Just a few years ago, running a bar, winery or brewery—while not easy—was simpler. Now there are ever changing regulations within the food and beverage industry, requirements for insurance and security. These factors make it difficult to determine where you spend vs. save for your small business.
In a study of restaurant customers called The restaurant of the future, Deloitte predicts that, “Winning restaurants will be the ones who invest wisely in digital, operations, marketing, and technology”.
Now, this might sound like a scenario created by “experts” who have never actually been behind a bar. However, let’s consider the implications of this study, and put them into one actionable, real-world, plan. Specifically, a tool called a POS system, designed specifically for bars.
POS Systems and Bars
By definition, POS systems are simply the place or system where your customers pay for their drinks. The POS system of today has evolved quite a bit, and they can do more than cash registers and card swipe devices. For instance, bar owners can now also keep an eye on inventory with automatically generated reports.
The Advantages of a Bar POS System
No matter if you have a sports bar, dive bar, swanky speakeasy, winery or brewery—the details may vary, but every bar business has some needs in common. These include keeping customers happy and retaining them, quicker turnaround times for drink orders, and preventing high staff turnover. POS systems designed for bars address all these concerns.
The Features of a Bar POS System
Collect Payments Anywhere: Table and Bar-side Service
How many times do your patrons want to split a check? People don’t carry cash as much as they used to and they expect your business to be able to support a split-check. Bar POS systems are usually designed to support split checks. Because many systems are connected to your network, your staff can collect payments from anywhere in the establishment.
Some POS systems like, Square Stand, let your bartender collect payment at the counter-top, at private booths, and other seating areas. Syncing to tablets is all you have to do to make this work for your business.
Customization: Custom Drinks, Custom Bills
Some ordering secrets that only your place has or the ever increasing demand for reduced-sugar drinks are options your patrons are expecting. The drinks list in a typical point of sale system doesn’t include drink combinations. Personalization is important to people and if you make it easy on your staff and the customer, they will keep coming back.
Reiva Lesonsky of Small Biz Daily, puts it this way: “People are crazy these days, crazy busy, crazy whatever. So give them a reason to come in and chill, and yet be able to personalize their own experience because that’s what it’s all about these days. People want personalized experiences.” Dedicated bar POS systems take custom drink orders in stride.
Inventory Management: Never run out
Liquor costs can run anywhere from 18% to 20% of the sale price, according to Jim Laube from RestaurantOwner. You can’t afford to run out of drinks and pay extra costs like an emergency inventory run, or expensive quick delivery prices.
Real-time inventory, a common feature of bar POS, ensures that you never run out of stock. Whenever all those cosmopolitans are taking a toll on your Grey Goose stock, you’ll see it coming and stay ahead of shortage. Options like alternate financing for restaurants and bars can help you when you’re running low on inventory. It is your responsibility to ensure you never pay more than you need to.
Pre-authorization: Simple Tabs
“Managing tabs is so easy,” said no bartender ever.
Tabs done the traditional way are a logistic mess; staff has to print all the checks, put them in folios, and manage the cards. When they are tipsy and ready to pay all at once, you hope your staff can manage the chaos and still come to work the next night.
That’s only the tip of the iceberg. There can be fraudulent or stolen cards, credit limits, and the oh-so-frustrating situation when cards get swapped by mistake.
Bar POS systems allows pre-authorization, which means that you can swipe a customer’s credit card, securely save it, and verify its authenticity and credit available. These systems make the tab-keeping process efficient and fast.
Running a bar in 2019 may seem trickier than it used to be before, but a competent bar point of sale system, with the features listed here, can save you money in the long-run. By using this technology, you can ensure a good reputation, busy service, less-stressed employees and protect your cash-flow.