Johnsons Cash Registers
& EPOS Systems
Early electronic cash registers (ECR's) and electronic point of sale (EPOS) were controlled with proprietary software and were very limited in function and communications capability. In August 1973 IBM announced the IBM 3650 and 3660 Store Systems that were, in essence, a mainframe computer used as a store controller that could control 128 IBM 3653/3663 point of sale registers. This system was the first commercial use of client-server technology, peer-to-peer communications, local area network (LAN) simultaneous backup, and remote initialization. By mid-1974, it was installed in Pathmark Stores in New Jersey and Dillard's Department Stores.
One of the first microprocessor-controlled cash register systems was built by William Brobeck and Associates in 1974, for McDonald's Restaurants. It used the Intel 8008, a very early microprocessor. Each station in the restaurant had its own device which displayed the entire order for a customer. For example:  Vanilla Shake,  Large Fries,  BigMac using numeric keys and a button for every menu item. By pressing the [Grill] button, a second or third order could be worked on while the first transaction was in progress. When the customer was ready to pay, the [Total] button would calculate the bill, including sales tax for almost any jurisdiction in the United States. This made it accurate for McDonald's and very convenient for the servers and provided the restaurant owner with a check on the amount that should be in the cash drawers. Up to eight devices were connected to one of two interconnected computers so that printed reports, prices, and taxes could be handled from any desired device by putting it into Manager Mode. In addition to the error-correcting memory, accuracy was enhanced by having three copies of all important data with many numbers stored only as multiples of 3. Should one computer fail, the other could handle the entire store.
Programmability allowed retailers to be more creative. In 1979 Gene Mosher's Old Canal Cafe in Syracuse, New York was using POS software written by Mosher that ran on an Apple II to take customer orders at the restaurant's front entrance and print complete preparation details in the restaurant's kitchen. In that novel context, customers would often proceed to their tables to find their food waiting for them already. This software included real time labour and food cost reports. In 1986 Mosher used the Atari ST and bundled NeoChrome paint to create and market the first graphical touchscreen EPOS software.
EPOS Systems have come along way since the early days but the basic principals are still the same. The terminal has to be fast and trouble free with a good user interface, produce reports and keep track of what is happening in the business. Vectron and Quorion are both relatively new in the EPOS market but they both have products that produce a simple system which is what a majority of customers want. Reliability and low operating costs. No point in having a system that costs a small fortune in licences and support charges, all you are paying for them to do is develope their software.