If you own a bar or nightclub you know that it’s a unique kind of industry. It’s hospitality with the sole focus of entertainment, but even the most fun business still needs to be a business. So that means everything behind the scenes needs to be fast, efficient, adaptable, and always focused on the bottom line.  There’s no better way to achieve this than with a POS system specifically tailored to the unique needs of businesses in the nightlife industry.

So where do you start? There are hundreds of systems to choose from, and we’ve already covered which will work best for quick service restaurants, and while there is some overlap, these are the most important features to keep in mind if you run a bar or nightclub:


Having the ability to preauthorize credit or debit cards is an excellent and secure way to prevent losses. Whether you require all patrons to start a tab or just want the option to prevent having to comp tabs because of walkouts, preauthorization is a must-have feature. It also takes away the worry of losing credit cards or having them left behind.

Certainly not all walkouts are deliberate, but when you combine busy bartenders and intoxicated patrons, accidents happen, so find a POS system to provide some insurance for your business.

Mobile hardware

Unless you run a tiny bar, chances are your staff could greatly benefit from having personal hardware to enter orders on the go and avoid lengthy backups behind terminals. Mobile POS devices are ideal for crowded bars where servers will simply waste too much time by having to wade through the crowd for every cocktail they need to order.

The nightlife industry is growing, but so is the competition. Service is such a large factor in what brings patrons back, but if yours is consistently slower than competitors you’ll lose out on repeat business.

Ease of substitutions

Some patrons are easily satisfied with “whatever’s on tap,” but others are… more particular. The ordering screens on drink menus should have the ability to do anything from switch liquors or mixers in signature cocktails, enter special instructions (“exactly three ice cubes”), or upgrade to double shots if desired. Not every POS system will allow for such depth and specificity, so if your customers tend to be a little fussier, this is an ideal feature for you.


Many bars have different specials each night and special pricing during happy hour, so having a POS system that can handle a rotating menu is a huge benefit. You’ll also want to have the option to add more drink options at any time. Most bartenders have at least one shot or cocktail that they’ve created, and they can be big sellers, you just need to be sure that they are rung correctly to properly track the liquor used.

Inventory management

Not only do you need a system to keep up with what’s selling, what’s not, and what’s low, but also track where sales and inventory don’t match up. The most common type of theft in bars isn’t from someone stealing from the register, it’s from the bartender who consistently overpours or hands out free drinks to friends. The right POS will give you the data you need to spot these issues before they start affecting your profits.

Better checkout

When people want to leave a bar they are usually ready to go. This means you’ll want a system that promises speedy checkout times, the ability to easily split checks, give suggested tip amounts, and even move orders from one table to another for those guests who decide to order at the bar, but sit at a table with a server. In the fast-paced bar scene, you’ll want the best tools to turn your tables as quickly as possible.

Ready to increase your bar’s profits, but need help navigating the sea of POS prospects? Contact Holman Business Services today and we’ll work together to find the best system to meet your unique needs.