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Best POS System For Bars In 2023: How To Choose The POS Pub Software That Works That Works For Your Business

A great bar POS system can easily manage tabs, split bills, track inventory, & integrate with your other software programs.

    Nicolette Kier
  • UPDATED

Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.
bar nightclub pos systems

The best POS system for bars provides simple tab splitting, drink inventory management, multiple menu functions, the ability to offer drink/food specials, and is easy for servers to use.

Keep reading our guide to the best bar POS systems to find the bar POS system that’s right for your business.

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CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For

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  • Best free bar POS
  • $0+/month
  • Payment processing starting at 2.6% + $0.10
  • Best free bar POS
  • $0+/month
  • Payment processing starting at 2.6% + $0.10

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  • Best for employee management
  • $0+/month
  • Payment processing at 2.49%-2.99% + $0.15 or custom rates
  • Best for employee management
  • $0+/month
  • Payment processing at 2.49%-2.99% + $0.15 or custom rates

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  • Best for ease of use
  • $69+/month
  • Several payment processor options
  • Best for ease of use
  • $69+/month
  • Several payment processor options

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  • Best for larger businesses
  • $198+/month
  • Several payment processor options
  • Best for larger businesses
  • $198+/month
  • Several payment processor options

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  • Best for customizability
  • $69+/month
  • Payment processing at 2.6% + $0.10
  • Best for customizability
  • $69+/month
  • Payment processing at 2.6% + $0.10

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  • Best value
  • $29+/month
  • Several payment processor options
  • Best value
  • $29+/month
  • Several payment processor options

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  • Best plug-and-play bar system
  • $44.95+/month
  • Payment processing at 2.3% + $0.10 or custom rates
  • Best plug-and-play bar system
  • $44.95+/month
  • Payment processing at 2.3% + $0.10 or custom rates

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

7 Best Bar POS Systems In 2023

The best bar POS systems offer extensive food and drink menu management, help servers take orders quickly, and allow customers to individualize their drink orders. Square POS, Toast, TouchBistro, Revel, Lightspeed, talech, and Clover are among the best pub POS systems.

1. Square For Restaurants: Most Affordable

Square For Restaurants POS


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Pros

  • No long-term contracts
  • Free and affordable plans
  • Free online ordering website
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • No after-hours support on free plan
  • No card pre-authorization for bar tabs

Square bar pos system

Square For Restaurants Pub 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 (Kitchen Display System): Free with Square For Restaurants Plus or can be purchased standalone without POS for $20/month/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 with 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-authorization 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

Square For Restaurants Pub POS Pricing

Square For Restaurants has two pricing options: a limited Free plan and a $60/month  (+$40/month for each additional register). The Plus plan comes with all the features, including Square KDS.

Hardware Cost

Complete hardware kits sold by Square range from $659 for a Square Stand for iPad with a cash register and receipt printer, to a $1,439 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).

Square also offers a mobile POS kit for $249 and includes an Android-based smartphone, Square card reader, and handheld case so that servers can take tableside orders and payments from the palm of their hand.

Note: You must be on the $60/month Square For Restaurants plan to use the mobile POS kit.

Payment Processing

Payment processing is provided by Square Payments and costs 2.6% + $0.10 for all in-person transactions.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

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 & Pubs

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. 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.

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2. Toast: Best Employee Management

Toast POS


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Pros

  • Durable Android-based hardware
  • Extensive tipping features
  • Great loss-prevention features
  • Card pre-authorization

Cons

  • Long-term contract
  • Must use Toast payment processing

toast pos system for pubs

Toast Pub 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: Allows you to 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

Toast Pub POS System Pricing

Toast offers three pricing plans. The $0 upfront Pay-As-You-Go plan is only available for restaurant owners who only need 1-2 POS devices.

Since Toast is best suited for midsize restaurants, most Toast users will need to sign up for the $69/month Starter plan or the $165/month Essentials plan. The $69/month plan provides core POS functionalities for bars, while the $165/month plan allows for online ordering, takeout, and delivery.

Toast also offers a custom plan for larger/multilocation restaurant owners who want to build a custom hardware and software plan.

Hardware Cost

Toast offers a Starter Kit for individuals on the Pay-As-You-Go plan and Starter plan. You are required to purchase a Starter Kit if you’re on the Pay-As-You-Go plan.

