POS Reviews

6 Best Bar POS Systems (2024)

Finding the right bar POS system is crucial for your success.

With hundreds of options available in the market, selecting one can be overwhelming.

To simplify your research process, I have extensively researched and reviewed the top-rated bar POS systems, considering their features, capabilities, and user feedback.

In this updated 2024 review, you’ll find the pros, cons, and key factors to help you choose the best system for your business.

Illustration of 2 bartenders testing POS devices in a bar

Our 6 Top Picks for the Best Bar POS

  • Toast – Best for larger bars that serve food and want takeout and online ordering features.
  • SpotOn – Best for bars with outdoor seating looking for mobile hardware options.
  • GoTab – Best contactless service, mobile ordering, and payment options for a bar.
  • Square – Best for new or smaller bars that want to start on a subscription-free plan.
  • TouchBistro – Best for independent bars looking for a well-designed and feature-rich POS system.
  • Lightspeed – Best for bars and nightclubs seeking powerful analytics and retail features.

Note: Our reviews are reader-supported. We may earn affiliate commissions from links on this page. Learn more…


Toast Bar POS website

Toast has become a significant player in the restaurant technology industry in recent years. They have grown quickly and garnered attention through several notable acquisitions.

Toast has also been named one of the most innovative companies of 2023 by Fast Company (Source).

Toast Go device

Toast is very feature-rich and includes payment processing, inventory and menu management, marketing and customer loyalty programs, employee management, and business reporting among other things.

With a goal of becoming a total hospitality operating system, Toast is positioning itself as a one-stop shop for bar owners and operators.

With all the great features that come with it, they are keeping their pricing reasonable. This makes Toast one of my favorite POS systems on the current market.

Toast Pricing & Hardware

Here is the pricing plan for the Quick Start Bundle, Core, and Growth plan:

Quick Start Bundle: Starting at $0/month

A great match for food trucks or single-location cafes, this shop-and-go option includes initial hardware and our basic POS software. Features include cloud-based point of sale and hardware setup including one terminal (additional charges apply for subsequent devices).

Core Plan: Subscription starting at $69/month

Ideal for any restaurant looking to streamline operations and provide faster service, with flexible options to meet your specific needs. This package includes powerful cloud-based point of sale with reporting and analytics, simple, flat rate payment processing with real-time fraud monitoring, mobile dining solutions, including digital menus and mobile payments, and 24/7/365 customer care, with installation support.

Growth Plan: Subscription starting at $165/month

A software bundle including online ordering and delivery software for restaurants looking to add more revenue streams. This plan includes everything in Core, plus Toast Online Ordering, Toast Delivery Services, and Toast TakeOut App.

Please note that additional features and software are available for each plan, and you can pair each plan with a hardware setup of your choosing.

Credit card processing fees: You cannot opt to use a third-party payment processor as Toast will handle all credit and debit card transactions for you.

Toast believes that customers should receive more than just transaction reports from their card processor. To achieve this goal, they combine their card processing service with technology that engages with customers.

The information gathered from customers can then be used by restaurants to understand them better and create more targeted marketing campaigns.

As for the fees, Toast customizes the rates for processing card transactions based on the specific needs of your restaurant. 

Toast is available in the US, Canada, UK, and Ireland.

Toast Flex is a handheld device constructed for you to swiftly take orders and process payments. Its design is spill-resistant, allowing you to conveniently manage contactless payment types like swipe, dip, or tap.

Toast Go device

Designed for smaller establishments such as coffee shops and restaurants with minimal counter space, Toast Go is an all-in-one portable device. You can take orders, process payments, and print receipts without swapping gadgets.

Toast Kiosk offers your customers a self-ordering experience. They can pick their dishes using a large, interactive touchscreen display. Particularly beneficial for quick-service restaurants, this device plays a helpful role in reducing wait times and enhancing the customer experience.

The Toast Terminal is a comprehensive countertop setup, covering a touchscreen display, card reader, cash drawer, and receipt printer, all ready to go.

Toast customer facing display

Toast Display, a customer-facing setup, supports you in managing restaurant orders. It gives you the ability to monitor orders in real-time and handle your inventory.

Bear in mind, that hardware costs differ based on the configuration you opt for, and some devices come included in certain plans. Should you require a tailored quote, you should reach out directly to the Toast team.

Toast Tables reservation screen
Toast Tables reservation screen

Toast User Reviews

Here is a summary of my analysis of user reviews, testimonials, and complaints about Toast as seen on major review sites like Capterra, G2, and others.

  • User-Friendly Interface: Many Toast users express satisfaction with the system’s user-friendly interface. They find that the software is easy to navigate, and training new employees is straightforward due to its intuitive design.
  • Customization and Flexibility: Users appreciate the high level of customization available with Toast POS. The system allows them to tailor the POS to their specific business needs, from table layouts to menu configurations.
  • Comprehensive Reporting: The reporting features of Toast POS are praised by several users. They find the reports easy to tailor to their needs and are pleased with the ability to download them into different formats for further analysis.
  • Effective Tableside Ordering: The handheld devices for tableside ordering receive high marks for their ease of use and ability to increase efficiency for service staff, allowing them to spend more time with guests.
  • Mobile and Cloud-Based: Toast’s mobile compatibility and cloud-based platform are highlighted as beneficial, enabling business owners to manage their operations and access real-time data from anywhere.
  • Technical Problems and Outages: Some reviewers report experiencing technical issues with the system, including network-wide crashes and offline payment processing errors, which occasionally cause entry errors and disrupt operations.
  • Additional Costs and Fees: Fees associated with certain features and payment processing rates are a point of contention for some users, who believe these fees can be excessive and not fully transparent.
  • Limited Quick Service Features: Toast POS is criticized by some quick service restaurants for its limited feature set tailored to their business model, suggesting improvements in order management and throttling.
  • Problematic Payroll Service: There are some complaints specifically about Toast’s payroll service, with users advising others to avoid it due to errors in tax reporting and other difficulties.
  • Installation and Setup Challenges: A few users find the self-install process to be complicated, noting that initial setup could be smoother and sometimes requires intervention from company representatives.
  • Issues with Customer Service: A common theme among the negative reviews is dissatisfaction with customer service. Users complain about receiving minimal support from customer service representatives, stating they often follow scripts with limited product knowledge.

Where Toast Stands Out for Bars

Pre-authorization for Closing Tabs: Toast simplifies the process of closing out tabs by allowing pre-authorization of cards, eliminating fumbling around with cards at the end of the night. With Apple Pay integration, guests can pay in less than 10 seconds, making the payment process swift and efficient.

Enhanced Guest Experience: Toast focuses on providing an exceptional experience for your guests. The quick order mode ensures prompt service for bar bites and drink rounds. Moreover, with Toast Mobile Order & Pay, guests can skip the line, order, and pay seamlessly, which typically results in a 10% increase in revenue for bars using it.

Intuitive Kitchen Display System (KDS) and Inventory Management: Toast helps keep your bar running smoothly with its easy-to-use KDS and inventory management features. You’ll also have access to a whole ecosystem of 100+ partners to make closing out at 2 AM less painful.

Efficient Operations: Toast has an intuitive interface that simplifies splitting checks and tabs, even in high-volume environments. Its ability to handle complex transactions quickly and accurately ensures better service for customers.

Robust and Quick Hardware: Toast’s hardware is designed to withstand challenging bar environments, remaining reliable despite spills and splashes. Its durability and speed enable efficient customer service.

