In Italy, the receipt for each coffee is placed on the counter. The cash register in the bar keeps a log. Guests should always take their receipts with them, because there could be inspections in the vicinity of the premises. With mandatory digital cash registers, hardware or software-based solutions and prompt reporting, the tax authorities in France, Croatia, Albania, Austria and most other European countries are also making sure that businesses do not bypass cash registers in an effort to evade taxes. The legal requirements in Germany’s hospitality industry were not quite as strict until the end of 2019, which some business owners took advantage of.
The new cash register security regulation should put an end to it: Issuing receipts and a tamper-proof technical safety system (TSS) in electronic cash registers are now mandatory. In addition, the tax offices will perform audits, and restaurateurs who do not comply with the new regulations will face fines of up to €25,000. A nationwide transitional period for conversion of the cash registers will last until 30 September 2020, and there will not be any audits and penalties until that time. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, some federal states extended the deadlines for this safe harbour rule. It gives businesses that have not yet completely converted some extra time.
Cash Register Conversion: What Restaurateurs Are Saying About it
A survey of restaurateurs in Berlin shows: many of them rely on their cash register manufacturers or system providers to reprogram cash registers to tamper-proof TSS. They must implement the TSS on the equipment as mandated. Maria Koimtzoglou from the restaurant ‘Maria Vegan Comfort Food’ switched to a paperless format 3 years ago – digital cash registers are still not mandatory in Germany. Koimtzoglou uses Orderbird. It makes her life easier: ‘I feel so much safer now. I sleep better and come across much more professionally.’ André Sperling from the inn ‘Zur letzten Instanz’ has also been working with a digital cash register for 3 years. ‘All processes take place with the cash service provider, our employees and the tax consultant. We are very happy with it.’
For Vincenzo Berényi from ‘Kurpfalz Weinstuben,’ retrofitting is a more complex undertaking. 923 wines in 4 variations must be programmed into the cash register: 0.1 litre in a glass, 0.25 litre in a ‘Schoppen’ – a bottle of wine that is either consumed on-site or sold outside. ‘We’re switching to Gastrofix,’ says Vincenzo Berényi. The provider offers a cloud solution. ‘We already had our initial test run. Now we’re training all employees, all the way up to the accounting department. I pay a monthly fee and that's it.’ Gastrofix and Matrix POS are cooperation partners with whom METRO wants to make the transition easier for restaurateurs.
For Many, the Digital Register Has Long Been Indispensable
For many restaurateurs, transparent analysis options are a key argument for digital cash management anyway. Falco Mühlichen, restaurant manager at ‘Rutz’, which received 3 stars in the Guide MICHELIN for the first time in 2020, says: ‘We maintain our cash book up-to-the-minute and in close cooperation with our tax consultant. Every restaurateur is well advised to work closely with their tax advisor.’ Receipts would generally not be cancelled at ‘Rutz’ and tips are always shown separately. ‘We are relying on our cash register provider for the changeover.’ Fabian Fischer has been working with Orderbird since he opened his restaurant ‘Bricole’ in February 2017. ‘Right from the start, we place the printed invoice on the table for the guest. The transition is fairly uncomplicated for us.’ Equally important to him: ‘If you work honestly and are serious about running a restaurant, a digital cash register with retrievable business operations details is indispensable.’ The increasingly widespread use of contactless payment is putting an even faster end to illicit funds. Even the good old bank card is slowly being replaced, Fischer observed: ‘Since the availability of Apple Pay, for example, a lot more guests have been paying with a watch or smartphone.’
Régis Lamazère from ‘Lamazère Brasserie’ is getting ready to initiate the hardware upgrade. His cash computer cannot be upgraded. ‘We’ll get a new cash register soon. We work immaculately with our provider. I trust the company completely.’ For him, anything other than straightforward operation is out of the question. When he moved to Berlin from France 12 years ago, he was amazed: ‘I had never seen anywhere before that you could simply put a piece of paper with something handwritten on it on the table as a bill.’ In his opinion, transparent, tamper-proof cash management would be useful in any case: ‘It allows you to show how successful you are. You can take that to the bank and it can help you get a loan.’