7 Best Pub POS Systems To Thrive In 2022
A great bar POS system can easily manage tabs, split bills, track inventory, & integrate with your other software programs. Our top picks include Revel, TouchBistro, Toast, and Lightspeed.
The best pub point of sale (POS) systems are built for speed and efficiency. In a fast-paced industry with an ever-shifting cast of employees, you need a bar POS that makes it easy for your bartenders to take orders and payments, quickly and securely.
In addition to tools to reduce turnover and employee theft, a quality POS for a pub should also include modern features and options like tableside ordering, kiosk options, online ordering, and seamless integration with third-party delivery apps — these apps are of course important for any bar that serves food, though more and more small businesses are also selling alcoholic drinks online for local delivery. Whatever type of bar you own, be it a pub or a club, you will be well-served by any of these bar point of sale systems.
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Best for affordability.
| ||Best for employee management.||
Best for employee management.
| ||Best for ease of use.||
Best for ease of use.
| ||Best for customizability.||
Best for customizability.
| ||Best for larger businesses.||
Best for larger businesses.
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| ||Best value.||
| ||Best plug-and-play bar system.||
Best plug-and-play bar system.
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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.
- The Top Bar POS Systems
- 1. Square For Restaurants: Most Affordable
- 2. Toast: Best Employee Management
- 3. TouchBistro: Best For Ease Of Use
- 4. Lightspeed Restaurant: Best For Customizability
- 5. Revel: Best For Larger Businesses
- 6. talech: Best Value
- 7. Clover: Best Plug-And-Play Bar System
- Why We Don’t Recommend These Bar POS Options
- 6 Must-Have Features In A POS System For Bars
- FAQs: Pub POS System
- In Summary: The Top Bar POS Systems
Table of Contents
- The Top Bar POS Systems
- Why We Don’t Recommend These Bar POS Options
- 6 Must-Have Features In A POS System For Bars
- FAQs: Pub POS System
- In Summary: The Top Bar POS Systems
The Top Bar POS Systems
We highly recommend the following bar POS systems:
- Square for Restaurants: Best for affordability
- Toast: Best for employee management
- TouchBistro: Best for ease of use
- Lightspeed Restaurant: Best for customizability
- Revel Systems: Best for larger businesses
- talech POS: Best value
- Clover: Best plug-and-play bar system
1. Square For Restaurants: Most Affordable
Square For Restaurants POS
Get a free card swiper from Square at no cost when you create a free account. Claim your card reader.
- No long-term contract
- Free & affordable plans
- Free online ordering website
- No after-hours support on free plan
- No pre-auth for bar tabs
Square For Restaurants Bar POS System Features
Square for Restaurants is a scalable, affordable bar POS whose standout features include:
- Free online ordering website: Sell food and alcohol online with free pickup, $0.50 in-house delivery, or $1.50 DoorDash delivery
- Square KDS: Free with Square For Restaurants Plus or can be purchased standalone without POS for $20/device—useful for ghost kitchens without brick-and-mortar premises
- Happy hour pricing: Square makes it easy to set up automatic discounts that apply to certain items at certain times and days of the week
- Team management: Even at the free plan, SFR includes basic team management features, including time tracking and clock-in/out
- Dark mode: The optional dark mode is ideal for bars and nightclubs (not available on Square Register)
- Open checks: SFR includes open check functionality on the free plan, and the ability to reopen and edit closed checks on paid plans (however, there is no pre-auth function)
- Conversational modifiers: Modifiers like “on the rocks” allow for fast, easy drink orders
- Basic inventory management: The free plan includes useful inventory tools like auto-86ing and item counts
- Basic reporting: Includes kitchen performance reports and service charge reporting on the free plan, with more advanced reports like category rollup reporting and section sales reports available on paid plans
- Many add-ons & integrations: Square has add-ons for marketing, loyalty, payroll, and more, as well as many third-party software integrations for bars and pubs, including delivery app integrations
Complete hardware kits sold by Square range from $639 for a Square Stand for iPad with a cash register and receipt printer, to a $1,339 Square Stand Restaurant Station with a Square Terminal for tableside payments. Square for Restaurants can also run on the proprietary all-in-one Square Register, which retails for $799 (does not include cash register).
