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10 Best Restaurant POS Systems

August 9, 2019

9:00 am

The right POS system can streamline every operation of your restaurant, bar, or cafe, from orders and payments to your entire ingredient inventory.

Tech.co's top-rated POS system for restaurants in 2019 is TouchBistro. Built for restaurants from day one, TouchBistro offers flexible functionality and strong staff management features. Read on for everything you need to know about the best restaurant POS systems available today.

In This Guide

Our full reviews are a little farther down the page. But first, here's a quick bird's eye view of the top three best restaurant POS systems in one place so their prices and key functionalities can be easily compared. They're all popular POS brands aimed at all restaurant sizes, they all offer free trials, and they all come with a support team on call 24/7.

Touchbistro LogoTouchBistroSquare POS logoSquare POSLightspeed logoLightspeed Restaurant
Price from:$69/month$60/month$69/month
Hardware:Works with most leading brands.Sold by Square, available separately or packaged with software. Works with most leading brands.Sold by Lightspeed, available separately or packaged with software. Works with most leading brands.
Key features: Floor Layout
Tableside Ordering
Loyalty Programs
Menu Customization
Layout Management
Customer Feedback
Integration Library
Kitchen Display
Menu Management
Best for:Overall value, thanks to a range of features that covers the advanced as well as the basic features, and options for venue-specific versions.Smaller, quick-service businesses, due to cost-effective pricing, strong brand recognition, and strong support.Businesses in need of flexible, rare, or unique abilities, due to robust third-party integrations.

Looking for the best deal? Compare custom POS System price quotes in just a few clicks.

Best Restaurant POS Systems for 2019: Reviews

Some of the POS systems mentioned on this page were designed specifically for restaurants. Others have added a dedicated restaurant edition to their main POS offering. The one thing they have in common is they’re all deserving of being named one of the best restaurant POS systems on the market.

Here are Tech.co’s top picks for restaurant POS:

  1. TouchBistro POS
  2. Square POS
  3. Lightspeed Restaurant POS
  4. Upserve (formerly Breadcrumb)
  5. Toast POS
  6. Revel POS
  7. Lavu POS
  8. Clover POS
  9. ShopKeep Restaurant POS
  10. Cake POS

Continue scrolling for more detailed reviews of each restaurant POS vendor, or click on the names above to jump directly to the vendor you’re interested in.

1. TouchBistro POS

Best all around POS for restaurants

Editor Rating: 5 stars Price: $69/month

TouchBistro POSAs the name hints, TouchBistro was envisioned as a restaurant POS from the very start. Its focus on the industry has earned it our top recommendation as the best POS for restaurant use. More than 12,000 venues around the globe operate using the TouchBistro software, with their payments processed to date totaling more than $6 billion. 

A versatile interface and strong inventory/staff management options make this a feature-rich restaurant POS bolstered by its support team and price tag: The company claims over 200 features are available from their service, which covers virtually anything most restaurants will ever need.

Key Features

  • Floor Layout
  • Bill Splitting
  • Tableside Ordering
  • Loyalty Programs
  • VIP Community Network
  • Menu Management
  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves all business sizes

There’s a reason the TouchBistro app is one of the most well-used and well-loved restaurant iPad POS systems for service workers: Its support team, cost-efficiency, and raft of features are among the best around.

It's a flexible option for all sizes of business, too: Enterprise operations will just need wireless router to let TouchBistro POS run on a reliable and secured local network, while smaller operations will just need a single iPad to get started. This is a good pick for a quick-service or mid-size restaurant that wants tableside iPad service wrapped into a high-quality POS service.

2. Square POS

Best for quick-service restaurant businesses

Editor Rating: 5 stars Price: $60/month

Square POSWith dedicated solutions for table service, counter service, bars & lounges, coffee shops, bakeries, and food trucks, Square is a common name in quick-service restaurants. 

Menu, inventory and layout management are included in the basic restaurant software package, though add-ons are also available (more on that below). The Square brand is well-known, and stands for ease-of-use, plenty of features, and a reasonable support team.

Key Features

  • Menu Customization
  • Layout Management
  • Strong Analytics
  • Customer Feedback
  • Per-Item Sales Tracking
  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves all business sizes

While Square’s restaurant POS service costs a low $60/month, it also charges 2.6% + 10¢ on each transaction.

