The Station SF is a café on the edge of North Beach and Jackson Square. Chris Dressick, managing partner, describes the café as “The meet-all spot for the downtown area.” The Station SF is part of San Francisco’s third wave coffee movement. This style of coffee preparation is “unparalleled in quality of product.” Open since August 2012, the North Beach-based café offers a friendly environment - a place to relax, enjoy a delicious pour over, a tasty meal and get some work done. Customers are “greeted with a smile and a quality cup of coffee. It’s a place where they can relax, unwind, have a great bite to eat, do some work if they need to, and then go about their day,” Chris said.
A meeting place
We asked Chris how The Station SF came to be, to which he responded it had been “a long road.” Chris has a background in fine dining and has lived and worked “all over” - Vail, Colorado, Montana, Southern California and Portland just to name a few. He and his business partners saw “real potential” in San Francisco’s third wave coffee movement, and so they decided to “give it a shot.” “We were looking to design a place that people felt comfortable coming in to but something that was different from other cafés. Not just shuffling people in and out, taking orders - but more of a gathering place,” Chris said. One of their other businesses is a boutique cycling shop, giving Chris and his partners a sense of nostalgia: “The cyclists would take trains from different stages of various European races to the next one, and those train stations were the places where these cyclists met with their teams and team managers to discuss the day’s events. They ate, drank, and slept there. Everything involving anything was carried out there. It was the hub of the community for that time frame. Thus, The Station SF was conceived. We want to be the hub of this community - offering you a place to meet, eat, relax, hang out, take care of business - whatever you need to do.”
Why iPad POS
The Station SF has a contemporary look and feel - along with their revolving popup concept, Chris has created an environment that’s simultaneously hip, welcoming, and relaxing. Chris chose an iPad-based POS because it complemented the overall aesthetic of The Station SF: “It has a very streamlined look to it, that is clean and sleek on our countertop.”
“They’ve got it dialed,” said Chris on Revel’s point of sale solution. “It works. Day in and day out - it’s proven.” Chris described Revel’s backend reporting as “pretty impressive” and “limitless in some regards. Whether you’re looking at custom reports based on categories, of things you’ve sold - not just what they are but where they’re displayed. You want to see how a certain aspect of your store is functioning - how many sales it’s producing over a certain period of time. You can look at your flow charts for sales and see where your spikes are, where your low times are, collaborate your reports into that information.” Revel also enables Chris to build schedules based on projected sales: “There’s a lot of cool little functions to it that other systems do not offer in a cloud-based format.” He feels that it’s the best “all-in-one” program for the money.
“Customer support does answer the phone within a minute time frame, and that right there alone is a lot more than other products are offering,” Chris said. “[It’s] pretty nice to be able to talk to somebody live” - and get an instantaneous response. He went on to say that everyone The Station SF has talked to have been helpful, takes them through the basic steps, and makes sure that their system is functioning properly. “They are actually there, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without question,” he said.
“Our system works,” said Chris, “Whether the internet is running or not, and that’s the beauty of it. True Offline Mode does work and allows us to take credit card transactions even if we have internet struggles throughout the day, which has been an issue for us. Being able to satisfy the customers’ needs, whatever form of payment they would like to use, is very important as a business.”
The Station SF will be working with Revel to expand their grab-and-go concept. As Chris pointed out, “In this part of San Francisco there are a lot of people that have very little time on their hands to sit down for lunch. The busier we get, the longer our lines get. That’s a real dilemma in some ways - it’s wonderful that we are that busy but it’s not wonderful for the customers who want to come in and enjoy our offerings. So we are going to be transforming part of our pop-up area into more of a grab-and-go section with fresh daily salads, sandwiches, all sorts of snacks and goodies to offer. Guests can come in, grab the items they want, and use Revel’s kiosk function to self-check out.”
Chris sees The Station SF expanding in terms of both its reach and its offerings, with Revel Systems being part of that growth. As Chris noted, “There’s so many little tools within the system that will help us get to the point where we are maximizing the functions of the point of sale system to help reduce labor, to increase sales, to find those balances in between. All the reports in the backend office really help you to find that symmetry between sales and labor. And if you can maximize those two things: Home run. Revel is definitely helping us get there, and hopefully we’ll see some real growth here in the next 8 months.” He would “definitely recommend” Revel to other businesses, and is especially thrilled with Revel’s willingness to listen. The “great thing about Revel” is “They will listen to their customers, where other companies will not. Revel is willing to grow as their customer base and needs grow, and you can’t ask for anymore than that. That’s pretty exceptional these days.”
Take a look inside The Station in the video below: