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The Best Bookstore Cafe POS Systems: 7 Must-Have Point of Sale Features


Tessa ZuluagaAuthor

Two great joys in life are getting lost in a book and enjoying a delicious cup of coffee. Together, they make up a strong business idea. A bookstore cafe is a hybrid concept that combines the service of a cafe with the retail business of a bookstore. Today’s modern restaurant technology enables your business to do both without having to purchase different software systems. 

In this article, you’ll learn which software features you should consider to sell coffee and books like a pro in 2023 & beyond.

What is the most popular POS system for cafes?

There are several different coffee shop POS systems to choose from for your bookstore cafe. However, something to keep in mind, is whether or not the POS platform you’re evaluating is specifically for restaurants and enables you to sell books. While some retail POS systems might work for a restaurant, they often come with drawbacks and missing features that can complicate your day-to-day processes.

Another consideration is whether to choose a cloud-based POS or a legacy POS system. Some examples of cloud-based POS platforms include Toast, Square POS, Lightspeed, and Clover. Examples of legacy POS platforms include NCR and Oracle Micros. When it comes to the benefits of a cloud-based POS system, greater flexibility, cleaner data, and frictionless guest experiences top the list. 

All in all, it’s important to choose a POS system that can grow with your cafe and help increase efficiency for your baristas.

How the G2 Grid Restaurant Review Scoring System Works

G2’s scoring system is based on thousands of customer reviews and a unique algorithm that helps to process the data and find meaningful patterns and results in real time. Here’s a breakdown of the different elements in the grid and scoring system.

  • X-Axis: Satisfaction, based on user reviews and feedback

  • Y-Axis: Market presence, based on proprietary usage data, third-party data, and customer reviews

  • Top right quadrant — Leaders: The restaurant POS systems that have both strong customer satisfaction ratings and a strong market presence Ex. Toast, Square, Lightspeed

  • Top left quadrant — Contenders: POS systems with weak satisfaction scores and a strong market presence Ex. NCR Aloha POS

  • Bottom right quadrant — High performers: POS platforms with strong satisfaction scores, but a weak market presence e.g.. Upserve, CAKE

  • Bottom left quadrant — Niche: These platforms have weak satisfaction scores and a weak market presence Ex. POSitouch, Payfacto

The G2 scoring methodology and grid system incorporate several attributes to surface the most helpful reviews for prospective technology customers. Some of the factors in satisfaction rates include customer satisfaction with product features, popularity, quality of reviews, age of reviews, net promoter scores (NPS), and more.


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.


Toast for bookstore cafes

Toast's Starter Kit package is the ideal POS system for cafes with fewer employees. With the choice between a countertop or handheld kit, Toast’s Starter Kit helps you get up and running fast with intuitive tools that help your staff focus on food and hospitality, not complicated software. 

The Toast Pay as You Go plan keeps startup costs low by including Starter Kit Hardware for $0* (just pay shipping and taxes), and eliminating monthly POS software subscription fees. The payment processing fee covers all costs, meaning Toast only gets paid when you do. One flat rate applies for all credit card transactions, regardless of card type and entry method.

(Have a bigger staff? Schedule a quick demo today with a Toast specialist to discuss which Toast products and packages would be best for you.)

With Toast, you can serve up coffees or pastries fast with easy and efficient tools, all at your fingertips. From 24/7 reliability to flexible options for every budget, here's to finally getting that me time back.

But don’t just take it from us. Here’s what others have to say about Toast:

Quick to learn, and even easier to use: Toast's restaurant-first platform is built with you in mind. Interested in learning more? Request a demo with a Toast specialist.

Toast for Restaurant Retail

Food service and retail, like books, used to mean different POS systems, but not anymore. You can manage both your coffee shop and bookstore businesses with Toast.

  • One, seamless guest experience
    With both food service and retail on one platform, you can offer guests a seamless experience across both food service and retail, regardless of how they order.

  • Unified reporting & analytics
    No more consolidating reports from multiple systems, with one system for both food service and retail, all of your key reporting information for both sides of your business lives in one place.

  • Leverage the rest of the Toast platform
    Leverage the rest of the world-class Toast platform, from online ordering to the kitchen display system, without having to sacrifice your retail operation.

Also, there is a Toast Shopify integration coming soon! This will enable your bookstore cafe to expand to the e-commerce space to sell and ship books online without having to be in-store.

The top 7 features of a cafe POS system

1. A reliable and modern cloud-based point of sale system

When it comes down to it, everything in the front of house revolves around one thing: the cash register.

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.

Your customer says their order, the server at the cash drawer repeats the order back to confirm, they swipe their card, a receipt prints, and they checkout by signing with a pen. Rinse and repeat. However, the best POS systems enable customers to see their order in real-time on a guest-facing screen, sign with the swipe of a finger, and cut down on wait times. Guest-facing POS terminals do just that, improving order accuracy and giving guests the transparency they want.

