Restaurant registers could soon be in the cloud.
Already, computers have largely replaced the traditional cash registers in most restaurants. But Naples entrepreneur Onur Haytac says the point-of-sale software of the future will be mobile cloud-based applications restaurateurs can call up on their tablets or other devices.
Already, Haytac's company, Benseron Information Technology, provides point-of-sale hardware and software to more than 6,000 restaurants, mostly independently owned eateries. For $3,000 and an annual support fee of $450, Benseron supplies restaurants with a South Korean-made computer loaded with the restaurant menu and ordering software.
But the new cloud-based program using Microsoft's Azure system promises to deliver a tableside point-of-sale system that is easy to use for less than $1,000, significantly less than competitors, Haytac says.
Haytac started the company in 2004 when he was a 24-year-old student at Florida Gulf Coast University. The Turkey-born student parlayed a late-night call from a Subway restaurant owner whose computer register crashed into a technology service provider for 150 Subway restaurants. He has been growing the company ever since (he declines to share annual revenues).
In July 2011, Haytac opened an office in Chennai, India, where 50 programmers have been writing millions of lines of code for the mobile application and other projects. By the end of this year, there will be 100 employees in that office. “I have not slept for the last 12 months,” Haytac chuckles. “I was just there for three weeks.”
Haytac has 25 employees in Naples and would hire more if he could find qualified people. “I was hoping to have 100 employees here, but I can't find them,” Haytac says. He is advising FGCU on their curriculum to boost the number of computer-science graduates with the necessary skills to create cloud-based applications.
Haytac is in the final stages of testing Benseron's cloud-based applications using the iPad, and he's been giving away the tablets to restaurants so they can test it and report back. “The customers are building this thing,” he says.
Meanwhile, Haytac says he's negotiating deals with merchant banks that handle credit-card payment processing. That's because Benseron has created software that integrates the restaurant's transactions with high-security bank software. Banks increasingly view software companies like Benseron as necessary to retain existing customers and find new ones.
That combination of new software combined with bank integration will help him reach a bigger audience. He plans to pitch the software to restaurant chains and expand overseas to Latin America and Asia.
Haytac says so far he's built the company using the profits generated by the business. He's turned away investors and buyout offers, preferring to retain control of the business. “First of all, I'm young,” says the 35-year-old. “Right now I need to bring it to a higher level.”
Follow Jean Gruss on Twitter @JeanGruss