The bar and nightclub industry is extremely fast-paced, leaving a limited amount of time for business tasks. And if you’re in the market for a point of sale system, this means you’re probably trying to balance these managerial responsibilities on top of researching POS companies.
You’re in luck — our team is here to share industry tips, and hopefully, make the search less of a headache. After all, if your customers are demanding exceptional service from your business, shouldn’t you be demanding the same for your point of sale system?
Bar and Nightclub POS Features
What should you be looking for when you’re watching demos and talking to sales representatives? While some hardware and software specifics will come down to preference, there are several qualities that are important to people who run a bar or nightclub.
Interactive Menu and Drink Modifications
How user-friendly is the POS software? The last thing you want is difficult or glitchy menus that slow your bartenders down. An interactive bar menu is the way to go — including images and large, easy-to-click buttons on the touchscreen.
And how is the software with drink modifications? How do you clarify if a customer wants their liquor on the rocks or extra olives added to their dirty martini? While some solutions seem to have a quick and easy setup, they’re not designed for your business type. Choosing a system that isn’t programmed to keep up with a fast-paced bar environment will result in longer transaction times.
Happy Hour Pricing
Let’s say your bar has happy hour every Monday from three to six p.m. During this time, glasses of wine and pints of draft beer are 50 percent off. But how will your bartenders keep track of discounted costs and inclusions without messing orders up?
Luckily, promotions can be created within certain types of POS software so that discounts are applied automatically — and only applied to the appropriate items. If a cocktail is rung up on a Monday afternoon, the system will know that it is not included in happy hour. But when a pint of beer is rung up during happy hour, it will know to discount it by 50 percent. The minute happy hour is over, the system will no longer discount any drinks.
Age Verification and Pre-Authorized Tabs
Accurately verifying that your customers are over 21 years old before serving them alcohol is the most important part of running a bar. How easily does the POS system perform this task? If you choose the right software, you’ll never be at risk of receiving fines or losing your liquor license. Set up a mandatory prompt for bartenders to enter their customers’ birth dates before punching in orders. Or, if you want to streamline the process, find a POS system that allows you to swipe customer IDs for automatic age approval.
Pre-authorization is another task that should be easy — but also has the potential to slow down a customer experience. Explore what this process looks like for POS systems you’re looking at. In a perfect world, you can quickly swipe a credit card to open a tab and give the card right back to the customer. This way, responsibility for the card itself out of your team’s hands.
Connect with an Industry Expert
How well does the person you’re speaking to know your industry? Your sales rep doesn’t need to have owned a bar in the past, of course, but understanding how bars operate is vital. How else can they address your business’ pain points and recommend legitimate solutions? (There’s also nothing wrong with asking how many bars and nightclubs use their POS system.)
This is a bigger concern when speaking to large POS providers such as Clover. Their features are not specific to any industry, so the sales pitch is very generic. A system like Clover may work for you, however, you may not have a long-term point of contact for business needs down the road. Be sure to look for a team that will work with your preferences and build your layout.
Bar and Nightclub POS Tech Support
It’s 10 p.m. and all of a sudden, your point of sale system is experiencing an urgent error. What do you do in this situation? Does your POS company have your back?
Pay close attention to the details when considering tech support. Many companies offer it, but they will either transfer you to a call center overseas or postpone your request until the following morning. Don’t risk losing business because you can’t accept payments and there’s no one there to help.
Some companies even wrap training into their tech support services. If you’re not confident with technology and being trained directly by an expert is important you, be sure to ask if this is an option.
Investing in a Point of Sale System for Your Bar
We’ve covered some of the biggest selling points for bar and nightclub POS systems. While a lot of the hardware and software on the market are similar, it’s the minor details that can make a huge difference. Ask about the features that are most important to you, make sure you’re talking to someone who has industry knowledge, and confirm that your company won’t throw you to the wolves after you’ve made your purchase.