POS Recommendation needed

matthoover

New member
Jan 9, 2009
24
0
Hi all,

My business partner and I are planning on opening a small coffee bar in his 12-unit loft apartment building in Pittsburgh, PA, of which I am a resident. My partner is securing financing and working mostly behind the scenes while I've been entrusted to setup and run the shop. I'm in the process of selecting equipment now and I have some major obstacles to overcome. I hope someone out there can help.

POS system: I really would like a FAST, SIMPLE touchscreen POS system. Everything I see out there is ugly, way too busy, and has so many extras that I'll probably never use that just slow down the transaction process.

Ideally I'd like something Mac-based, but I won't be picky. It just needs to have a nice interface with big, simple, programmable buttons that I can edit to reflect my menu and program to sequentially ask whomever is ringing up the sale what extras the customer is ordering. I'm not quite sure why there isn't anything out there that looks great and operates as smoothly. If I were a programmer, I'd just do it myself, but I'm not.

I'm also trying to make a decision on basic equipment as well. The coffee bar will seat 6 with 2 indoor, 2-person tables and 3 outdoors, 2-3 person tables when the weather permits. I plan on serving a simple, but high quality menu and will probably use Intelligentsia as my supplier. The shop will be very modern and industrial (the interior space is concrete, brick, and we're using a lot of stainless steel, tile, and wood veneer and the outside features a pull-up aluminum & glass garage door) and will feature a 40" LCD HDTV, good music, and special events. I'm also going to find a pre-made foods partner to carry breakfast & lunch foods, pre-wrapped.

I'm really trying to find a Clover for under $5k and top it off with a Synesso to compete with another top coffee shop in town but I may have to wait. Can anyone recommend, along with a POS system, a good quality line of equipment to use?

Thank you very much - I look forward to any and all advice.
 

kcooley

New member
Sep 20, 2008
20
0
Richmon, TX
I have to say, I really like my POS. I don't know if it runs on Mac, though. Check it out: Restaurant Pro Express with PC America. I got mine and all the peripherals through the guys at HCDI Trading. I thinks it's one of the least expensive ways to go. And, I noticed Bill Rancic recommend the software on that reality show "We Mean Business"!
 

CCafe

New member
Aug 11, 2004
1,557
1
Des Moines, Iowa
About your comments on the Clover.

Honestly I don't think its worth the hype. Lets face it everyone everywhere is trying to reinvent the wheel. I've talked to a few people who've tried it and their honest opinion was its no where near worth the price that its has been offered for. They didn't have a euphoria feeling or an orgasm drinking a $7 cup of coffee. They did tell me it was a good cup but they felt that most coffee shops that they have visited served the same thing.

I know there is a machine out there for about every thing. But I would much rather walk in to an establishment and ask for a cup of something, watch them break out a brew station funnel and some coffee and make it that way then some kid throw some coffee in a machine and charge be $$$ to watch it come out the other side.

Seeing the All Mighty Starbucks has picked up the line now just reinforces that feeling in myself. If they are so high on the horse then why was their last quarter revenue down 96%. Save your money and invest it in to a brew station that supports 3 to 5 cups. You'll be able to produce drinks faster and of high quality for a fraction of the price. You could even charge a little more for a freshly made cup and a little less for what is sitting in the carafe.
 

caffe biscotto

New member
Jan 18, 2008
704
1
MASS.
Ha ha ha, Jim I was going to say something too, but better it came from you. I think I'm already on CCafe's bad side these days. Heheh too funny...
 

PinkRose

Super Moderator
Staff member
Feb 28, 2008
5,219
6
Near Philadelphia, PA
Hello, "matthoover"

It's rare to hear of someone opening a coffee bar in a 12-unit loft apartment building. It sounds like an interesting project.

When you wrote, "The coffee bar will seat 6 with 2 indoor, 2-person tables and 3 outdoors, 2-3 person tables when the weather permits," does that mean that when the weather permits, your total seating capacity will be 10 people indoors and 6-8 people outdoors? Are you expecting your business to come from the residents of the 12 unit lofts, or will you have a lot of other street traffic?

