Coffee shops have a stubborn reputation for being old-fashioned. They’re often thought of as cosy, quaint and teeming with struggling writers clacking out their masterpieces. Unfortunately, this romantically vintage reputation is at odds with the real thing in these modern times. Your coffee shop should embrace restaurant technology as readily as other types of establishments in the industry if you plan to be around for a while. This doesn’t necessarily imply an identity overhaul, it’s more like a natural evolution. If your spot is aching for a dose of tech, I’ve found the innovations you need to enter the 21st century.

Cloud document management

Everyone is moving to the cloud and it’s time you did too. Keeping your documents in the cloud is less risky and more convenient than keeping paper documents. There’s less of a chance that your records will be permanently destroyed, you can keep them confidential with layers of security authorisation and they’re always accessible to you wherever you are.  

Superfast, super-free Wi-Fi

There are two reasons why writers love coffee shops so much. One – all the writers that came before them loved them too and writers are big on reverence and tradition. Two – the free Wi-Fi. Except that’s it’s never really free and it’s usually frustratingly slow. If you want your coffee shop to be the go-to creative hub for the writers in your area, you have to offer them something that other coffee shops don’t. Your Wi-Fi should be free without any conditions (they shouldn’t have to keep refilling their cup to keep using the Wi-Fi, they’re struggling writers) and it should be at least 10 Mbps for optimal streaming.

Social media

Social media is an essential tool for connecting with your patrons in the digital age. For coffee shops especially, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook open up endless engagement possibilities. You can bring your streetside onto your Instagram by posting pictures of your sidewalk chalkboard with daily specials. Twitter is where you can personify your coffee shop by engaging with your followers about trending topics not necessarily related to coffee. Facebook is excellent for keeping track of patron reviews and allows you a platform to respond personally to each review, be it good or bad.

A mobile-ready website

Mobile web is prime real estate. Almost all internet users own smartphones and statistics show that more than half of them reach for their smartphones as soon as they’re awake. If your website isn’t mobile-adaptive, you’re losing out on a large chunk of your potential audience. Your website also creates the first real impression that patrons have of your restaurant before they visit. If it’s unresponsive on mobile, they’re likely to take that as a sign of inefficiency elsewhere in your coffee shop.

Cutting-edge Point of Sale

Point of Sale isn’t solely about ringing up orders. Modern systems can do so much more, including unifying front- and back-of-house operations in one interface and integrating with accounting, payroll and inventory management software. Pilot Point of Sale can achieve all of this and also uses fingerprint recognition for holistic staff management. It can handle shift scheduling, time sheets and overtime and holiday rates.

Download The Definitive 21-century Playbook for more tips about the latest restaurant technology and how to keep up with the times.

Author : Rudi Badenhorst