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Raise your hand if, at some point in your life, you’ve had to put in your dues at some thankless job in the food industry. Is your hand up? Well chances are you’re not alone. In fact, some might say it’s almost a rite of passage. While most of us would like to put our unpleasant memories behind us, the design team for Breadcrumb POS took their food service experiences and put them to good use. Comprised of former managers, bartenders, and servers, Breadcrumb’s designers worked together to create an easy-to-use and low cost POS system that would alleviate some of the major headaches faced by the restaurant/hospitality industry.
Though originally founded by Seth Harris, Breadcrumb has gone through a couple of ownership changes in the past several years. Groupon bought the company in 2012, the same year that Harris left, and in May of 2016 Upserve, a restaurant management company, acquired Breadcrumb. This pairing ultimately makes more sense, and together the two have answered the call for a more in-depth reporting system and improved customer service team. Though Upserve has implemented some changes, I have been assured that current Breadcrumb customers should not to worry about declines or significant platform shifts.
With features for specialty ordering, table management, restaurant management, and customer management, Breadcrumb has most of the tools you’ll need to run a bar, restaurant, nightclub, or café. The system also works exclusively with the Apple iPad, making it an optional mobile POS solution. Servers can take and send orders directly at the table, as well as provide digital checks and collect payments. Though a great system, Breadcrumb does lack an extensive inventory system and also doesn’t offer any eCommerce solutions. Breadcrumb’s public reputation is also reeling still from Groupon’s terrible customer service implementation. That being said, it’s continues to be a system worth checking out. Read on to find out why.
All plans include unlimited users and free upgrades for the life of the subscription. Keep in mind that the Breadcrumb app can be downloaded for free on as many iPads as you want, but only run simultaneously on as many as your plan allows. Breadcrumb offers a free demo to test out the self proclaimed, “number one Restaurant and Bar POS solution.” Breadcrumb currently offers two pricing plans:
- POS and Upserve Core Subscription
- Single terminal license
- Includes Upserve payments
- POS and Upserve Core and Hardware Subscription
- Single terminal license
- Includes Upserve Payments
- Customizable best-in-class hardware options
Cloud-Based or Locally-Installed:
Breadcrumb is web-based and exclusively mobile—the system will not work on traditional desktop computers and is only suited for iPad use. Like other cloud systems, you must have a wireless network and a broadband Internet connection to access the entire system. Fortunately, Breadcrumb has an Offline Mode, which allows you to keep operating (on a limited level) during Internet outages. Back office and reporting features can be accessed on any device that is able to connect to the internet. Breadcrumb is also able to encrypt and stores credit card data within the iPad until a wireless signal is restored and the transactions can be processed.
Breadcrumb is built for quick service restaurants, full-service restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges, and nightclubs. The POS supports all sorts of ordering: table (eating in), to-go (eating out), delivery, and bar tabs. Basically, Breadcrumb is intended for any business that requires a menu.
Specific Size of Business:
Breadcrumb claims to accommodate all menu sizes, whether your dining selections are as extensive and intimidating as those at the Cheesecake Factory or as small and specialized as In-N-Out Burger (though, smaller businesses seem to have better luck–see the “Negative Reviews and Complaints” section). Breadcrumb also allows you to manage and compare data from multiple restaurant locations.
Ease of Use:
Breadcrumb features the kind of design, customization, and mobility that allows business owners to focus on earning revenue without the distraction of a complicated POS.
- Design – The Breadcrumb interface is elegant and orderly. Navigating the system is extremely easy, making training new employees a simple task that can be done in less than a day. Since the system only runs on the iPad, swift and simple taps and sweeps of the finger operate the entire terminal.
- Customization – Breadcrumb is highly customizable, allowing you to create as many menu items as you want and organize them to your liking into groups (e.g. appetizers, salads, entrees, drinks, etc.) that appear as tabs on the right side of the screen for easy access.
- Mobility – The mobility of the iPad makes tableside ordering a breeze without the need for scratch pads or hand tickets. With a few taps, you can edit an item from the check by deleting or modifying items, indicating seat position, specifying quantity, and making notes (e.g. VIP guests, allergic to shellfish). You can even change the prices of certain items right at the order screen.
Hardware and Software Requirements:
Breadcrumb only operates on the Apple iPad. Back office reporting is accessible through any device that connects to the internet. Parameters for the iPad are very relaxed and the 16GB model has more than enough room for the app.
In regards to peripheral hardware, Shopify hosts Breadcrumb’s POS Marketplace, where merchants can purchase supported hardware and warranties. Breadcrumb also advertises customizable hardware packages, available upon request.
