Getting the right system

Star Pubs & Bars advises on when and how to update EPOS

EPOS and technology in general now play a much bigger role in the operation of many pubs and bars.


Here, Mark MacDonald of Star Pubs & Bars gives his thoughts on the importance of EPOS in contemporary pubs, and how operators should approach choosing the right system for their business.


How important is it for operators to have the business insight offered by EPOS systems as they seek to rebuild in the wake of the pandemic? What impact can this have on their business?

An EPOS system is arguably the most important piece of kit a pub has. It is central to a pub’s efficient operation and is one of the main tools for interacting with customers.

Getting the right EPOS system can revolutionise the way a pub operates and, used correctly, boosts profits. It is fundamental to keeping a business on track, understanding trading patterns and staff performance and running a pub effectively and efficiently. With trade more volatile and customer habits changing due to the pandemic, having a good EPOS system is vital. It shouldn’t be viewed in isolation.

To have maximum control over your business and complete visibility of what is going on, you also need monthly management accounts from a good accountant and an independent monthly stock take.


How important is it for venues to offer these services to customers? What impact can this have on business?

Before the pandemic, around 70% of payments were cash and 30% card. Now those percentages have flipped round and offering contactless payment therefore remains crucial.

The need for online booking depends on the type of pub. At food-focused pubs, customers expect the certainty and convenience of being able to book a meal online.

However, online booking and ordering apps are no longer necessary at the typical wet-led community local, where customers are keen to ‘get back to normal’ and enjoy a spontaneous visit and the social interaction that comes from ordering in person at the bar.

At a time when people are going out less but spending more when they do, loyalty schemes have never been more important, giving customers a reason to choose your pub over the competition.

Many big chains use them to great effect and they offer often untapped potential for independent operators.


Equipment supply shortages and delays coupled with price increases have impacted a number of sectors lately. How has EPOS been affected?

The spiralling price of computer chips, hardware and shipping containers have all pushed up the cost of EPOS systems.

Star has used its buying power to negotiate prices on EPOS systems with Microtill that independent licensees would be unable to negotiate individually.

This has mitigated the impact of inflation for our licensees and fixed their prices for the next four years.


Is there anything operators can do when seeking to order and purchase new equipment?

Don’t fall into the trap of offsetting the higher price of a new EPOS system by cutting back on support. A 365-day 24/7 help desk that you can call on in the event of an outage is indispensable. A fault-finding session over the phone will speedily resolve most issues and prevent disruption to trade.

Going for an all-encompassing, complete package with no hidden charges is usually better value than a modular system where you have to pay for every additional feature.


How often should operators look to review their technology setup?

It’s worth reviewing your EPOS systems every three to five years to ensure that you’re keeping up with key advances in cloud computing and business reporting and visibility.


What should you look for when selecting an EPOS system?

An EPOS system is one of the most complex pieces of equipment a pub needs but with hundreds of suppliers and software and hardware options to consider, it can be difficult and time consuming for licensees to choose a system.

Star Pubs & Bars therefore negotiated a deal with leased and tenanted experts Microtill to offer Star licensees bespoke EPOS solutions at prices they would not be able to obtain individually. Selected following extensive consultation with licensees, the EPOS package is comprehensive and includes hardware, software, installation, training and a national maintenance and repairs service with guaranteed call out times.