Monthly Software Cost
Square For Restaurants has two pricing options: a limited Free plan and a $60/month (+$40/month for each additional register). Plus plan that comes with all the features, including Square KDS.
Payment processing is provided by Square Payments and costs 2.6% + $0.10 for all in-person transactions.
Square contracts are all month-to-month. Square hardware is sold upfront and while you can opt for no-interest financing to pay for it over time, there are no leases or other funny business.
Where Square For Restaurants Really Shines For Bars
This iPad POS really shines in terms of how much functionality this pub POS offers for its price—free for pubs with basic needs. While it doesn’t have every feature under the sun, Square for Restaurants offers many useful bar-centric features. Drink modifiers (neat, shaken, stirred, dry, dirty, etc.) can be grouped with different menu items. They will automatically appear, so servers can see precisely how to prepare any drink. You can also use the modifiers to customize drinks. There’s an option to switch to dark mode to fit in well with low-light bar settings. Menu management lets you switch between different menus for different parts of the day, such as during happy hour.
On the back end, Square is super easy to learn and start using, making it a breeze to train new hires on. Employee permissions allow you to assign roles to your team (such as servers or managers) and choose their access level. This function also gives every employee their own passcode so that you can track the sales activities of each server. The reporting suite shows you how each employee, liquor, and drink performs so that you can plan accordingly.
2. Toast: Best Employee Management
- Advanced features
- Excellent customer service
- Locked into Toast processing
- 2-year contract
Toast Bar POS System Features
Toast POS has a strong bar game with these features:
- Multiple digital ordering options: Useful for full-service establishments that serve food in addition to alcohol, these options include online ordering, Toast Takeout mobile ordering app, in-house delivery, third-party delivery app integrations, an option for customers to order and pay at the table (from customer’s own phone), self-ordering kiosks, and others
- Pre-authorization: Needed for pubs that let customers run a tab
- Advanced employee management: Some options include shift scheduling, shift reporting, payroll, and employee benefits.
- Employee retention tools: Toast now offers Toast Tips Manager, Toast Pay Card, and PayOut, all aimed at improving your employee experience to reduce turnover
- Mobile POS hardware: WIth proprietary Toast Go mobile POS device for tableside payments
- Advanced reporting: Reporting suite includes variance reports, COGS reports, shift reports, KDS reports, menu reports, and many others
- Flexible menu management: Lets you set automatic happy hour prices, add specials on the fly, and 86 menu items with a tap. Includes multi-location menu management
- Excellent support: Highly rated, 24/7 phone support
- Credit card-linked loyalty program: Eliminates the need for a separate loyalty card or app
- Numerous integrations: Includes in-house add-ons and third-party software integrations to meet any bar or pub need, from marketing to keg management
A basic starter kit that includes a Toast Flex POS terminal, a Toast Tap payment reader, and a router retails for $799. You can also add a guest display for another $200 and other peripheral equipment such as a cash drawer ($119), KDS screen ($499), receipt printer ($199), and Toast Go mobile payment device ($389). Note that Toast KDS and Toast Go have additional monthly service charges.
Optionally, you can get a free starter kit if you opt to pay a higher payment processing fee.
Monthly Software Cost
Some Toast monthly plan options include a free starter plan (with a higher payment processing fee), a $165/month Essentials plan, and a $110/month New Restaurant Basics plan that includes labor management features. Toast also offers custom pricing packages.
Toast’s standard in-person transaction fee is 2.49% + $0.15. (AMEX fees are 3.29% + $0.15). If you opt for the free starter kit, you’ll pay 2.99% + $0.15 (for non-AMEX). You cannot use any outside payment processor with Toast POS; you must use Toast Processing.
The standard Toast contract is two years. If you leave your contract early for any reason, you will likely have to pay an early termination fee (ETF). Though we don’t normally recommend systems with long-term contracts, Toast POS is such a high-quality system that we think most businesses will not regret committing to Toast for two years.
