Integrating Shopify with a highly functional Restaurant/Bar POS system

Mr-Wolf
Visitor
2 0 0

Hi Folks

 

I run a Whisky Shop & Bar.  We have 1 brick and mortar shop/bar and sell:

  • bottles through online retail and through the shop/bar
  • whisky by the measure (and cocktails, beer etc) through the shop/bar.

We're moving to Shopify (from Talech) for our online back-end and I therefore need a POS system (that will give me a fully functioning restaurant/bar set up with tabs, tables, loyalty options etc) that will fully integrate with Shopify for stock etc. as we don't want to sell whisky bottles online that have just been sold out the shop.  Being able to depreciate stock levels for multiple SKUs from selling one bundled product (cocktails and pre-packaged flights in this case) would be great.

 

Soooooo ...I've not read any good reviews of Shopify POS as a system for bars or restaurants (in fact, only bad!).  I've heard talk that there might be bolt-ons for shopify POS, but I'm going to hazard a guess that rather we need a bespoke POS front end that is created to integrate with Shopify). 

 

Please does anyone have any experience with the above?  I'm waiting to talk to Clover, for example...

 

Many Thanks all,

 

Paul

Replies 6 (6)

Retail-King
Tourist
24 0 1

Hey Paul, 

Iain here, 

Your suspicions are correct. I have helped a few bars/ restaurants/ cafes in my days and it can be really hard to get Shopify POS to play nicely with some of the workflows that are normal in food/ drink service. 

There are some situations where it can be "worth" it to go with Shopify POS as well - if you are using Shopify Plus for online sales the POS Pro subscription is free making it a great deal and balancing some of the costs of the apps needed to run the operation. 

I will also be honest I am not sure there is a perfect system out there to account for the inventory for drinks to bottles i.e 12 drinks that use x,y,z shots = a,b,c volumes taken from the stock. What I have recommend to merchants in the past is to split your inventory in a way so you manually take bottle stock for the drinks stock and keep a record of those sales - one workaround is to create a customer in Shopify called Bar Stock and then "sell" that customer a full bottle at 100% off to be able to account for stock moving from main stock to being used at the bar level. 

That is the tip of the iceberg - the harder ones are workaround for Tabs, Tables, Reservations, drink/ food modifiers. Not that it cant be done but I would also say there is POS platforms much better suited to food service. I have seen folks use Square and then an app like SKU IQ (here) to link some of the details in the back end to make operations a bit smoother. 

Let me know if you have any questions and I am happy to share some more advice on using Shopify in ways it wasn't explicitly designed for. 

Retail-King.com
Mr-Wolf
Visitor
2 0 0
Hi Iain

Many thanks for a great summary. I'm not so bothered about trying to get
Shopify to know how to automagically decrease bottle stock after 28 shots
of whisky, as we already manually move stock from bottles to drams for
Talech. I'm more concerned about tracking bottle sales from the shop to
the bar.

I'm guessing that one solution (which I think you were semi-implying) would
be to use Shopify POS for bottle sales in the shop (which should be
super-easy) then separate table service to a more suitable platform.
Bottles could be manually 'Moved' from Shopify to dram measures in the bar
platform by 'selling' them to Mr Bar. It wouldn't *strictly* be necessary
to integrate Shopify with Square/Clover etc in that set up (my previous
life in IT has witnessed the problems of trying to mash two things together
that weren't built to play well together 😉 ).
Any final thoughts would be much appreciated - many thanks for your time
and experience on this. I've found Shopify themselves to be worryingly
unhelpful and impossible to reach for support, in the UK at least.
Cheers, Paul
Retail-King
Tourist
24 0 1

Hey Paul, 

One solution I have used for this in the past doing a full Shopify setup for both the POS and the Online store is to create a customer for Mr.Bar and then sell bottles at a %100 discount to that customer to keep track of bottles moving from customer inventory to the bar inventory. The reason I like this is then you can account for the dollar value in inventory by looking up the Mr. Bar customer. You can also gate the discounting feature to managers on the POS Pro so you can sleep a little easier knowing this operation is only being completed by staff of a certain level. 

Where I have found the POS to be lacking for a service business is Shopify doesn't like an open table type of invoice its much more set up to take money and close an order rather than keep an order open and continue adding to it. I do kind of like this middle solution of using the Shopify POS to take inventory from Shopify/ bottle sales for customers and then use a POS system more suited to your industry for the actual table/ bar service side of things. 

Let me know if you have any questions as you explore the options here! 

-iain 

Retail-King.com
copycon
Shopify Partner
1 0 0

Hello,

I think it's possible to track quantity after 28 shots if add recipes feature to Shopify.

 

Kdunntatabrew
Visitor
1 0 0

Hi Iain,

 

I am wondering if you could help me out in figuring out a solution for starting Tabs on Shopify POS. We run a craft brewery and enjoy Shopify POS, but this one element is causing us some havoc.

 

Thanks,

Kirsten 

Your-Factotum
Shopify Partner
14 0 2

You may have some luck in using the 'saved cart' function for tabs.  At least thats what we used at a past position.

Saving and retrieving a POS cart 

Ivan Wine | Shopify Expert for Comic & Game Shops | Your Factotum
yourfactotum.com