Enhanced Customer Experience: Toast’s Flex for Guest and Toast Tap features significantly improve the customer experience. These tools provide real-time order updates, increasing transparency and reducing errors. Additionally, the acceptance of contactless payments streamlines the payment process and adds convenience for customers.

Effective Loyalty Programs: Bars can implement Toast’s loyalty program to retain customers and encourage repeat business. Within weeks, the program can yield a significant number of sign-ups. By rewarding repeat visits with discounts or free items, customer retention and repeat business are enhanced.

Data-Driven Decision Making: Toast’s reporting and analytics features empower bars to make data-driven decisions. Sales data can be used to identify best-selling items, allowing menu adjustments accordingly.

Real-time data helps manage orders and sales more effectively, while customer data from the loyalty program enables personalized marketing efforts and improved customer relationships.

Where Toast Falls Short

  • Locked into Toast Payment Processing: Users are required to use Toast’s in-house credit card processing solution, restricting their ability to shop around for potentially better or more affordable alternatives.
  • Add-ons Can Get Expensive: While Toast POS offers a range of valuable add-ons to help restaurants enhance their operations, these extra features often come with additional costs. These expenses might be prohibitive, especially for small or start-up establishments looking to maintain a low-budget operation.
  • Not Very Transparent Pricing: Another downside of Toast POS is the lack of transparent pricing information on the website, including the various hardware bundles and add-on features. This can make it difficult for potential clients to compare Toast POS with other providers.
  • Only Available in a Few English-speaking Countries: Toast is only available in a select few English-speaking countries, limiting access for restaurants operating outside these markets. This geographical restriction may make Toast POS less desirable for global or multi-national brands looking for a comprehensive solution across all their locations

Key Takeaways about Toast for Bars:

  • Preauthorization of cards for closing tabs efficiently.
  • Enhanced guest experience through quick order modes and mobile order & pay.
  • Intuitive kitchen display system (KDS) and inventory management features.
  • Efficient operations, including check splitting in high-volume environments.
  • Reliable hardware designed for durability in bar settings.
  • Enhanced customer experience with real-time updates and contactless payments.
  • Effective loyalty programs to retain customers.


SpotOn Bar POS system website

SpotOn has emerged as a contender worth considering for bars and pub owners.

Established in 2017, SpotOn is a relatively new player in the POS landscape, based in San Francisco. Despite being a newcomer, SpotOn has rapidly established a notable market presence with its adaptable solutions.

The system provides straightforward, user-friendly POS and handheld devices catered to the fast-paced environment of bars.

new SpotOn hardware

Alongside its essential POS features, SpotOn has invested in bolstering its team management capabilities. The implementation of a two-way sync feature aims to eliminate the necessity for dealing with multiple systems and duplicating processes, thereby enhancing operational efficiency for bars.

A unique characteristic that sets SpotOn apart from many competitors is the incorporation of promotional features directly within the POS. This feature enables easier management of promotions and deals, which could prove beneficial for fostering customer loyalty and ensuring frequent return visits.

SpotOn Pricing & Hardware

SpotOn offers three main pricing plans for restaurants, each with different features and costs. Here’s a simple breakdown of each plan:

Quick Start

  • Ideal for: Small counter-service restaurants or cafes.
  • Subscription Cost: $0 per month.
  • Transaction Fees: 2.89% + 25 cents per transaction. (There are processing minimums that apply.)
  • Included Hardware:
    • 15” Station hardware bundle with a guest-facing display, among other items.
  • Software:
    • Cloud-based Restaurant POS software.
    • Access to a powerful dashboard for marketing, reporting, review management, and SpotOn Capital.


  • Ideal for: Counter-service restaurants needing essential employee and guest engagement features.
  • Subscription Cost: $99 per month plus $3 per employee each month.
  • Initial Hardware Cost: $850 outright or available through financing.
  • Transaction Fees: 1.99% + 25 cents for most card transactions.
  • Included Hardware:
    • 10″ Counter hardware bundle with a guest-facing display, among other items.
  • Software:
    • Cloud-based Restaurant POS software with added employee management features.
    • Commission-free online ordering system.
  • Additional Features:
    • More features and software options are available upon request.


  • Ideal for: Full-service restaurants looking for a fully integrated system with tools to boost revenue.
  • Subscription Cost: $135 per month plus $3 per employee each month.
  • Initial Hardware Cost: $1,350 for a Station and Kitchen Display System (KDS) hardware bundle or available through financing.
  • Transaction Fees: 1.99% + 25 cents for most card transactions.
  • Included Hardware:
    • 15″ Station hardware bundle.
    • Kitchen Display System (KDS) touchscreen monitor with Fresh KDS software.
  • Software:
    • Cloud-based Restaurant POS software with employee management.
    • Online ordering and QR order & pay functionalities.

Considering all of the features offered by SpotOn POS, the price is worth it. SpotOn Payments has very low commission rates on the Counter-service and Full-service plans, so for many types of restaurants, this is a good deal.

At the moment SpotOn is only available in the US.

Your restaurant’s success is deeply intertwined with your choice of hardware. I believe that SpotOn’s hardware, a cornerstone of the complete solution it provides, could be a transformative asset to your operations.

Handhelds: Experience the advantage of speed and simplicity with SpotOn’s handheld point-of-sale (POS) systems. Compatible with your iOS and Android devices, these handheld systems also support peripherals like barcode scanners, cases, and Bluetooth printers.

SpotOn handheld POS devices

These handheld devices come with two functionalities – order only or full payment, enabling your staff to process orders or payments swiftly, from any location within your establishment. Tailored for ease of use, they are available in various sizes, and include cases, belt hooks, and hand straps.

Kiosks: Invest in enhancing customer experience with SpotOn’s self-service kiosks. These tools are engineered to eliminate long queues and serve more customers, offering personalized interactions. Quick add buttons, favorites, add-to-cart button scrolls are only some of the features that expedite the ordering process.

There is an added benefit: the kiosks suggest combos, add-ons, and upsell items, stimulating revenue increment. You can select from different models – countertop, freestanding, and outdoor – with screen sizes of 15″ and 22″.

SpotOn KDS

Kitchen Displays: SpotOn’s Kitchen Display System (KDS) augments your operations, presenting real-time order tracking. As soon as an order is placed, it heads directly to the kitchen, paving the way for customization. Your orders or individual items are also efficiently routed to dedicated stations.

Payment Devices and Accessories: SpotOn offers a variety of accessories like cash drawers, payment devices, barcode scanners, scales, and customer-facing displays. What makes it better is the ability to integrate them easily with leading payment providers, without overhauling your existing workflows.

To sum up, SpotOn’s arsenal of hardware devices offers an all-encompassing suite to meet any restaurant’s requirements. If you’re considering a POS solution tailored precisely for the food and beverage sector, SpotOn can become your ideal partner.

New SpotOn Hardware Devices for 2023

new SpotOn hardware

Announced in May 2023, SpotOn’s latest line of restaurant POS hardware includes devices such as the 15.6” Station, the 10” Counter, and the 6.5” Handheld.

User-friendliness is built into these devices: the updated software and larger screens on the Station and Handheld simplify menu and modifier navigation. For easy navigation, the Handheld’s user interface now clusters menu items, enables search, illustrates floor plans, and provides table status updates.

