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We tested 31 of the top selling POS systems within the restaurant industry and boiled it down to 9 clear winners.
With dozens of POS system brands to choose from, finding the ideal one can be a daunting task, and the wrong choice will be a costly mistake.
Read on as we compare these 9 brands to help you decide which one is the perfect system for your restaurant.
Best all-in-one systtem
$69 per month starting
Raw ingredient management, customer-facing loyalty app, reservation management
Best for advanced ordering features
$165 per month starting
Several digital ordering options, advanced reporting, advanced employee management
Best industry-specific hybrid system
$69 per month starting
In-house reservation system, Square compatibility, third-party delivery app integration
Best feature set
$99 per month starting
Table reservation, digital menu boards, raw ingredient tracking
Best free POS software
Online ordering, employee management, iPad-integration
Most intuitive interface
$69 per month starting
Contactless delivery, tableside ordering, restaurant-specific app bundles
Best for quick-service establishmentts
$69 per month starting
Adjustable floor plans, raw ingredient tracking, tableside ordering
Best for third-part integrations
$69 per month starting
Local server for offline functionality, Free DoorDash integration, advanced employee management
Most cost-effective system
$29 per month starting
Purchase ordering, online ordering, inventory management
Lightspeed Restaurant POS is one of the best restaurant POS systems for the modern restaurant owner.
This particular POS system works using iPad hardware and is just as good for full-service restaurants as it is for quick-service restaurants.
As for the price, you can expect to start off at $69 per month, making it one of the more affordable POS systems for mid-level, full-service establishments.
If you're all about getting the most features for your money, then Lightspeed Restaurant POS will be right up your alley.
A few features within this restaurant POS software include ingredient tracking and real-time low-ingredient alerts to help make sure you are stocked up at all times.
One great Lightspeed POS feature for modern restaurants is the tableside ordering feature, which allows servers to send orders to the kitchen without ever leaving the table. Restaurant owners can even install Lightspeed POS kiosks so that customers can take their own orders.
There are a few additional features that you can add if you want to pay a bit extra, including delivery, a branded loyalty app, customer-facing displays, KDS, and QuickBooks integration.
If you don't already have a payment processor that your restaurant is working with, you can utilize the Lightspeed Payments processor. Lightspeed POS runs on a flat-rate model at 2.6%+ $0.10, perfect for restaurants that don't have a lot of volume. Of course, if you have a payment processor that you already work with, you can integrate them with the system. However, doing so will require you to pay a bit more.
It is worth mentioning that Lightspeed POS has a ton of forward-thinking pos features, one of which helps it to integrate with third-party delivery apps. If your restaurant has a menu that is exclusive for delivery, you can integrate that particular menu.
Dine-in customers love the contactless kiosk payment method as well, especially for a post-Covid 19 dining experience.
Toast POS is one of the best POS systems for restaurants that want a cloud-based system.
Unlike Lightspeed, however, Toast restaurant POS runs completely and exclusively on Android devices.
Even so, it is very similar to Lightspeed in a lot of ways with a user-friendly interface, and easy-to-setup design, and feature-rich software.
One of the unique things about Toast POS is how mobile it is.
Servers can use the tableside ordering feature to take customers' orders directly from their tables and process payments, all without ever having to walk back to a singular POS system point.
While Toast users can start out with the free Toast POS option to see how they like it, most restaurant owners eventually move up to the $165 per month option, which provides them with online ordering and a takeout app.
The thing that makes Toast POS so distinct is the high-quality 24/7 customer support. The tech team for Toast is based in the United States and they provide support whenever you need it for no additional charge. Pair the company's focus on customer support with the reporting and employee management options and you have a cutting-edge restaurant and hospitality POS system.
You will have to be fine with using the in-house payment processor that comes with Toast, as well as the Android devices. It should be noted that a payment contract with Toast means a multi-year commitment. If you decide to terminate the contract early, you will have to pay a pretty hefty fee.
