Tech.co rating for restaurants
Score out of 5 based on Tech.co's independent market research.
Tech.co's verdict to help you identify the most suitable choice for your restaurant
The typical lowest starting price. The lowest price available for your business will depend on your needs.
Is there a version of the software made specifically for iPad use?
Is there a version of the software made specifically for Android tablet use?
BEST FOR RESTAURANTS
Smaller, quick-service businesses, due to cost-effective pricing, strong brand recognition and support.
Large or growing businesses that want easy set-ups and training
Helpful features for kitchen and serving staff
Chain restaurants that want to build great customer relationships
Best for small restaurants
Businesses not looking to reuse or rely on iPads
Restaurants looking to expand into online ordering and deliveries
Restaurants looking to integrate marketing and accounting tools.
Restaurants that need to onboard new staff quickly
Businesses without existing software or hardware.
Free (but transaction fees apply)
$69 per month
$69 per month
Restaurant POS package costs $999 or $72 per month. Also works with a variety of third-party peripherals.
Sold separately but works with lots of third-party devices
Sells a range of third-party hardware devices from payment terminals to barcode scanners and cash drawers.
Sells a range of proprietary hardware including tableside ordering tablets.
Offers a full hardware suite for $799 but custom pricing is available on more expensive software tiers
Sells a range of proprietary hardware devices from handheld tableside tablets to full POS terminals.
Offers kits for iPads, MacOS devices, Windows PCs but all are $POA.
Sells $899 starter kit that includes iPad, cash drawer, printer, portable card reader.
Leases you a printer, terminal, card reader, and cash drawer on two or three year contract.
The best POS for restaurants and other eateries is, without a doubt, Square POS. Square manages to combine powerful restaurant-specific features with slick hardware and a remarkably low price point. Do your business a favor and get started with Square POS today.
The restaurant industry has been dealt a bombshell recently, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing serious unrest and disrupting the day-to-day lives of us all. There's never been a more challenging time to run a restaurant. Getting the right POS system can help your business become more defensible against the effects of the pandemic by making your business more efficient and flexible. Here at Tech.co, we don't like to see small businesses struggling so we've developed our restaurant POS comparison tool to help match your business with the right POS providers at the right price.
The right POS system can streamline every operation of your restaurant, bar, or cafe, from orders and payments to your entire ingredient inventory, as well as instill confidence in customers who may be cautious about dining out, with features such as touch-free payment.
Best Restaurant POS Systems for 2021: 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 the best restaurant POS:
- Square POS – Best overall restaurant POS
- Epos Now – Best for large restaurants
- TouchBistro POS – Best POS for kitchen-and-server features
- Revel POS – Best POS for chain restaurants
- Upserve (formerly Breadcrumb) – Best for small restaurants
- Toast – Best for restaurants not wanting to reuse or rely on iPads
- Clover POS – Best POS for restaurants looking to expand online
- Lightspeed Restaurant POS – Best POS for integrating marketing and accounting tools
- Lavu POS – Best POS for onboarding new staff
- Cake POS – A decent choice for businesses without existing software or hardware
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. All the pricing information is accurate as of 16 April 2021.
Editor Rating: 4.7/5
With dedicated solutions for table service, counter service, bars & lounges, coffee shops, bakeries, and food trucks, Square is a common name in quick-service restaurants.
- No monthly fees
- Per-item sales tracking
- 24/7 support
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.
Square POS features
Square POS offers a great range of features for restaurants.
It has strong menu management features with customizable layouts and item grouping to help make top sellers available faster. Bulk additions can help you quickly update your menu with new variants or loads of new dishes.
A huge range of third-party integrations can help you make delivery and pickup effortless, for example. What's more, you can even add third-party tools for employee time tracking and customer reservations.
Square's impressive order management platform allows you to control all your orders from one screen, regardless of whether they are being fulfilled by DoorDash, Postmates, or by your own drivers.
Similarly, Square has an intuitive table management feature which lets you click-and-drag tables to accomodate more customers or rearrange tables to free up more space. What's more, you can monitor every seat in your restaurant to see which are closest to being turned and which have just sat down.
