Bar POS System Basics
Realistically, all bar or lounge POS systems do what any other type of service-based POS system does. They allow you to manage inventory and purchases, process payments, take orders, and track sales. What sets a good bar POS system apart are the industry-specific features it offers.
Tools such as the ability to transfer and split checks, customize order entry, drink recipe lists with ingredients, price scheduling for specials, splitting liquor inventory, and tracking pours all improve your service and help your business run more smoothly. These features give you a way to manage and track several aspects of your business from a single system. The right bar or lounge POS system even allows you to make better business decisions, since customer information and which menu items are selling best are at the tip of your fingers.
The majority of bar or lounge POS systems are comprised of the software itself, a cash drawer, payment processing equipment, and a receipt printer. There is also a monitor or monitors for the system, which are either touchscreen (an option that is quickly becoming the standard) or require a keyboard for operation. Some POS systems offer mobile compatibility as well, or you may choose an entirely mobile system. This allows you to utilize the system from anywhere, improving the customer experience while saving you and your workers time.
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Benefits of a Bar or Lounge POS System
A bar or lounge POS system brings with it a host of benefits. Regardless of the size of your bar, a good POS system provides:
- Enhanced inventory and sales tracking: A POS system allows bar owners to track their inventory down to the ingredient level and identify buying patterns to better plan menus and purchasing. The sales tracking lets you keep track of all sales and monitor peak service days and hours.
- Card processing: Additional systems and peripherals are a thing of the past with a bar or lounge POS system. These systems offer an easy, secure way for bar owners to accept and process card payments.
- Improved security: In addition to providing a secure way to accept card payments, a POS system offers financial security. The password-protected system holds employees accountable for all their sales, with no way to change customer checks or provide unwarranted discounts.
- Employee management: Bar POS systems keep a record of each employee’s sign-in and sign-out, ensuring accurate payroll and that everyone works their assigned times.
How Much Do Bar POS Systems Cost?
The exact cost of a bar or lounge POS system is difficult to determine, as the amount of hardware needed, size of the business, and the type of system all impact the total price. Here is a general pricing guide to provide a better idea of what you can expect to pay for your bar or lounge POS system:
- A basic POS system with no installation or tech support has an average cost of $1,000 to $2,000.
- A complete POS system with hardware, installation, training, and support has an average cost between $2,000 and $8,000.
- Wireless POS systems typically have a higher price. A basic system that includes the standard hardware and services, plus a wireless tablet and built-in card reader, has an average cost of $4,000 to $5,000. Systems with two tablets cost between $6,000 and $8,000.
Features to Look for in Bar or Lounge POS Systems
As stated above, all POS systems have similar base features. The best POS systems offer additional features, such as:
- Multiple users: Your POS system is going to be used by more than one person, so it is important that it has some sort of login feature that differentiates between users.
- Order features: Check consolidation, repeat orders, and tab splits/transfers are all features a good bar or lounge POS system should have. It should also allow for customized drink orders and ingredient definitions.
- Price scheduling: An important feature for any bar POS system is the ability to manage happy hours, multiple menus, and other specials. The internal clock of the system should automatically update pricing at the correct days and times.
- Tip tracking and payroll: Since each employee is attached to their own sales, tips should be linked to their user accounts or profiles for end-of-shift payouts and tax purposes. Good POS systems integrate their tip tracking with time clocks to provide accurate and easier payroll management.