We love that Toast has its own Toast Takeout App, allowing customers to order and pay without ever having to step foot in the restaurant. Those who choose to dine-in will get to take advantage of NFC-friendly card readers, QR code payments, and self-ordering kiosks.
The new Toast Go platform offers a fully integrated hardware, software, and credit card processing system. Whether you run a fine-dining restaurant or a local, hole-in-the-wall joint, Toast POS system for restaurants is one of the best restaurant POS system choices around.
TouchBistro POS is another extremely versatile and secure on-site restaurant POS system that uses iPad interfaces. It is a wonderful point of sale system for numerous types of restaurants, including full-service establishments. The interface is both sleek and attractive and has plenty of intuitive features, making it one of the top restaurant POS systems out on the market today. Using multiple iPads with your TouchBistro software is as simple as syncing your devices to a local Mac server.
No matter what type of payment your guests want to use, TouchBistro can help. It integrates with a number of payment processors as well, including its own built-in processor or third-party processors like Square. You will need to have Wi-Fi running to accept payments with credit cards or debit cards. While running online, the system will provide you with real-time data thanks to the cloud-based application.
Compared to some of the other options on our list, TouchBistro POS doesn't come out as strong with reporting or management features. However, you can add additional pieces of third-party software like Shogo if you are in need of additional inventory features. In fact, TouchBistro is very easy to integrate with third-party apps in general, so you shouldn't have a hard time optimizing the functionality of your system if necessary.
Some of the modern TouchBisro point of sale software features include online ordering capabilities, which are free for the first year. You can integrate your TouchBistro POS system with third-party delivery services as well. As you might expect, TouchBistro allows for tableside ordering, provides options for kiosks, and allows for restaurant owners and managers to customize the completely editable floor plan. One extremely functional aspect of the TouchBistro restaurant POS system is the reservation management function, which allows restaurants to accept website reservations.
Overall, if you're a smaller restaurant looking for a feature-rich, cost-friendly choice, TouchBistro is perfect. The price starts at $69 per month with options for add-ons like gift cards, loyalty programs, and online ordering.
If you need a rich set of features, Revel restaurant and bar pos software is a wonderful choice.
While Revel POS wasn't made specifically for the restaurant industry, it has a very robust and customizable system that is perfect for both QSR and full-service restaurants.
Similar to Lightspeed POS, Revel makes use of iPad hardware.
Within Revel POS, you'll find several key features for restaurant operations.
These features include advanced raw ingredient tracking for establishments with multiple locations, visually appealing menus with automated modifier prompts and menu management, and employee scheduling and management.
On top of all of that, you get the additional table reservation feature, which is why Revel might just be one of the most feature-rich restaurant POS systems out on the market today.
For all these features, the starting price comes up to $99 per month. You will also have to sign a three-year Revel Advantage in-house payment processing contract, in which the company will provide you with flat-rate payment processing. For this reason, we believe Revel is a better choice for large restaurants or restaurants with multiple locations. Beyond the already vast feature set, you do have the choice to pay for a few add-ins, including online ordering and loyalty programs.
One beautiful thing about Revel POS is that customers have the choice to customize it with a plethora of hardware options. From low-profile screens for fine-dining establishments to digital menu boards for QSR establishments, the options are limitless. You never have to worry about the Internet going down and bringing your business to a halt, as Revel uses an "always-on" system, which allows it to continue processing payments offline.
There are several credit card processor options that you can choose from as well, though note that you will have to pay the premium if you go with a third-party payment processing service.
One thing that we believe sets Revel apart from many restaurant POS systems is the table layout feature. You can use color-coding and table timers to keep track of diners at all times. Tableside ordering, ApplePay, and reservations are available with Revel as well.
Overall, this is one of the most highly customizable restaurant POS systems out there right now, great for those who need a slew of advanced restaurant management features and add ons, or have larger, multi-location establishments. It is also a great choice for those in need of a high-quality Pizza POS system.