2. Scanner for retail capabilities 

In order to sell your books you need a barcode scanner. With Toast SmartScan pulling in key metadata for new SKUs such as product image, vintage, abv, brand, and other key information is as simple as scanning a barcode with your mobile phone. You can also generate and print barcodes directly from Toast for all your items and ensure the latest information is always tied to the barcode - automatically.

Another important add-on a bookstore coffee shop owner needs with their scanner is inventory tracking. Whether looking to update inventory, pricing, or other key information for one or all items Toast Restaurant Retail makes it simple with one easy and intuitive item management screen. With SmartScan you can streamline your business operations and inventory system.

3. Integrated kitchen display system

When it comes to that early-morning rush for the service restaurant part of your business, staff shouldn’t have to fumble with receipt printers to keep up.

A kitchen display system (KDS) is a digital screen used to view orders at a glance. A KDS 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.

4. Easy menu management

If the POS is the heart of the restaurant, the menu is the backbone. 

Having a POS system that allows for easy, on-the-fly menu updates is a must. Being able to 86 menu items helps to avoid poor customer experience and streamline kitchen operations. With a legacy POS platform, every time an ingredient runs out or a menu item needs to be updated in the POS, the entire system needs to be restarted. Imagine that during a lunch rush!? With Toast, it’s as easy as using Quick Edit Mode to mark an item as out of stock. 

Plus, Toast POS uses a hierarchal system to organize your menu offerings into menus, groups, subgroups, and items for better organization and easy access. 

Need to change your pricing? No sweat. Not only can you easily update the price of an item using Toast, but you can also take advantage of size pricing, group pricing, and even time-based pricing for things like happy hours or weekly specials. 

Being able to easily upload, edit, and view your menu is a must for any cafe POS software.


Coffee Shop Menu Templates

Use these coffee shop menu templates as a starting point for your menu design or to give your menu a refresh.


5. Employee management

Having your basic operational tools integrated into one system can be a game changer. Rather than jumping from software to software, the convenience of having an all-in-one platform can simplify your tasks as a restaurant owner. 

Choosing a POS system that will help speed up employee onboarding, facilitate payroll, and ensure your team is paid on time can be a big stress reliever. Then, add in the ability to schedule employees and communicate with your team, too?!

With Toast Payroll & Team Management and Sling by Toast, restaurateurs can do all of that and more. Save time, reduce miscommunication, and streamline vital HR processes with an integrated POS platform like Toast.

Download the restaurant scheduling template to schedule your restaurant staff’s shifts.
ToastBuilt for Restaurants

6. Online ordering integration

Having a seamless online ordering solution integrated with your POS saves both your staff and customers time. The fact of the matter is that your guests are on the go, and want their coffee to be ready when they arrive at your cafe. Set up a beautiful online ordering site that showcases your brand with custom font, color, and images to let your guests know it’s the restaurant they love.

Plus, mobile dining solutions such as Toast Mobile Order & Pay™ 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!

7. Cafe loyalty program & gift cards

In 2023 customer loyalty is of the greatest importance, especially for small business cafes. Offering a high-quality 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 2023, 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. 

Meanwhile, gift cards are a great way to offer future experiences to your guests. But what good is a gift card if you have to jump through hoops to redeem it? The best cafe POS software allows for integrated gift card sales and management. With integrated, digital gift cards, guests can check their balance easily online, from your website or your online ordering site. And, since they’re integrated with your POS, many platforms — including Toast — offer reporting & analytics to analyze gift card sales by day, week, month, or more and see detailed order history on each gift card transaction.

Built for bookstore cafes, built for you 

Toast has helped hundreds of locations with its user-friendly Retail product. Curious about what customers are saying? Kris Larson from Becket’s Restaurant & Wagner Market located in Oshkosh, WI told us,

“Once getting Toast at our restaurant, we loved it so much that we could not WAIT to be able to use the platform at our retail market. [The] Mobile Inventory tools have taken the adding of data from the administrative office to when it comes off the truck. That’s huge and removes the most annoying part of the adding new inventory process.”

You can also check out how Toast for Restaurant Retail helped Snowy Owl become a hybrid retailer here.

At the end of the day, your business needs a POS that has inventory management capabilities for your bookstore while still functioning as a strong system for your cafe. Managing your entire business in one place while creating a seamless experience for your guests is crucial in 2023. Bookstore cafe business owners can start streamlining their process today with Toast Restaurant Retail.

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DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only, and publication does not constitute an endorsement. Toast does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, graphics, links, or other items contained within this content. Toast does not guarantee you will achieve any specific results if you follow any advice herein. It may be advisable for you to consult with a professional such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor for advice specific to your situation.