POS Choices for Your New Restaurant or Bar

What to look for

When all the renovations are coming to an end and your bar or restaurant is finally at the point of opening its doors to customers, you want everything to run seamlessly and for people to be enthusiastically proclaiming your establishment is the best in town. To help you do this, you need to maintain your stock, keep your staff and customers happy and manage your client’s orders as best as possible. It is therefore highly advisable to purchase a mobile ‘Point Of Service’ (POS) system which will help you do all this and more. Furthermore, the majority of people nowadays do not carry cash on them like they once did. As technology has advanced, people tend to prefer to make digital payments so it is imperative that your restaurant or bar adapts to accommodate this trend.

A mobile POS is a ‘mobile device (smartphone or tablet) that completes a financial transaction with a customer through an app or a piece of software.’ It has become common place in establishments, replacing a cash register. As they are portable, they lend themselves to table service making them very popular in bars and restaurants. They are also very useful for small businesses due to their flexibility.

Whilst all POS systems safeguard you from theft (either from customers or employees) and assist with analysing sales figures and managing employees, it would be highly recommended that you choose a POS system that is specific to your bar or restaurant. There are several POS systems that are specific to different industries and ones designed with restaurants and bars in mind are purpose built to help run your establishment as efficiently as possible.

Most restaurant/bar POS systems offer price scheduling, tab management and split inventory for liquor pours. Price scheduling is useful for managing events like Happy Hours, automatically reducing and increasing the price of the drinks around that hour. Without such a system, this could easily be a time when human errors are made and lead to frustrated staff and customers.

Using a specific bar POS system supports your staff with lists of drink recipes with ingredients enabling your staff to prepare drinks accurately with the correct measures and ultimately speed up the customers’ orders. This will result in calmer staff and happy customers. In addition to this, your bartenders will be able to log substitutions for drinks orders.

From a managerial standpoint, a customised POS system allows you to track sales, pricing, promotions, generate business reports and hold your staff accountable. Many of the systems work with existing iOs devices, simply requiring you to purchase and download the software. Selecting a system that does this can be cost effective but there are other systems out there and it is worth shopping around to find the system that is best suited to your needs and your current financial position.

Those in the business would advise choosing a POS system that can act as a mobile system- one that integrates table side ordering- as well as a system that allows for multiple users access promoting a faster and more efficient service. Further recommendations suggest looking at a system that also offers the ability to track tips as well as end-of-day payouts.

There are 9 essential features that a bar and restaurant mobile POS systems should include. They are:
Security- to prevent chargebacks or identity theft, the mobile POS service your choose should have stringent security. After all, this element of your business is handling both your money and your customers’ money.
The interface must to be user-friendly. The best POS should be intuitively simple, negating hours of training and ending the pointless trawling through reams of menus whilst the customer wait.
Offline accessibility and use-ability- when the internet connection fails, your business needs to carry on regardless. Your POS system needs to accommodate this.
An integrated financial and accounting software- making the process run smoother.
Access through logging in to the POS system from any type of device.
An inventory tracker- this will provide you with an insight into where costs can be reduced, adjusting your purchasing of individual items to reflect what is selling and what is not.
A menu tracker- as above, this will allow you to identify the menus that are performing the best and provides you with the evidence to make menu adjustments, reduce waste and increase sales.
The ability to email a customer’s receipt instead of printing it. This improves the pace of serving the next customer as well as being more eco-friendly.
The ability to collect customer information - allowing you the option to improve what you offer based on the customers’ preferences.

A few to investigate using iOS software would be ShopKeep and TouchBistro. The latter integrates table-side ordering and paying as well as provides a breakdown of sales performance over any period of time. It also connects to your accounting system and loads sales data directly into your accounting system.
A few others to mention include: Square, Poster, Buzztime and Upserve.