Square POS is one of the most recognizable POS companies in the business today and Square for Restaurants is an ideal choice for those who want to start out with a free option.
You can use Square for Restaurants on iPad hardware and enjoy the sleek customer-facing displays and NFC/card reader.
Of course, if you want to pay for Square Register, it will be an extra $799 out of your pocket, but let's pretend for now that you're looking for the simple options they offer.
One of the great things about Square for Restaurants is that it is very intuitive.
There are plenty of restaurant-specific features and employee management features to get you started.
The "Plus" version, which is what most restaurant owners eventually upgrade to, comes with seating management, advanced reporting, advanced team management, and auto 86-ing. All of this and you still only pay $60 per month, making it one of the more affordable options out there.
Of course, if all you need is the most basic set of features, then the free version might be enough for you. Regardless of what you decide upon, you will have to pay the flat-rate payment processing fee, which works on a pay-as-you-go system. Every swiped transaction is 2.6% + $0.10 and every tapped transaction is 2.9% + $0.30 if customers purchase their items through your personal Square online store.
One thing we absolutely love about Square is the ability to customize menus quickly and easily. Some actions can be quite difficult with other POS systems, including modifications or discount setups. With Square, all it takes to perform these actions is a few keystrokes. Owners and managers love the inventory features and the ability to assign specific employees different permissions.
Square Payroll automatically logs hours when individual employees sign in at the register, meaning you can keep track of your employee hours without ever having to go into your restaurant. In fact, with real-time sales monitoring and stock inventory management, keeping tabs on your restaurant and menu items without having to be there is easier than ever.
Do note that you only get support from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. if you decide to go with the free plan that Square has to offer. However, when it comes to troubleshooting, the website offers a massive database with questions and answers to common issues. The "Plus" plan offers support 24/7 if you choose to upgrade.
Overall, Square POS is a great choice for smaller or mid-sized establishments, including both quick-service and full-service restaurants. It is also a wonderful food truck POS system. However, if you have a multi-location business, Square can handle it with its upgraded features as well.
People love Clover POS because it has one of the most intuitive restaurant POS interfaces on the market today, providing owners and managers with everything they need to manage their restaurants.
Clover makes it easy to select the right software and hardware setup so that you can begin serving customers right away the minute it arrives at your doorstep.
The proprietary hardware that comes with Clover POS systems comes with a Fiserv merchant account, which some might know by its former name, First Data. Choosing a reputable provider is very important when utilizing Clover systems, as you are not able to reuse it with a different software plan.
Speaking of software plans, you have the ability to choose from a few different options, which are pay-as-you-go, month-to-month plans. For sit-down restaurants, the table service restaurant plan is a great choice. At $69.95 per month, you pay as much for Clover as you would for most other restaurant POS systems. Do note that you get your first device within that package, though if you choose to add an additional device, it is $9.95 for each.
Quick-service establishments might choose to go with the Clover counter-service plan, which has a 2.5% + $0.10 payment processing fee and starts off at $39.95 per month. The combination of Clover Flex and Clover Station hardware is the best choice for larger establishments while the Clover Mini is more than enough for smaller or mid-sized restaurants that don't deal with tons of volume.
From online ordering to dynamic floor plans to contactless delivery, there are plenty of helpful Clover Dining features. Clover even has the ability to take online payments. For tableside ordering, servers can make use of Clover Flex. If you need to cut down the line at your main POS system and keep customers from having to get up and move from their tables, then Clover Flex is a great choice. With this piece of hardware, you can apply order level discounts, split checks in a variety of ways, and run separate revenue reports for different parts of the restaurant, including bar, patio, and more.
There are several paid apps on the Clover Marketplace for those who want to enhance their Clover POS System and get the most out of it. Of course, even before you go out and purchase paid apps, it is worth noting that Clover comes with a bundle of restaurant-specific apps already, including Tips, Bar Tabs Auths, Discounts, Shifts, Happy Hour, and more.