Square's reports are impressive, too. It offers top-line summaries and deep-dives into your sales by category, item, or payment type. Plus you can monitor overall trends and see how many items were comped during shifts.
Square POS pricing
While Square’s restaurant POS service has no monthly charge, you will have to pay the following transaction fees:
- 2.6% + 10 cents of each card-based sale
- 3.5% + 15 cents for each keyed-in transaction
- 2.9% + 30 cents for online sales
All the features we've mentioned above are included in Square's transaction fee-only plan. However, Square does also offer a Restaurant Plus plan which gives you extra features for $60 per month, per location.
Transaction fees will be reduced to 2.5% plus 10 cents for in-person sales and 2.9% plus 30 cents for online sales. You'll also get advanced discounting tools, cash management features, and open check features. You'll also find your kitchen display becomes more useful with ticket routing and real-time order updates.
See our full guide to Square POS pricing for more.
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.
- Free to get started
- Slick and stylish hardware
- Serves businesses of all sizes and in all sectors
- Strong analytics, inventory, and third-party integrations
- Some necessary features for mid-sized businesses cost more
- 2.75% charge on non-card transactions
- Support options vary by plan
Editor Rating: 4.3/5.
Price: $39 per month
Epos Now isn't quite as well-rounded as Square's restaurant POS offering but is still a very compelling option and works well for larger restaurants.
- Loads of third-party integrations
- Individual staff permissions
- Strong hardware options
Epos Now features
Epos Now would make a great fit for larger restaurants thanks to its excellent employee management features. However, it's no one-trick-pony and can easily match Square punch-for-punch when it comes to features.
Think Epos Now sounds right for your business? Our quick, comparison tool will find you the best deal
Epos Now works brilliantly for larger restaurants with lots of staff thanks to its well-thought-out employee management tools.
For example, you can assign staff individual access code pins, meaning that they will only be able to access the areas of your POS that you have given them access to. This means you can keep new servers away from essential functions such as business reporting until they're trained up and ready. What's more, Epos Now supports full staff clock-in and clock-out functions, allowing you to make sure that everyone is punctual and all their time is accounted for — meaning you can pay your staff for the right number of hours.
Epos Now also offers comprehensive training sessions. For $35 per month, you can give your staff unlimited training sessions on the software. That might seem pricey but it's sure to have upsides for your business, reducing errors and improving efficiency. One-off training sessions can also be held for $175 each.
Epos Now also has a detailed inventory and stock management function. You can track everything you've got in stock, from whole dishes right down to individual ingredients. It also allows you to bulk import products — which can be very handy when getting started or when you've received a big delivery. You can also split your inventory into different categories — helpful if you want to make sure you've got enough strawberries for your cheesecake, as well as for your daiquiris. You can also separate your inventory into eat-in and takeaway items.
Epos Now also offers more than 80 third-party integrations to help make your life easier. Xero, for example, can be added to automate your accounting while Appointedd can be used for managing reservations, while Nettl and Mailchimp can be used for ecommerce and email marketing, respectively.
Epos Now pricing
Epos Now offers three pricing plans but prefers to keep the specifics of those plans close to its chest — you'll need to speak to a sales rep to get details for your company.
However, we do know that Epos Now's pricing starts from $39 per month. It also sells a lot of hardware bundles that you can buy directly from its website.
The full Epos Now Restaurant POS System, for example, costs $999 or $72 per month and gives you:
- Epos Now's proprietary Pro-C15W terminal, including water-resistant touchscreen and a solid-state drive (SSD) for speedy loading.
- Epos Now hospitality software
- 90mm Epos Now Pro receipt printer
- Cash drawer
- Installation, configuration, and training
Before you start calling Epos Now's sales teams, we'd recommend getting bespoke quotes from the other leading POS providers using our quick and free comparison tool. It only takes a few minutes and you'll be under absolutely no obligations.
- Quick and easy set up
- Simple interface makes it easy to train staff
- Widely compatible with barcode scanners and receipt printers
- Lacks complexity in reporting
- Paid customer support and no knowledgebase
- No kiosk option
Editor Rating: 4.6/5.
