Cafe POS systems: Everything you need to know | ResDiary

Cafe POS systems: Everything you need to know | ResDiary

When running a cafe, you need to ensure you have all the top tools at your disposal. A great point of sale (POS) system is one of the most important investments you can make.

Whether you're just starting out or looking to make a switch, this guide will provide all the information you need to select the right POS system for your cafe. It covers the key elements of a POS system and tips for optimal usage in a cafe.

We'll even address how you can benefit from integrating your POS system with table management software like ResDiary.

What is a point of sale (POS) system?

A point-of-sale system is the combination of hardware and software that allows your business to process sales and perform other functions. It is essential for the smooth functioning of your cafe.

A POS system includes hardware like a terminal that processes information about a sale. Attached – often wirelessly – to the POS terminal are peripheral components like card readers and receipt printers.

The other essential component is software. Point of sale software is necessary for the essential function of a POS system, which is to process sales.

Whether you need to serve a single coffee or handle split bills from the same table, you need reliable POS software to make it happen.

However, more elaborate POS systems can be used for a wide array of functions, especially if you integrate your POS system with tools like your table management system.

Some of these functions can include:

  • Customer data collection
  • Inventory management
  • Loyalty programs
  • Marketing tools

What makes a good cafe POS system?

Cafes have many unique features when compared to other hospitality venues. As such, there are several key areas you’ll need to focus on when selecting the right POS system for your cafe.

Reliability and support

Reliability is a must for any good POS system. An inability to process payments can bring your venue's operations to a screeching halt.

Read the reviews and find out what other restaurant owners have to say about any POS system you are considering.

In the event that your POS system does go down, you must ensure you have access to customer support. Cafes operate at different times to many restaurants, such as the morning coffee rush.

As such, ensure the perfect POS system for your cafe offers customer support at these times.


Running a cafe can be utterly hectic. However, making use of cafe point of sale systems that integrate into other functions of your cafe can serve to make your life much easier.

For instance, you can integrate your POS system with your table management system. POS systems collect all kinds of valuable sales data.

With a comprehensive TMS integration, this data can easily be used for analytics, such as identifying bestsellers. You can also use the information to automatically update your inventory record.

Many popular POS systems boast additional integrations including loyalty programs. Loyalty programs such as "Buy 10 coffees, get 1 free" can be highly profitable for cafes.

Ensure that your chosen POS system can integrate with all the other technology you use to keep your cafe running smoothly.

Low fees

Most POS systems charge a fee per transaction. This can be a percentage of the cost of the transaction, often around 1-3%. Some POS systems will charge additional flat fees on top of this percentage.

These flat fees can be problematic for cafes. Cafes can have far lower spend-per-head compared to sit-down restaurants due to customers coming in for a single coffee alone. This can make flat per-transaction charges from POS systems problematic.

To avoid having to pass these fees onto your customers in the form of higher prices, look for a POS system with lower flat rates.

Ease of use

19.1% of hospitality workers in Australia changed jobs in the 12 months to February 2023. As such, your cafe should be prepared for frequent staff changes.

The POS market is highly competitive, so you certainly cannot assume that your incoming staff will have ever used the same system your venue uses.

That's why a POS system with high ease of use is essential. It should be possible for new staff to quickly enter the workplace and learn how to use the system proficiently.

Security and Compliance

Data security is top of mind for many. It's critical that the POS system you implement is compliant with data security regulations to protect customer payment information.

For instance, the Square POS system is one example of a system that complies with Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards. This ensures your customer's data is protected in line with industry best practices. It is achieved through measures like end-to-end encryption and monitoring for fraud.

Using a PCI-compliant POS system like Square means that your business does not need to individually validate your state of compliance. Choosing the right POS system ensures you don't need to stress about security concerns, and you can focus on making your customers happy.

5 benefits of integrating POS system and table management system in cafe

A POS system can be much more than simply a way to accept payments. One of the best ways to leverage all the benefits of a cafe POS system is to integrate your POS and your table management system.

Here are some of the best reasons to integrate these 2 essential components of your cafe.

1. Efficient order management

Table management systems can be used to take and manage orders from an array of sources. For instance, ResDiary offers features and integrations for online ordering for delivery and takeaway, as well as online at-table ordering.

An effective integration of these systems means that all orders placed can be efficiently managed within your TMS. This can enable your cafe to expand to online orders, and the many benefits that come with it.

2. Data analytics

The technological innovations available to restaurant owners offer newfound opportunities for sales reporting and other data analysis. This information can be used to transform your restaurant's approach and open new doorways to profitability.

Some of the top ways to take advantage of data analytics when integrating POS and TMS software in a cafe include:

  • Identifying bestsellers.
  • Identifying products with strong upsell or cross-sell potential.
  • Easily accessing financial data to report on turnover, profit margins and more.

3. Loyalty programs

Loyalty programs can be especially effective for cafes. Coffee is a daily purchase for many, so giving customers an extra reason to return to your venue repeatedly can be highly profitable.

While you can enact a loyalty program without needing to integrate POS and TMS software, there are several advantages to doing so.

Firstly, it means you can implement online orders into your loyalty program, meaning your customers never miss out if they order takeaway or delivery.

Additionally, if your loyalty program is digital, you can automate its operation to a far greater extent with a comprehensive integration. With the right functionality, you can enable your POS system to automatically update a customer’s account when they make a relevant purchase.

4. Inventory management

Staying on top of your inventory is crucial for any business. With EPOS and TMS integration, this process becomes far simpler.

As orders are processed through your POS system, you can automatically update your inventory management software. You can then access real-time data during service, allowing your staff to know which menu items are in danger of running out.

Inventory management functionality can also enable your business to more intelligently order stock. This helps to reduce food waste and save money for your venue.

5. Employee management

Many POS systems go the extra mile and even offer employee management functionality. This can range from allowing management to schedule shifts to clock-in/clock-out functions.

When you integrate your cafe POS system with your table management system, managing employees becomes even easier. You can analyse booking data and shift scheduling all in one location, making it easy to analyse when you risk overstaffing and understaffing.

This prevents hectic lunches without enough employees available, as well as avoiding having staff standing around with nothing to do. You can work to ensure you always have the right team available when you integrate your POS and table management systems.

Tips for training staff to use a cafe POS system

To ensure your team can get the most out of your cafe's POS system, here are a few tips to follow:

  • Training modules: Many leading POS systems come with built-in training modules to help staff get up to speed. This can be an immensely useful asset to take advantage of. Keep an eye out for this feature when selecting your cafe's POS system.
  • Get hands-on: Give your staff plenty of chances to utilise the POS system in a hands-on manner with appropriate supervision. For many, this is the ideal way to learn new skills.
  • Update training: POS software is often updated with new and improved features. Regularly update your staff training to ensure your team is familiar with all new functions or changes. You don't want to be caught out in a busy service.

Enhance your cafe with ResDiary

Integrating your POS system with your restaurant reservation system is the perfect way to optimise your cafe's processes. From superior order management to highly effective data analysis, don't miss the chance to elevate your business.

ResDiary's functionality goes well beyond its integration with POS systems. Throw away your diary and take advantage of intuitive booking management that can be shared with all members of staff.

Other ResDiary features include the queueing app W8List and the automated phone service ResPhone. Book a demo today and discover how a unified approach can transform your cafe.