With both full- and quick-service software plans and sleek hardware setups, Clover is one of the best restaurant POS systems for those who prioritize intuitiveness.
If you have a small to mid-sized business, then ShopKeep POS might be a great mobile solution for your needs.
In fact, ShopKeep is one of our favorite Fast Food POS systems With ShopKeep, you can reduce contact by taking advantage of the many mobile payments and tableside ordering features available with the POS software.
Front front-of-house to back-of-house, there are plenty of built-in solutions for ShopKeep users, including reporting and inventory management.
Some of the best front-of-house Shopkeep POS features include time-clocking for hourly employees and check-splitting for large groups.
The back-of-house team can use customer management and employee management features, as well as raw ingredient tracking for a detailed look at what is in stock and what needs ordering.
One of the things that we absolutely love about ShopKeep is that the subscription model it uses is highly customizable depending on your situation. While a clear-cut pricing model can be helpful for comparing various POS companies, having the ability to get pricing based on licenses, hardware, and business size, can be even more helpful.
Small to mid-sized restaurants choose Lavu's iPad POS systems, especially if they have multiple locations.
There are 300 features on the Lavu system.
Even with its feature-rich design, you still get access to it and all of its features for only $69 per month.
If your restaurant needs to save a ton of money, Lavu POS might be the best choice.
The Lavu restaurant POS software is completely cloud-based, though offers restaurant owners the ability to sync several devices so that they have additional backup and stability.
With 300+ features, we could spend a day trying to list them all. Some of our favorites, however, are the advanced employee management features.
These features include overtime pay calculation, timekeeping, job rates, and much more.
At a glance, you'll get to enjoy in-depth inventory control. You can choose between a number of payment gateways thanks to the flexible system Lavu has designed. Of course, they do incentivize customers to use their Lavu Pay system, as well as their PayPal Here payment processing system.
One of the major disadvantages of Lavu POS that we would be remiss for not pointing out is that they do not provide buyers with mass import functions or purchase order support. With expensive, long-term equipment leasing, the cost can become unsustainable depending on your equipment needs and the size of your business. The good thing is, you do have the ability to purchase your Lavu system so that you don't have to worry about monthly payments.
With competitive monthly pricing, free integration with DoorDash, and full offline functionality, it's a wonderful point of sale system for the average restaurant.
For more information, see our Lavu POS reviews page.
One of the most cost-effective restaurant POS systems out there would have to be Talech.
This intuitive tablet POS system starts off at only $29 per month.
Some of the initial features include product history, inventory management, and ingredient tracking.
One thing we found surprisingly advanced about this particular iPad POS solution is that users can use Talech POS software to automatically generate purchase orders.
For smaller establishments, such as cafes, the $29 per month plan should be more than enough. Upgrading to the $99 per month Premium plan is a good move for larger, full-service restaurants, as this plan includes table management, gift card creation, online ordering, order merging and splitting, pay-by-position, and much more.
You can integrate with a number of merchant accounts, including Bank of America, Global Payments, Elavon, Chase, Vantiv, and others. The USAePay feature in the Talech system allows you to connect to major US credit card processors too.
One of the main disadvantages of Talech POS is that they do not allow users to accept offline credit card payments. If your Internet connection goes out in the middle of a lunch rush, you're out of luck.
Of course, if you're looking for a system that works on both iPad and Android, has low monthly prices, or works with several payment processors, then Talech POS is one of the best restaurant POS systems on the market.
Clearly, there are several restaurant-specific point of sale systems on the market. Of course, the real question, how do you choose between them to find the best POS system for your business?
In our opinion, it would be quite difficult to have a bad experience choosing any of the restaurant point of sale systems that we listed above. However, that does not mean that they are all created equal.
To help you choose the right point of sale system for your restaurant, here are a few considerations that you should make:
One of the first considerations that you will likely make when searching for the right POS system for your business is the price.