Rose
 

CCafe

New member
Aug 11, 2004
1,557
1
Des Moines, Iowa
caffe biscotto said:
Ha ha ha, Jim I was going to say something too, but better it came from you. I think I'm already on CCafe's bad side these days. Heheh too funny...


I know I'll never hear the end of this one but I gave him a 1 hour ban for giggles! :shock:
 
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matthoover

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Jan 9, 2009
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  • #10
PinkRose said:
Hello, "matthoover"

It's rare to hear of someone opening a coffee bar in a 12-unit loft apartment building. It sounds like an interesting project.

When you wrote, "The coffee bar will seat 6 with 2 indoor, 2-person tables and 3 outdoors, 2-3 person tables when the weather permits," does that mean that when the weather permits, your total seating capacity will be 10 people indoors and 6-8 people outdoors? Are you expecting your business to come from the residents of the 12 unit lofts, or will you have a lot of other street traffic?

Rose

Hi Rose,

Thankful for reading my post and taking the time to respond.

We're really excited about the prospects of our business. My partner owns the building and simply has always wanted a coffee shop in the building, and since moving in we've become great friends and he approached me several months ago to partner with him on this project. Being that he owns the building and cares more about it just being there than making money, he's not charging the business rent, so there's a huge bonus in terms of overhead.

We are worried a little because the neighborhood is a recovering, blighted neighborhood. It is turning, however, with artists moving into several buildings, completely renovating them and adding needed character to our streets. This loft building itself is a marvel.

After changing around our floorplan slightly since I last posted, our shop will probably be able to accommodate 6 bar patrons and 4 table patrons inside, obviously for a total of 10. In the warmer 3/4 of the year, the outside seating will give us approximately 4-6 more seats. The area doesn't have a lot of foot traffic, since it is mostly residential and commercial/industrial, but there are over 300 workers employed within the 3-block area to each direction of our location. There is a brand new loft apartment complex scheduled to be built two doors down from us within the next 2-3 years.

Our main source of customer will have to be through-traffic. We are located on a main corrider connecting downtown to a very busy neighboring section of the city. More importantly, there isn't any competition for 6-8 blocks or more in either direction. We'll have enough street parking that we can control due to property lines for probably 6-8 cars at a time, with more public parking yet on the same block, enough to double that. Through-traffic is good: approximately 400 cars per hour during morning and mid-day hours, 600+ cars per hour during the evening rush hour. That could be exciting. New development & events could improve on those numbers yet.

So the shop is small, but the lure is great, as my marketing talents and the "brand" we're creating will be very cool and very hip, in masculine, non-pretentious coffee drinker sort of way. I still want to serve great coffee and use great machinery, but I also want it to be a great experience for people and a place people can have fun at.

I still don't know which way to go in terms of equipment or POS systems. I'd like to buy used to save money and upgrade later, but I don't want to buy cheap stuff. I played around with PayGo POS and was not impressed. I've dropped my desire to run Mac-based system - I just want something easy to use that looks great.

Thanks for your interest - let me know if you have any suggestions!
 
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matthoover

New member
Jan 9, 2009
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kcooley said:
I have to say, I really like my POS. I don't know if it runs on Mac, though. Check it out: Restaurant Pro Express with PC America. I got mine and all the peripherals through the guys at HCDI Trading. I thinks it's one of the least expensive ways to go. And, I noticed Bill Rancic recommend the software on that reality show "We Mean Business"!


Thank you - I'm going to look into this right now.
 
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matthoover

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Jan 9, 2009
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CCafe said:
About your comments on the Clover.

Honestly I don't think its worth the hype. Lets face it everyone everywhere is trying to reinvent the wheel. I've talked to a few people who've tried it and their honest opinion was its no where near worth the price that its has been offered for. They didn't have a euphoria feeling or an orgasm drinking a $7 cup of coffee. They did tell me it was a good cup but they felt that most coffee shops that they have visited served the same thing.