The new lineup of SpotOn’s hardware devices, set to launch later this year, promises to boost SpotOn’s standing in the restaurant POS market. Here’s a sneak peek into why:

Customization and Flexibility: The new devices offer multiple configurations, adjusting to the evolving needs of your restaurant. Choose the Station with an option of an attached or detached guest-facing display, a base payment reader, or a side-mounted payment reader. This customization ensures you select a setup that ensures streamlined operations.

Efficiency and Speed: Sporting an 18% larger touchscreen display and an easy-to-hold leather strap, the Handheld empowers seamless tableside payment. The Counter, specifically designed for quick-service restaurants and cafes, accommodates contactless and dip payments and includes an optional guest-facing display for enhanced speed and precision.

Durability and Reliability: Equipped with high-definition touch screens, these are IP54-rated devices, ensuring protection against dust and drink spills, making them reliable and durable.

Enhanced Customer Experience: These devices are primed to augment customer satisfaction. To illustrate, the Handheld’s screen rotates to face the customer during payment, whilst the Station and Counter’s customer-facing displays boost order accuracy and speed up checkout.

Future-Proofing: SpotOn has collaborated with FIS to evolve into a payment facilitator for its customers, offering improved control over payment processing. Furthermore, this partnership enables tokenization, facilitating SpotOn customers to understand their patrons’ preferences and buying habits for highly personalized experiences.

In conclusion, these new additions promise to strengthen SpotOn’s hardware portfolio with their superior customization, efficiency, durability, and user experience. Backed by robust support and service, the new devices are future-proof, making SpotOn an even more competitive player in the restaurant POS market.

SpotOn POS hardware device

SpotOn User Reviews

Here is a summary of my analysis of user reviews, testimonials, and complaints about SpotOn as seen on major review sites like Capterra, G2, and others.

  • Ease of Use & Training: SpotOn POS is frequently recognized for its user-friendly interface, even among those who are not tech-savvy. Users report a smooth learning curve and find the system highly functional. Training sessions are lauded for their effectiveness and SpotOn’s local tech support is often highlighted for their friendliness and help with system modifications.
  • Customer Support & Responsiveness: Local customer support is consistently praised, with many users expressing satisfaction regarding the attentiveness and helpfulness of their local representatives. The team’s dedication to resolving issues and guiding clients through challenges is appreciated, alongside their hands-on assistance during setup.
  • Flexibility and Customization: The flexibility of SpotOn’s hardware and the ability to customize the software is a strong point. Many restaurants benefit from handheld devices and the multitude of functions offered, which contribute to improved service speed and order accuracy.
  • Increased Efficiency & Savings: The system is credited with helping businesses increase revenue and save costs. Positive impacts include a boost in online orders, enhanced workflow through devices and integrations, and cost savings from features like cash discount programs.
  • Integration and Real-time Reporting: SpotOn users are pleased with the software’s integration capabilities, especially with online ordering. Real-time reporting with detailed insights is also frequently mentioned as a vital tool for business operations.
  • Implementation Challenges: Some users experienced rocky initial launches with aspects such as gift card processing and loyalty programs presenting hurdles. Reporting also required adjustments for specific business needs.
  • Credit Card Processing Issues: Users have encountered difficulties with credit card reader functions and card payment processing, including fees charged to gift card payments. Issues like these have been a source of frustration that required technical assistance to resolve.
  • Hardware and Software Quirks: A few reports indicated glitches with the occasional technical quirk, like sensitive screens or cumbersome steps on handheld devices. Device limitations, such as the inability to scan UPCs or process offline payments, were also noted.
  • Learning Curve & Complexity: Although overall user-friendly, some accountants and management staff found the array of options and reports slightly overwhelming at first, highlighting a learning curve mainly for back-office functionalities.

Where SpotOn Stands Out for Bars

Excellent bar hardware devices: SpotOn has a wide variety of hardware options to meet the needs of different types of restaurants and bars. These options include touchscreen stations, handheld devices, customer-facing displays, self-service kiosks, and kitchen display systems. The hardware is designed to be robust and reliable in a bar environment.

Integrated Tools for an All-in-One Solution: Going beyond a standard POS system, SpotOn provides an all-in-one solution with a variety of integrated tools. These tools consist of advanced reporting, marketing and review management, and loyalty programs, all tailored to unlock your bar or nightclub’s earning potential and transform your operations.

SpotOn table management
SpotOn table management screen

Efficient Order Management and Simplified Service: A key strength of SpotOn is its efficient order management. Whether customers order at the bar or from their table using a handheld payment terminal, SpotOn organizes orders by table, simplifying management and service.

This feature, coupled with the system’s reporting capabilities, significantly reduces closing times and allows your staff to focus more on customer engagement.

Real-Time Order and Payment Processing: SpotOn’s handheld devices facilitate real-time order and payment processing right at the table, resulting in quicker service, increased table turnover, and higher sales. 

Additionally, the system empowers customers by giving them more control over their ordering experience. With QR code ordering, customers can manage their own orders, making bar tabs easier to handle and enhancing the overall guest experience.

Data-Driven Approach for Strategic Decision-Making: The system also offers real-time data on sales trends, enabling bar managers to adjust menus on the fly, add promotional items to boost sales, and over time, predict what will sell on any given day of the week. This data-driven approach can change the way bar owners manage their operations and make strategic decisions.

Loyalty Programs and Marketing for Customer Retention: SpotOn also incorporates features for loyalty programs and marketing, which can help convert first-time customers into lifelong regulars, improve customer retention, and increase revenue.

Where SpotOn Falls Short

SpotOn has some limitations that may make it less attractive to specific businesses.

  • It only works with SpotOn’s hardware, which could disadvantage businesses that have already invested in other POS hardware or prefer a different hardware provider.
  • As with other POS systems, using payment processing services other than SpotOn’s can be expensive. SpotOn charges a commission of 1.99% + $0.25 for regular transactions, which is quite low, but 2.99% + $0.25 for reward, corporate, international, and keyed-in card transactions.
  • The POS system of SpotOn is dependent on the cloud and the offline functionality is not as robust as for example that of TouchBistro
  • SpotOn offers various add-on features such as loyalty programs and website building, these add-ons can make the overall cost of the system high.

Key Takeaways of SpotOn for Bars:

  • Optimized bar operations with quick ordering options, QR code ordering, and integrated tools.
  • Simplified service with handheld devices for orders and payments at tables.
  • Real-time data analysis for strategic decision-making based on sales trends.
  • Loyalty programs and marketing tools to enhance customer retention.
  • Integration with major food delivery apps to expand reach.


GoTab is a versatile and innovative restaurant POS and commerce platform founded in 2016 with a mission to improve the operation and service of the hospitality industry through technology.

Offering a range of features GoTab focuses on contactless service, mobile ordering, payment, and efficient communication. Its user-friendly interface, integration with various systems, and real-time analytics provide brewery and taproom owners the tools they need to modernize their operations, increase efficiency, and drive growth.

GoTab works on virtually any web-enabled mobile device, meaning you can use your existing hardware and save costs.

photo of GoTab hardware

GoTab User Reviews

Here is a summary of my analysis of user reviews, testimonials, and complaints about GoTab as seen on major review sites like Capterra, G2, and others.

