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Having a proper POS system for your establishment can optimize daily operations. Whether you run a quaint cafe or a late-night bar and club, having the ability to manage your inventory, employees, and more, all from one system, is irreplaceable.
Amid the return of bars and restaurants in a post-COVID world, having a fully-functional POS system has become even more necessary. Of course, finding the right POS system with all of the right features isn’t a walk in the park, especially when you consider both your POS software and hardware business needs.
Come with us as we compare some of the top hospitality POS systems on the market today.
Overall restaurant use
$499 (remote) or $1,500 (on-site) installation / $79 per month per terminal
24/7 technical assistance and hands-on training material
Mobile POS capabilities, third-party integrations, contactless ordering
Mobile-based system for small to mid-sized restaurants
$1,200-$1,500 installation / $49 per month subscription
Unlimited 24/7 support with live chat, text, and email
Contactless ordering, inventory management with triggered reordering, time clocking
$69 per month per location
Inventory management, menu management, purchase order support, and adjustable floor plans
Delivery or take-out restaurants
Free + Additional Hardware and Feature Fees
24/7 customer support with a paid plan
Inventory control, menu management, discounting, and table management
Restaurant and retail hybrid establishments
$39 per month + $24 per additional terminal
Online reservations, bill splitting, and custom table plans.
Online operations or small establishments
$14 per month for software and $69 per month for hardware
Limited, standard support
Online order and delivery, customer engagement, mobile capabilities
Complete packaged deal
$138 per month for software and hardware
Online order management, Text Alerts, gift cards
*note that the prices listed above are the lowest pricing options available. Each POS system has multiple tiers for additional features and hardware.
Toast POS is one of the best, full-featured POS systems on the market today.
It is specifically designed for restaurant owners.
Some of the key features found on the Toast POS system include shift and server management, inventory tracking, payroll management, mobile ordering, kitchen communication, and payment processing.
One thing we love about Toast is that they support mobile POS capabilities.
If you run a large restaurant, servers will be able to take their POS devices with them, creating a more efficient environment. Toast recently put out a customer-facing solution as well.
Now, customers can use their phones to place orders and pay for their meals all while sitting at the table. These completely contactless features are perfect for modern times!
While Toast lacks a few necessary features, the system makes up for it with the ability to use third-party integrations. Some of these integrations include accounting apps, cost monitoring apps for food and beverage, and so much more. When equipped with these third-party integrations, running your restaurant becomes so much easier.
In terms of cost, Toast offers a dynamic pricing structure. There are multiple variables that determine the final cost. The software fee alone is $79 per month per terminal, though if you order in larger volumes, Toast will work with you to build a custom price. You will also have to pay additional hardware costs and processing fees.
Shopkeep is a mobile-based POS system that is perfect for small to mid-sized hospitality operations.
Customers can use Shopkeep to process payments directly from the table, effectively reducing contact and increasing efficiency.
This particular restaurant solution provides restaurant owners with the most essential POS features for both front- and back-of-house operations.
You’ll love the wide variety of inventory management and reporting options available.
Some of the noteworthy front-of-house features include hourly staff time clocking and customer check splitting.
Some of the noteworthy back-of-house features include customer management, staff management, and inventory management, which tracks raw goods and triggers reorders when necessary.
In terms of pricing, you can expect to pay around $49 per month for a subscription, as well as additional fees for hardware and installation. However, Shopkeep offers some fairly unique pricing options that are customizable from business to business depending on what you need.
Lightspeed is a high-quality POS system that can manage just about every facet of a restaurant.
They provide specialized solutions for hospitality establishments, including mobile support for processing payments at the table.
They have even designed the system so that customers can look at images of their food before ordering.
Whether you run a bar, restaurant, cafe, or other type of specialized eatery, Lightspeed can get the job done.
Plus, it is one of the most scalable POS solutions on the market, perfect for if you are planning on opening up multiple locations in the near future.
Some of the top features found on the Lightspeed POS system include inventory management, menu management, purchase order support, and adjustable floor plans. You can easily update seating options at any time. The system offers detailed reporting and it syncs up with all major food delivery providers.
In terms of pricing, you can expect to spend around $69 per month for a single POS terminal in one location. There are additional packages for those hospitality establishments that require specialized capabilities.
Square is one of the most popular payment processing platforms around today, though the company also offers a massive suite of POS features for restaurants.
We recommend Square for specialized operations, including pop-up shops, food trucks, and small hospitality establishments that are just starting out in the game.
Some of the top POS features available through Square include inventory control, menu management, discounting, and table management.
Square has Square for Restaurants too, which has an online store that syncs up for curbside pickup and inventory control. You can use this feature to outsource and manage delivery operations.
There are a few pricing tiers available for hospitality establishments through Square. They start you off with a free option, though every transaction comes with a 2.6% + $0.10 fee for card payments. After that, the second pricing tier moves up to $60 per month per terminal. If you want to have access to pro capabilities and specialized features, we recommend this tier.
Of course, you can go with the premium $299 per month option too if you are looking for marketing and payroll options.
