by Tommy Truong, CEO at KayaPush
As a multi-location dispensary owner, you know that the industry is expanding quickly. With more people choosing to buy and enjoy cannabis and there’s no sign of this trend slowing down. And as the demand increases, so does the opportunity to scale single-store dispensaries, into multi-location establishments.
Dispensaries like Tokyo Smoke and Cookies now have multiple locations in different countries and states, and lesser-known Mom and Pop cannabis retail stores are here for the expansion and boom as well, but if you own or operate a multi-location dispensary, you will need specialized tools to stay compliant, lean and effective.
What is a multi-location dispensary?
A multi-location dispensary is a marijuana dispensary with at least two locations. In other words, it’s a chain of dispensaries.
Multiple dispensaries serve more people by increasing convenience and accessibility. These dispensaries have branches in other cities, states or countries, or even different locations in the same city.
The benefits of having multiple locations over traditional single-location dispensaries are numerous. You can:
- Offer your services to more people
- Increase your brand awareness by being present in more places
- Streamline processes like billing and payroll across multiple locations
- Reduce overhead costs by not having to maintain as much human capital in each place
What are dispensary technology tools?
Dispensary technology tools, or dispensary software, are the software and hardware that help dispensaries manage their business.
This could include inventory management, an e-commerce website, POS systems, and finally, people management tools like dispensary payroll, HR, scheduling, and time tracking to manage their employees and staff.
Why do you need unique tools when running a multi-location dispensary?
When you’re running a multi-location dispensary, it’s more important than ever to stay organized. You need tools that can help you manage people and systems, inventory, and finances in a cohesive way.
It’s also helpful to benchmark things across your locations and gain insights into each market’s uniqueness.
For example, let’s say you have two locations – one in California and one in Colorado. You can use your analytics tool to see which products are more prevalent in each state or even which days of the week are busier for each location.
You could also compare how much inventory you have at each location and see if there are any patterns between them. Maybe one place sells out of product more quickly than another? The information will help you make better business decisions about where to open new dispensaries or how to improve existing ones.
Here are the top 6 tools we recommend for any multi-dispensary operator.
1 – A POS system that works across multiple dispensary locations.
A POS system that works across numerous dispensary locations allows you to manage your business from a centralized location rather than log into each place individually. With the system, you can track inventory across your sites and make sure everything stays in sync.
And while most POS systems have some level of integration with other applications, here are three key integrations to look for:
- Track and trace: The ability to track a product from origin through distribution, so you know exactly where it is at any given time.
- Dispensary workforce management: The ability to view employee hours and schedules across multiple locations. The feature will ensure that everyone is working as efficiently as possible.
- Dispensary payroll software: A payroll application that integrates with your existing POS system so that employees can clock in from anywhere with just a few clicks!
What is a dispensary POS system?
Dispensary POS systems are the backbone of any multi-location dispensary. They help you track inventory, manage employee hours and shifts, and keep track of customer purchases.
They’re also the first step in creating a successful business by enabling you to do things like:
- Track product inventory across multiple locations
- Manage employee pay, hours, and shifts
- Keep track of customer purchases in real-time (to see what products people buy)
Many dispensaries use POS systems to track medical and recreational marijuana products and their sales metrics. A good dispensary POS system will keep track of inventory levels across all your locations. It will also monitor customer traffic at each location.
What to look for in a POS for multi-dispensary locations.
When you run a multi-location dispensary, it’s crucial to have a POS that can handle the unique needs of your business. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind when shopping for a POS.
Easy to learn
When running a multi-dispensary location, you need software that’s easy to learn. It should be intuitive, with clearly labeled buttons and a simple interface. There are many options out there that meet this requirement. Some even come with a training program or video tutorials.
Compatible with the current system
You will want to make sure the new POS software is compatible with your current system. It saves you the additional work of switching over. The POS software should integrate with your existing POS hardware and provide real-time data transfer between devices.
Integrates with a payment processor
A good POS will be able to integrate seamlessly with your payment processor. It should have features that process transactions quickly and easily without any hassle from either the seller or buyer.
When you have multiple locations, it’s vital that your customers can quickly call or email customer support if they have an issue—and that the support team is responsive and helpful.
Support for multiple currencies
If you’re operating in multiple countries, you’ll want to find a merchant solution that supports multiple currencies so you can accept payments from overseas customers with ease.
2 – Consistent payment systems.
Consistent payment systems are one of the most important things to have in place for a multi-location dispensary. The first thing you need to do is decide the types of payments you will accept.
The payment system can be as simple as cash or debit card, or it could include ACH transfers and cryptocurrencies. The key is to choose available options in all of your locations, so customers can pay no matter where they are.
It also helps to ensure that all locations have the same system for accepting payments. If one accepts cash-only, but another accepts debit cards and credit cards, this can create confusion and frustration for customers who travel between locations.
Finally, it’s essential to ensure that each location has access to its accounts to process its sales and deposits without having to go through a central office or owner each time there’s an issue.
Here are some examples of options for consistent payment systems:
- Cash: some dispensaries only accept cash as a payment method. If you only accept cash at one of your dispensaries, then make sure there is an ATM nearby because it may not be convenient for customers to drive elsewhere to use an ATM.