  • Customization and Flexibility: Users rave about GoTab’s flexibility, highlighting its customizable menu and zone setup that responds well to dynamic service models. This feature is specifically favored by venues that pivot their services regularly, such as breweries.
  • Strong Features and Innovation: The features of GoTab, including the shared tabs and kitchen display system, receive high praise for their uniqueness and practicality in enhancing service at large venues. Updates and new “nice to have” features roll out consistently, reflecting GoTab’s commitment to innovation.
  • Ease of Adoption and Use: Clients appreciate the ease with which they can learn and use GoTab’s system, complemented by hands-on customer service during the setup process. The user interface facilitates easy management of menus and ordering, which is credited for being invaluable during the challenges posed by the pandemic.
  • Responsive Customer Service: Fast and exceptional customer support stands out in the reviews. Any issues that arise are quickly addressed, showcasing the company’s dedication to its clients’ success.
  • Streamlined Operations: GoTab’s adaptability allows businesses to shift between full-service and labor-lite models with ease, aiding in cost management without sacrificing guest experience. Its ability to empower guests to have their own POS also opens up new revenue streams and improves operational efficiency.
  • Connectivity and Technical Glitches: Some users experience daily hiccups and bugs, including issues with Wi-Fi connectivity that affect the system’s performance, indicating a need for more robust troubleshooting solutions and stability improvements.
  • Learning Curve and Usability Challenges: Customers point out that certain functions are confusing or difficult for guests to navigate without detailed explanations, suggesting room for improvement in user experience design.
  • Incomplete Feature Sets and Workarounds: Although GoTab covers the basic functionality needed for most restaurants, there are calls for more advanced features. Users note the need to devise workarounds for features that are lacking or not yet fully developed.
  • Reporting and Management Functions: Enhancements are requested in the reporting area, where users ask for more detailed and automated reporting, such as weekly summaries, merchandise inventory, and sales breakdowns across multiple locations.
  • Integration Limitations: While GoTab offers a variety of integrations, some users desire a broader selection of third-party integrations to further streamline their operations and expand functionality.

What Makes GoTab Stand Out For Bars

Enhanced Guest Experience: GoTab allows you to provide a tailored ordering and payment experience for each of your guests. Options like mobile ordering give your customers fast and secure service without needing to download an app.

Real-Time Menu Management: The system enables you to make quick updates to your menu on the fly as needed. This allows you to respond in real-time to inventory availability, bring back favorite discontinued items, or add seasonal specials. The flexibility makes it easy to keep your menu dynamic.

Contactless Ordering and Payment: GoTab gives your guests the ability to browse your menu and place orders completely through their phones. This contactless ordering and payment minimizes in-person contact, enhancing safety and convenience. The no-POS system provides maximum flexibility for a better guest experience.

GoTab Pocket POS

GoTab Pocket POS: The Pocket POS device is the size of a mobile phone, offering a larger screen and longer battery life compared to other mobile POS solutions. It’s designed for high-paced table service environments and may redefine the way servers interact with customers.

Read more: GoTab Pocket POS: A Game-Changer in Tableside Service?

Contactless and mobile ordering are quickly becoming consumer expectations. I like how GoTab positions you to stay ahead of this curve, giving your bar or pub a competitive edge. It allows you to adapt quickly to changing norms, safety needs, and technology.

Read our full review of GoTab


GoTab Pricing Overview

GoTab stands out with potentially significant cost savings and flexibility through its transaction-based pricing model.

  • No additional charges for essential products or support.
  • Option to buy your own hardware or opt for GoTab-branded hardware.
  • Feature-rich offerings catered to diverse business needs without additional costs.
  • Savings on processing fees through the “Open Tabs” feature.
  • Customized enterprise pricing is available.

Processing Fees:

  • 2.25% + $0.15 for Card Present Transactions. (When a card is tapped, dipped, or swiped in person).
  • 2.5% + $0.25 for Card Not Present Transactions. (When an order is placed through mobile ordering, card on file or manual entry).

Contact GoTab for a pricing quote for the Quickstart, Premium, and Enterprise plans.

Square for Restaurants

Square is the ideal solution for bar owners seeking a free plan, seamless drink transactions, and user-friendly retail features.

The system prioritizes speed and operational efficiency, ensuring swift order entries. Square’s distinctive feature, the conversational modifiers, streamlines how orders are noted, bringing this task into the modern age and making it more effortless.

Furthermore, Square offers efficient marketing and loyalty program tools, assisting bar owners in effectively engaging with their customers.

Square’s payment system is inclusive, accepting various methods, emphasizing security, and providing swift transactions. Comprehensive data analysis and reporting are also available, granting bars a clear perspective on their operations and performance.

Square can be an invaluable asset, particularly for those in search of a cost-free service, smooth bar transactions, and easy-to-use retail features.

With Square, you get all the basic features like sales reporting, payments, and employee management that are vital for bar operations – regardless of the size of your establishment.

Ease of use: I like this system because it is intuitive and easy for beginners to use. The interface is modern and looks great on both iOS devices and Android smartphones and tablets.

Square Pricing & Hardware

Free plan: There’s no monthly fee, but there is a transaction fee for each in-person sale. 2.6% + 10¢ for swiped or tapped card transactions. 3.5% + 15¢ when the card number is keyed in. Online payment: 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction.

Plus: Includes more advanced features designed specifically for restaurants. $60/month for one device per location. +$40/month per added countertop POS device. (+ processing fees).

Premium subscribers get everything in the Plus subscription and custom pricing for add-ons like Square Payroll, Square Marketing, and Square Loyalty.

Example pricing of some add-ons:

Square Payroll +$35/mo then $5/mo per employee
Square Loyalty From $45/mo per location
Square Marketing From $15/mo per location

(Hardware is not included in the subscription. See hardware costs in the section below).

Contract length

A key advantage of Square’s payment processing is the absence of long-term subscriptions, providing flexibility in the usage of its services. You can opt for month-to-month payments and easily cancel your subscription anytime without penalties.

As a result, you can experiment with different business strategies while staying agile and adaptable to changing market conditions.

The Square app is available worldwide. Card payment acceptance is available in the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, France and Spain (Source).

Square terminal

The Square Terminal can read all types of cards. You can use it for everything from taking payments to accessing your Square POS system to printing receipts to using all the features of Square’s app. The price for the terminal is $299.

Square contactless card reader

Square Reader for Contactless and Chip: Restaurants can now process payments more easily with the new Square Reader, which has improved Bluetooth connectivity, enhanced security, and longer battery life.

Square Stand Restaurant Station with cash drawer, receipt printer, and kitchen printer.

Square restaurant POS mobile kit device

Restaurant Mobile POS Kit for Square for Restaurants. Includes a Square Reader for contactless and chip (2nd generation), a phone case, and a Samsung Galaxy A32.

The Square Register is a countertop setup and a fully integrated point-of-sale system. No extra tablets or apps are required. Includes a touchscreen card terminal facing the customer and a built-in card reader. Costs $799.

Square User Reviews

Here is a summary of my analysis of user reviews, testimonials, and complaints about Square for Restaurants as seen on major review sites like Capterra, G2, and others.

