The best bar point of sale system (POS) will give you a complete overview of the business, enhance efficiency and accuracy, and help you remain compliant. You preferred solution should have such industry-specific capabilities as price scheduling, and inventory split capability for liquor pours.
The right POS software for bars should be capable of addressing such bar challenges as selling to minors, processing payments, reviewing business analytics, and managing inventory. This being the case, you need to go beyond standard restaurant POS features and capabilities.
To get such a system, you should consider such features as age verification, inventory manager, pre-authorized payments, and POS mobility.
If you are shopping for the right solution, here are reviews of the top six POS systems for bars you should consider.
Get real-time, accurate bar analytics, enhanced security, and streamlined processes in your business with Toast POS system for bars. The various convenience and ease-of-use features of this product will enhance customer service, boost sales and enhance customer loyalty in your business.
Rather than requiring the bartenders to stay behind a POS screen, Toast offers one of the best mobile POS solutions in the industry. With such a solution, the bartenders may take orders and process payments at the tables. This allows them to interact with your customers.
Other capabilities bars owners have come to like about the Toast bar POS system include:
In addition to being liquor-specific Toast features a flexible menu manager. In this regard, the system is equipped with an array of menu management tools that are specifically designed for a restaurant business. To begin with, the solution makes it easier and more convenient for you to add new items to the menu.
Following the initial menu setup, menu changes in the business will be on the fly. Additionally, the system will automatically update the menu in accordance with inventory changes.
Saving time and making payments more convenient for the customers will boost customer experience in the bar. This is what the pre-authorization feature on Toast is designed to help you achieve. In its functioning, the system will verify and then save card information securely.
As such, the bartender only has to swipe and save. As far as security is concerned, the system is designed to prevent fraud due to stolen or fake cards. The solution will also ensure that you do not have any unpaid tabs at the end of the night.
Give your customers the freedom of moving around the establishment as they wish and the convenience of being served wherever they are seated. With Toast Go, your customers will not have to rise and walk all the way to the register to place their orders or make payments.
In addition to accepting tableside orders, this solution offers a powerful payment processing option for the business. Toast mobile POS can split checks, produce paper or digital receipts as well as prompt the customers to tip the bartenders.
The point of sale is tied to Toast payment processing platform. Additionally, you will have to incur additional costs to get some of the important POS add-ons and features.
To begin with, the Lightspeed Restaurant POS system features an intuitive user interface for enhanced ease of use. As you may be aware, this provider was one of the very first companies to develop a Mac POS system.
Over the years, Lightspeed has managed to develop some of the best retail POS systems in the industry. The Lightspeed restaurant software, for instance, features a powerful bar backend.
In addition to basic retail capabilities, the system offers advanced functionality through a reliable online console. Here are some of the capabilities that make Lightspeed one of the best bar POS systems:
Being one of the best cloud-based POS solutions for bars, this system offers you convenient access to accurate and real-time business data wherever you are. For instance, you may use the system to access inventory, bar menu, reports, and employee information on the cloud whenever you need to.
You will also love the fact that the system supports multiple locations. This being the case, you can access business data on each of your bar locations from a single cloud-based platform. Such a system will come in handy whenever you need to transfer stock from one location to another.
Basically, most bars have a fast-paced environment. As such, you will need a system that can take orders and process payments relatively fast. Lightspeed features a quick-serve screen to help the bartenders capture order details easily, efficiently and fast.
Again, your staff will be able to send tableside orders directly to the bar from the iPad POS system. Rather than having the customers crowd the bar, you can have servers walk to them wherever they are seated in the bar.
In addition to taking orders, this solution features an integrated credit card payment processor. For enhanced ease of use, the system allows the staff to identify who is to pay for which dinks. This alone has been proven to allow for faster opening and closing of bar tabs.
To create a tab using this system, all you need to do is swipe the customer’s card on the system. By so doing, the system will capture the customer’s first and last names and automatically open a tab for the customer. Lightspeed also offers you a comprehensive overview of all the open tabs in your business.
The basic software subscription plan offered by this provider limits you to just a single register and up to five employees. The system does not have some of the features you may need for larger bars and restaurants.
