Updated as of January, 2023
6 Best Bar POS Systems for 2023
We compared the top POS solutions for bars & nightclubs to help you find the perfect fit.
Running a bar or nightclub can be a tough gig. You’re juggling multiple tasks at once – pouring drinks, managing inventory, keeping track of sales and making sure your customers are happy. It’s a lot to handle, and that’s before you even think about dealing with the financial side of things.
But what if there was a way to make all of this just a little bit easier? Enter POS systems and software designed specifically for bars and nightclubs. These powerful tools can streamline your operations, help you manage your inventory and finances more efficiently, and even boost your sales.
In this roundup, we’ll look at some of the best POS systems and software for bars and why they’re worth considering for your establishment. Whether you’re a new bar owner or looking to upgrade your current system, you’ll find something here that can help you take your business to the next level.
The 6 Best POS Systems for Bars in 2023
- Best Android POS for Bars: Toast POS
- Best iPad POS for Bars and Multi-unit: TouchBistro
- Best Free Bar POS to get Started: Square for Restaurants
- Best Bar POS for Customization: Lightspeed
- Best Bar POS with No Upfront Costs: Skytab
- Best Plug-and-Play POS for Bars: Clover POS
Table of Contents
- 1 The 6 Best POS Systems for Bars in 2023
- 2 Why it’s Important to Purchase an ‘Industry Specific’ Platform
- 3 7 Required Features for Bar POS Systems
- 4 How do I Choose the Best POS for My Bar?
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
- 6 Verdict: Don’t Get Left Behind
- 7 Methodology
Toast POS has made a name for itself in the bar and nightclub industry as one of the top industry-leading point-of-sale solutions available today. With over 40,000 bars, nightclubs, and restaurants using the system, Toast is currently our top pick for the best POS system for bars and nightclubs.
Toast POS is an Android-based restaurant management solution that includes POS software, payment processing, contactless ordering, handhelds, online ordering & delivery, marketing, payroll, and team management all in one package. It offers a complete set of features for managing a bar or nightclub.
Toast POS offers the option of using stand-alone terminals or Toast Go hand-held terminals for added mobility, allowing bartenders to move freely through the establishment and handle payments quickly, which is especially useful in a busy bar or nightclub setting. It also accepts NFC and digital wallet payments and can email customer receipts for contactless payments.
The Toast Order & Pay service allows guests to order and pay from their device, comes with additional fees but allows for faster turn times, gives servers the potential to handle 30% more tables; and Toast data also shows that prompted gratuity drives higher average tips.
Why Should You Choose Toast POS for Bars?
First, Toast offers a free starter kit, which is ideal for small bars or nightclubs to get up and running with no upfront cost. And for those who prefer to “Pay-as-You-Go” with a slightly higher percentage of sales, Toast’s pricing model is still very competitive, starting at just $69 per month. And for those that need more than one terminal, the pricing goes up to $50 per month for each additional terminal. Additionally, processing fees start at a low 2.49% and .15 cents per transaction.
Toast’s flexibility allows for adding individual features, such as online ordering, gift cards, email marketing, and loyalty, or upgrading to an advanced “Pay-as-You-Go” plan by increasing transaction fees, enabling businesses to tailor the system to their specific needs and budget.
Toast’s mobility is a standout feature, allowing the use of Toast Go hand-held terminals to take orders and payments table-side, outside, or wherever needed, allowing bartenders to move freely and handle payments quickly, making it an advantage in a busy bar or nightclub setting.
Toast will occasionally offer discounts, so be sure to check out our Toast Promo Codes page.
- Designed for bars & nightclubs
- Bar proof hardware
- Strong data reporting
- Card preauthorization
- Offline mode
- 24/7 customer service
- In-house processing only
- Requires contract
TouchBistro is a point-of-sale (POS) system designed specifically for the food and beverage industry. It runs on iPads, making it a mobile and flexible business option. One of the main advantages of using TouchBistro is its ease of use and intuitive interface. The system is designed to be user-friendly and easy to navigate, making it easy for staff to learn and start using the system quickly. This can help to streamline operations and improve efficiency in a busy restaurant or bar environment.
