Best POS System for Bars in 2023

best bar pos system

A bar often carries a reputation as being the “gathering place” or the “fun-on-any-occasion” place; however, bars are also a place of serious business. For anyone who owns or manages a bar, the path to success depends on the systems in place behind the counter of your bar, even when everyone in the neighborhood is having fun in front of it.

 

Why Do You Need a Bar POS System?

One of the most valuable tools that supports a profitable bar is a great bar POS system. When first introduced, the POS (point-of-sale) system was a fancy sort of cash register. Those first cash registers quickly disappeared, replaced by sophisticated bar POS software that conducts transactions, maximizes sales, reduces errors, tracks inventory, and a host of other hardware (receipt printer, cash drawer, barcode scanners, and other POS equipment) and software tasks that support a thriving bar business. 

If you are searching for a bar POS software that will offer the support your bar needs, you can relax, because we’ve already done the research for you. 

We looked for the best bar POS systems that are easy to operate, contain the features you need, transact automatically and simplify your 24/7 business. And, after all, isn’t that what business systems should do?

After reviewing several bar POS systems, we’ve selected those that have the processes you will appreciate, in addition to those you need, such as: 

  • Offering a high speed of service 
  • Allowing express checkout
  • Including terminals to accept credit and debit cards
  • Track inventory 
  • Building your customer database
  • Assisting with employee management

As you continue reading, you’ll find even more services offered by great bar POS systems. You have the choice to take everything a POS terminal and software system can offer, or you can opt for a software system only, with easy functionality. The choices you’ll find in this list offer a wide range of options; all you need to do is discover which one will work best for your bar and make your selection. Easy, right? 

The following chart of the best bar POS systems offers a quick overview and customer rating for each system. Following the chart, you’ll find an expanded review of the best features of each bar POS system, with further details about the options available. 

 

BEST BAR POS SYSTEMS
COMPARISON CHART

1. Toast Excellent customer support/flexible rate package 5/5
Here’s what we like: 

  • Low-cost starter package – under 10 employees
  • 24/7 support with top tier reliability
  • All-in-one platform with integrated systems 
  • 3rd party commissions reduced by up to 80% 
5.0
2. Lightspeed Restaurant Highly adaptable/delivery speed priority 4.9/5
Here’s what we like: 

  • Fast order-taking & process payments
  • Combo-order capability to increase speed of service 
  • Pre-authorization and manage bar tabs 
  • Customer data tracking
4.9
3. Oracle MICROS Simphony Superior cloud support/dedicated monitors 4.8/5
Here’s what we like: 

  • In-house monitor support
  • Small IT footprint
  • Low-cost monthly entry fee
  • All-in-One cloud system 
4.8
4. TouchBistro Strong support/in-house monitors and app 4.7/5
Here’s what we like:

  • 24/7 technical support
  • Mobile platform for tableside service
  • Inventory management 
  • Customer database
4.7
5. Square for Restaurants Easy-to-use bar POS system/low-cost entry  4.6/5
Here’s what we like:

  • No long-term contracts
  • Automated analytics
  • Touch-free payment system
  • Customizable order and set up 
4.6
6. Harbortouch Economical plans/extended support 4.5/5
Here’s what we like: 

  • No upfront costs
  • Customizable SkyTab system for mobile and curbside orders
  • Free handheld POS terminal
  • Extended cash advance and loan programs for bar owners
4.5

 

💡 Did You Know?

In a recent informal national survey, bar customers were asked for their “number one reason to visit a bar.” Surprisingly, although the wide menu of alcoholic beverages draws customers into a bar, most customers noted the atmosphere and people who, together, created the perfect environment. Factors customers enjoy in a bar include the following:   

  • “I go to relax and unwind with friends.” 
  • “We like to go to the bar to have a drink and rehash the day at work.” 
  • “I like to socialize over drinks and meet new people.” 
  • “We want to catch our breath and have some freedom.” 
  • “I want to have a drink in peace.” 

Is it any wonder there are over 60,000 bars in the US today?

 


 

Best Bar POS System for Restuarant and Bar Owners

Here are our reviewed and rated best bar POS systems as of January 2023:

Our Rating POS Systems For Bars
5/5 Toast
4.9/5 Lightspeed Restaurant
4.8/5 Oracle MICROS Simphony
4.7/5 TouchBistro
4.6/5 Square for Restaurants
4.5/5 Harbortouch

Each of the POS systems we’ve outlined in the comparison chart above offers a broad range of POS services, superior support, customizable features and unique offerings. As bar and restaurant owners and managers, you will want to explore each of these to determine which system is best for your particular bar business. For example, bars with heavy traffic need very fast POS systems, while some bars value the ability to use the POS system to split a bill among party members.  

