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If you’re an owner of a cafe and bakery shop, adopting a proper POS system can help you improve the customer shopping experience, streamline operations, and handle inventory effortlessly. Choosing the right cafe POS or bakery POS is essential to keep your business organized and efficient by automating all processes and minimizing human errors. In this article, we’ll show you 5 important steps on how to choose the best POS system for coffee shops and bakeries.

Step 1: Evaluate your business needs

Since every business is different, you need to identify your requirements to choose a POS system that opts for your company rather than a general one. Here’re some questions you should consider to assess what you need out of a POS system:

1. Which features do I really need?

Think about the features you need in a cafe and bakery POS system - how to choose a pos system for cafe and bakery

Think about the features you need in a cafe and bakery POS system

Point of sale systems have evolved substantially from merely processing transactions and recording payments. Today, modern POS systems can cover a wide range of features like employee log time, customer database, online ordering, ingredient management, loyalty programs, data reporting, etc. However, a small coffee shop may not require as many features as a full-service restaurant. Therefore, you should stop and ask yourselves: what functionality would support my business?
To give you a hand, here’re the must-have features of a POS system for cafes and bakeries:

  • Inventory management: The POS system should allow you to digitally manage the stock down to ingredient level, track the ordering level of menu items, and alert you on the low-running stock.
  • Menu management: If you’re operating a chain of coffee shops or bakeries, this feature offers you a central hub to control your menu easily. Every time you add, adjust, or remove menu items, all your stores will get the updated menu automatically. Furthermore, you’ll have more freedom to design your menu by arranging items into categories or highlighting the popular items on the POS for upselling purposes.
  • Customer relationship management: You should sync customer data with sales data and inventory data to understand your customers’ preferences, their behaviors, and which items are best-sellers so that you can design proper marketing and loyalty programs.
  • Seamless omnichannel sales: The POS system should have mobility and flexibility for you to manage sales across different stores and channels.
  • Data management: Think about what kind of data you need and identify the key metrics to measure for your cafe and bakery. For example, do you need to compare sales performance by time, by location, or by employee? Do you want to understand your best-selling menu items? Do you need to calculate the ratio of food cost versus selling price? Make sure your POS system can handle robust reporting and analytics for these metrics.

2. Is it quick and reliable?

The cafe and bakery POS system should be quick and reliable - choose a pos system for coffee shop

The cafe and bakery POS system should be quick and reliable

The F&B industry is all about quality and speed. You’d want to avoid a crash or slow-responding cafe POS system that delays the services and makes customers irritable. When choosing a coffee shop point of sale solution, consider:

  • Does the POS software have an intuitive interface that staff can quickly pick on?
  • Can it accept multiple types of payments, split bills, etc.?
  • Does it have any features that help speed up the service and transaction processing?
  • In case the Internet goes down, can the POS work under offline mode to process orders?

3. What if my business grows?

Cafe and bakery point of sale must be scalable

Cafe and bakery point of sale must be scalable

If you grow and open new stores, build a cafe chain, and have more customers, the POS system needs to scale up to meet more complex management needs. Thus, make sure your selected POS software can add new POS terminals, open new locations, and add more users with limited effort. Magestore cafe POS is a typical example with powerful scalability. It offers one-time payment, advanced order fulfillment, real-time sync, unlimited users and devices, and many refined features for cafe and bakery shops.

The best POS system will enable you to seamlessly integrate with other 3rd-party software. For example, if you want to expand your home delivery services with a 3rd-party partner, your POS needs to be compatible with the delivery app. At a higher level, if you’re thinking about international expansion, you should check whether the system can support different languages or multiple currencies, and complies with the user country’s accounting policies.

Besides integrating with 3rd-party software, another scaling option for cafe owners is customizing POS built-in features or building new features to meet your changing business demands. With Magestore POS, you can easily develop new features or add Magento extensions to fit your requirements. The best part is you only pay one time for the POS license. The upfront fee may be high but you can save thousands on monthly fees in the long run.

Although you can start with a cheap POS system that doesn’t have much room for scalability, it will cost you more problems if you grow and need to replace it with another advanced software. Hence, you should have a clear business roadmap to pick a suitable POS – a worthwhile investment that can scale and support you for many years.

Step 2: Choose a POS system provider

Choose a POS system provider - how to choose a pos system for bakery & cafe

Choose a POS system provider

After evaluating your requirements, you can create a shortlist of potential POS providers to compare.

First of all, check if the POS system is a cloud-based or a legacy system. Legacy POS systems stores your data on local servers on a closed network. In contrast, cloud-based systems are hosted on the web, which allows you to access anywhere on any device. This method stores your data on the cloud, providing the flexibility to manage your cafe and bakery from anywhere. Thanks to the benefits of cloud technology, more and more companies have trusted this method.

