Coffee Shop POS Technology to Grow Your Cafe in 2022

Cafe Hero

You opened your coffee shop because you love caffeine and hospitality, not cash registers. We’re here to make sense of which cafe POS technology to use in 2022.

Restaurant technology is constantly changing, but nothing has caused a bigger shift in how consumers use technology than the COVID-19 pandemic. Many states completely shut down restaurants in March 2020, causing owners to shift to takeout-only models. And when indoor dining returned, it was with an emphasis on contactless options. Clearly, technology has played a large role in determining coffee shop success throughout the pandemic. 

Whether you’re just starting your journey as a cafe owner or you’ve been in business for years, here’s the POS hardware and software you should consider if you want to serve a lot more lattes in 2022.

(Not sure what a point of sale system is? Start here.) 

Cafe technology hardware

When it comes to running your coffee shop, you have enough on your plate. From deciding on your menu and hiring employees to providing great hospitality and managing inventory, being a cafe owner is no piece of cake. But choosing the right point of sale (or POS) technology for your restaurant will make a lot of these tasks easier and more efficient.

Types of coffee shop POS hardware

POS terminal 

When it comes down to it, everything in the front of house revolves around one thing: the register. After all, without a POS system, you wouldn’t be able to process orders or collect payments. So while you may have the friendliest baristas in town or espresso strong enough to wake up the whole city, the POS hardware you install helps keep track of cash and, in effect, keeps the doors open for more customers.

The objective is to create efficiency. Finding a terminal that’s easy-to-use and train employees on—as well as one that can manage all on-prem and off-prem order sources in one system—can help integrate FOH and BOH to reduce ticket times and improve customer service. A cloud-based POS terminal helps link the various technologies you’re using, such as handhelds, a kitchen display system or KDS, a payroll system, and more.

Toast Point of Sale
Learn how a better point of sale system can help you run your restaurant.

Guest-facing POS screen

This is how it’s always been: your customer says their order, the server or cashier repeats the order back to confirm, they swipe their card, a receipt prints, and they sign with a pen. Rinse and repeat. 

But what if your customers could see their order in real-time on a guest-facing screen, sign with the swipe of a finger, and cut down on wait time?

Guest-facing POS displays do just that, improving order accuracy and giving guests the transparency they want. 

Kitchen Display System

When it comes to early-morning rush hour, staff shouldn’t have to fumble with paper receipts.

A kitchen display system, or KDS, is a digital screen used to view orders, that replaces printers and physical tickets. Some kitchen display systems can even automatically fire orders based on prep time, ensuring that one item doesn’t get cold while another is still being prepped. Plus, having a KDS allows your staff to be both efficient and sustainable by cutting down on paper use.

The Cafe and Bakery POS Comparison Tool
A free, customizable Cafe and Bakery POS Comparison Tool to research and compare point of sale systems in one Excel spreadsheet or editable PDF.

Self-ordering kiosks

Self-ordering kiosks allow guests to place and customize their orders themselves. They free up your staff to focus on other parts of the business; a huge advantage during times when you’re short-staffed or in the middle of a lunch rush. Out of peppermint syrup? No worries. With a kiosk system, you can easily make menu updates on the fly and 86 items that are out of stock. 

Handheld POS

If you own a sit-down cafe, handhold POS technology is a great option for you. Your servers can take orders directly from the table—no more running back and forth from customer to terminal. They’re an amazing tool to have on hand for line busting during your busiest times and, overall, drive a better experience for guests. 

Toast Go® 2
The Next Generation of Handheld POS

Contactless payment options

The pandemic expedited what’s been a long-simmering push toward contactless POS hardware. Offering contactless payment options, whether via a tap reader at the terminal or with an option to order and pay at the table, allows customers to maintain distance from staff and makes it easier to pay quickly and safely. Plus, order and pay at the table can be a huge delighter for guests; this technology means that your regular who works remotely from your cafe can order a second coffee without having to get up! 

Cafe loyalty programs 

Offering a rewards and loyalty program for your regulars will keep them coming back time and time again. Gone are the days of punch cards to keep track of coffee orders; in 2022, it’s all about digital loyalty programs.

Designed to attract and retain guests, loyalty programs allow guests to rack up points-based rewards that can be customized by you. From setting up sign-up bonuses and accrual and redemption rates, or even special rewards for birthdays or anniversaries, loyalty programs reward your frequent supporters and gamify the experience of visiting your cafe. 

“The Toast POS has been a great asset in building our customer loyalty and communication, through marketing and rewards add-ons and seamless integration with the customer displays in-store. Customer retention/loyalty can be a bit of a moving target, but the tools Toast equips us with are perfect for navigating the customer's needs and response.” - Christian J, coffee shop owner

(Read the full review on G2)

Software that provides reporting and analytics

Once you have the hardware set up in your cafe, it’s time to make your data work for you. If your goal is to increase efficiency and grow your cafe this year, make sure to find POS software that tracks coffee shop sales and keeps tabs on every coffee bean and cinnamon scone from delivery to checkout. Reporting and analytics technology helps you run your coffee shop from anywhere and make better business decisions.  

Toast Reporting & Analytics
Learn how to get the data you need to power your restaurant's performance.

Other things to keep in mind when choosing coffee shop POS technology

  • No use crying over spilled oat milk! Whichever POS hardware you choose, make sure it can withstand the wear and tear of accidental drops and spills.
  • Your POS technology should be versatile enough to process different payment options and support both online and offline orders. 
  • User-friendly POS hardware is a must, whether your staff is taking orders or customers are using self-service kiosks. With relatively high employee turnover in cafes, implementing a POS system that’s easy to use will make a huge impact when onboarding new baristas.

Having the best POS technology for your cafe can make a huge difference

Whether your coffee shop is a quick grab-and-go spot, or a place for students to spend hours in with their laptops, it’s important to find the right POS technology for your needs. This will ensure maximum productivity for your staff and a terrific experience for your guests.

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