The technology I’m observing is the iPad Point-of-Sale (POS) stand at my favorite cafe in the city (and conveniently located a few blocks away from NYU): La Colombe. The set up is as follows:
- One person mans two check-out stands at the counter
- When one customer is signing for their transaction, the next customer in line is waved over to the other stand to process their drink order
- Meanwhile, baristas are taking orders from 2~3 people in line to maximize efficiency
- Two baristas to execute easier drink orders (drip coffees, ice coffees, etc.) and 1 barista on more complicated drinks (cappuccinos, lattes, espressos, etc.)
The technology perfectly complements the context of serving New Yorkers with wallets out in advance and need their caffeine fixes fast. The employees keep the lighthearted small-talk to a minimum and the transaction process is smooth and transparent. After punching in the order, the employee swerves the iPad around to face the customer to confirm the charge, tip amount and sign for the transaction. The average transaction time for customers paying with credit cards is approx. 17 seconds.