Small businesses assess cost and analyze return on investment (ROI) in greater detail than large corporations do. In the coffee industry, product and equipment are key. If there are no beans, the drinks cannot be made. If the espresso machine fails, it debilitates the business. Beyond your product and equpment needs, what other items are critical to the successful operation of your coffee shop? Often times the Point Of Sale (POS) system is overlooked and considered low on the priority list, or coffee shop owners may feel like they can’t afford the fancy coffee technology (but you totally can!)

Coffee Shops spend the same average amount on their espresso machine that they do on their POS and yet the POS is often treated like the red-headed step child because owners simply don’t have time to focus on it while focusing on their customers. This is unfortunate since a POS can help an owner truly build their relationships with their customers. POS systems can track customer activity, provide reminders for events such as a customer’s birthday and offer perks with loyalty and promotional offerings.

Think about your favorite restaurant. Do they know you by name? Do they know what you typically order or like? Are they investing in you? Typically the answer is yes. If your favorite item is not available for any reason do you leave or stay and choose something else simply because you know you will be taken care of? When the staff has your history and has learned about you, you feel special and important. Isn’t that what most people want from their favorite places? The POS can help make this possible. When you have a POS that can interact with your staff to help build a relationship with your customers, this helps build your business allowing you to focus on other priorities like the boiler going out on the machine.

If your POS goes down, how will your staff know how many punches, points or how much money a customer has available on his account? Not having a working POS can be just as debilitating as not having a working espresso machine. POS’s are computers and computers need regular maintenance the same way any machine does. Taking the time to implement a simple daily checklist to maintain the POS with the same diligence as maintaining your espresso machine can save you hundreds of dollars -more importantly save you hundreds of loyal customers. Here are some recommended best practices for maintaining your POS:

  • Back up your register data to an external source (USB stick, external hard drive, etc) daily.
  • Store those backups separately from your POS (don’t leave the thumb drive plugged into the POS).
  • Turn off the POS nightly. If this is not possible in your environment, reboot the computer at least once a week.
  • Get a good, known-brand Anti-Virus installed and running on your POS with active scanning enabled.
  • Keep up on your Windows Updates. Security patches are part of these available update and will help keep you safe.
  • Make sure your POS is running on a support Windows Operating System. If you are not, you do not have a way to be in compliance or fully secure.
  • Do not run the POS as the Windows Administrator account. Have the staff log into Windows with a limited-user account to help prevent potential viruses or malware from installing on your POS.
  • Limit internet access. The POS is not designed to be the staff’s portal to social media. It is designed to help run your business. Keeping staff off of the internet on your POS helps prevent viruses and malware from being downloaded and keeps the staff focused on your customers. Keep the POS in a well ventilated area and clean. Dust bunnies are not only annoying, but can clog your computer’s fans, leading to it not working.