Selecting the Right POS Systems for Bars


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A reliable POS system is an important tool for bars to manage transactions and enhance customer experiences efficiently. Choosing the right POS system can streamline operations, track inventory, and simplify payment processing. In this article, we’ll explore the significance of selecting the right POS systems for bars and the benefits they offer.

What is a Bar POS System?

A bar point of sale (POS) system is a software and hardware combination that helps bars efficiently manage their operations. It includes a touchscreen interface, a receipt printer, and a card reader. The system allows bartenders to input orders, track inventory, and process payments.

With features like menu customization, inventory management, and reporting, a bar POS system is essential for streamlining operations, improving accuracy, and enhancing customer service in a bar environment.

The Importance of a POS System for Bars

pos systems for bars

POS systems play a crucial role in bars by addressing their specific needs. Unlike traditional cash registers, bar-specific POS software helps manage orders, inventory, and payments efficiently. It enables bartenders to take orders quickly, tracks drink recipes, manages tabs, and simplifies split payments.

Additionally, specialized bar POS systems offer features like age verification, happy hour pricing, and custom menu options, catering to the unique requirements of bars and ensuring smoother operations.

How the Right Bar POS System Can Elevate Your Bar Business

The right Point of Sale (POS) system can be a transformative tool for bar business. It impacts the core operational aspects like order management and inventory control and has far-reaching effects on customer experience, business analytics, and growth potential. Here’s how:

  • Streamlined Operations: The right POS system is user-friendly and optimizes order taking and delivery. With quick order entries, automatic bill splitting, and efficient order tracking, the system can substantially cut down on waiting times, improving customer satisfaction and turnaround times.
  • Inventory Control: A good bar POS system provides real-time inventory tracking, reducing waste and ensuring that you never run out of popular drinks. It can notify you when you’re running low on specific items, enabling proactive ordering and minimizing the chances of disappointing customers.
  • Payment Flexibility: A high-quality POS system supports various payment methods, including credit/debit cards, mobile payments, and contactless transactions. This flexibility enhances the customer experience by offering convenient payment options that suit their preferences.
  • Sales Reporting and Analytics: Advanced POS systems offer comprehensive sales reporting and analytics tools. These can help you identify trends, best-selling items, busy periods, and more, providing valuable insights that can guide your business decisions.
  • Loyalty Programs and Promotions: Many POS systems come with built-in features to manage loyalty programs, gift cards, and special promotions. These tools can boost customer retention and encourage repeat visits, contributing to a steady revenue stream.
  • Staff Management: A robust POS system helps manage your team effectively, from staff scheduling to performance tracking. By tracking sales by employee, you can identify top performers and areas where training may be needed.
  • Compliance: The right POS system also helps in maintaining compliance with local and federal laws. For instance, it can prompt staff to check identification for age verification when selling alcohol, reducing the risk of penalties or license suspension.
  • Integration with other systems: POS systems that can integrate with other business systems like accounting software, CRM systems, or reservation management systems provide greater operational efficiency and data accuracy.

Choosing a POS system that suits your bar’s needs and aligns with your business model can significantly elevate your bar business. It’s not merely about processing sales – it’s about comprehensive business management that leads to growth, profitability, and an excellent customer experience.

The 10 Best Bar POS Systems

When it comes to selecting the right POS system for your bar, there are numerous options available. In this section, we highlight the ten best bar POS systems, each offering unique features and functionalities to meet the specific needs of bars.

Check out the following options to find a great bar pos system for your business.

1. Square for Restaurants

pos systems for bars

Square for Restaurants is an all-in-one cloud-based POS system designed to streamline restaurant operations. It offers payment processing, table management, inventory management, and online ordering. The system aims to bridge the gap between the front and back of the house, reduce mistakes, and improve efficiency.

Square for Restaurants provides features such as coursing, live sales reporting, and 24/7 support. It offers flexible pricing plans and hardware options to fit the needs of different restaurant concepts. The system has received positive feedback from restaurant operators, highlighting its simplicity and effectiveness in improving their businesses.

