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Point of sale (P.O.S.) has a huge effect on the feel of your shop. The giving of hard-earned money forces us to ask, “was it really worth that much?” There are only 2 ways that go.

I would like to look at the pros and cons of the two options: before service or after service.

Before service transactions are the standard. You walk into a shop, you tell them what you want and pay. You then go wait in a corner until someone mispronounces your name. After a series of deductive questions, you determine the coffee is yours and hopefully correct.

The pros to this method are the timing and efficiency. It really moves people through a factory line, making it possible to service a large number of people very quickly. The cons, in my opinion, are the lack of interaction, the mulling herd by the bar, and the lack of quality checks. This is very much a fast food approach. The part I like the least is the lack of quality assurance. You pay and tip before you even know if you get what you ordered, or if it meets your standards. I just don’t like that, so I don’t tip for service I have not received.

After service transactions are more like restaurant service. The customer would order, usually to the person making the drink, and would remain there until they received their drink. At the end, they would pay for what they ordered.

The pros to this method are pretty much the polar opposite: higher customer interaction, no confusion of drinks, quality checked before paying. The downside is that it is a slower process. Though you won’t be mulling around at the end of the bar, you will be waiting in line longer.

I favor the after service P.O.S. It allows the barista to create value in the coffee and gives them time to connect with the customers. It is slower, but I also plan to charge quite a bit more than a fast service shop.

Weigh in your opinions in the comments.

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