Another customer inspired blog post! Deanna from Crema Caffe asked how to combine gift cards this holiday season.
Like a lot of business owners, Deanna has customers with gift and prepaid cards. During the holiday season, those customers sometimes receive an additional card or two as a gift. Now the customer has two or three cards in their wallet or purse and all of them have a balance!
Fortunately, SP-1 makes this transferring of balances very simple and smooth.
Let’s assume that our customer is named Phil. Phil has two gift cards. One that he has been using for years (we’ll call that Card 1) and one that his brother gives him this year (Card 2). Obviously Phil would rather only carry one card. When Phil comes into your store you will take the following steps!
First we check and see how much money is on card 2 by swiping it in Gift Card Inquiry. We then remember (or write down) the balance. Then we swipe card 1 as if we are going to re-load it with money.
Enter the balance you remembered – this is how much money we are putting on card 1. Complete the ticket, select gift card and swipe card 2. You are done!
What happened? It’s easy – to transfer balances, we simply pay for card 1 with card 2!
This blog was inspired by a discussion that our training staff had with one of our local customers. The store brought a new manager in and wanted to get them familiar with SP-1. In the middle of the training it was discovered that the store had some outstanding account balances and it was apparent that some of the staff was confused by the differences in gift cards, customer accounts, account payment and running a tab.
Let’s start with Gift Cards . . . In our system, a gift card is really a “cash card”. You put money on it and take money off it. It’s really that simple.
So what’s a customer account or profile? Well, they are really two different things. Once you create a “customer profile” you have opened a powerful set of options. You can now assign that persons cash (or gift) card to their customer name. Keep in mind that this is just a way to identify a person. If you then pull up that persons profile by name, card or phone number, you will be able to see their last order (and every order previous). This is a great way to increase your speed of service as a large percentage of people order the same item every time.
If you have a customer profile created, you can choose to activate customer accounts. Accounts are similar to gift cards in some ways but there are key differences. An account is basically allowing a customer to run an extended tab. If a business orders $100 worth of product from you once a week, you may choose to bill them for the product – this is a good use of a tab. It is possible to run a negative tab, where the store owes the customer money. This is a good use for bartering etc.
Finally, there is another method of tabs. If you place a ticket “On Hold”, then the order is not paid for. This does not require a customer name or information. This method of running a tab is only intended for same day payment. If you are running a tab over multiple days you would use the accounts method.
Employee management is a subject that comes up often when talking about SP-1 as a Point Of Sale. SP-1 has a number of ways to help you stay on top of your employees. . .
Let’s start with the basics. Each employee can be assigned an individual number and then clock in and out. This can be done by a code and password, swipe card or even fingerprint id. It all depends on the amount of security you need.
Every ticket created logs the employee who started it. That’s right, every ticket shows the employee code used to start it. This gives you the instant ability to ask the right employee about tickets. By the way, that’s also recorded on the end of day reports and in our audit tracking.
Assigning security levels. Because each employee is a unique number you can have managers and employees that have different security levels. This also allows you to create different responsibility levels based on the employee and not an arbitrary number.
Assigning cash drawers. Employees can be assigned to cash drawers. This allows you to better manage accountability and watch cash.
Hopefully you have all seen that we are now carrying a line of tablets for POS use. The question now becomes “what would I use it for?”.
Well… Let me give you some suggestions . . .
Line Busting: The most common thought with tablets is to line bust. The scenario is that your customers come in and are waiting in a line. Instead of waiting for the customer to hit the counter, order, pay and wait for the product, we switch it around some. While they are in line waiting, you send an employee with a tablet down the line for pre-orders. Now the overall perceived time spent waiting for the product is cut down. This is a great way to help in busy locations.
Pre-Ordering: This is similar but a little more involved. The goal here is to immediately engage the customer as they walk in the door. The employee takes the customers order while standing face to face with the customer. Once that order is taken, the customer can then move through the line to pay at the terminal and pick up the drink. One big advantage here is that once the order is placed, most customers are more willing to wait and less likely to leave.
Drive Thru: Take the concepts above and apply them to customers waiting in line at the drive thru. This can allow you to have an employee get out and pre-order for the drive thru windows.
Table Service: Have your server use a tablet at the table to take the customers order. This allows you to make full use of the up sell (forced modifiers) capability of SP-1 as well as speed up table turns as well as a more accurate order.
