter the master password.



Activate Module Passwords

In Activate Module Passwords you may choose the areas of the software that you would like password protected. For the restaurant software you will want to check the option Restaurant Manager Password. Selecting this option will allow you to secure areas and functions in the restaurant system as well as password protect the Business System. You may choose to select any other modules that you would like password protected separately.












Manager Password Groups

The restaurant software allows you to set up 3 different levels of manager groups. These manager groups can have different levels of access. You may assign as many employees as you choose to each manager group, which will be discussed later in this guide. By default, manager group 1 has access to everything in the restaurant system (this can be changed). To allow a manager group to have access to the specific group of functions, place a “Y” in the appropriate row. For example, if you would like manager group 2 to only have access to remove or comp items place a “Y” next to Modify Sales Items.



Below is an explanation of some of the functions that are included in each module.

Modify Sales Items

  • Discount Order
  • Comp Items
  • Remove Items
  • Modify Items
  • Change Quantity
  • Repeat Item

Modify Tables

  • Merge Tables
  • Table Transfer
  • Change Table Number
  • Transfer to Touch POS
  • Remove Closed Table
  • Reopen Closed Table
  • Remove Table
  • View Open/Close Table Data

Change Auto Gratuity

  • Set Gratuity Percentage
  • Remove Auto Gratuity

Cash Drawer/Petty Cash

  • Manually Open Cash Drawer
  • Petty Cash Payout

Time Clock Functions

  • Approve Clock In
  • Print Clock Report
  • Check Clock Ins
  • View Time Clock
  • Edit Time Clock
  • Overtime Report


Assign Modules To Users

Each manager/employee may be assigned a certain level of access. Here you will choose the areas of the software the manager can access with their password. Select Assign Modules To Users and enter the employee’s number. Press enter and you will be presented with a table that allows you to give that employee access to specific modules with their password. Place a “Y” in the appropriate row to enable access. You will want to assign each manager/employee to one of the three manager groups at the bottom.



Assign Passwords To Users

Here you may assign passwords to each employee or manager. Simply select Assign Passwords To Users, enter the employee number and press enter. Enter the new password and verify it. If you are using manager cards, swipe the card into the new password field. Swipe it again in the Verify Password field.

If you need to change the password that is currently assigned to an employee, enter the current password. If you do not know the employees password you may enter the master password in the Current Password field to override the current password.


Misc. Definitions

Once you have set all the password options in the Business System, you will want to take some time to review the specific functions that can be password protected in the Restaurant System. From the main menu, go to Restaurant System > Manager Functions > Misc Definitions. Select the Passwords tab on the left side. Check the box next to any specific options you would like password protected.