small business

Baltimore Businesses Shouldering the Burden of Riot Aftershocks

It’s never the offending party who pays the price when peaceful protests morph into violent riots, it’s the people who are made to suffer when tensions escalate. The people of Baltimore found this out the hard way last week when some of the peaceful protests surrounding the death of Freddie Gray while he was being held in police custody turned violent. To make matters worse in many cases, it’s the innocent, small, and local business owners who are suffering from the effects of the riots the most.

Baltimore Businesses


For example Richard Sung Kang, owner of the west Baltimore bar and liquor store Oxford Tavern, watched as his American dream came cascading down around him in an array of broken glass. The Tavern was hit by looters over the course of the riots and fortunately wasn’t torched like a nearby CVS Pharmacy, but it’s doors and windows were broken and cash and inventory was stolen, leaving the shelves empty. Now like many other small business owners in similar situations Kang faces the decision of whether or not to reopen most likely at the cost of more debt and significantly higher insurance premiums.

In some instances however Kang and Oxford Tavern got off lucky compared to other businesses. Specifically Café Cartel client, Sky Hookah Lounge (located at 537 McElderry Street in Baltimore) was shooting to open at the end of April or the beginning of May, but the lounge was ransacked by looters forcing them to delay the opening even further. Adding insult to injury the owners are stuck paying rent while they work to repair their business and get it re-ready to open. They even had to delay the training of their new point of sale system since the beginning of the riots. Hoping to get some good news out of the situation the owners have been combing over security footage to see if they can discover the perpetrators.

Things have been a little better for large corporations operating in Baltimore than for the small business owners. CVS Health Corp in particular has already expressed its plans to rebuild the burned out store. Spokeswoman Carolyn Castel said, “We have a long history of serving inner-city communities and we remain committed to serving our patients and customers in Baltimore.” The company doesn’t yet have an estimate on the damage done, but the fact that they are already committed to re-opening is a positive for the Baltimore community.

Roughly 200 small business on the other hand were unable to open the day after the riots according to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and many might not ever recover to the point of reopening their businesses.

Baltimore Business Riots


Historically cities hit by riots in the 1960s such as Newark, Washington D.C., and Detroit have taken decades to recover.  Which means that it will take in spite of all the suffering inflicted by the riots Baltimore business owners, both big and small, must come together they will surely be able shoulder the burden of all the riot aftershocks.

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Liquor Store


Get Your Head out of the Clouds: The Real Cost of Cloud Based POS

Cloud based point of sale (POS) systems are becoming increasingly popular amongst small business owners all over the world, but are they really the best option for your business both financially and with the features they provide?

The answer to that question is a resounding no. Despite a few obvious up-front advantages which are used to get customers in the door, more often than not cloud based POS systems do not provide as much of an advantage as their providers would lead you to believe.

For example with a cloud based POS system you will be able to manage your business on the move, possibly incur lower upfront costs, get instantaneous updates to your POS software, you won’t have to directly deal with ensuring your data is secure, and you’ll even be able to give your employees access to the software outside of work. However in this case the cost simply outweighs the benefits.

Cloud Based POS Pricing Data

As you can see the purple chart represents typical pricing for cloud based tablet POS system and the green represents a CCS hardware based POS solution. With the cloud based tablet system you will incur lower upfront costs because the cost is more spread out over the course of the year; with CCS you will pay more upfront, but substantially less as the year goes on. Ultimately leading to a lower overall first year expense if you chose to use a CCS POS solution instead of a cloud based system. That doesn’t even mention the 3 year warranty on equipment that comes standard with your CCS solution compared to the 1 year warranty you’ll get with most cloud based solutions.

With that pricing information in mind here are a few more cons to using a cloud based POS system in your business.

Monthly Leasing Fees

With a cloud based POS system you will be paying a monthly leasing fee for the duration of time that you are using the system. If you would have went with the CCS option you’d own it by now. No more annual renewal fees. No more feeling trapped.

Be Sure to Budget for Annual Updates

With a cloud based POS system comes automatic annual updates, which in theory sound awesome. That is until you realize that with the latest and greatest version of your software comes unforeseen higher costs. The costs coupled with the fact that you have to update your software at a time that is convenient for your provider, but not necessarily your business can make these updates more trouble than they’re worth.

Internet Dependent?

With a cloud based system if the internet goes down so does your POS system. Now tethering such an integral part of your business to the internet, which can go down, is a risk some companies will make that even more difficult by blaming any issues that they have on the internet your internet service provider.

Now that you have all the facts, it will be that much easier to get your head out of the clouds and switch to a CCS POS solution. Request a quote today.