Continue reading to discover the full reviews of the best POS systems for bars, including hardware and/or software options, adaptability features, mobile POS terminal options, inventory control, and employee timecard benefits. 

 

Top 6 Bar POS Systems in Detail

1.  Toast

We gave this POS system our highest marks because it offers versatility and ease of use; characteristics essential for use in a bar. There are multiple POS system segments from which to choose and the variables are thoughtfully constructed with the bar customer in mind. 

The Toast bar POS system includes software and hardware, depending on the options you choose to include and is internet-driven, which offers high rates of speed. Packages for bars include options for mobile POS terminals, a bar display system, and both front and back-of-house support tools. Here are just a few of the highlights of the Toast POS system: 

  • Toast Mobile Order & Pay
  • Toast hardware (as selected)
  • 24/7 support with top-tier reliability
  • Inventory management
  • Loyalty programs via guest engagement
  • Employee tools
  • Integrated payroll 
  • Process analytics
  • Resource center/Learning hub 

Pricing Tiers: 

  1. Starter Kit:
    • 1 to 2 POS terminals
    • Under 10 employees 
    • Cost: Free
  2. Growth Kit:
    • Multiple locations (1-15)
    • Cost:  $69 monthly 
  3. Enterprise:
    • 16-1,000 locations 
    • Cost:  $165 monthly 
  4. Custom Systems 
    • Features and bar POS system cost as selected

With all of the support and resources to be found at Toast, your new or growing bar business will benefit greatly from these combined services and economical prices. This integrated bar POS system amounts to less time spent in managerial oversight and an enhanced bar experience for your customers. 

 

2. Lightspeed Restaurant

The Lightspeed POS system offers an adaptable combination of speed of delivery and customized features. Within the POS system, you’ll discover a full complement of operations and managerial choices to save you time and energy in manual processes. 

Lightspeed POS software focuses on speed across the board and their built-in systems prove it. The customer interaction is customized and bar tab management with pre-authorization adds to that speed factor. Here are several factors to consider with the Lightspeed POS system: 

  • Easy-to-use platform
  • Customer fraud protection
  • Synced payment status
  • No monthly transaction limits
  • Reliable payment reports
  • Unlimited 24/7 support
  • Library with demos, videos, and more 
  • One-on-one onboarding session 

Pricing Tiers: 

Prospective customers call for quotes based on the number of locations and other items, however, the per-month pricing affords an estimate of potential costs: 

  1. Essentials:
    • Daily operations 
    • Cost:  $69 monthly 
  2. Plus:
    • Daily operations 
    • Front office support
    • Cost:  $189 monthly 
  3. Pro:
    • Daily operations 
    • Front & back office support
    • Cost:  $399 monthly 
  4. Enterprise: 
    • Daily operations 
    • Front & back office support
    • Customized POS features included 
    • Cost: as quoted 

One of the most advantageous benefits of Lightspeed POS software is the support bar owners and managers will receive when needed. A 24/7 service is available to assist anytime and that is essential for late-night operational issues or questions. Several features can be added to the Essentials, Plus, and Pro packages for the complete operations and management system you choose. 

 

3. Oracle MICROS Simphony 

Oracle MICROS Simphony is a cloud-based integrated POS system that fully meets the needs of both bar and client in transactions and relationship management. A cloud-based POS system offers the continual reliability of service because an internet connection is not required for functionality. Because of this advantage, we recommend Oracle MICROS Simphony as a serious contender for bar operations and management. 

The features of Oracle MICROS Simphony vary according to the level of service desired; however, monthly prices are set and add-on hardware monitors for table service or mobile monitors for self-serve are astonishingly priced at only one dollar per monitor ($1). Here are additional features offered by Oracle MICROS Simphony POS systems: 

  • Small IT footprint 
  • Reasonable pricing for monthly services
  • All-in-one integrated cloud system
  • Easy-to-operate system
  • Personalized customer interactions
  • Easy-to-scale for growing businesses
  • Customer management including profiles & favorites – auto reorders
  • All forms of payment accepted
  • No long-term contracts
  • POS Hardware add-ons at $1 each 

Pricing: 

  1. Essentials: 
    • Small IT footprint
    • Cloud-based (no internet required) 
    • Cost:  $55 monthly 
  2. Plus: 
    • Multi-location package
    • Operations & management features
    • Cost:  $75 monthly 
  3. Custom: 
    • Single-tenant 
    • Cost: as quoted 

If you own or manage a bar with limited internet connectivity at times, the Oracle MICROS Simphony is a POS system you will want to consider. With no internet connection required, this bar POS system keeps everything smoothly operational via a cloud-based connectivity and offers multiple features for both front and back of house efficiency.