Additional software add-ons are available for another per-month price, and some of them are essential to any mid-size or larger operation. They include Employee Management ($5/employee/month), Square Marketing (Starting at $15/month), Square Loyalty (Starting at $25/month), Gift Cards (Physical custom cards cost 80 cents each; digital cards cost 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction), and Square Payroll ($29/month + $5/employee). 

A high-quality POS with strong support and a low price: It’s no wonder Square is one of the dominant POS systems on the market today. While Square sells plenty of hardware accessories, managers can opt for the software-only version to turn their existing iPads into quick-service devices at little cost.

3. Lightspeed Restaurant POS

Best for third-party integrations

Editor Rating: 5 stars Price: $69 /month

Lightspeed POSA large library of integrations helps this iPad POS stand out as one of the more flexible restaurant services. Third-party apps can be easily plugged into Lightspeed, allowing customers to add features like loyalty programs and employee scheduling or letting customers tailor their POS to even more specific industries including hotels and ecommerce.

It's not all third-party integrations, of course: Within the software interface itself, ingredients can be tracked individually through the inventory management features, a floor plan display helps guide servers to the table they need when they need it, and a menu that supports photos of each meal to be included with each description.

Key Features

  • Tableside Ordering
  • Integration Library
  • Kitchen Display
  • Menu Management
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves all business sizes

Lightspeed's most popular software plan starts at $69 per location per month, billed annually, and includes one register and all features, though reporting abilities are limited to the basics. Data backup and software updates are available free, and live onboarding and 24/7 support options are packaged with all plans.

Tableside service and good management options make this a strong POS even before considering the available integrations. Lightspeed is a leader in the POS industry, and this is a scalable option for managers of any venue size and layout who enjoy knowing they have, or can integrate, a feature for every need.

4. Upserve (Breadcrumb)

Best for range of features

Editor Rating: 5 stars Price: $119/month

Upserve POS dashboardUpserve is the newly rebranded Breadcrumb POS. It's a feature-rich POS that offers plenty of options that others systems don’t always have, including a training mode, offline functionality, bill splitting options, online order management and tableside ordering, in addition to sales and inventory tracking.

Want to dig deeper to understand your business better? Upserve has deep analytics and easy dashboards to help you spot trends in how your restaurant is running. These can help you to improve staff performance and increase guest retention, or even predict popular dishes and identify VIP customers. As its foodie name implies, it’s designed by restaurateurs themselves.

Key Features

  • Personalized Onboarding
  • Offline Mode
  • Bill Splitting
  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves all business sizes

Upserve offers a support team constantly at the ready, and its broad variety of features make it an attractive option for quick-serve or full service operations. The basic Core service plan costs $119 per month for one terminal, with each additional terminal costing an extra $60 per month. Any managers who can handle this price tag should find their daily needs well managed and optimized through this POS.

However, the $119/month Core service plan doesn’t offer some important features (notably inventory management and online ordering). Owners must pay extra to access the advanced features (for example, Upserve Inventory is $99/month extra to add to the Core plan). Alternatively, consider the Pro (starting at $249) or Pro Plus (starting at $399) tiers for a better value bundle of features.

5. Toast POS

Best for Android users

Editor Rating: 5 stars Price: $79/month

Toast POS system screenToast POS supports Android tablets and phones and does not support iOS, for those Android lovers who are tired of seeing the word “iPad” on this list. Better still, it wraps up all the needed features into an easy-to-understand interface: Sales, billing, inventory, layout management, analytics reports and loyalty programs are included.

It's a popular service with thousands of satisfied clients, and matches the industry-leading TouchBistro with its high-quality customer service team and intuitive interface. A wide range of venues are supported: bars, bakeries, casual, fast casual, fine dining – even delivery services and online ordering, making this POS a great choice for operations that are expanding and want to meet their customers wherever they are.

Key Features

  • Supports Android
  • Offline Mode
  • Strong Menu Customization
  • Online Ordering
  • Delivery Service Features
  • Inventory Management
  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves all business sizes

Toast starts its restaurant POS software subscription service at $79 per month per terminal. Remote or in-person installations are an additional cost, and they start at $499. Toast recommends that businesses use their hardware, with their most popular hardware packages starting at around $899. On top of all that, Toast charges a flat fee for its payment processing (while the fee is flat across all of a specific business's payments, the initial fee is determined based on that business's industry, and can vary depending on what that industry is).

