The features offered by brewery POS systems always sound like nice-to-haves, but sometimes it’s hard to determine if they’re worthwhile to implement in your own brewery.
Below we break down 7 essential brewery POS features, and 7 real-life breweries that found success using them!
1. Contactless Ordering
These days, breweries are focused on reducing ordering friction by accommodating orders from a variety of mediums. That means an increased use of contactless ordering.
Ecommerce has definitely boomed in the beverage industry—with 7% of all alcohol sales projected to come from ecommerce by 2024—and with it comes a growing number of online storefronts for breweries. Supported by a brewery POS system, fully-integrated online stores diversify revenue streams by allowing for on-premise, to-go, or delivery orders all online. After over 2 years of varying restrictions on in-person dining, it’s obvious why online stores are growing in popularity.
The best brewery POS system lets breweries host these online stores for free, and helps with a branded and customizable set up. This provides a great opportunity to sell anything from food and 6-packs to t-shirts and koozies!
Another form of contactless ordering is via a customer-facing mobile app. Similar to the reasons online storefronts are so useful, a mobile app is a good resource for parched guests needing a quick way to order and checkout without swapping devices or credit cards on-premise. Being able to complete the entire ordering process right from a smartphone is convenient for guests and efficient for hustling staff.
Cabarrus Brewing’s Success Story: Rapid Retail Growth
Like all hospitality businesses in March 2020, Cabarrus Brewing Co. wondered how they could pivot their operations in the wake of shutdowns to continue to serve customers. They found wild success using an online store supported by their brewery POS system, and continue to lean on it as a “staple sales channel” today.
Corey Sloop, the Chief Financial Officer at Cabarrus, notes that “The only retail growth we saw during the pandemic in 2020 was with our can releases and retail sales.” In fact, the first product listed on the Cabarrus online store sold out in 2 days, the second release only took 2 hours, and their largest speciality release ever sold out in 18 minutes!
It’s obvious Cabarrus is offering some delicious beer that can’t get gobbled up fast enough. By using teamwork, creative innovations—like a makeshift drive thru—and a savvy brewery POS system, Cabarrus exceeded sales expectations with an online storefront.
2. QR Code Ordering
Speaking of contactless ordering, a prominent technology in hospitality these days is QR codes. By allowing guests to scan a code, start their own tabs, add to it themselves OR with a staff member, and close out all from their own smartphone, QR codes quite literally put ordering power in guests’ hands.
A misconstrued assumption of QR codes is that they replace service staff, which isn’t at all true. Sure, it’s a technology that breweries struggling with repercussions of the labor shortage lean on, but that’s because QR codes actually take work off of servers’ plates and help to enhance the taproom experience for guests.
By eliminating tedious tasks—delivering paper menus, running tickets to the bar, printing receipts and checking guests out—staff are able to instead spend that time with guests! Brewery staff can upsell, educate, and even invite guests to upcoming events, while QR codes handle the technicalities of ordering.
The streamlined ordering process for guests is reflected in higher tabs AND higher tips! Read more about that data and other benefits of QR code ordering in The Ultimate Guide to QR Codes in the Taproom.
Red Bear Brewing’s Success Story: Higher Tabs & Tips
Red Bear Brewing Co. saw higher tabs and tips themselves after implementing QR codes using their brewery POS system—16% and 12% higher, respectively!
Founder and Director of Operations, Cameron Raspet, noted that using QR codes at Red Bear “gives customers the ability to peruse the menu on their own time. There’s no waiting in line at the bar for a drink. Those who do want to order from the bar can, and they get more service time with bartenders because a large portion of orders come from [QR codes].”
By curating the taproom experience based on guest preferences, Red Bear revels in a flexible service model for staff and sees happier guests because of it.
3. Accessible, Robust Reporting
Brewery POS systems process a lot of sales data every day, and understanding those numbers is essential to running a successful brewing business. That’s why comprehensive reporting tools are so crucial. A brewery POS system’s reporting tools are sufficient if the following are available:
- A web-based sales dashboard that’s accessible on any browser
- Numbers that update in real-time across all devices in the cloud
- Pre-built reports that accommodate tax, liquor laws, and all accounting needs
- Business management tools for staffing, payroll, event performance, and more
- Customizable reports that track beverage inventory by the ounce
Tools like this help owners identify actionable insights in order to grow their brewery. They can see which brews are the most popular and/or profitable, as well as pinpoint where there are opportunities to refine.
Raíces Brewing’s Success Story: Profitable Programming
On a mission to amplify Latinx voices, Raíces Brewing Company regularly schedules programming at their brewery that highlights Latin food, art, performances, and artisan products. Raíces owners pride themselves on being “a community center, a cultural center, and a resource center” in addition to being a cervecería.
Because owners Martin D. Vargas, Jose D. Beteta, and Tamil Maldonado Vega run such a large programming initiative, they lean on their brewery POS system’s reporting tools to determine which events are the most profitable. With a robust reporting platform, they’re able to analyze sales trends to ensure hosting events are worthwhile from a business perspective, and strategically schedule events to compensate for slower sales periods.
When traveling, Beteta relies on their web-based dashboard: “[B]eing able to log onto the online portal and check how things are going was very game-changing.” Keeping an eye on brewery performance without being restricted by location or technology? That’s what using the best brewery POS system is all about.
And Raíces, named Westword’s 2020 Best New Brewery Taproom, is clearly doing a lot right.
4. Flexible, Mobile POS
As you probably know, modern brewery POS systems are mobile, meaning staff devices are portable smartphones and tablets, instead of stationary payment terminals. This technology not only suits fast-paced breweries with roaming servers, it also accepts a wider variety of payment methods for savvy, digital-walleted customers.
