Bars need a unique point of sale (POS) system to keep up with a challenging, fast-paced, and crowded environment. With the right system, bar owners and operators can get critical insights about their business and customers and process orders and payments.
A great bar POS system offers several features designed specifically for nightclubs. If you’re looking for the right one for your bar or looking to open a bar, look out for below nine must-have POS features.
1. Inventory management
A bar POS system should be able to track inventory for liquor and other supplies so that you know what to reorder and when. With real-time inventory updates, bar owners will know frequently ordered drinks, price changes, and stock value.
2. Tab management
A bar POS system can update the tab automatically so that bar staff can easily keep track of customers’ orders and payments. Thus, bar staff can save more time serving customers and making drinks.
A bar POS system allows you to customize and suggest tip percentages or amounts that let your staff make more money.
3. Credit and debit card acceptance
Preauthorization of credit and debit card payment allows bartenders to verify that the swiped card is real and has a preconfigured amount of funds in it. Thus, you can speed up service and deliver a better customer experience.
With this feature, you can limit fake and stolen cards and the liability of unpaid checks due to insufficient balance.
4. Customer loyalty program
A great bar POS system should have the ability to integrate with a loyalty program to encourage customers to come again.
The right bar POS system can provide detailed sales reports, thus enabling bar owners and operators to detect theft. These reports also allow bar owners to track their business’ real-time performance and understand their customers’ and business’ needs from anywhere.
You can find five types of reports:
- Sales reports inform about top or worst selling items, weekly/monthly/yearly sales and profits, and daily sales.
- Payment reports include refunds, discounts, taxes paid, and cash and card payments.
- Employee reports inform about sales and commissions by employees and staff working hours.
- Inventory reports include stock items, price changes, and reordered items.
- Customer reports include total sales, top customers, and purchase and return histories.
6. Software Integration
A bar POS system must include all software that you need to run your business. A management system with built-in CRM software enables owners to access customers’ contact lists with their detailed order history.
The software integration capability of a POS system is suitable for bar owners who want to use it in conjunction with other software programs.
7. Bill splitting
The bill-splitting feature of a bar POS system allows customers to divide their bills the way they want. With the right bar POS software, you can divide bills easily and quickly for your guests.
8. Menu management
A bar POS system can help you manage the change in menu for daily drinks and happy hour specials. Such a system is designed to handle the volume and customize every drink combination. It allows you to put recipes within the POS as a reference.
9. Durable hardware
A fast-paced and beer-filled environment of a bar requires durable hardware that is spill-proof, drop-proof, and dust-proof. The hardware of a bar POS system should offer 24-hour battery life and lightning-fast processing so that they’re ready when you are.
Equipping your staff with handheld system allows them to process orders and payments and text or email receipts. A survey shows that 61% of bar owners use one or more handheld devices for operations. A basic bar POS system includes hardware like,
- monitor with touchscreen
- customer monitor
- credit card reader
- receipt printer
- cash drawer
However, advanced systems may include a label printer, handheld ordering devices, a display system, and a proprietary router.
Best bar POS system of 2023
The various POS systems available for bars are full-service, mobile, cloud-based and web-based. Full-service terminals are fit for businesses with multiple locations. However, smaller bars mostly prefer mobile systems.
Cloud-based and web-based POS systems are fit for businesses that want a customizable solution. Bar owners can customize these systems to meet their specific needs. These systems may also accept crypto as payments.
Bar owners may find it challenging to choose the right system that fulfils their bars’ needs. To help you make an informed decision for your bar, we’ve listed the top 5 bar POS systems evaluated by Forbes and G2.
The G2 research examined customer reviews, market presence, consumer satisfaction, and net promoter score to find the leaders offering bar POS systems.
To find the best bar POS systems, Forbes studied the following factors:
- Features of different systems.
- Pricing of the systems and whether they offer a free trial.
- Customer service experience and ease of use.
Here are the top five POS systems for bars with their best features
- Strong menu customization
- Support for tableside ordering and payment
- Specializes in tab management
- Great inventory management
- Good data-reporting features
- Strong menu customization
- Free to get started
- Offer analytics, inventory reports and third-party integrations
- Easy to use
- Track sales per unit
- Cloud-based performance dashboard
- Offline and online modes
- Offers bill splitting
- Strong inventory management
- 24/7 support
- Free trial and flexible payment plan
- Wide variety of integrations
- 24/7 customer support
- Customer loyalty programs
- Customizable inventory management
- Menu customization
- Tab management
- Customer loyalty program
- Tableside ordering
- Reservation and seating management
According to a recent research, Toast and Square were the most popular POS brands in 2022. It also shows that POS system upfront costs have fallen more than 30% since 2017.
Here are some ways bar owners can benefit by using POS systems like Orderific:
Orderific lets you set up a customized and unique POS system for your business using a QR code. Payments through Orderific are secure and hassle-free. Orderific provides you with the following benefits:
- Eliminate the need for any specific hardware or software to use Orderific
- Greater efficiency with contactless orders and payments.
- Better customer experience by reducing service time.
- Increase revenue with free marketing.
- Gain critical insights related to the bar’s performance.
- Reduced errors by automated inventory management.
Conclusion – How to choose a bar POS system
When determining which bar POS system is best for your business, there are several unique needs to keep in mind:
- User interface: It should be easy to use.
- Features: Consider features that fit your bar needs before deciding on any POS system.
- Budget: Compare the cost of different systems and whether it offers a free trial. The price of a POS system may range between $30 to $100 per month, depending on its features. If you’ve got a limited budget, look for systems that offer affordable plans.
- 24/7 customer support: A bar POS system should work in both offline and online modes.
- Availability: Bar owners should be able to access their bar’s POS system from anywhere.
- Size of your business: Different-sized businesses will require different features.