The Best Restaurant POS Systems in Canada

POS Systems Graphic

As far as customers' tastes go, the call for technology to provide a smoother dining experience is a growing trend – having been recently addressed at the RC Show, one of the Canada’s biggest hospitality and foodservice expos.

POS systems are at the forefront of this movement – and according to our market analysis, Square is the best POS system to help you with that. That said, we were also impressed with five other providers, which we cover in this ranking.

What are the Best Restaurant POS Systems?

These are the providers we recommend based on our research. Use our cost comparison tool to find the best value service for your business

Square packs a restaurant-specific version, which means you can easily put kitchen and front of house in conversation, and an intuitive interface, which offers massive help in those rush hours. Accordingly, it receives a high overall score of 4.7/5 in our independent research.

If you're unsure if Square is the best fit for your eatery, you can use our free comparison tool to get custom quotes straight from the providers. However, if you'd like to know more about our research's findings, read on to find out about other six outstanding POS systems we analyzed.

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Clover

Epos Now

TouchBistro

Lightspeed

Toast

Price

From $0/month

Price
  • Payments – $0/month
  • Essentials – $14.95/month
  • Register $49.95/month
Price

Hardware averages $750 (one-off payment)

Software starts from $23 (monthly fee)

Price

From $93/month

Price

From $93/month

Price

From $120/month

Best for

Overall

Best for

Staff performance tracking

Best for

Chains

Best for

Customer service

Best for

Ease of use

Best for

Features

Key Features
  • Optimized floor plans
  • Kitchen display system
  • Online ordering
Key Features
  • Intuitive back office
  • Offline mode
  • Take payments & refunds over phone, email or mail
Key Features
  • Accounting software integrations
  • Streamlined ordering system
  • Connect to major delivery apps
Key Features
  • Loyalty schemes
  • Table monitoring
  • Process every payment type
Key Features
  • Scalable
  • Delivery and contactless online ordering
  • Advanced insights
Key Features
  • Hardware allows for fast checkout
  • Advanced plans incorporate payroll and team scheduling tools
  • Offline mode

1. Square – Best Overall

Square
4.7
Pricing From $0/month
Quick overview

Our in-depth research found that Square is the top POS system for restaurants, as it scored high marks in several of our criteria. Square offers Square for Restaurants, a restaurant-specific POS system, packed with all the features you would need to run a restaurant. Square has a fairly straightforward and intuitive interface, a big win for those busy hours where you need to be able to take orders and payments quickly and efficiently.

Strengths

Free to install

24/7 customer support

Brilliant analytics tools

Weaknesses

2.75% charge for non-card transactions

Lacks features such as reservations and comprehensive inventory management tools

Pricing
Package Price Transaction fee
Free $0 2.65% (in-person) / 2.9% + 30¢ (online/invoices)
Restaurant Plus $60/month 2.65% (in-person) / 2.9% + 30¢ (online/invoices)
Premium Custom Custom

Why we like it

You can customize your menus however you like, add items to a display group, and place the best sellers on the main menu to speed up checkout times. These amendments can be made from anywhere and can be applied to all your locations. Your menu can also be updated with bulk additions, and you can even apply taxes and modifiers in bulk. All your online orders are managed on one screen, no matter who's picking up the delivery, streamlining your service.

Using Square, you can also make life easier for your staff by applying advanced discounts, giving both your customers and staff a smooth experience. Click-and-drag tools make it easy and quick for you customize your table layout, and you can also monitor every seat so you know which tables are about to turn.

Square for Restaurants offers a Plus plan, which includes a feature that enables you to add a service charge to large groups. Plus also includes the ability to share the same settings among different staff members' accounts, ensuring everyone is on the same page. A helpful feature is close of day reports so you aren't left working past your bedtime. You can pull up shift reports for each employee to ensure everything is as it should be.

The Square POS app is free, and is handy if you run a start-up or small business – however, we recommend Square for Restaurants for its restaurant-specific features. The hardware that comes alongside the software – such as a card reader and stand – are affordable, so you don't have to fork out thousands just to set up your POS system. Square is cloud-based and will run on any iPad or iPhone that has a Lightning port and runs iOS 10.0.2 or later.

How does Square compare to its competitors?

Despite cinching the number one spot, Square does lack some features, such as as reservations. If you want this feature, you'll have to integrate it into your POS system via a third party, meaning extra costs and effort. That said, Toast and Touchbistro also have this limitation.

Square also lacks comprehensive inventory management tools, unlike Epos Now. Full-service restaurants may struggle without in-built reservation tools or advanced inventory management, so Square could be a better option for limited service restaurants. Full-service restaurants might be better off with a POS system such as Lightspeed. Lightspeed is on the pricier side, however, it has been designed specifically for the restaurant industry and includes advanced restaurant features and is able to handle multi-locations.