Another advantage of TouchBistro is its extensive range of features that cater to the specific needs of the food and beverage industry. For example, the system includes table management, menu management, and order management, which are all essential for a smooth and efficient service. Additionally, it includes reporting and analytics features that allow you to track sales, inventory, and labor costs, providing valuable insights into your business performance.
Another advantage of TouchBistro is its ability to integrate with other systems and third-party apps. This allows you to expand the capabilities of the POS system and streamline various aspects of your business operations. For example, you can integrate the system with accounting software, online ordering systems, and more. This can help to save time and improve the overall efficiency of your business. Additionally, TouchBistro is designed to work offline as well, which means that you can continue to take orders.
Why Choose TouchBistro for Bars and Pubs?
TouchBistro is an excellent choice for bars and pubs because it is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of the food and beverage industry. They have won many industry awards. The system includes features such as menu management, which allows you to create and update your menu easily and set different prices for different times of the day. This is especially useful for bars and pubs that offer different drink specials or happy hours.
Additionally, the system includes order management features that allow you to take and manage orders, including adding special requests and notes to orders, which can be very helpful when serving drinks and food in a busy bar environment.
Another benefit of TouchBistro for bars is its ability to handle multiple payment types, including credit and debit cards, gift cards, and split payments. This allows you to process transactions easily and keep track of sales, making it easy to manage your finances.
Additionally, the system includes reporting and analytics features that allow you to track sales, inventory, and labor costs, providing you with valuable insights into your business performance. This can help you to make informed decisions about your business and identify opportunities for growth.
TouchBistro offers a range of subscription plans to fit the specific needs of your bar or pub, starting at just $69/mo.
- No lengthy contracts
- Intuitive, easy-to-use
- Tableside ordering
- Financing available
- 24/7 customer service
- Add-ons increase price
- Can take 2-3 weeks to install
Square Restaurant POS
Square for Restaurants is a point-of-sale (POS) system specifically designed for the food service industry. It includes features such as menu management, inventory tracking, and sales reporting. The system can be used on a variety of devices, including iPads, iPhones, and Android devices, making it easily adaptable to different types of restaurants and bars.
Why Choose Square for Bars or Breweries?
One of the key features of Square for Restaurants is its ability to manage menu items and pricing. The system allows restaurant and bar owners to update menu items and prices easily and even create different menus for different times of the day. This can be especially useful for establishments that offer both lunch and dinner menus or bars with a different menu during happy hour.
In addition to menu management, Square for Restaurants also includes tools for inventory tracking and sales reporting. This allows restaurant and bar owners to see which items are selling well and which need to be reordered and get a clear picture of their overall sales performance. This can help businesses make more informed decisions about menu offerings, pricing, and staffing.
Square offers excellent value for small bars, pubs, or breweries, as it’s free to start. Its point-of-sale software, Square Plus, can be accessed with a $60 monthly plan for those who need more advanced features. The processing rate for transactions on the free small business POS platform starts at 2.6% + 10 cents. It’s also worth noting that Square occasionally offers hardware promotions, so it’s always wise to check for those before making a purchase.
Square is an excellent choice for small bars with low volume and average ticket sales due to its processing rate structure. However, if your business deals with high volume, high average tickets, it may be worth exploring other options. But, for small bars or breweries, Square is a great entry point as it’s free to get started, and you can upgrade your account as your business grows.
- Free POS (Best Value)
- Fast setup, easy to use
- Great for small bars
- Upgrade when ready
- Must use Square processing
- No pre-auth for bar tabs
- Limited support on the free plan
Lightspeed Restaurant is a cutting-edge point-of-sale system designed to streamline and optimize the operations of bars and restaurants. With its powerful features, customization options, and intuitive interface, Lightspeed Restaurant allows businesses to manage everything from menu items and inventory to customer orders and staff schedules.
Why Choose Lightspeed POS for a Bar?
Lightspeed Restaurant POS is a robust hospitality point-of-sale system that is designed to help bars manage their operations with ease. The system allows bartenders to quickly and easily browse through menus, enter orders, open tabs, and accept payments all in just a few taps.
