Article by Chris Costi, Last update at March 19, 2019
Have you ever wondered how a busy bar keeps track of the drinks they serve? From a layman’s point of view it might seem impossible as drinks go out so fast to different tables, and different sets of people. Keeping it all together and making sure that all the drinks are paid for by the correct people is why people who own bars invest in a good POS system. They are essential for keeping track of sales and most importantly inventory and staff the hospitality sector.
Do you own a bar? If you are the owner of a busy bar you cannot be in a hundred places at the same time. In order to have full control of your business the only way to do this is to invest in a POS system that has been designed specifically for your type of business. Two of the most popular POS systems for bars are TouchBistro and Toast. These POS systems will make your life a lot easier and give you the satisfaction of knowing that you are in control. You will be in control even if you are away from the bar because the cloud based, touchpad POS systems will allow you access from anywhere at any time.
Mobile handheld Tablets One of the most useful elements of good bar iPad POS systems that are designed especially for bars, are the mobile handheld tablets. Mobile point of sales systems utilize handheld tablets that are light and easy for your waiters to carry around. These tablets will improve customer and employees relationships and also keep track of every drink that is served from your bar. The iPad/tablet makes it simple to accept orders and register the table number the order is going to. Payments can be processed from the tablet and the transaction completed giving your waiters time to interact with your customers and service them, wherever they are seated. The POS interface on the tablet will allow customers to leave a tip, sign for the payment by credit card and also request a digital receipt. This is a very efficient way of working and you will be able to serve more customers in a shorter amount of time.
Customizability What happens when a customer orders a drink that is not on the menu? Some of the weirdest concoctions have been known to be ordered in bars! The POS system you choose should be able to handle this phenomenon easily. Both the TouchBistro and the Toast POS systems can handle volume and make it easy to customize any drink. If the ingredients are listed in the Inventory lists you will be able to charge for any combination of drink that the customer orders.
People in bars have the habit of moving around to socialize and it is not unusual for checks to be split with everyone paying for their own drinks. Your POS system should be able to handle these changes with ease. It should also be able to track a customer who orders at the bar and then moves to the tables. With the right program your POS system should make all these sort of changes easy to handle.
Menu Management for Specials & Happy Hour Some bars organize regular nights with specials like ‘Happy Hour’ were drinks could by buy one get one free or a special price. Your menu software should make it easy for you to change whatever you want on the menu, on a daily basis so that it fits in with the specials of the day. With the cloud based POS systems like TouchBistro and Toast you can change your menu from anywhere at any time on any device without physically being in your Bar. This gives you full control of what your waiters and serving staff will sell and at what price at any given time. Menu items that have run out during the course of the evening can easily be removed from the menu and all your servers will have their tablets synchronized automatically, which will let them know that they can no longer sell that item.
Sales & Customer Reports POS systems like TouchBistro and Toast offer many in depth reports that will allow you and your management team see how the restaurant is doing in real time as sales happen. You will be able to see what the best sellers are and what does not sell at all. This information is critical for good bar management and with the inventory system you should never run out of stock again. Multiple and customized reports can be set for sales. You might want to know how much cash was collected, how many credit or debit cards were used or even how many gift cards were cashed in. You might want to keep track of what was sent back so that you can see why the item was voided and not paid for. This could help to make sure that a mistake does not happen again. These cloud based systems will allow you to see these reports from any device wherever you happen to be.
Customers always feel special if you remember them and keep in touch with them. The POS system has a built in CRM customer relationship management system, which you could utilize to keep track of your regular customers. Their details are kept in a contact list for future invitations to scheduled events or to notify them of special offers. Good management together with a great POS system can take full advantage of this feature to build a strong customer base.
Access Permission Not all your employees need to have access to sensitive information like sales and tax reports or other documents. Your POS system should let you grant password access to the people in your business that you want to share information with. This could be your partners or management or some of your employees. There are other job based permissions that you could set to allow employees that fit the bill to access specific information. Setting these permissions could prevent anyone from providing complimentary drinks or voiding a ticket without the manager or owner’s permission. This is a very important feature to have because you will have peace of mind that your data is secure and that your employees will only be able to perform certain actions, if they have your approval.
Cash Drawer Management Due to the large volume of cash floating around a bar, it is not uncommon for bar owners to have theft from employees. It is said that the majority of bars could lose as much as 20% of revenue on sales from various forms of employee theft. One way of keeping track of sales is to check the inventory against your sales, if the figures do not add up you know you have a problem somewhere. Good POS systems offer cash drawer management features which basically track individual employees who have access to cash drawers and make them responsible to cash up at the end of their shift. For this to succeed no other employees should be allowed to collect money from customers.
This system will keep track of each cash register and the employee using it so that at the end of the evening there is no possibility that anyone else has access to the cash. Organizing a blind cash out is also a good idea, this means that you let the employee cash out without knowing how much there should be in the cash register according to sales. This is the best way for managers to have financial security and it provides employee accountability in the process.
Employee’s productivity The POS system will also give you a report on employee productivity. You will know which employee served the most customers, made the most sales and earned the most tips. This will also tell you who did nothing at all during their shift. This is very important information which would let you know who your best employees are and which employee needs to get fired! Another feature is the clocking in and out for employees. This will let you know how many hours they worked and who needs to be paid overtime. Their salaries are also worked out automatically according to the data input that you will use.
Inventory Being able to access real time inventory on your stock is absolutely essential if you want to run a successful bar. Knowing what you have in stock, what you have sold and what you need to order by just studying the reports and not have to physically count your stock, is a huge benefit. Most bars have a cost of around 18 – 20% of sales on liquor and being able to keep to this profit margin is crucial to the success of your business. The inventory software will give you a good idea of what stock was sold so you can work out what your profits should be. You will be alerted to stock that has been wasted, broken or maybe even stolen. The Software for Inventory will give you real time reports from wherever you are through the cloud. You will be able to reorder stock with accuracy knowing exactly what you need. With the inventory software you will never need to take stock manually and spend late nights at your bar trying to work out what needs to be ordered for the next day.
TouchBistro and Toast POS systems can do all of the above, and they must be considered as a must-have POS system suitable for any Bar. They can do all of this and much more. The iPad or tablet-based point of sale is a real time saver that makes your waiting staff a lot more efficient and the whole system has been specifically designed for food service and bars which features industry specific features and advanced management capabilities. Both POS systems have a user friendly interface which you can customize to reflect your business. They are easy systems to learn and teach your employees. Employees will need to know how to take orders, split checks and combine tables. Once the orders have been served they will have to collect payment which they cannot possible forget to do as the tickets remain open until each and every person or table has paid.
For management the detail orientated reports will make it a lot easier for them to keep track of everything that is going on in the Bar. Whether this is open checks, staff that are not doing their work or items that have sold out, the manager will be able to see this instantly in real time and take the appropriate action. Buying the right bar software program is essential. There are many options available that can be adapted to use in bars, but we recommend Toast and TouchBistro because they are industry specific and the ideal management software for any bar. Once everyone is trained to use the cloud based touchpad POS system and all are on board your Bar will be running like clockwork and you will be reaping the benefits.
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