2. Clover – Best for Staff Performance Tracking

clover logo
Clover
4.5
Pricing From $1,190
Quick overview

Clover integrates a POS system, cash register and card payment terminal to give you a comprehensive system. It also includes accessories such as receipt printers and a customer interface screen.

Clover's POS system has been created for the hospitality industry so it's chock-full of features designed to provide a great experience all around. You can create custom floor plans, manage staff, streamline payments and customise orders. You can track sales in real time and run reports on the Clover dashboard or via the app.

Clover’s payment processing rates are lower compared to some other POS systems which is great, plus, users have reported that their customer service is helpful. Unfortunately, the system cannot communicate between multiple locations which is a drawback if you want all your locations to develop cohesive practices.

Strengths

Offers a handheld POS system

Easy to use interface

Weaknesses

Lack of features

Third party apps do not always integrate well

Pricing
PackagePriceTransaction fees
Starter $1,190 2.6% + 10¢ for card-present transactions and 3.5% + 10¢ for keyed-in transactions
Standard $2,460 2.3% + 10¢ for card-present transactions and 3.5% + 10¢ for keyed-in transactions
Advanced $3,140 2.3% + 10¢ for card-present transactions and 3.5% + 10¢ for keyed-in transactions

Why we like it

Many users have noted that the interface is easy to use, so your staff don't have to deal with a difficult and clunky system. If you want to take your business online, a pre-built integration gives you the ability to launch an online store, and manage your online and in-store inventory from one dashboard.

If you want sturdy POS hardware and a payment processor, Clover is a good fit for your business. If you're in need of a more feature-rich POS software, you might be more suited to Square or Vend. Clover's payment processing rates are lower than Square's, however, although you'll still need to fork out a monthly fee.

Clover's help and support scores a 4/5 in our research, thanks to its online assistance and dedicated Clover support number. This number is displayed on the Clover hardware, for easy access. But be aware that the software does only run on Android, which can be limiting if you currently use or want to use iOS devices.

How does Clover compare to its competitors?

Whilst Clover's hardware is well-suited to its purpose, the software leaves a lot be desired for many users. The software is missing many functions and features that need to be added to the system via a third party app. The issue with this is that these third-party apps don't integrate with each other. For example, if you download an invoicing app and a rewards app, the system cannot accurately track this and give the customer their rewards.

Another issue is that, if you run into problems with a third party app, you'll need to deal with it with the app provider and not Clover, which can increase the amount of time it takes to resolve the issue.

3. Epos Now – Best for Chains

Epos Now
4.2
Pricing From $23/month (software)
Quick overview

Epos Now’s restaurant POS system boasts a host of impressive features. Simple inventory management, straightforward accounting software integrations, and a slick touchscreen display make their software a dream to use.

Meanwhile, 24/7 chat support and friendly customer care agents can solve virtually any issue.

Why we like it

Epos Now offers a restaurant POS system that includes features such as: inventory tracking, robust reporting tools, and connection to major delivery apps.

Its Kitchen Display System is comprehensive, and allows the kitchen to receive orders in real-time. Online orders are also added to the KDS so both in-person and online orders are dealt with efficiently. Last-minute changes can also be made to orders.

Conveniently, Epos Now scores highly in the customer service department with a 4/5. You can contact customer service via phone, email, live chat, or reach out to the Epos Now community online.

How does Epos Now compare to its competitors?

With a score of 1.7/5 for price, Epos Now has the lowest score for pricing in our research because of its high fees. Core hardware and software starts from $1,145 + $39 (standard) or $54 (premium) per month for software. These prices are higher than providers such as Square which has free POS software and hardware that starts from $29.

Want to save money on your restaurant POS system? Then compare quotes today.

4. TouchBistro – Best for Customer Service

TouchBistro
4.2
Pricing From $93/month
Quick overview

Treat your customers how you would your food – that’s one of the many recipes for success in the food industry. TouchBistro knows this.

TouchBistro comes integrated with CRM (customer relationship management) software to help you promote exclusive offers and one-time deals to help your customers feel special and, most importantly, satisfied.

TouchBistro offers table management tools so your staff can provide your customers with a seamless service. The system is fast and intuitive making it suitable for providing quick and quality service.

TouchBistro scores highly in our research for help and support, so you can be sure that you won't be left hanging if you run into any snags.

You can add on features such as marketing although this comes at an extra cost. If you plan to expand in the future, this POS system will allow you to scale as your business grows.

