Running a bar or nightclub is no easy task. Success isn’t as easy as a liquor license and a few bar stools. It requires systems and processes in place to manage inventory and sales. But as entertainers, establishment owners should go above and beyond simply maintaining their existing customer base – they should aim to give them a memorable experience that can’t be achieved elsewhere.

Here’s how your establishment can “raise the bar”:

1. Optimize inventory

Customers can be very picky with their drinks, especially if it’s their “drink of choice” that they order each time. That’s why it’s important to keep an optimal amount of inventory on-hand so that you never run out an ingredient during a rush.
Your bar POS system can help you evaluate your inventory to ensure that doesn’t happen. POS reporting features can keep track of sales history, peak performance periods and best-selling drinks, allowing you to keep your inventory fully stocked – and without keeping too many items on-hand. And rather than estimating, you can take a more systematic, data-driven approach to completing your purchase orders.

2. Monitor inventory

It’s difficult for bar or nightclub managers to keep an eye on how much their bartenders are pouring in each drink. Your bar POS system can be used to monitor pour levels and see if employees are serving more alcohol than they should. This will not only help you reduce liquor shrinkage and employee theft, but also ensure that your drinks are being served correctly and consistently – regardless of the bartender.

3. Leverage special events

POS reporting features can also be used to expand your existing customer base. Your system will allow you to evaluate the performance of special events – happy hours, karaoke nights, etc. – that you host periodically to attract new patrons and introduce new menu items.
By examining your peak performance periods, best-selling items and highest performing employees, you can schedule these nights for optimal success. For example, you could take advantage of seasonal crowds by hosting a St. Patrick’s Day event or boost sales on a typically slow night by hosting a round of speed dating.
And any new items served or promotions offered at these events can be easily programmed into your POS system, making it easy for your bartenders to close tabs quickly and accurately. In fact, an entirely separate menu can be created for each event if necessary.

4. Encourage upselling

Your bartenders are your best assets – so start leveraging them accordingly. If properly trained, they act as ambassadors for your establishment and use their upselling skills to win new business. That’s why it’s important to give them the education they need to make valuable recommendations to customers new and old – including drink pairings, seasonal items, high margin items, etc.

And with your bar POS software, you can gain insight into your best-selling items and peak performance periods to identify the best uspelling opportunities. That data can be used to your advantage to promote low-performing items during busy times.

5. Eliminate liabilities

One of the most important aspects of running a bar business is mitigating risks. Protecting your establishment from fines, lawsuits, theft and loss is vital. Your bar POS software will help you to monitor pour levels to avoid over pouring or employee theft, as well as limit the amount of drinks that can be served to a single customer. As a bar owner, you never want to worry that an employee is stealing or that a customer will become too intoxicated and put themselves in danger. Through software features or peripherals, a bar POS system will also allow you to verify that patrons are 21 years of age or older to avoid getting hit with costly fines.

How will your bar or nightclub aim higher in 2014?