If you need more POS hardware than the 1-2 POS terminal Starter Kit, you must sign up for the Starter, Essentials, or a custom plan.

The Starter Kit includes a handheld POS ($609) or countertop POS ($799), plus a router and card reader. You can add on other hardware like a KDS or guest-facing display at a reduced price if you bundle them all together.

Note that Toast KDS and Toast Go have additional monthly service charges.  

Optionally, you can get a free starter kit if you pay a higher payment processing fee. However, we generally recommend that if you can afford it, purchase your POS hardware upfront. The lower payment processing fees will save you money in the long run.

Payment Processing

You are required to use Toast’s in-house payment processing no matter what software plan you’re on. Payment processing varies according to your plan.

Individuals on the Pay-As-You-Go plan will pay a 2.99% + $0.15 processing fee for in-person payments. On the Starter plan, you’ll pay 2.99% + $0.15 per in-person transaction.

If you’re on the Essentials or a custom plan, you’ll get a custom payment processing rate. That rate will depend on your business’s time in business, average transaction amount, and sales volumes.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

The standard Toast contract is a minimum of 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 believe most businesses will not regret committing to Toast for two years.

Where Toast Really Shines For Bars & Pubs

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-authorization 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.

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3. TouchBistro: Best For Ease Of Use

TouchBistro


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Pros

  • Several payment processor options
  • Easy to use
  • Cost-effective
  • Excellent offline mode

Cons

  • Occasionally spotty customer support
  • Average inventory management

TouchBistro Pub POS

TouchBistro Pub 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 Pub POS System Pricing

TouchBistro starts at $69/month for one POS if you sign up for annual billing. You’ll have to contact TouchBistro for a quote on a plan with more than one POS system.

TouchBistro also offers add-ons such as a reservation program for $229/month and a gift card program for $25/month.

Hardware Cost

TouchBistro runs on iPad POS hardware. Hardware pricing is quote-based.

Payment Processing

TouchBistro integrates with various payment processors as well as its own in-house TouchBistro Payments (powered by Chase), which offers cost-plus pricing.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

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. Always start out with a monthly plan when possible.

Where TouchBistro Really Shines For Bars & Pubs

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 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.

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4. Revel: Best For Larger Businesses

Revel POS Systems


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Pros

  • Feature-rich
  • Highly customizable
  • Scales with your business
  • Great offline mode

Cons

  • Potential long-term contract
  • Pricing not transparent

Revel POS system for bars

Revel Systems Pub 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 Systems Pub POS System Pricing

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.

There’s also a one-time implementation fee of $674, which covers personalized hardware implementation, software customization, and employee training.

Hardware Cost

Revel runs on iPad POS hardware. Hardware pricing is quote-based.

Payment Processing

Revel’s in-house payment processing service, called Revel Advantage, which you must get a personalized quote on.

You also have your choice of a compatible payment processor with no added fee, so you can shop around for the lowest rates. Larger businesses can really benefit from finding a customized payment processing rate (ideally not flat-rate but another credit card processing model) that works for their sales volumes.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

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. If you decide you like Revel, you can sign on for a longer contract and get better monthly pricing.

Where Revel Really Shines For Bars & Pubs

Revel is a highly customizable and feature-rich POS 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, so you’ll never run into any issues with outages, taking orders outdoors, or taking orders at catering gigs.

Larger businesses with several employees will appreciate shift tracking, thorough tipping functionalities, lots of employee permissions for different management tiers, and the ability to set age prompts so that bartenders must verify that a customer is 21 before placing their drink order.

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. Even if you run a large chain or have a large clientele, you’ll be able to offer a personalized experience every time.

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. You’ll be able to see, sync, and move inventory between several locations, so you can get a bird’s eye view of your inventory performance.