Strengths

Fantastic for fostering customer loyalty

Excellent staff and inventory management

Offers a free trial period

Weaknesses

Pricing plan is based on the number of users, making it more expensive for larger businesses

Only compatible with iPads and Apple computers

Why we like it

Table management tools empower you and your staff to provide your customers with a seamless service by monitoring factors such as distances, spend, and time seated. You can access the system from a smartphone, so orders can be taken tableside with all the necessary notes and amendments and be sent to the kitchen. TouchBistro scores well in the business and stock management areas, scoring a 5/5 for both.

The system is simple, intuitive, and flexiblemaking it ease to use. The system is fast and able to cope with a high volume of orders without slowing down or affecting service. Some users have reported that TouchBistro's card machine is too small and difficult to use. You can use a third-party card reader, but these don't tend to integrate well, causing delays, which can be time-consuming.

How does TouchBistro compare to its competitors?

TouchBistro gives you the option to add on features to create one comprehensive platform, including reservations, marketing, online ordering, and gift cards. These come at a cost, and compared to lots of other POS systems where these features are included, this can add up price-wise. You can get a free quote on the TouchBistro website, which can help you assess your options and whether or not this is an affordable system for you. If you're keen to use a system where you receive tons of customer support, it may be worth it, however the core system is a little lacking in features.

TouchBistro does not offer a free trial so you can test out whether or not you're happy with the interface and features, which can make it harder to decide whether or not this is the right system for your restaurant. Once you've signed a contract with TouchBistro, it's difficult to opt out. Failure to alert TouchBistro with written notice 30 days prior to your desire to end the contract means you get locked into another contractual period.

5. Lightspeed – Best for Ease of Use

lightspeed logo
Lightspeed
4.1
Pricing From $93/month
Quick overview

Lightspeed's restaurant-focused POS system is bursting with features to manage your operations more smoothly. Scoring a 4.1/5 overall in our research and being largely iPad-based, Lightspeed's ease of use made it shine among the providers we checked.

Strengths

Easy to use

Powerful and scalable solution

Weaknesses

No live chat support

No offline credit card payments

Add-on features can be costly

Pricing
Package Price
Starter $93/month
Essential $254/month
Premium $526/month
Enterprise Custom

Why we like it

You can integrate delivery and contactless online ordering, diversifying your revenue streams and expanding your restaurant's reach and customer base. Online orders are consolidated one one screen, so your kitchen can work efficiently.

You can adjust your floor plan and move tables on the Lightspeed app so you can make any last minute adjustments, ensuring your staff are immediately aware of any changes. Items can transferred to a different table, seat or floorplan, giving your customers a great experience. Your customers can order by course or seat and split the bill with ease. It's no wonder that Lightspeed's till feature scores a 4.5/5.

Direct Order Mode is also available, so you can take orders and payments quickly.

Lightspeed's reporting functions make it easy for you to see what's working and what's not, so you can quickly adjust and make the necessary changes. Lightspeed Payments is integrated into the platform, so your customers can pay with a credit or debit card and mobile payments. However, in order to use Lightspeed Payments, you have to purchase a specific card machine, incurring extra cost or inconvenience if it's not your preferred choice. Your payment reports sync to your back office so you have easy access to your numbers. Lightspeed also boasts an expert team who can give you advice on chargeback management and fraud assistance.

Lightspeed is scalable, making it a great option for businesses who expect to expand. You can start out with a less comprehensive system, but as your restaurant grows, the system can grow alongside it. This means you don't pay for features you don't need.

How does Lightspeed compare to its competitors?

Lightspeed is flexible, but the number of options, add-ons, and integrations means it can take a long time to set up and get used to, making it difficult for those who lack tech experience. The add-on features come at a cost, which can add up to make it an expensive option.

Lightspeed's POS app is accessed via an iPad, making it convenient, flexible, and efficient. However, you may want to opt for a system that has purpose-built hardware, such as Toast. Restaurant-grade hardware is typically stronger, more durable, and built to withstand factors such as a very hot kitchen.

6. Toast – Best for Features

Toast
4
Pricing From $120/month
Quick overview

Toast boasts a ton of features, and we love the unique offerings that make it stand apart from other POS systems, scoring a 3.7/5 overall. Toast caters to many different restaurant types such as fine dining, casual dining, food trucks, pizza, and hotel restaurants.

Pricing
Starter $120/month
Essentails $175/month
Custom Custom

Why we like it

Toast Go® is a handheld device that increases order efficiency. The Toast Go® is extremely durable as it's spill, drop, and dust proof. With a 24-hour battery life and a processing speed that's up to three times as fast as the previous model, your customers and staff are in for a smooth experience.

