Opening a new bar or restaurant involves making a multitude of decisions, from location and decor to which employees to hire and products to stock. One of the most important decisions is choosing the backbone of your operations: your point of sale (POS) system. Every type of establishment will have different needs and prioritize different features. Here are some key things to look for in a bar POS system.
- Age Verification and Drink Limits
One of the most important processes for bars is verifying that its customers are over the legal age of 21. Serving alcohol to underage drinkers — even when done unwittingly — can have disastrous consequences, including fines, jail time, and loss of liquor license. A good bar POS system will give you the ability to verify age and integrate with peripherals such as a 2D imager to scan drivers’ licenses, ensuring all of your customers are of legal age.
And since over-serving legal patrons is also a liability, look for a system that allows you to set limits on the number of high-alcohol-content drinks per tab.
- Auditing and Theft Prevention
Regular inventory auditing is a crucial element of effective management. You need to identify and reduce any instances of theft or shrinkage, whether it’s cash-drawer shortages, over-pouring, excessive numbers of comped drinks, or voided transactions. Look for a POS system that allows you to set up user roles and permissions, so that employees are accountable for every transaction they conduct. Your system should also track inventory used vs. inventory sold — the higher the difference, the more money you’re losing.
- Drink Recipe Lookup
Another desirable feature for a bar POS system is an easily accessible database of drink recipes that can be added to as needed. So, when your bartenders get a request for a drink they haven’t heard of or made before they can look it up quickly and avoid disappointing the customer. Having all your bartenders using the same recipes also means ingredients and proportions will be the same, avoiding over-pouring and providing a consistent experience for customers.
- Timed Rates for Entertainment Equipment
If your bar rents usage of entertainment equipment such as pool or air hockey tables or mechanical bulls, you’ll want a POS system that can easily and accurately track the time each patron spends using the equipment so you can charge them the appropriate rates.
Your POS system can put a wealth of information at your fingertips to help you run your business better. To take full advantage of the benefits, look for a POS system that provides the following data:
- Traffic and Labor Analytics: You can chart your busiest times of day, week, or year and schedule employees accordingly so that you aren’t under-staffed (leading to frustrated waiting customers) or over-staffed (leading to inflated labor costs).
- Sales Reports: What are your best-selling drinks and most popular brands? What isn’t selling? This information will help you with inventory decisions.
- Inventory Management: Monitoring your stock levels of all liquors and drink ingredients has several benefits. It helps prevent theft and shrinkage. It ensures that you always have adequate supplies of high-demand ingredients (and can include automatic re-orders at preset levels). And it prevents over-ordering of product that will just take up shelf space and tie up money.
POS reports will enable you to analyze whether your business is profitable and will help you make better informed business decisions.
Ultimately, when shopping for a POS system, you want a provider with experience in your industry and knowledge of your specific needs. For more than twenty years, Focus POS has been helping businesses find the right solutions and necessary tools for success. Contact us to discuss what your bar needs most or to request a demo.