The Best Restaurant POS Systems in Canada

Waitress standing near drinks cabinet holding handheld POS device

According to our research, the best POS system for restaurants operating in Canada is Square. The software itself is completely free and there’s a wide range of stylish hardware available, making it a great option if you’re just starting out in the hospitality industry. Toast’s profit management and customer engagement features make it the more suitable choice for established restaurants, however.

While POS systems have been around since the 90s, they’ve developed massively over that time, and features like delivery app integrations and increased automation are now commonplace. In fact, along with Square, there’s now a whole ecosystem of modern POS platforms worth taking a look at.

Finding a good POS system is a bit like shopping for a good pair of pants – not everything will be the perfect fit. But don’t worry – if Square doesn’t suit you, we’re sure one of the other POS systems on this list will.

What are the Best Restaurant POS Systems?

  1. Toast – Best for established restaurants with complex operations
  2. SpotOn – Best for simplifying staff scheduling and communication
  3. Lightspeed Restaurant – Best for increasing customer loyalty

These are the providers we recommend based on our research. Click on any of the links above to receive free quotes for a POS system.

If you’re what POS system to go for, 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 POS research findings, just keep on reading. But first, here’s a quick tour of our top five’s key features and prices:

Swipe right to see more
0 out of 0

From $0/month


From $120/month


From $0/month




From $93/month

Best for

Scaling up your restaurant business

Best for

Established restaurants with complex operations

Best for

Simplifying staff scheduling

Best for

Professional restaurant hardware

Best for

Ease of use

Key Features
  • Free plan
  • Free online store
  • Wide range of affordable hardware
Key Features
  • Advanced inventory and profit management tools
  • Native delivery and takeout app
  • Offline mode
Key Features
  • Free plan
  • Native scheduling and payroll app
  • Tip management
Key Features
  • Fingerprint login
  • Intuitive back office
  • Top range hardware selection
Key Features
  • Marketing tools + loyalty programs
  • Delivery and contactless online ordering
  • Ingredient usage tracking

1. Square: Best for Scaling Up Your Restaurant Business

Pricing From $0/month
Suitable for

Restaurants that want a low-risk option

Chains with no more than three locations

Businesses that want to integrate an online store

Not suitable for

Restaurants that change their table plan a lot

Businesses that need cost management tools

Restaurants that want to track ingredient usage

Item typePrice
POS software Free: $0/month; Plus: $60/month; Premium: custom
Card processing fees From 2.65%
Card machines From $69
iPad stands (iPad not included) $249
Register $899
KDS $20/month/device

Square is the best POS system for scaling up your restaurant business.

Its POS software is app-based, and starts at $0 per month, making it a good entry-level system for new restaurateurs or small eateries. At the same time, the advanced features available on its paid plans (starting at $60 per month), and its wide range of hardware make Square an equally great option for small chains.

However, we don’t think Square’s inventory management tools have enough depth to meet the needs of large restaurant chains, or those with complex inventories. For that, Toast is a better choice.

Useful Features

On Square’s free POS plan, you’ll be able to manage orders, do the basics – such as set up your menu and table plan – from both the front and back end, and track which items have run out. You can also create an online ordering website for free, and accept payments through it.

Square’s paid plans, the $60 per month Plus plan will give you access to more advanced features. These include floor plan customization, advanced staff management tools, and the ability to reopen closed bills to make amendments.

You’ll also get access to in-depth reporting tools, such as live sales tracking, and reports divided up by section (bar, dining room, and so on) or time of day (for example, lunch vs dinner service).

Hardware Offering

Square’s POS system is app-based and compatible with both Apple and Android tablets (although these are not provided by Square). That’s something to consider if you don’t already own a tablet, or need to purchase multiple since doing so can drive up setup costs.

The equipment Square does provide is pretty modern-looking, which is a plus if aesthetics are important to your business. Available hardware includes:

  • Register: A standing register with a staff screen and customer-facing touchscreen terminal
  • Card machines: Most can accept contactless, chip and PIN, and mobile payments
  • Tablet stand: Doubles as a contactless and chip and PIN card reader (tablet not included)
  • KDS: a 15.6-inch or 21.5-inch touchscreen

Also available through Square are POS kits that include registers or tablet stands with cash drawers and receipt printers (prices range from $879 to $1,525).

screenshot of Square POS items listing
Here's what menu items look like in the Square backend. We were able to edit and add items quite easily. Source: Expert Market

Is Square Easy to Use?

Square’s POS system is relatively easy to use, but we found setting up the back end a little easier than dealing with the front end. The main struggle we had was finding and using the floor plan feature, which can’t actually be edited from the POS itself (it has to be done from the back office), and this means Square won’t be the best option for businesses that want to change their floor plan frequently.

One big downside is that Square doesn’t have a training mode, so teaching your staff how to use the system might take more time than it would with another provider. To compensate, there’s a help center that contains a large range of guides, on topics from how to set up the system, to how to create items and modify orders.

2. Toast: Best for Established Restaurants with Complex Operations

toast logo
Pricing From $120/month
Suitable for

Medium to large restaurant establishments

Restaurants with complex and large inventories

Businesses looking to build a customer community

Not suitable for

Businesses that have iPads and require an iOS solution

Small cafes or restaurants with simple inventories

Owners who want a knowledge center for support

Item typePrice
Starter plan $120/month
Essentials plan $220/month
Custom plan Custom pricing
Card processing fees On request

Toast is the best POS system for established restaurants with complex operations, whose owners are looking to optimize efficiency.

