Accounting software for bars works in conjunction with computerized point-of-sale hardware and components such as credit card terminals, cash drawers, touchscreen order monitors and all other equipment used to operate the bar. The software keeps track of all items, prices, products, inventory and sales entered by servers, bartenders and managers. Many successful drinking establishments rely on POS systems and accounting software for a number of reasons.
One of the main features of accounting software used with bar POS systems is the ability to track the sales and popularity -- or lack thereof -- of specific items. Each time a cocktail server or bartender keys in any type of mixed drink, bottled beverage, alcohol upgrade -- well liquor vs. top shelf -- or anything else that is sold and served at the bar, the software keeps a detailed record of it. By running specific item reports, bar owners and managers can pinpoint exactly which items are their best and worst sellers, as well as what times the peak periods for certain items' sales may be.
Software programs for bar and restaurant accounting also are used to keep track of "back of the house" stock and inventory. Bar managers typically have a system that lists par amounts of required stock for each type of liquor or beverage served. The number of servings per bottle of liquor, case of beer bottles or keg of beer determines the profit margin of liquor sales. Most establishments enter these figures into their POS systems and as sales progress the software calculates the amount of product used, sold, remaining and needed to meet with the preset pars.
Using POS bar accounting software as a method of inventory control is also one of the most effective ways to prevent employee theft, or at very least locate the source of it. Less than honest bartenders can get away with a considerable amount of theft when allowed access to an establishment's two most valuable resources: the alcohol and the cash drawer. POS accounting software can be a red flag for bar owners to investigate potential theft behind the bar, such as not ringing up drinks and pocketing tab payments. When inventory isn't matching up with POS reports, bar owners can be on the alert for bartenders stealing. And since all employees must log in to the POS system to perform their duties, you can run additional reports to see when and by whom certain items were rung up.
Accounting software for bars can be programmed to help determine the amount of wasted alcohol an establishment goes through, the amount of profit lost by the waste and who is wasting the alcohol. Many bars incorporate a few keys to their ordering system that track waste. Each time a drink is returned by a customer, spilled, made by mistake or given away, the bartender must key it in appropriately even if payment is not made. If your reports show that part of your waste is due to par reports and liquor inventory discrepancies and theft is not evident, it may indicate that bartenders are "over-pouring." Accounting software for bars can ultimately help determine if bartenders need to be retrained.
Cash, Credit and Tip Reporting
Since bartenders and servers use the POS system to ring up sales, accept payments, run credit cards and enter tip amounts, the accounting software program also keeps track of all of cash and credit transactions and procedures. Bar owners and managers run reports that show exactly how many transactions were made by cash, by type of credit card -- such as Visa, MasterCard or Discover -- and how much was made in tips by each individual server or bartender.
Michelle Renee is a professional trainer and quality assurance consultant in the career, education and customer service industries, with two decades of experience in food/beverage and event coordinating management. Renee has been published by Lumino and Career Flight as well as various food, education and business publications.