Pubs and Bars EPOS

Pubs and Bars EPOS

pubs and bars EPOS

If you’re reading this, you might be a complete beginner or you might be an EPOS pro looking for the right software third or fourth time round. 

In this page, we’re mainly going to look at cloud-based systems for pub; that’s because as a business, we only sell cloud- or hybrid-systems which run on iPads, Androids or Macs. We don’t sell the older generation of POS systems, called “fixed till” systems, because with a few exceptions, we don’t think they’re very good. (Find out why here).

First, we’re going to quickly answer what kind of POS you need depending on your size. Then, we’re going to talk in more detail about the features in different software which are important for pubs. Then, we can deep-dive into the software brands we’d recommend – and which ones we wouldn’t.

 

What kind of POS do I need?

One way to divide the different bits of software on the market is by their target market. If you’re not sure what you need, this can be a great way of getting a really quick sense of which POS is for you. We’re going to give a rapid overview based on your profile. 

 

Pop-ups and micro-merchants

This is the kind of thing we might recommend if you’re just starting out with your store!

Starting at the bottom-end, if you’re a pop-up bar you probably don’t need a proper POS at all. You need a pay-as-you-go card payment processor which throws in a simple sales log so that you can see the quantity of each product sold every day. 

iZettle Go is just one suggestion – also check out Sum Up and Square, which have the same business model. They’re called “payment facilitators”. If you’re choosing between these, check out our advice to determine which is the best one. 

These are likely to be free software, plus 1.75% payment processing fees. 

Ask us about iZettle.

Small pubs / bar-only pubs

If you’re a pub without tables then you’re probably looking for a POS with a simple and rapid front end. “Table service” is a big deal and adds a lot of functions to a POS, and if you don’t have tables, all those extra functions could slow you down. Goodtill, Nobly, iZettle Pro, and to some extent, Touchbistro, are great examples of POS software which are built for speed.

Different systems have different levels of reporting at this level. Goodtill does great reporting on which products are successful – but some of the more complex analytical stuff such as staff and table performance is reserved for the table-service software like Lightspeed. You can expect separate staff logins with different permissions but less help managing timetables of large numbers of workers. Inventory management is fairly homogeneous across all hospitality POS systems until you buy specialist software.

At this stage, you’re likely to have accounting software such as Xero or Quickbooks, so you should check what accounting integrations are available with your POS – and whether they cost. Integration is important so that your spreadsheets update automatically.

For payment processing, you can continue using a pay-as-you-go provider like iZettle if you like; but it might eventually work out cheaper to enter into a longer term contract with a traditional payments provider such as worldpay or AIB. Call us to check which is more cost-effective based on your processing volumes. 

We’d expect your POS costs to be around £30-40 per month per machine plus around one percent for payment processing.

Book a POS call / Get payments quotes

 

Gastro-pubs and table-service pubs

example of software ecosystem set up for mid sized pub

If you’re a pub which serves tables the demands of your front-end become a little more complex. 

First, you’re likely need POS software which has table service built-in; for example, Lightspeed, Revel, iKentoo, or Touchbistro. These will enable you to set tables, and do things like manage tips, and split tenders when a party wants to pay by cash and card, variously. You start to see staff management which reviews staff performance and can help out with shifts, here.

For payment processing, your average transaction size is likely to spike significantly as people pay £30+ for their meals. Here, the processing price difference between the contract and pay-as-you-go processing options becomes much wider; so in this diagram, we’ve traded out iZettle for AIB, which does traditional payments in a long-term contract form. 

If you’re looking to run a tender process for your payments contract, check out our advice on getting the most out of bids. 

 

 

Pub chains & complexer operations

fully integrated lightspeed restaurant set up

If you’re a pub chain, this is an example of a mature software ecosystem where a generalist POS system alone isn’t enough. 

Have a think about what areas you’d like specialist software, and where the native capabilities of a POS are enough. Generally speaking, we’d expect your staff to continue using the front-end of a POS; and Lightspeed, shown here, has a lot of functions for table-service pubs. However, other POS applications, such as staff or inventory management, are areas where other software can become helpful. This integration ecosystem uses Tenzo for advanced analytics; Deputy for staff management; and Xero for accounting – all of which will integrate with Lightspeed.