Where Toast Really Shines As A Pub POS
Toast is a powerful Android POS that can meet the needs of a large bar/restaurant or buzzing nightclub. Toast comes with a number of useful features for bars and especially shines in terms of its labor-management feature set aimed at reducing turnover as well as theft. Advanced POS reporting notifies managers of any theft (customers or employees), shows menu and liquor sales trends over time, and analyzes customer data with built-in CRM.
These reports also include a Cash Drawer Report, which allows you to monitor each register to see who opened and closed the drawer at what times.
Additionally, Toast’s pre-authorization lets you verify and securely save card information on a tab, limiting fraud from fake cards and unpaid tabs at the end of the night. Pre-auth also makes it quicker and easier to close out bar tabs. Flexible menu management lets you set automatic happy hour pricing, quickly add new drinks, and easily remove drinks from the menu when inventory for that item is low.
Toast Go mobile point of sale devices allow bartenders and servers to take and transmit drink orders and transfer tabs, all electronically. That way, customers won’t have to close out at the bar before moving to restaurant seating. More benefits of mobile ordering include quicker checkouts and onscreen tipping suggestions, among others.
An excellent kitchen display system option makes for fast, streamlined service if your bar also serves food as well.
3. TouchBistro: Best For Ease Of Use
- Simple interface
- Easy to use
- Occasionally spotty customer support
- Average inventory management
TouchBistro Bar POS System Features
TouchBistro is an easy-to-use iPad POS with the following bar-centric features:
- “Fast Bar” mode: Take and close orders with just two taps
- Staff management: Includes time tracking, labor reports, and permissions to manage access per employee
- Barcode scanner integration: Sell retail products alongside food and drinks
- Upsell prompts: Pop-up modifiers and prompts for upselling and promotions
- Bar reporting: Modifier report shows which premium liquors are selling and which staff are best at upselling; detailed items report identifies staff members who delete the most items from tabs
- Low inventory warnings: Automated inventory alerts notify you when it’s time to restock
- Tailored promotions: Send customers tailored promotions based on their behavior
- Tableside ordering: Bust long bar lines with tableside ordering
- Affordable add-ons: Including online ordering, gift cards, loyalty, reservations, self-order, kiosks, customer-facing display, and KDS
- Bar software integrations: Freepour, Bevcheck, WISK.ai, Craftable, & online ordering aggregators
TouchBistro runs on iPad POS hardware. Hardware pricing is quote-based.
Monthly Software Cost
Monthly pricing starts at $69/month for a single terminal.
TouchBistro integrates with various payment processors as well as its own in-house TouchBistro Payments (powered by Chase), which offers cost-plus pricing.
TouchBistro does not state on its website whether its contracts are month-to-month or if there is an annual or multi-year commitment. Usually, this means a long-term commitment.
Check your TouchBistro quote to see your contract length and to verify if it is possible to leave your contract early if you are not satisfied.
Where TouchBistro Really Shines For Bars
TouchBistro is one of the more affordable and easy-to-use pub POS options on the market and has some handy features specifically for bars and clubs. The software boasts a “Fast Bar” mode in its register function that allows you to quickly take and close orders and navigate through multiple open tabs. It also has an easy promotional setting to create happy hours and events. A nice visual menu option allows you to write out recipes for bartenders or servers. Plus, there are simple permission settings that you can place on your employees.
TouchBistro has an exceptionally user-friendly interface, one created with restaurant employees in mind. There is a tableside ordering functionality that comes with the nifty feature of adapting to right-handed or left-handed servers.
TouchBistro has a standard number of reports that let you track potential waste and view sales by time of day and employee, among other settings. TouchBistro isn’t overly deep with its back-end offerings, but it doesn’t lack either, and its inventory management should suit most bars. It also has a strong loyalty program for an additional monthly fee.