The cloud-based POS software enables bar owners to focus on creating unique experiences for customers. With Lightspeed Restaurant POS, bar owners can enter orders, and process payments fast, create combos for top menu items to speed up ordering at the bar, manage bar tabs and reduce the number of transactions with pre-authorization, split bills by item, course, or seat and offer guests single-seat checkout.
The system also allows for customizable floor plans, creating multiple menus and assigning them to specific devices and shifts, automated ingredient management, and access to the system from anywhere with a cloud-based POS. Additionally, it integrates with major food delivery services to reach new customers quickly; it’s designed to scale your business and helps you increase your profit margins. It offers a frictionless unified payment experience.
With Lightspeed, you can choose your preferred credit card payment processor. The system has its internal payment processor, but it also allows for integration with a wide range of other processors, allowing you to select the one that best suits your business needs. You won’t be tied to a single provider’s processing rates. As for Lightspeed’s processing rates, they start at 2.6% plus a 10-cent transaction fee.
Regarding pricing, Lightspeed Restaurant POS offers a range of options to meet the unique needs of different businesses. The basic package, suitable for essential business needs, starts at $69 per month.
For more advanced features, you can opt for the standard package at $119 per month or the advanced package at $199 per month. If you’re looking for a more customized quote, Lightspeed POS offers the option to contact them directly. One of the best things about this POS system is that it offers a free trial period, so you can test it and see if it’s the right fit for your business before committing to a subscription.
- Easily manage bar tabs
- Strong inventory management
- Multi-store capabilities
- Flexible payment options
- Extensive reporting
- Learning curve
- Cost increases for advanced features
Skytab (formerly Harbortouch)
Skytab, formerly known as Harbortouch Bar & Restaurant, is a cutting-edge point-of-sale solution designed to help food service businesses, including restaurants, retail stores, cafes, nightclubs, and bars, to streamline their operations and improve their bottom line.
It offers a range of advanced features such as inventory tracking, financial review, sales monitoring, and labor management, all with no upfront costs. This POS system is also exclusively recommended by Jon Taffer of Bar Rescue, which attests to its effectiveness and reliability.
Why Choose Skytab for Bars & Nightclubs?
Skytab is a top-shelf bar POS system designed to streamline the operations of bars and nightclubs. One of its key benefits is its robust software packed with features to keep your business running smoothly. This includes tools for tracking inventory levels, managing finances, monitoring sales, and managing labor. Additionally, the system is designed to be user-friendly, making it easy to navigate and operate even during busy periods.
Skytab also boasts powerful hardware designed to help you run your business on your terms. The system is sleek, reliable, and mobile-ready, which means you can take payments and orders at the table or even at the door, helping to speed up service and improve customer satisfaction.
The system also offers a variety of management tools, such as Lighthouse, that provide you with complete control over your business. This includes advanced reporting and back office tools that give you a detailed overview of your operations, making it easy to make data-driven decisions.
Moreover, Skytab’s contactless order and pay option is a standout feature. Customers can place orders and make payments directly from their phones, using SkyTab’s QR code solution. This offers a more convenient and contactless experience for customers, which is particularly important in the current climate.
The system also offers a range of marketing and loyalty tools to help you build lasting relationships with customers, including a customer loyalty program, email campaigns, traditional and e-gift cards, and social media management tools. Skytab also offers a range of third-party POS integrations.
The Harbortouch POS system offers a unique pricing structure of $29.99 per month with no initial investment required. To better understand its capabilities, the company also provides a complimentary free demo before committing to its services. This plan is ideal for full-service restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.
Furthermore, the monthly service fee also includes access to menu programming, installation, technical support, and a lifetime warranty for the hardware.
- No upfront cost
- Low monthly fee
- Intuitive, easy-to-use
- No early termination fees
- Shift4 processing only
- Requires 1-year contract
- Can take 3-4 weeks to install
Clover POS is a top-of-the-line POS system that is ideal for bars, pubs, and small businesses. The all-in-one platform offers affordable pricing, sleek hardware, and user-friendly software that makes it easy to manage all aspects of your business. Whether you’re looking to track inventory, manage finances, or monitor sales, Clover has you covered.
Additionally, the Clover App Store provides you with a wide range of options to expand the capabilities of the POS to meet the specific needs of your business. With its easy setup, extensive features, and extensive app integrations, Clover is the perfect choice for any small business looking to streamline their operations.
