There are tons of POS systems out there, but some come with specific features that are designed to appeal to a certain kind of business owner. For instance, if you’re running a café, you might need a different selection of features to someone running a standard retail store.
A bar POS software system will help you to keep your bar’s operations running smoothly while you focus on making money and keeping customers happy. The best point of sale system will streamline your business processes and help you to expedite services for your clients.
Today, we’re going to look at some of the best bar POS system solutions on the market, and why they might be the ideal choice for your company.
What You Need to Look at in a Bar POS System
So, how do you begin tracking down the best point of sale service?
Opting for the cheapest product is rarely the right way to go.
Like buying a restaurant POS, choosing a bar POS means examining the full feature set, and determining whether your Bar POS software can help you to run a more efficient business. Remember, your solution needs more than just a cash drawer and receipt printer.
A solid POS solution for your bar needs to help you keep track of things like bar tabs and table orders. You’ll need to track your inventory to make sure that you don’t run out of essential products. Then there’s things like happy hour discounts to take into account too.
If you’re running a modern bar, then you may want to give your customers the freedom to access online ordering services, so you don’t have too many people standing and waiting for a drink. Then there are things like keeping track of employees and the hours they spend behind the bar to think about too. Your average shopkeep POS might not do.
Here are some of the features we looked at to define the best quality POS systems for bars, and the elements that you should keep in mind as you compare your options:
- Feature set: The most important point to consider when choosing a POS is the feature set. What kind of things do you need to be able to do with your new system? Can you use a mobile POS to keep track of your inventory on the go? Can you send orders from a table to the bar for quick service, and keep track of employee management/ Are there gift cards and loyalty-program solutions available for your customers? How easy is it for your employees to track down menu items for food if you’re serving it?
- Pricing: Although you should never choose a POS solution based on just price, it’s important to have your budget in mind. Doing the right research could mean that you can get the solution that has all the features that you need for the lowest possible cost. To ensure that you’re getting value for money, business owners need to take stock of what their company really needs first. Look at your organization and ask yourself what kind of features you’ll have to pay for. From there, you can compare available products like-for-like.
- Hardware: The right bar POS solution will need to come with access to at least some hardware options so you can deck out your physical business premise. Think about what kind of tools you’re going to need, from hand-held credit card terminals to larger POS systems. You’ll need hardware that matches your bar perfectly. Having to shop elsewhere for extra tools can be a headache.
- Ease of use: A great bar POS system needs to be easy enough for you and your employees to use in a hurry. You don’t want to have to spend forever training each employee whenever you bring someone new onto the team. At the same time, an easy-to-use solution will also reduce the risk that you’ll end up making customers unhappy with slower service.
The Best Bar POS Systems
Now that you know what to look for in your bar POS solution, let’s see some of the top performers. Our picks are:
One of the better-known point of sale products on the market today, Square is extremely popular among all kinds of business owners. The company serves everyone from retailers to restaurant owners, with unique features to suit every need. With Square for Restaurants, the solution that the company offers for bars and other service companies, you’ll have all the tools you need to succeed.
Square for Restaurants helps you to take payments, manage orders, and streamline operations behind the bars, all while ensuring that customers can remain as happy as possible. With Square, you can:
- Use conversational modifiers to fast-track ordering
- Make real-time updates to your menu
- Repeat orders in just a couple of taps
- Check customer and sales analytics
- Manage invoices on a dashboard
- Access employee permissions and payroll
With Square, you can choose between a free Restaurants subscription with some basic features for food and drink management, or you can opt for the Plus service at around $69 plus VAT for a more comprehensive range of features. Since you only pay for what you need on a per-location basis, this could be the perfect option for some smaller companies.
With Square, you also get access to a free back-end online solution. There’s a free online ordering page, a delivery option integration, and various other features that you can access with no costs too. You can even print QR codes for your customers. Square POS is available to access for virtually no cost. If you stick with the free package, the only costs you’ll pay are processing fees when a customer uses a credit card.
- Square comes with excellent setup and support even with free accounts
- Affordable pricing fees of around 2.75% per transaction
- Lots of hardware available to choose from
- Table, order, and employee management, as well as inventory management
- Conversational modifiers, open bills, and fast order entry
- Shift reports, employee payroll, and extra staff features
- Can take a while to get some customer support
- Limits your transaction options to Square
Who is this best for ✅
Square for Restaurants is one of the most popular products on the market for Bar POS systems for a good reason. You can handle everything from table and employee management in the same place, with tons of extra features to choose from. It’s free to get started, making this an excellent choice for small businesses, and you can manage online orders too. If you’re just starting to launch your new bar business, this could be the product for you.