4. Lightspeed Restaurant: Best For Customizability
Lightspeed Restaurant POS
- Deep reporting
- Customizable feature set to fit wide range of needs
- Excellent delivery module
- Occasional outages
- Can get expensive with add-ons
Lightspeed Restaurant Bar POS System Features
Here are some Lightspeed Restaurant features that bars might find especially useful:
- Training mode: For quick training of new hires
- Lightspeed Delivery Powered By Deliverect: Offer in-house delivery and/or pull orders from apps like UberEats, Skip The Dishes, or DoorDash; consolidates all delivery orders to a single screen
- Dark mode: Perfect for low-light environments
- Restaurant inventory management: Monitor inventory in real-time, get low stock alerts, and automate recurring orders to suppliers; also includes ingredient management
- Menu management: Edit menus quickly and push out changes to all locations; create combos for top-selling menu items
- Actionable insights: In-depth reporting includes detailed menu breakdowns showing best- and worst-selling items, customer tracking, and detailed report cards for each server
- Order and pay at table: Mobile in-person ordering option includes QR code ordering and QR code payments
- Single-seat checkout: Ideal for bars; can also split ticket by item, course, or seat
- Open tabs: Lets bar patrons payout at the end of their visit (pre-auth only available when processing with Cayan or Lightpeed Payments using Genius terminals or the MagTek iDynamo Swiper)
- Timed events: Allows you to set happy hour pricing and run other promotional events
Lightspeed Restauarant runs on iPad POS hardware. Hardware pricing is quote-based.
Monthly Software Cost
Monthly pricing starts at $39/month for a single terminal and includes all the core features, including delivery. The next level up is $119/month and also includes loyalty and gift cards.
Lightspeed POS comes integrated with Lightspeed Payments, which offers flat-rate processing at a rate of 2.6% + $0.10 for in-person payments, with the exception of AMEX, which are processed at a higher rate of 3.5% + $0.10. Alternatively, you can also use Lightspeed with an integrated third-party processor.
Lightspeed gives you the option to pay for your subscription annually or month-to-month. Annual subscribers will receive a discount.
Where Lightspeed Really Shines For Pubs
Lightspeed features a customizable POS interface for both the front end (register) and back end (detailed reporting and analytics suite) that make the system easy to use and put the functions you need — and only the functions you need — at your fingertips. Tableside ordering lets servers take orders from tables or booths with an iPad and send those orders directly to the bar or kitchen. Staff can also receive (optional) upsell prompts and use the iPad to run payments from the floor. The timed events function lets you set promotions and offers to run for a specific time or on certain days (e.g., happy hour).
The “ingredients” tab links raw ingredients to specific menu items. If a server tries to send an order with ingredients that aren’t available, they will be alerted. Employee permissions include the ability to set permissions for different levels of employees. Permission settings can also change the “visibility” of employees to determine whether or not they will appear in your app — which can be useful for seasonal or part-time staff. The adjustable floor planner is highly customizable and easy to use for bar-restaurant setups or nightclubs offering table service. The menu-building functionality allows you to create a simple menu in minutes and on any device.
5. Revel: Best For Larger Businesses
Revel POS Systems
- Highly customizable
- Pricey for small businesses
- Potential long-term contract
Revel Systems Bar POS System Features
Here are some Revel Systems features that come in handy when using the system for a bar or pub:
- Conversational ordering: This feature makes it easier and quicker for bartenders to enter orders as they are spoken to them
- Real-time discounts: Bartenders can easily create and apply discounts in real-time during a transaction (percentage or dollar-based)
- Revel StockTake app: Allows for rapid inventory counts and integrates with Revel’s Online Ordering XT app to sync ingredient inventories for in-person and online orders
- Always On mode: Facilitates uninterrupted transactions and POS functioning even during internet hiccups
- Mobile order takers: Servers can take tableside orders and payments using iPads
- In-house delivery: Advanced system shows where your drivers are located at all times with live tracking; customers are updated on their order status right from your KDS with SMS or email updates
- Self-service ordering & payments: Via Kiosk XT, Revel’s iPad kiosk solution
- Employee management: Includes employee scheduling, reporting, permissions, and more
- Advanced reporting & analytics: Provides a complete real-time view of your business, highlighting metrics like top sellers, labor targets, busiest hours, and monthly progress
Revel runs on iPad POS hardware. Hardware pricing is quote-based.
Monthly Software Cost
Monthly pricing starts at $99/month per terminal, with a two-terminal minimum and a three-year processing contract with Revel Advantage. However, you can also buy Revel month-to-month or with an annual term. Add-ons such as loyalty and delivery will raise your monthly cost.
