Opening a coffee shop is a different beast than, say, opening a fine dining restaurant where your guests have the luxury of time.
Coffee shops are fast-moving, high-energy, free-flowing places where customers come to get their caffeine fix so they can do great things with their day. You need a POS (point of sale) system that can handle this pace, helping you deliver a great customer experience while maximizing profits.
Before you buy, make sure the POS software you choose for your coffee shop does these four things.
1. It must fit in seamlessly
Yep, your POS needs to fit in—just like a new hire. And chances are, you’d rather be teaching those new hires the art of pulling the perfect espresso shot, not how to use your POS.
Your baristas are constantly multitasking between making drinks, prepping food, and running transactions, and every minute spent training on a POS is a minute taken away from learning how to pull that highly coveted “God shot.”
If your staff are always stumbling over complex transactions or literally working around a large terminal as they’re handling hot drinks, it’s time to reevaluate your choice of system.
2. It must offer both speed and automation
A good POS should help you move through the queue quickly, and one thing that can help you do that is a mobile POS. The best thing about a mobile POS? It’s mobile. If your line starts growing at a faster rate than your staff can handle, the option to break away from the counter to take orders becomes…magical.
With mobile capabilities, your customers won’t be late for their morning meetings, your staff won’t be snapped at, and you may be able to divert some of that counter manpower to pumping out more drinks.
Another way to increase the speed with which you’re cranking out orders is to make automation your best friend. Your coffee shop’s POS should allow your staff to execute a transaction seamlessly, which means automating as many steps as possible.
For example, if an order costs $7.90 and the customer is paying cash, your POS automatically knows that they are most likely to hand over a $10 or $20 bill. Then, it presents your staff with a one-tap option so they can quickly see the correct change.
3. It must offer all the app integrations you need
Your POS should never stand alone. Instead, it should integrate with other apps that improve your daily operations even further.
- A good POS system might integrate with a payment processing system that lowers your transaction fees, letting you take home more of your sales.
- Staffing apps can also make it easier for managers to schedule and switch shifts—what if you could use an integration with your POS data to make sure your best people are working during your busiest times?
- And don’t forget your favorite task of all: accounting. You’ll want a POS that integrates its data with accounting software to alleviate the number crunching process.
Some POS solutions offer built-in features to address these issues, but others require extension. Even if your POS has existing support, you might want a different integration for a custom workflow or store design.
Your POS is your coffee shop’s primary operating system, which means integrating with other technology to automate as many processes as possible is key. Having everything in one place reduces errors in manual entry, decreases training time, and makes it easier to see the whole picture.
4. It must have data & analytics capabilities
Every purchase made at your coffee shop tells you something about your customers’ behavior. But your POS should not only track your transaction data, it should also make it easy for you to visualize so you can make informed decisions about your business.
Paying attention to your reporting can save you thousands of dollars, prevent disasters, and let you know when a problem needs to be addressed ASAP.
If you notice, for example, one of your staff members is deleting items more often than your other staff, you can take steps to address possible theft. Or, if one of your signature drinks costs a little more to make but just isn’t selling, you can take it off your menu and test something with a higher margin.
There’s no need to fly blind—a good POS will give you tons of information about your business so that you can fine tune operations and put more of your energy, time, and money toward what works.
Features that make a POS work well for a coffee shop might be different than those for a POS that serves a full service restaurant.
Look for speed, automation, mobility, and comprehensive analytics that let you tweak operations as quickly as your customers need their coffee. When you think of your POS as another staff member that will improve customer experience, you’re on your way to choosing one that’s more of a partner than a tool.