8 Essential Features Every POS for Bars Should Have

POS stands for ‘Point Of Sale’. It refers to the physical space in which the sales takes place in a bar in relation to how much the bar makes. Earlier, a POS system meant a cash register either paired with a printer or scanner. It was not as intelligent as the pos systems for bars that are available in the market today. It was not powered by automation, could not know the cost of the product and required manual intervention to enter the prices of the ordered items. 

However, the bar POS of these days are empowered with technology that eases every owner’s burden of keeping track of inventory, orders and payments. It does not merely summarize the items sold or print receipts. A modern bar POS system can perform the task of an all-in-one purchasing and reporting software. It takes care of every aspect of bar management which is a feature that every bar owner and manager looks for in a POS. 

Do Bars Need A POS System?

One can run a bar in a conventional style using hard copies like cash registers or pen and paper. But introducing a modern system in the business can be extremely helpful for the growth of the business.  

Functions Of A Bar POS System

  1. Streamlines communication between different parts of the bar 
  2. Reduces the time spent by staff on entering orders 
  3. Reduces transactional errors to a great extent 
  4. Removes the need to struggle with a manual variance formula 
  5. Helps monitor and manage the liquor inventory 
  6. Enhances the liquor inventory control 
  7. Makes manual calculation of the number of shots in a handle unnecessary 

How Is A Bar POS Different From A Restaurant POS?

Although both POS systems possess similar features, the functions of a bar POS focus mainly on bar operations. 

How Can A Bar POS Boost Sales?

A bar POS is installed primarily to increase sales. Here’s how it can boost your bar’s sales.

Bring In New Customers 

Customers spend a lot of time on social media. Databases can be collected by linking the bar’s POS to automated social media outreach. This can be used to send bar promotions and events to a wide audience base. The younger section of this customer database will get in touch with you as they are always on the watch out for something new or different. 

Increase Repeat Customers 

By using an in-built CRM in the bar POS, the bar owner gets access to the customer’s contact details and insights about their buying behavior and spending habits. Once the biggest spenders are identified, campaigns and promotions can be designed to encourage them to revisit the bar.

Control The Flow Of Freebies

While free drinks can be served to loyal customers, you can cut down on free drinks as the bar POS lets you know when the staff is outpouring. This will also make them accountable for the inventory that they are not handling efficiently. 

Manage The Resources 

Bars are usually crowded places buzzing with activity. The staff must always be alert and ready to act to entertain the guests. At times, handling the workload becomes difficult. With a bar POS in place, allocation of resources can be done in a better way. A bar POS will help plan the resources required on busy days or weekends well in advance. This will avoid last-minute glitches.

Improve Table Turnover Time 

People who prefer having a drink or two must be offered a tabletop service. This is a great way to save time and attain customer satisfaction. When orders are fulfilled quickly and payments accepted swiftly, the staff will be able to cater to a greater number of customers. This, in turn, improves table turnover without the staff having to rush to different customer tables.

8 Essential Features Of A Good Bar POS System

Menu Customization

Bartenders frequently face the issue of making a slew of cocktail combinations that they are not familiar with. While this requires a special skill, ringing up such orders on the POS system also calls for expertise. This is why the bar POS must be easy to use, designed to handle a huge volume of customers and permit guests to get any kind of customized drinks easily. The possibilities for customization should be endless. Such a system will also be helpful for newcomers who may forget a drink recipe. Since the recipes are fed into the system, they can be easily pulled out from POS for reference.  

Check Moving And Splitting 

When customers make a request to move and split the check, the bartender or server must remember what everyone ordered, feed the data into the system correctly and print an individual check for each guest. A few customers will also order at the bar during their table waiting time and leave without making a payment. So, a bar POS system must have the ability to move checks from the bar to the table and split it amongst guests in a fast and easy manner. 