Why Choose Clover POS for Bars and Pubs?
One of the advantages of Clover is its flexibility in terms of payment processing. You can use your existing merchant provider or take advantage of Clover’s simple processing rates through Fiserv, which are often cheaper than other options like Squareup.com. Additionally, the system offers transparent and consistent rates for all card types, including AMEX and rewards cards.
Another benefit of Clover is its wide range of features and integrations. The system offers a variety of apps and add-ons to expand its capabilities and meet the specific needs of your business. However, keep in mind that you will need to purchase Clover’s proprietary hardware to use the software, and pricing starts at $39.95 per month.
When it comes to purchasing and setting up the system, Clover offers a streamlined process. You can purchase directly from the company to avoid middleman fees and receive free overnight shipping. Additionally, you get 60 days of hassle-free returns, which gives you peace of mind knowing that you can test out the system before committing to it. Overall, Clover is a comprehensive and user-friendly option for bars and pubs looking for a complete POS solution.
- Sleek all-in-one POS
- Bar app integrations
- Easy to set up and use
- Excellent handheld POS
- Various payment options
- 24/7 phone and email support
- Must use proprietary hardware
- Added features increase the price
- Must work with a sales rep to sign up
Why it’s Important to Purchase an ‘Industry Specific’ Platform
A bar POS system is designed to handle the high-volume transactions and fast-paced environment that is typical of a bar setting. This means that it is optimized for speed and efficiency, making it easier for staff to process orders and payments quickly and accurately.
An industry-specific platform also comes with features that are specific to the bar industry, such as age verification and bar tab management. This makes it easier for staff to ensure that customers are of legal drinking age and to manage unpaid bar tabs. Additionally, it provides tools for managing inventory, monitoring sales, and tracking labor, which are all important for any bar business.
Having a platform that is tailored to your industry also makes it easier to manage your business and make data-driven decisions. With access to detailed reporting and analytics, you can gain insights into your operations, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions that will help you grow your business. Overall, an industry-specific platform is an essential tool for any bar business looking to streamline operations and drive growth.
7 Required Features for Bar POS Systems
When searching for a new point-of-sale system for your bar or brew pub, it’s crucial to consider certain features that will enhance the overall customer experience and streamline your operations. Some ‘must-haves’ to look for in a bar POS system include tools for inventory management, financial tracking, sales analysis, and labor management.
Additionally, it’s important to choose a system that is an easy-to-use POS system, and can handle the fast-paced environment of your establishment. To ensure your business runs smoothly, it’s essential to prioritize these key features in your search for a new bar point of sale.
- Inventory management: Bar point-of-sale software should have the ability to track and manage inventory levels, including the ability to set reorder points and low stock alerts. This ensures that you always have the necessary ingredients to make popular drinks and avoid running out of key items.
- Age verification: A bar POS system needs to have a built-in age verification feature to ensure that customers are of legal drinking age. This can be done by scanning IDs or driver’s licenses, which can help prevent serving alcohol to minors.
- Bar tabs: A bar point of sale should be able to handle bar tabs, allowing customers to open tabs and make charges to them throughout the night. This feature eliminates the need for customers to carry cash and makes it easy to close out tabs at the end of the night.
- Tip tracking: Bar systems should have the ability to track tips and manage gratuity by employee or pool tips by group. This feature helps staff get every dollar they deserve and can also be used for reporting and analysis.
- Menu management: Bar sofware should have the ability to manage menus, including the ability to make changes on-the-fly, add, remove or edit menu items in real-time, and set timed pricing adjustments and recurring promotions.
- Marketing and loyalty tools: It should have built-in marketing and loyalty tools to help build lasting relationships with customers. This can include a customer loyalty program, email campaigns, traditional and e-gift cards, and social media management tools.
- Reporting and analytics: It should also have powerful reporting and analytics capabilities to give business owners a detailed overview of their operations. This feature can be used to track sales, inventory, products, labor, and more, making it easy to make data-driven decisions.
How do I Choose the Best POS for My Bar?