Price: $69 per month
As the name hints, TouchBistro was envisioned as a restaurant POS from the very start.
- Free trial
- VIP Community Network
- Online and tableside ordering with bill-splitting
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.
Think TouchBistro is right for you? Find out with our quick, dedicated comparison tool.
TouchBistro has a range of apps to suit the specific needs of different restaurant businesses. For example, its Full-Service app is designed for traditional restaurants, but it also offers Quick Service, Bars and Clubs, Food Truck, and Brewery apps to help give businesses the features they actually need.
TouchBistro has a strong tableside order management feature with easily digestible menus which will reduce errors and comped dishes. TouchBistro also lets you create bespoke table plans and use them to find your most valuable tables as well as adding or removing seats, changing parties, and more. Servers will be able to send orders directly to the kitchen via different kitchen printers or displays if needed.
TouchBistro's menu management lets you create, edit, and upload custom menus to the POS app as well as adding or removing menu items on the fly. Low inventory alerts will keep you in the know about what's in stock and prevent customers from ordering sold-out items.
TouchBistro's inventory management allows you to track which items are sold and the ingredients that go into each dish so you know when you need to stock up on tomatoes or pasta, rather than all the things that go into your spaghetti pomodoro. You can even track profit margins for each item and find out which offer the best and worst return on investment.
TouchBistro can also deliver daily reports to senior staff members using the data collected by the platform. You can see which tables are the most popular, which menu items should be offered in a promotion, and which servers work the fastest, for example.
TouchBistro runs on all iPads after the first four generations and they can be used by servers or as the central hub of your operation. However, when it comes to hardware items such as receipt printers, you'll have to find those yourself as TouchBistro doesn't sell any.
TouchBistro operates its pricing slightly differently to most other POS providers. Instead of using a per user, per month system, TouchBistro offers a cap on the number of monthly users with each of its plans.
The Solo plan, naturally, gives you one user licence for $69 per month. The Dual plan costs $129 per month and gives you two licences, the Team plan costs $249 per month and gives you five licences. It also offers the Unlimited plan which gives your business an unlimited number of licences for $399 per month.
TouchBistro doesn't include all its features in the main plans, however. For example, you'll need to pay $229 per month for its Reservations add-on, or $50 per month for its Online Ordering add-on.
This can make TouchBistro slightly more expensive than some rivals, so it's worth getting a bespoke quote for your business by using our POS comparison tool. It only takes a few minutes and you'll be under absolutely no obligations.
- Versatile and intuitive interface
- Strong staff and inventory management
- Free trial
- 24/7 support
- Pricing plan is based on number of users
- Only works with Apple iPads and computers
Editor Rating: 4.1/5.
Price: $99 per month
Revel offers POS services for full-service and quick-service restaurants, as well as bars, breweries, wineries, and nightclubs.
- Finance management
- Driver dispatch
- Ingredient-level inventory management
Revel has a very strong feature set and is easily one of the most well-equipped restaurant POS systems on the market. However, these features don't come cheap, which is why we can't put Revel any higher on our list.
Revel POS features
Revel's tableside ordering system will help your staff reduce errors with its intuitive, iPad-based system. What's more, its seamless link to kitchen displays will help speed up service, resulting in higher customer satisfaction.
Floor planning and table management are also super easy. You can lay out your entire dining room and move parties around with a few taps. You can also use the insights gleaned from this feature to spot high-volume and slow-turning tables.
Revel also offers an in-depth reporting system to help you analyze and improve your sales performance. Digital menus will help staff upsell and you can then track and reward loyal customers as well as identifying what's selling well and what isn't.
Revel's iPad-based hardware packages make it very flexible, as well. Self-checkouts are supported meaning that staff can be freed up to fulfill orders rather than jot them down.
Like TouchBistro, Revel also offers an ingredient-level inventory management feature. However, Revel also builds in a full driver dispatch feature for deliveries and in-depth finance management to help you keep track of every single cent. It even has built-in accounting tools.
Revel POS pricing
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. However, Revel doesn't disclose these fees.
Hardware installation and system onboarding is an additional cost, as well, and starts from $674.
