Technology has hit the café market in a big way… we’ve had more development in the last 2 years than the previous 10 years. With so much choice, it has become quite confusing for café owners who are not so tech savvy. Many smart operators have embraced newly available technology: state of the art POS systems integrating business systems, successfully implemented smart ordering systems and utilising social media (Twitter and Facebook) to communicate to their customer base.
1. Digital Menu Boards & Advertising Displays
People eat with their eyes. In such a visually saturated market, mouth-watering visual displays are a requirement, not a luxury.
2. Order Screens
“All our bigger clients are using these at the moment – it’s a paper-less system displaying orders directly onto kitchen or bar screens.” Do away with thousands of dollars in supplies, issues with lost dockets and strained eyes. Order screen technology increases efficiency and decreases costs, while giving your business two environmental thumbs up.
3. Card-Free Loyalty
“Most popular trend in 2012.” No printing costs, no need to give out cards or mark them off. With QR code technology, the customer’s smartphone becomes their loyalty card, while your POS unit turns into a customer database.
4. POS Marketing
Want to work on your business and not just in it? With POS Marketing solutions, you can use voucher printing to drive business back to you with redeemable offers. User-friendly software means you control the how, when, what … the opportunities are limitless.
5. Online Ordering/smart Apps
There are an abundance of new online ordering and smartphone aps now on the market. These products have subtle differences in their functionality. By utilising these smart programs, it can assist café owners to more efficiently serve their customers and save them time. However, in most cases they are not integrated into café POS systems, creating workflow issues.
Catering to customer needs is not just about food choices and coffee; time is a big consideration for customers when selecting a café. Time becomes a commodity to sell alongside your coffee, and you wouldn’t cut corners on where you bought your coffee.
I anticipate that the advances in POS capabilities are going to mark a permanent shift in the way that cafés and restaurants operate.
Developments in POS Systems
The tech-talk surrounding hospitality equipment at the moment is calling the iPad the trend of yesterday. With the release of the tablet in 2010, POS (Point of Sale) companies were flooded with requests for sleeker, slimmer handheld technologies to replace clunky POS units. Thousands of terminals were introduced using Apple’s chic device; however, 24 months is an eternity in the IT world and while Apple run tests on iOS 6, their competitors are releasing unparalleled technologies using Windows-based platforms.
Speed, flexibility and competitive pricing are the fundamental differences to be expected from Apple’s competitors. For many years, POS limitations have been governed by price point. Solutions were available but expensive. Microsoft’s upcoming release of Windows 8 software and Microsoft based tablet assures that more competitive pricing is on its way. “It’s a very exciting time in POS. So many things are possible now, that were never possible before.”