Square's free POS app is type of handheld POS system as it can be used on smartphones. In comparison the Toast Go is a lot more expensive although it has the advantage of being made from durable material, handy for restaurant environments. Toast does score slightly higher than Square in the hardware area, with a 4.1/5 compared to Square's 4/5.

Toast's Kitchen Display System is key to running an efficient and tight ship. Everyone in the kitchen can have visibility on the KDS, and all the info they need to provide a seamless service. Toast claims that its self-ordering kiosks reduce wait times. These kiosks give customers the freedom to customize their orders and pay with a contactless form of payment.

Online ordering is made commission-free with the tools offered by Toast. Online orders can be integrated into the POS system so your kitchen can seamlessly prepare in-person and online orders. Toast also offers a customer relationship management (CRM) system, giving you the tools to develop a relationship with your customers. The CRM system gives you marketing tools such as restaurant-specific email templates, automated campaigns, and the ability to build an email list. That said, some users have reported that the syncing is not always accurate, which can mean information such as inventory levels is incorrect.

How does Toast compare to its competitors?

Toast offers tons of features helpful for managing a restaurant, however its customer service is reported by users as being fairly slow. This can cause major hiccups, especially in a fast-paced environment.

Plus, Toast POS only runs on Android, which can be a drawback depending on your preferences and current devices.

How Much Does Restaurant POS Software Cost?

On average, monthly fees for POS systems are around $69 per month. Hardware fees can be much costlier at an average of $1,000+, however this is an initial cost, and once you're set up, you're unlikely to need to purchase new hardware for a long time.

Cloud-based POS systems such as Square, Zettle, and Lightspeed can be used on a phone or tablet, which means you only need to purchase core hardware such as a card reader. These are typically affordable ($29 for the Zettle Card Reader 2), and seeing as Zettle's POS app is free, you don't have a costly monthly fee.

Compare quotes and save money on your next restaurant POS system

Our Methodology

Our research team compared 12 different POS providers to find the best system on the market. The research team scored each system based on several factors including:

  • Hardware
  • Price
  • Usability
  • Help and Support
  • Business Development

These research areas were chosen based on how important these factors are to POS customers. We know how crucial it is for a POS system to be within your budget, offer durable and easy-to-use hardware and software, and have good customer service. 

Verdict

Our expert research focused on four key factors: restaurant features, price, help and support, and customer score. Based on how providers scored in these areas, we were able to identify which systems are best suited for the restaurant industry.

Our overall winner is Square, which scored highly in our research for price, restaurant features, help and support, and customer score. Square offers a free POS app that is simple and straightforward. It also offers Square for Restaurants, which comes equipped with great restaurant features such as online order management and customizable menus, priced at $60/month.

You can use our free quote-finding tool to compare and save on POS systems. We just need a few brief details about your restaurant, and we'll then match you up with trusted providers who can cater to your needs. They'll contact you directly with no-obligation quotes and answers to your questions.

Best Restaurant POS Systems FAQs

What are restaurant POS systems?
Restaurant POS systems are systems which feature hospitality-focused functionality. This includes features such as customizable floor plans, a kitchen display system, and tableside ordering. Other more advanced features may include online ordering, integrations with delivery apps, and tools for marketing your restaurant.
What are the different types of POS systems?
There are generally around four different types of POS systems:

1. Terminal – based around a terminal card machine
2. Mobile – software POS system that can be used on any mobile device
3. Cloud-based – software that can be accessed remotely and used on any compatible device
4. Open source – free POS system software that can be used and accessed by anyone

Why do restaurants use POS?

Restaurants use POS systems because it gives them the ability to streamline operations, and increase efficiency, organization, and profit.There are tons of benefits to using a POS system, including centralizing information, running marketing campaigns, and accessing in-depth reporting.

Running a restaurant can become chaotic quickly, especially if you're short-staffed or hit with a rush of customers. A POS system can remove a lot of pain points by connecting front and back of house, increasing order speed and efficiency, and offering bill splitting, faster transactions and table monitoring.

Written by:
Zara Chechi
Zara is a Payments Expert, specialising in writing about Point of Sale systems. With a Law Degree from City University of London, she has used her legally-honed research and analytical skills to develop expertise in the Business Services world. Featured in FinTech Magazine, she quickly became an expert in payroll, POS systems, and merchant accounts.
Reviewed by:
Ruairi uses his 3+ years of research experience to uncover insights which can help Expert Market provide the best business solutions for their users. He has done this by meeting with business owners to find out what is important to them and what challenges they face on a daily basis. Ruairi specialises in tools that can be used to grow your business and has done research for a wide range of categories on Expert Market, such as EPOS, Website Builders, and Merchant Accounts.