One of the challenges we frequently encounter when performing liquor inventory auditing for our clients is poorly programmed POS systems. Specifically, the way POS systems are programmed often does not ensure customers are charged correctly or provide a precise record of exactly what was sold. The problem lies in the fact that most restaurant or bar POS systems are programmed with one main purpose in mind: Make sure the bartenders know which drinks to make. Enabling servers to communicate what drinks their customers have ordered might be considered the most critical of different POS system functions, but charging customers appropriately and knowing precisely what was sold so you can monitor overpouring and give-aways are also crucial for a bar from a business perspective.
Allow me to provide an example: Typically if a customer orders a “whiskey on the rocks” a server will ring up the drink by pressing the ‘well whiskey’ button followed by the ‘rocks’ modifier. The bartender will see the order printed on a ticket allowing him to make the correct drink. In other words the system works just fine from an operational standpoint. Where it falls down is related to two other, more technical ways the POS system at your bar needs to be working for your business: If instead of ordering a well whiskey the customer had ordered a Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks, the server would similarly have rung the drink using the same ‘rocks’ modifier. The problem here is the customer is charged the same price for an extra half ounce of well whiskey as they charged for an extra half ounce of Johnnie Black despite the latter product being fives times more expensive. You would never charge the same price for a well versus a premium cocktail therefore it makes no sense to do the same for the additional half ounce in a rocks drink.
The second problem with this POS setup is that if you try to perform a precise liquor inventory audit on your bar, you can’t tell exactly how many ounces of each product have been sold. You only know how many total ounces of whiskey were sold making auditing individual products impossible. The typical solution we recommend to our clients is to add specific buttons for ‘whiskey rocks’ and ‘JW black rocks’ which addresses the problems but requires a significant time investment to program new buttons into the POS system.
One of the reasons we have recently decided to enter into a strategic partnership with Serving Success, a Point-of-Sale system from Fero Software, is that they handle this situation more cleverly than any of the other POS system providers Bar-i Liquid Accounting integrates with. A restaurant using Serving Success will have no issue charging customers appropriately since the price added when the server hits the ‘rocks’ modifier can be set as a set percentage of the original drink. Using a set percentage of the original drink’s price is one of several clever ways Serving Success can be programmed to handle this scenario. By providing a variety of options and working closely with their clients, they ensure their clients charge appropriately for every ounce served. The fact that the many of our clients had their systems programmed by professional POS system providers which didn’t feel the need to help their clients address this issue is telling about how invested the POS companies are in their clients’ success. This level of attention to detail is why we’re excited to be working with Serving-Success.
Incidentally if you’re wondering how they address the issue of providing a precise record of how much Johnnie Walker Black was sold, they simply change a setting in the POS back of house, meaning we get the information we require, without any work for our client. At Bar-i we’re working to make restaurant systems more intelligent and more integrated. We’re excited to partner with Serving-Success to further that goal
Serving Success is a full featured Point-of-Sale system for restaurants and bars developed by Fero Software in Madison Wisconsin. For more information please visit www.serving-success.com