How La Barba makes specialty coffee approachable in Salt Lake City

Thomas, La Barba Coffee, Salt Lake City

From farmers market beginnings to brick-and-mortar cafes with Square

La Barba started with two friends roasting beans at home in a popcorn popper before advancing to a handmade Frankensteined roaster made out of a barbecue grill. When their close circle started singing the praises of their coffee, they connected with two of their more business-minded friends and began to talk about bringing specialty coffee to Salt Lake City.

The natural place to test the waters of selling specialty roasted coffee was a farmers market. From the beginning, the La Barba founders turned to Square to run transactions. That first plug-in Square reader was along for the ride as La Barba became a staple at the farmers market. With enough coaxing from their customers, the foursome decided that a brick-and-mortar store was the next step.


“Square was set up to grow with us, from that card reader over to an aesthetically pleasing POS system that can be at the front of a cafe and easily ring people up.”

Thomas Warmath
Owner, La Barba Coffee

Try Square Point of Sale for yourself.

Taking the guesswork out of setting up a point of sale.

When it came to choosing a point of sale for La Barba, Square was the only contender. Thomas, current CEO of La Barba, knew that Square worked well in cafes due to the simplicity and ease of the system. “There’s a lot of things that are complicated and confusing and Square was, and always has been, very straightforward.”

From taking it out of the box to setting it up to creating a custom drink menu, Square is intuitive for both the cafe owner and the staff. Training new employees on the system takes a matter of minutes. And Square can handle any number of drink customizations — decaf, oat milk, less sugar, more ice — with a straightforward, clean interface.

“Square makes a lot of things so simple that a business owner can just set them up and forget about it.”


Expanding into more integrations

As La Barba grew, so did the desire for software that could handle more and more business needs. Square was built to help companies like La Barba integrate any add-ons their business needed, like payroll, loyalty programs, and inventory management.

Square Loyalty didn’t take long for Thomas and his team to set up, and they almost immediately saw a difference. “There is a pretty clear correlation between our loyalty program with Square and a really significant increase in average ticket price and average revenue.”

“Before we were using Square, we tried a variety of different payroll solutions. Payroll could be a process that would take half of a day. And in the case of Square it takes 15 minutes.”


Allowing coffee shops to focus on the things that matter

La Barba’s mission of making specialty coffee accessible for everyone hinges on the value that everyone is welcome in their cafe. Whether you’re a coffee nerd or have never tried an espresso before, Thomas and his team never want you to feel judged or looked down on.

To achieve this, Thomas talks about the human interaction that’s essential to cafes, and how Square plays into that interaction. “Square hardware is physically minimal, which is really great because it’s one less thing that’s interfering between the human face-to-face interaction — that’s one of the big reasons we have cafes,” he says.


“There’s a clean design, the interface and the user experience is clean. People are able to see it, they’re able to click and touch, and everything’s laid out intuitively.”



“Our two values are presence and excellence. Presence pertaining to being fully present with customers, co-workers, etc. Excellence having to do with our coffee and our product. And we want to do everything with excellence.”


Please note that La Barba was compensated for their time by Square.

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