Technology to Improve Your Bottom Line
Coffee Retailers, you know it is extremely competitive out there. You need every tool available to make the difference between profit and just barely making it. This month we talk with three companies who provide essential technology that help you make that difference. First, we explore an exciting new option for roasters/retailers to package their own coffees for the ever-expanding K-cup market and home consumption. Then we talk with two companies who provide an absolutely essential tool to track current sales, employee success, and to even expand market share: Point of Sale systems.
K-cups sales continue to rapidly rise as single-serve options become more and more popular with consumers. The K-cup system is an easy and fast solution for the modern, time-deprived consumer who isn’t willing to devote extra time to learn how to prepare a good cup of coffee at home and/or wait in line in a shop. Up until now, consumers didn’t have much of a choice as far as what coffee they can have in their K-cup packs. You couldn’t just purchase a K-cup pack filled up with the coffee from your neighborhood coffeehouse/roastery. Guess what roasters and consumers, now you can! LBP now offers the “Upshot Solution™” which you can purchase to fill up with your very own coffee and sell to anyone. I sat down with LBP’s CEO Matthew Cook to ask him some questions about this new product.
V. How did you get the idea to produce UpShot filters?
C. Like many of LBP’s innovative products, the UpShot Solution™ came largely from the needs of our current customers in the coffee industry. Many wanted to capitalize on the booming single-serve market. We developed a format that satisfies the desire for quality, speed, control, flexibility and sustainability. The UpShot Solution – an eco-friendly, single-serve filter paired with a flexible production model — is the outcome of those efforts.
V. What are the key features and benefits of using UpShot Solutions™ filters?
C. The UpShot filters are distinguishable next to others in the market for a number of reasons. First, the UpShot filters are compatible with Keurig® and other single-serve brewers, making it convenient for the millions of consumers who already own these brewers. Additionally, our filters are made from a proprietary mesh that allows consumers to both see and smell their coffee or tea from the moment they open the seal —enhancing the sensory experience. When we were designing the UpShot Solution™, sustainability was another key component. The UpShot single-serve format offers a fully recyclable life cycle and is made from 100% polypropylene (resign identification code #5).
V. How do customers get new packaging equipment and can they retrofit the existing equipment?
C. The UpShot Solution™ has many recommended equipment solutions for low and high volume roasters, and options include new and retrofitted systems. We offer engineering and services to help the client choose the best equipment to align with their needs. All equipment solutions provide hands-on control over production and speed-to-market. Customers can get in touch with our team by completing the contact form at www.upshotsolution.com.
V. What is your primary target market?
C. The UpShot Solution is a turnkey process that satisfies the needs of many businesses, from roasters to brands, hospitality chains, foodservice, and office coffee service.
POS – The Key to Operational and Marketing Intelligence
And now let’s get to two fine POS systems currently available at the market: ShopKeep and Coffee Shop Manager. First up, Jason Richelson, the CEO of ShopKeep.
ShopKeep iPad based POS is generating lots of buzz by providing low-cost POS solutions to small business owners around the country. We have got to ask Jason some questions.
V. How did the idea to create ShopKeep come along?
R. I started ShopKeep because I was a retailer myself, and I was getting fed up with my POS. I started having problems with my server and database, and I was getting frustrated because I couldn’t access sales reports or other information from my locations. Then the last straw was when my database stopped because it was full. Everything we were doing was cloud-based, so I wanted to find a cloud-based POS system in 2008. There weren’t any available, so I decided to create my own.
V. Why do you charge a monthly fee to your customers?
R. We charge a monthly fee because we host the data for retailers and give seven day-a-week support. With us, retailers always have a technical support phone number to call and we manage the server and database. We store data, back it up, maintian it, and make sure it is secure; – we take all that responsibility off the shoulders of the retailer. It is a very different model. When retailers go and buy a POS from someone else, they will pay around $2,000 for a computer, printer and cash drawer, $1000 – $1500 for software and usually around $500 – $1000 for training. Once all that is done, they are on their own. If they want support after they have installed it, they end up paying extra. Most other POS system companies charge around $150 an hour for support.
V. How do you convince business owners to switch?
R. If they are not looking to switch we are not calling them. We don’t call people to sell; they call us. They see our advertising and find us online. They don’t even have to talk to us if they don’t want to. They can do it all themselves. They just download it to their iPad, sign up online and are set. Generally if someone already has a POS system, they are not going to switch very soon. But if someone is opening a new store, it would be silly to spend the money to get a 20 year old technology.
V. Does the additional hardware (printer, cash register, etc.) have to be a specific brand and model or can a business owner use some of their existing hardware?
R. As far as most of the additional hardware goes, retailers have to use the one that we specify and we do this because we want to make sure that everything will work as it should. However, they can adapt their existing cash register. They can also buy the hardware required somehwere else, but ideally we want them to buy from us to avoid setbacks. Retailers can buy the entire package with just one click on our website.
CoffeeShopManager — Another Essential Tool
We also have the pleasure of speaking with Duessa Holscher, Marketing Director CoffeeShopManager – one of the leading and largest POS system manufacturers.
V. Why Coffee Shop Manager is a great investment?
H. Well, there are many different reasons. It helps you track sales and employees, improves your accuracy, makes it easier for customers to order, offers mulpitple reward systems and generally just makes things more organized and smooth. Our system was designed for a coffeehouse business from the ground up, so we know what we are doing.
V. What kind of reward system options does CoffeeShopManager offer?
H. You can have prepaid gift and loyalty cards at your store, so you can reward your customers. We work with several companies which custom designs the cards for a particular shop and all the data gets handled by Coffee Shop Manager. Customers don’t even need to the actual have cards with them at the time of purchase. If someone went for a run for example, and forgot their wallet with the loyalty card in it, the barista can use Coffee Shop Manager to pull up all of the customer’s info and serve them their morning latte.
V. What kind of technical support do you provide?
H. We provide full support including remote support, meaning that we can connect to our customer’s POS system remotely through a simple internet connection and fix everything that needs to be fixed.
V. Do you offer any portable POS options?
H. Yes, we now have two tablet options that are becoming popular. We offer two different choices – one of them is HP Windows based tablet oriented mainly towards the retailer’s employees when they walk around the shop taking orders. It provides similar functionality to our original POS system. The other flavor of the tablet we offer is oriented mainly towards customer self-service and runs on the iPad. So if you wanted to set up a kiosk in your shop where people can just self-order their drinks instead of waiting in line for a barista, it would be a great option for your business.
For more information on these profit building solutions be sure to visit their websites.
LBP – Upshot Solutions™ – www.upshotsolutions.com
ShopKeep – www.shopkeep.com/coffeetalk
Coffee Shop Manager – www.coffeeshopmanager.com