  • Ease of Setup and Use: Many users commend Square for its user-friendly setup process and intuitive design. The system is easy to configure, adaptable for various devices including iPads and smartphones, and provides quick access to online market tools.
  • Cost-Effective: Business owners appreciate the affordability of Square for Restaurants. The pricing is competitive, and the system offers a variety of financial management tools such as integrated payment processing which contributes to a low-stress financial experience.
  • Efficient Sales Tracking and Payment Processing: The app has been highlighted for its capabilities in sales monitoring and secure payment processing, with immediate transaction fees rather than monthly billing.
  • CRM and Website Integration: Users appreciate the CRM tools provided by Square and find the website creation services particularly beneficial for enhancing their online presence, which is especially notable for quick transitions to online ordering during events like the pandemic.
  • Resourceful Features: Square for Restaurants POS is valued for its many features that assist in business operations, including inventory tracking, promotional offers, loyalty rewards, customer feedback collection, and seamless QuickBooks integration.
  • Complex Restaurant Issues: Some users report that Square for Restaurants is not ideal for complex restaurant operations. Glitches have led to crashes, with systems becoming unresponsive during busy times, causing major distress for restaurant owners. The system is also criticized for being unable to handle the intricacies of a full-service restaurant setting.
  • Customization Limits: Certain users find it tedious to customize menus and loyalty programs. Adjustments to the system may require excessive steps, which can be frustrating, especially for businesses with frequently changing offerings.
  • Technical Support Concerns: There have been complaints regarding the level of technical support provided by Square. Troubleshooting complex issues has sometimes proven difficult, with tech support struggling to resolve problems effectively. Furthermore, the lack of on-site support from Square when compared to competing products is a significant drawback for some users.
  • Inadequate Reporting: Users have mentioned that the reporting feature for Square for Restaurants POS could be improved. Detailed drill-down reports are lacking, making it cumbersome for business owners to analyze sales and inventory effectively.
  • Hardware Problems: Issues with the card reader have also been mentioned, with it occasionally rotating during a swipe and causing a read error, although solutions like anchoring the reader have been used to fix it.

Where Square Stands Out for Bars

Speed and Efficiency: Square’s POS system is built for speed, enabling fast order entry and efficient back-of-house operations. It also allows for real-time menu updates across devices and the ability to repeat an order in a few taps.

Conversational Modifiers: This feature speeds up the ordering process by allowing you to enter orders in a conversational manner, which is more intuitive and quicker than traditional methods.

Square KDS

Square Kitchen Display System (KDS): This system keeps the entire restaurant in sync, managing all orders from one screen. It helps handle the rush and reduce costs with digital tickets, ensuring food is prepared and packaged correctly.

Online Ordering: Square for Restaurants allows for online ordering with no monthly fees or commissions. It supports Instagram and Facebook ad integration and syncs online orders with the point of sale.

Marketing and Loyalty Programs: Square has tools to create, send, and track email and social media campaigns. It also offers a loyalty program that rewards repeat customers, which can be set up at checkout in a few seconds.

Payments: Square accepts all types of payments quickly and securely, whether you’re tableside, behind the bar, online, or on the go. It offers next-day transfers, no chargeback fees, and end-to-end encryption for PCI compliant payments.

Insights and Reporting: Square provides detailed data and custom reports to help you understand your business. You can see real-time sales directly on your POS, run reports by daypart, covers, employees, comps, and voids, and get alerts when inventory is low.

Where Square Can Improve

Limited Advanced Features: Square for Restaurants may lack some advanced features offered by other POS systems, such as in-depth inventory management and comprehensive reporting tools

Complex Reporting: The reporting features are causing concerns because they lack sufficient detail and are complex, making it difficult to search for specific information. Additionally, the process of reconciling sales to receivables is lengthy.

Lack of On-Site Support: Square for Restaurants does not provide on-site support, which may not be suitable for businesses that rely on in-person assistance.

Key Takeaways of Square for Bars:

  • Speedy order entry and intuitive conversational modifiers for efficient operations.
  • Square Kitchen Display System (KDS) to manage orders from one central screen.
  • Integration with third-party partners for inventory management and other functions.
  • Hardware options tailored to the needs of bars, including handheld devices for tableside service.
  • Online ordering features with no monthly fees or commissions.
  • Marketing tools and loyalty programs to engage customers.
  • Secure payment processing with detailed insights and reporting capabilities.


TouchBistro is a company based in Toronto, Canada that was founded in 2010 and offers cloud-based POS systems for the hospitality industry.

With a client base of over 29,000 establishments worldwide, TouchBistro has garnered a reputation as one of the top providers in this field.

The comprehensive suite of features includes payments, reservation management, floorplan and table management, menu and inventory management, staff management, and reporting and analytics.

In addition to managing bar operations, TouchBistro is adapting to customers’ evolving needs, such as splitting bills, processing payments at tables, handling reservations and online orders, and managing loyalty programs.

TouchBistro screenshot of sales dashboard

Transitioning from the front to the back of the house, TouchBistro offers automation and enhanced controls that aid in inventory management, vendor relations, and strategic menu planning – ultimately driving more informed, data-driven decisions for your bar.

Read more: TouchBistro’s New Back-of-House Solutions

From real-time order management and recalling ticket history to innovative customer engagement technology and integrated loyalty programs, TouchBistro’s suite combines an array of features that help bar owners attract new guests and optimize their operations.

However, what sets TouchBistro apart is not the quantity of its features, but rather how well those features work together.

TouchBistro Pricing & Hardware

I like the modularity of the TouchBistro pricing structure. You get a good deal at a low price and can choose from the selection of add-on options as your business grows.

Here is the pricing plan for TouchBistro and its add-ons:

Monthly subscription fee: Starts at $69/month for up to two setups

Add-on pricing (starting at):

  • Online ordering: $50/month
  • Reservations: $229/month
  • Gift cards: $25/month
  • Marketing: $99/month
  • Loyalty: $99/month

TouchBistro Payments (US only)is powered by Chase and provides pricing through an innovative cost plus pricing model. The solution supports all major credit and debit cards, as well as swipe, dip, tap, and digital wallet payments from Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

TouchBistro Payments also offers an offline payments mode, allowing you to continue taking payments even when their internet is down.

Payment processing fees depend on if you use TouchBistro Payments (US only) or one of the available payment processing partners like Square. You’ll be able to use different payment processors depending on which one offers the lowest rate.

For example, Square charges the following: 2.6% +10¢ per transaction.

Please note that hardware and additional fees may apply to these prices. It’s recommended to contact TouchBistro directly for a custom quote.

TouchBistro is available in the US, Canada, the UK, Mexico, and over 100 other countries. (TouchBistro Payments is only available in the US).

TouchBistro supports iPads, iPad Pro, or the iPad Mini and runs best on devices from 2018 or later. These tablets are used to take orders and process payments table-side.

A TouchBistro setup can include an iPad stand, receipt printer, card reader, router, and modem.

TouchBistro also sells accessories, such as a Self-Service Kiosk, customer-facing display, KDS, and Digital Menu Boards. TouchBistro may also make use of third-party hardware such as cash drawers, card readers, and receipt printers.

TouchBistro hardware devices

Customizable Additional Hardware: Depending on the unique needs of your restaurant, you can mix and match different POS equipment such as cash drawers and receipt printers.

Hardware Setups for Different Venue Sizes: TouchBistro offers tailored hardware configurations based on the venue size and type of your restaurant. Whether you have a small or large venue, they have hardware solutions designed to fit your specific needs.

Integrated Hardware Support: TouchBistro also offers dedicated implementation specialists to provide round-the-clock support for your hardware.

TouchBistro suggests always purchasing the latest iPad models for the best experience and longevity of support. While they provide iPad stands, they also offer the flexibility for you to use your own. Their iPads are compatible with any iPad stands, allowing you to choose a stand style that aligns best with your restaurant’s look and feel.

TouchBistro dashboard on iPad

TouchBistro User Reviews

Here is a summary of my analysis of user reviews, testimonials, and complaints about TouchBistro as seen on major review sites like Capterra, G2, and others.