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5. Lightspeed Restaurant: Best For Customizability

Lightspeed Restaurant POS


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Pros

  • Deep reporting
  • Highly customizable feature set
  • Excellent delivery module

Cons

  • Occasional outages
  • Can get expensive

Lightspeed pub POS

Lightspeed Restaurant Pub 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 the table: Mobile in-person ordering option includes QR code ordering and QR code payments
  • Single-seat checkout: Ideal for bars; can also split tickets by item, course, or seat
  • Open tabs: Lets bar patrons payout at the end of their visit (pre-authorization only available when processing with Cayan or Lightspeed Payments using Genius terminals or the MagTek iDynamo Swiper)
  • Timed events: Allows you to set happy hour pricing and run other promotional events

Lightspeed Restaurant Pub POS System Pricing

Monthly pricing starts at the Essentials plan, which costs $69/month (billed annually) or $90/month (billed monthly) for a single terminal. The Essentials plan offers all the core features, including delivery.

The Plus plan costs $189/month and also includes loyalty and gift cards.

Hardware Cost

Lightspeed Restauarant runs on iPad POS hardware. Hardware pricing is quote-based.

Payment Processing

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 cards, which are processed at a higher rate of 3.5% + $0.10.  Alternatively, you can also use Lightspeed with an integrated third-party processor.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

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 Bars & Pubs

Lightspeed features a customizable POS interface for both the front end (register) and back end (detailed reporting) that makes the system easy to use and puts 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. The adjustable floor planner is highly customizable and easy to use for bar-restaurant setups or nightclubs offering table service.

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6. talech: Best Value

talech POS


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Pros

  • Month-to-month contracts
  • Good price point for features
  • Lots of hardware options
  • Transparent price structure

Cons

  • No offline payments mode
  • Limited integrations
  • One-time setup fee

talech pub POS system

talech Pub 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 the Standard plan
  • Happy hour pricing: Setup automatic discounts to trigger at specific times, or use BOGO to run promotions
  • Pre-authorization: Enable pre-authorization to start a bar tab when logged in as admin; this feature is not supported by Creditcall and TriPOS gateways
  • talech Mobile: Accept mobile payments using your phone and a Bluetooth card reader
  • Tableside payments: Servers can take orders and payments with handheld Poynt smart terminals or iPads

talech Pub POS System Pricing

Paid plans for restaurants include the $29/month Starter plan, $69/month Standard plan, and $99/month Premium plan.

The Premium plan includes all features, so there are no extra monthly add-ons to factor into your billing. If you choose to get a lower-level plan, you can add on a gift card program for $19/month and/or online ordering for $49/month.

Regardless of your 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 bars.

Lastly, there’s a one-time $199 “getting started package” that is mandatory for business owners who sign up for the Standard or Premium plan. This package includes a system setup and a two-hour training session with talech’s training partners.

Hardware Cost

talech runs on iPads as well as Android hardware, including Ingenico MOBY tablets, Elo Paypoint Plus, and Poynt Smart Terminals.

You must contact talech for hardware pricing.

Payment Processing

talech offers in-house payment processing, but does not disclose payment processing rates online.

The POS also integrates with partnered processors and gateways, which include ElavonGlobal PaymentsBank of America Merchant ServicesVantiv, Chase, USAePay, and more. You may find that partnering with an external payment processor is the most cost-effective solution for your business.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

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 & Pubs

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 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.

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7. Clover: Best Plug-And-Play Bar System

Clover POS


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Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Lots of bar integrations available
  • Great handheld POS hardware
  • Multiple payment processor options

Cons

  • Must use Clover hardware
  • Potential for bad contracts

clover station pub point of sale

Clover Pub 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: 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-authorization: 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 them 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
  • ID scanning: Clover has an ID scanning app available to check if customers are over 21
  • 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 Pub POS Pricing

Small bars and pubs will benefit most from signing up for the Counter Service Restaurant plan (ranging from $44.95/month-$54.90/month), while larger establishments should sign up for the Table Service Restaurant plan (ranging from $74.95/month-$94.85/month).

The above pricing plans apply only to business owners who purchase their hardware and software plans upfront from Clover.com.

You do have the option to purchase your hardware and software from a Clover reseller, one that may not have similar monthly pricing. Most business owners purchase a Clover POS from a reseller to get better payment processing fees.

Read our Clover POS pricing guide for more information on how Clover pricing works and how to get the best deal on your POS.

Hardware Cost

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 $1,799), which is a full register setup, or a Clover Mini ($799), which is a smaller register and does not include a cash drawer. You can also purchase a Clover Flex smart terminal ($499) for mobile order-taking and payments.

Payment Processing

All Clover devices are sold with a First Data merchant account for payment processing. However, different Clover sellers structure their FD merchant accounts 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.

