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Industry Tips

September 28, 2018

The Importance of Doing the Simple Things Very Well [Café POS]

Setting up and operating a busy café is a complex affair. There are so many decisions to be made, so much to think about – location and décor, equipment and staffing requirements, menu development and marketing efforts, to name just a few. Making well-informed choices relating to each of these components can have a major bearing on the success of your venue. So, how can you go about understanding all the necessary factors involved without being overwhelmed?

It has often been said that success comes from doing the simple things well. How could this be applied to the decision-making process you need to go through for the many aspects of developing a café? The idea is to figure out the fundamental requirements related to each choice you need to make, and then make sure that these basics are very well cared for by the option you choose. Understanding and prioritising the selection criteria for any decision can clarify the process and ensure that you don’t get bogged down by focusing on non-essentials.

Let’s apply this to selecting a point of sale system. If you are researching a POS solution for your café, there are literally dozens of different options, ranging from ‘free’ apps for your tablet through to fully integrated systems worth thousands of dollars. Each alternative will have its own strengths and weaknesses and, frankly, no one has the time to investigate them all. So how do you make an informed choice? Let’s consider 5 ‘simple things’ that you need from your POS – key criteria that can help you to clarify what to look for.

1. Reliable and easy to use

As the centrepiece of your front-counter, your Café POS needs to be a ‘workhorse’. Staff need to be able to enter customer orders into your system quickly and easily, ensuring speedy service. Accuracy is vitally important, so your point of sale terminal can’t be so complicated that it becomes an unnecessary burden to enter the correct details. The POS also needs to be robust – constantly in use by different team members with varying levels of experience, not just for a week or a month, but hopefully for years.

2. Improves in-house efficiency

Another key benefit of a point of sale system needs to be in-house communication. A busy café will have multiple staff catering for the needs of any given customer – barista, chef and kitchen-hands, and possibly different servers. To be efficient and meet your customers’ needs, all of these individuals must be clear on what they need to do. A properly configured POS system can provide you with the means of ensuring that staff give and receive accurate instructions regarding customer orders and allow you to streamline your in-house processes.

3. Easily customisable

Your café will be an ever-changing organism. Menu items and options will change, cost and selling prices will go up and down, and available products will come and go. As these variables come in to play and you refine your business, you need your Café POS to be easily adapted to suit. So our next ‘simple thing’ is programming – make sure that you can easily adjust your point of sale system without requiring extensive outside assistance.

4. Simplifies and enriches wait staff – customer interaction

When a customer’s order is taken, it’s vitally important that your staff know what options they can offer and what questions they need to ask to successfully complete the request. A modern point of sale terminal can be set up to prompt staff to suggest appropriate selections for items being ordered. The clarity of this communication increases guest confidence and, along with the improved in-house processes mentioned earlier that facilitate correct order delivery, enhances the overall customer experience.

5. Delivers useful sales data for analysis

A final basic requirement of your Café POS is the provision of useful sales reports. Rather than just receiving a tally of sales at the end of each day, modern systems can provide detailed analysis of sales across the day or week, show you your best and worst performing products, and much more. These reports should be able to be viewed over short and long-term periods, indicating trends that provide an excellent basis for objective decision making regarding your menu, pricing and promotions, and staffing.

Of course, these may not be the only factors you need to consider regarding a new Café POS solution. For instance, you might have limited space, so size becomes an issue. Or you might want to manage the venue remotely, so that needs to be factored in. But rest assured that if a system that you are researching has a solid reputation for doing these 5 simple things very well, you are on your way to finding a good POS solution that will enrich your business and assist you in managing your café more effectively.

 

by Justin Bromage

See website for more details – www.uniwell.net.au





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