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Best Restaurant POS Systems for 2020
A good point of sale system can help streamline your restaurant’s processes, from payments to inventory and much more. Today, some of the best POS systems for restaurants incorporate a host of useful tools that can efficiently integrate various processes all on one platform.
If you’re a restaurant owner, it can be difficult to figure out which POS system is best for your unique business. While there are many that offer great features, some are better equipped for different service styles, restaurant sizes, budgets, and so on.
We’ve reviewed the top 9 restaurant point of sale systems so that you can find the best one for your restaurant business! Whether you’re just opening a restaurant or you’re looking to update your technology, there is sure to be a POS system for your needs.
What is a POS System?
A point of sale (POS) system allows businesses to process transactions, track sales, and more. POS systems essentially function as cash registers, but with better technology and tracking. Modern point of sale systems have an even broader range of capabilities, from inventory tracking to sales reports and much more.
Restaurant point of sale software can often handle bookings, arrange seating, collect and track customer information, and more. There are plenty of point of sale options for restaurants, so be sure to research the best one for your restaurant’s needs before committing to a specific system.
Best POS Systems for Restaurants
Upserve is a high-end restaurant POS system with a huge number of useful features. This point of sale system has all the features your restaurant may need, as well as great reporting dashboards to track business metrics. Their reporting tools make it easy to identify popular dishes, check on staff performance, and learn more about how your restaurant runs.
Upserve is flexible and scalable, so it can fit any size or style restaurant business. The Upserve POS terminal is required to get started, but it’s easy to use. They offer 24/7 support, so there’s always a team behind you.
Upserve has great features, but it’s definitely on the expensive end. The most basic plan starts at roughly $119 per month, and extra terminals add onto the price. On top of that, some features are not included with the basic plan, so if you want tools like inventory tracking, you’ll have to pay extra. If your restaurant has the money and wants one of the best and most comprehensive POS systems, however, Upserve is a worthy investment.
TouchBistro is by far the best iPad POS system for restaurants. Made specifically for restaurants, TouchBistro offers lots of great restaurant-specific features. It is scalable, so it can fit restaurants of varying sizes and service styles. The manufacturers claim that it has over 200 features, so it is sure to meet any and all of your restaurant’s needs.
TouchBistro has an easy-to-use, intuitive interface, but it also comes with 24/7 support and training so that employees can easily manage it. It’s flexible too – small quick-serve cafes can use a single iPad, or you can connect several for a larger operation as long as you have a wireless connection.
TouchBistro is perfect for any small to mid-sized restaurant that wants an iPad POS system. Even if your servers won’t use the iPads tableside, this restaurant point of sale system is a great option to streamline processes.
Lightspeed is another great option that makes it easy to streamline the processes of your restaurant. It has the most third-party integrations available, with 60 integrated partners listed on their website. This means that if you have another software that you love, like scheduling software, you can easily integrate it with your Lightspeed POS system to keep everything in one place.
Because of all the possible integrations, Lightspeed has plenty of possible tools and features, so if one that’s important to your business isn’t included, you can add it in. That being said, there is a good range of useful tools already included.
Lightspeed is one of the best restaurant POS systems available, with plenty of features and even more third-party integrations to be added on. With all the available integrations, Lightspeed can do almost anything your restaurant may need. The only concern is the added cost of those integrations, so things may get pricey.
Square is one of the most popular restaurant POS systems, and it’s frequently used in coffee shops and other counter service restaurants. It has plenty of features and a simple, intuitive design that is easy to use. Square is on the more affordable end of the best restaurant POS systems, although their system does charge 2.6% for every transaction.
Square works in a variety of industries, but they also have a specific restaurant POS system that is scalable for quick-serve restaurants through to full-scale operations. It has a wide range of general and restaurant-specific features that can streamline processes at your restaurant business.
Square POS is one of the most popular point of sale systems for restaurants and other businesses, and for good reason. It is easy to use, on the more affordable end, and has tons of great tools. Square is most popular among quick-serve restaurants, but it is scalable to fit larger operations as well.
Toast is a popular and efficient restaurant POS system with various other features as well. Unlike TouchBistro, Toast operates on Android technology and is not compatible with iOS. Toast fits a wide range of venues, from coffee shops to upscale restaurants to online orders, so it’s great for businesses with various service offerings or those looking to expand.
Toast’s interface is easy-to-use and offers the option to combine POS, reporting and analytics, payroll and team management, online ordering and delivery, and loyalty programs. They also sell POS hardware like handhelds, kiosks, and kitchen display systems.
Toast is a great POS system that is flexible for all sorts of restaurants, from casual to fine dining and coffee shops to nightclubs. Its offline mode is a great feature in case of power or WiFi issues – the only big drawback is that you’ll have to purchase their POS hardware. If you’re already on the market for those tools, however, Toast is a good choice.
ShopKeep is another great option for restaurants in need of a point of sale system. This restaurant POS software is available as a single iPad POS system or as a full restaurant system. ShopKeep has plenty of great features, albeit not as many as some of the other systems on this list.
