Best Bar POS System for Your Service Model

Regardless of what service model you use, the best bar POS system supports it with all-in-one features and tools that delight staff and guests alike. 

Optimizing Your Bar
Best POS System for your Service Model

Your choice in a service model for your bar is extremely important: It determines how guests interact with staff and receive their drinks. If all goes well, you may have a new regular on your hands!

Below we’ll break down typical service models for bars, and features of the best bar POS system that support them. 

Bar Service Models

Of course, every bar is unique, but these are the two primary services models that beverage-focused businesses utilize:

Counter Service

This informal service model can be used in almost any venue, making it the most commonly used. Customers line up at a bar or counter, place their order with staff at a POS terminal, and retrieve their items instantly. This is why counter service is most commonly seen at bars, ice cream shops, or coffee shops, because orders can be quickly assembled right then and there, versus an order having to go back to a full kitchen. 

As businesses continue to struggle with labor shortages, this type of service model is being widely used to help minimize labor costs. In bars, employees can both take payment and assemble drinks at the bar, so fewer staff members are required.

Floating Service

The term “floating” isn’t widely used (yet!) but it’s a term our team at Arryved uses to describe a hybrid service model between counter and table. 

While counter service is great for bars, especially when working with a smaller staff, this type of service model often sees lower tab and tip sizes. Because guests must stand and wait in line again to get another drink, tabs are smaller, and because there’s very few staff-guest interactions, tips are often smaller. 

Table service, on the other hand, makes it easy for guests to add another menu item to their tab, and relies on frequent interactions between servers and guests, increasing both tab and tip size. But, table service is costly to staff, and it doesn’t make sense for bars that are typically only serving drinks and small bites. 

This is why floating service combines the best parts of both models! How? With a secret ingredient supported by the best bar POS system: QR codes.

Here’s how floating service works:
  1. Once seated, guests scan the nearest QR code to them with a smartphone, and are presented with a digital menu
  2. Guests then start their own tab, adding as many items as they please
  3. Roaming servers meander around, running drinks to tables, or taking the liberty of inputting orders themselves via their own mobile POS device
  4. Guests stay as long as they please, ordering via their own smartphones or with a server
  5. Once the party’s over, guests close out their own tabs 

Neat, huh? Unlike counter service, floating service prompts both higher tabs AND tips. Because it’s so easy to order, guests don’t think twice about ordering another round. And their delight is reflected in their tips!

Labor costs are kept low, too. Because guests are empowered to add to their own tabs themselves, staff members have the freedom to help where it’s most needed at any point in time—whether it’s running drinks, putting the finishing olive toothpick on a Bloody Mary, or suggesting an appetizer to go with a table’s latest round. QR codes eliminate the tedious administrative tasks, such as running credit cards and printing receipts. 

A beautiful thing about floating service and QR codes is that you can flex between the service models that make the most sense on any given day. Say it’s a slow day and your staff can handle the guests inside your bar: Remove the QR codes from tables and run table service. Or, if it’s so busy you need all hands on deck assembling drinks, shift to counter service only.

Alright, we’ve established the first feature of the best bar POS system: QR code menus, ordering, and payments. Let’s dive into the rest of them!

Quantify Performance With Robust Reporting Tools

Two aspects of reporting tools make up the best bar POS system. 


Mobile POS systems are also typically cloud-based, meaning all devices are in sync with one another in real-time. This is the reason enabling QR code ordering is so simple with the best bar POS system: All tabs are updating in the cloud, so customer tabs on their own smartphones match the tabs roaming servers see on their POS devices. 

In addition to tabs syncing between devices, the best bar POS system ensures all that sales data syncs with an online sales dashboard. This makes it easy to check in on your bar’s performance at any time, from anywhere in the world!

Cloud-based systems also sync this information from multiple sales channels—whether it’s on-premise sales from your physical bar, or online sales from a web-based storefront. Inventory from all channels will deplete automatically, making sure all numbers, both sales and inventory, are accurate at all times. 

Rich Data

If sales data syncs in real-time to your online dashboard, but you don’t know how to glean any actual information from it, what’s the point? That’s why the best bar POS system provides pre-built reports that can help drive actionable insights for your business. 