Formerly referred to as Breadcrumb, Upserve offers one of the fastest POS software for bars. Ranging from tab management to live analytics, and customizable features, you will find this solution to be swift and relatively easy to use.
Based on statistical findings, this system helps bars save about $28,000 in a three-year period as compared to legacy POS systems. This translates to about 48 percent cost savings for your business.
Some of the industry-specific features and capabilities you will come to like about this system include:
Upserve allows bar customers to sign their checks directly on the iPad. Over the years, this feature has been proven to speed up checkouts in bars.
Just like some of the leading bar POS solutions, Upserve allows your staff to name tabs by swiping the customer’s card. For faster tableside payment processing, the system makes it easier for your staff to find each customer’s check, accept multiple payment options and then swipe to close the tabs.
The on-screen signature capability, and built-in tip capabilities on this software are designed to elevate user experience in your business.
According to the Upserve provider, this system will boost staff productivity and increase sales by 30 percent in your bar. In order to achieve this, the system is equipped with an array of bar-specific capabilities.
One of the things you will come to appreciate, in this case, is the flexible POS interface setup offered by Upserve. Upserve allows you to customize your bar POS interface in whichever way you find appealing and convenient.
For instance, you may personalize the interface in such a way that the bartenders have access to the most popular drinks in that location. This instant access to the popular to the commonly ordered items will speed up ordering in the establishment
As compared to the other systems reviewed in this guide, Upserve does not offer a great value for money. You may also experience occasional outage issues with this solution.
The Shopkeep restaurant POS has been around since 2008 and is definitely one of the best systems for bars. The solution is essentially offered in the form of an iPad app and an Online Back Office platform.
The iPad POS app may be used to process transactions and accept orders in your bar. The back Office platform, on the other hand, is meant for business management.
Other capabilities that set Shopkeep apart from other bar POS systems include:
Processing payments and closing bar tabs has never been easier than it is with the Shopkeep restaurant software. To begin with, the solution supports multiple payment options, allowing the customers to pay in whichever method they prefer.
Again, the register on this system is capable of tracking every transaction carried out in the bar. In this case, the system will automatically track all the register transactions and let you know if any of the employees offers a discount.
With this system in your bar, you will also have an easy time adding drinks to customer tabs, and even split payment methods or checks.
Additionally, Shopkeep is capable of monitoring all the cash drawers in your business from a single platform. The system is also capable of consolidating cash in the bar at the closing of every shift.
As you will come to learn, this POS system is relatively easy to implement and use. As such, you will not need to waste money and time training your employees on how to use the system.
Secondly, Shopkeep will make it easier and more convenient for you to keep track the employees. For instance, the system will automatically track employees’ hours of service, and rank them according to their performance.
This will help improve employee productivity in your bar. With this solution, you will also be able to restrict employee access to the POS system according to their roles.
The system does not feature APIs for third-party service integration. Again, the system does not support multi-location business models.
Revel Systems offers a feature-rich, easy to use suite of tools for effective management of bars and restaurants. You will also love the fact that the product features an interactive user interface and custom-made POS hardware to complement the powerful software.
Some of the bar-specific features you will come to love about Revel Systems include:
This product is equipped with the right management, and reporting tools, and capabilities to improve back office efficiency. Again, the software offers one of the best customer experiences in the industry as a result of a powerful CRM, and customizable loyalty programs
The CRM feature, for example, will help you understand your regular customers’ favorite menu items, and order history. The system will also allow you to set up customized loyalty programs.
Another thing you will love about this system is that it keeps going even when the internet is down. This way, the system will continue running uninterrupted offline to ensure that you do not miss a transaction.
Whether online or offline, the system will give you enhanced control over the cash flow, allow you to set employee permissions, and track activities in your business throughout the day.
This system is relatively unpredictable and somewhat expensive, especially for small bars and restaurants.
For small and startup businesses, it is advisable to go for solutions that helps you save on costs. Some of the bar POS systems reviewed above cost a considerable amount of money to implement and use.
Unlike such solutions, eHopper is absolutely free to acquire. Additionally, the system is compatible with Windows, Android, and iOS platforms, which makes it quite versatile as far as POS hardware is concerned.