A huge benefit of mobile POS is the flexibility it provides. Staff can assist guests tableside on-premise anywhere in a taproom or outdoor area, as well as at off-site events such as the farmers market! Because a mobile system has multiple devices working together, all the sales data syncs instantly, and owners can diversify their revenue streams without having to worry about accuracy in numbers.
Plus, brewery POS systems make staff even more efficient with mobile POS by adding features like offline mode and not requiring a physical hold on credit cards to keep tabs open.
Montclair Brewery’s Success Story: Efficiency With Mobility
With a “pretty lean team,” Montclair Brewery relies on their mobile brewery POS system to service customers in their taproom and outdoor area. Day-to-day, mobile devices help their staff stay efficient, and when they host large fundraisers, this technology keeps their crowded taproom organized.
And with owners Leo Sawadogo and Denise Ford Sawadogo staying busy—Denise, with her day job, and Leo telling stories of his mother brewing in West Africa—it’s safe to say that flexible, portable technology helps them run a brewery that’s just as fast paced.
“Come for the stories, stay for the beer.” Amen to that!
5. Community-Building Loyalty Program
Breweries depend on loyalty programs to drive traffic, engage their biggest fans, and build their brand name. Brewery POS systems fully integrate loyalty programs with the rest of their system, so memberships, points redeemed and earned, and all sales data syncs with all of the other important data.
Loyalty programs are much easier to manage than paper punch cards, and they’re more effective in building community, too! Members can be recognized by email, phone, or credit card, and any money they spend directly benefits them. Whether it’s through discount codes, exclusive merch or events, or a beloved Mug Club, loyalty programs make it easy to connect with guests and create lifelong customer relationships.
Hi-Wire Brewing’s Success Story: Growing A Lifelong Fanbase
With 7 taproom locations and 3 more in the works, Hi-Wire Brewing clearly knows a thing or two about building community. At the Louisville location, their Mug Club is doing just that by offering discounted pours in exclusive mugs, discounts on to-go items and merchandise, and hilarious monthly emails from the Taproom Manager herself, Kindsey Bernhard.
Besides leaning on their brewery POS system to communicate deals and events with members, Hi-Wire Louisville credits their loyalty program success to:
- Aligning their program with the Hi-Wire brand
- Promoting membership both inside the taproom and online via social media
- Using staff to encourage new membership at checkout
- Relying on trusty FOMO to gain members
There must be a lot of Hi-Wire fans with taprooms in 3 states!
6. Easy-To-Update Menus
Brewing is a dynamic business, and whether it’s kicking empty kegs or adding an experimental brew to the tap list, your menu is constantly changing. Brewery POS systems offer menu management tools that make it painless for staff to update offerings so guests always have access to the most up-to-date menu.
Besides showcasing new brews, food, and reflecting depleted inventory, brewery menus also provide a great opportunity to educate guests and advertise events or promotions.
The best brewery POS system provides fully integrated menu management tools, meaning menu updates sync across all devices instantly. With the right inventory management integrations, menus automatically remove kicked kegs from the tap list, too! Now servers have more time to dazzle guests, and brewers and chefs have creative freedom to whip up whatever their crafty hearts desire.
Heliotrope Brewery’s Success Story: Experimenting With Menu Variety
A homebrewer at heart, Erik Jones of Heliotrope Brewery loves experimenting with the tap list. He and his wife and co-founder, Jenny Davies, are committed to providing a farm-to-table experience in the taproom, both with their beers and food. When you’re using fresh, local ingredients that change with the season, your menu needs to be easy to update, which is why they lean on tools from their brewery POS system.
Besides a constantly rotating menu—roasted grape pizza, anyone?—Heliotrope aims to educate their Virginian guests on beer styles and ingredients in each brew. “There’s so much conversation that goes on when people come up to the bar and they don’t know what to order. They might know they like a certain style of beer, but they don’t know which thing on our menu is the most like that,” notes Jenny, reiterating that with menu education and a fully cicerone certified bar staff, they hope to spread the love of beer in their small town.
Something awesome not powered by Heliotrope’s brewery POS system? The ‘90s shoegaze dream pop coming from their speakers.
7. Exceptional Customer Service
The last absolutely essential feature of brewery POS systems is a technically savvy and personable support team. Whether it’s guaranteeing a smooth onboarding process, ensuring available help on busy Saturday nights, or needing assistance with a tricky report, it makes a world of difference to have a POS team you can depend on.
The best brewery POS system provides 7 days/week support completely free of charge, and ensures the team is stacked with empathetic industry professionals that can problem solve fast. Plus, they’re there to celebrate your wins with you, too!
Das Stahl Bierhaus’ Success Story: Flexible, Business-Specific Support
Das Stahl Bierhaus is a bustling taproom and bottle shop in Alabama, working with 7+ distributors every week to keep shelves stocked and brews pouring. To keep all his ducks in a row, owner and founder Mark Stahl raves about his brewery POS system’s customer service, noting that the team “sealed the deal” on his POS choice.
In addition to the “shared passion” of craft beer, Stahl also appreciates customer service’s “willingness to make changes to fulfill my needs.” After all, we know how quickly things can change in the beer world, and a flexible POS team who is inclined to make changes based on customer preference is key to running a brewery the way you’ve always wanted to.
So, What Savvy Brewery POS System Has All Of The Above?
Let’s reveal the brewery POS system that’s providing smart technology and helpful humans to all of these successful taprooms: Arryved POS!
Built by hospitality professionals and beer lovers, we service the food and beverage industry better than the rest. Get a free, personalized demo and we can prove it to you!