I often find many people I'm speaking to about buying a cash register have no idea what a department is much less how many they need. So first I think we should talk about what a department is and how are they used.
The primary function of the department is sales reporting. Also we need to look at groups and for the sake of this blog Departments and Groups are the same thing. There are cases where they are not but in this case they are! Sharp cash registers still use the term Department however SAM4s refers to them as groups. Department is the older cash register term and is still used in our shop.
On smaller cash registers where the cashier enters the amount of the item and presses a button on the register to make that sale that is entering the sale directly into the department. All cash registers have to have at least 1 department period! So on the smaller cash register we normally have the department buttons on the keyboard and cashiers make sales directly into them. Lets look at a small c-store that does not use bar code scanning and their departments may be as simple as the following
- Taxable Grocery
- Non Taxable Grocery
- Taxable or Non Taxable
- Open, Pre-set or both
- Sale or non sale item (means counts towards toward sales not ON SALE.)
- several other items not often used.
If we look a a fast food restaurant as an example. Lets say they have 120 menu items including burgers, sandwiches, drinks, ice cream etc. Lets say they have 12 different burgers but at the end of the day they don't want a report of 120 items. Each Burger PLU is linked to a department so in this example you may have the following departments
So that is what a department is and yes you must have one. Sometimes people tell me I don't need any departments I only need a taxable button and a non-taxable button! What they need is two departments one taxable open, one non-taxable open!
Hope that helps!