Drinking artisan coffee is a national pastime. We love our caffeine boost in the morning and nothing beats a relaxing hour spent drinking coffee in a stylish artisan coffee shop. Costa and Starbucks are now found all over the world, having enjoyed great success in recent years, but independent coffee shops are taking on the big brand coffee stores and gaining an increasing share of the customer base. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t rest on your laurels - there is still plenty you can do to improve your customer’s experience when they step over the threshold of your coffee shop.
Customers are becoming more selective about where they drink their coffee. Mass-produced coffee blends are no longer desirable. Customers prefer single origin roasts and baristas who know their beans. It isn’t enough to offer free refills and Wi-Fi in-store. Caficianados expect excellent coffee and to feel as if they are in the company of friends.
Excellent Customer Service
Providing excellent service is a big part of making customers feel appreciated. The likes of Costa and Starbucks make money by selling drinks in bulk and up-selling extras such as food. Independent coffee shops can learn lessons from the big brands and add their own special touch to build a better relationship with their customers.
Point of Sale (POS) software is an important part of providing excellent customer service. A good quality POS system can significantly improve the functionality of your business. Modern POS systems are operated on tablets such as iPads, which gives your coffee shop a cool, modern vibe. Instead of expecting customers to queue up at the counter for their coffee, they can take a seat at a free table and wait for a server to approach.
A POS system allows your servers to take orders more quickly and avoid mistakes caused by illegible hand-written notes. A POS system records all orders and keeps track of your inventory. At the end of the day, you will know exactly how many flat whites, espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos you sold. You can monitor how popular your new roast is or whether customers are in love with the seasonal blend you devised as a festive promotion. You can also keep a close eye on which servers are making the most sales, which part of the day is the busiest, and how popular your food and snacks are.
These days, card payments are the norm. Customers much prefer to pay using contactless cards or Apple Pay, so why would you want to make their life more difficult by insisting they come to the counter and queue up to pay for their order?
If your servers use a POS system, they can accept card and contactless payments at the table. Your customer can order, drink, pay, and go seamlessly. The end result is a happy customer.
Upselling is a critical part of any business in the hospitality sector. A POS system makes upselling so much easier. Rather than waiting for customers to decide whether they want a cinnamon bun with their cappuccino, a server can suggest compatible extras from the menu on their screen. If you have an extensive menu of extras, upselling is a breeze.
Training New Employees
Many independent coffee shops rely on part-time labor. Art students and 20-something hipsters are part of the furniture in most coffee shops, but the disadvantage of using part-time, casual staff is that people come and go with annoying regularity. It takes time to train employees, but with a good POS system, staff training is painless.
POS systems offer too many advantages to ignore. If you have plans to grow your independent coffee shop into a successful chain to rival Costa and Starbucks (always dream big!), make sure you use technology to keep your core customers happy.