As you can see, most POS companies price their systems quite similarly. However, it is your job to make sure that you don't pay extra for a bunch of features that you don't really need.
You also want to make sure that you have competitive rates if you choose to go with your own payment processor instead of using the payment processor that comes with the POS software (if any).
It is also a good idea to steer clear from long-term contracts unless you are 100% sure of your loyalty to a particular POS software company.
Make sure to take a look at the hardware that the company is offering too. Restaurants, especially those starting out, have growth in mind. The last thing you want to do is break the bank with a bunch of overpriced hardware when you want to expand your business.
Being able to manage your restaurant inventory is crucial. While most POS software comes with baseline inventory management features, you might be in need of additional features if you have a complex ingredient set.
Some POS systems, for example, come with raw ingredient tracking, which can be super helpful if you want to be as meticulous as possible. Some other features you might want to look for include purchase order management and low inventory alerts.
Go through the list of inventory features that the point of sale company has available to make sure that the ones you really need aren't going to cost you an arm and a leg.
Having a POS system that delivers helpful employee management features is great for a larger restaurant. Of course, a small business with a few employees might not need robust employee management features, though having a user-friendly system to set the schedules, manage tips, and clock hours, for ten employees or more, can save your restaurant a ton of headaches.
For owners, having the ability to customize employee permissions, check cash drawer openings, and track voids can be helpful as well.
While the majority of POS companies have similar pricing for the features that they offer when it comes to customer service, the level of service that a company offers compared to another can greatly vary. If your business is one that requires the best customer service, you need to check out what each point of sale service offers.
24/7 support, for example, could cost you extra, which can be a disadvantage for bars or late-night establishments that don't run during normal daytime hours. There are companies that prioritize having the best customer service available, whether it is through email or phone. Finding one with a friendly and knowledgeable customer support team is key.
In the wild world of marketing for restaurants, there is one thing most business owners can agree on: loyalty programs work. Typically, you will find loyalty programs as add-ons or third-party integrations, though there are some point-of-sale companies that build these programs into their software.
Not only will creating a loyalty program help bring in business on its own, but it will also help you gather customer data, such as phone and email address info. You can use a customer email address, for example, to send out special offers or information about special events.
The restaurants that were able to survive the Covid-19 pandemic had to make use of takeout. Many restaurants had to implement new and unfamiliar online ordering capabilities as well. As the pandemic slowly subsides in many places around the world, the desire for online ordering and takeout will remain.
Having POS capabilities for online ordering, eGift cards, and takeout, can be incredibly helpful for keeping your business ahead of the curve.
Having socially distanced features for in-person dining, including QR code or NFC contactless payments, can be helpful too.
Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic isn't going to last forever, though considering how much the landscape has changed for the restaurant business in the past year, we can only expect that restaurant customers will continue looking for the same convenience and speed that they have become accustomed to over the past year.
Wireless and Bluetooth capabilities are an important factor for POS accessories like kitchen printers. Another example would be if you already have an iPad that you want to use for your tablet then a restaurant POS iPad compatible system is crucial.
More commonly though, most are in a situation where they buy a POS system first and then need the accessories to be compatible with the POS system like for example finding tablets compatible with Square.
We understand that looking for quality POS systems for restaurants can seem like a burden. You need to find a system that is reliable, functional, and comes with all of the right features to keep your business moving forward. Luckily, there are plenty of options on the modern market for helping your business to grow and become more efficient. It should always be a goal to improve the way you communicate with customers and provide quality of service, and these point of sale systems can help.
If you can, head on over to the websites for these individual POS systems and set up a free trial for each to test them out. If you aren't happy with one after the free trial, switching to the next one should be fairly easy thanks to the fact that most of them integrate well with tablet devices.
We hope that this guide was helpful in narrowing down the best POS systems for restaurants. Get the right one for your business to optimize your restaurant management and you will be set up for success.