With a streamlined interface that works for service staff and managers alike, Toast is a great choice for those who want a simple well-priced POS that does the job. Thanks to the support team and the offline, battery-powered mode, this POS can keep working seamlessly even during power outages.

6. Revel POS

Best for chain restaurants

Editor Rating: 5 stars Price: $99/month

Revel POSThe Revel POS is designed to be a full restaurant POS system, managing finance and accounting in addition to sales, inventory, and staff. Unlike some software offerings, Revel supports loyalty programs and allows for delivery services to manage their routes with features including scheduling, dispatching, driver monitoring and automated delivery time estimations. 

The company also offers dedicated solutions for bars, breweries, wineries, and nightclubs.

Key Features

  • Offline Mode
  • Self-Checkout Supported
  • Driver Dispatch
  • Loyalty Program
  • Ingredient-Level Inventory Management
  • Finance Management
  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves all business sizes

The Revel POS is a restaurant POS system to do it all, but all that finance and accounting, sales, inventory, and staff management doesn't come cheap: The service starts at $99 per month per terminal when billed annually on a 3-year contract. Opt for the Revel Advantage plan, and payments can be processed for a flat fee through Revel for an EMV-ready, Apple Pay-ready, all-cards-accepted service. Hardware installation and system onboarding is an additional cost, starting at $649.

7. Lavu POS

Best for onboarding new restaurant staff

Editor Rating: 4.5 stars Price: $69/month

Lavu POSHere’s your fix for the notoriously fast churn in the service industry: Lavu has great management options for onboarding and training new employees, streamlining a tough but essential aspect of running a business. Notable features include centralized menu, layout, and inventory management, as well as employee scheduling abilities and bill-splitting.

Lavu's software powers thousands of operations across more than 90 countries. Its interface is easy to use, which means a quick learning curve when onboarding employees, and it's easy to add third-party integrations.

Key Features

  • Easy Onboarding
  • Open API
  • Contactless Payment Integration
  • Bill-Splitting
  • Employee Scheduling
  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves all business sizes

Lavu’s support team is available 24/7 on chat, email, or phone, making their onboarding process as pain-free as they’ll make running your restaurant.

The “Lavu Control Panel” lets managers quickly crunch data to reveal metrics surrounding menu updates, inventory needs, and staff scheduling. Interactive graphs help managers understand the data collected in the software system's reporting and analytics features. And an open API makes adding third-party applications far easier than with the majority of restaurant POS systems.

8. Clover POS

Best for online operations

Editor Rating: 4.5 stars Price: Varies

Clover POS for restaurantsRestaurants with a healthy online customer base need a POS system like Clover, that can handle online orders and delivery management. Clover also offers useful online integrations such as newsletter service Mailchimp and ecommerce company Shopify. Their suite of customer engagement features includes contact lists with options for promos, rewards, and private feedback.

Clover's interface is designed to be easy to learn, and it works from laptops, tablets and mobile devices alike. Custom floor plans can be designed to match your specific location, helping servers keep track of which tables are open and which need to be served.

Key Features

  • Online Order & Delivery
  • Customer Engagement
  • Strong Analytics
  • Guest Seating
  • Bill-Splitting
  • Tableside Service
  • Dynamic Floor Plans
  • Free Trial
  • Limited Support Hours
  • Serves quick-service businesses

Clover takes payments in a variety of forms including Credit, debit, contactless, mobile, gift card, check, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. Fraud protection for payments of up to $100,000 is included. Orders and billing can be completed directly from a mobile device, allowing busy customers to quickly place orders or pay when finished.

Businesses with an online audience or those hoping to build one should consider Clover POS, though they’ll have to contact the company for a custom quote. In-person customers will be well-served through the service, which includes contactless payment in its hardware options.

9. ShopKeep Restaurant POS

Best for mobile-lovers

Editor Rating: 4.5 stars Price: $69/month

ShopKeep POS Analytics DashboardShopkeep offers both iPad-only quick-serve systems and full restaurant systems, both of which have nicely designed, intuitive mobile app options. Even managers operating multiple locations can see it all from their phone.

Features that are covered with both systems: Sales, ingredient inventory management, staff management, research reports, and menu customization. Businesses can build email marketing lists using the service's email receipt function, allowing them to build marketing campaigns around special offers or future events. Mailchimp is available as a third-party integration.