One other thing to consider is the “multi-site management” of a POS. That’s your login screen as the multi-site manager; and how easy it is for you to dip from pub to pub to compare performance, set menus centrally, and pull different data together to give you a total overview of your business. 

Lightspeed, Revel Systems, and iKentoo are all popular multi-site systems for complex front-ends; if you have lots of simple pubs, Nobly is a good bet.

 

 

What are the important POS features for pubs and bars?

 

Reporting 

reporting banner

The main benefit of a POS is that you can see what’s going on! The really basic software like iZettle is good for a simple sales log; top-range software like Lightspeed can tell you what tables do the best, which staff members sell the most, and which products to double down on. For features in red, you’d probably need an analytics platform integration in addition to a POS. Check for: 

  • Simple sales logs
  • Analytics by product performance
  • Analytics by table performance
  • Analytics by staff performance
  • Aggregation of reporting across chains
  • Flexible data selection tools
  • “Smart Suggestions” 
  • Analytics by external factors like weather

Front-of-House

front of house banner

The second function of a POS is to support your front-of-house staff as they do front-of-house things. You can divide pubs into two categories. The first are known as “quick service restaurants” which need rapid counter-based buying to sell simple products as fast as possible. The second type includes pubs which need some of the more fiddly functions listed below. If you want quick, simple front-ends, Nobly, Goodtill, and Touchbistro are great options. Otherwise, consider Lightspeed Restaurant, iKentoo or Revel Systems. For features in red, you’d need an integration with what’s called  “PMS” software in addition to a POS. Check for:

  • Table management
  • Portable payment terminals
  • Tab management
  • Courses (order a starter + main together; receive them separately) 
  • Overriding course defaults (“can I have a starter as my main”) 
  • Modifiers (“extra cheese”) 
  • Substitutions (“can I swap the carrots for broccoli”) 
  • Drink recipe lists for your cocktailers 
  • Combo pricing for deals
  • Bill-splitting between different parties
  • Central control where settings are different across multiple sites
  • Booking and organising room stays

 

Inventory Management

inventory management banner

One of the big functions of a POS is to manage inventories. We find that hospitality POS systems typically have a similar depth of inventory management capability; but when you hit 3-4 sites you should start thinking about features in red, which would require third party inventory management integrations which can manage things like logistics and supplier analytics. Check for:

  • Easy bulk adding of stock
  • Recipe creation
  • Translation between “in” formats (e.g. 1KG puff pastry) and “out” formats (e.g. 4.7 steak and ale pies) 
  • “Theoretical versus actual” stock counts
  • Suggested stock ordering 
  • Notifications for supplier costs and price rises
  • Smart supplier analytics 
  • Logistics management

 

Staff Control

permissions banner

Managing lots of part-time staff is one of the great challenges of running a pub. For this, expect some limited features across all the different POS systems providers; up to a big suite of tools at the top end. It’s usually possible to set different permissions for different users, but tip management is more likely to be available in the POS systems set-up for restaurants. There’s usually a light timetable management tools – but for features in red, such as heavy duty stuff which includes things like shift-trading and does things like payroll, you’ll need to integrate HR-specific software. Look for:

  • Multiple logins with different permissions
  • Analytics by staff performance
  • Tip management
  • Timetable management
  • “Time worked” reporting which can connect to payroll
  • Shift-trading and centrally managed timetable features
  • Predictions of staff requirements

 

Accepting Payment

card payments banner

For payment integrations, see a more detailed explanation below. Otherwise, we just want to make that point of payment as slick and simple as possible.

  • Payment integrations at processors at sensible prices (see below) 
  • Price scheduling (e.g. happy hours)
  • Combination/deal discounts
  • Email receipts and text receipts
  • The ability to refund
  • Multiple tenders (e.g. cash, and card)

 

For the kitchen

Some of these will be contingent on hardware choices; but if you have a kitchen, there are a few things to consider when you’re choosing your POS.  