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Food Truck POS

Butcher Shop Set Up For Success

butchershopButcher Shops are back in business!

The early small butcher shops were taken over my big box stores, but now customers are realizing the quality of shopping from a traditional butcher shop.

With the enthusiasm of local farm food, ethical and sustainable animal treatment and high quality food- butcher shops are on the rise to satisfy these rising customers.  Let’s discuss the key points on making your butcher business successful in this growing industry.


  • Quality. The benefits of running a small shop with just one product focus is that you are able to have control over the quality of the meat. Customers are coming to you with high expectations of fresh meat and top produce that they will not always find at supermarkets.
  • Relationships. These small shops differentiate themselves as a specialty store where customers get individual attention. The relationship between the workers and customer is exquisite with customer recognition, assistance/advice, social involvement all while providing friendly service.
  • Customization. Since the customers are local residents, butcher shops should be encouraging to making personal orders and fulfill family requests. From preparation for providing meat for a party, teaching customers how to cook special meat best or even selling certain items in advance from requests all adds to exceptional customer service that only small businesses are capable of achieving.


Shop Management and Efficiency:

Use a point of sale system to keep track of inventory for business to run smoothly.

  • manages item transfers from the butcher to the cashier

– won’t have to print out separate tickets of barcodes

  • manages all types of pre-packaged items that are in the store
  • shows products sold and which meat inventory is low and needs restocking
  • allows you to develop an effective system where you know how much of what you need

– will help your displays be filled with the freshest produce at all times

  • manages employee and administrative tasks
  • keeps inventory recipes on the system for portion control


For more benefits see the Best Butcher Shop POS Software


Managing Theft at a Convenience Store

The secret recipe for a successful convenience store is to maintain “security” and “control”. Convenience stores deal with many scenarios of external and internal theft. External theft of robberies trying to take cash or products and internal of employees not following their obligatory duties.  Many stores are adapting a new system as a way to solve both problems simultaneously:

Cafe Cartel’s POS Surveillance System.



– limits available inventory (minimal theft loss and less temptation)

– the combined POS system matches purchases with camera

– simple and economical integration of both POS system and surveillance

– manages all administrative purposes to be accurate

– installed alert system keeps everything up-to-date for strict control

– promotes integrity in the workplaces


The Point of Sale System and the Surveillance feature provides a simple and economical integration to get you started right away. This is a powerful method to reduce, and hopefully eliminate, the age-old problem of convenience stores.


Employee Scenarios:

– give a discounted price to customers that are their friends

– clocking out for other employees

– taking inventory for themselves

– not ID or scan a customer for age (alcohol and tobacco sales)


  • The system can be accessed through Android/iPhone streaming, has a built in DVR to use as a reference and comes with a high quality camera so that no misconduct goes unnoticed.

Cafe Cartel’s Point of Sale with integrated security system will alert you to these scenarios to prevent it from continuing.


Running a convenience store has been a huge risk and a stressful business for owners. Do not allow your business to suffer from theft and violations anymore and enjoy your earnings with this efficient POS surveillance integration.


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How to Get Ahead of Vape Store Competitors

 eJuice1Taste the Rainbow, I mean E Juice


There is a strong following for vape products and flavors, but there is even a bigger market size of people that are on the rise to join in. Since vaping in general is a product of from this decade, customers are not as familiar or have not been able to test out different flavors on the market. Likewise, there number of e juices are constantly increasing from different flavors and brands. This is great opportunity for your vape shop to seize customers by offering in-store tastings.


Customers will enjoy the interactive environment of talking about their vape experiences and trying new ones. Also, you can promote certain flavors and brands that are new or popular. Customers will appreciate the ability to try products, and in return will be more inclined to buying a flavor after they have enjoyed the tastings.


By setting up this service, it turns new customers into likely returning ones. Customers will have incentive to come back to try other flavors or to continue purchasing the one they enjoyed.


Tips for Setting Up Tastings:


In order for this to be a success, people need to know of your service.   Use your social media platforms to touch base with your customers about this availability. Also use these sources to keep customers updated on the new flavors that are available for tasting.


Set-up your bar and lounge to have enough space. You do not want customers bumping into one another and instead allow them to enjoy the flavors.  Also, the customer service must be on point. This means the seller must be very friendly and attentive to each specific customer. Observing people is important, some will like to engage in a conversation while other would rather be left alone to decide what they like and want for themselves.


