The rapid growth of breweries over the last decade also came with a rapid growth of point of sale systems. So how do you know you are choosing the best brewery POS system for your taproom?
One of the main things Hi-Wire looked at when choosing their current brewery POS system was how user friendly the POS system is. Hi-Wire has 7 taprooms across 3 states, and a majority of the staff consist of bartenders. Hi-Wire wanted to ensure that their brewery POS system they used was the best option and incredibly user friendly for that reason. Here are 8 features Hi-Wire looked at when deciding on their current brewery POS system:
1. CLEAR LAYOUT
One of the most frustrating aspects of a brewery POS system is a cluttered and confusing layout. Your bartending staff are the ones using your POS system the most. And, as a bartender you want to get the customer’s tab started, items rung up, and beer poured in the least amount of time. This is especially true when it’s busy in the taproom and there is a long line of people waiting.
One of the main interface issues that can slow a bartender down is a POS home screen that has an overwhelming amount of buttons or options to choose from. At Hi-Wire, the home screen has eleven menu options to choose from that are clear and simple. They include:
BEER → Draft beer list
CLOTHING → All shirts, tank tops, and sweatshirts
GIFT CARD → The gift card amount screen
GLASSWARE → All glassware and growler options
GUEST TAP → All non-Hi-Wire drink options
HATS → All hat options
MERCH → All souvenir items
PACKAGED BEER → All to-go beer options
SPECIALTY BOTTLES → Sour and stout bottles
STICKERS → All sticker options
RESERVATIONS → Table reservation fee
By organizing sale items into those eleven menu options, Hi-Wire increased bartenders’ productivity. The menu options are clear and understandable and when those menu options are clicked, bartenders are taken exactly where they want to be going. There is no confusion. Additionally, their brewery POS system orders everything alphabetically which helps when searching for items under each menu option.
2. ADDING AND DELETING ITEMS
Your menu options are always changing. From beer to food to merchandise options, being able to quickly and easily add and delete items is key to the best brewery POS system.
When it’s time for a new menu item to be added to the brewery POS at Hi-Wire, the process is incredibly easy. The first step in adding a new item is to create the item in the brewery POS back-end portal—this is usually the manager’s job. The POS system at Hi-Wire has made this process incredibly easy. There is an ability to “CLONE ITEM” under each menu item.
For example, if I am adding a new beer on tap at Hi-Wire, I will clone a beer that will be the same price and pour sizes. The only thing I need to change is the beer name. This eliminates the long process of adding all the prices and pour sizes, which saves time and energy.
When it is time to take a beer off the POS draft list, this can be done two ways. The easiest way is for your bar staff to “KICK” the beer on the actual brewery POS. By “kicking” the keg, it removes it from the BEER menu. The same process goes for all other items as well. You can also “Retire” the item on the backend portal, but bartenders don’t have the ability to do that.
Aside from just a logistical standpoint, the ability to easily add and delete ensures that customers are always seeing an up-to-date menu. You never want to disappoint a customer by telling them the beer or food menu item they ordered is actually not available. The best brewery POS system makes it incredibly easy for both BOH and FOH to change the menu to ensure it is correct and to avoid confusion.
As a taproom you are constantly adding new items to your brewery POS system. While this can be a stressful task, it doesn’t have to be. Hi-Wire’s brewery POS system has made this process incredibly easy and user-friendly.
The best brewery POS system manages hundreds, if not thousands, of items for “purchase.” One of the easiest ways to be able to quickly find the item you are looking for is to search for it. When you need to look something up on the Internet, you go to the search bar. The same streamlined concept should apply to your brewery POS system. A search bar on your POS system is key to a user-friendly experience.
One of Hi-Wire’s favorite features of their POS system is the search bar at the top of the Open Tab page. On Fridays and Saturdays when there are hundreds of tabs open, you can search for a particular tab in multiple ways. The most popular way is by the guest’s name. You can also search tabs by table number, check number, and tag.
Another useful feature on the Hi-Wire POS system is the predictive search bar. This feature is similar to the search bar at the top of the Open Tab page. The predictive search bar eliminates having to scroll for items under each menu. For example, I can type “West Coast IPA” in the search bar instead of scrolling all the way to the bottom to click that menu item.
Being able to easily search and find tabs and menu items during busy nights is key to a user-friendly brewery POS system, and to providing fast service for your thirsty guests!
4. EMPLOYEE MANAGEMENT
If you are a manager or an owner, you know employee turnover is especially high lately. The best brewery POS system helps eliminate the hassle of adding and removing employees.
Luckily Hi-Wire’s POS system doesn’t add stress to that process. There is an employee page on the backend of the POS system which includes the following menu options:
This is the page where you can add new employees and remove existing employees. When you add a new employee, this is where you create their profile. The profiles include their clock in code and their labor roles. The process is simple and easy. All you have to do is type in their first and last name, add their desired clock in code, and pick what POS permissions, or labor roles, they need. (More on labor roles later!)
This page is where you can see your employees’ hours. You can see daily, weekly, monthly, or a custom date range. The important part of this page is being able to fix hours if your bartender forgets to clock in or out. This process is incredibly easy and user-friendly. Simply click “Adjust” and manually enter the time the bartender should have clocked in or out.