Another important dimension to consider is whether the POS systems are designed exclusively for restaurants and cafes. Although common retail POS systems can cover basic orders and payments for food businesses, restaurant-specific systems have very different requirements. A POS built for restaurants will enable you to easily handle daily tasks such as tracking courses and managing table numbers, adding or removing ingredients from a dish, selling deals and combos for coffee and cake, splitting the bill, sending orders straight to the kitchen, and many more. Always keeping your needs in mind is important on how to choose a POS system.

Here’re some of the best POS systems for cafes and bakeries.

Step 3: Investigate the cost of different POS systems

Investigate the cost of different POS systems

Investigate the cost of different POS systems

Investing in a new POS system is a big commitment, but it will pay off many times over. Don’t rush for the lowest upfront investment, make sure you’ve calculated the return on investment (ROI) you could achieve. Here’re some key factors to consider when analyzing how technology impacts your bottom line:

  • Reduce time spent on staff training: Since the food and beverage industry has a high staff turnover rate, you should adopt an intuitive POS system that new recruits can quickly learn and use to save you time on training staff.
  • Decrease food waste: Getting a POS with a powerful inventory management tool can help you save money by ordering the right amounts of ingredients and optimizing what you have in stock.
  • Boost loyalty programs: If your POS features loyalty programs, you can send registered customers your offers and design campaigns that help you increase repeat visits.
  • Avoid time wasted on aligning data: A POS system that can integrate various functions like sales, inventory, staff management, and vendor management into one end-to-end platform will enable you to generate valuable insights from your data while simplifying all your processes.

After evaluating all factors, you can narrow down the POS candidates which meet your needs and budget. The next step is to consult your network and peers.

Step 4: Read reviews and ask your community

Read reviews and ask your community about the POS system

Read reviews and ask your community about the POS system

You can seek reviews on the Internet and consider the provider’s reputation. Make sure the provider offers support when you run into technical issues, and they’re continuously working on updates. Be wary of new technology providers, since you’d risk that they can change or no longer be a company in a few years. Thus, pick a company with a proven track record that you can trust in providing support and updates when you need them.

In addition to reading reviews on the Internet, you’d want to hear feedback from restaurants that are using your targeted POS systems. Visit your friends in the industry to ask them about their experience with the POS system:

  • What do you like to dislike about your POS system?
  • What does your staff think about your POS?
  • How does the POS integrate with your business operations?
  • Is there anything you want to change on your POS?
  • How satisfied are you with customer support?

In addition, when visiting a coffee or bakery shop using that system, you can experience the system as your guest would. Make an order and purchase to see if the experience is smooth and accurate, or the staff can get your information and sign up for loyalty programs easily. A good POS system should be able to make the shopping experience pleasant and helps the brand learn more about its customers.

Step 5: Get a demo and test the POS system

Get a demo and test the POS system - how to choose a pos system for cafe and bakery

Get a demo and test the POS system

Finally, you should get a demo on which POS systems you’d like to see in action. You can contact the provider through their website and request a demo. This is the chance for you to learn about how the system will work in your restaurant and gain an expectation of what you’ll receive. Here’s the checklist to prepare for your demo requirements:

  • Get the key decision-makers to attend the demos. Make sure to have all stakeholders join the demo meeting, so they can discuss and determine which POS system to choose.
  • Share your goals in advance. Talk to the provider’s sales representative in advance and share your business objectives, what matters most to you in a POS system, and which specific products or features you require. This will allow the sales representatives to prepare the demo based on what’s most important to you.
  • Prepare a list of questions. Think about questions about the functionality you’d want to learn more about the POS system. It’s also a chance to understand the POS provider as a partner. Ask them about their research and development roadmap, and see if their working methodology is a match for you.
  • Confirm your timeline and next steps. If the demo goes well and you want to move forward, clear with your needs on when you need to come on board, or if you’re opening new stores, etc.

Choosing the best POS system for your cafe and bakery is a big decision with potentially game-changing results for your bottom line. We hope this guide has given you the right knowledge on how to choose a POS system that can level up your business.

FAQs

1. What are the top features of a POS for cafe and bakery?

Here are the key functionalities that a coffee shop POS system must have:

  • Speedy checkout processing,
  • Inventory management on an ingredient level,
  • Menu setup and configuration,
  • Control sales across multiple locations,
  • Marketing tools like vouchers, loyalty programs,
  • Data reporting.

2. How much is a POS for cafe and bakery?

A cafe POS or bakery POS typically costs between $79–$150 per month for software. For advanced features, the software cost will be higher. For hardware, the costs are usually a one-time fixed cost that starts at $799.

3. What are the top POS providers for cafe and bakery businesses?

Some of the best POS systems for coffee shops and bakeries are:

  • Magestore—best for cafe and bakery running on Magento,
  • Toast,
  • Lightspeed Restaurant,
  • TouchBistro,
  • Square for Restaurants,
  • ShopKeep.
Jeng Nguyen

Author Jeng Nguyen

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