Imagine yourself as a customer or a casual coffee lover. On a fine Sunday, you are walking down the busy alley lined with one coffee shop after another. How do you decide and choose where to go for your morning cup of coffee?
Managing a coffee shop is more than just the taste experience. An ideal cafe experience is a collective result of convenience, ambience and service that a customer feels from the cafe. When all coffees are likely to taste the same, how do you establish a differentiation such that customers will come back to you on a regular basis? How do you make your brand and your products a solid standout?
Invest in Technology to Improve Your Customer Experience
The benefits of having efficient cafe technology simply cannot be understated. In this day and age, people come in with the expectation that every aspect of their lives are going to be improved or eased by technology. Customers want two things: traditional service hospitality and convenience of modern technology. In the restaurant scene, for example, 73% of diners expressed that their experience is affected by the restaurant’s use of technology.
The times we are living in has simply made investing in technology more than just a luxury but a necessity. Here in Bean and Barley, we understand that the reality is often not that simple as for a budding cafepreneur like you, there might be aspects of the business that need more allocation. But here’s the thing, the availability of technological options is a critical factor for your consumers.
Cafe technology creates a domino effect on all aspects of your operations including employee scheduling, kitchen management, and customer service. The presence of technology over your cafe has three key benefits including but not limited to increased efficiency, improved customer experience and cost-savings.
If you are on the other side of the fence when it comes to investing in a good cafe management technology, read on to find out why this should be on the top of your priority list.
Embrace efficiency in operating your cafe
Synonymous to efficiency is automation. The more parts of your business are automated, the less time is consumed and wasted on your or your employees’ end.
Automation is gradually shaping the coffee industry - now, more than ever.
In 2019, UCC Coffee conducted a survey among out-of-home coffee consumers in the United Kingdom and asked what they expected from coffee shops. 8 out of 10 respondents told them consistency was the most important factor when visiting a café. This tells you that across the coffee supply chain, from production and roasting to brewing, consistency has become an important factor.
Introduce automation even in your counter through Point of Sale systems which will enable you to streamline food and drink in order to reduce waste. This will also help baristas to see what drinks and food should be prepared. This level of information actually impacts the amount of time that customers wait for their drinks - which connects us to our next point.
Cultivate an environment for a better customer service
Technology is an integral part of keeping today’s coffee lovers happy. And not just happy, but over-the-moon kind of happy.
Imagine what happens when you run out of ingredients for your drink or your food. Your customers won’t take too kindly to finding out that the drink they regularly get from your cafe is not available. Although running out of main ingredients to whip them a good drink will not have huge consequences on the outside, some irate customers might simply opt for a different brand instead. You are facing the risk of your customers dealing with their disappointment rather quietly, but also taking their business somewhere else. The solution? Inventory management.
Inventory management systems will ensure that your cafe is fully-stocked. You can also use technology to your advantage by providing a wider range of ordering options. Customer ordering functions that are enabled by technology include online ordering, digital signage, kiosk stations and even tablets on the table. This will provide your customers a more pleasant experience.
Now here’s the more fun and interesting part. You can use cafe technology to create a loyalty program that will encourage coffee lovers and prospect customers to spend more for them to redeem free or discounted drinks. Look at how My Starbucks Rewards is doing it. The specialty card that comes with this flagship reward program is a staple in customers’ wallets. Technology plays a role in popularizing loyalty programs and enabling them to work because they incorporate a mobile experience along with customer interaction.
Increase your profits and monitor your inventory
An efficient cafe technology often correlates with higher revenue. In the restaurant industry, diners who place their orders from tech-enabled tables or waiting lines tend to spend as much as 12%1 more than customers who order from normal tables or whose orders are taken from those little notepads.
Can the same be said for cafes? We think so.
When you provide the simplest of technology - say an iPad with a custom built Google form, you provide a browsing experience for your customers that makes the process of ordering and payment nearly seamless and achievable with just a few clicks. You can upsell with additional orders, too!
During busy hours at the counter, providing fast service is important to clear the queue quickly or give your customers the time to order extra courses. A more efficient service that provides hot drinks on time will also reduce the number of customer complaints. Less complaints only mean more savings and higher customer impression for your coffee brand.