Key Features

  • Customer Marketing
  • Mobile App
  • Sales and Inventory
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Staff Management
  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves all business sizes

ShopKeep's pricing is not disclosed to the public, and the service instead offers custom quotes to interested parties based on the number of registers, users, and locations that need to be supported. However, Shopkeep's official starting price was listed as $69 per register per month as late as early 2017, so that price point is likely a reasonable ballpark estimate for anyone hoping to understand their pricing plans.
ShopKeep stays simple: It offers the essential POS features needed to run a restaurant business and packages them in a streamlined mobile interface. The price, lower than most POS software services in the restaurant business, is also a big selling point. Restaurants on a tight budget with plenty of tablets or phones on hand should consider ShopKeep.

10. Cake POS

Best complete package deal

Editor Rating: 4 stars Price: $138/month (software and hardware included)

Cake POS for a restaurantA Guest Manager iOS app can be added to Cake’s basic POS software in order to allow online order management. Even without it, those with reservations can receive text alerts when their table is ready, potentially allowing them to hang out at a coffee shop next door while they wait, rather than ditch your restaurant. This cuts down on lost service due to no-shows or walkaways. 

In addition to online and traditional reservations, gift cards can be easily processed and redeemed through the Cake POS as well. The reporting functionality allows managers to see their sales broken down by item sales, discounts and comps, refunds, net sales, and taxes in a searchable interface that can display revenue from the past week, past 30 days, or other set timeframe.

Key Features

  • “Guest Manager” Add-on
  • Text Alerts
  • Offline Mode
  • Waitlist Management
  • Gift Cards
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves all business sizes

While the price tag of $138 per month is higher than most POS offerings, the Cake service includes leases for a terminal, printer, card reader cube and cash drawer, in addition to round-the-clock support and, of course, the software itself. 24/7 support, security features, and an online staff training hub are included as well. The $138 starting number is how much a restaurant will pay per month when signed up for Cake's $69 per month hardware lease on a 3-year contract, and another $69 per month for a 2-year software contract.

Those in need of a full-service POS system that handles reservations nimbly should consider Cake, particularly if they want to avoid the hefty up-front investment required when buying their own hardware instead of leasing it through Cake.

Looking for the best deal? Compare custom POS System price quotes in just a few clicks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do I Need a Restaurant POS System?

A good POS system will help any business thrive and grow, providing accurate and important data to base decisions off. But a restaurant will benefit especially from an industry-focused POS System.

Any business records sales, but a restaurant must also be able to accept reservations and know which orders were placed from which table. Any business tracks inventory, but a restaurant must track the amount and cost of the ingredients used in each dish, in addition to the amount and cost of the orders that are placed.

In addition, a high-quality restaurant POS can:

  • Help the kitchen and the servers interact quickly and easily
  • Help a manager track employees’ work hours and plan their future schedules
  • Log data from past weeks or months in order to create detailed reports about the restaurant’s long-term growth
  • Streamline the order process from start to finish, including accepting online orders and sending email receipts

The bottom line: A good restaurant POS centralizes all the processes of a restaurant, bar or cafe, allowing the manager to improve on what’s working and fix what’s not. It will pay for itself and then some.

What are the Top Restaurant POS Software Features to Look for?

While the best restaurant POS systems might include a handful of unique traits, they should also accomplish an array of the following top features.

  • Inventory Management — tracks orders and ingredients used
  • Inventory Alerts — sends automatic personalized notifications when specific ingredients need to be restocked soon
  • Employee Tracking — records which employee was operating which station, and at what time
  • Table Service — tracks which tables will receive which orders
  • Billing — accepts cash, card, and contactless payment
  • Loyalty Programs — offers deals and gift cards in order to attract repeat customers
  • Customer Engagement — collects and securely manages approved contact lists, such as email addresses or phone numbers, for customer marketing
  • Reservations — allows workers to track meal reservations weeks or months in advance
  • Online ordering — allows quick-service restaurants to let customers place orders online

While the features above are important to consider when picking out a POS for your restaurant, you should go beyond just the features. The best restaurant POS systems are also cost-effective, well reviewed, easy to use, and come with a professional customer support team.

Do I Need to Buy Restaurant POS Hardware Accessories?

