Choosing a Bar Cash Register

The days when you can forego a cash register and just use pen, paper and calculator to keep track of your sales are long gone. That method pretty much has gone out with the 8-track. The inefficiency and opportunities for fraud, theft and just outright error with that old-fashioned kind of system are just too high. Not to mention, given the low cost and convenience of modern cash registers, getting one is simply a no brainer. The last thing you want to be doing is trying to add up your sales for the day at 3 am every night.

There are a lot of different kinds of bar cash registers from which to choose. The kind of bar cash register you choose will largely depend on what kind of bar you have and what you believe the growth potential for your bar or nightclub is. If you own a tiny hole-in-the-wall Tiki Bar, for example, where you and your brothers are the only employees and you have no room for development even if you wanted to expand, then a simple Sharp XE might be able to do the job for you.

On the other hand, if you own a thriving club that is quickly expanding and will soon be opening a second story LED lit dance floordance floor—then you may actually need a more advanced POS system. So how to you decide how much cash register you actually need for your establishment?

Here’s a helpful guide to choosing the right cash register:

The Basic Cash Register

So, you know that Tiki Bar that I mentioned? Well if you happen to have a Tiki Bar, then this might be your best bet for your cash register, because it is cheap, small, simple and durable—just like your Tiki Bar. First of all, the tiny dimensions of this cash register make if perfect for a tight little bar where space is at a premium. At 13” by just over 14” this is only slightly larger than your average notebook. You can nestle it right within your bottle display on your back bar. (For more on the placement of your cash register see my Cash Register Basics article.)

The simple, fool proof set-up also makes this perfect for a no-frills, zero pretentiousness kind of a bar. (Think the total Dive experience.)

Tip from the Pros: Don’t forget about the Power Source for your cash register. If you want to place a cash register in a hut up by the pool of the hotel or down on the beach, and there is no power source, you will have a hard time powering the more complicated types of cash registers. Always take power and dimension into mind when purchasing a cash register for your bar or nightclub.

Standard Cash Registers

Samsung along with other cash register companies make a series of cash registers that are perfect for the bar business. The basic standard model, the Samsung register ER920 is well-suited to the bar, nightclub and restaurant business. This Samsung register is a large, sturdy electronic cash register with an internal computer system that is easily programmable. (Samsung also has excellent customer service should you get stuck.) This helps because it allows you to program a series of functions. Unlike the Sharp XE, for example, which only allows you program 8 keys, the Samsung has 99 programmable keys and it also allows you to give individual users separate ID codes so that you can track who was on the cash register when.

In addition, the keyboard is spill resistant—a big help in our line of work—and it is not too much larger than the Sharp XE. These registers will also calculate sales tax as well, making sales quicker and more efficient. On the other hand, it is a good 4 times more expensive than the Sharp, so it is much more of an investment.

Point of Sale Systems

Of course, if you own a large, multi-level bar or nightclub (or maybe just an establishment with more than one point of sale), you should definitely considerate purchasing a POS system that allows you have an integrated system to help with tracking sales and inventory. This kind of an integrated POS system allows multiple cash registers and locations to connect with one another so that you can have waiters and servers on one level, instantly relaying orders to the kitchen or bar even if they are on another level. These increases in efficiency optimize customer satisfaction and improve efficiency so that profits are maximized.

This is the perfect system for a large high-end nightclub with multiple floors and various points of sale.

You can find out more about this kind of a Point of Sale System in my forthcoming article, which I will LINK to here when it is published.

Filed Under: Bar / Nightclub BusinessBar / Nightclub Design

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