Home – New Forums New here? Share your story Hi All! New small business owner, looking for advice on pos sytems for my cafe :)

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  • #979100
    CafeKat
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    Hi!
    My Name is Katrina & I have been running my small cafe/Kiosk for less than 12 months. I am a qualified chef with 3 young children & I am thoroughly Enjoying working for myself!
    I have found that running a business is completely different to running a kitchen & have been pretty much learning it all on the fly…apart from a few hiccups so far so good!
    To date I have been using a donated cash register(all I could afford when setting up) That does not have a working printer & is basically a glorified calculator & place to keep cash safe.
    Now that we are in the new financial year & the business is going better than expected i want to upgrade to make the book keeping side of running things easier. I would like advice please from other small cafe owners on the best kind of pos system to invest in?
    I would prefer to buy something that I can easily figure out myself rather than spend $$ on having someone install & show me how to operate so therefore I need something that is easy to program & operate.
    I am unsure if I should spend about $500 & get an entry level cash register(if so what?) or if it is worth the investment of an all in one touch pos system? (again what brands/programs are best & are the cheap ones on ebay any good??)
    Thanks in advance!
    Katrina :)

    #1111927
    Anonymous
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    G’day Kat,

    Welcome to the forum :)

    How exciting for you that business is going better than expected!

    I hope you receive the advice you need shortly. We’ll put a shout out on social media for you and see if we can rustle up any ideas.

    All the best,
    Jayne

    #1111928
    Rhys
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    CafeKat, post: 124764 wrote:
    I am unsure if I should spend about $500 & get an entry level cash register(if so what?) or if it is worth the investment of an all in one touch pos system?

    Hi Katrina,

    Why not get a an all in one touch POS system, and save money at the same time? Take a look at Vend it has lots of great features and is pay by the month from just $39! It can grow with your business, and it feeds direct into Xero (which would simplify your BAS & tax preparation).

    I will have lots of info on Vend up on my website within a few weeks so you can take a look there also,

    Cheers, Rhys

    #1111929
    CafeKat
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    Thanks Jayne, most appreciated!

    Hi Rhys!
    Thankyou for your reply. I have had a look at your website & the vend option. Unfortunately I don’t think it is for me as my business is seasonal so therefore I am trying to limit any ongoing costs so as not to go too far backwards in the off season. I would prefer to buy a system outright as well as any programing. Although I will keep it in mind as you never know it may be a more viable option when I get a better idea of what the best pos solution for me will actually cost.
    Kat :)

    #1111930
    Rhys
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    CafeKat, post: 124799 wrote:
    Hi Rhys!
    Thankyou for your reply. I have had a look at your website & the vend option. Unfortunately I don’t think it is for me as my business is seasonal . . .

    Hi Kat, yes you’re right, you do need to weigh up the ongoing monthly cost against the one off up front fee.

    Good luck with finding a solution that works for you, and with your business,

    cheers, Rhys

    #1111931
    Zava Design
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    Are there any iPad/Android tablet software systems worth looking at? The kind that you can operate via a mounted tablet in your cafe, and then are able to go online on your laptop/desktop to do your account and other aspects?

    Not my area of business at all, but figured there must be something like that out there.

    Good luck, sounds like your business is going well. And seasonal is great, means you get good holidays!

    Cheers.

    #1111932
    Dirk Phillips
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    CafeKat, post: 124764 wrote:
    Hi!
    My Name is Katrina & I have been running my small cafe/Kiosk for less than 12 months. I am a qualified chef with 3 young children & I am thoroughly Enjoying working for myself!
    I have found that running a business is completely different to running a kitchen & have been pretty much learning it all on the fly…apart from a few hiccups so far so good!
    To date I have been using a donated cash register(all I could afford when setting up) That does not have a working printer & is basically a glorified calculator & place to keep cash safe.
    Now that we are in the new financial year & the business is going better than expected i want to upgrade to make the book keeping side of running things easier. I would like advice please from other small cafe owners on the best kind of pos system to invest in?
    I would prefer to buy something that I can easily figure out myself rather than spend $$ on having someone install & show me how to operate so therefore I need something that is easy to program & operate.
    I am unsure if I should spend about $500 & get an entry level cash register(if so what?) or if it is worth the investment of an all in one touch pos system? (again what brands/programs are best & are the cheap ones on ebay any good??)
    Thanks in advance!
    Katrina :)

    Hi Katrina, let me get this out of the way at the start; my company supplies, installs and programs POS systems to the hospitality industry. Have a look at http://www.pipos.com.au to get a better idea of what we do and who we are.