Other aspects that make eHopper a preferred bar POS system include:
When coupled with the mobile POS solution by this provider, Poynt mobile terminals will free the bartenders from the register. This will come in handy for the business as bartenders are required to be constantly on the move during busy hours.
In this regard, these innovative features ensure that the bartenders can take orders and process payments anywhere in the bar.
If you do not want the shelf to run dry of your customers’ favorite drinks during busy hours, you should get eHopper bar POS system. According to current users of this software, it keeps you on track of the liquor, beer, and mixes you have in stock at all times.
With this system installed in your bar, you will be able to check the stock, track customers’ regular orders, and manage the inventory in real time wherever you are.
Though affordable for small and startup businesses, eHopper lacks some of the important bar POS features and capabilities. Again, the free subscription plan by this provider does not include customer support.
Basically, the top restaurant POS systems have most of the features you will need in a bar. However, you should not just opt for the first restaurant POS system you come across; it may not be the right choice for your business. Instead, you should take your time to choose the best suited solution for your business.
In this regard, there are several features you should consider while shopping for the best bar POS system, including:
In order to remain compliant with federal and state liquor laws, you should avoid selling alcoholic beverages to people less than 21 years old. As you can imagine, this is comparatively hard to ascertain without the right technology in the bar.
In order to verify the buyer’s age, most of the leading POS solutions for bars allow you to scan the person’s driver’s license. Other systems will require you to input the buyer’s identifying information into the system in order to verify his/her age.
Such a feature will come in handy, as far as compliance with liquor laws is concerned. By preventing inadvertently sale of alcohol to minors in your bar, you will be able to avoid fines, citations or even loss of your liquor license.
Most of the inventory items in your business are alcoholic beverages. As such, it is advisable to go for a solution that is specifically designed to handle such an inventory.
To begin with, your preferred solution should make it easier and more convenient for you to track the sale of alcohol in your bar. Additionally, the system should be capable of keeping tabs on the ingredients you use to mix different drinks.
For instance, the system should be able to compile a database of the various recipes you use. Ideally, the database should allow you to record the ingredient brands and quantities you use in each recipe. This capability has been proven to offer bar owners a bottle-level insight into their businesses.
This will also help you single out the employees who are over-pouring or even giving away free drinks on the bar. Your may also get a solution that automates ordering, based on the minimum liquor inventory levels you set.
Bars and restaurants are known to offer an array of specials to their customers from time to time. For instance, you may need to offer Game-day specials, drink and menu specials at different times in order to attract and retain customers. As you can imagine, you will need a system that can accommodate those frequent menu changes.
Additionally, a cloud-based solution is better suited, in this regard. Such a solution will allow you to make changes to your menu on the fly. A cloud-based bar POS system will also allow you to make menu changes while you are away and then update those changes on the register in real time.
Rather than having the customers walk all the way to the counter to order and make payments, why don’t you get a solution that offers them the same at their tables?
In this case, a solution that offers mobile POS capabilities is a great choice. With such a solution in your bar, the servers will be walking to the tables to take orders and process payments using their mobile POS equipment.
This has been proven to enhance customer service in bars. Additionally, the solution will also improve order taking, and transmission efficiency, and accuracy.
Closing out tabs is known to be relatively monotonous and time-consuming in all restaurant businesses, including bars. Without the right technology, you will just have to print all the checks, drop the checks into folios, before handing them to the customers. Afterwards, you need to collect the checks, along with the guest’s card, swipe the card, and then give the customers a signature slip.
Finally, you need to collect the slips and the adjust tips on each of them. With pre-authorized payments on your POS, the servers will be able to print the signature slips then wait to deliver them to the respective guests at the end of the shift. This will, in turn, boost customer experience and save a considerable amount of time.
As compared to other types of restaurant businesses, running a bar is quite challenging. In order to satisfy your customers, you need to meet their various requirements, even when they are drunk. This is why you need to get a solution that helps achieve just that. The six bar-specific POS systems reviewed in this guide are some of the best for bars of all sizes.
The various options allow you to verify customer age, open and close tabs with ease, manage the inventory, and bar menu with ease as well as be mobile with order taking, and payment processing. As such, your choice will boil down to what you can actually afford. Either way, this guide will help you choose the best bar POS system.
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