  • Kitchen display screens
  • Kitchen printers 
  • Clear allergen/modifier printing
  • Different printers for different course types for different kitchen counters

 

Cloud/Hybrid Features

cloud

A “cloud” system stores all the data centrally for multiple devices to use. If you have a Google or Facebook account, you already use the cloud. It means you can have eight tills synced together and control them all from a laptop in the back office. These do require internet connection – but some systems come with “offline mode” so you can continue use during temporary outages. Check for: 

  • Automatic data syncing between terminals 
  • Log in with any device
  • Offline mode

 

Support Features

A POS will be very central to your business; so if it doesn’t work, you won’t work. Most “cloud” software is rented monthly (sometimes called “software as-a-service”) and these are very likely to have support teams available. You’ll feel the difference between these and software you buy (“proprietary software”) here. Check for: 

  • 24/7 Phone Support
  • Onboarding/Training
  • A support library
  • UK-based support team

 

 Integrations

We believe integrations are really important, especially as you get bigger. 

A POS system is meant to be the “heart” of a store, but a heart is significantly less useful when it won’t connect to other vital organs. When you sell something, you want your payments processor to tell your POS that the sale has gone through; your POS to tell your accounting software that a sale has been made; your online store to update; and so on. This is what integrations are.

When you’re small, a POS can usually do most of what you want (you always need a payment integration, however). As you get bigger, a POS system becomes the tool kit rather than the swiss army knife. It holds all your specific software together via its integrations and keeps all the information in check. 

Integrations are software products which cost money to make, so while they’re often free, you sometimes do have to pay for them, in addition to the two softwares you want to integrate. Usually it’s built by a POS company; but sometimes, a third party software company has built one. 

There’s a really important distinction here – “open-source” software means that integrations can be built by anyone. That’s important because it means if a POS company do charge, it’s likely to be the market rate. In the past, we’ve seen examples of predatory practices here, where old-school POS companies do sell integrations, but for thousands of pounds. It can feel a little bit like being held to ransom: “you can’t connect to your accounting software unless you pay me £1000 per month every month!” “do this or spend a fortune on a new system!”

People pay that – because it’s so important, and they don’t consider integrations while they’re still small. So even if you don’t think that you’ll need an integration, choosing POS with open software or which is widely integrated is a prudent choice which will pay dividends down the line.

Consider:

  • Integrations with payment processors (e.g. various – ask us for advice!) 
  • Integrations with advanced analytics software (e.g. Tenzo) 
  • Integrations with PMS software (for booking rooms) 
  • Integrations with Accounting software (e.g. Quickbooks, Xero)
  • Integrations with stock management software (e.g. Fourth) 
  • Integrations with staff management software (e.g. Deputy, Planday) 

 

Payment Processing

traditional payments versus acquirers

Get Payment Processing Quotes

When somebody pays by card, if you would like your system to update, you need something called a payment integration. (You can manually enter everything twice – but we find that the few who do choose this route regret it.)

If you already have a payments processor, take advice based on your current payment processor.

If you don’t, great. We advise choosing POS first; then payments. That said, be wary of POS companies who force you into “preferred payments providers”. These can charge exorbitant fees for payment processing, which sometimes subsidises competitive POS pricing. 

Based on the average transaction sizes and likely turnovers of pubs, a contract is likely to be cheaper for you than a pay-as-you-go option. (Visit our payments guide to understand this.) We’d advise executing a bidding process, but you’re aiming for a charge which is around 1% per transaction after all fees, (some of which can be hidden). To determine which payments can be integrated with different POS systems, book a call for free and we can help advise you at no extra cost.

 

Hardware

Choose your hardware last. All cloud software can be used via iPads, whereas pre-cloud providers may require you to install their own tills at a higher cost.

Shop Hardware at StoreKit

There are more features coming round the corner – for example, some POS systems launched in the US can check IDs, or software recently launched here can scan a sea of faces to know who’s been waiting for the longest at a busy bar.

 

 

What are the big pub POS systems on the market?


This section will take you through the different POS systems on the pub one-by-one and in price-ascending order.