    On a secondary note, in a previous life I have been a Cafe Manager, Restaurant and Hotel Owner and have had over 25 years experience in the hospitality industry. As a person predominately involved in front of house activities I can say without without a doubt that the biggest change for me was the advent of the POS environment – getting rid of Paper and Pen was like a new beginning.

    To move on to your questions:

    1. spending “very little” on getting a basic non programmable Cash Register is on the whole a pointless exercise – the whole point of POS is to have a process whereby information can be gathered in an efficient manner that will provide an insight in to a business’s functionality and profitability. A simple Cash Register will do nothing more than ring up a sale and hopefully tell you how much money came in to the business at the end of the day. If thats all you are after you may as well use a Drawer or “Shoe Box” – they are just as accurate.

    2. Most POS suppliers will provide you with training and programming as part of the total package and will show you how to use all aspects of the POS to grow your business – this will include programming new items, creating specific reports that relate to your specific business needs.

    3. “The more you spend, the more you get” You referred to your bookkeeping needs; most POS systems will provide you with reports that can be used in a bookkeeping context to accelerate the mind numbing tasks associated with Wages, Invoicing and the like. More advanced systems link to back of house software set ups that can do everything from time clocking and rostering, to inventory management and stock control.

    4. Do not buy anything over Ebay or the internet that you have not already physically checked out in person! What looks good on your laptop at home may invariably lead to nothing but anguish and frustration. Make sure that adequate warranties are in place and that there is a “local” support mechanism in place for those moments when something does go wrong – the last thing that you need is for the POS to fail when you are flat out dealing with orders, staff and customers and not being able to contact someone to “fix” your malfunctioning POS.

    5. A basic POS with touch screen terminal, Printer and Cash Drawer will cost approx $5000. This will include programming and installation and and a basic level of service and support. For most “small” operations this would suffice. Good systems will be expandable so that as the business grows the POS grows with the business.

    Katrina I hope this basic run down has been able to provide you with a little food for thought.

    #1111933
    CafeKat
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    Hi again!
    Thanks for the replies…I wish I had found this website earlier!! :)
    Re: Lava designs.To date I havn’t found much with tablets apart from the ones that compliment a larger pos system for table service etc. I will have to research further but I am not a computer genius by any stretch… I have actually only just learnt how to do a spreadsheet!! So I am a bit scared of getting too out of my depth when it comes to technology!
    My seasonal work means that I am busiest when everyone else is on holidays! Although in winter I get alot more down time to spend with the kids & we take Holidays up North where it is warmer.
    On that note,Thankyou Dirk! you have given me alot to think about. All my research on the touch pos systems leads me to believe they would be an awsome tool for running my business more efficiently & proffesionally but my biggest concern is the $$$. I am only open on Sundays from may to sep & apart form being open 7 days during the peak xmas period I am open 3 days a week the rest of the year Plus friday nights when I cater to the bistro upstairs in the Surf club for which I would also need a second terminal &kitchen printer or screen etc these extras all rack up the cost of these systems plus I have been warned about longevity of electrical equiptment being on the beach?? So I am concerned the cost will outway the benefits when I have such a reletively small business, so back to my original questions…is it worth it in my position? I have gone in to business to make money & I don’t want to be working just to pay off the best equiptment when I can get by with the basics & have more $ in my pocket…it is all so confusing deciding when & where to spend $$ considering I also only have a 2 yr lease!:confused:
    I hope that wasn’t too long winded!
    Kat:)

    #1111934
    ViViPOS Australia
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    Hi Kat,

    You can consider ViViPOS POS system, it’s an all-in-one POS system, meaning the software and hardware is fully integrated and comes as a unit. The software is designed for the hardware itself. There’s no “Windows” or a need for antivirus etc etc. The concept is similar to an Apple Mac in a sense that you take it out of the box, turn it on and you can start playing with it. What’s left to do is to input your cafe menu into it. Many ViViPOS owners is able to manage their own menu and change the prices themselves (which is very important to alot of cafe managers). It has a user friendly interface. For $3500, you would get the ViViPOS system, Epson Receipt Printer and Cash Drawer, it’s perceptually licensed, so there’s no monthly fees. So fits to what you mentioned in earlier post. There are dealers in major capital cities. As for the beach environment, we have a customer in Manly beach that currently uses ViViPOS in a “kiosk” environment near the beach, so that should take your second worry away.
    Have a look at our website (http://www.vivipos.com.au), feel free to contact me if you need any assistance.

    Also, there’s mobile ViViPOS – it’s iOS software that integrates with VIViPOS, it can run on iPod, iPhone, iPad etc, so that may resolve your second terminal requirement, so you can take orders around the cafe/restaurant if you think that will help.

