How To Pick The Right POS System for Your Coffee Shop - 3 people at a table with coffee

How to pick the right POS system for your coffee shop

Saturday, November 15, 2014
A point of sale (POS) system takes the place of the cash registers with attached cash drawers that used to be used for ringing up purchases in a place of business. It's a system of hardware and software that calculates purchases and keeps track of sales totals and details. The latest POS systems are entirely digital, allowing access to the system from remote locations for management purposes. Some even allow you to check out customers at locations other than your place of business.  

The most successful coffee shops use POS systems to streamline multiple aspects of their business. So in this article, we’ll take a look at the advantages of using a POS system at your coffee shop, the most important POS features and how to find the right POS system for your business.

What is a coffee shop POS system?

POS systems are flexible and can be designed for every type of business. A coffee shop’s payment and data storage system combines the best POS hardware and POS software for that specific type of business. 

A POS system for a coffee shop optimizes the customer experience. It makes business operations easier and potentially more profitable for coffee shop proprietors. But picking the right coffee shop POS system is essential for achieving the best possible benefits for both coffee-loving customers and coffee shop owners.

The right coffee shop POS system will make running a small coffee shop a breeze by:  
  • Automating the checkout process
  • Providing inventory control
  • Keeping the overall store operations running smoothly

Benefits of coffee shop POS software

Finding the right POS system for a coffee shop can ensure ease of operations and business success. Following are some important factors to consider when selecting a POS system for your coffee shop business.

Point of sale software for a coffee shop should facilitate a competitive advantage

Tracking daily sales isn't easy without a coffee shop POS system. But with a POS system, sales records are easy to access, letting coffee shop owners review the records whenever needed.

Comparing current data to sales from a week ago, a month ago or even a year ago provides insight that can help with future seasonal menu planning and the design of successful targeted marketing campaigns. Choosing a POS system with detailed data processing capabilities is integral to keeping your business moving forward.

The best coffee shop POS system software enables customization for each business

Customizable POS solutions allow businesses like yours to find the perfect solution for your needs. It opens the door to a wide range of possibilities to streamline your business.

Customers and servers will especially appreciate a customer relationship management (CRM) system built into your coffee shop POS system. With CRM, you can collect a large amount of data specific to each customer. That information provides valuable insight.

You can determine which guests visit your coffee shop most often and which customers spend the most on purchases.  The system can track what each customer orders regularly, which is helpful information to target specific customers or customer types.    

Ease of use is important for a café POS system's interface 

It will be necessary to update your POS system regularly. Varied staff members on different shifts and seasonable employment changes mean many people will need to use the system. So the version you select should feature an intuitive interface.

When choosing a POS system for a coffee shop, an easy-to-use interface should be top priority. 

Ease of use in the interface can help your staff provide lattes at light speed. POS software that offers simple, fast ordering capabilities for staff and customers is vital to the success of a coffee shop because:  

  • Servers and baristas will want to serve as many customers as possible during their shift to boost their tip-earning potential.
  • Customers don't want to wait for their orders. 
  • Business owners must maximize profits.
Of course, you want to create your own quality, signature selection of drinks. But customers can’t wait all day.

A simple to use and informative interface can help your coffee shop provide the best and fastest coffee service in your community. 

Cloud-based POS systems offer unique benefits

A cloud-based POS system for a coffee shop—like the system provided by Heartland—can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. This offers opportunities for customer ordering and payment processing, and is useful for management purposes.

Also, your data is backed up securely—no more concerns about losing valuable records if your hardware malfunctions. 

The best POS systems for coffee shops brew up these six major features

The best POS system for your shop will include features that you need to effectively manage your business. These features include:

Inventory management

From the different varieties of drinks offered to baked goods and paper goods, coffee shops have a great deal of inventory to manage. A good inventory management software ensures that your shop has what it needs on hand, when it needs it. You’ll want to choose a POS system that includes raw ingredient tracking so you never find yourself short on coffee beans, cream, or other essential ingredients. This will also simplify ordering as your inventory updates in real time with each sale. 

Digital menu management

The ability to present your menu digitally means easy daily special management and seasonal changes.  

Changing menu details in real-time, on location, or via remote access is essential for today's coffee shops. The ability to mark items that have run out is even simpler with an integrated POS system.