Generally speaking, there’s a difference between old and new systems. We’ve already said that we don’t think older POS systems are very good; and you can read why in full here.

 

payfacs banner

“FreePOS” Systems – processing costs only 

These are worth mentioning; because they’re a bit different from the others and designed for smaller merchants – usually a bit smaller than we’d expect a pub to be. If you’re a pop-up, they could be for you. 

iZettle and Square are both payment processors and EPOS systems rather than EPOS systems only. They’re processors – those are their card readers, respectively, which can be bought from StoreKit – but they come with basic POS app which you can download to your smartphone or tablet. 

They’re missing some key POS features – most notably, stock control – but will allow you to make a simple sales log and identify which products are doing well or poorly. 

They’re primarily payment processors and you’ll have to process payments through them too, which starts at 1.75% and gets cheaper as you get larger. This is more expensive than we’d expect a contract with a traditional provider to be based on average pub turnovers, but it depends on you, and you might value the pay-as-you-go aspect. Also, the EPOS software is free. 

Book a chat   | Get iZettle or Square   |  Read our full profile and user reviews for iZettle  |  For Square

 

 

goodtill banner

Goodtill – £29 per month per iPad + processing

Of all the systems listed here, goodtill is the most appropriate for a smallest merchant after payments companies which do free EPOS like iZettle Go and Square. 

Goodtill is cheap and fast. With a simple and rapid front-end, if you’re mainly selling pints, Goodtill will allow you to get through a packed bar extremely quickly. You can buy a “hospitality module” which gives you table service and split bills for an extra £9. 

It can integrate with Xero or Quickbooks for accounting and lots of payment providers.

Book a chat   | Book a Demo   |  Read our full profile and user reviews

 

iZettle Pro banner

iZettle Pro – £39 per month per iPad + processing

iZettle Pro is iZettle Go’s premium product, which means that they discount iZettle payment processing. For pubs with low average transaction sizes this could save you money. If you sell meals, those sizes are likely to be higher, and you’ll be better off with traditional processing.

iZettle Pro has table-service features, but is probably not appropriate for pub owners who want a large suite of features. iZettle Pro is available via StoreKit and can discount your hardware costs. Like everything available through StoreKit, iZettle Pro has no contract and you can leave whenever you like. 

iZettle Pro integrates with Xero for no additional charge. 

Book a chat    |   Book a Demo   |   Read our full profile and user reviews

 

 

Nobly Banner

Nobly – £59 per month per iPad or £39 with annual billing + processing 

Nobly does have table-based functionalities, but again, they’re not as complex as the next tier up.

Nobly’s multi-site management is well-reviewed though, so it could be worth considering if you own a chain of simple pubs. 

Book a chat    |   Book a demo   |   Read user reviews

 

touchb

Touchbistro – £49 per month per iPad + processing

I was impressed with the Touchbistro team. This is one system which manages to cater for medium-size and larger pubs, without the anxieties around big chunks of software you’ll never use. It’s a good all rounder; and while it doesn’t fulfil all the finer details that Lightspeed can, if you don’t have specific requirements, it’s a great bet. 

Book a chat    |  Book a demo   |  Read user reviews

 

iKentoo banner

iKentoo – £49 per till for basic, but can go up to around £60 per till + processing

iKentoo is on the bigger and more complex end of systems. ‘Nobody uses all of iKentoo’, a rep from iKentoo once told me. Rather, the system is intended that you use the 20-30% which is relevant for you and your business, and ignore the rest. 

That means it would be a great choice for a large complex pub. Their rep explained to me that hotel customers are a target market and get lots out of iKentoo.

Book a chat    |  Book a demo   |  Read user reviews

 

lightspeed banner

Lightspeed – it starts at around £79 for a pub with one till

Lightspeed own iKentoo, and Lightspeed is their original and more widely used product. With Lightspeed, we’re starting to get into territory in which the systems are designed to be integrated with multiple different other software companies. 

This would suit a complex pub – it’s probably too complex for most smaller pubs.

