Why I Broke Up With My Cash Register


Ryan Kahl, owner of Pacific Standard in Brooklyn, runs a very busy bar. The 9 year old bar used manual order-taking for 7 years, but 2 years ago, Ryan switched to TouchBistro. We chatted with him about breaking off a long relationship with his cash register and how his bar became happier and healthier post-breakup.


TouchBistro: Can you tell us a little bit about how things were before?

Ryan Kahl: The Pacific Standard’s original system was a digital cash register plus ink and paper. We had the same system for 7 years. At my bar, we don’t have servers, only bartenders. For drinks customers would give the bartender a credit card and he’d start a tab. He’d physically write the guest’s name on a card and then make check marks for each drink they had. It was literally a tab. If you ordered food, he’d write it down and give it to the kitchen, then give the guest a receipt with a number and they’d wait until the kitchen called it.


TB: What was it that made you make the decision to say goodbye?

RK: It was a natural evolution I think. Our system was “working”, but I wanted to start a better liquor inventory and I wanted our bartenders to have more accountability. Tracking inventory was very hard. All of our counts were manual, so with voids and comps, we’d have no idea where things were going. In terms of sales, we knew the number but we didn’t know exactly what we were selling.


TB: How did the transition go?

RK: TouchBistro had a rep come in and talk to us. The price was really good, as a lot of other POS systems are really expensive, especially for a small business. TouchBistro had great features and it was an easy learning curve for our bartenders. There was noticeable improvement in the speed of things. The item search was a huge thing, bartenders can now just search for a liquor quickly and input it.


We also got the iPad display for the kitchen. This way the order goes straight to the cook once it’s punched in and the bartender gives the customer a ticket with their number and they grab their food when it’s called. We’ve eliminated the bartender having to write the order and pass it to the kitchen. It’s much more streamlined.


TB: How have things changed?

RK: Before, we had a 40% pour cost, which is like every time you buy a case of Jameson you drop and smash almost half of it in the parking lot. That’s pretty much what we were doing, but it was hard to see it. Now with TouchBistro, I’m down to 17% - 20% pour cost, which is standard for New York.


After the first quarter, seeing accurate numbers and being able to track and see our sales by hour and minute was huge.


As well, our overhead has dropped 20%. We are able to see what we are spending too much on. I can see what food people don’t like and I can change my ordering based on what people are buying. We don’t waste money on things that aren’t making us money. I can plan ahead and know where we’ve come from and where we’re going. I can do more forecasting. With reports from the past two years, we now know when our slow season is going to start or when things are going to pick up.


TB: Any regrets about the breakup?

RK: None. My new relationship with TouchBistro POS is so much healthier and happier!


TB: Thanks Ryan!


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About the Author

Andrea Victory

Andrea is a Content Marketing Specialist and Editor at TouchBistro where she writes about restaurant and dining trends, restaurant management, and food culture. A self-affirmed food geek, Andrea devours cookbooks and food blogs. She also knows how to make a killer kale salad.

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