Payment processing management

Does your coffee shop get bogged down by long lines during the morning rush? Does the line disrupt service due to the nature of your floor plan?

If so, it's time to implement a POS system that speeds up the checkout process. Lessening the time necessary to process transactions completely will enable you to serve more guests during high volume hours.

The payment processing system you choose should be user-friendly and secureForward facing, touch-screen displays help make checkout fast and easy. Simply flipping the payment terminal allows the customer to tip, sign, and request a physical receipt or choose a digital version produced by the POS system's receipt printer in seconds. Your customers trust you with their financial information; a secure and easy to use system will go a long way in ensuring satisfied customers. 

Sales and revenue management 

As you know, food and ingredient cost calculations are the basis for planning your menu. POS systems loaded with tracking features can help your business determine which menu items are most popular and have the highest profit margin. 

Sales tracking can tell you what times of day your profitable items are most popular. This can help you plan timely promotions as well as support inventory management. 

Sales reporting saves time and labor. At the end of each day, week, or month, you'll have pre-figured totals ready for planning, reporting, and paying taxes without making extensive calculations.
Understanding your financial status at any given point in time and carefully managing the profitability of your products support your coffee shop's success.

Marketing, customer engagement and customer support 

Marketing, customer engagement and customer support are synergistic actions—the ability to surprise and delight your customer base and keep patrons coming back with service that exceeds their expectations is the key to business success.

The right POS system will enable you to provide the following services:

  • Customer loyalty programs help keep those who visit your café returning. Loyalty programs are a perk most customers appreciate. And loyalty cards can help keep track of a particular customer's frequent purchases. This enables you to offer discounts and rewards most likely to prompt future visits. 
  • A rewards program offers customers something of value in response to a particular purchase or amount spent. This encourages repeat business. Customers love to feel appreciated. 
  • Gift cards are a marketing tool and additional revenue source. They work particularly well for cafés and coffee shops. Gift cards provide an extra revenue stream from existing customers. They are also a powerful marketing tool. When guests purchase gift cards, they essentially pay you to bring more business to your shop. Gift card recipients usually spend significantly more than the amount on their card, increasing your revenue. 
  • Online ordering and self-order store kiosks are appreciated by customers due to their convenience. Most people are in a hurry, so placing online orders or typing their preference into a remote order form is preferable to waiting in line.  
  • Tableside self-ordering with Android or iPad POS provides another way to speed up service. Customers can enter, be seated, and promptly order their favorite menu items with digital menus.
  • Getting orders right is easier with a modern POS system. Giving customers the perfect drink can be a challenge. It's easier for baristas to accurately mix their regular customers' favorite drinks with a POS system that records their preferences.  
  • Simplified checkout with contactless payments meets today's needs. It's simple, swift and safe to check out when leaving a coffee shop that uses a modern POS system that allows contactless payments with a modern card reader. Accepting all popular payment types gives you the ability to serve everyone. The best payment systems accommodate cash and mobile payments, credit cards, debit cards, reward points, and even more payment options. 

Simplified employee management tools

The right POS system for your coffee shop will allow easy clock-in and clock-out capabilities for your employees. And self-contained employee timekeeping within your POS system eliminates the need for separate time clocks or other software and apps. The nature of today's POS systems allows businesses with seasonal employees to quickly add or remove them from the active list. 

Partner with the right provider

Whether you own or manage a veteran business or a startup, the capabilities of your POS system can make or break your business.

Small coffee shops, cafés and bakeries, benefit just as much as large corporations from specialized POS software designed specifically for their service sector.

Choosing the right POS system can set your business up to become the most popular place for coffee lovers to grab a quick cup on the way to work or school.

The habits of your customers may differ, but the right coffee shop POS system offers versatile options to suit the needs of everyone. It can simultaneously make daily operations seamless and support the long term success of your small business. Don't just survive the daily grind;  streamline your service so you can enjoy your business. 


Are you ready to implement a POS system at your coffee shop? 

Heartland is the point of sale, payments and payroll solution of choice for entrepreneurs that need human-centered technology to sell more, keep customers coming back and spend less time in the back office. Nearly 1,000,000 businesses trust us to guide them through market changes and technology challenges, so they can stay competitive and focus on building remarkable businesses instead of managing the daily grind. Learn more at