Bartenders have to seriously multitask. They take orders, mix drinks, and take payments, struggling to manage all of the data manually instead of using a bar POS system. All this while some regular talks their ears off about the lousy shortstop the home team just picked up. They have to have their eyes on a lot of activity and moving parts that could slip and cost the bar money. When Friday night rolls around, maintaining all that information themselves becomes next to impossible.
Like any good service business, a bar needs to focus on customer service while delivering the goods people order. Bar POS systems help staff focus on what keeps people in the seats – friendly, fast service – while making sure orders get poured and empty kegs get changed. The POS system remembers the details for a bartender, so they can continue to charm the customers and earn their tips.
When shopping around for a bar POS system, it’s easy to go for the flash and not the substance. In this article, we’ll cover five must-have features for any bar POS software.
Track Open Tabs
Plenty of bars still run paper-and-pencil, cash-only operations. Everything gets taken down by hand, relying on the bartender’s memory. But everybody forgets. With orders coming in from every angle, sometimes from unruly customers late at night, it’s real easy to forget to write a shot on a tab. Then, when last call comes around, it’s even easier for that surly customer to slip out the front door without paying their tab.
With a bar point of sale system, every order gets recorded in the computer. It’s quick – just a few taps on a screen and that appletini with top-shelf vodka gets priced and remembered without taking extra time to scribble it on a paper tab. Link that order to a name on a credit card and the bartender will know who has to pay what when the hour grows late.
Save Orders for Regulars
Regulars are the heart of the business, rolling in every day or so for a beer and a shot after work. Bartenders know them even if they don’t love them. A bar owner wants to keep these folks coming back through their door, so making their time on a stool as pleasant as possible is job one.
Imagine, instead of asking the Norm Peterson types what they want, their bartender slides in front of them when they show up. A POS should not only store customers, but keep a record of exactly what they have ordered. It doesn’t matter if that drink is complicated or custom; the order comes up the same and the bartender doesn’t have to recalculate it every time.
Knowing a customer’s order history also helps bartenders efficiently dole out buybacks. Buyback drinks are those little freebies that let the customer know their presence is appreciated. When that customer record hits the right number of drinks, the bartender can then know it’s time to show the customer a little love and slip them a free round on the house.
Keep Your Top Sellers in Stock
The top shelf liquors always seem to run dry when the bar is busiest. Those bottles run the best margins, so keeping them in stock at all times means more money at the end of the night. But bartenders can only notice the problem when the bottle is empty. Unless they’ve stashed another one under the bar, that means dropping everything and running back to the stockroom. Hopefully, they can send a barback, but if not, the bar grinds to a halt and more customers wait longer for their orders.
A bar point of sale system can keep track of your liquid assets as they flow into customers’ drinks, deducting each pour as they order. Then, when supplies run low, you can wait until a slow moment hits and make a run to the back room for everything. Relying on eyeballs only works when the bartender sees the bottle; with dozens on the shelf, that one bottle is easy to miss.
With a good track of inventory, a bar can maintain just the right amount of inventory or perishable goods. Beer and wine can go bad, so overstocking drains a business’s cash reserves. Track which drinks sell when, so if sales of pumpkin ales drop off after Thanksgiving, you can make sure you order only enough kegs to cover that date.
Keep Bartenders Moving
Bartenders have to cover the whole length of the bar, taking orders from customers at either end. They can’t sit in front of a register and wait for them to approach. It’s a proactive job and requires a lot of movement.
To maximize their efficiency, bartenders need bar point of sale software that fits on a mobile device. The free eHopper software works great on the Poynt mobile device, which allows a bartender to roam as free as need be, taking orders and payments without stopping. Even better, wait staff working the floor can do everything the bartender can on a linked system without ever leaving their service area.
Split Checks and Tips
Every service worker dreads the moment when five people hand over five cards to pay their single tab. Splitting tabs often requires a lot of recalculation and figuring, and that takes up valuable time they could be using to serve more customers. With a POS in hand, splitting a check becomes a matter of tapping a button – quick, easy, and most importantly, accurate.
The same goes for tips at the end of the night. Imagine a party that hangs out at the back table for hours through multiple shifts. How are both servers going to ensure they get a proper share of the tip? Your POS can split that, too. Happy wait staff make for happy customers, and when your staff get the tips they earned even when they leave before the customer does, that makes everybody happy.
One mistake, even among 99.9% perfect interactions, can ruin that customer’s night and spread negative word of mouth. A bar POS system helps ensure efficiency, accuracy, and overall bar happiness. Bars sell a comfortable place to get a drink and hang out with friends. The faster that happens, the more the customer will appreciate it, hopefully with their tips and continued business.
We’ve worked with plenty of bar owners to get their perfect POS system in place, so they can worry about better serving their customer. For more information, contact us or try eHopper POS for free to see these functions and benefits in action. For additional information about the benefits POS systems provide to small businesses, check out our blog for new posts every week.