  • Ease of Use: The user interface is generally praised as user-friendly and easily navigable, making it simple for staff to manage tasks and learn the system.
  • Robust Features: TouchBistro offers comprehensive features for managing a wide range of restaurant operations, from room charges to extensive menus.
  • Menu Management: Users enjoy the intuitive platform for updating pricing, adding and removing items, and overall menu customization.
  • Self-Ordering Kiosk and Offline Functionality: The self-ordering kiosk feature for customer upgrades and the ability to operate without internet are well-received.
  • Quick and Efficient Order Taking: Utilizing iPads, the TouchBistro POS allows for efficient order taking directly at the table, enhancing the guest experience.
  • Inventory Tracking: Although it requires extensive setup, the inventory tracking capabilities are detailed and offer significant benefits once in place.
  • Responsive Customer Service: Some reviewers cite the customer service team as being quick to respond and helpful, often implementing suggested features.
  • Ongoing Software Improvements: The company is recognized for continuously rolling out new features and for being supportive during the challenges faced by the restaurant industry.

Technology Issues During Updates: Users experience significant technology issues when updates to TouchBistro are required, leading to potential downtime that businesses cannot afford.
Difficulties with Customer Support: Reaching customer support can be time-consuming, and some users face lengthy wait times and get passed from one representative to another.
Challenges with Reporting: Obtaining comprehensive reports is cumbersome, and the analytics provided are found to be lacking in depth by some users.
Onboarding and Training Challenges: Users noted the onboarding process could be difficult, and the lack of user-friendly support materials led to some businesses having to create their own training manuals.
Wi-Fi Connection Problems: Some users reported intermittent Wi-Fi connection issues, which occasionally require modem resets.
System Stability and Bugs: Instances of the system disconnecting daily, causing significant operational burdens and frustrations.
Limited Remote Management: Managing multiple restaurants or making substantial changes remotely is problematic due to limitations of the system’s infrastructure.

Where TouchBistro Stands Out for Bars

Streamlined Operations: TouchBistro is designed to enhance the speed and efficiency of service. The system’s “Fast Bar” register mode and tableside ordering system significantly speed up the ordering process, allowing bars to serve more customers in less time. The user-friendly interface makes it easy for staff to learn and use the system, reducing training time and improving service efficiency.

Payment Processing and Management: TouchBistro has quick payment processing and barside payments, enhancing service speed and customer convenience. The system allows for various payment options, including swipe, dip, tap, and mobile payments, catering to customers’ preferences. It also enables easy bill splitting and table transfers, further enhancing the customer experience.

TouchBistro loyalty marketing screen
TouchBistro loyalty marketing screen

Customer Engagement and Loyalty: TouchBistro POS encourages repeat business with enticing promotions and loyalty programs. The system also offers advanced online ordering that enables customers to schedule pickup and delivery orders hours or days in advance, expanding the bar’s reach and convenience for customers.

Tab Management: The system offers a bar tabs feature that allows guests to order multiple rounds throughout the night and settle their payments later. This feature enhances the customer experience by providing flexibility and convenience.

Staff Management: TouchBistro provides valuable staff management tools, including staff permission management to minimize theft and an integration with 7Shifts for effective staff scheduling. These features help bars manage their labor costs and ensure adequate staffing during busy times.

Business Insights and Reporting: TouchBistro has comprehensive reporting with over 50 detailed reports. These reports provide real-time data on daily and weekly revenue, tracking popular premium liquors, and identifying staff members who delete an unusually high number of items from tabs. These insights empower bar owners to make informed decisions to boost business performance.

TouchBistro Profit Management: In partnership with MarginEdge, TouchBistro’s profit management feature provides real-time inventory tracking and cost management while automatically updating ingredient costs and quantities.

Where TouchBistro Falls Short

While TouchBistro is a highly regarded system, there are some areas for improvement and potential drawbacks to consider.

  • Limited integrations: While TouchBistro has some integrations available, it may not have as many options as other POS systems. This could be a limiting factor for businesses that require more extensive integrations with other software and platforms.
  • Online ordering: TouchBistro relies on integration with Deliverect to connect to other delivery services than DoorDash Drive.
  • Limited reporting: There are certain areas where the reporting features need improvement to generate more useful sales, employee performance, and inventory reports.

Key Takeaways about TouchBistro for Bars:

  • Streamlined operations with fast bar register mode and tableside ordering.
  • Payment processing and management, including bill splitting and table transfers.
  • Customer engagement and loyalty features with advanced online ordering.
  • Tab management for ordering multiple rounds throughout the night.
  • Staff management tools, including permissions and scheduling integration.
  • Business insights and reporting for data-driven decision-making.

Lightspeed Restaurant

Lightspeed Bar POS website

Lightspeed Restaurant is a powerful, cloud-based POS system designed explicitly for the food and beverage service industry. Whether you’re managing a local bar or a chain of bars, Lightspeed offers an array of features that can be tailored to meet your specific requirements.

One notable element of Lightspeed is the application of advanced technology to simplify tasks for users. This includes blockchain-based technology, real-time analytics, customizable workflows, and a host of integrations.

Lightspeed customer order dashboard
Lightspeed customer order dashboard

All of these features are packaged in a user-friendly interface compatible with iOS-based devices. The system is also capable of operating offline, making it a dependable option in a variety of situations.

LightSpeed is committed to constant improvement, regularly adding advanced features like machine learning-powered analytics to its platform.

In summary, Lightspeed can be an effective option for bar owners seeking a POS platform custom-fit to their particular business needs and preferences.

Lightspeed Restaurant Essentials: $90/month (annual plan $69/month)

Features include: Menu manager, Mobile access, Takeout and delivery orders, Integrated payment processing, Reporting and analytics, Inventory, 24/7 support, Dedicated account management, Table Mode. 1 register.

Lightspeed Restaurant Plus: $246/month (annual plan $189/month)

All Essentials features, Loyalty program, Gift cards

Lightspeed Restaurant Pro: $516/month (annual plan $399/month)

All Plus features and Advanced insights, Advanced inventory. 1 register.

Additional registers +$34/mo
Add-on pricing starting at $12/month
Premium add-ons starting at $39/month

Transaction fees: 2.6% plus 10 cents per card-present transaction with Lightspeed Payments. Third-party payment processors are also available.

*Pricing at the time of publishing this guide. For the most current pricing, contact Lightspeed.

Lightspeed Restaurant POS is currently available in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and Australia.

Lightspeed hardware

There are several hardware options available for restaurants. These include an iPad hardware kit that includes a receipt printer, cash drawer, and kitchen printer but does not include an iPad or payment terminal.

There is also a Lightspeed iPad Stand by Vault, which is a restaurant-grade stand designed to mount an iPad securely.

Lightspeed restaurant examples of handheld hardware

In addition, there are several payment terminals available, including the Verifone e285, Verifone P400, and Verifone 400m, which all support tap, swipe, and dip payments and the e285 also supports tip entry and signature capture.

For a full list of supported hardware options, Lightspeed provides more information.

Lightspeed User Reviews

Where Lightspeed Stands Out for Bars

Customizable bar layouts and menus: Design personalized floor plans that represent your bar’s layout and seating arrangements. Create multiple menus tailored to specific devices, shifts, or events.

Automated alcohol inventory management: Track your liquor stock and manage ingredients effortlessly with Lightspeed’s automated inventory system, ensuring you never run out of your customers’ favorite drinks.

