We’ve come a long way since the days of mechanical cash registers and handwritten receipts. For café owners, the introduction of modern, integrated point-of-sale (POS) hardware and software keeps the money flowing in a highly dynamic working environment.
Cafés can get a little crazy for those working behind the scenes. While on the exterior, customers sip lattes and relax in the morning sun; for those working at the heart of the business, managing takeaway orders, tracking sit down orders, keeping an eye on stock levels and working out who is doing what, all teamed with the steady stream of on-the-go customers can make efficiency fly right out the window.
POS systems are a must for any café looking to up their productivity and to properly manage the workflow and transactional side of their business. They’re like the central nervous system in your café and link your guests, service team, kitchen team, accountant and management team together.
As things stand, the world of POS options are divided up into two main categories: those hosted locally, installed and stored on your hardware, and then there are cloud-based, wireless systems that rely on remote data storage.
If your business is smaller and only has a simple menu and a smaller team, it might make sense to work with a mobile, cloud-based system that can be paid by subscription on a monthly basis.
If, though, you’re operating a much larger venue with lots of moving parts, there are systems that can really justify the higher price tag thanks to the features designed to suit larger businesses.
It’s important to keep in mind that there’s no ‘right answer’ when it comes to choosing a POS system for your café. A good way to decide is to weigh up your café size and your specific operational needs and then take the time to speak to a range of providers, shopping around until you find the system that best suits your needs.
A few key considerations are listed below and from these, you will be able to work out what features you need your POS to incorporate.
Many POS systems offer different setups for their ordering management including touch screens, portable tablets and pre-programmed menu items.
This means your employees can take orders much quicker, often on portable devices, with a single tap on the screen.
Having waitstaff’s ordering directly linked with the main cash point also results in less errors when compared manual ticket calculations. This also means your staff can serve customers more efficiently.
When you start tracking your business electronically, a whole new world of reporting capability is opened up to you.
One of the most important benefits of an electronic POS is being able to track purchases and then compare those with your overall sales. This way you’re able to monitor what’s working, what isn’t and what requires further attention.
Some POS systems incorporate certain aspects of staff management into their programming.
A brilliant feature of many POS systems is the ability to create weekly, fortnightly or monthly staff rosters which then also allow your staff to ‘clock in’ and out of their shifts each day, tracking their work hours electronically and ensuring you say goodbye to endless piles of paper timesheets.
On top of that, many POS systems even have the function to send staff timesheets directly to your payroll software, making the correct wage, tax and superannuation calculations as simple as the click of a button.
Minimising the expense related to food waste is a constant battle for anyone in the hospitality industry.
By using a POS system to track your inventory, you will not only be able to quickly identify items that require attention in your cool room, but understanding where your products are going will also help you identify and deter theft issues, another common problem café owners face.
By tracking purchases, stock on hand and then the product sales, you will be able to see red flags a lot faster than you would with a manual systems.
A POS can make the management of busy, interactive businesses, such as cafes, a lot easier.
By understanding that a good POS is much more than just a fancy cash register, businesses are now able to streamline almost all aspects of their business and very quickly ‘make back’ the money they spend on their POS setup.
Efficiency is incredibly important in the café business and finding the right POS for your business is a huge step in the right direction, which no savvy café owner has ever come to regret.
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