The majority of coffeeshops out there have one POS system or another.  The majority of them are difficult to use, clunky, slow, glitchy, etc.  I was wondering if anyone has had POSITIVE experiences with a POS system that worked well in cafes.  I've heard of a few that seem to have a good following - Shopkeep, Revel POS, POS Lavu, and Own POS.  Anyone have any others they would like to add or have thoughts on the above mentioned?  

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Changed to the correct discussion area. For discussion of other systems, you should check out parallel discussions on the same topic.

The best POS that I have experience with is CounterPoint. It tends to be on the high end but as is usually the case you get what you pay for. CounterPoint will require a bit more expensive equipment and more time to program. Generally sold through a network of local distributors. As opposed to other packages, Counterpoint can meet all your needs whatever they may be. My vote would be with CounterPoint.

Never worked in a shop with a POS system. Unless you have a company with multiple stores or a huge product range, I don't really see the point. They're expensive and often fairly counter-intuitive to a cafe environment. 

I'm strongly of the view that a simple cash register is enough (I'm even planning on trying to do without a register when I open a cafe! If I can figure out a decent way to go about it...) As long as it records sales through the day, then you don't need anything else really.

POS systems can have a learning curve which can be really detrimental when training new staff in a particularly high-volume store. Another big issue I have is they often require far too many button presses, making each transaction take longer than really needed.

The last cafe I worked in had a simple register. We had a button labelled "esp." for anything served in a demitasse, another labeled "small" for small sized drinks, another labeled "large" for large sized drinks, "extra" for additional shots/syrup/soy... Everything was very basic and simple - if someone ordered a small flat white then you would just hit "small" and then "cash" and the drawer would open. Two presses. Why do you need more complicated than that???

Alex, I think that Lucas (who apparently works for Own POS) is trying to see what the positives are.   To address your comments however, the biggest reasons that people come to us asking about POS are:

1) The staff is making price mistakes when ringing up the drinks. 

2) It takes forever to train someone to remember the correct prices.

3) Gfit & Loyalty are difficult to use and / or costs too much.

4) We are getting ripped off by our staff.

5) We have no idea what we are selling and can't track it.

This is just my experience (since 1994) in dealing with POS and our clients.  Believe it or not, our primary client is the "mom & pop".  While we handle some chains, the bulk of our business is the independent.  

I'm curious to see what comes of this :)!

I read and clearly understood his post. My reply was written with the suggestion that a POS, with his stated issues - "...difficult to use, clunky, slow, glitchy, etc", might not always be the solution to the problem. My reply was pointing out the positives of not forking out for a POS and instead using something simple that has been used for well over 100 years. The solution to a problem isn't always to throw money at it, and isn't always solved with greater technology. 

I'm not ignorant to the benefits of a POS, as I said I can see them working great in a multi-store environment or a cafe with many things to sell, and if I were to run a cafe fitting either of those criteria I would probably be opting for a POS myself. However, if I am running a cafe that does nothing more than a small menu of espresso-based drinks and some sweets and sandwiches I firmly believe that opting for a POS system is a little like throwing a match into the sea to put out the flame.

I'd like to rebut your points - even though I think they are very good and valid points for opting to buy a POS - if you don't mind:

1 & 2) I think for the most part these points are more an issue of an extensive menu with varying pricing. For example, the majority of cafes I've working in have been very simple; if it's served in a demitasse it costs $2.5, if it's a small size it costs $3, and if it's large it costs $3.5. Any extras, regardless of what they may be incur a 50c extra charge. So for the coffee menu you have only 4 buttons required and each is labeled for its purpose - pretty simple and idiot proof, really. 

Now if you have 4 different sizes, each drink priced differently, and each extra priced differently, then you might need over a dozen buttons and you might need to remember over two dozen different prices - this is when I think a POS should be considered.

3) Depends on complexity of your loyalty scheme. If all you need to do is stamp a card and give them a free drink after they've bought 8 coffees, then all you need is a button on your register labeled "free" that just rings through a drink without a price.