Choosing the best POS system for a bar or pub can be a daunting task, but by following a few key steps, you can ensure that you select a system that will meet your specific needs and help your business thrive.
- Determine your specific needs: Before you begin your search, take some time to evaluate the specific needs of your bar or pub. Consider menu complexity, inventory management, customer loyalty programs, and mobile ordering.
- Research different systems: Once you clearly understand your needs, research different POS systems to see which ones offer essential features and functionality to your business. Look for systems that are specifically designed for the bar and pub industry.
- Review pricing and contract terms: When comparing different systems, be sure to take pricing and contract terms into account. Some systems may offer lower upfront costs but have higher monthly fees, while others may have higher upfront costs but lower monthly fees. Be sure to read the fine print to understand any hidden costs or long-term commitments.
- Check for scalability: As your business grows, you’ll want to ensure that the POS system you choose can grow with you. Look for a system that is scalable, meaning it can handle increased transaction volume and new features as your business expands.
- Test the system: Before making a final decision, test the system in a real-world setting. Many POS providers offer free trials or demos, giving you a sense of how the system will perform in your specific environment.
- Read reviews and customer testimonials: It’s a great idea to read customer reviews and testimonials to get an idea of how the product performs in the real world.
- Look for customer support: Make sure that the vendor of the system you choose offers excellent customer support. If you ever run into any issues, you want to know that you can contact the vendor and get a quick resolution.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
The best bar POS system will depend on your specific needs and budget. Some popular options include Toast, Skytab, Touchbistro, Lightspeed, and Clover. These systems offer robust software, powerful hardware, and a variety of management tools that are tailored to the unique needs of bars, pubs, and nightclubs.
The cost of a bar POS system can vary depending on the specific features and services you require. Some basic systems can start as low as $30 per month, while more advanced systems with additional features and hardware can cost upwards of several hundred dollars per month. Additionally, some systems may require a one-time purchase of proprietary hardware. It’s important to consider your specific needs and budget when researching different POS systems for your bar.
Bar Rescue has used multiple POS systems throughout the show’s run, most recently with Harbortouch Bar & Restaurant. However, it is important to note that the choice of POS system used on the show is not necessarily an endorsement or recommendation for all bars and pubs. Every business has unique needs and requirements, and it is crucial to research and compare different options to determine the best fit for your specific operation.
Some of the primary benefits include the ability to track inventory levels, manage finances, monitor sales, and manage labor; improved customer service through the use of mobile ordering and payment options; advanced reporting and back office tools for making data-driven decisions; and the ability to integrate with third-party applications for more comprehensive business management. Bar software can also help increase customer loyalty through marketing and loyalty tools, such as customer loyalty programs, email campaigns, and social media management tools.
Toast or Square for Restaurants. Toast offers a free starter kit to get started, so you’ll get everything you need to get up and running quickly. Square for Restaurants is also a good option for small bars or pubs on a budget, with free bar POS software to get started.
Verdict: Don’t Get Left Behind
Based on the list of top POS systems for bars above, it can be concluded that each system has its own unique features and benefits that cater to the specific needs of different types of bars.
In our opinion, the best POS system for bars and nightclubs is Toast POS. With its complete set of features for managing a pub, bar & restaurant, or nightclub, Toast’s flexibility and mobility are standout features that make it the top choice. It offers the option of using stand-alone terminals or Toast Go hand-held terminals for added mobility, allowing bartenders to move freely through the establishment and handle payments quickly.
Additionally, Toast’s pricing model is very competitive, starting at just $69 per month, and it offers a free starter kit for small bars or nightclubs to get up and running with no upfront cost. TouchBistro and Square for Restaurants also offer great solutions for bars and nightclubs, but Toast POS is the best choice for its comprehensive features and flexibility.
To identify the top bar POS systems, we considered several key factors. These included the range of features each system offers, their pricing plans, and whether they offered a free trial. We also evaluated their reputation for customer service and overall ease of use.
We assigned a rating to each system based on these criteria and ranked them accordingly. The systems that received the highest rating were deemed the best bar POS systems for 2023. In addition, we also took into account the system’s reliability and flexibility, as well as its ability to integrate with other tools and platforms that bars commonly use.
Did we miss any products on our list? Do you have any questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you below!