Thursday, August 22 2019
There's nothing like the smoke of a hookah lounge wafting all around you while your customers talk and laugh with friends. As a hookah place, your mission is to provide a relaxed location where your guests can congregate and take a load off after a long day. In the interests of keeping that laid-back atmosphere while your clients partake of the shisha, you need a point of sale system that is similarly easy and isn't going to stress you out.
Now, if you're only just opening up a hookah bar for the first time, you may have a lot of questions about how to start this kind of business, including the critical decision of what kind of POS you should use. You want something with a simple interface for you and your customers, that is also able to take a variety of payment options in addition to tracking your sales and even your inventory. Throwing in some reporting and analytics functions wouldn't be bad, either. Of course, to keep your operating costs as low as possible without compromising quality, you're going to want a POS that is a good overall value as well.
So, where do you start? Well, here are some possible candidates for a good POS that would work well with a hookah lounge:
1) Cafe Cartel - Cafe Cartel provides a number of POS packages that can serve both your hardware and software needs, and in fact they have hookah-lounge specific software that you can use. This software includes quite a few functions that you may find useful, such as a flavor-mixing tool and the ability to store recipes. The software will also track your inventory and tell you which flavors are selling best so that you're not wasting money and time on anything that isn't selling well. Part of growing your business, after all, is adapting to the market, and this company certainly provides the tools for that.
In terms of hardware, they offer the usual staples you would expect from a company with POS solutions. They have different POS displays to choose from, as well as a number of cash drawers and credit card machine options. These are all available for an upfront cost per item.
2) ShopKeep - Though less specific to a hookah lounge, ShopKeep's bar POS system is tried and true; and though you may not serve alcohol, much of your inventory management needs may be the same as an establishment that does. ShopKeep is a great little POS that tracks your sales, tracks your inventory, and runs quite fast so that you don't have to keep your customers waiting. You can run it all off an iPad and this can certainly save you a bit of money on the hardware side as well.
Since ShopKeep is available for a low monthly fee, and is one of the most economic POS solutions out there, you may want to consider this system in spite of its genericness. Their software is simple and easy to learn, so chances are you won't have to spend too much time trying to figure out how it works. If you do get confused, ShopKeep provides great support as well. Though everything is pretty straight forward and easy to set up, you can still contact them any time and they will talk you through your technical difficulties.
3) Revel - Similar to ShopKeep, Revel speaks to that trend of less expensive, more accessible POS systems that even fledgling businesses can easily afford. Though they don't have a POS system that caters specifically to hookah bars (and most of the major players in this field don't), they do have a bar and restaurant package that may work just fine for you. Their POS software lets you keep track of ingredients so that you know when you're about to run out based on sales, and it lets you keep track of tables if you offer table service for your customers. As with ShopKeep, there are a slew of reporting tools as well, so that you can keep an eye on the trends of your business.
4) Square - No small business POS discussion is complete without mentioning Square, since it suits all sorts of businesses, even the ones that are too small to be able to sacrifice some of their cash flow to a monthly fee. Like ShopKeep and Revel, Square represents a cheaper, much more efficient generation of POS software that doesn't cost an arm and leg to run, including the fact that it can use very simple tablet hardware to get the job done. In fact, with square in particular, you don't technically need anything more complicated than a phone running Android or iOS and a small piece of Square's hardware as your credit card scanner. Unlike ShopKeep or other emerging brands of POS, however, there is no monthly fee and Square simply takes a small percentage of your cashless transactions for their pay.
As you can see, Square is simple—even simplistic. Of course, this can be either a good thing or a bad thing depending on your goals. If you're looking for something complex that can keep track of what flavors you are mixing and whatnot, this may not be your ideal POS. It's also not for you if your sales volume is large enough that just paying a flat monthly fee would make more sense for you. However, if you are just starting out and you want something that won't cost huge amounts up front, and that will work easily with existing tablet hardware that you have, Square might be for you.
So if you want to start your own hookah bar, or else you are looking to change things up, consider some of these POS systems. They can help organize the operation of your lounge, by not only taking your customer's payments, but helping you to keep track of all the details. As a business owner, you're probably aware that organizing your business can save you a lot in time and money. At the very least, it will make things easier when it's time to do your books.