If all these big numbers are enough to make you wince, we'd recommend taking a look at our POS quotes form. You'll be able to get bespoke quotes for your business without any obligations from the leading POS providers on the market. Plus, it only takes a couple of minutes.
- Intuitive user interface
- Good range of customer relationship tools
- Insights app for dedicated reporting
- Can be complicated to set up
- Prices start at $99 per month
Editor Rating: 4.1/5.
Price: $59 per month
Upserve has a strong range of features without being too spectacular. If you run a small restaurant, Upserve will be a good fit but we think that you could do better – especially when it comes to value for money.
- Personalized onboarding
- Offline mode
- 24/7 support
Upserve POS features
As you'd expect, Upserve was designed specifically for the catering and hospitality industries and it shows. It has a dedicated training mode for onboarding new staff, meaning that you can help build your employee's familiarity with the system without risking real orders.
Upserve also supports full bill-splitting for customers lacking a generous benefactor to pay for the entire meal. It also supports full tableside ordering with its dedicated 5-inch tablet. Your staff will be able to take orders and payments from one handy device saving you time and speeding table turnarounds. Upserve also supports online ordering and delivery, though you'll have to pay extra for the latter.
Upserve also prides itself on its reporting and analytics. Its easy dashboards can 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.
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.
Upserve POS pricing
The basic Core plan costs $59 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 $59 per 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 per month extra to add to the Core plan).
Upserve's Pro plan starts at $199 per month and reduces the cost of extra terminals to $50 each. In addition, you get menu optimization features that allow you to see the best-performing items as well as analyzing check size, tip, and turn time averages for each of your servers. Recipe costing and low-stock alerts also become available and you'll be able to offer a far more significant customer loyalty plan.
The Enterprise plan costs $359 per month and reduces terminals to $40 each. This plan is meant for the biggest restaurant chains and gives you free custom reporting, access to the Upserve API for creating custom tech solution and dedicated enterprise account management.
- Range of tableside features
- Deep menu control
- Dedicated training modes
- Wide range of compatible hardware
- No free version or free trial
- Some features are reserved for pricier plans
Editor Rating: 3.9/5.
Price: $69 per month
Most POS systems prioritize running on iPads. Toast, on the other hand, has opted for Android-based software, which can be run on your existing Android tablets or, for the best experience, on Toast's own hardware, which has been “designed from the ground up for the restaurant industry”.
- Supports Android hardware
- Delivery service features
- Deep menu customization
However, while its interface is easy to understand, it lacks support options and doesn't have any integrated payment processors. Toast isn't perfect but if you have existing Android hardware, it might save you some money.
Toast POS features
Toast lets your servers accept orders from customers at tableside and relay them to your kitchen and bar staff. Plus, servers can take payments with EMV cards supported, as well as Samsung Pay.
A dedicated cost management feature lets managers easily study the costs for labor and dishes, factoring in fixed overhead costs for a simple, unified view of total revenue. This means you can get an in-depth understanding of where your restaurant is making and losing money.
Toast has also created a new, and entirely virtual POS: Toast Now. You don't need any special hardware — just a phone or a tablet — which offers support for online ordering, takeout, and contactless delivery. Plus, it's completely free for the first three months.
Toast supports online ordering, allowing you to create a public-facing website that your customers can use to place their orders. Menus update in real-time and it connects to Toast's delivery dispatch feature to help get orders out the door. The site can also be tailored to your restaurant's branding.
Toast also has exceptional inventory management tools. You'll be able to track the cost of each ingredient and ensure that portion sizes are consistent. You can even account for wastage.
Toast POS pricing
Toast POS offers three pricing plans: Starter, Essential, and Growth.
The Starter plan costs $69 per month. It offers table and order management features, reporting and analytics, menu management, flat-rate credit card processing, and guest feedback features.
You can also opt for Toast's proprietary restaurant hardware package which starts at $799.
The $165 per month Essentials plan brings online ordering and delivery features and adds the Toast TakeOut app which lets you save payment and account information, automate push notifications, and is available across Android and iOS.