2. Toast

pos systems for bars

Toast is a restaurant-focused platform designed to make operations easier. With over 85,000 restaurants using Toast, it offers a range of features such as a leading point of sale system, 24/7 support, offline mode, and improved performance compared to competitors. It also helps reduce third-party delivery commissions and caters to various types of restaurants.

In addition to the point of sale, Toast offers contactless ordering, online ordering and delivery, marketing tools, and team management. It’s suitable for small businesses, growing restaurants, and established chains. Various successful restaurants, from food trucks to national brands, trust Toast.

3. TouchBistro

pos systems for bars

TouchBistro is an all-in-one restaurant management system used by over 16,000 businesses worldwide. It offers features like point of sale, table management, reservations, and customizable menus. With TouchBistro, restaurants can increase sales, deliver a standout guest experience, and save time and money. The system integrates add-on products for customer engagement, online ordering, marketing, gift cards, and loyalty programs. It is praised for its ease of use, reliability, and 24/7 customer support.

4. Clover

pos systems for bars

Clover is a full-service restaurant POS system that prioritizes guest experience. It offers table mapping, menu customization, seamless service, flexible payments, online ordering, and a kitchen display system. With different pricing plans, it caters to various restaurant needs.

Clover provides tools for sales tracking, employee management, branding, and support services. It has been recognized as the Restaurant Smart Terminal Provider of the Year. Clover also offers built-in tools for business growth and access to working capital. Enjoy peace of mind with free overnight shipping, fast setup, consistent rates, and exceptional live support.

5. Revel Systems

pos systems for bars

Revel Systems offers an all-in-one restaurant point-of-sale (POS) system that simplifies operations and improves customer satisfaction. Their cloud-based iPad POS platform is scalable, easy to deploy, and regularly updated.

Key features include tableside ordering for accuracy and faster service, floor plan and table management, attractive and secure iPad stands, portable ordering device enclosures, employee management and scheduling, digital menus for upselling, integrated loyalty programs, and flexible payment options. Revel Advantage provides seamless payment processing with low rates and integrated software and hardware.

6. Harbortouch

pos systems for bars

Harbortouch offers a complete POS system for various businesses, providing software, hardware, and integrated merchant services. They have a free POS offer with no upfront costs, including free hardware and software installation. The system comes with a lifetime hardware warranty, free menu programming, onsite installation, 24/7 support, and free paper supplies.

Harbortouch’s POS solution is suitable for restaurants, retail, bars, salons, and small businesses. They also offer affordable pricing options, reliable hardware, cloud reporting, training, and support for small businesses. They have a large customer base and aim to provide the best deal in the market.

7. Arryved

pos systems for bars

Arryved is a robust bar POS software that enables seamless service from happy hour to last call. It offers features like digital cards on file for opening tabs, easy labor tracking, and digestible bar reports. Bartenders benefit from intuitive tools such as quick service with cards on file and digital signatures.

The software provides an easy-to-use sales dashboard, customizable permissions, and support for multiple venues. Arryved also offers mobile POS software, comprehensive bar reporting, loyalty programs, online storefront setup, and contactless QR code ordering. Their customer support is available seven days a week.

8. Simphony POS for Restaurants

pos systems for bars

Simphony POS by Oracle is a cloud-based restaurant management system used globally. It optimizes online and in-house operations in real-time supports multiple languages and currencies, and offers features like conversational ordering, table management, reservations, and wait lists.

Simphony integrates with online platforms and delivery services and provides payment processing solutions. Its reporting and analytics tools help identify trends, while inventory management, gift, and loyalty programs, labor management, and menu management features enhance operations. Simphony is secure and customizable, serving single-location restaurants and global enterprise chains across 180 countries.

9. Lavu

pos systems for bars

Lavu offers a bar POS system that ensures fast service and a great customer experience. It features a touchscreen iPad POS for quick order placement and payment processing. Customers can easily order and pay at multiple bars with preauthorized tabs, inventory control, timed menu changes, and mobile tabs.

The system also includes secure payment processing and offers management solutions like real-time reporting and employee scheduling. Lavu’s bar POS system is customizable for different types of bars and aims to improve service speed and profitability.

