Whether you’re planning to open a bar or upgrade, it’s important to learn about the best point of sale systems. The right system will not only make it easier for people to order drinks, but also make it easier for you to track and process orders.
In short, if you choose a new and modern point of sale system, it will make everyone’s lives easier, and your business will generate more revenue.
Granted, deciding on which point of sale system to use is no easy feat. There are hundreds of companies to choose from, with a wide range of hardware and software. Navigating the point of sale industry for the first time can be overwhelming.
To save you hours of frustration, we decided to do the research for you. In this article, we’ll discuss some of our favorite point of sales systems for bars. Not only will you become familiar with the best systems, but we’ll also share some helpful tips to maximize profits.
Overall, if you feel like your bar’s point of sale system isn’t performing as it should, and is causing long lines and other issues, then this article is for you.
How Much is a POS System for a Bar?
Since there are many different factors to consider, there’s no set price for a good POS system for a bar. On the other hand, some companies provide hardware and software bundles at decent prices, specifically designed for bars.
You should expect to pay between $1,000 to $3,000 for good hardware and software kit. Remember, the software usually charges a monthly subscription. Most of the time, to get a specific rate from a POS company you will need to request a free quote, based on your type of business.
Choosing a POS Software: The Faster, The Better
Most of the time, people want their drinks as quickly as possible. Delays in the payment processing and ordering process can cause a lot of frustration for everyone involved. The sooner you can log the order and start working on the drink, the better.
In other words, you’re looking for a POS system that streamlines the drink-ordering process. Most POS software can be modified to do just that, but there are some specifically designed for a small menu. We’ll get to them shortly.
Look, if you want to maximize profits, then your focus needs to be on creating the most pleasant and convenient experience for your customers. Upgrading your POS software and hardware can certainly help with that.
For example, a nice-to-have is a forward-facing tablet with a menu display. The tablet can show your drinks and prices, so the guests can browse the selection without having to ask about prices.
How many times has someone held up the line by asking about drinks and prices? Probably too many times to count. A customer-facing tablet with the menu items and prices could solve this problem.
The point is to make sure your guests have all the information they need to place an order before they reach the front desk.
Now, the bare essentials of a drink-based POS hardware would be the main terminal, a printer for receipts, a debit and credit card payment processor, and a cash drawer.
The hardware will need to be compatible with whichever software you choose to use, which we’ll discuss in a moment.
If you have a large establishment with lots of tables, it would make sense to use handheld devices, so your team can take orders from any table in seconds.
Make sure you have a good wireless network!
Look for POS Software Demos:
When it comes to picking the right POS software, I recommend trying out as many demos as possible.
Most of the major companies will be happy to let you try a demo of their product, some even have demo videos and other material for you to look at. As a matter of fact, I would be suspicious of any POS software that does not offer free demos.
Chances are you already have a general idea of what you need, and you’re looking for the most user and budget-friendly option out there.
You also need to consider the number of transactions. Nightclubs can easily overwhelm small-time software with their huge number of transaction requests. The last thing you want is for your software to crash on a busy night.
Those are a couple of things to keep in mind when trying out a POS software demo. Another thing to remember is most of the software companies will offer custom quotes based on your business. You might have to reach out to them for an exact rate.
When picking a company you’ll also want to check if they include training on how to use the software. Most of the companies we’ll discuss provide offline and online training for their courses, including YouTube videos. Some even have complete resource-databases with everything you need to know. And customer support is just a phone call away!
Now that you know what to look for in a POS software, take a look at some of our recommended POS software for bars below:
Recommended Point of Sale Software for Bars:
Below is a list of what we think are the best POS software for bars and nightclubs.
Toast is a POS company that designs hardware and software. They have a wide range of bundles for various establishments, such as fine-dining, fast-food, cafes, and bars. Since it has a solution to our needs, it’s one of our top recommendations.
Toast has plenty of great features for bar owners. For example, it allows you to easily save credit or debit cards to keep a tab open. This allows guests to order drinks without worrying about the payment.
From a bartender’s perspective, Toast lets you quickly add new items as well as specials, in a matter of seconds. The new changes can be sent synced with your staff’s handheld devices, so you can make it easy for your customers to place an order.
Speaking of handheld devices, Toast has created its own mobile integrated POS system. The Toast Go is a handheld wireless device that can not only take orders but process card payments too.