Epos Now is a system that you don’t hear about often in the hospitality world, as they have specialized retail offerings.
However, Epos Now fits superbly with most hospitality establishments, providing many of the same benefits as the retail option, including the same core system plus additional restaurant-centric features.
Some of the top features found on Epos Now include inventory management, sales processing, purchase history tracking, customer profile creation, in-depth sales reporting, and more.
Some of the hospitality features that are a bit more specialized include online reservations, bill splitting, and custom table plans.
Epos Now is a wonderful option for those establishments that are looking to save a bit of money, as they offer a 30-day free trial for all of their users, priced at just $39 per month for the first tier. If you want to go for a premium, it’s only $69 per month, which is pretty affordable compared to most premium POS options. Every additional terminal comes at a discounted price too, which is $24 per month per basic terminal or $45 per month per premium terminal.
If you’re looking for a completely food-focused POS system, then Clover is a great choice.
It provides hospitality establishments with just about all of the necessary front-of-house and back-of-house features, as well as order management and payment management.
It is a wonderful choice for small to mid-sized establishments.
We often see Clover restaurant POS systems in food trucks and cafes, though they have full-service capabilities too.
Clover provides a slew of workflow and communications features to increase efficiency between floor staff, kitchen, and management.
The mobile system offers capabilities that will feel familiar to Android users, providing solutions for order management, order adjustment, and customer tracking. This way, you’ll be able to manage order histories, run promotions or discounts, and track employees. Plus, Clover has tons of third-party integrations so that you can get the additional features that the system comes without.
In terms of pricing, there are many factors to take into account. Clover has both software and hardware options and monthly costs can range from around $14 per month to $70 per month. Plus, you’ll have to account for additional transaction fees. If you want to purchase hardware, expect to spend between $69 and $1,700 depending on what type of hardware you need.
Cake POS is a great choice for those who want a complete hardware and software package.
You can use the Guest Manager iOS application to the basic Cake POS system to get online order management as well. Even without the application, guests can receive alters via text when their table is ready.
You’ll be able to retain guests better this way, as they’ll have the option to hang out elsewhere and wait rather than go to a different restaurant due to long wait times.
Beyond traditional reservations or online reservations, Cake POS has a wonderful gift card feature that allows guests to process and redeem cards with ease. For managers, the reporting functionality is key.
You can see discounts and comps, sales, net sales, refunds, and taxes. All of this comes in an intuitive interface, which can display information in various time periods, including one week, 30 days, etc.
As for price, you’ll pay $138 per month. While this might sound like more than the majority of POS options out there, Cake includes a printer, card reader, and terminal in this price, plus a cash drawer! This price also includes 24/7, around-the-clock support, which can be extremely helpful in dire situations, as well as online staff training and additional security features.
Do note that you will need to sign up for the $69 per month hardware lease with Cake, which is a three-year contract, as well as the $69 per month software lease, which is a two-year contract.
If you’ve been searching for a full-featured POS system with the ability to handle reservations beautifully, Cake is a great choice.
There are plenty of considerations to make when looking for a POS solution for your establishment. Here are a few of the top considerations that we recommend you make before your ultimate purchase.
Restaurant owners know the importance of thin margins. The smallest differences can make a world of differences for a restaurant owner. Having an inventory management system to help you deal with inventory waste and food cost is extremely helpful for making sure you’re not losing cash.
There are plenty of top-notch inventory management systems on the POS market, though there are just as many shotty ones too. Make sure that the inventory management system is one of your biggest concerns when searching for the best point of sale system for your needs.
Successful hospitality establishments sustain themselves using in-depth reporting. With reporting, you can see how well new menu items on performing, how many customers are returning vs. coming in for the first time, what kind of promotional offers are working, etc. You can use reporting and data analytics to make informed decisions about your restaurant, including profitability maximization, employee management, and more.
Not only should the reporting system be in-depth, but it should also be easy to understand. You should feel confident in using the available data to make informed decisions about your business to set yourself up for success in the future.
Contactless payments aren’t new to the market just because of the COVID crisis. They’ve been around for a few years. We’re beginning to see contactless transaction functionality sprout up in establishments across the country.
Forget about having a bulky hardware system sitting in the middle of your restaurant.
Servers can now take orders from guests at the table using tablets or smartphones. Employees can then send those orders to the kitchen to expedite the process.
Contactless transactions reduce or eliminate errors from traditional styles of ordering. Plus, customers love having the ability to pay comfortably at their table, which adds to the overall feeling of security and efficiency at the end of their experience at your restaurant.
When looking for the best POS restaurant systems, there are quite a few things to consider. You can think of a POS system as the central nervous system of your restaurant. It is your restaurant management platform and it is there to make sure things run smoothly and efficiently. Plus, a great POS solution will make you a serious competitor for other establishments in the restaurant industry.
If we had to pick one over all of the POS systems for restaurants, we’d go with Toast POS. It comes with so many excellent, well-rounded features and is perfect for almost any type of establishment. Of course, that shouldn’t take away from the other wonderful options on this list.
We hope that you now have a clear sense of what you need from your point of sale solution, Good luck and we look forward to seeing your success.