Revel’s in-house processing service, called Revel Advantage, has a flat rate of 2.49% + $0.15 for in-person transactions. Revel can also integrate with outside processors, but you will pay an added fee to do so.
Your Revel contract will likely be at least one year long, and three years if you want the lowest monthly price. Fortunately, it is possible to purchase Revel without a long-term contract. Make sure you read the fine details of your contract so you know how long you are committing.
Where Revel Really Shines As A Pub Pos
Though Revel is not built specifically for bars/restaurants (the system is popular among quick-serve chains), Revel is highly customizable and feature-rich, to the point that it rivals Toast and any other restaurant-centric POS system. Revel is an excellent system for a large or multilocation bar/restaurant/nightclub/you name it.
The always-on mode allows you to run credit cards without the internet or even power. A wired ethernet iPad connection — the first of its kind — makes for a faster and more stable signal. You can set age prompts so that bartenders must verify that a customer is 21 before placing their drink order. There is also an option for mobile ordering to let you take orders electronically from tables and booths.
On the back end, ingredient-level inventory controls simplify liquid inventory tracking, automatically adjusting inventory levels based on the exact amount of alcohol poured for each drink. Employee management features include advanced employee permissions, shift tracking, and more. Revel even offers a video surveillance integration. Customer management lets you learn about regular customers, with information such as their favorite items and order history, and includes a built-in loyalty program.
6. talech: Best Value
- Includes many features at a reasonable price
- Multiple hardware options
- Month-to-month pricing
- No in-house delivery module
- No direct integration with third-party delivery apps
talech Bar POS System Features
talech includes many strong features for bars at a low price point:
- Order management: Apply service charges, track voids, transfer checks between servers, re-send tickets, and re-order items
- Menu management: Make real-time menu changes and customize your menu with modifiers, variations, and images
- Employee management: Employee tracking, permissions, timesheets, sales performance, and tip breakdown
- Reporting: View sales data in real-time, see your most popular items in your best sellers report, track voids, and view sales by employee
- Integrated online ordering: Mobile-friendly online ordering website lets customers pay online or at your pub when they pick up their food (no delivery available); can also be used for contactless dining with QR codes displayed at each table
- Pay by position: Split receipt by assigning certain items to specific seat positions
- Loyalty program: Included in standard plan
- Happy hour pricing: Setup automatic discounts to trigger at specific times, or use BOGO to run promotions
- Pre-authorization: Enable pre-auth to start a bar tab when logged in as admin; feature is not supported by Creditcall and TriPOS gateways
- talech Mobile: Accept mobile payments using your phone and a Bluetooth card reader
- Pay at table: Servers can take orders and payments with handheld Poynt smart terminals or iPads
talech runs on iPads as well as Android hardware, including Ingenico MOBY tablets, Elo Paypoint Plus, and Poynt Smart Terminals. Contact talech for hardware pricing.
Monthly Software Cost
Paid plans for restaurants include the $29/month Starter plan, $69/month Standard plan, and $99/month Premium plan—which includes all features. Regardless of plan, adding additional devices is $29/month per device. talech also has a free mobile-only plan, though this limited plan probably won’t work for your bar unless you sell at events.
talech doesn’t have in-house payment processing, rather, the POS integrates with partnered processors and gateways, which include Elavon, Global Payments, Bank of America Merchant Services, Vantiv, Chase, USAePay, and more.
talech pricing is month-to-month with no long-term commitment. However, depending on which payment processor you choose to use with talech, it’s possible your merchant services contract could require an annual or longer commitment. As always, be sure to read your merchant services contract thoroughly before signing it.
Where talech Really Shines For Bars Or Nightclubs
talech is a budget POS for pubs that want a lot of features at a very reasonable price point. While other POS systems might start at $99/month, for the same price, you can get every single talech feature, including advanced features like online ordering, loyalty, gift cards, and more. talech’s excellent value makes the POS a good choice for pubs and bars that are just starting out, including establishments that are just starting out or only sell at events.
Though talech can be used in various industries, the POS has features that appeal to bars specifically, including complete menu management and employee management, with options like pre-auth, happy hour pricing, and employee performance reports. The POS also offers flexibility when it comes to choosing your POS hardware as well as your payment processor.
talech does not include a delivery module or third-party delivery service integration, but certain business types–for example, a bar that doesn’t serve food–may not need these features.