Breadcrumb performs all necessary functions from the moment a guest is seated to the moment they leave: table management, seat positions, order-taking, adding modifiers, firing orders, printing checks, and accepting payments. What follows is a list of features that go beyond your basic POS software.
- Customization – All of the terminal functions can be customized to your specifications at any time. Breadcrumb representatives will actually program your menu, help train your employees, and set up your hardware and payment processor all for no additional fee. Breadcrumb employees also show you how to program your menu so that any future updates you need to make on your own will be hassle free.
- Remote Printing – Customizable remote printing means that you can send orders and receipts to as many printers as you’d like (e.g. kitchen printer, bar printer, receipt printer). Terminals can even be set up to communicate only with certain printers or with all of them. It’s up to you.
- Breadcrumb Live – Probably the most convenient of all of Breadcrumb’s management features is the ability to access all of the reporting functions through the Breadcrumb Live app for the iPhone and some Android phones. You can check on sales and real-time data from anywhere.
- Breadcrumb HQ – This is sort of like the back office, where reports are generated; settings can be toyed with; and menus, items, and employees can be created from any device with an Internet connection. Access can be customized per employee responsibilities so not all employees can or should have access to Breadcrumb HQ.
- Order Functions – Breadcrumb comes with two modes: Quickserve and Server. Quickserve is designed for to-go ordering with menu items arranged as buttons on tabbed pages. Server mode, on the other hand, arranges the menu in a list on tabbed pages and includes a search function for item names. Both modes are available to use and can be built into Breadcrumb’s system at no additional cost.
- Table Management – Number and organize tables by tapping and dragging them across your virtual floor plan. Divide tables in your restaurant into different zones for simpler server assignments and restaurant management. Color-coding allows you to keep tabs on occupied seats, and the meal progression graphic shows which course a table of guests is on.
- Course/Menu Management – Create as many menu items as you want and organize them to your liking. Store item descriptions within the menu so your servers can provide your guests with accurate descriptions of meal ingredients and preparation. You can cancel a menu item as soon as it runs out so servers and bartenders know it’s not available.
- Reporting – Get reports on sales, payments, product mix, labor, check details, voids, comps, and pay in/pay out. The dashboard feature displays report summaries of your most important figures. Upserve has added their reporting suite to Breadcrumb, a couple of the stand out reports include the server analysis and the magic quadrant. The server analysis makes coaching employees much easier by breaking down their strong suits and showing areas they might need help in. The magic quadrant report takes every menu item that you offer and divides them up into quadrants that illustrate the frequency with which an item is ordered and the success rate it has in drawing back customers.
- Employee Management – Track employee hours with the built-in time clock and keep your staff informed with the in-app bulletin board, a popular feature. Track cash and credit tips, customize employee access parameters, and assign roles.
- Payment Options – Merge, transfer, or split checks, and process as many credit card payments as you want to pay off a check. Void, comp, or discount individual items or entire checks, set automatic gratuities (like for large parties), and provide either printed or emailed receipts.
- Cash Management – Run checkout reports at that end of shifts to balance your till. Set times at the end of day when the system will automatically reconcile batches with your credit card machine.
In compliance with the shift to EMV and chip card technology that occurred in October 2015, Breadcrumb is also in the process of integrating EMV readers with its POS software. The company’s blog states that in October 2016 Breadcrumb will begin to put out an EMV reader that will work on bluetooth and works as an addition to your current terminal and card swiper.
Integrations and Add-Ons:
Among others, Breadcrumb integrates with the following:
- QuickBooks – Not surprisingly, Breadcrumb integrates with the popular accounting software QuickBooks. This function is performed through Breadcrumb HQ, where the system exports a journal file of your sales data that you can then upload to Quickbooks.
- Groupon – One of Breadcrumb’s more popular selling points is its seamless integration with Groupon, making it easy for merchants to accept Groupon codes and measure the effectiveness of certain promotions.
- Restaurant Management/Analytics – Breadcrumb integrates with Upserve, Avero, Ctuit, Venga, Restaurant 365, Peachworks.
- Orca – An inventory solution.
- Dolce – Integrate with Dolce to solve your scheduling needs.
Compatible Credit Card Processors:
Breadcrumb works with six different processors and all of them are highly ranked by Merchant Maverick: TSYS, First Data,Chase Paymentech, Heartland Payment Systems, and Global Payments. The sixth is Breadcrumb’s prefered in-house credit card solution called Upserve Payments.
Rates and fees vary from provider to provider. If you need help negotiating rates with any of these processors, let us know.