Book a chat    |  Book a demo   |  Read user reviews

 

Revel banner

Revel Systems – bespoke

As we get to the top end of systems, the process for buying is slightly different. You’ll have seen that the pricing is very simple at the bottom end. Here. you’re not buying something off the shelf; rather, Revel will configure their system to the exact needs of your business. 

That means that the quoting system has to be just that. Revel Systems is a great choice for a large pub chain looking for the central node in a developed software ecosystem. 

Book a chat    |   Book a demo   |  Read our full profile with user reviews

 

CLOUD/FIXED TILL FAQ

We only sell cloud systems, so obviously, we’re biased. 

But we’re not that biased. The reason we only sell cloud-based systems is that for our money, they’re the better systems. Non-cloud providers have approached us looking to partner with us before, and we’ve turned them down. This section is to take you through the advantages of cloud-based systems and also to address any issues they create or outstanding operational concerns. 

What’s the difference between cloud and “fixed till” systems?

In short, the older POS systems are not likely to be “cloud-based”. A “cloud” is just a huge computer owned by a technology company. If you store your “data” on the “cloud” rather than on a computer (“server”) you own yourself, there are some key benefits. 

With cloud-based systems:

  1. You can log in to your account on any device

On older systems, you may only be able to log-in to your account via a computer connected to the computer (“server”) you keep all your information on. That may mean that you cannot log-in to your account from, say, your personal laptop at home. But with a cloud-based system, you can access your business data remotely. 

2. Everything updates automatically across all devices

On older systems, at the end of the day, you may have to link up the different terminals and load all the data out to the main server, meaning that the figures on each device may not be accurate in real-time. 

3. You don’t have to worry about data protection 

If you keep a server yourself, you’re liable for the maintenance and protection of that server, and if that server is stolen, you may have to email all former customers to inform them of a data breach. (Full law here). In contrast, if you use a cloud-based service, your cloud provider (probably Amazon or Google) is responsible for the upkeep of their server.

4. They’re hardware-agnostic

Finally, the best thing about the newer systems is that you only need to buy your hardware once. (That said, do be careful about exactly which receipt printer you buy – and give us a call if you’re not sure which one you need). Theoretically, you can buy any hardware for any system – which is mostly true! But there are some asterisks, so do give us a quick ring before pressing “order” and we can make sure you have the right thing in your basket. 

 

Is an iPad as powerful as a fixed till system? 

This is something which is often gets cited by salespeople for fixed-till systems.

It’s important to take this criticism seriously, but often it can mislead users by saying something which is technically correct to make a false claim. 

Here’s what salespeople mean when they say iPads are weak. Usually, ‘powerful’ refers to the technical specs of a CPU (the “core processing unit” is the brain of the computer). 

There’s a few relevant technical specs. The first is something called clock speed, which is measured in MHz or GHz (1GHz = 1000 MHz) and determines the number of operations a CPU can execute in a second. The second is RAM, (“random access memory”) which functions as a halfway house where data is stored between being used by the CPU and being fetched from (in the case of cloud computing) a remote server across the sea. Think of it as the amount of space on a desk to put different files. Eventually, when you start performing lots of tasks, you’ll run out of space. 

When salespeople for fixed till systems say that ‘you know, an iPad isn’t powerful enough’, they’re referring to these technical specs. For example, the iPad 4 processor runs at 1.2 GHz. It usually has about 1GB of RAM. A laptop, by comparison, is likely to have something like 2GHz and more like 4GB of RAM. So it’s correct that an iPad is less powerful than a PC, and we’d expect most fixed tills to use PC-style hardware. 

But the critique is still misleading. First, measuring power in this way has lots of caveats. Some computers run multiple CPUs at lower clock speeds; Apple is very good at achieving high speeds on low technical specs, because they build the hardware and the software so it translates very efficiently. Instead, the new way of testing is a “benchmark test” where the performance of iPads and computers tends to be closer, albeit with laptops still ahead.