Toast starts its restaurant POS software subscription service at $69 per month per terminal. Remote or in-person installations are an additional cost, and they start at $499. Toast recommends that businesses use their devices (they offer a splash-proof, dust-proof range of handheld, desktop-mountable Toast Go hardware), with their most popular hardware packages starting at around $799. 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).
Finally, it has “Toast Now,” its entirely virtual service, which offers support for online ordering, takeout, and contactless delivery. Toast Now comes free for the first three months (though payment processing fees apply), after which the digital ordering ability will cost $50 per month, and gift card support will cost an additional $25 per month.
- Great for Android users
- Strong menu customization
- 24/7 support via phone, email, and live chat
- Support for tableside ordering and payment
- Doesn't work on iOS devices
- Requires specific hardware
Editor Rating: 3.8/5.
Price: $4.95 per month
If your restaurant relies on online orders, Clover might be a very good fit – providing you already have a functioning website.
- Online order and delivery
- Dynamic floor plans
- Good third-party integrations
Clover can handle online orders and delivery management with aplomb but, sadly, it isn't the cheapest platform on the market, and you'll need to have a website up and running before you start taking online orders.
Clover POS features
As Clover excels with online ordering and delivery, you'll be heartened to hear that it offers deep and powerful integrations with third-party services such as Mailchimp for email marketing and bLoyal to give back to your most loyal customers. Their suite of customer engagement features includes contact lists with options for promos, rewards, and private feedback meaning that you can forge meaningful relationships with customers.
Find out more – Square vs Clover
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.
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.
Clover also prides itself on its extensive hardware range. The Clover Mini and Flex, for example, are nifty, handheld POS tablets and payment terminals and cost $749 and $499, respectively.
Clover POS pricing
Clover has a pretty complex pricing structure. Its Payments Plus plan costs $4.95 per month and offers cloud-based payments, employee and customer management tools.
The Register Lite plan costs $9.95 per month but is designed for businesses making sales of less than $50,000 per year. However, it's only available to businesses that use the Clover Go, Flex, or Mini hardware devices.
The Register plan costs $39.95 per month and if you use the Clover Station or Station Pro hardware devices, you will be required to use this plan.
Clover Table Service Restaurantcosts $69.95 per month and gives you access to floor planning apps and a specific restaurant orders app.
Finally, the Clover Counter Service Restaurantplan costs $39.95 per month and is designed for vendors that don't offer table service. However, you'll have to pay increased payment processing fees compared to the Table Service Restaurantplan.
Confused? You're not alone. Check out our Square vs Clover guide for more information on Clover's pricing. While you're doing that, we'd recommend taking a look at our POS price comparison tool to find out how much your restaurant should be paying for POS.
- Great for companies that started online but need a physical presense
- Good range of hardware options
- Free trial
- Need pre-existing website unlike Shopify, for example
- Additional features cost extra and can become expensive
Editor Rating: 3.7/5.
Price: $69 per month
Lightspeed is a huge name in the world of POS providers but, for our money, it isn't one of the best solutions for restaurant businesses.
- Loads of third-party integrations
- Supports kitchen displays
- Free trial
It offers a large library of integrations that 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.
Data backup and software updates are available free, and live onboarding and 24/7 support options are packaged with all plans. Plus, for a limited time, you can get three full months for free as part of Lightspeed's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
All told, though, Lightspeed performs better for businesses with large barcoded items, so it might suit cafes better than restaurants.
Take a moment to find out if Lightspeed is right for your business, with our dedicated, time-saving comparison tool.
Lightspeed POS pricing
Lightspeed's pricing plans start from $69 per month with the Basic plan. You won't get access to ecommerce, accounting, loyalty, or sales analysis features but you do get access to the core of the Lightspeed POS system and its payment processing service.
The $99 per month Starter plan lets you sell online with Lightspeed ecommerce. The Standard plan costs $199 per month and lets you connect a third-party accounting provider such as QuickBooks or Xero.
The Advanced plan costs $169 per month and gives you access to Lightspeed's customer loyalty tools. Finally, the Pro plan costs $229 per month and gives you access to advanced store analytics which lets you see the sales you're making, employee performance, and marketing campaign effectiveness.
