Top Trends in Bar Technology for 2020

Revel Blog | Revel | March 22, 2018 |

Industry Insights and Trends

Outfit your bar with the latest tech to set it apart this year. Whether your bar is sleek and modern or has more of a rustic saloon aesthetic, it’s important that your business operates at its highest efficiency. The latest bar technology allows you to improve efficiencies, increase sales, and wow your customers in the process.  

According to the National Restaurant Association’s State of the Industry Report, “emerging technologies that rate highest among consumers include service-enhancing items such as tablets at the table, self-service electronic kiosks, and wearable technology for restaurant servers.” 

bar technology trends: kiosk

With this in mind, let’s take a deeper dive into the top trends and tips for upping your bar game and standing out in front of a broad market.

Payment Flexibility

Credit or debit? Today’s modern customer now comes equipped with a variety of options, like Apple Pay, loyalty points, and gift cards loaded on their phone. Don’t turn away customers with a cash-only operation. Enable your businesses to accept all types of transactions. This can even include accepting split bills and pre-authorizing customers’ credit cards for bar tabs. Pre-authorization lets them hold on to their credit cards, reducing your liability!

Modernizing and adopting new strategies for your bar could be just the element of surprise that drives more traffic into your business. Here’s how The Cauldron, a New York City bar, is putting a unique spin on their payment processes:

The Cauldron provides a fully interactive and immersive experience by implementing the use of wands in exchange for holding customers’ credit or debit cards. Visitors can choose from 72 variations of wands, which are then linked to credit cards and track the beer pours customers consume. This frees them to enjoy beverages at their leisure with the tap of a wand.  When they want to check and close out their tabs, they return the wand and settle up.

“The ability to pre-authorize a debit or credit card means that we have some level of accountability without physically holding customers’ debit or credit cards,” states Michael Cortland, CEO and founder of The Magic of Things.

Whether you seek to offer a magical experience or simply want to streamline payments for your customers, payment flexibility is key to engaging the modern patron.

Mobile Options

Why make your customers wait when you can process orders anywhere in your bar? With mobile order takers, your staff can provide service anywhere on the floor – and automatically send orders to the bartender or kitchen to expedite the process. This integration is especially perfect for beer gardens, patios, and nightclubs.

Digital Menu Display

Rather than handwriting your bar menu on a chalkboard, switch to an advanced digital menu display system. With a digital menu you’ll have several options for custom offerings and instantaneous updates. For example,  spotlight your current beverage list, including the name, style, and color of the alcohol to the type of glassware it’s served in. And don’t forget, what’s on the menu matters most. According to Food Service Warehouse, creating a signature drink is important to developing a unique vibe and identity for your bar. Putting your own spin on your drink menu gives customers a special reason to visit your bar instead of the one down the street.

Self-Service Kiosk

Drive customer service with self-service. While this may sound counter intuitive, customers are demanding total control over their customer experience, which creates opportunity for bars to implement self-service kiosks.

Electrify your bar experience with an emerging trend that’s surely here to stay — self-serve beverage walls that allow patrons to pour their own beers. PourMyBeer, a self-serve beverage system explains that implementing this technology completely transforms the consumer experience at your bar. When customers pour their own drinks, you’ll reduce wait times and free your staff to focus more on quality of service. 

Adopt this self-serve technology for your bar to help your business stand apart in today’s highly competitive market. Patrons are bound to give you some extra love if you can provide a variety of beverage options. Beer enthusiasts will jump at the opportunity to sample a new brew before committing to an entire pint!

Social Media

People increasingly discover new bars through social media. With the proliferation of user-generated content, your customers photographing your drinks and food automatically become your brand ambassadors. Social media is a can’t-miss channel for advertising and promoting your bar online. Build an army of brand ambassadors with a strong social presence.

Repurpose user-generated content to live on your website, on promotional videos, and of course shared across your social media platforms. A product praised by your friends and family will always hold more weight than any company-released review. Be sure to take advantage of this strategy! The ripple effect of a great review can help to drive new patrons and traffic to your establishment.


bar technology

Running a successful bar is no easy feat, but with the benefit of streamlined bar technology, your bar can maintain a competitive edge, efficiently serve customers, and consistently lean toward profitability.