More importantly, with cloud-computing, the heavy lifting of computing – in terms of data retrieval, calculations, and general processing, is likely to take place on a server owned by Google or Amazon. That server is going to boast much higher technical specs than a run-of-the-mill commercial laptop, or the kind of hardware used in a fixed-till system. That means that all the iPad is responsible for is accessing a single platform, for which 1 GHz is well below what you need. 

iPads and theft

This is a topic that comes up a lot. These are iPads, rather than tills, so obviously they have a street value and are theft targets in a way that fixed tills are not. If you leave your iPad in clear view of the street without any lock or protection mechanism, that’s a risk.

But you can take precautions to reduce the risk of theft: 

  1. Lock the iPad down using a secure stand bought via StoreKit
  2. Move the iPad to a secure location at night
  3. Take general iPad precautions, including a password, and find-my-iPhone software

We’d recommend all of these. If you have table service, iPads are very useful to carry around, but otherwise, we sell stands which can be effectively bolted to a bar or workstation. If you use a big bolt (always get a big bolt), the easiest way for a thief to get at an iPad is to try to break the iPad stand itself or to remove the iPad from its stand. Some stands, such as our Bouncepad range, require that the iPad is locked securely inside. 

Others, like our cheaper Heckler range, require that you buy a separate lock, called a Kensington Bolt Lock, to secure the iPad inside. 

At night, a prudent security step is removing the iPad from its case altogether, and placing it in a safe or a locked location which is more secure than a shop. 

Finally, find-my-iPhone can be installed on iPads, and there’s similar software available for Android and Windows tablets if you shop around. This will enable you to check where the thief has got to with your iPad and will be useful in police correspondence! 

 

Cloud-systems and the internet

EPOS systems which use the cloud require an internet connection in order to work. 

The speed of the internet you choose is only likely to be a factor if you’re running multiple devices and software off of one internet connection. Even a modest internet speed such as 2mbps should be OK unless you have unusually complex requirements, or other things are sharing the bandwidth. The stability of the connection is much more important than its speed.

Some cloud-systems are “cloud-only” which means they cease to work when the internet cuts out. In a few cases, this means you cannot open them at all. Some of these will have partial use available. 

More cloud-systems describe themselves as “hybrid” and having “offline mode” which means that partial use of the system is available when the internet is down.  During a demo, if a system is touted as “hybrid’, make sure you get a full answer out of your sales rep about exactly what functions will and will not work without internet; there’s a full spectrum here. 

One technical bit worth wrapping your head around is that the “internet” is different to “WiFi”. Think of WiFi as a network of roads between your different devices and a router. Think of the internet as the motorway which runs into the town and through the router as its gateway to the town. Many “offline” modes will assume that the internet “motorway” is not coming into the town “road system” WiFi but that that road system will still exist and the devices are still connected. Therefore, some functions in hybrid may still require “WiFi”, because functions which work across multiple devices need those devices to be connected, whether they’re connected to the outside world or not. If your printer is connected to your device via WiFi, you will need WiFi to print, which you may still have when the internet is down. (As an aside, in this metaphor, the “town” is often called a local area network, or LAN). 

 

How to prevent internet outages

In the case of an internet outage, it’s important to take preventative measures. These will be “lines of defence” which can help you back-up your internet connection. 

Your main internet connection should be via router, which you can connect to via WiFi. If you’re specifically concerned about the WiFi connection here, it is possible to buy an extra adapter which can connect your iPad to your router via an ethernet connection, which is physical, and more secure. As explained  in the previous section, your WiFi is not your internet and this will only solve an issue which relates to your WiFi. 

If your internet goes out, one second line of defence could be a SIM card which uses 3G or 4G internet which you can insert into some iPads. (For market traders, this will usually be the first line of defence). At the point at which your internet breaks, you can set your device to default to this internet in order to continue working and processing payments. 

The third line of defence could be a 3G or 4G internet dongle which works in exactly the same way as a SIM, but plugs into the router. If you have the wrong kind of iPad to insert a SIM, this can work as a second line of defence too. 

A fourth and final line of defence would be a SIM embedded inside your card reader. A quick reminder: payment processing and EPOS systems are not the same thing. (EPOS = software for all things pub; processing = the financial, legal, and telecoms system which moves money from their card to your bank). For hybrid and fixed-till systems which ‘work offline’, you will be able to quickly and easily accept cash payment, but you still may not be able to accept card payment. 