One of the best things about ShopKeep is that it’s incredibly mobile-friendly, working with Apple iPads and Android tablets, as well as mobile phones or ShopKeep’s own register hardware. This restaurant POS makes it easy to build email marketing lists by collecting emails at checkout, and it integrates with MailChimp to add to your email list.
ShopKeep is a great option, especially for those on a budget – the pricing isn’t publicly listed, but former prices were lower than competing POS systems. It has an assortment of useful features, and it works well with Apple, Android, or their own hardware. ShopKeep is also scalable, so it’s great for quick serve counters or full restaurants.
Cake offers custom solutions, so it can be scaled to fit any restaurant size or style. This POS system has a lot to offer, so while it’s more expensive than some others, it can integrate a wider range of processes for your restaurant. For instance, it can double as your reservation system as well, cutting out the cost of another software or service.
Cake is easy to learn to use, especially with training for owners and employees and 24/7 customer support. They have specific package options for quick serve, full service restaurants, and bars and pubs. Everything is still customizable however, so you can scale their offerings to fit your business.
Cake is a good option for those looking for lots of features all in one software. This restaurant POS system is intuitively designed with lots of easy to use tools that can help streamline your business. You’ll need Cake hardware, but the company allows you to lease it rather than buy a large amount of equipment up front. If you have the money and the need for many tools, Cake is a great POS for restaurants.
Revel Systems is a full service restaurant POS system with lots of great tools. It manages more than just point of sale transactions, and can handle various aspects of your restaurant business all on one platform. This cloud-based iPad POS software is made for restaurants, and has specific packages and plans for bars, breweries, wineries, nightclubs, and even pizza shops.
Revel Systems POS has customer experience tools, financial tools, management solutions, and plenty of point of sale options. This POS has lots of great features, and while set up can be difficult, it is easy to use once you’ve been trained.
Revel Systems Features:
Revel Systems is a great option with a lot of features for any restaurant looking for a point of sale software that can integrate various other tools and processes. Their enterprise management feature is great for chains or multi-location restaurants, because you can track both separately and together. The only big drawback is the price, which is on the expensive end of our list. Set up can also be difficult, but with dedicated customer service on your side it won’t be too hard to figure out.
Lavu is another good iPad POS system for restaurants. It can manage a host of tools aside from just point of sale software, including a great employee onboarding and training feature that many competitors lack. With Lavu, you can streamline the process of training new hires and take on many other tasks on one system.
Lavu can handle processes relating to POS, labor, menus, inventory, and more. Their corresponding app makes it easy to check reports while you’re on the go, and it can be accessed from your smartphone. The reports and analytics are customizable to show what matters most to your business. Lavu can be scaled to fit any restaurant business.
Lavu is a good comprehensive restaurant POS software. It’s not the top choice, but it has plenty of great features available and it works well. The biggest drawback is that you have to purchase their hardware, which can get pricey. It does have a great employee onboarding feature, however, which can ease a difficult but necessary task for managers.
How To Choose a Restaurant POS System
There are seemingly endless point of sale systems out there today, and many claim to offer the same features and quality of services. It’s hard to weed out the best restaurant POS systems from others that will only make running your business more difficult.
Each of the options on our list are top-rated and loved by restaurants around the world, but choosing between them presents an issue too. Consider the following when choosing a restaurant POS system.
The features offered by each restaurant POS system should be your first consideration. After all, you’re buying a point of sale software for the tools it provides.
Today, the best POS systems don’t just handle transactions, but also offer a host of other features. Some common tools include the following:
Some restaurant POS systems may offer some, a few, all, or even more than just these features – these are just some common ones we’ve seen.
When choosing a POS system for your restaurant, consider what tools you actually need and will use. There’s no use paying extra for staff management if you’re going to continue to use your old system. Think about what your restaurant business really needs and what would best streamline your processes.
What style of service does your restaurant provide? Most of the best POS systems are flexible and scalable to fit any size and style of restaurant, but look for one that best matches your style.
Service styles include quick serve, counter service, full service, and so on. A coffee shop with one register can benefit from a different POS system than a full service seated restaurant. Smaller restaurants may not need the same tools as larger ones, or it may not be worth the added cost to pay for extra features.
Some POS systems are better fits for quick serve businesses, like the iPad POS systems. Others may be better for full service restaurants, bars, and so on. Some of the best options on our list offer packages for specific types of restaurants to fit their exact service offerings and needs. Keep your style of service in mind when purchasing a POS system for your restaurant.
Who are your customers? What will make patronizing your restaurant easier and more enjoyable for them? The customer always comes first, so consider the customer experience when choosing a restaurant point of sale system.
Older customers may not be as comfortable signing or tipping on an iPad based POS system. Younger customers will likely be more in tune with technology based options. Some people may have more or less trouble with contactless payment, tablets, and so on. Customers with disabilities may also face difficulties with some systems.