4) I've never had this issue. I understand the fear, but I believe trust is a two-way street. Perhaps it might become an issue if you don't pay your staff well and don't work in the business you own... I don't know. I think this is a tricky one and regardless of what you do, if you have staff that want to rip you off then they'll find a way no matter what you do. 

5) Again this comes down to the size of the operation. If all you're selling is coffees, some pre-made sweets and perhaps some sandwiches, then it's very easy to track everything. Even the most basic register systems can be programed to give you printed reports which, depending on how you've set up your buttons, can provide all the information you need.

I do believe your primary clients are "mom and pop" setups, but I also firmly believe many people (especially "mom and pop" types) often expect to need many things they don't when starting a business. This can be especially true of those who follow books along the lines of "Dummies guide to opening a cafe!" which tend to be guides that include everything to cover every possible eventuality.

Anyway... I know you have a vested interest in this topic, so I apologise if I turn anyone away from your POS systems, all I'm saying is there are other solutions that, depending on the business at hand, can be far better suited.

Work on several pos systeme , i am using http://www.unicentaopos.co.uk/ witch is free , easy to use and work very well under super busy situation (450 +) transaction per day under my sql database. i use cash register witch is to me a desaster event on slow time , make everything slower and confusing to refund and track sell. Will never go back to it.

Alex, Thanks!  No need to apologize about the conversation.  I've been a sponsor and participant here for years and use BX to explore what our potential customers think as well as to stay on top of the coffee industry in general.

I used to think that every single store, regardless of size and price, needs a POS.  That's not the case.  

We use a general rule of thumb that if you are doing less than $2,000 to $3,000 a week in gross sale, then you are probably "too small" to invest into this with any company - it will simply take too long to recoup the cost.

1 & 2) - if your menu is very limited, then you might not need a POS.  We joke here that the ultimate menu would be a button for food and a button labeled drink.  Nothing else.  

3)  On punch cards the issue is two fold.  First, employees double punch when they are not supposed to.  We hear this on a regular basis.  Of course like anything, it's not something that happens to every store - just a high percentage.  The other issue is that people want a gift / prepaid / loyalty card all in one.  It's a money maker for them.

4) Theft is a fact of life in coffee here in the US.  It's not that it happens every day to every store but it happens.  Usually, this comes up after the owner has caught someone stealing (product, money etc).  I agree that if someone wants to rip you off, they will.  There is nothing to say you should make it easy on them however. 

5) Good point - again it depends on the variety of menu and size of the shop. 

Thanks for the input! 

All of those were great points everyone made.  Alex, you were correct in everything you said about the type of business that would benefit from a POS system.  The words used to describe a POS system ("clunky, slow, glitchy") were intended to describe the negative misconception about many POS systems.  I was curious if anyone has had positive experiences with their systems, especially the newer, cloud based cheaper ones.  Those ones are made to not break the bank and require no training on many of them because they are so simple.  The real benefit to many would be tracking sales data.  

I do agree that cash register is the best operation for an operation that is so small.  A POS can work in any business, although it may not be necessary.  

Anyone else have any positive thoughts on POS systems that they have used? 

      I haved used a Selby soft pos system for about five years now, and I am very pleased with the system and the support I recieve.

1. The gift card system is a no cost per swipe system which enables me to sell gift cards just like the rest of the world without the fees charged by the credit card companies. They also make it easy to use them for the charitable donations everyone is always asking for.

2.  I have not had customer complaints about being charged something different the last time they where here it is always the same. Even when we have a new person it is always the same.

3.The inventory controll is a great tool Before pos my inventory average was 8000 a month it is now on the average 6000. a month.

4. The customer display monitor helps me advertise new items and gives my shop a more professional apperance.

5. I have also caught several employees stealing. By the way I pay everyone one the same also another point I also tell them what they make so if they dont like it they can work somewhere else. How would stealing ever be ok

6. My paids outs are recorded and easy to transfer to quickbooks.

7. It also gives me a five year and counting track of my sales,paid outs which muffin sold the most or which drink is the best seller overall also what the sales where last year on the holidays I was open and was it was worth it.

 

 

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