- Debit/Credit Card: Debit and credit card transactions are fast and easy for customers because they don’t have to wait for their bank account balance to transfer into their checking account before purchasing.
- Cryptocurrencies: Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) are often used by dispensaries because they offer high levels of privacy, security, and anonymity for users worldwide. Because these ‘coins’ don’t require any middlemen to oversee their transactions, they are ideal for businesses that want their payments kept secret from third parties.
- ACH transfer: This electronic system allows you to transfer funds from one account to another without physically moving money or checks through the mail. It’s usually an automated process, so you don’t need any specialized training or experience with the system to use it effectively.
- Point of banking: A Point of Banking system allows you to accept credit cards through a single point of sale (POS) terminal located at each location. This means that your customers can pay with their credit card wherever they go — no matter which place they visit.
3 – HR software for multi-location dispensaries.
Dispensary HR software is vital for hiring, onboarding, and retaining great people.
It is essential for multi-location dispensaries as they often hire across multiple locations. It’s necessary to have an HR for multi-location dispensaries that helps you manage your hires to make sense and keep everyone on the same page.
To keep track of employees, you might want to find out who has worked at which locations during a particular period. This information will help you keep track of your company’s workforce and ensure that former employees are not applying for jobs at new locations.
Another benefit of this type of software is that it will help you share information more efficiently among managers by storing essential documents like applications or resumes in one place.
Finally, with dispensary HR tools, you can utilize systems like applicant tracking tools to hire for one dispensary, and not the other. You can also set up alerts when someone applies for your dispensary who has previously worked at a different location, and was let go.
4 – Workforce management to save time and money.
Workforce management software can save you a lot of time and money by allowing you to manage your staff at each location better. It allows you to track your employees’ performance, schedule shifts and vacations, view employee information, send messages, and more.
Here are other reasons you need a workforce management software for your multi-location dispensaries:
- Dispensary scheduling software will integrate with your point-of-sale system to forecast your schedules via machine learning. It helps you better plan for staffing needs in the future.
- Scheduling software can integrate with facial recognition time tracking technology, providing alerts to business owners when employees clock in outside of assigned work hours.
- Scheduling for multi-location dispensaries with a lot of employees is complex. However, scheduling software can easily sort out staff on multi-location shifts, so that they show up at the right place at the right time.
- Easy toggling between locations to manage staff: if you use integrated multi-location dispensary technology, it’s easy to manage many locations, and time clocks, from the same laptop by toggling between locations. Providing you with a birds eye view and helping you automate your operations.
5 – Inventory management that is consistent yet flexible.
Inventory management is a crucial component of the success of any multi-location dispensary. It’s vital to track what’s happening at each dispensary location.
However, you should be able to review items that sell better at specific locations and see how they’re performing overall. This way, you can ensure you’re not stocking too many (or too few) of each item. With this feature, your customers will have the best possible experience no matter where they go.
Inventory tracking software is one of the essential tools that any dispensary needs. It’s a great way to ensure that all locations use the same naming conventions for their products. It helps you offer your customers the best possible experience no matter where they go.
For example, suppose you have an edible called “Banana Bread” in one place and “Cinnamon Roll” at another location. It may be difficult for employees or customers to know what they’re getting when they order the product by name alone.
The best inventory management systems take into account the needs of your business and your customers. They can be used on a small scale or scaled up to manage massive amounts of products across multiple dispensaries.
6- Payroll software for multi-location dispensaries.
Managing payroll for multi-location dispensaries is a tough nut to crack. You need to keep track of all the employees at each location, their hours worked and paid, benefits and compensation, and their taxes.
The good news is that there is specific payroll software built for cannabis dispensaries that can help you manage all those details without too much trouble.
One recommendation would be to choose a payroll provider with service in all the geographic locations you have your dispensaries. This way, you can pay staff across the board instead of manually. The automation will help ensure your payroll tax and overtime calculations are accurate.
Many companies are turning to dispensary payroll software that integrates with HR, time tracking, and scheduling software, to help streamline processes and save time.
What do the experts say?
The most important thing to consider when choosing a dispensary solution is how you want to run your business. However, many multi-location dispensary experts advise keeping it simple. A simple system lets you track sales and inventory. As time goes on, you can add more features.
The best way to simplify your dispensary operations is to use a dispensary POS system that integrates with your dispensary payroll, HR, and workforce management for streamlined operations.
In addition, choose a technology that works for everyone in your organization. Make sure everyone is comfortable with whatever product or service you choose before moving forward with implementation plans.
For more tips on choosing a tech solution for your multi-location, check out the key things that the owners of 100 dispensaries recommend.
Author Tommy Truong is the CEO at KayaPush; the cannabis software helping dispensary owners manage their employee HR, scheduling, and payroll. KayaPush also integrates with leading dispensary POS systems. Tommy loves hot sauce, fried chicken, and running with his Boston terriers.
Optimize your operations with KayaPush. We hope this article has helped you learn about different dispensary software tools and tech for managing multiple locations and the different ways you can overcome the challenges with multi-location dispensary management systems. If you are looking for a compliant and integrated solution to manage your multi-location dispensary chain, check out KayaPush.
KayaPush delivers a more innovative, unified compliance solution that meets payroll and HR needs without compromising speed and accuracy. Implementing KayaPush will save you time and money and help eliminate the financial risks associated with non-compliance.