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Another year bites the dust! Now that a fresh start is upon us, let’s look at the emerging trends in POS systems for bars that you can expect to see in 2022 and beyond. 

But first, COVID is the elephant in every room these days so we’ll get this out of the way—the pandemic changed the bar landscape a lot and will continue to do so as we head into the uncertain future. This much is certain: The pandemic-induced changes in hospitality will stick around long after social distance regulations end. 

Here are 7 trends that speak to the future of bar POS systems: 

1. Flourishing E-Commerce

People are more likely than ever to spend their Friday night ordering in and enjoying themselves from the comfort of their own couch. Home has become a new haven free from crowds, and bars must start accommodating their offerings to be enjoyed off-premise. 

Alcohol e-commerce is a billion dollar industry and growing. In fact, by 2024 7% of all alcohol sales are projected to come from e-commerce, and beer e-commerce alone is expected to see a $12 billion growth in the next 2.5 years. Uber’s acquisition of Drizly for $1.1 billion is an obvious sign that a huge amount of investment is going into alcohol e-commerce right now. 

Food delivery is also spiking in popularity, so it’s something to consider if your bar offers small bites. Consumers that reported they order delivery at least once a week was up to 61% in 2021, compared to 18% in 2019. 

Not only are consumers seeking out establishments that they can get online orders delivered from, the expectation for extravagant and memorable packaging is growing. Sage Restaurant Concepts, a hospitality group with restaurant and bar locations across 13 states, reference “instagrammable packaging” as a common expectation in 2022. Cocktails adorned in decorative jars and vacuum sealed bags is one way customers will be expecting businesses to bring the experience of being in their bar to consumers’ doorsteps. 

As far as your POS system for your bar, the technology to support an online storefront will be an even bigger necessity moving forward. Consumer expectations for the online ordering process are leaning the following ways:

  • Consumers know that small businesses suffer at the hands of third-party delivery services like Uber Eats. They will seek out a business’s own ordering platform on their website if it’s available. 
  • Guests do not want to talk on the phone. Streamlined digital ordering with a few button clicks will get you more online orders than a phone-operated system. 
  • Curbside pickup and makeshift drive thru lanes are becoming popular among businesses that can’t support the staff to offer delivery services.

In 2022, your bar is encouraged to meet your fans where they are—which is at home and on their phones.

2. New At-Home Product Offerings

In a similar vein to the flourishing e-commerce industry is the growing consumer demand for new at-home products. Because our new normal means people are less likely to go out to enjoy a bar themselves, guests want to learn how to create those experiences at home and for their friends. 

For bars, this means offering virtual cocktail-making classes, or boxes that come with all the ingredients and instructions needed to make your own drink. Subscription boxes are also a growing trend in hospitality as restaurants and bars compete with the meal kit industry. 

So get creative, brainstorm what offerings make your bar unique, and ask your existing fanbase what kind of product offerings they want to see. Your POS system for your bar can support this effort by linking to a survey from the online store, adding a form at the bottom of digital receipts, or emailing past guests from your customer database. 

guests hanging out on the patio

3. Enhanced In-Person Experiences

Now, there will be a time when consumers are back in-person with your bartenders. Our fingers and toes are crossed for sooner rather than later! When that time does come, consumer expectations for a unique, branded experience will be higher than ever. 

The increase in outdoor dining options, and the investment behind it, has raised the bar for everyone in hospitality. It’s not enough to (not-so-simply) convert a parking lot into an outdoor space for your guests. They’re now accustomed to having available heaters when it’s cold, and fans and misters in the dead of summer. Not only that, but some bars have begun to offer picture-worthy venues to imbibe: Personal greenhouses, igloos, domes, and tents are just a few. 

Looking beyond 2022, the concept of themed experiences, tempoed music curated based on what guests are enjoying, and other over-the-top experiences are in the queue for tech-conscience restaurants and bars. When diners and drinkers return to the scene, they will seek out the bars that offer experiences that make up for the last few years of solidarity. 

Your bar POS system can support these kinds of experiences with a comprehensive reservation system or an online gallery of photos to entice newcomers. 

4. QR Codes Become a Staple

People worldwide became well acquainted with QR codes these past couple of years. Bar and restaurant POS systems are increasingly implementing this ordering technology so guests can start a tab, add orders whenever they please, and close out, all from their own smartphones. 

