Running a coffee shop can sometimes feel like an unending series of daily challenges. From training baristas in the fine art of coffee preparation to trouble-shooting balky machinery, there’s usually more work to do than time available to complete it. Yet most coffee shop owners and managers wouldn’t trade jobs with anyone because few other lines of work provide the close connections they’re able to make with their customers. Though this is an important factor, so is a coffee shop inventory app.
The restaurant supply company VinePair profiles three coffee shop managers who all agree that their favorite part of the job is serving and interacting with their clientele. They emphasize the energy they feel as they talk with their customers, and how energized their customers are in return. Coffee shop regulars soon come to consider their servers “like family,” and the feelings are reciprocated with each loving pour.
Establishing and maintaining this close relationship with their customers is what motivates coffee shop managers to constantly improve the quality of the products and the service they provide. A vital but often overlooked aspect of offering stellar customer service is efficient coffee shop inventory management, which today is synonymous with the use of a coffee shop inventory app.
Keep Your Customers in Mind When Planning Your Inventory
Managing a coffee shop’s inventory is about much more than maintaining a running tally of stock on hand. BizFluent points out that efficient inventory management begins by knowing your customers:
- Are your customers looking for a quick to-go cup to bring to work in the morning, or are they more likely to sit at a table and linger over a custom brew while they catch up on the news of the world or lose themselves in a good book?
- Do they prefer to have their custom drinks prepared for them, or are they do-it-yourselfers who would rather add their own flavors, sweeteners, and creamers?
- Are they satisfied with a selection of snacks and baked goods displayed near the cash register, or do they have a yen for an expanded food menu featuring a range of hot and cold dishes?
Your inventory choices depend directly on the products your customers demand today and those they’ll favor in the future. Just as coffee trends never stop changing, your menu will need to be expanded and adjusted as your customers’ tastes and preferences evolve. So if your shop is situated in an area frequented by tourists, for example, don’t hesitate to add souvenir mugs, bags, and even t-shirts to your store. You can also promote coffees roasted locally or in-house, or add other regional products, such as local flavorings.
What to Look for in a Coffee Shop Inventory App
Inventory costs represent a large chunk of a coffee shop’s total budget. Business plan vendor Bplans estimates the startup costs for a typical coffee shop total $142,320, of which $16,027 will be dedicated to startup inventory:
- 12 regular brands of coffee beans and 5 decaffeinated brands will cost $6,000.
- Coffee filters, baked goods, teas, other beverages, salads, sandwiches, and other edibles will cost $7,900.
- Napkins, coffee bags, cleaning supplies, and other consumable items will cost $1,840.
- Office supplies will cost $287.
Your coffee shop inventory app will need to be able to accommodate the following operations:
- Print barcodes and other labels for items, automatically generate order tickets on payment and support paperless receipts via digital signatures and tipping flow.
- Customize your menu in real-time to reflect inventory changes, and update all stations simultaneously.
- Display sales in real-time on all stations, support sales analysis to spot trends, and track your suppliers.
- Issue alerts automatically when inventory levels drop below a preset level.
- Support variations of products, fixed and variable-priced products, and product bundles.
- Provide inventory logs, report on stock take, and generate purchase orders.
Making the Connection Between Inventory Management and Freshness
The most important factor in determining the success of a coffee shop is the quality of its products, whether regular and specialty coffees and teas, snacks, or other menu items. The Balance Small Business emphasizes the link between freshness and consistently high-quality coffee:
- Source the best fresh-roasted coffee beans available.
- Use quality espresso machines, grinders, water filtration systems, and other equipment.
- Serve only fresh baked goods and other snacks.
- Make sure baristas and other staff are well trained, knowledgeable, and competent.
- Keep the menu fresh by offering your own one-of-a-kind creations.
The National Coffee Association of America reports that 60 percent of all coffee beverages sold in 2018 were specialty drinks, continuing a trend that began in 2010. The number-one tip offered by coffee-equipment vendor Espresso Gurus for a coffee shop’s success is serving the best espresso, which requires totally consistent quality — 80 percent or 90 percent quality simply won’t do. Avoiding even one bad latte or cappuccino means ensuring each cup is brewed with freshly roasted beans originating from the best sources.
Among the other tips offered by the Espresso Gurus are to ensure that your employees’ workstations are well designed and near cash registers, to offer loyalty cards, and to keep your menus simple so customers aren’t overwhelmed with choices.
The ultimate goal of a coffee shop inventory app is to improve the quality of the products it offers and to make the operation more efficient by avoiding oversupplies and undersupplies. By managing inventory levels in real-time, a coffee shop ensures that the beverages, snacks, and other products it sells are as fresh as they can be. And in the coffee business, nothing beats freshness.
Learn more about how the talech POS system helps coffee shops and other retailers optimize their inventory management and other vital business processes. We work with you to determine the best ways to meet the needs of your customers and employees so your business can thrive. We take the time to learn your business so we can balance your specific needs with your budget and comfort level in a custom POS system implementation. The result is a valued investment that will pay for itself in short order. Reach out to us today to sign up for a free demo and learn more about how talech can be your valued partner in the POS world.