Professional bakers know the importance of collecting all the ingredients they will need to create a delicious cake, pie, or pastry. Having the right combination of “ingredients” is also critical for reaping a solid return on their investment in a point of sale system.

In addition to the basic benefits of any POS system (simplifying and speeding customer transactions, creating/maintaining a centralized sales record), today’s bakery POS systems should also include features specific to improving these businesses’ operation. Following are four “must-have” capabilities for a bakery POS solution:

Ability to manage custom orders: Some bakeries create special one-of-a-kind products for their customers, and the vast majority of bakeries offer a catalog of cakes that can be personalized with different designs, toppings, or messages such as birthday greetings. Using a modern bakery POS system for entering and managing these custom orders allows a bakery to:

  • Reduce the risk of errors arising from hand-written orders;
  • Create work orders for each custom order, including unique recipe requests (e.g. not using ingredients that can trigger allergic reactions);
  • Integrate work orders with the bakery’s production system, allowing for the creation of special ingredient lists and the use of preset prompts to employees about when different phases of the work need to be started and completed;
  • Keep track of deposits and other partial payments for these orders;
  • Automatically apply special offers and promotions (e.g. coupons or discounts for major customers) into the pricing for these orders

Advanced business controls: Having accurate data about business operations can mean the difference between profit and loss for any business, but particularly for one with the need to sell its products while they are fresh and tempting to customers. Today’s bakery POS systems incorporate a range of data-gathering and analysis tools, including portion control functionalities tied to overall inventory management that can help reduce waste and shrinkage. In addition, POS systems offer time clock and labor management controls to track employees’ hours and productivity. Bakery POS systems with recipe management tools can help train new workers, ensure adequate supplies are on hand for both regular products and special orders and record the processes around creating new cakes, cupcakes, and pastries.

Labeling capabilities: As with special orders, handwritten labels can create confusion and contribute to a less-than-professional look for a bakery’s products. Bakery POS systems tied to printers capable of producing barcodes and other labels offer advanced inventory management and transaction processing functionalities, reducing the potential for shrinkage and speeding up customer interactions. Labels can also include nutrition and ingredient information, which is regulated in many areas, as well as delivery and care instructions.

Business analysis: Bakeries require hard data about which of their products are the most popular, to ensure they are always available – particularly at the times of day (or days of the week) when they sell the best. While the owners of a small mom-and-pop shop may keep such information in their heads, as bakeries grow they will need to rely on automated systems to supplement personal experience and memory. Bakery POS systems offer analytical tools that rank a shop’s best-selling (and worst-selling) items, providing invaluable guidance about what constitutes an optimal product mix at any given time. Such systems can also track spoilage rates, identifying the precise time window for selling certain items and ultimately reducing waste and shrinkage rates.

Today’s POS systems do far more than simply ring up and record transactions. For businesses with exacting customer service, operational and analytical needs, such as bakeries, they can create new levels of efficiency and optimize conditions for profitability and growth.

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