Coffee shops used to be places where you would sit down with a friend to chat over a cup of coffee. Nowadays, an average coffee shop hosts a multitude of people who are there for different reasons.
You will find digital nomads working in a quiet corner with headphones on their heads, joggers who just popped for some freshly squeezed orange juice and a coffee-to-go or a group of business partners having an informal meeting.
4 Technology Solutions To Coffee Shop Business
And it’s not just guests that are different, it is also the theme – you have cat cafés, Harry Potter or Star Wars-themed coffee shops; some that serve coffee in jars, others only have high tables, etc. This versatility is liberating but also challenging since there is a lot of competition out there.
However, many coffee shop businesses have resolved this conundrum by implementing certain tech solution to gain a competitive advantage. So, let’s take a look at some solutions your business can benefit from.
1# Introduce supplies ordering automation
Regardless of the exact offer of coffee blends and brands in your coffee shop, if you have it on the menu, you need to be able to make it.
Customers dislike ordering something only to get refused because you are out of a particular blend. Meaning, you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you realize you need some supplies only after you have already spent them because, at that point, it is too late.
You also cannot expect your employees to constantly monitor whether supplies are running low, so the best manner to go about this is to analyze your invoices.
That will show you how often you order certain items and in what amount so that you can automate the process of reordering them.
In that case, your ordering system only needs to be checked from time to time. So, your employees don’t waste time, you don’t waste money, and your coffee shop always delivers its promise.
2# Embrace POS Technology
One of the key features in the business of providing any kind of service is that everything has picked up the pace.
Your guests are bombarded with information from all sides, they do their shopping on the bus ride to work, and don’t have time to interpret menus, wait for the waiter to come and take their order, forget something, then come back to check the order and in the end bring a cold beverage.
For the ordering, delivery, and payment process to run smoothly from both the customers and the employees’ point of view, you need to have a structured system backing everything up.
This is why many coffee shop owners have opted to introduce mobile POS systems because they make table side orders, as well as managing and delivering orders more efficient.
Customers also welcome this change because it expedites the payment process and allows for the bills to be split or merged.
3# Digitalize working schedules
Do you have an impromptu schedule hanging on the wall your employees write and re-write when they swap shifts?
Well, even if you are more organized than this, you need to pay closer attention to the working schedule system because the schedule needs to be transparent and that nobody, apart from special cases you agreed previously on, is privileged.
Of course, the schedule you make shouldn’t be set in stone because there is no reason two employees cannot swap their shifts if it suits them both.
However, you still have to ensure that everything is fair and square which is why you need a software solution that will allow you to create a schedule easily, edit it quickly, monitor the number of working hours, and extract statistics when you need it.
Your employees should have access to it but not editing permissions because just one person should be in charge of ensuring impartiality.
4# Automate your marketing efforts
Marketing plays a significant role in your efforts to improve and expand your business simply because no business can grow without people knowing that it exists in the first place.
Word-of-mouth marketing is still perhaps among the most efficient strategies to expand your customer base, but having a more digital approach will help you keep track of the number of customers that drink coffee at your place, especially the number of those that come regularly and bring new people with them.
To get these data digitalized, the smartest move is to create an affiliate program and offer, for instance, for the nth cup of coffee to be free of charge.
This free cup of coffee is not a loss but a benefit because it gets you their data so that you can keep track of, for instance, the frequency of their visits and their favorites blends.
This means that you can customize their experience and send automated notifications to their e-mails or social media profiles when there’s a happy hour or a similar special offer.
And if you do this portion well, you can expect for each satisfied customer to bring you one more person to join their ranks.
Over to you
These are just some of the tech solutions coffee shop owners have implemented in their daily operations to boost their sales and streamline certain processes.
Just as each company is different, no coffee shop business is the same so you would need to first analyze the area of your business that needs help the most to choose the most suitable solution.
Some owners might be reluctant to invest in technology because they are still managing to run their coffee shops with a pen-and-paper strategy way but what they don’t realize is that technology has become a crucial element of everyday life.
These solutions may currently represent a competitive advantage but in a not so distant future, they will be mandatory. So, hop on the tech train on time and provide your coffee shop with a strong base to build success on.
- How Does Restaurant Mobile App Drive Your Food Business?
- The Usage of Online Marketing in the Restaurant Business
- 6 Mind-Blowing Food Packaging Ideas For Your Restaurant
AUTHOR BIO: Sophia Smith is a lifestyle and social media blogger, and a graphic and UX designer. She is an aesthete and photography lover by heart who absolutely loves everything that includes visual communication. Lately, she writes about digital marketing topics, from content to social. She has contributed to a number of publications including Women Love Tech, Leader Maker, Legal Reader, Businessing Mag, Ruby Connection, Cause Artist, and many others. You can find out more about her writing by following her on Twitter.