Even if you’d like to stick to your current provider but they are not one of the ones listed, Breadcrumb states:
If your payment processor is not listed above, please send an e-mail to email@example.com and we will look into the possibility of integrating with your processor.
Customer Service and Technical Support:
Breadcrumb doesn’t charge for any sort of support plans, but that’s because most of Breadcrumb’s support is available online in training videos, a searchable support knowledgebase, a community forum, and also via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Individualized phone support from a Breadcrumb representative is available through a technical support line. Under Upserve, Breadcrumb now offers 24/7/365 support.
That being said, public opinion of Breadcrumb’s customer service still seems to be suffering from the effects of Groupon’s inability to provide decent (or any for that matter) customer support. There are many negative comments from before the acquisition and only a couple positive ones after. It may just take a while for customers to realize that a change has been made.
Although Breadcrumb has a blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and an Instagram, these social media outlets offer little in terms of system support information, focusing more on new Breadcrumb users and Breadcrumb/Upserve events.
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
- No eCommerce Integrations – In an age when technology is becoming more and more cohesive and helping to streamline our daily functions, the fact that the system currently offers no integrations with any sort of eCommerce applications is a big let down. I mean, wouldn’t it be impressive if the system also allowed for people to place orders online with the option of delivery or take-out? It’s a whole new outlet for generating business that is being passed over. One Breadcrumb user claims a sales representative told her this capability would be available in 2013 (she purchased the system in 2011), but that has yet to become a reality and at least one customer is not happy about it. One Breadcrumb representative I spoke to said that this is an integration that they hope to be implementing soon.
- Limited Inventory Tracking – Now you might ask why is inventory such a big deal for a hospitality business? Well, knowing your costs and the quantities of ingredients on hand is an integral factor in determining menu pricing and profit margins. Other POS systems I’ve reviewed with hospitality capabilities have the power to track how much of an ingredient should be used for an item, a function especially helpful at the bar for identifying overpours, unjustified comps, and theft. Ingredient tracking could also help in maintaining appropriate stock levels so extra food is not purchased only to be thrown out later from spoiling.
- Poor Customer Service – As mentioned above, customer service has been a common complaint in the comment sections of most review sites. Some customers state that the quality of your customer service really depends on who you get to help you. Most, if not all, of the negative comments I found came before the acquisition happened so only time will tell if customer service improves under Upserve or not.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
- Easy to Use – Most of the positive reviews to be found are mainly concerned with how easy the software is to use. Many customers also cite that Breadcrumb is intuitive and makes training staff a breeze.
- Flexibility – Customers like how flexible Breadcrumb is, especially when it comes to creating a menu and making changes to it.
- Great Reporting – Especially with the Upserve merger, Breadcrumb now offers some really great reporting options and customers are taking notice.
- Inexpensive – Another point that customers seem to really like about Breadcrumb is the fact that it offers relatively competitive rates.
I did notice a pattern in the comments; small business owners relate almost all of the positive experiences, while negative reviews predominantly come from large to mid-size businesses. Perhaps this means that a small-time coffee shop will have better luck with Breadcrumb than a larger dine-in restaurant. Again, under the new ownership of Upserve, that may change, but only time can tell.
Designed by former wait staff and restaurant owners, Breadcrumb has several features that make it an up and coming success. Thanks to the recent acquisition by Upserve, Breadcrumb has the tools to become an even more stand out POS system. With a highly customizable interface and intuitive design, creating a menu, arranging a floor plan, taking orders, and keeping staff informed has never been easier. Breadcrumb HQ and Breadcrumb Live make it easy to manage the back office, monitor sales, and view reports from any place with an Internet connection. Of course, though, like any POS software, there are some downsides to Breadcrumb.
Based on user complaints of limited inventory tracking, I’d caution large business owners against this system. Another drawback to Breadcrumb is the lack of an eCommerce platform, which means a potential for lost business without a way for clients to make online orders and purchases. Under the new ownership of Upserve I was assured that these feature requests (and many more) are being taken care of, but until those features are added we have given Breadcrumb a four star rating. Breadcrumb is a great system and–with just a few added improvements–is definitely in line to earn a five star rating. Only time will tell us if customer service has really improved and how many new features are going to be implemented.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for a new POS system for your restaurant, I’d recommend taking the improved Breadcrumb out for a spin. If you like what you see, just be sure to keep in mind the risks of using this system and remember to do your homework before making your final decision. You might also want to test out a competing point of sale system; if you need help with the decision-making process in any way please let us know and we’ll be more than happy to lend you our expertise.