Preauthorization Of Credit And Debit Cards 

Preauthorization, also known as ‘preauth’ enables bartenders to swipe a customer’s credit card and save the information as their bar tab in a secure way. This information will help verify if the card is real and has sufficient preconfigured funds in it. Since things move fast in the bar or nightclub industry, one does not have ample time to look out for fake IDs and fake credit cards. With pre-auth, usage of fake and stolen cards can be limited. The liability arising out of a large, unpaid check due to insufficient funds can also be avoided. With POS, pre-auth requires just one tap. This speeds up service; bartenders spend less time at the POS system and have more time to make drinks. This results in great customer satisfaction. 

Easy Menu Management 

The menu of a bar or nightclub changes almost every day. It might change according to the specials offered – drink specials, happy hour specials, pitcher specials and so on. The bar POS must possess the capability to make the menu a living, breathing entity. A good POS system will allow you to change a menu item without restarting the system or login to the menu management software from any location. The POS system should have tools for easy menu management along with simple customization options. 

Tip Percentages

Tips constitute a significant part of the earnings of a bartender or server. If you are a bar owner with an intent to keep bartenders happy with a lot of tips in their pockets, implement the suggested tip percentages to increase the value of tips that they get. If the bar POS system suggests tip percentages to customers, they will be saved from the trouble of doing the math. This improves guest experience and increases the likelihood of guests tipping the bartender. The most popular tip percentages are 15%, 18% and 20%.

Customer And Sales Reporting 

Bars and nightclubs always face the challenge of bringing in customers to the physical space and motivating them to keep coming back for more. But a good bar POS system can make it a lot easier. A bar POS system usually has a customer relationship management (CRM) system that collects the contact information of guests and their detailed order history whenever they make payments with a debit or credit card. This data can be used judiciously to create a contact list to inform customers about the latest promotions and events through email. The bar owner can also identify the biggest spenders and target them during high-value nights or New Year’s Eve.

Mobile POS Hardware

All you must do to improve your efficiency and reputation is to make your staff spend more time with guests. A mobile POS system eliminates the clumsy technology that acts as a roadblock between the staff and guests. The bar service must, therefore, be equipped with handheld devices that will allow the staff to provide customers with good service. These devices can be used by the staff to accept orders, process payments and complete transactions while interacting with the guests. 

Bar And Liquor Inventory

Liquor costs constitute typically 18 to 20% of the total liquor sales. With greater optimization of the liquor cost percentage, you can earn greater profits. A bar POS must be able to track food inventory, suppliers, units and prices on the computer, phone or tablet using real-time restaurant inventory software. This will let you know when and what to order for re-stocking. Inventory tracking in a bar also lets the bar owner notice situations where bartenders are over-pouring or giving away a greater quantity of free drinks than expected.

How To Install A Bar POS System?

Legacy POS Systems must be installed physically, that too, by experts. Maintenance and updates must be done manually at regular intervals. Another drawback is that they require specific equipment to work with.  

As far as cloud-based POS systems are concerned, they can be installed and updated in a simple way as everything is possible online. The compatible version of the POS system can be downloaded to the mobile device or accessed using a web browser. You can start using the system right away simply by logging into your account. 

Cost Of A Bar POS System

The two types of POS systems available in the market are: 

  1. Legacy bar POS systems 
  2. Cloud-based POS software systems 

The cost of legacy model bar POS system is high because they require experts for the installation process to be completed and additional equipment for the initial set up. The amount can be anywhere between $5,000 and $50,000. Such POS systems are available on a multi-year contract. 

Cloud based POS models are available on a monthly subscription and are cheaper when compared to legacy bar POS systems. The cost ranges from $50 to $500. Free lifetime software and security updates can be availed from vendors as well. If you are about to open a bar from scratch, choose a modern, flexible, cloud-based system that suits your budget. 


With large crowds always pouring in, managing a bar and ensuring customer satisfaction is not easy. POS for bars can be a lifesaver as it increases the efficiency of the bar operations and maximizes profits. It permits seamless and simultaneous management of several tasks and helps attract more customers who turn into loyal patrons. This blog would have been useful if you were looking for an insightful read into POS systems. For further assistance in restaurant website building and digital marketing, get in touch.