7. Clover: Best Plug-And-Play Bar System
- Attractive proprietary hardware
- Comes pre-loaded with apps for features you need
- Can set up yourself without professional assistance
- Some Clover providers are poor-quality
- Some complaints about customer service
Clover Bar POS System Features
Clover’s functionality is entirely customizable through apps, which come preloaded depending on your Clover plan, and can also be added individually. Here are some popular Clover features:
- Built-in loyalty: Included in $39.95 plans and above, create a simple custom loyalty program with the Rewards app
- Happy hour pricing: Offer discounts by time slot with Happy Hour app
- Tips: App allows employees and managers to enter tips from paper receipts
- Pre-auth: Pre-authorize credit cards for bar tabs or reservations
- Order kiosk: Let customers order and pay themselves using a Clover device as a kiosk
- Phone orders: App works with caller ID hardware from CallerID.com
- Employee management: Schedule employees with Shifts app; have employees clock in and out with Time Clock app
- Gift cards: Free Gift Cards app allows you easily sell and accept physical and digital gift cards
- Reports: Run various reports including employee reports and reports by revenue class (food, wine, etc.), and quickly print out using the built-in receipt printer
- Service charges: Apply service charges to large parties
- Online ordering: Clover Online Ordering is included free with Table Service plans
- 3rd Party Order & Delivery: Partner with delivery services like Uber Eats or DoorDash with Chowly
- Clover app market: Choose from numerous apps to add functions like tip pooling, marketing, or integrations with other business software you use; apps may carry an additional monthly fee
Clover’s app-based interface makes the POS a snap for any employee to learn and start using.
Clover offers several hardware devices that you can mix and match to create your perfect setup. Most bars will want a Clover Station ($1,349 to $1,699) or a Clover Mini ($749; cash drawer sold separately) with an optional Clover Flex smart terminal ($499) for mobile order-taking and payments.
Monthly Software Cost
Clover plans range from $0/month for payment processing only, to a $69.95/month Table Service Restaurant plan. Most pubs will want either the Table Service plan or the $39.95/month Counter Service plan. Depending on how you purchase your Clover POS, your Clover provider may charge an additional monthly service charge on top of Clover’s software fees.
All Clover devices are sold with a First Data merchant account for payment processing. However, different Clover sellers structure their FD merchant account in different ways. If you purchase your system from Clover directly, you will pay a flat rate of 2.3% + $0.10 on all in-person transactions (applies to Register, Table Service, and Counter Service plans). Various other Clover vendors might process payments with different types of pricing, such as tiered, interchange-plus, or enhanced billback.
Clover is sold by numerous entities and not all of them are high-quality. Some of them may charge sneaky hidden fees or encourage you to sign an expensive equipment lease. Your customer service experience with Clover will depend largely on your Clover service provider. For these reasons, we recommend buying your system from Clover directly, or from a recommended Clover reseller.
Where Clover Really Shines As A Pub POS
Clover is entirely customizable and comes pre-programmed with apps for the features included in your chosen plan. You can plug in and set up the system yourself in minutes, without any professional installation needed. As soon as you activate your Clover (also easy), it’s equally easy to start using your POS, showing your employees how to use it, and start selling with it. Since the whole system is app-based, it’s intuitive for anyone who has used an iPad or Android tablet before.
For a bar that wants a simple, affordable POS system with gorgeous, sturdy hardware, Clover is an obvious choice. Clover even includes advanced features like loyalty, gift cards, and online ordering at no additional charge. As for downsides, the Clover hardware is more expensive than an iPad-based system and you can’t reuse components from another POS system. Clover is also more restrictive than other systems in that you cannot purchase your system without also signing up for a First Data merchant account.
If you purchase from Clover.com, you’ll get a simple, flat processing rate that’s lower than Square’s, and a reasonably priced monthly software plan as well. Clover’s Table Service or Counter Service plan should provide most or all functions your bar needs, whether you operate a full-service bar and restaurant or a simple pub. If Clover’s out-of-the-box features are not deep enough and you need advanced features such as in-depth inventory management, you can add an app from the Clover App Market to add that feature.