10. Lightspeed Restaurant

pos systems for bars

Lightspeed Restaurant is a versatile POS system that empowers restaurants with customizable experiences, industry-leading insights, and personalized 24/7 support. It simplifies workflows, menus, and floor plans while providing valuable data on menus, customers, inventory, and staff performance. With its 40% faster processing speed, Lightspeed enables quicker service and higher table turnover.

The system offers contactless payments through scan and pay, integrates with food delivery apps, and provides comprehensive inventory and staff management tools. Its robust reporting and analytics capabilities help restaurants make data-driven decisions and boost profits.

POS SystemKey FeaturesNotable Aspects
Square for RestaurantsPayment processing, table management, inventory management, online ordering, coursing, live sales reporting, 24/7 supportKnown for its simplicity and effectiveness, flexible pricing plans and hardware options
ToastPoint of sale system, 24/7 support, offline mode, contactless ordering, online ordering and delivery, marketing tools, team managementUsed by over 85,000 restaurants, suitable for businesses of all sizes, helps reduce third-party delivery commissions
TouchBistroPoint of sale, table management, reservations, customizable menus, add-on products for customer engagement, online ordering, marketing, gift cards, loyalty programsUsed by over 16,000 businesses worldwide, praised for its ease of use, reliability, and 24/7 customer support
CloverTable mapping, menu customization, flexible payments, online ordering, kitchen display system, sales tracking, employee management, branding, and support servicesRecognized as the Restaurant Smart Terminal Provider of the Year, offers built-in tools for business growth
Revel SystemsTableside ordering, floor plan and table management, employee management and scheduling, digital menus, integrated loyalty programs, flexible payment optionsCloud-based iPad POS platform, scalable, easy to deploy, regularly updated
HarbortouchSoftware, hardware, and integrated merchant services, free POS offer with no upfront costs, including free hardware and software installation, lifetime hardware warranty, free menu programming, onsite installation, 24/7 support, free paper suppliesSuitable for various businesses including restaurants, retail, bars, salons, and small businesses, offers affordable pricing options, reliable hardware, cloud reporting, training, and support
ArryvedDigital cards on file for opening tabs, easy labor tracking, digestible bar reports, quick service with cards on file and digital signatures, sales dashboard, customizable permissions, multiple venues, mobile POS software, comprehensive bar reporting, loyalty programs, online storefront setup, contactless QR code orderingRobust bar POS software, customer support available seven days a week
Simphony POS for RestaurantsConversational ordering, table management, reservations, wait lists, integration with online platforms and delivery services, payment processing solutions, reporting and analytics, inventory management, gift and loyalty programs, labor management, menu managementCloud-based system used globally, supports multiple languages and currencies, suitable for single-location restaurants and global enterprise chains
LavuTouchscreen iPad POS, quick order placement and payment processing, preauthorized tabs, inventory control, timed menu changes, mobile tabs, secure payment processing, real-time reporting, employee schedulingCustomizable for different types of bars, aims to improve service speed and profitability
Lightspeed RestaurantCustomizable experiences, industry-leading insights, personalized 24/7 support, simplified workflows, menus, and floor plans, contactless payments, integration with food delivery apps, inventory and staff management tools, robust reporting and analyticsProvides valuable data on menus, customers, inventory, and staff performance, 40% faster processing speed compared to competitors

The Best Bar POS System: Our Top Pick

Square for Restaurants is our top bar POS system pick for many reasons. It offers competitive pricing, transparency, scalability, and ease of use. The system provides a free baseline POS option and does not require long-term contracts. With fast order entry and efficient back-of-house operations, it’s ideal for bars, including wine bars.

Bar POS System Cost: Factors and Considerations

Implementing a bar POS system incurs various costs that bar owners should consider. Factors influencing the cost include the size of the establishment, the number of terminals required, software features, and hardware specifications. Additional expenses may arise from installation, training, and ongoing support. Bar owners should also consider long-term benefits, such as improved efficiency and increased revenue, when evaluating the cost of a POS system to make an informed investment decision.

FAQs: Bar POS Systems

What are the essential features to look for in bar POS software?