On the other hand, if you run an upscale restaurant, your guests may not enjoy the look of tableside ordering with an iPad. Consider your target demographic and what they’d like to see in your restaurant. If everything is kept on the back end, it doesn’t matter much, but if they have to interact with your system then you should consider how they’d prefer to go through ordering and payment processes.
Restaurant Size and Growth Opportunities
Consider the size of your restaurant and how it may grow over time with your POS system. A larger restaurant will require more technology and likely more hardware than a smaller one. Size may also factor into the features that are most useful and important to you.
All of the POS systems on our list are scalable, so it is possible that they can grow with your restaurant. Some are better equipped for growth than others, however, and if opening a second location is a possibility then you definitely need to consider growth options.
As always, budget is an important factor. Some systems may have low starting costs, but if the features you want cost extra then it may add up quickly. Be sure to research pricing for any POS system before making a commitment.
Restaurant Point of Sale FAQ
Your restaurant’s point of sale software is an important purchase for your business. Not only is it an investment, but it also will affect how your staff and customers interact with your restaurant. Many restaurant POS systems come with tools that can help to streamline various processes, so finding the right one is vital. Find all the answers you need here on Restaurant Clicks.
Does my restaurant need a point of sale system?
All restaurants need some way of completing customer transactions. Some old school restaurants still use cash only registers, but most have upgraded to a POS system or register system that takes credit cards and other payment options.
There are options other than a full service, online POS system, but most modern restaurants use some kind of POS software. Today, the best restaurant POS systems work incredibly well and can seamlessly take care of transactions, track sales, and track other things like inventory through each purchase.
While there are other options, we would say that yes: your restaurant needs a point of sale system. The ones on this list are your best options based on performance and the many integrated tools.
What are the best POS features?
At the end of the day, the best point of sale features are the ones that best fit your restaurant’s needs. Every restaurant is different, so one POS system may be the best option for one restaurant but not another.
The most important feature that all restaurants will probably need is an easy to use POS software that makes it easy to cash out customer transactions. Most point of sale systems come with their own hardware like card readers, tablets, and cash drawers. Make sure your POS system of choice fits your restaurants needs in terms of customer transactions, since that is its primary use.
Some of the most common and useful features for POS systems also include things like inventory tracking and reports and analytics. Since inventory is directly affected by sales, it makes sense that a restaurant POS system could track both at once. Reports and analytics will help you see what’s selling, what isn’t, and other useful information to improve the profitability of your restaurant.
Otherwise, look for features that matter to your restaurant. A full service restaurant will benefit from table management, while a quick serve or counter service restaurant may not need that tool. If accounting isn’t your strong suit, look for a restaurant POS that can track sales and integrate with an accounting software like QuickBooks.
Another great tool to look for, from a marketing perspective, is CRM or other features that can help to track customer information like names, email addresses, and phone numbers. Many restaurant POS systems offer paperless receipts via text or email and collect customer information this way. Collecting this information makes it easy to follow up with customers to ask for reviews, offer promotions, and more.
What are the different types of POS systems for restaurants?
There are various types of POS systems for restaurants as well as different hardware and different features.
On-site POS systems are older models that typically run on a server based in your restaurant. These are bulkier than those on our list and generally don’t come with continuing customer support from the manufacturer.
Cloud-based POS systems are the preferred, more modern option with better technology. They allow you to access data about your restaurant remotely, and the info is stored on a server owned by the company you choose to buy POS software from. This allows for more regular updates to the technology and support from the POS company.
Many cloud-based POS systems offer mobile point of sale technology as well, like the various iPad point of sale systems on our list. These have the same benefits of other cloud-based POS software, but allow for better mobility, as you can use a mobile tablet like an iPad or a smartphone. Often, these have the added benefit of tableside ordering where the server can enter the order directly on the mobile device while customers order. Mobile POS systems are great for many businesses, but aren’t necessarily the right fit for all restaurants.
Another option is a self-service POS system, with customer kiosks. These are popular among quick service restaurants that allow customers to customize their orders, like build-your-own salad bars. Self-service is not the best option for all restaurants, but it is a great choice for certain businesses.
Do I need to buy POS hardware as well?
Yes, you’ll need to buy some point of sale hardware along with a POS system software. Some POS systems require that you buy their specific hardware to use their services. Others may allow you to use devices like iPads or smartphones.
Even if you don’t have to buy the complete set of POS hardware from a specific POS system, you’ll probably have to buy some. You’ll need items like card readers, scanners, or cash drawers no matter what POS software you choose.
Be sure to read the details about your restaurant POS system of choice to figure out how the hardware side works and what you’ll need to purchase to get started. Most have dedicated customer service lines that can help you navigate the start up process with their specific system.
Every restaurant needs some kind of cash register, but most modern businesses use POS systems nowadays. Choose from the best restaurant POS systems to streamline your restaurant’s sales as well as other processes!re
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