Why We Don’t Recommend These Bar POS Options
Looking for one of these bar point of sale systems? Bar owners are also searching for the following point of sale options for their pubs and wondering how they stack up against other systems. However, we do not recommend these systems.
Lavu is an iPad POS system for restaurants that also has features for bars. Unfortunately, Lavu customers have reported being pressured into signing a three-year equipment lease with an ETF. Leasing makes your POS equipment way more expensive than it should be and ties you to the POS company for longer than you might like. If you do buy a Lavu POS system, we recommend buying it directly through Lavu and paying for it outright rather than leasing.
NCR Silver is another iPad POS system for restaurants that has solid features but also has the same issue as Lavu–a three-year processing contract and equipment lease. However, it may possible to purchase NCR Silver from a partnered processor that can provide month-to-month pricing and let you buy your hardware upfront.
Harbortouch is yet another tablet-based POS system for bars and restaurants that has decent software features but is plagued with complaints of restrictive, long-term contracts and an overall lack of transparency in its processing contracts. For this reason, we cannot recommend Harbortouch as a pub POS option.
6 Must-Have Features In A POS System For Bars
Today’s pub and bar POS systems offer much more than just the ability to take payments. A specialized system with bar-specific features will do so much more for your business than a general POS.
The following are essential features when it comes to POS systems for bars.
1. Flexible Menu Scheduling
Most bars’ offerings and prices change up from time to time, either over the course of a day or year. For example, you might have special happy hour pricing, game-day specials, seasonal drinks, etc. Having a POS that you can program to accommodate these changes automatically means servers won’t have to remember all the specials or forget to charge the happy hour price instead of the regular price. Menu pricing control is vitally important to have if your bar also serves food.
2. Off-Hours Customer Support
Bars don’t operate during the same hours as most businesses, and you could potentially have issues with processing payments at 12 AM, so ideally you need 24/7 support on your POS system. Customer service needs to be responsive and helpful, any time of day or night, so you can get your system back up and running ASAP whenever problems arise. Your POS system should also have an “offline mode” that will keep your POS operational even if the internet goes down.
3. Inventory Management
A bar POS with a strong inventory management system can track the alcohol poured in every cocktail and alert you when supplies of any ingredient are low. They can also store drink recipes, report on the best-selling drink orders, and let you see your stock in real-time. The best bar POS systems can additionally integrate with third-party bar drink management software, including specialized keg-tracking software and liquor inventory management systems. Of course, there are also laws regulating the purchase and sale of alcohol. You should have a way to track all the information you need to stay compliant, including supplier information, purchase orders, etc. A shipping integration would be a nice feature for these purposes.
4. Employee Management
Spills, theft, and yes, on-shift inebriation are all problems bars must deal with when it comes to their staff. But even if you trust your bartenders implicitly, you can still benefit from using employee management software. Modern POS systems can double as employee management tools, letting you do things such as set individual user permissions and generate reports to see who is making the most sales, who is bringing in the most tips, who is comping the most drinks, etc. At the very least, a POS should have basic time-tracking capabilities that let you set shifts and have employees clock their hours.
5. Tabs & Suspended Tickets
Naturally, you’ll want to be able to set up and track customer tabs via an “open ticket” or “suspend” function. Preferably, the system should have a pre-authorization feature that saves your customer’s card as soon as you start their tab. A larger bar also needs the capability to merge and transfer tickets between servers and split a tab among multiple people, especially if you serve food and/or bottles of wine.
6. Good Reporting Features
A POS with good reporting features lets you track your bar’s sales and other metrics so that you can measure your business’s performance, see areas for improvement, and make important business decisions. For example, POS reports can show you the most popular drinks and which hours are busiest, so you can stock up and staff accordingly. Modern cloud-based systems will generate detailed POS reports on your daily sales, inventory, and employees that you can view at any time from any internet-connected device.
Need more help on starting your pub or keeping it operating smoothly? Check out the following Merchant Maverick resources:
- Want To Open Your Own Bar? Top Tips To Get You Started
- 10 Ways To Reduce Your Restaurant Turnover Rate