The low monthly pricing and ability to add monitors at a very low cost equals better service for your customers and less management time spent at your desk. The Oracle MICROS Simphony is recommended as one of the bar POS systems. 

 

4. TouchBistro 

The goal of the TouchBistro POS system is to reduce manual processes throughout your bar. If you like the thought of less time spent in management or oversight of operations, this POS system is made for you. With low monthly pricing and a generous amount of flexibility, the TouchBistro POS system creates faster service options, which translates to more drink orders. Additional features of this system follow: 

  • Promotes best turnover times at bar 
  • Offers the most-profitable drinks first 
  • Mobile POS systems minimize order errors 
  • Staff management systems
  • Easy bill-splitting features
  • Customer database tracking 
  • Tableside orders

TouchBistro is focused on high-speed service with high-accuracy rates. If your bar is often crowded or is busy at particular times, you may want to consider TouchBistro for the features that will meet or exceed the expectations of waiting customers.

There are several variables to TouchBistro in terms of pricing. You’ll want to check out all the options before making your choices. Some hardware carries extra costs, as do services offered. Basic monthly pricing is reasonable and straightforward. 

Pricing: 

  • Plans start at $69 per month, increasing with options selected.

TouchBistro offers creative options in addition to package services. For instance, a marketing feature promotes drinks or specials to your customer base and full marketing campaigns can be created to cover holiday seasons or new items on the menu. Packed with features that benefit your bar, TouchBistro is your go-to bar POS system for ease-of-use and speedy service options.

 

5. Square for Restaurants

The POS system used by Square for Restaurants is one that comes with no strings attached. There are no long-term contracts and the first level of their pricing structure is the free version. The emphasis for this company is on customized service and employee tools that can be handled via the POS system. 

Some of the best features of Square for Restaurants include: 

  • Customer loyalty programs
  • Automated analytics
  • Employee tools; including permissions, schedules, timecards and tips 
  • No installation fees
  • QR codes for ordering 
  • Customized POS systems are scalable with growth 

With the perspective of the customer in mind, Square for Restaurants POS system tracks customer data and includes features that allow service to be offered quickly for returning patrons. Reorders or favorite drinks of return customers are retrieved effortlessly and can be used to build the loyalty of customers. 

Pricing:  

All plans include a fee of 2.6% + $0.10 processing rate for in-person payment processing.

  1. Free Plan:
    • Zero cost for day-to-day operations and online ordering
    • Unlimited POS terminals or mobile devices
    • Part-time support M-F 6 am to 6 pm 
  2. Plus Plan:
    • One POS system device per location 
    • 30-day free trial 
    • Cost:  $60 monthly + $40 monthly per added POS device
  3. Premium Plan: 
    • Fully customized POS system for bars with over $250K yearly 
    • Scalable to grow with the business

Depending on the service needed, Square for Restaurants may be a perfect fit for your bar business. The convenience of having no long-term contracts, plus the free account with costs determined by POS system usage alone, offers an attractive alternative to other providers. 

 

6. Harbortouch

If the main consideration of a POS system for your bar business is the cost of the setup and system, Harbortouch may be the best choice of our recommendations. The POS system, SkyTab, is an integrated online ordering system that comes with free cash register hardware. Additional features include: 

  • Mobile ordering and payments
  • Marketing tools and loyalty tools 
  • QR code for ordering system 
  • Security encryption for protection 
  • Free installation of hardware
  • 24/7/365 customer support
  • On-demand training 
  • Advantage program reduces credit card fees
  • Cloud-based back office
  • Employee tools and management tips 
  • No upfront costs

With several features offered for free or at a low cost, it is surprising that SkyTab is rated by customers as a highly-effective POS system. Pricing is transparent and includes the following: 

  1. Bar Package Pricing:  $29.99 monthly

    • Flat fee for service and support
    • Free POS system and hardware
    • Free paper supplies
    • Free POS cash register

With all the amenities packed into the SkyTab bar POS software and hardware offered by Harbortouch, it is easy to see the value and economical advantages of this bar POS system. If you are a bar owner or manager, this package is surely one well worth your consideration. 

 

Summary

After reviewing each of the best POS systems for bars we’ve reviewed in this article, which one should you choose for your bar business? 

The answer is easy:  of course, you’ll choose the POS system that most closely conforms to the needs of your bar, your management, your employees and your customers. We know you’ll find the answer within the six best POS systems we’ve reviewed for you in this article. 

We wish you every success! 

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