Best POS Systems for Bars

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Table of Contents

What actually is a POS system?

A background knowledge of POS is important in selecting the best POS system for bars. A point of sale (POS) system is a combination of software and hardware that allows the customer to pay for the products they purchase. Basically, it is the replacement of a cash register but it is much more than just being a substitute for it as POS system is even called the retail management system. It is developed for platforms like Linux, Windows and Mac.

All that you need to know about the POS

  • Why you need it?

Bar is a place where people go to destress from their normal day lives. If you are a bar owner, it is important for you to make sure that from DJ playing good music to the bartender making amazing cocktails, everything need to be top notch.

If you need your bar’s ambience to be perfect, it is necessary that you have a POS system installed. POS system being much more than your traditional cash register, can actually help you in managing and your customers in enjoying the bar to the fullest.

Having a suitable POS system can aid you in running your bar at peak efficiency level throughout the night. You would not want to kill your customer mood and ruin whatever it is that they are celebrating, instead you would want to keep the drinks flowing.

A POS system can help you in creating multiple customers profiles on it with their payment information in it that will help in taking and delivering orders, which will consequently keep the mood of the customer in a great shape.

Benefits offered by a POS system

  • Quick Service

With a POS system in place, you can greatly increase the speed of your service. Customers can have their payments options uploaded in your system and can automatically pay through it whenever they order a drink or something. It will help you in managing your customer in a better way and leaving a good impression on them.

  • Easy-to-use

As we are moving towards a more digital world, POS is your digital replacement of a cash register. It is very easy to use as the developers of such systems know about the face that the target audience of their product are people who do not have a know-how of technology in detail.

  • Wide payment options

Nowadays, people do not use the same method of doing their payment. Some use cash while other use electronic means like Apple Pay, Google Pay or even Samsung Pay. To cater their need, it is important that you have system that can accept wide range of payment options. POS system is just like that, it offers you the capability to accept almost every type of payment that the customer is willing to make.

  • Efficient way to run a bar

It is a less time-consuming solution to your business need. A POS system is so much more than a simple cash register. It provides you with tools that can heavily speed up the daily tasks that can collectively take a major chunk of your busy schedule.

  • Increased accuracy

Without a POS system, you need to punch in every little detail into the system for keeping a record. This increases the chances of human error that can cost greatly because it is amplified with every transaction. But with a POS system, all the transaction details and data are stored automatically on the system in real-time which greatly increases the accuracy of your data by eliminating human error.

  • Employee management

A POS system allows you to manage your employs with ease of mind. Multiple employee profiles can be created on the system and they can receive the tasks assigned to them on their phones or tablets. The employees can even use it to clock in and out during their working hours on the system. It can also help in giving bonuses by evaluating their performances.

  • Ease in accounting

Traditionally, you would have to go through hundreds of receipts to fulfill your accounting needs but a POS system stores every detail and makes it easier and quicker for you to complete this basic task.

  • Inventory Management

As POS is much more than your traditional cash register, it can offer you powerful data analyzing capabilities along with robust inventory management feature which will save you a lot of time.

  • Reporting

A basic feature offered by many POS software is the reporting option. You can keep a close eye on your profits, sales and expenses instantaneously with its real-time reporting feature.

  • Receipts

The receipts offered by the POS system are highly detailed as compared to traditional paper receipt. The item details, its price, your payment, the money you saved with the coupon etc. everything is on there for the customer.

What to look for in your ideal POS?

Cloud-Storage feature

Most POS systems come with a cloud-storage feature. In cloud-storage, the data that is stored in your system is uploaded to a remote server that is highly secured. It gives you the option to access this data through internet whenever and wherever you want.

  • Customer support

With POS system highly integrated in the normal functioning of your bar, it can be very damaging if it malfunctions as your transactions are processed through it. So, it is important that your POS provider provides you with quick and efficient customer support service that is available 24/7.

  • Integration

This feature can save you time and the need for having someone do all the functions like managing your customer data, accounting information and sales figures which are now stored in one central system and can be accessed anytime.

  • Reporting

It should offer reporting options and produce sales reports in real-time. The POS system should also have powerful data analyzing capabilities run these operations smoothly.

  • User friendly interface

As mentioned before, an easy to use interface is really important as the people who will be using the system are not that much familiar with technology. A user-friendly interface will require less training to master it and can be used by anyone with ease.

  • Set-up cost

A POS software requires compatible hardware for its normal functioning. So, it is important that you have a suitable system to support the POS, if not, you need to buy it which can increase the initial investment cost.

POS systems available in the market

Lightspeed is an iOS-based point of sale (POS) system that can handle the needs of a small to medium sized bar. It offers a highly customizable interface options for the users.

Moreover, it offers you tableside ordering feature, with which, orders can be taken on an iPad by waiting staff that are directly sent to the bar.

It is a cloud-based POS system that also has a built-in offline mode. It means that your POS will keep on functioning even if the internet connection is down. It stores the data locally on the system and when there is an active internet connection available, it uploads it to a remote server.