An inventory management system will also help you monitor and eventually increase your profits because you will be able to track your stock levels in an orderly manner. When this part of your business is running smoothly for you, you will save yourself the pain of over-spending on ingredients. Remember that in a cafe, your ingredients are likely to spoil fast and early if not used. You will also be able to budget more accurately, thereby giving you an insight into the items that are fast-moving in your cafe. We really like how modular solutions like Mosaic help you make the right decisions by not only maximizing your profits through inventory management and intelligent purchasing, but also by providing valuable insights through their unique analytics module.
As a coffee brand that prides itself on offering a personalized service, your cafe will also benefit from a customer relationship management (CRM) technology that familiarizes your employees to your regular customers’ preferences at the touch of a button.
Experience higher employee satisfaction and engagement
Investing in good technology for your cafe will boost your employees’ morale. When parts of their jobs are automated, they are able to focus on areas of their core competencies that need more time and sensitivity to be completed.
Utilizing a software that focuses on workforce management will also enable you to make informed decisions regarding the staffing of yoru cafe. You will also be able to assign the right people that possess the right skills for appropriate shifts. In a study by the Aberdeen Group, researchers saw that due to efficient and transparent scheduling of employees, there was a 5% greater workforce capacity utilization and a 24% higher engagement in their staff. Automated staff scheduling will give your staff the convenience of receiving their schedules in advance so that they can plan their lives more smoothly outside of work.
Automated staff scheduling gives staff the convenience of receiving their schedules in advance so that they can better plan their lives outside of work. Communicating with your employees becomes a breeze when streamlining their workload through a workforce management software that enables them to collaborate. You can even automate payroll, too. Many cafes are choosing to rely on employee schedule software or online scheduling websites to avoid risking human error which can prove costly in the long run.
Another cafe technology that you shouldn’t miss investing in is a Point of Sale (POS) System. Cafe employees have plenty of responsibilities to juggle, often to varying degrees of difficulty. In relation to our earlier point, a POS system will almost certainly take the pressure off from them having to closely monitor stocks on a daily basis on top of manning the counter and perfecting the drinks. Both the front and back end operations of the cafe will not have to stress themselves about ingredients running low and explaining to customers why some beloved items on your menu are not available. This is a nightmare you would want to avoid right from the get go.
Understand that you’re selling more than just coffee
It’s the whole experience that comes with the magic of your coffee brand. The goal is to provide an oasis through ease of experience. If it was as simple as a need for caffeine, every person would just buy their own espresso machine at home to make their cups whenever they need them.
But it goes far beyond that. While quality food and drink will remain the top priority, they go to your cafe for the ambience, comfort and convenience it offers. They frequent a coffee shop to escape the stress of the office or experience a dynamic view to the basic need of connecting with others. A properly set-up technology such as offering free Wi-Fi encourages them to stick around and keep coming back.
Investing in restaurant technology
Investing and adapting different technologies for your cafe can come with the downsides too. Some of your employees may find it rather challenging to familiarize themselves with the interface and get to grips with new systems. But the advantages far outweigh the negatives when it comes to getting your cafe up to speed with capitalizing on strategies and utilizing technology. We have created a society where customers now expect technology-enabled services and failing to cater to these wings could mean disaster for your cafe. You will find that the most appropriate technology will make a good complement or even an extension of your great service to customers.
Cost will always be a factor when investing in automation but as the technology refines and becomes more accessible, your cafe will benefit in the long run. Make no mistake, when you are budding to have a cafe, not every form of technology is a must-have. In deciding which type of technology to implement first, you will have to carefully analyze and plan which of these systems and tools will most likely provide the quickest return on investment to your cafe’s most urgent requirements.
To avoid the financial burden that comes with implementing technology, consider taking the piecemeal approach.
Do you want to know how this works? Talk to us.
Does technology guarantee a closer step to achieving perfection in the way we make coffees? Who knows. But as we dive deeper into the world of honing this art, there will be more questions than answers. For a budding cafe tying their bust to run a profitable business in a highly competitive market, having technology on your side will help.
15 Benefits of Investing in Restaurant Technology - Deputy. Deputy. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.deputy.com/blog/5-benefits-of-investing-in-restaurant-technology.
2Grant, T. (2021). How is automation shaping the coffee industry?. Perfect Daily Grind. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2021/07/how-is-automation-shaping-the-coffee-industry/.