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Costs, Benefits and Features of Coffee Shop POS Systems

Read This Buying Guide Before You Purchase a Coffee Shop POS System

In general, point of sale (POS) systems offer businesses a secure means to process electronic payments, including credit cards, debit cards, and "smart" payment methods your patrons make via their phones.

Systems designed specifically for coffee shops and other restaurants come with a variety of features and options designed to help manage and grow your business.

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What are the Benefits of a Coffee Shop POS System?

If you want to ensure you draw in the most business, you have to offer customers payment methods beyond cash. These systems have the capability to take not only credit and debit card payments, but also PayPal and Bitcoin, dramatically broadening the demographic you reach.

An automated system also cuts down on human error, a common occurrence with hand-written order tickets. This not only ensures you charge the correct amount, it also helps make sure you get the customer's order correct. Too many wrong orders and you'll never see that customer again. In some cases, a single error loses a customer for life.

Coffee shop POS systems also offer features such as inventory tracking. You can even include inventory thresholds that automate the restocking process. Finally, reporting functions let you easily see which items are your most popular, as well as which days of the week and time of day are your busiest. This helps streamline operations, ensuring you never run out of popular items or have too few or too many employees on duty.

Things to Consider with a Coffee Shop POS System

Restaurant POS systems offer enormous variety as far as options and features. There are, however, some components you'll find in nearly every system. These include:

  • POS computer
  • POS software, preferably designed for restaurants
  • Cash drawer
  • Touch screen monitor
  • Customer display screen
  • Scanner
  • Printer
  • Keyboard

Go with a vendor that lets you try before you buy, so you can make sure the user interface is intuitive and user-friendly. You don't want a system your staff struggles to master.

How Much Does a Coffee Shop POS System Cost?

The most expensive component of your coffee shop POS system will likely be the software licensing. Some shops choose to go with a cloud solution, which charges a monthly fee for its services. The low end is around $10 per month, per terminal.

If you need to buy a complete POS system, prices vary considerably depending on features and options you select. A package system with a single terminal includes the computer, touch screen, software, and printer, and starts at around $2,000. Additional terminals require additional software licenses. You can also find used and refurbished units for around half that cost. Look for top brands if you opt to purchase pre-owned equipment, as they're more likely to stand up to continued use. If you have the hardware and only need software, you're looking at between $500 and $2,500 for each license, depending on the features and personalization you choose.

Finally, a mobile terminal, which is basically a tablet with built-in credit card capabilities, runs you around $200.

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