Labor Roles are what tell the POS system what shifts are tipped, what permissions each labor role has, and what the pay is for each labor role. For example, Hi-Wire has the following labor roles: Bartender, Training, Lead Bartender, Lead Side Work, and Manager. The bartender shifts are tipped, while the other labor roles are not. Having labor roles makes it easy for payroll to differentiate between what shifts are tipped or not.
Another important part of labor roles are permissions. You can add different permissions to each labor role as well. Managers have all permissions such as adding discounts, voiding payments, closing out, transferring payments, running reports, issuing a refund, etc. Your bartenders won’t have most of those permissions. The process of assigning different permissions to different labor roles is an incredibly easy process with the best brewery POS system.
5. ABILITY TO FIX TAB ERRORS
When it’s a busy night in the taproom, errors are going to happen. The three most common errors from the bartenders at Hi-Wire are:
- Adding the wrong beer or item to a tab
- Adding an extra beer or items to a tab
- Or adding a beer or item to the wrong tab
No matter how user-friendly a POS system is, human error happens and the best brewery POS system makes fixing things super easy! A feature that makes it so incredibly user-friendly is the ability to easily fix any error. There is a red minus (-) sign that appears next to every item you add under a tab to quickly remove the wrong item when the tab is still open. If you catch the mistake later, you can easily go into the tab’s details and remove the incorrect item.
If this error were to happen after a tab has been paid and closed, it’s also incredibly easy to “void” that tab and re-ring it in the correct way. Once the Hi-Wire staff was trained how to properly fix their common errors, there have been no issues with people being incorrectly charged.
A less common tab error happens when customers enter the wrong tip amount. In this case, even though the tab has been closed, the best brewery POS system allows you to see that closed tab tip amount and re-enter the correct tip amount the customer wanted. This feature is incredibly important because it ensures bartenders are properly tipped. Customers are also super grateful!
The ease of doing an exchange or return is another favorite part of the user-friendly brewery POS system at Hi-Wire. I worked in retail while I was in college and always dreaded when a customer came into the store and needed to return or exchange an item. It was always such a confusing process on our retail POS system. Now when a customer comes into the taproom, Hi-Wire employees don’t dread the process like I used to.
6. CLEAR SALES REPORTING
As an owner or manager, you are constantly looking at sales reports—whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly sales. These reporting options are incredibly helpful for a taproom manager’s job! However, sales reports can be confusing and overwhelming. Some brewery POS systems like to overkill these reports with too much information. Sometimes all you need is a quick overview check on progress for the day or a recap of yesterday’s sales.
In the back-end portal of the best brewery POS system, the sales summary is a favorite sales reporting feature. It has all the necessary information for a hustling taproom manager. The Sales Summary page shows live data and updates as soon as you refresh the page. Three numbers I look at multiple times a day are net income, tips, and cash collected.
The Sales Summary page also shows items you have sold. For example, it will show you’ve sold 63 Lo-Pitch pours, but you can break that down even further. You can see how many of those 63 pours were 16oz, 8oz, and 4oz pours. It does this for all your packaged beer and merchandise, too.
Knowing pours sizes helps you understand what beers are selling well. After the first month or so of Hi-Wire being open, this data was useful when I was doing beer orders. I knew I needed to have more backups of certain beers because of how much we were selling. It was the same for beers that weren’t moving as quickly. This information was key in ensuring our walk-in was stocked properly each week. These types of reports are incredibly useful and user-friendly to understand for taproom managers.
7. HELP GUIDES
One of the most underrated parts of the best brewery POS system are the Help Guides. A brewery POS system that offers extensive and well-written Help Guides eliminates the need to always call a customer service support rep. And sometimes it can be a quicker process, too.
The best brewery POS system has a Help Guide for every feature of their system. There are clear and digestible steps and pictures that help you without having to talk to someone on the phone. The Help Guides are accessible to every member of staff. The Help Guides have been an incredible source for the Hi-Wire team during the initial onboarding and training of the brewery POS system.
Not only do these Help Guides guide service team members through issues, they also inform you about new capabilities of your brewery POS!
8. CUSTOMER SERVICE
When you ask any company what their most important value is, most of them will answer customer service. It’s one thing to say that, it’s another thing to be able to back that up. When Hi-Wire was deciding on a brewery POS, they really focused on the customer service experience of the system. Some questions they asked during the process include:
- How likely was customer service to help with training staff?
- How quick was customer service in responding to questions?
- How well did they describe or explain the answer to questions or comments?
- Did they seem willing to continue support after the issue was resolved?
Hi-Wire is incredibly impressed with their brewery POS system’s customer service. It is one of the best they’ve ever seen. And I know it’s last on this list, but customer service is one of the main reasons I enjoyed Hi-Wire’s brewery POS system so much. It made my job so much easier. For that, I am incredibly grateful.
These 8 reasons are why Arryved is incredibly user-friendly and why Hi-Wire chose them as their brewery POS system for all 7 taprooms. Arryved is truly the best brewery POS system out there.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kindsey Bernhard is the General Manager at Austin Beerworks. This former Hi-Wire Louisville Taproom Manager also hosts a podcast called Boys Are From Märzen, which is a craft beer podcast featuring women in the industry. In her free time, Kindsey loves spending time with her dogs, Oberon and Otto.