- Ideal for stores selling barcoded inventory
- 24/7 support via phone, email, and live chat
- Straightforward pricing
- Slightly more expensive than some rivals
- Not suitable for food sales, florists or service businesses
Editor Rating: 3.6/5.
Price: $69 per month
Here’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.
- Centralized menu
- Open API
- Employee scheduling
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.
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.
Lavu POS pricing
Lavu has one main pricing plan. It costs $69 per month when billed annually or $79 per month when billed monthly. It covers a single location and terminal and gives you all the features mentioned above.
However, should you need to work across more than one location, or have multiple terminals in one location, you'll need to get in touch with Lavu directly for a bespoke quote.
Before you do that, though, we'd recommend taking a look at our POS pricing comparison tool which will give your business bespoke quotes from the leading POS providers in minutes.
- Very easy to onboard and train staff
- Supports bill-splitting for easy payments
- Offers a free trial
- 24/7 support on phone, live chat, or email
- Costs a lot of money to lease equipment from Lavu
- Software can be buggy according to user reviews
Editor Rating: 3.4/5.
Price: $138 per month (software and hardware included)
Cake isn't the best choice for a restaurant POS system. It's seriously lacking when it comes to inventory and stock management tools, though it does have very good till and register features.
- Guest manager add-on
- Waitlist management
- Offline mode
Cake POS features
Cake will help you get started making sales in your restaurant, as well as taking reservations. However, critical features such as online ordering, inventory and stock tracking, and table management are either unavailable or only available as integrations or additional-cost products.
However, it does allow for easily discounting, deleting, removing, and voiding of items that have been sold and it has a dedicated training mode to help you onboard new staff. Cake also supports bill-splitting and accepts payments in card, cash, contactless, check, and gift card forms.
Cake POS pricing
Cake has a single pricing plan for its core POS offering. It costs $69 per month and includes 24/7 support, training, and security monitoring as well as the features listed above.
However, it also offers hardware in a slightly different manner to most of its competitors, selling a POS terminal, receipt printer, payment cube, and cash drawer in one go and giving bespoke prices for different businesses.
- Supports text alerts for reservations to avoid losing customers
- Useful reporting features
- Works offline
- Offers a free trial and 24/7 support
- Initial price of $138 per month is higher than average
- Labor management could be better
Restaurant POS System Prices
Typical POS prices start at between $69 – $99 per month for a single terminal.
However, 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. You'll also have to consider payment processing – some companies, such as Square, have this built-in but if your provider doesn't, it'll have to be an extra cost.
Your hardware costs can quickly rack up if you're not careful, iPads aren't cheap, and nor are cash drawers and receipt printers. Some companies will sell you the hardware you need as you go while others will sell it on a monthly instalment basis.
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.
Restaurant POS Buyer's Guide
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.
With a few key bits of information from you, our dedicated comparison tool will filter through the available POS systems and obtain a quote specifically designed for your restaurant business.
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
Some of these features haven't always been essential. The coronavirus pandemic has made online ordering all but essential for even the largest and fanciest restaurants. In the past, you might have been able to get away without online ordering but nowadays, you simply can't.
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?
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.
- Their age — Older customers might not understand or care about options like contactless payment or QR-code coupons.
- Their social expectations — A quick-service location might have a self-checkouts option, but a higher end restaurants would never give their servers iPads.
- Their 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.
Verdict - Best Restaurant POS System
Square is the best restaurant POS system on the market. It combines class-leading features with a simple and straightforward interface. It also has fantastic customer support options which should help you out in the unlikely event that anything goes wrong.
Plus, its simple pricing structure means that there are no hidden costs and you will only have to start paying for the service when you start making money yourself. You can get started with Square today.
If you're not entirely sold, you can still check out prices from Square's competition using our quick and easy POS quotes questionnaire which will give you bespoke prices for each provider.
In other words, it'll integrate all of the different functions you need to run your restaurant into one platform. You'll be able to take orders, send them to the kitchen, receive payments, track expenses, even manage staff and shifts.
However, if you want extra terminals, prices can vary with suppliers. Some will charge around $29 per month, while others can charge up to $69 per month.
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