But the benefits of QR codes don’t stop at the convenience for guests. QR code ordering also benefits bar owners and their staff with:

  • Lower Labor Costs: QR code ordering can save 30-50% on labor costs by reducing the number of bartenders needed to take orders and collect payment. Since you may already be working with a smaller staff due to the labor shortage, this is a big cost saver. 
  • Ease of Menu Updates: Not only do bars save money on printing paper menus, but digital menus via a QR code are easier to update, too. The best bar POS systems even integrate with your inventory management tools, so menus automatically remove items as stock is depleted. 
  • Higher Tabs & Tips: When you put ordering power right in a guest’s hand instead of requiring them to wave you down, they are more likely to add another round to their tab. That, coupled with the ease of ordering, has proven to increase both tab and tip sizes by 25%.

Because guests and businesses alike have reaped the benefits of this self-serve ordering technology, there’s a silent agreement among them that QR codes will remain in the bar and restaurant experience long after the pandemic ends. If you haven’t yet, check out some ways to start small and implement QR code ordering in your own bar with The Ultimate Guide to QR Codes for Bars

Beyond 2022, consumers can expect to see new ways QR codes are utilized in the bar industry. For example, a QR code on the receipt of a to-go order could link to a special playlist from the bar as a method to create that on-brand ambiance at home. 

5. Mocktails & Other Alcohol-Free Alternatives

Non-alcoholic drinks have been climbing in popularity since 2019. As consumers become more health-conscious, they’re beginning to cut alcohol out of their diets. But, FOMO is real, and people still want an alternative beverage they can enjoy when they’re out celebrating with friends. 

Consumer demand has been met with improvements to mocktails. Bartenders and bar owners have sought to improve their recipes for alcohol-free choices and increased the variety as well. This has made mocktails tastier, closer to the actual booze option, and eliminated the over-sweetened soda alternatives. 

Entering 2022, mocktails are expected to continue to rise in popularity among consumers. Bar POS systems can test the demand waters by offering these beverage options on digital menus, and assessing if they’re driving significant revenue later on. 

guest cheers

6. Diversity in Payment Methods

Your POS system for your bar is likely mobile, meaning your bartenders take orders on tablets and smartphones versus a stationary payment terminal. These POS systems rose in popularity for a lot of reasons, but it was partially because of the diversity of payment methods they accept: 

  • Credit and debit cards
  • Contactless payments (RFID cards that you can “tap” on terminals to pay)
  • Digital wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay)
  • Self-service payments via QR codes

In the coming years, bar owners can expect these payment methods to continue to diversify. Cryptocurrency continues to become more and more mainstream, as more than 300 million people worldwide own cryptocurrencies despite the volatility and regulatory restrictions. At some point, bars and restaurants must jump on board and start accepting this as a payment method. 

7. Continued Labor Struggles

Unfortunately, not everything on this trends list is an exciting incoming innovation. The labor shortage continues to be a nationwide issue for hospitality businesses, and it’s now being coined “The Great Resignation” after nearly 6.5% of industry employees have left. 

The future is looking bleak, too. Hospitality schools are seeing a decline in enrollment, which derails the expectation that new workers will be coming in soon. 

Meaghan Goedde, COO of SRC, encourages bars and restaurants to shift their focus from recruitment to retention, citing that taking care of existing talent is even more important than attracting new talent. Besides an actively inclusive environment, the following may help retain your staff, all of which can be supported by your bar POS system:

Early in the pandemic, 51% of servers cited the need for higher, consistent income as their top reason for switching industries. This has opened an ongoing conversation about the “tip credit” which allows servers to be paid below minimum wage, with the expectation that they’ll make far above that with gratuity from paying guests. The problem is, bars and restaurants are far less crowded these days, and that gap simply isn’t being filled. 

As you make plans and set goals for 2022 and beyond, remember to hug your beloved staff close! You wouldn’t be where you are today without them, and you need your team to continue your growing bar business. 


Arryved’s mobile POS system keeps the heart in hospitality by finding solutions for our partners’ problems and investing in their success. Book a free, personalized demo from an Arryved specialist today!

 

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