If you’ve been on the hunt for the perfect bar POS for a while now, then Shopkeep could be just the product for you. This high-performing cloud-based POS comes with a range of features for sales transactions, reporting, employee management, and so much more. There’s inventory tracking on the back-end, so you can keep an eye on your products, and 24/7 customer service too.
There are various tools where you can build in extra functionality like loyalty schemes and payment processor choices. With ShopKeep, you can:
- Access dedicated hardware from the Shopkeep brand
- Access inventory, employee, and customer management
- Simplify with top-shelf solutions like quick ordering
- Accept all payment types
- Monitor reports helping your business grow
- Add tipping functions for bartenders
- Manage your menu on the move
Pricing options for ShopKeep will appeal to a lot of companies because there’s no contract to worry about. The subscription will give you the option to pay per month, and you can end your membership whenever you choose. The POS terminals cost around $69 per month per station. You will reduce the cost of your terminals if you have more than 3 stations.
For smaller companies that don’t process more than $5,000 per month, and only operate out of one location, ShopKeep also has its own free register service. This will give you access to unlimited access and sales reporting, but you can only implement one staff member.
- Brilliant dedicated hardware options for employees
- High-quality customer service available all the time
- Lots of customization options for your bar
- Simple and easy to use functionality
- Convenient menu, tab, and employee management
- Extra features like split bill functionality and tipping
- Missing some in-depth features
- Not as many hardware options to choose from as some alternatives
Who is this best for ✅
Shopkeep isn’t as advanced or industry-specific as some of the leading products on the market today. however, it makes a good solution for smaller companies that need help launching their offline business. You could potentially get all the functionality you need from Shopkeep for free if your company is small enough. There’s even things like CRM tools to get to know your top customers, and the option to assign unique permissions to employees.
Lightspeed is another solution with a restaurant POS that works brilliantly for bar owners. The Lightspeed restaurant service is a state-of-the-art POS solution or hospitality companies. There are tons of features to explore, often more than most iPad services. With Lightspeed, companies can process payments faster with quick service, and create combos for top menu items.
There’s the option to open tabs for your bar patrons so that they can pay later, plus, you can choose to split bills per item, or access single-seat checkout functions. Lightspeed offers features like:
- Dip swipe and tap payments from all the top card providers
- Quick and easy setup with 24/7 support for clients
- Fast and easy payments with PCI compliance and fraud prevention
- Complete sales management and inventory management tools
- Custom floor plan support and menus
- Employee groups with user restriction options
- Cloud-based data with reporting and easy-to-learn insights
Pricing helps users to jump into action fast, with a variety of hardware options to choose from. You can start at $59 per month if you choose to go with the annual service, or you can pay slightly more for a monthly subscription. There’s also the option to add further registers to the mix at $34 per month each.
For extra functionality, you can access $12 per month add-ons with a customer facing display, kitchen display system, advanced reporting, self-order table menus, and more. For premium add-ons, like accounting, loyalty apps, self-order kiosks, and delivery, you’ll need to pay $39 per month. Enterprise products are available if you contact the company directly.
- Excellent variety of customization features
- Brilliant range of hardware options to choose from
- Tons of advanced features like self-ordering and delivery
- Quick and easy updates to your entire system
- Lightspeed loyalty features and kitchen displays
- Streamlined back-end for inventory and people management
- Straightforward pricing plan
- Issues with a learning curve for some
- Best prices for annual customers
Who is this best for ✅
If you’re looking for a bar POS that can grow with your company, then Lightspeed could be it. Not only do you get excellent one-on-one onboarding support to get you started, but you can upgrade your experience whenever you choose too. The option to access add-on features as-and-when you need them means that you can evolve your business at a time that suits you. There’s also a host of hardware options to choose from without having to go to a different provider.
TouchBistro is a dedicated restaurant POS system, which makes it an excellent choice for those running a bar too. There’s the option to run the entire solution on an iPad, and there are tons of onboarding services to help you figure out how everything works. The full-service restaurant POS system includes features like inventory and table management, visual menus, staff scheduling, and even analytics for checking business performance.,
Depending on how advanced your bar is, you can even tap into extra technology that is optional, such as online ordering and digital menu boards.
