Barista Magazine

OCT-NOV 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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THE POINT-OF-SALE (POS) landscape has shifted dramatically in the last three years. As iPad-based systems have largely reached maturity, they also are no longer the only go-tos for mobile and tablet POS. In addition to established iPad POS solutions such as Square, Breadcrumb, Revel, and POS Lavu, an Android-based POS system called Toast—has been quickly gaining momentum. All of these systems have their advantages, but many shop owners are fi nding that certain systems meet their needs better than others. C i t y o f B i g O r d e r s On a breezy Saturday afternoon in Chicago, things are pretty chill at Intelligentsia Coffee's Wicker Park location. Customers walk in straight off of the subway or from one of the nearby apartment build- ings, and fi le past the merch nook to the counter. When they order, a barista rings up their purchases, swipes their credit cards, and fl ips the display over to face the customer. The customer signs, selects whether to tip and how much, and signs on screen. This isn't a new experience, however: When this shop opened in July of 2014, Intelligentsia had already transitioned all of their other shops to iPad point-of-sale systems. At the time, the system Intelli- gentsia used was POS Lavu, an early purveyor of all the features that coffee bars needed, including sign-on-screen, ability to offer preset tip options at single-dollar increments (something for which Intelli founder Doug Zell and then-director-of-retail Nori Greenstein fought long and loudly), the ability to send orders to a Kitchen Display Sys- tem (KDS) and—the holy grail of point-of-sale systems—cloud-based processing, reporting, and programming. On this Saturday, however, there's an improved sense of engagement between the barista and the customer. They are closer together. Gone is the awkward wooden construction that housed so many of POS Lavu's extra cords and connections, and the intermittently horrible Bluetooth credit card reader that was still unable to accept chip-enabled credit cards. Back in the early spring of 2018, Intelligentsia transitioned to Toast, founded in Boston, which is quickly overtaking some of the upstart tablet-based POS systems such as POS Lavu, Revel (which Intelligentsia auditioned in several stores around 2012), Breadcrumb, and Square, in addition to legacy systems such as Micros (now owned by Oracle), NCR's Aloha, and other systems that look like they might be better suited to car rental or dental offi ce management. Toast—which runs on Android instead of iOS, and semi-propri- etary tablets manufactured by ELO, with integrated magnetic card readers (EMV has been a complicated journey for Toast) as opposed to iPads—has signifi cantly expanded its customer base in the last two or three years, helped by several rounds of investment (including a recent raise of $110 million, bringing Toast's valuation to $1.4 billion) and a ubiquitous swarm of sales representatives who sell directly to business owners. Contrast that with Square and Breadcrumb, who, despite some channel relationships and partnerships, have relied and succeeded with a build-it-and-they-will-come approach: Most of their sales are handled online and with an inside-sales team fi elding custom- er purchases through their own online portals. A l l A b o u t t h e B e n j a m i n s (and also 2.75 percent of your credit card sales) Square and Breadcrumb are the best comparison, because they also typically represent the other two best options for shops looking to move to a cloud-based, mobile point-of-sale system. While Toast seems to have invested more in networking stability (their tablets are usually Easy peasy: On a recent visit to Undercurrent Coff ee in Charlo e, N.C., Florence Howden, le , enjoyed an uncomplicated transaction interaction with barista Jayme Johnson. 100 barista magazine

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