Integration with delivery apps: Synchronize your menu with major food and drink delivery apps like UberEats, allowing you to manage all online orders in one place and expand your reach to customers who prefer to enjoy their drinks at home.

Tab management: Easily manage and split tabs for groups, allowing your customers to conveniently pay for their drinks separately or together.

Sleek bar-specific POS hardware: Lightspeed offers high-quality hardware designed specifically for restaurants and bars, including technology that works offline and printers that can handle the humidity of a busy bar environment.

TrueSync Technology: This feature ensures that operations continue smoothly even during internet outages. It prevents the loss of orders when the Wi-Fi signal drops, thereby maintaining the trust and satisfaction of customers.

Lightspeed Payments: Integrates AI and blockchain technology for a single, universal sign-on at any point of purchase globally. Each transaction is recorded on a private blockchain, potentially enhancing security and traceability.

Intuitive Interface: Lightspeed is known for its intuitive interface, which allows new staff to learn the basics of the system in just a few minutes. This rapid onboarding capability is crucial for bars with high customer volumes and fast-paced service. It enables new staff to get started quickly, ensuring that operations run smoothly even during busy periods.

Advanced Reporting: The system also includes advanced reporting features that provide clear visibility on daily sales. These features are particularly useful for bars with a wide selection of drinks, as they help with inventory management and ordering.

Where Lightspeed Falls Short

While Lightspeed Restaurant is a highly regarded system, there are some areas for improvement and potential drawbacks to consider.

  • Price: Lightspeed is more expensive than some other POS systems on the market. While the system offers a range of features and benefits, the cost may be a barrier for some bar owners, especially those who are just starting out.
  • Limited Customization: While Lightspeed’s interface is user-friendly, it may not offer as much customization as some bar owners would like. For example, some users have reported that it’s difficult to customize the layout of the order screen, which can impact efficiency during peak hours.

Key Takeaways of Lightspeed for Bars:

  • Customizable layouts, menus, and advanced alcohol inventory management features
  • Efficient payment options such as credit cards, debit cards, mobile payments, etc. 
  • Tab management for managing multiple orders throughout the night across tables 
  • Training mode ensures quick onboarding is possible even during busy periods
  • Robust data reporting capabilities empower bar owners to make informed decisions 
  • Advanced customer engagement options include loyalty programs 

A Summary of the Top Bar POS Systems

Here is a recap of the five POS systems and what types of bars each is best for:


TouchBistro stands out with its focus on streamlining operations and enhancing the speed of service. It offers features like fast bar register mode and tableside ordering to improve efficiency. The system also provides comprehensive payment processing and management options, along with robust customer engagement and loyalty features.

TouchBistro is great for high-volume bars and pubs that require fast and efficient service. The “Fast Bar” mode and comprehensive payment options make it well suited for establishments that see a high turnover of customers, such as sports bars or popular city center pubs.

My detailed TouchBistro Review provides an even more in-depth look into this POS system.

And finally, to try TouchBistro out, head over to touchbistro.com


Toast differentiates itself through features such as preauthorization for closing tabs, enhanced guest experiences with quick order modes and mobile ordering, intuitive kitchen display systems (KDS), and inventory management capabilities. It also offers effective loyalty programs to retain customers and real-time data analysis for strategic decision-making.

Toast focuses heavily on enhancing the guest experience, making it a good fit for upscale lounges and cocktail bars where the customer experience is paramount. Its robust hardware and pre-authorization for closing tabs also make it a strong option for busy bars that need a durable, reliable system.

My detailed Toast Review provides an even more in-depth look into this POS system.

And finally, to try Toast out, head over to pos.toasttab.com


SpotOn highlights optimization of bar operations with quick ordering options, integrated tools, simplified service through handheld devices for orders and payments at tables, real-time data analysis for sales trends, loyalty programs, integration with major food delivery apps, and marketing tools.

Given its emphasis on efficient order management and real-time order processing, SpotOn would be well-suited for bars and nightclubs with a high volume of transactions. The SpotOn Serve handheld devices could be particularly useful in larger venues where servers move between the bar and tables.

My detailed SpotOn Review provides an even more in-depth look into this restaurant POS system.

And finally, to try SpotOn out, head over to spoton.com


Lightspeed provides customizable layouts and menus, advanced alcohol inventory management capabilities, integration with delivery apps for online cocktail orders, efficient payment options including debit cards and mobile payments, tab management functionalities, user-friendly training mode for staff onboarding, and hardware designed for restaurants and bars.

Lightspeed’s customizable layouts and automated inventory management make it a great choice for complex bars with diverse offerings, such as craft beer bars with rotating taps or cocktail bars with extensive menus. Its integrations with delivery apps could also make it a good option for bars that offer takeout or delivery services.

My detailed Lightspeed Review provides an even more in-depth look into this restaurant POS system.

And finally, to try Lightspeed for free, head over to lightspeedhq.com


Square for Restaurants shines with its focus on speed and efficiency in operations through intuitive order entry interfaces and conversational modifiers. It offers features like the Square Kitchen Display System (KDS), hardware options tailored to bars’ needs (including handheld devices), online ordering options without monthly fees or commissions.

Square’s speed, efficiency, and wide range of integrations make it a versatile choice that could work well in a variety of bar settings. It’s particularly well-suited for bars that require comprehensive reporting and customer management tools, such as chains or franchises that need to monitor performance across multiple locations. Its online ordering capabilities also make it a good fit for bars offering pickup or delivery services.

My detailed Square for Restaurants Review provides an even more in-depth look into this restaurant POS system.

And finally, to try Square out, head over to squareup.com


GoTab provides an enhanced guest experience for breweries through features like mobile ordering, contactless payment, and real-time menu management. Mobile ordering allows customers to securely place orders and pay through their phones, minimizing in-person contact. Real-time menu management lets breweries quickly update menus and specials as needed, keeping offerings dynamic.

A key benefit of GoTab is enabling breweries to tailor the ordering and payment experience to each guest. Customers can order and pay however they prefer – online, mobile, or in-person. This flexibility creates a customized experience that caters to individual preferences.


In conclusion, all five of these POS systems are versatile and feature-rich, and they can be tailored to meet the needs of a wide variety of establishments.

Explore these systems further by visiting their websites and scheduling demos or free trials. Get hands-on experience with the platforms that catch your eye.

Remember that choosing the right POS system can make a significant impact on your business’s success. It can enhance efficiency, improve customer satisfaction, increase revenue opportunities, and provide valuable insights for smarter decision-making.

Start exploring TouchBistro’s streamlined operations or Toast’s exceptional guest experience. Dive into SpotOn’s optimization tools or Lightspeed’s customizable layouts and inventory management capabilities. Or consider Square’s efficiency-focused features.

It’s time to transform your bar or brewery into an operation where customers are delighted at every interaction.

You might also like these POS comparisons:


A bar POS system is a point-of-sale software designed specifically for bars to manage orders, payments, inventory, staff, and analytics. Key features of a bar POS system include:

  • Handling a high volume of transactions, even during peak times like happy hour rushes. Bar POS systems are optimized to quickly process drink orders and split tabs.
  • Integration with bar-specific hardware like taps, dispensing machines, and ID scanners for automatic age verification. This allows bartenders to seamlessly pour and track drinks.
  • Robust inventory management to track liquor pours and ingredient usage in recipes. This helps calculate the true cost of cocktails and manage reorder points.
  • Table mapping to track orders from specific customers or seats for faster service. Servers can instantly access a table’s full order history.
  • Tab management and credit card authorizations so patrons can securely start tabs with a credit card, allowing bartenders to only charge tabs at checkout.
  • Staff management features like tip pooling and shift tracking to simplify payroll. Manager permissions provide oversight.
  • Custom menu and pricing options to showcase drink lists, happy hour specials, and upsell add-ons like appetizers.
  • Reporting on sales, labor costs, liquor profits, and other metrics to optimize operations.