- Kickstart services to get you up and running
- Menu engineering for point of sale
- Back of house solutions for managing staff
- Inventory and table management tools
- Visual menus and online ordering
- Digital menu boards
- Analytics for business insight
- CRM tools for tracking customers
Pricing for TouchBistro will depend on what you need, but the average solution starts at $69 per month to run the software on a single terminal, if you choose annual billing. There’s also extra hardware and software packages that start at around $105 per month. One of the extra expenses you will need to consider is cloud storage solutions.
TouchBistro doesn’t offer built-in payment processing either, so that’s another example of where you’ll need to spend a little extra.
- Extensive software tailored to running a bar
- Lots of support for getting up and running
- Various extension options like digital menu boards
- Menu and table management included
- Free integrations with the CRM and other solutions you use
- Cloud based reporting and analytics for growth
- More than 200 restaurant specific features
- No payment processing included
- No pre-authorization for credit cards
- Can be quite pricey
Toast POS is a restaurant-focused platform that’s fully cloud-based, easy to use, and ready to integrate with a host of useful partner applications. Through Toast, business leaders can access everything from menu management, to performance analytics, loyalty rewards, and online ordering. Toast makes it easier to keep up with the rush of running a bar or pub.
As an android or iPad POS, or using your own register, Toast will give you access to a host of excellent capabilities, features include:
- Pre-authorization to keep customers safe
- Flexible menu management solution
- Mobile point of sale and checkout
- Analytics for in-depth insights
- Hardware built for your bar
- Convenient customer data access
- Cloud-based technology
- Easy to use software
Figuring out how much you’re going to pay for a terminal and card reader from Toast can be a little tricky at first. The company says that pricing starts at $79 per register, but you will need to contact Toast to get a more specific quote tailored to your company. There are lower rates available, and higher ones, depending on the hardware and features you need.
This POS and menu management solution also comes with flat-rate payment processing. Your costs for processing will depend on your business needs. Usually, the expense is very similar to what’s typical for the industry.
- Specially designed for bars and restaurants
- Flat rate pricing allows for predictable billing
- Lots of ways to keep track of customers
- Analytics for in-depth reports
- Handy hardware available
- Tons of integrations with third party tools
- Quite expensive compared to other options
- Hardware installation process is a bit complicated
Finally, we come to Lavu POS, a point of sale software solution that packs a lot of functionality into every package. The Lavu bar POS will help you keep track of your food and drink orders with a flexible solution specially designed for your business. You’ll be able to set up preauthorized tabs, promotions and happy hours, inventory control systems and more.
Lavu is packed full of functionality for people in the service industry. You can run payments from an iOS iPhone if you need quick access to an iPad POS system. You also get a built-in credit card processor for payments and split checks that works with PayPal and Square. Features include:
- Quick and simple credit card processing
- Track inventory to make better business decisions
- Menu control with drink recipes
- Food service tracking
- Customer relationship management analytics
- Tab management and tableside ordering
- Sales reports for inventory management
- User-friendly access to hardware and touchscreen tools
Compared to other POS systems for bar owners, the Lavu pricing structure is somewhere in the middle. An entry-level single terminal package is available for $69 per month for software when you’re billed annually. There’s also the possibility to negotiate month-by-month contracts for Lavu too. Lavu can also operate on Apple smart devices, so you don’t have to spend a fortune on hardware.
Lavu’s terminal options range from about $45 to $899 depending on what you need. The best way to get a price that works for you is to connect with the Lavu team.
- Range of hardware and cash register options
- Lots of management features to upserve customers
- In depth reports and analytics
- Convenient EMV functionality
- Tab and food service tracking
- User-friendly functionality with Ios access
- Employee and menu control
- Leasing equipment can be expensive
- Set-up takes a while
- Quite a big learning curve
Which is the Best Bar POS?
There are tons of POS options out there today, from Talech to Toast, Square and Revel systems. The key to success when choosing the best bar POS system, is figuring out what works for you. Take a look at your business operations and ask yourself what kind of POS features you might need to make sure that you’re serving your customers with the best results possible.
Do you need menu management and food service features, or are you just selling drinks? Do you want preauthorized payments and tabs for your customers, or should they pay at the table? The options are virtually endless in today’s digital landscape, so you’re free to find the bar POS that’s most suited to your needs. Don’t settle for second best.