When selecting bar POS software, it’s important to consider essential features like order management, inventory tracking, and payment processing. Other key elements when researching pub POS systems include menu customization, table management, and reporting capabilities. Look for software that integrates with hardware such as barcode scanners and receipt printers, ensuring a comprehensive and efficient solution for your bar’s operations.

How does a great pub POS system enhance a pub?

A great pub POS system enhances a pub by streamlining operations and improving customer service. It simplifies order-taking, reduces waiting times, and allows for accurate tab management. With features like happy hour pricing and age verification, a pub POS system enables efficient promotions and compliance with regulations, ultimately enhancing the overall pub experience.

How can a bar benefit from a specialized POS system?

A bar can benefit from a specialized POS system in several ways. It caters specifically to the needs of bars, offering features like drink recipe tracking, split payments, and age verification. Specialized systems provide customized menu options, simplify inventory management, and generate insightful reports, enabling bars to optimize their operations, boost efficiency, and deliver exceptional customer experiences.

What are some challenges bars might face when implementing a new POS system?

Implementing a new POS system in bars may present challenges such as staff training, system integration, and data migration. Adapting to a new workflow and ensuring seamless communication between the POS system and other systems like kitchen display screens can also be challenging. However, thorough planning, effective bartender training, and ongoing support can help overcome these hurdles and ensure a smooth transition.

How can a bar decide the best POS system for its specific needs?

Bars can determine the best POS system for their specific needs by considering factors such as their size, budget, menu complexity, and required features. For example, a bar that needs to provide an omnichannel experience both online and in person, like those that sell merch in an ecommerce storefront, might consider the Shopify point of sale system. Conducting thorough research, reading customer reviews, and seeking recommendations from industry peers can help narrow down choices. Additionally, requesting demos or trials from potential vendors allows bars to assess system usability and compatibility with their unique requirements.

What are the three types of POS?

The three types of POS systems are cloud-based, tablet-based, and traditional on-premise systems. Cloud-based POS systems operate online, allowing access from anywhere with an internet connection. Tablet-based systems utilize mobile tablets for order-taking and payment processing. Traditional on-premise systems are locally installed and typically require a dedicated server to function.

How do I set up a POS system for my small business?

Setting up a POS system is an essential part of learning how to open a bar. And it involves several steps. First, choose a suitable POS software that meets your business needs. Next, ensure you have compatible hardware such as a computer, cash drawer, and receipt printer. Install the software, set up your menu and inventory, configure settings, and train your staff. Finally, test the system thoroughly before implementing it in your daily operations.

What is the average cost of a POS system?

The average cost of a POS system varies depending on several factors, such as the features and capabilities required. Generally, a basic system can range from $1,000 to $2,500, while more advanced systems with additional functionalities can cost upwards of $5,000. Factors like software licenses, hardware components, and ongoing maintenance should be considered when budgeting for a POS system.

How would you decide which is the best POS system?

To decide the best POS system, consider factors like your business requirements, budget, ease of use, customer support, and scalability. Evaluate the features offered, the reputation of the vendor, and the system’s integration capabilities. Reading customer reviews, seeking recommendations, and testing demos or trials can provide valuable insights to make an informed decision. Additionally, make sure your choice is equipped with new technology that can handle mobile and evolving payment apps to keep up with the cashless payment revolution.

How does bar management software integrate with a POS system?

Bar management software can integrate with a POS system to enhance overall bar operations. It synchronizes data between the bar management system and the POS system, allowing for centralized control and real-time updates. This integration enables efficient bar inventory management, staff scheduling, analytics, and reporting, providing bar owners with comprehensive insights into their business performance.

How much is a POS Terminal?

The cost of terminals in point of sale systems varies based on features and brand. Basic models can start at around $200, while more advanced ones with additional functions and software integrations can range from $500 to $1,500. Prices may also include ongoing fees for software licenses, support, and transaction processing.

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Kevin Ocasio Kevin Ocasio is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 2 years. He holds certifications in SEO, digital marketing, and content marketing. Kevin is also certified in Information Technology Technical Support Fundamentals.