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What every café owner should know about using technology to boost their business?

“ Technology is being used to boost profit margins, improve service levels and help gain a competitive advantage by minimising labour costs, reducing food waste, improving business processes and improving meal experiences. ” – Reference: IBISWorld 2013, Cafes and Restaurants in Australia.

Let’s face it: running a café is never easy. Making money from a café is even harder. With many new cafés opening weekly, the market is becoming increasingly saturated and competition is fierce. Take where I work as an example – in a business district within the lower north shore of Sydney. You can easily walk past two handfuls of cafés within a few minutes’ walk. Competition is so intense, that cafés often have to engage in price war tactics to compete for customers. To me, this ultimately is not sustainable in the long run.

Unfortunately, just being able to make good coffee is not enough to win new customers, let alone keep existing customers loyal. There are many factors that directly contribute to the long term success of a café, such as location, quality of food, ambience and service, to name a few. In this article, we will discuss how technology can easily give your café the upper hand and boost profitability by:

• Reducing labour costs
• Improving customer service
• Maximising efficiency in the business
• Increasing customer loyalty and retention

HOW CAN TECHNOLOGY HELP?

Technology can help café operators in many areas of the business. Applying the right ones and using them wisely can give you the advantage over your competitors. Below are some suggestions:

Payment technologies – accept fast cashless payment methods such as MasterCard PayPass and Visa payWave. Speedy payments and spending less time providing change will allow cashiers to attend to the next customers more quickly, ensuring a positive customer experience in your café. Furthermore, spending less time counting till money and going to the bank will help reduce labour and administration costs. If you utilise a Point of Sales (POS) system, make sure you have payments and POS system integrated so that you don’t have to manually key in the amounts. Otherwise, it’ll be counter productive, and you would not have maximised the benefits of your POS system.

Customer profiling – utilising a POS system and innovative payment technologies such as PayPal Checkin is a godsend. PayPal Checkin not only allows you to accept cashless payments, but when combined with spending history stored in the POS system, it will also allow you to better interact with your most loyal customers. Imagine even a new starter at the cashier will know your customers by name and confidently asks, “Good morning, Fred … the usual flat white with one sugar?”

Business Intelligence – if you have never used a POS system before, you may not be aware that a POS system is not just useful for printing receipts. A good POS system should be able to provide you with the right data and intelligence to make informed business decisions. A customer of ours who owns a chain of cafés in the CBD recently told me that they were able to easily adjust staff rosters and operating hours for each individual shop to be more efficient, as they could now accurately identify peak hours for their business using the hourly sales reports from their POS system. They were also able to identify less popular menu items and either removed them from their food menu, or limit the quantity made to reduce food wastage.

Cloud Connectivity – connecting your POS systems to the Cloud is extremely useful. Firstly, if your POS systems support this, you will be able to manage your POS systems remotely anywhere, anytime and conveniently access your reports on the go. Secondly, your business data can be remotely backed up to the Cloud so that in an unforeseen event of something going wrong with the POS system, you will still have a copy of your data safely stored. Furthermore, if you run a multi-site operation, Cloud connectivity will allow you to easily synchronise your staff logins, menu items, price changes, and customer details across multiple stores.

SELF ASSESSMENT

• Do you have a loyalty program to attract new and repeating customers?

• Do you address your customers by name?

• Do you know what your customers usually order?

• How much time do you use to count daily cash takings?

• Do you have an integrated payment solution for a speedy service?

• Do you know the peak hours of your business?

• Do you know which items are selling and not selling?

• Are you able change menu items and pricing with ease?

• Do you monitor food wastage?

For a free consultation, call ViViPOS on 1300 736 119 or visit vivipos.com.au

ViViPOS is a revolutionary purpose-built point of sales (POS) platform. With a presence in major cities worldwide, ViViPOS is renowned globally for its innovative features, ease of use, reliability and stunning design.

By DR FRED YIP, VIVIPOS Australia
www.vivipos.com.au

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