Assuming your processing is integrated, card readers work off the same internet as your EPOS system so losing internet for your EPOS will also affect your ability to accept cards. But the same does not apply in reverse; when relying on a card reader SIM, you’d have to manually enter every purchase value into the card reader – which may not be appropriate for a high throughput pub.

Assuming that there’s absolutely no way you can access the internet, it’s still theoretically possible to accept card payments, but we’re getting into specialist equipment and scenarios. The London Underground, and international flights, both use offline payment processing. In both cases, the fee is only leveed to the cardholder’s account some time after the transaction has taken place, which means that the merchant takes on additional risk. If you’re interested in this kind of payment processing, contact our specialist payment experts who would be happy to advise. 

 

iPads and wet/messy hands

iPads will break if you get them wet enough. 

How wet? We’ve not done wide-scale testing, but generally we’ve been surprised by how few customers have reported breaking their iPads due to moisture from the work environment. Usually, staff are fluent with the principles around getting iPads wet, and this is a manageable risk but which nonetheless requires attention.

There’s a few quick principles you can employ to mitigate this risk: 

  1. Give staff an easy way to dry their hands next to the iPad station
  2. Fix the iPad in a stand on a dry part of the bar; and in a stand which is elevated from the bar itself. 
  3. Insert a tempered glass screen over the front of the iPad.

 

Why am I paying a monthly fee rather than just buying a bit of software? 

Cloud-based systems tend to be “Software-as-a-Service” rather than proprietary software, which just means that you rent them, like Spotify or Netflix. For many shopkeepers this is an unwelcome change, who felt more in control with the system when they bought the software outright. 

There are some great things about SaaS you can compensate yourself with, however. Software from SaaS companies is likely to be better quality in the long run. By contrast, non-SaaS companies tend to produce different versions (1.0, 1.1, 1.2) and invite you to pay for upgrades. As a result, they stop investing in fixing problems with the old versions, allow the old versions to get glitchy, and in the worst cases, actively make the old versions worse to encourage people to pay for upgrades. (This happens with hardware, too, with some mobile phone operators promising not to degrade the batteries in their older phones to prompt people to upgrade.) When you pay for software monthly, you’re guaranteed to be always on secure, fast, up-to-date software.

Also, Software-as-a-Service means what it says. The “service” element of SaaS EPOS is superior to fixed-till EPOS support. Especially at the top range, you’ll find these software companies have 24/7 support teams who can help you get set-up or troubleshoot.

 

Why am I paying monthly rather than just getting free software?

This depends on how much you want out of a system, and how much you need. 

We do sell “free” systems, and if a free system is right for you, then you can get one through StoreKit.

‘Selling’ free systems sounds contradictory. But free POS systems are not really free. They don’t charge a monthly bill, but they do typically charge around 1.75% for payment processing. That’s market rate for small merchants, but for larger merchants (like pubs) that’s an expensive rate. (Learn about card rates here). In addition, free software tends to be very basic. It does not include inventory management, for example. 

Whether or not you need the extra features which come with better EPOS is a decision for you – if you’re a pop up, or a market stand, we’d certainly recommend a free system. For pubs, £30 per month is about three hours work for one of your staff members who earns £10 per hour. A bigger system is very likely to save you more than three hours. Or put another way: £30 per month is one 2 litre bottle of vodka. Without inventory management software the scope for tracking purchases like this easily disappear. We strongly believe that good software is worth the extra money, when you reach a certain size – and that size is probably smaller than the smallest pubs. 

The final free POS software which does not do payment processing is Loyverse. Loyverse (uniquely) run a freemium business model. Some very basic functions are free, but they generally scale with the market in terms of extra functions. Loyverse do not have a customer support line. 

Do I have to use iPads?

That depends on the system. If you’re looking to use an Android or a Windows tablet, or your smartphone, just ask one of our experts and we can let you know whether the system you’re interested in will work on the tablets you have.