These are some examples of reports that will lead to proactive decision making in any bar:

  • Ounces poured: This report tells you how many ounces of any beverage were poured by size of the pour and time it was poured. Knowing that information can help you pinpoint trends on what’s driving the most sales, what you should keep on tap for the future, and what may just not be your customers’ cup of tea. 
  • Hourly sales by product: This report shows sales by product, by hour of the day. Because this report shows when specific products are ordered instead of transacted, you can better understand menu trends. If chicken wings are a huge hit with the Happy Hour crowd but not so much the rest of the day, you can choose to curate timed menus that only offer wings from 3-6PM. 
  • Hourly total sales: This report shows total orders by hour of the day. Here’s a report that can help you determine the best service model for any given day and time! If every Monday evening is slow, lean on QR codes and don’t staff up on those days. 

Reports like this from the best bar POS system allow you to accurately track sales trends, identify opportunities, and make good business decisions.

Build Your Community With Marketing Tools

The best bar POS system offers the ability to easily promote your bar and build a community of fans!

Loyalty Program

Besides providing exceptional service and delicious beverages, what else can guarantee repeat business? Incentives via a loyalty program!

Loyalty programs drive traffic, engage guests, and help build your brand. The best bar POS system does the heavy lifting for you, so all you have to do is decide the best type of program for your clientele. 

  • Point-based system: Treat every dollar spent at your bar as a point earned for you guests. Once they earn 100 points, perhaps they get a pitcher on the house! 
  • Mug club: This is a great way to differentiate your bar from the others down the street. If loyalty members can get a discounted pint, they’re going to choose your bar 10 out of 10 times. Plus, if it’s served in a zany mug, other guests are bound to inquire about it and join your program, too.
  • Exclusive perks: Go even simpler. Maybe guests get 20% off all merch and to-go items. That’s all the incentive people need—what a screamin’ deal!

Besides loving deals, people also love the feeling of being a part of an exclusive community. There’s no better bonding moment than over a beer!

Customer Outreach

When you can’t connect with your customers in-person, the best bar POS systems set you up to interact with them in other ways. 

Email marketing is a great tool to reach guests far and wide. Crafting a witty message about an upcoming event at your bar, or simply offering a BOGO deal with an expiration date is sure to get butts in seats. 

Social media is also an increasingly important avenue bars are taking to engage guests. Whether it’s sharing a funny meme or a scrumptious picture, guests are sure to keep your bar top of mind for their Friday night destination, especially if you make them laugh or drool. 

Online Store

We all became a little couch potato-y during the pandemic, and some are dragging their feet to put jeans back on. But instead of throwing your fists at the sky, meet guests where they are!

That’s why the best bar POS system lets you host an online storefront for free, and even assists with setup! You can offer to-go, pickup, and even delivery, depending on staff available and what you’re listing. This is a great way to differentiate revenue streams and pick up extra dough on poor weather nights, when your bar is typically slower. 

Seamless Communication Between Your Tech Stack

The best bar POS system makes your life easier and more organized, with a suite of integration tools! Integrations are third-party softwares that work with POS systems to extend functionality. This is where the back of house staff members get excited!

Inventory Management

Real-time information synchronization comes in handy again! We already mentioned how inventory depletes across devices with cloud-based POS technology, but how that data flows into other systems is managed by another software. 

Inventory management integrations take sales information tracked by your POS system, and automates the flow of that data into its own system. All of this information helps you as a bar owner plan for the future, know when inventory can be moved out of storage, and track existing inventory. 

Accounting & Reporting

The data gods continue to deliver with accounting integrations. Using these kinds of softwares helps contextualize sales and make the best business decisions. 

  • Labor costs: Optimize staffing schedules and decide on the best service model to use
  • Daily task logbooks: Increase productivity and organization
  • Purchasing forecast: Eliminate wasted ingredients 

Insights like these will help you understand your successes, and give you ideas on how to make them happen again. 

On-Demand Customer Support For Your Bar Staff

When your bar is bumpin’, your staff members don’t have the time to figure out why your POS may be acting up. The best bar POS system offers free, efficient customer support 7 days/week for just that reason. 

And this extends beyond just answering the phone when there’s a functional fire. Your POS should offer complimentary onboarding and training, so all staff members are set up for success and understand the system thoroughly. 

Regardless of what service model you use, the best bar POS system supports it with all-in-one features and tools that delight staff and guests alike. 

Why Arryved?

Arryved POS helps bars thrive by using our own hospitality experience and listening to feedback from the businesses we service. It may just be the best bar POS system for you—find out today with a free, custom demo

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