This really depends on how worried you are about theft and how big your establishment is. After opening a retail shop I was shocked to see how few of my employees knew how to use a register. POS touch screens(though I wrote some of this type of software)are good but it requires training and re-training managers and if you don't set them up right it can be hellish. They go down whereas simple registers rarely do. If you have a mom and pop use a simple register elsewise invest the dough in a good POS.
My wife and I debated about this subject when we were in the process of opening up our coffeehouse. On one hand, a simple register can be very effective and easy to learn. However, a full POS system can be a huge time saver with reporting capabilities, inventory control help, etc.. After much thought and analysis of different machines in both categories, we opted to go with a POS system (Coffee Shop Manager). We are very happy with it, and would recommend it for new shops or existing shops looking to modernize. One other thing to keep in mind with a POS system is the cost. We were looking at differences of 5 or 6 times more expensive with the POS versus the humble register. One has to calculate the amount of time you would spend hand-generating the reports that a typical POS system can spit out at any time. When factoring this in, we felt that it was worth it in the long run - and we intend to be around for a long time!
While not for everyone, we enjoy having a POS system. And, we use it as a selling point for our customers because we can go back into their history to see what they purchased before that they liked, or to help make sure that they don't get something that they didn't like. That's my 2 cents...
u have to make the decision based on what yuour volume/anticipated volume is going to be. a huge $5k system may not be the answer if u r only going to be selling $5-10k/mo. a PLU lookup is almost as effective as a CSM. u can categorize ur departments, to see what u do vloume -wise. it is harder to track each ingredient but for a lower volume it's not that hard to do it manually. i use the Sharp PLU lookup and am quite happy with it
prior to starting my own cafe / coffee roastery i was a financial controller for a major ski resort and oversaw the installation of a million dollar state of the art pos system for the resort's 32+ restaurants and bars - wireless transmission (line of sight) from the top of the mountains to the base, high-volume cafeterias with 32+ registers, etc., etc.... prior to that i also worked with many different types of pos systems during the 10+ years i worked for other resorts.
and i chose a casio electronic register for my cafe / coffee roastery.
there are many good reasons that a nice pos system might be a right fit for some operations but if it's theft your are concerned with, a pos system will not protect you any more than a cigar box if an employee is determined to steal from you - surveillance cameras are your best protection...
I was actually leaning towards the PLU type register because I expect to do some decent "volume" and I'm assuming it's the faster way to go. I tried the CSM demo and it just seems like it would take longer to ring stuff up and might be suited to a more leisurely operation.
Someone correct me if I'm wrong with that line of thinking 8)
The main thing that would sway me back to a CSM type solution would be if I couldn't get an accurate breakdown of my sales. If you can't quantify a thing you can't control it right...