It also allows you to build customizable menus in a minute or so on any phone at any time. Along with all these features, Lightspeed POS offers you 24/7 customer support throughout the year except on holidays.    

Depth of reporting Poorly organized special orders
Fully customizable Not suitable for large, busy businesses
Detailed employee management 5 employees and 1 register allowed in basic plan
Good customer service Inventory not detailed
Easy integration Payments cannot be processed while offline
Supports online sales  

Square POS is a POS system that is available on both Google Play and Apple App Store. It provides multiple features but the highlight of this software is that it has free subscription and very minimalistic fee that is charged with every transaction.

It provides many features that are suitable for a bar setting. They are as follows:

  • Customizable Drink Option

Drink instructions like neat, shaken, stirred, dry, dirty, etc. are displayed alongside the order so that the bartender know exactly what to make.

  • Night Mode

It is especially made to work in low-light environment like that of a bar.

  • Customizable Menu

It allows you to set different menus according to different times of the day.

Along with the features mentioned above, it also offers you employee management options. Moreover, it has a ‘Reporting Suite’ which allows you to keep an eye on how everything is performing, be it you employee or your products.

Square POS also offers 24/7 customer support and also supports offline mode if there is not an active internet connection available.

Offers both Android and iOS compatibility Not ideal for big companies with huge transactions
Suitable hardware options to select from Requires regular updates
Can work without an internet connection Sometimes transactions are slow
Pricing is simple Not suitable for high risk industries
Good customer support Processing fee can be high
  • Toast POS

Toast POS, an Android based software, is one of the most user-friendly POS system out there for people in food industry including bars as it is specifically built to target this group of businesses. It also offers a cloud-based storage system that is highly secured.

Toast POS offers a payroll integration feature that allows you to manage the payment of your employees. It also allows you to update the menus (online and in-house) and fulfil orders from their tablet.

With its ‘pay at the table’ feature, payment options have become very easy for both the customers and the owner by printing receipts or emailing the details directly from the tablet. In addition to this, the customer receives loyalty points every time they make a transaction and these points can be redeemed afterwards.

Customer management Additional cost for feature and add-ons
Customizable loyalty rewards Customer service has mixed reviews
Personalized webpage Mixed reviews about overall functionality
Android based Mandatory Toast credit card processing
User friendly Pricing may look pretty high
Many integration options Payment processing nonflexible
One-stop shop  

ShopKeep is an iOS-based POS system with a simple and easy to use interface. It a powerful POS software that offers features like sales data, employee management, and order management at a very reasonable rate.

It is a cloud-based POS system which provides you with multiple payment accepting options, print kitchen tickets, split checks and take custom drink orders.

The one feature that makes it stand out from the rest is its inventory management. ShopKeep offers deep inventory management options to the bar owners. Its pricing is entirely quote-based, meaning that you may have to pay differently than other clients for the same amount of service.

ShopKeep also offers you a detailed real-time reporting feature that allows you to know the products that are selling the most and even the information about sales data by the hour.

Can use any processor No API
Strong and detailed inventory management No multi-location support
Smooth checkout process Inadequate financial supporting
Weight-scale support No free trial
Tipping support Increased cost with add-ons
Easy-to-use interface Occasional bugs

Revel is a powerful iOS-based POS solution for your bar. Although it is not specifically made for bars, but its highly customizable interface allows it to even function very well in a bar. It is a great choice if you have a large or multi-location business.

Revel offers an ‘always-on mode’ which can process your credit card payment without an internet connection or even without power. To discourage underage drinking, it offers age prompt that allows the bartenders to confirm that the customer is above 21 years of age.

Moreover, its table management feature helps you in tracking each table’s order and even reservations. Revel POS also offers 24/7 customer support to its customers as they realize the importance of having an effective and quick technical customer support. There is also an option of in-built loyalty program with CRM that allows you to know about your regular customers and their order details, their favorite items, which helps you in satisfying your loyal customers.

One disadvantage that Revel POS holds is that its monthly payment is higher than its competitors. So, it is not very suitable for small business owners or newly established businesses.

Extraordinary reporting Complex set-up
Easy-to-use interface No free trial
Kiosk functionality Expensive
24/7 customer reporting Infrequent glitches
Strong integrations  
Powerful and customizable system  

Final Verdict

Of all the POS systems mentioned above, it seems obvious that Square POS is the better choice for bar owners. Square attracts its small business owners with no subscription fee. Even though it charges a very small fee with every transaction that is made on the system, it is not much as compared to its competitor.

This small transaction fee becomes really significant when there is a large amount of transaction involved that can be the case with large businesses. For them, Revel POS can be a good choice. Most companies cannot afford the initial high price of Revel as they are in early stages of their business, but with well-established businesses with multiple locations, Revel can provide an excellent solution to their POS needs.

Taylor Goldstein

Taylor Goldstein

Hey, my name is Taylor Goldstein and I am the creator / editor of the "POSsmartly" website. I have been a CTO and VP Technology in couple of a big brands, and my mission now is tocriticises this misunderstood field of tehc pieces.

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