Take it outside: Do you have seating outside? Using a tablet can mean that you can dedicate an order taker to handle those orders and make it more convenient for your customers.
Tablets. It seems that we hear about tablet ordering every time we turn around. There are a number of companies jumping on the tablet bandwagon. Is this just fad? I don’t think so. I think the issue with most of the tablet POS systems is that they are focusing on the hardware and “cool” factor and don’t really have any substantial product from a software standpoint.
Does a tablet have a place in coffee shops and restaurants? Yes! Can they add value to a store? Absolutely! What is required is to have a stable, reliable and full featured POS software to integrate in the right way with a tablet.
SelbySoft has been working on a tablet based system for our customers for a while now and we are happy to announce that we have it ready!
This is a complete handheld unit with a 10″ screen that is perfect for mobile orders, table service and line busting or drive thru lanes.
Please call us to learn if a tablet is right for you and to see how we can help!
Today we have a guest post from one of our friends in the industry. Ed Viser has worked with a number of our customers on design issues. He has always had great insights on what to look for when designing a coffee shop or restaurant and has allowed us to include some of his thoughts in this blog!
From Ed Viser– Principal Designer – Cafe Design & Architecture:
Recently, I had been asked by Specialty Coffee Retailer Magazine to provide some insight on coffee shop design and construction. Their primary reason for asking me I feel was to create a “Do-it-yourself” guide for the retailer on design and construction of coffee houses. They asked me for a rule of thumb on constriction costs etc…There really is no rule-of-thumb for the amount of money you can spend on the design & construction of your shop. Specialty coffee houses can be beautiful with a minimalist design or sport lavish décor. The key is to identify your front-of-house concept considering demographics, style, location and your budget. You might also visit other restaurants and cafés and see what works, what doesn’t work and develop or add to your personal ideas & style.
For service line ergonomic layout, some owners will do minimal coffee bars with espresso & drip or pour-over coffee; others go as far as adding beer and wine to the menu. It should be obvious, (but for first timers it usually is not), that the more you increase your menu offerings, the more expensive the equipment, infrastructure, design & construction budget will have to be. So in order to keep a lower budget, get your menu refined and then start planning.
Don’t trade experienced ergonomic design for a layout done by a part-time consultant or a local equipment dealer to cut costs! This superficial savings will cost you money down the road when you realize that your baristas lack of functionality is due to improper ergonomics, and also results in longer wait times for customers. Another consideration for economizing your design when purchasing equipment, you can most likely find like-new, (but used) equipment for a fraction of the cost of a new piece.
Speaking of functionality and ergonomics, every location has its ups and down of flow, exposure, storefront, traffic, etc. So while planning your shop, always consult a professional. A good professional will help you with site selection, location orientation, approach, signage and general visibility issues.
Louis Sullivan, a well-known architect from the Modernist Movement, said, “Form follows function”. This is especially true when you have a few dozen pieces of under-counter, and counter top equipment to plan for ergonomically. You don’t want to create overlaps in worker circulation behind your service line, nor do you want equipment to be obstructive to the patron’s experience.
In our experience aesthetically, you want to maximize your front of house exposure with good lighting and a non-cluttered setting. Good flow that is obvious is always helpful. Don’t mix styles of casual furniture; this may have been fine in the old coffee shop days like “Congo Square” inSanta Monica, when eclectic was not a bad word. Today’s specialty coffee bar requires more sophistication aesthetically. If you insist on going at it alone, you can always get good ideas from what’s around you. But in order to not make the same mistakes they made, do more research and call for a consultation from a professional designer (not to be confused with a decorator).
Ed’s contact information:
Ed T. Viser, CID
ncidq certification #8672
ccidc certification #5786
There is so much that SP-1 does it’s challanging to be aware of all of it! Here are a couple of things you might not be aware your system does! Both of these came up recently with current customers so I thought I’d present them here!
1) Color coded buttons. A great feature in SP-1 is the ability to color code and highlight modifier buttons. This provides you with a way to visually break up the on screen menu as well as aid the eye in finding specific groups or items.
SP-1 supports ten different colors to choose from for these buttons so you can easily create different groupings of items.
Some examples of different groupings might be using a specific color to separate your milk choices from other items, using two colors to distinguish between meats and veggies and so on