Various other Clover vendors might process payments with different types of pricing, such as tiered, interchange-plus, or enhanced bill-back.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

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. Make sure to avoid Clover POS scams when purchasing your Clover POS setup.

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 one of our best Clover resellers.

Where Clover Really Shines For Bars & Pubs

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. Since the software is app-based, it’s intuitive for anyone who has used an iPad or Android tablet before.

If you purchase from Clover.com, you’ll get a simple, flat-rate payment processing rate that’s lower than Square’s, and a reasonably priced monthly software plan as well. Clover even includes advanced features like loyalty, gift cards, and online ordering at no additional charge.

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 install an app from the Clover App Market to add that feature.

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Why We Don’t Recommend These Bar POS System Options

Lavu

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 it.

NCR Silver

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

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 For Bar POS Systems

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 from time to time, either over the course of a day or a 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.

Which Bar POS System Is Right For Your Business?

The bar POS system that’s right for your business depends on your business size, offering, and budget. Consider whether you want to serve snacks or full-course meals, if your location is big enough that servers should take orders at tables and not just from behind the bar, whether you want to offer online ordering or a loyalty program, and how much you can afford to pay for your POS.

Once you decide which pub POS system is right for you, read our post on negotiating a merchant agreement to get the best payment processing rates for your business. Also, read our post on equipment financing if you can’t afford to purchase your POS hardware upfront.

FAQs: Best POS System For Bars

Which pub POS system is easiest to use?

The pub POS systems that are easiest to use include TouchBistro, Square, and Clover.

How much is a POS system for in a bar?

A POS system for a bar costs between $0/month and $400/month for POS software, and POS hardware can cost between $200 and $2,000, depending on how many countertop and mobile POS terminals you purchase.

What is the best POS system for bars and nightclubs?

The best POS system for your bar or nightclub depends on your business size and budget. Toast and Revel are good options for large, full-service establishments, while Clover or Square for Restaurants might be better for a small pub with counter-service.

What is the best POS system for a restaurant bar?

The best POS system for a restaurant bar depends on the size of your restaurant. The best POS for a large restaurant bar is Toast or Revel, while the best POS for a small restaurant POS is TouchBistro or Square.

For restaurants and bars intending to scale up, Lightspeed Restaurant is a great option, too.

Is Square a good POS for a bar?

Square is a good POS for a smaller bar.

While it does not have an extensive inventory management function or card pre-authorization capabilities, Square offers a number of features that bars need to function at a highly affordable price point.

What is the best POS system for a small bar?

The best POS system for a small bar is Square For Restaurants or talech POS. These bar POS systems are extremely affordable, easy to use, and offer a variety of hardware options for bars of all sizes.

What is the best POS system for a high-volume bar?

The best POS system for a high-volume bar is Lightspeed Restaurant, TouchBistro, or Toast.

All three of these bar POS systems have a quick-ordering mode, offer tableside ordering and payments, and allow you to take card pre-authorizations so customers can head out without waiting for servers to process credit card payments.

In Summary: 7 Best Bar POS Systems In 2023

  1. Square For Restaurants POS:
    • Best free bar POS
    • $0+/month
    • Payment processing starting at 2.6% + $0.10
  2. Toast POS:
    • Best for employee management
    • $0+/month
    • Payment processing at 2.49%-2.99% + $0.15 or custom rates
  3. TouchBistro:
    • Best for ease of use
    • $69+/month
    • Several payment processor options
  4. Revel POS Systems:
    • Best for larger businesses
    • $198+/month
    • Several payment processor options
  5. Lightspeed Restaurant POS:
    • Best for customizability
    • $69+/month
    • Payment processing at 2.6% + $0.10
  6. talech POS:
    • Best value
    • $29+/month
    • Several payment processor options
  7. Clover POS:
    • Best plug-and-play bar system
    • $44.95+/month
    • Payment processing at 2.3% + $0.10 or custom rates
Nicolette Kier

Nicolette Kier

Expert Analyst & Reviewer
As a small business owner, contributing writer Nicolette Kier has been sharing her knowledge on all things related to freelancing and eCommerce since 2019. She earned a BS in Physics and a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh.
Nicolette Kier
View Nicolette Kier's professional experience on LinkedIn.

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