    Regards,
    Fred

    #1111935
    Dirk Phillips
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    Hi Kat,

    First and most important – are you going to renew your lease? If the answer is “no” or “I don’t know” then stay away from any investment!!! Run your business as is and leave when your time is done. If however the answer is yes then:

    do a quick calculation of how many hours per week you trade and divide that by your weekly turnover and that will give you a reasonable idea without getting too technical as to whether a POS system is right for you. If you are finding that you are dealing with bottle necks in regard to placing orders and cashing off customers then a POS is the right way to go.

    Nobody should go in to business in order to simply pay off their investments and over capitalising is a crime that is all too commonplace in the hospitality industry. However it is also true that effective investment can lead to a greater rationalisation of the business and will often lead to a reduction in business costs. A effectively assembled POS system will often lead to an increase in sales and a reduction in labour costs.

    There a various ways to finance a system whether through a small business loan, a leasing arrangement or a “try/ buy” method. Sure they create a higher end unit cost but they also allow you to make an investment in your business future without the pain of a lump sum up front payment.

    If you are still confused after doing some basic calculations then a visit to your Accountant is probably your next best bet. He/ She should be able to provide you with a guide as to the suitability of an investment in this area.

    Electrical equipment will not deteriorate faster at the Beach then anywhere else. Salt air corrosion is not an issue for industry strength equipment. Typically, good Hardware should give you 8 – 10 years of productive life.

    Your best bet if you believe in a POS investment is to get POS companies to come to your venue and give you a demo of what they can do for you. All POS suppliers will be happy to show you what they can do – those that can’t give you a thorough and understandable presentation are not worth contemplating. If you are looking at having a demo, I can pass on your details to a colleague who can get in contact with you.

    Do your homework and you will have your answer!!

    cheers
    Dirk

    #1111936
    CafeKat
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    Thankyou so much for all your replies!
    I must say Dirk you reply was very helpful & I have decided after talking to my accountant as well that I would be overcapitalising on buying a touchpos system & that it is more than I need at this stage. I will go with the KISS method & just buy a basic register for my needs…I will buy local as the service will far outweigh any savings buying online. I have also decided to “invest” in a long range paging sytem ($2000) I felt this was going to decrease service times much more than a pos system plus save a wage most shifts!
    Thanks again for all advice
    Kat :)

    #1111937
    Dirk Phillips
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    Hi Kat,

    well done!! getting advice from financial experts never hurts and in the long run will always stand you in good stead.

    wishing you a bright future!

    cheers
    Dirk

    #1111938
    Tall Trees Eco Store
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    Hi Kat,

    I use POSLavu in my bar/restaurant. It’s basically an iPad system and it’s all cloud based (all transactions are kept on the web so you can access data anytime and anywhere). It has cost $500 (iPad), $900 (POSLavu software), $100 (cash drawer) and $29.95 per month (for the cloud). I know you said that you only have a seasonal business and your lease is only for another 2 years however if you spread the cost over the 2 years, it would be approx. $2220 for a new system.

    The only thing I don’t like is it isn’t integrated into an online accounting system. I have to manually input sales data into MYOB. You can now buy web based POS systems that will seamlessly integrate into web based accounting systems saving money and time (try Xero and Vend).

    #1111939
    JARROD SMESGROUP
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    Hi Katrina,

    Hope business is going well! It’s good to see someone looking into options and explore how a new POS can assist their business.

    I understand at the moment they you’re remaining with the cash register for your POS needs, however I think that as business grows it will become essential to implement a POS system that gives you far better visibility into your suppliers, stock and customers.

    If you ever need any advice or suggestions on how this can help and what’s required to implement a solution like this, you’re more than welcome to give me a call on (02) 8214 8412 and I can run you through the pros and cons of different options.

    Good Luck!

    Jarrod

    CafeKat, post: 124764 wrote:
    Hi!
    My Name is Katrina & I have been running my small cafe/Kiosk for less than 12 months. I am a qualified chef with 3 young children & I am thoroughly Enjoying working for myself!
    I have found that running a business is completely different to running a kitchen & have been pretty much learning it all on the fly…apart from a few hiccups so far so good!
    To date I have been using a donated cash register(all I could afford when setting up) That does not have a working printer & is basically a glorified calculator & place to keep cash safe.
    Now that we are in the new financial year & the business is going better than expected i want to upgrade to make the book keeping side of running things easier. I would like advice please from other small cafe owners on the best kind of pos system to invest in?
    I would prefer to buy something that I can easily figure out myself rather than spend $$ on having someone install & show me how to operate so therefore I need something that is easy to program & operate.
    I am unsure if I should spend about $500 & get an entry level cash register(if so what?) or if it is worth the investment of an all in one touch pos system? (again what brands/programs are best & are the cheap ones on ebay any good??)
    Thanks in advance!
    Katrina :)
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