Of course this is a major concern for mouth tasting products. Here you have two options to use. First, you can encourage customers to bring in their own mouthpiece- which customers will prefer as well. If customers are not equipped with a mouthpiece, this can also be a source of vapor product sales where you customers can purchase one on the spot. The second alternative is to have pipewipes that are cheap disposable cleaning cloths to wipe down and disinfect the mouthpiece. This is not the recommended source, but should be readily available- especially first time customers or vape users.


 Get started to increase your customer base today!

Best Vape Store POS System



How to Control and Manage Inventory by Recipe

For restaurants and bars, management and strict inventory control is vital. With the competitive prices of purchasing supplies and competitive prices of selling your product, there is no room for excess waste and avoidable mistakes. Gross margins are slimming down and inventory needs to tighten up to maximize profits.


– step 1: keep a detailed track of all inventory used during operations.  For bars this would be the amount of each bottle that is poured out for each drink, for restaurants it is all of the food ingredients that are needed for each recipe.

– step 2:  use the collected data to control and limit waste so that you decrease your product cost and earn more from your customer’s payments.


Goal: To optimize waste products by having a set system for preparing the meal, controlling the amount of ingredients used, analyzing usage results and determining and setting reorder points; all in an efficient manner.


Key for Success: Develop a Control System Through Your POSfoodservice-no-price

  • Input all of your initial inventory and their prices
  • Add all of the recipes and how much servings of each ingredient will be used
  • Also include additional notes for making the product- to make each recipe consistent
  • Use the POS system for customer orders/transactions
  • The recipes and precise amounts will show up to the cooks
  • At the end of a trial period, see what recipes were ordered the most, and what ingredients were used to decide the optimal reordering point to save money on excess products or from understocking.


The control of current inventory, use of measured supplies, analysis reports and set reordering points will allow the business to run in its full potential.


Alternative Coffee Shop Business: Diversification

photodune-1618560-coffee-xs-300x199The US coffee market is an 18 billion dollar industry, where 2014 showed had over 20,000 running coffee shops across the US.

With such a hot market with high competition and almost no barriers to entry, coffee shops must implement a successful strategy to differentiate itself in order to gain market share.


With coffee shops being ubiquitous, differentiation is key to succeed in this industry. Top players such a Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts have seen the success and of their business and have established a strong brand presence with a loyal following. Customers experience little to no switching cost, so get your coffee shop to obtain some of the market share through these innovative ideas:


A coffee shop in 2014 provides more than just coffee. What makes you different?

*atmosphere ercwttmn775701003_76ce8283e8

Change up the mood and setting of your place. Decide on what kind of theme you want to have in your coffee shop. Take in mind decorations, music, lighting and interior design.  Your atmosphere creates your culture. Most importantly when choosing a setting, make sure it is a comfortable and friendly environment for people to meet up, chat and enjoy their coffee.



coffee-and-pastry*coffee pastries

Majority of the customers will enter before 11 Am to get their morning caffeine. Play around with other food items that will match these customers. Consider including a fresh bakery where baked goods are made every morning.  Other great breakfast items can be oatmeal, granola, yogurt and fresh squeezed juices added to the menu.  When business slows down during lunch time hours, increase revenue by providing specialty drinks, sandwich and salads to encourage more sales. Whatever you add, make sure it is either a different product from local competitors or tops them in quality.


*community participationCamille_015

If you are a smaller operating coffee shop competing primary with the large chains, try to get your community involved to support your shop instead. You can promote cultural events such as art displays, movie premieres,  live music nights or other interactive ideas.

Create special day events to promote families to come in like “Family Coffee Sunday” where families can enjoy discounts. This will also bring in more people at once and allow customers to interact with each other and bond at your shop.


bedisloyal*building loyalty

Whether you have different loyalty cards, gift options, promotions or even a whole new paying system it will intrigue customers. Take for example a self-serve coffee shop in North Dakota that lets customers physically get their own coffee and choose how much they want to pay for it. This risky move of using an “honor system” has paid off where customers have been seen to be an average of 15% more generous than paying for a normal costing drink.

    Other store differentiations can include cool apps or special services. For example you can offer customers the option of calling in or placing an order through an app or online to pick up coffee at a certain time to avoid long waits and lines. Analyze your surrounding community to see what needs they have and what services they would value in a coffee shop.


    Do something eye catching that your neighboring coffee shop does not provide.  Perhaps you can add a temporary or consistent artisan that will make special designs in your coffee. These can be requested by customers to add a fun element to coffee. Another options is to include a servant to come around and refill customers that stay at your shop with free black coffee. Other options are to include some mini contests where you show off the winner and offer gifts to encourage future participation from others.



Best Coffee Shop Point of Sale Software