The right bar POS gives owners and managers the controls and insights they need to efficiently run the business in one seamless system. With specialty features and robust inventory and analytics, bar POS software provides value beyond a standard retail POS.

Selecting the perfect POS software for your bar is crucial. To make an informed decision, consider these essential factors:

Support & Customer Service

A reliable and efficient POS system should offer exceptional customer service and support. Look for 24/7 assistance, training materials, and positive user feedback to ensure smooth operation.

User-Friendliness & Interface Design

An attractive and user-friendly design leaves a lasting impression on customers and simplifies the learning process for your staff.

Third-Party Integrations

Confirm compatibility with your preferred accounting software, email marketing services, and other vital tools. Square, Lightspeed, Toast, and TouchBistro are well-known for their integration capabilities.


While a high-quality POS system can be expensive, it’s a valuable investment for your business. Consider software and hardware costs, subscription fees, and associated expenses like credit card processing and optional features.

Supported Countries

Some software platforms have geographical limitations due to tax, payroll, and payment regulations. Lightspeed, TouchBistro, and Square are available in numerous countries worldwide.

Features & Functionality

To ensure your software includes the specific features you need, it’s essential to identify them based on your business requirements.

The POS terminal is at the heart of your bar operations, managing everything from menu customization to payments. A state-of-the-art cloud-based POS terminal presents multiple advantages over traditional legacy systems.

User-friendly Interface: Modern cloud-based POS terminals are designed for ease of use, allowing staff to quickly learn and operate the system, significantly reducing training time. This stands in contrast to many legacy systems, which often feature complex interfaces that can be challenging to navigate.

Seamless Integration: A cloud-based POS terminal can effortlessly integrate with other systems in use, such as inventory management or customer relationship management software. This integration streamlines your operations and offers a comprehensive view of your business, while legacy systems typically operate in isolation, hindering data sharing between different aspects of your business.

Versatile Order Management: Modern cloud-based POS terminals can efficiently handle both on-premises and off-premises orders, catering to today’s bar environment where customers may order in-person, online, or via a mobile app. Legacy systems, however, are often ill-equipped to manage this level of integration, making it challenging to deliver a consistent customer experience across various ordering channels.

Conclusion: A cutting-edge cloud-based POS terminal provides a more user-friendly, integrated, and adaptable solution for your bar, surpassing the capabilities of older, legacy systems.

  • Customizable Drink Orders: A POS system can provide the flexibility to tailor every drink order to the customer’s preferences. This includes the ability to enter unique drink combinations and even store drink recipes for reference.
  • Check Management Capabilities: The system should simplify the process of moving checks from the bar to the table and splitting them among customers. This feature enhances customer service and simplifies the payment process.
  • Card Preauthorization: This feature allows bartenders to verify the authenticity of a card and ensure it has sufficient funds. It speeds up service and reduces the risk of unpaid checks.
  • Effortless Menu Updates: Easily update your menu for daily specials or inventory changes. Cloud-based systems offer the flexibility to make these changes from anywhere.
  • Tip Suggestions: A POS system that suggests tip percentages can help increase the value of tips your servers and bartenders receive, improving their income and job satisfaction.
  • In-depth Reporting: A built-in customer relationship management (CRM) can help you understand your customers better and tailor your marketing efforts. It should also provide detailed sales, inventory, and labor reports to help you manage your business effectively.
  • Portable POS Devices: Handheld POS devices can improve service efficiency and customer interaction. They should be durable, fast, and have a long battery life.
  • User Access Control: The ability to customize user access based on roles or individual personnel can help protect sensitive information and control the actions employees can perform.
  • Cash Flow Management: This feature helps track cash flow and detect theft. It can also streamline end-of-shift tasks and increase employee accountability.
  • Inventory Management: A POS system that tracks your inventory in real time can help optimize your liquor cost percentage and identify issues like over-pouring or theft.
  • Marketing & Loyalty Program Integration: This feature can manage bar marketing campaigns and track customer purchases and manage a loyalty program can help increase customer retention and encourage repeat business.
  • Employee Scheduling: Some POS systems include features for scheduling employee shifts, tracking labor costs, and even managing payroll. This can simplify your management tasks and help optimize staffing levels.
  • Table Management: For bars that also offer table service, a POS system with table management features can help staff keep track of which tables are occupied, which are reserved, and how long guests have been at each table.
  • Age Verification: Some POS systems can prompt staff to check ID for age-restricted items, and some can even scan IDs to automate the process. This can help ensure compliance with laws regarding the sale of alcohol.
  • Integrated Marketing Tools: A POS system that includes built-in marketing tools can help you reach out to your customers with special offers, events, or updates about your bar.

A bar POS system can help manage inventory and track liquor pours in a few key ways:

  • Inventory management features allow you to create a catalog of all your liquor, beer, wine, and other ingredients. You can enter current stock levels, prices, sizes, and recipes.
  • The POS integrates with pouring spouts and meters on liquor bottles to automatically track and deduct pours in real-time. This prevents overpouring and shrinkage.
  • When bartenders make and sell cocktails through the POS, it deducts the correct ingredient amounts from inventory based on the drink recipe.
  • Powerful reporting provides pour cost analysis – the true cost of the liquor that went into cocktails versus the menu price. This helps identify profitable and unprofitable drinks.
  • The system generates automatic reorder notifications when stock of any item drops below a set par level. This ensures you avoid running out.
  • Some systems connect with distributors for online ordering and delivery tracking to simplify restocking.
  • Detailed tracking provides visibility into usage patterns, allowing you to identify fast-moving items to keep in stock and slow-moving items to possibly discontinue.

So in summary, a good bar POS centralizes inventory and integrates with smart pouring technology to gain transparency into how much liquor gets used. This accuracy leads to better purchasing decisions and reduces loss due to waste or theft.

Yes, a good bar POS system can absolutely track the sales and popularity of different cocktails and drinks on your menu. Here are some of the key ways it provides visibility:

  • The POS software records each item sold, so you can run sales reports on every cocktail, beer, wine, etc.
  • Reports can be customized by date range – allowing you to compare weekly or monthly sales of each drink.
  • You can see not only total sales for each item, but also order frequency and the percentage of total sales that each item represents.
  • The system can track bestselling cocktails across different shifts or times of day. This allows you to identify your top sellers during happy hours vs dinner services.
  • Menu management features let you view sales reports by menu category or drink type, like vodka drinks vs gin drinks.
  • Some POS systems let you “attach” modifiers or extras to the main item, so you can track how often add-ons like premium liquors or extra shots are ordered.
  • You can compare sales of the same drink at different price points – for example, during happy hour vs regular price.
  • Sales data helps inform menu engineering decisions – identifying which new cocktails to add or slow sellers to remove.

So in summary, the robust reporting available with a modern bar POS provides valuable insights into your top selling and most popular cocktails. This ultimately helps boost your beverage sales.

Avatar photo

Jan is a writer and content creator at KitchenBusiness.com with a focus on the restaurant and food service industry. Drawing from his background in tech and UX design, Jan breaks down complex systems into digestible, actionable insights.

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