Example of a Self-Service Kiosk

While the software powering a restaurant POS is the main element of a POS system, hardware is important as well. Here are some of the best physical POS accessories that will make your daily chores more manageable.

  • Touchscreen display — Quicker and more portable than a desktop computer for running software. iPads are most common, though other tablets or smartphones can be used as well.
  • Card readers for iPad — Cash tills aren’t enough any more. Tiny card readers the size of a quarter can be plugged into an iPad’s headphone jack. They’re often sold by POS vendors and might be included in a POS package. Larger countertop versions come as “cubes” rather than portable readers.
  • iPad stands and docks — A stand, typically designed to swivel so that customers can easily sign their bill, is a must. These are also usually sold by specific vendors.
  • Self-Service Kiosk — A larger stand, a receipt printer, and a large card reader can all serve as a kiosk for customers to check their orders out by themselves, cutting down on employee busywork.
  • Power supply — Don’t expect your iPad battery to outlast your customers: Invest in compact portable chargers.

How to Choose a POS System for Your Restaurant

Not every restaurant POS system is equal, and even a POS that offers all the right features might not be right for your specific business. Here are a few factors to consider, some of which you won’t find on most POS websites but remain relevant to your decision.

  • Your customers — The demographic of your audience determines what type of POS system they will embrace.
    • Age — Older customers might not understand or care about options like contactless payment or QR-code coupons.
    • Social expectations — A quick-service location might have a self-checkouts option, but a higher end restaurants would never give their servers iPads.
    • Digital adoption — Silicon Valley is packed with early adopters who want all the options, but restaurants on the Rust Belt can stick to a more compact POS with fewer features.
  • Customers with disabilities — A self-serve station might seem easier than an in-person order system, but might not be an accessible option for those with poor eyesight or limited mobility.
  • Your budget — Don’t overextend your business, especially if you plan to pay up front.
  • Your size — A single food truck and a sprawling restaurant have differing needs: The larger your restaurant, the more important your POS communication features become.
  • Future growth — As your total orders, order stations, or restaurant locations grow, the cost for your POS system will grow, even though the features it offers likely won’t. Choose a system that will be ready for your future needs.

Restaurant POS System Prices

The restaurant POS industry charges per-month costs that vary depending on the number of terminals and locations, and whether you’re only using software or need hardware as well. Typical POS prices start at between $69 – $99 per month for a single terminal.

Given that costs can vary so much, how can you know which POS is right for your restaurant? First, consider how your business answers the following variables:

  • Quick service venue, mid-size business, or large layout?
  • Number of POS terminals needed?
  • Number of locations?
  • Unique features needed?

Next, you’ll need to reach out to the right POS vendors for a customized quote so you can compare the prices.

Conclusion

If you're looking for the best restaurant POS software and hardware system, it's likely to be one of the ones on this page, all of which offer all the core industry-specific features needed to operate a restaurant on an hourly basis while collecting all the data any manager needs to plan for years into the future as well.

Once again, here's our quick look at the three POS services that rise above the rest when it comes to features, support, and pricing.

Touchbistro LogoTouchBistroSquare POS logoSquare POSLightspeed logoLightspeed Restaurant
Price from:$69/month$60/month$69/month
Hardware:Works with most leading brands.Sold by Square, available separately or packaged with software. Works with most leading brands.Sold by Lightspeed, available separately or packaged with software. Works with most leading brands.
Key features: Floor Layout
Tableside Ordering
Loyalty Programs
Menu Customization
Layout Management
Customer Feedback
Integration Library
Kitchen Display
Menu Management
Best for:Overall value, thanks to a range of features that covers the advanced as well as the basic features, and options for venue-specific versions.Smaller, quick-service businesses, due to cost-effective pricing, strong brand recognition, and strong support.Businesses in need of flexible, rare, or unique abilities, due to robust third-party integrations.

 

Once you have decided which POS service is best for your operation, there's one big step left: Gathering and contrasting custom quotes from each of the POS vendors you're willing to consider. Some may offer deals based on your operation's needs and size, but you won't know until you ask.

For a quick one-minute jumpstart, try TechCo’s fast and easy quote collection form, available right here.

Collect and compare quotes from a range of POS system providers in just a minute.

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Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for the last decade. He's also a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry (and Digital Book World 2018 award finalist) and has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect. When not glued to TechMeme, he loves obsessing over 1970s sci-fi art.