I know there is a machine out there for about every thing. But I would much rather walk in to an establishment and ask for a cup of something, watch them break out a brew station funnel and some coffee and make it that way then some kid throw some coffee in a machine and charge be $$$ to watch it come out the other side.

Seeing the All Mighty Starbucks has picked up the line now just reinforces that feeling in myself. If they are so high on the horse then why was their last quarter revenue down 96%. Save your money and invest it in to a brew station that supports 3 to 5 cups. You'll be able to produce drinks faster and of high quality for a fraction of the price. You could even charge a little more for a freshly made cup and a little less for what is sitting in the carafe.

I've been cooling off on the idea of the Clover, mainly b/c I can't find one at the right price. I missed the boat on a few that were selling in the $4k range.

Any recommendations on a brew station that won't get me laughed at? What are the brands of equipment to really consider, without spending La Marzocco-type money?

Thank you very much for your advice, I do appreciate it!
 

PinkRose

Super Moderator
Staff member
Feb 28, 2008
5,219
6
Near Philadelphia, PA
Hello again, "matthoover"

It certainly sounds like your coffee shop's lure has a lot of potential.
It's very possible that you may be thinking of expanding after a short time!

I'm interested to learn what you meant when you wrote, "The "brand" we're creating will be very cool and very hip, in masculine, non-pretentious coffee drinker sort of way."

I hope you'll keep returning to this forum and asking questions. You'll get a lot of useful opinions, ideas, and (sometimes lively) answers here. As my Grandmother used to say, "Just take what you need and leave the rest."

Best of luck.

Rose
 
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matthoover

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Jan 9, 2009
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PinkRose said:
Hello again, "matthoover"

It certainly sounds like your coffee shop's lure has a lot of potential.
It's very possible that you may be thinking of expanding after a short time!

I'm interested to learn what you meant when you wrote, "The "brand" we're creating will be very cool and very hip, in masculine, non-pretentious coffee drinker sort of way."

I hope you'll keep returning to this forum and asking questions. You'll get a lot of useful opinions, ideas, and (sometimes lively) answers here. As my Grandmother used to say, "Just take what you need and leave the rest."

Best of luck.

Rose

Hello again to you, Rose!

I really appreciate your sincerity and your interest in our endeavor. My partner has been very successful in previous endeavors - mainly in real estate - and he's always made good money when people told him he couldn't do it. He's a lot of fun to work with. Me, well, I'm young, and I have years of retail experience, but absolutely zero in regards to food service and coffee, so I'm spending my days trying to absorb as much as I can - soon I'll seek out some formal training and I'm excited about that.

In regards to our "brand", I've found that some shops, who I feel do things 100% the right way in regards to the coffee business, are a little intimidating for the layman looking for a good cup of joe and a really nice, laidback, yet hip & cool environment to enjoy their drink/food in. I always feel that when I go into most coffee shops here that since I'm not a, don't take offense to this, but since I'm not a coffee snob, I'm not as welcome in that environment. I think there's an opening for a very nice but very normal coffee bar where, even if you're not a rich coffee connoisseur or a long-haired, pierced & tattooed artist, you can still fit in just the same. I see it in many ways as your local pub, just with coffee instead. Add in great design, music, and personalities, and you've got a really unique and exciting atmosphere.

I just don't want to run an uptight or artists-only crowd type of shop. I think that with that inviting vision and the edgy image in terms of design we're taking, it'll work out well, and yes, we've already found a 3rd partner who owns a building he's preparing to turn into luxury loft apartments - and he wants a shop there too!

Thanks again for your interest - I'll keep you posted.

Matt
 

sarah_9

New member
Jan 27, 2009
1
0
Hello,

First of all congratulations and best of luck for new venture, my only recommendation is related to the interior of your coffee bar, give your coffee bar a trendy and modern look, instead of heavy wooden table go for stylish and movable furniture,the trend of home and garden furniture is really changing very fast, just pick glass table or table with glass top with metal chairs.

Regards,
sarah_9
 

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