Running a newly-opened café is not easy. Even if you love coffee and want to share with others your expertise in brewing this beverage, everything may not go according to plan. You may experience a couple of hiccups as you manage your first business and try to carve a niche in the local market.
The good news is you can avoid and overcome many of these problems with one piece of technology: point-of-sale (POS) software. An integrated coffee shop POS system will help solve several issues that plague café owners and affect various aspects of their operations and their business overall.
Below are the five most common problems you will encounter as a coffee shop owner and the different ways a POS system will help you avoid, minimize, or solve them:
1. Slow Service
As a new business owner, you may take on a lot of roles, such as being the order taker, barista, and cashier. This is usually unavoidable if you can’t hire more people to help you or if you haven’t trained your employees sufficiently yet.
If you are donning various hats to manage your daily operations, service will be slow if you have lots of customers. You and your staff will be hard-pressed to take and serve orders quickly, something that consumers demand today.
A POS system will allow you to take orders faster. Since the menu items will be in the program, you and your employees can take and place orders with one tap on the screen.
Billing will be quicker as well since the total amount will be tallied once an order is complete. You can then move on to processing the payment.
Your POS system will be a time saver at the counter that will help you and your team serve more customers faster.
2. Order-Taking Inefficiencies
Taking orders and processing payments quickly is one thing; serving the correct beverage and other items the customer purchased is something else.
When you and your employees use pen-and-paper to take orders, your baristas may misread or have a hard time understanding what is written. This will result in delays since they will have to ask you to read and dictate what you wrote down.
Poor handwriting can result in serving customers wrong orders. If your barista doesn’t want to bother you or the cashier and simply guess what is written on the ticket, you will have a lot of returned orders, complaints, and disgruntled patrons. All these will impact your business in various negative ways.
With a POS system, all orders are taken electronically, and the ticket will appear on the barista’s screen. Since it is digital and not handwritten, he or she will have no difficulty reading or deciphering the text.
As a result, all orders will be correct. All customers will be satisfied, and you will avoid food wastage as well.
3. Poor Inventory Management
Staying on top of your inventory is crucial, whether you have a new or long-running coffee shop. Having too many supplies, especially perishable ones such as milk and pastries, can lead to waste. Conversely, running out of ingredients and menu items can lead to upset customers and lost sales.
Managing inventory by hand is time-consuming. Since the manual process takes too long, you and your employees are more prone to making mistakes. You may also decide to take shortcuts which will result in inaccurate tallies and incorrect forecasting.
With the right POS system, you will have a tool that will monitor your inventory and adjust item counts as new orders are placed. The software can track ingredients used in a particular beverage, ensuring there is sufficient supply always available to meet demand.
Your system will also help you order the right amount of food items to be sold in your café. Pastries, cakes, muffins, cookies, and other baked goods do not have a long shelf life. As such, you should only have enough of these items that you can sell within two days to satisfy your customers and avoid wastage.
With the correct, up-to-date inventory data on your POS software, you will be sure you won’t order too many of these perishable goods.
Finally, the software can also track the costs of these ingredients and edible treats, and help you calculate the best prices for these menu items so that they stay competitive and profitable.
4. Inability to Personalize Customer Service
Since you have a new business, ensuring all customers leave your coffee shop happy and satisfied should be one of your top priorities. By doing so, you will encourage them to come back.
Additionally, they will also be more inclined to invite other people to visit your café and spread the word about your establishment. This will mean more business for your shop.
You can ensure your customers have a great time whenever they are at your coffee shop by giving them personalized experiences. This can be difficult to do if you use paper tickets for taking orders and rely on your and your employee’s memory to remember your patrons’ preferences.
With a POS system, you can easily store information about the favorite beverages and treats of your repeat customers. You can also add notes about drink customizations that they regularly request.
Since you can anticipate your customers’ orders, you will give them even faster, more satisfactory service. This will help your business build a stronger, long-term relationship with them.
5. Employee Mismanagement
Lastly, to be successful in running a coffee shop, you need reliable, productive, and happy employees. Your staff can easily become frustrated, unmotivated, and unproductive when your timekeeping is incorrect and, thus, issue insufficient salaries. They will feel the same when you are unable to manage their schedules or shifts efficiently.
With an integrated POS program, your workers can use the system to sign on and off when beginning and ending their shifts. Because of this, you can track hours to manage the payroll properly and create better work schedules.
Lastly, you can use the system to analyze traffic patterns to ensure you have the right number of workers during peak hours. This will help prevent employee burnout and maintain the smooth, efficient operation of your coffee shop.
When opening your first coffee shop, restaurant, or any dining establishment, you need all the help you can get to ensure its success and longevity. A POS system can lend you a hand in resolving various problems that can keep you from managing an efficient, profitable business.
Ahmad Alzaini is the co-founder and CEO of Foodics, a fast-growing foodtech startup. A businessman by nature, Alzaini is an app aficionado, developing businesses in Saudi Arabia within several industries. Today, Foodics has extended to new markets across the MENA region, processing over 1 billion transactions, and offering the latest technology in POS and restaurant management.