The device not only makes it easy for customers to pay and order, but it saves your staff multiple trips to and from the bar. They claim it saves servers 2000 steps in one shift.
What about the back-end? Toast has got a lot of great back-office features. For example, detailed reporting and analytics, payroll, and payment processing. It provides enough data to create a full business assessment, making it easy to spot areas that need improvement.
Toast’s prices start at $79/month for one terminal.
2 – ShopKeep
If Toast doesn’t look right to you, another great option is ShopKeep. The company also has a service specifically designed for bars and nightclubs, making it a great choice for us.
ShopKeep lets you manage pretty much every aspect of your business, such as the front desk, back office, and team management.
One cool thing about ShopKeep is they offer their own software and hardware bundles, with options for a variety of business types. On that note, their software is compatible with Ipads and Androids, so you can simply download the app and get started.
The user interface is very easy to use, and perfect for quick-service establishments such as bars. They also make it really easy to add and remove items. No need for long complicated training sessions to show your staff how to use ShopKeep!
Another notable feature is the shift tracking and management. Employees can open and close a shift, and you can view the shift data from the back-office.
On the other hand, the software is cloud-based, which may be a downside for some people. If you have a strong internet connection, it won’t be a problem.
The data is stored remotely on their servers, and if you ever run into issues, you can quickly get remote customer support. Speaking of customer support, ShopKeep has won five awards in the customer care department.
ShopKeep’s prices are custom, based on your business type, average transactions, and other factors. Overall, ShopKeep is a decent choice for bars and nightclubs owners.
3 – TouchBistro
TouchBistro is one of the most popular POS software for bars and other quick-service establishments. The reason it is a small business owner’s favorite is due to the incredible amount of features, customization options, and detailed analytics.
Besides having an incredibly simple user-interface, it also has visual icons for each kind of item, making it much easier to track orders. You can track individual sales data on each item, and add or remove the ones that are not making sales. In short, streamline sales, and make sure all your items are being sold.
There’s also a feature called “Fast Bar” which is perfect for busy bars and nightclubs. What it does is allow you to open and close orders with two taps. It removes confirmation steps so you can get right into the cash register. You can also easily switch between multiple tabs to keep track of orders. Perfect for cash-based transactions.
One thing most quick-service business owners love about TouchBistro is the detailed reporting section. In the back-office, you can find detailed reports for pretty much every item, including inventory costs, staff wages, and whatnot.
Speaking of data, you might be wondering how TouchBistro stores it. You’ll be happy to know Touchbistro uses a hybrid POS system, meaning the data can be stored on their servers or your local servers. It’s always nice to have the option to store data locally!
For one license, prices start at $69 a month for the software.
Which Point of Sale Software is The Best for Bars?
In our opinion, the best point of sale software for bars is TouchBistro. It’s got an incredibly user-friendly interface with helpful icons and plenty of features and configuration options.
You can also connect to a wide range of payment gateways, manage staff, add a floorplan, and many other features. Overall, I think TouchBistro is the best POS software for bars.
That doesn’t mean our other mentions are bad. We just prefer TouchBistro. The other software, with some tweaks, can work just as well.
One thing to keep in mind is TouchBistro is Ipad based. If you already have Ipads, then you just need to download the app and connect them to your license. Otherwise, you’ll need to buy Ipads.
Currently, the company does not support any other operating systems, such as Windows or Android. They also recommend using a Mac computer as the main terminal.
To summarize, you’ll be surprised how much modern POS software can improve your business. Gone are the days of having to use paper to keep track of orders and receipts. Streamline the process with modern technology!
It also makes things much easier for your staff to take and process orders. Less time walking to and from the kitchen, and more time focused on creating a pleasant experience for your patrons. Overall, buying a new POS software is a worthy investment.
Something to consider:
One thing you might want to consider is installing fixed Ipads to your tables, so customers can place their own orders, saving you time and labor. Most customers love the idea of having the option to place their own orders, from a visual menu.
The good news is you can get a decent POS software without breaking the bank. Sometimes it is as simple as buying the product and then downloading the app. No need to hire a technician to install complicated systems.
To save time and some cash, you might want to consider buying software and hardware bundles. If you run a small bar, the bare minimum mentioned earlier should be enough to get started.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article on best point of sale systems for bars. Hopefully, now you know what your options are and you’re ready to make a smart decision for your business.