Many POS systems offer features geared towards restaurants but coffee shops have unique needs. Customers expect quick service and highly customized orders. Here are essential features to serve coffee efficiently and keep your customers happy.
The days of a simple pot of filter coffee are long gone. Whether it’s soy milk, double-shot, cold brew, decaf, iced or with a pump of hazelnut, customers expect a lot of customization. Your employees need an interface that lets them select modifiers easily. Some POS systems alert employees to allergens so you avoid mistakes. Menus should update automatically, both in-store and online, whenever you make a change or run out of an ingredient.
Specialty coffee drinks, especially seasonal promotions, contain multiple ingredients. POS inventory management will keep track of what you have in stock and block any menu item automatically that contains something you’ve run out of. Some will alert you whenever you’re running low and others allow you to see the cost of menu items based on ingredients. If you’ve got high stock rotation, consider a platform that includes purchasing features.
Most providers allow you to run timesaving POS reports. You can use reports to manage employee performance, see your busiest hours so you can staff accordingly and understand which locations are the most successful. Coffee shops should look for reporting that allows them to track customer preferences and seasonal trends, so they can tailor their products and marketing to boost sales.
Coffee shops are fast-moving places with a lot of hot beverages moving around. All POS hardware needs to withstand unfortunate mishaps, but the right setup depends on the size and characteristics of your shop. Most establishments will be OK with a tablet or iPad that accepts contactless payments. A customer-facing screen helps ensure your baristas get the order right. Mobile POS devices are great for quick and accurate table service, while self-service kiosks can free up your staff and get customers in and out in a flash.
Not sure which hardware is right for your coffee shop? Read our FAQs to find out everything you need to know about credit card machines
Self-service Orders and Payments
Kiosks are a great way to let your customers order and pay themselves, which frees your staff to concentrate on making beverages. Not all establishments can afford the hardware price, so consider a provider that allows your guest to order and pay with apps or QR codes. Customers will be happy not having to wait around for a server, so they can get a coffee and be on with their day.
Coffee shops usually see a big rush before the morning commute. Help your customers avoid lines by letting them place orders online for pick-up. Many providers send alerts when the order is ready and even include two-way texting to resolve any issues. If you’re located in a business area, consider a POS system that includes integrations with popular delivery apps. Be sure to check whether online ordering is included standard and if you have to pay a commission.
Coffee lovers have increasingly endless options to get their caffeine fix, so building customer loyalty is essential for success. Most providers include loyalty programs, although sometimes as a paid add-on. You can create an app with digital punch cards, special offers, personalized promotions and other rewards. Customers can store their payment information and their coffee preferences to make ordering quicker. Gift cards are another great way to keep people coming back, but this feature is sometimes separate.
Customer management is one feature that varies widely between providers. While some allow you to collect basic information like email addresses for receipts and lists, others have loyalty programs that double as CRM-enabled POS systems. You get essential tools to understand and communicate with your customers. When they come into your shop, your baristas will already know how they like their coffee. Plus, you can track CRM metrics to get useful insights.
One of the most cost-effective ways to reach customers is email and personalization is the future of email marketing
. The right POS system will let you collect information about customers and discover trends so you can tailor personalized email promotions that bring people into your coffee shop repeatedly.
POS software often includes tools for managing employees. You can set up shift schedules, monitor performance and manage tips. Some allow employees to clock in and out. If you have different sections, you can control what each employee sees. Some providers include add-ons to process payroll.
Payment processing is at the heart of any POS system. Most offer hardware that accepts contactless and mobile payments. Businesses on a budget should make sure free or basic plans include this feature, as some providers only offer swipe readers for free.
Coffee shops tend to open early and cafes that serve food usually shut their doors quite late. While many of the providers we reviewed offer 24/7 customer support, a few restrict service to weekday business hours. Look for a POS service that will be available whenever you need help.