It offers a large array of inventory and profit management tools, as well as some neat customer engagement features, which are most suited to restaurants that are well-established and have multiple locations.

One thing we don’t like, however, is that a lot of Toast’s marketing and advanced profit and inventory management tools come as add-ons, meaning you’ll have to pay extra for them. How much exactly isn’t something Toast advertises, which does raise some eyebrows.

Useful Features

At its most basic, Toast’s POS system comes with table and order management features and reporting tools.

However, the platform really shines when it comes to its add-on features, although unfortunately most of these come at an extra cost. Features you can add to your Toast POS system include in-depth inventory management, which includes food and recipe cost management, as well as low stock alerts.

You can also take your restaurant online with online and mobile ordering, Toast’s delivery services and takeout app, and a host of integrations with third-party delivery apps.

But again, Toast doesn’t tell you how much these extras cost. Providers such as Square are much more transparent about how much each add-on will cost per month. So, if clear pricing is what you need, Square should be your go-to.

Hardware Offering

Most of Toast’s hardware is matte black, creating a discreet, unflashy look. Its Starter Plan includes either a terminal or a handheld POS kit, while its Essentials plan includes both, plus a KDS.

The core pieces of restaurant POS equipment available through Toast are:

  • Toast Flex: A terminal with a 14-inch touchscreen that can accept all payment types, thanks to its built-in card reader
  • Toast Flex for Guest: A 14-inch terminal with an 8-inch touchscreen customer-facing display, that can either be attached to the terminal, or mounted separately
  • Card readers: A black compact card reader that connects to the terminal and accepts swipe, dip, or tap payments
  • Toast Go 2: a handheld POS system that’s waterproof and lets you take tableside orders
  • KDS: A 22-inch touchscreen that can be mounted on the wall, can withstand high temperatures, and can aggregate orders from multiple channels

Toast also has POS accessories, such as receipt and kitchen printers, scales, and cash drawers.

Toast POS terminal shot from front
Toast's POS terminal is heat and spill resistant, so it can handle any restaurant environment. Source: Expert Market

Is Toast Easy to Use?

Toast is easy to use. We found the back end particularly intuitive and easy to navigate, and the setup tutorial offered a clear step-by-step guide that helped us find our way around the platform.

Another aspect we like is that Toast’s customer service line is open 24/7, 365 days a year (that’s right, even on holidays) – this includes a phone line and a web messaging service.

3. SpotOn: Best for Simplifying Staff Scheduling and Communication

Pricing From $0/month
Suitable for

Businesses seeking a low-risk option

Restaurant owners who need seamless staff management

Small to mid-sized restaurants with 1-3 locations

Not suitable for

Restaurants that change their floor plan frequently

Businesses that want to purchase additional accessories

Restaurants owners who want a tablet-based system

Plan costsHardware costsTransaction fees
Quickstart plan (hardware + software) $0/month (pay in transaction fees) 10 inch SpotOn Counter, stand (with cash drawer and receipt printer) $850 one-off fee On Quickstart plan 2.89% + 25¢
Counter-service plan (software only) $99/mo +$3 per employee/month 15 inch SpotOn Station, stand (with cash drawer and receipt printer) $750 one-off fee On all other plans 1.99% + 25¢
Full-service plan (software only) $135/mo +$3 per employee/month KDS $600 one-off fee

SpotOn is a great POS system for simplifying staff scheduling and streamlining communication. It’s designed specifically for restaurants, and has a proprietary “Teamwork” app that handles shift management and cost projections.

It’s well-suited to new restaurants, since its starting plan is free, and includes a terminal, customer display, stand, receipt printer and cash drawer. All you’ll have to pay is the 2.89% + 25¢ card processing fee, which goes down to 1.99% + 25¢ once you upgrade to one of SpotOn’s paid plans.

However, SpotOn doesn’t offer as wide a range of POS hardware and accessories as competitors, so if you want all your equipment bases covered, you’re better off with a provider like Clover or Square.

Useful Features

SpotOn’s POS system comes with the basic features necessary for restaurants, including menu and table plan management, payment processing, and reporting tools.

Where the system really shines is with its staff management tools. It’s got automatic tip sharing, labor vs revenue assessments, and centralized payroll administration. Unfortunately, these features aren’t all available on the free plan, but all of SpotOn’s features can be added as add-ons (for a fee) to any plan.

On the customer side, SpotOn has a customizable customer facing screen, and optional marketing tools, such as email marketing, discount code and gift card creation, and a loyalty plan builder.

The software also has an automatic offline functionality, which means none of your data will be lost if your connection is.

Hardware Offering

Hardware is included on all of SpotOn’s plans, even its free tier. Here’s what you can expect to get in your package:

  • Station POS: a black, 15.6 inch countertop terminal with a touchscreen and built-in customer display screen that can take tap, dip, or swipe payments
  • Counter POS: a white 10.1 inch countertop terminal, with an optional customer display screen/card reader, or clip on card reader
  • Handheld: a handheld mini POS device that doubles as a card reader (tap or dip) for tableside service
Screenshot of SpotOn POS order checkout.
SpotOn only has dark mode, which we didn't love. It might not be a problem for bars or evening only restaurants, but could lead to reduced visibility during the day. Source: Expert Market

Is SpotOn Easy to Use?

During testing, we found SpotOn to be the one of most intuitive POS systems to navigate.

However, the back end was easier to use than the front end, mainly because the front end required a few extra clicks to add items to order compared to how quickly we could do this using other POS systems.

We also didn’t like the floor plan functionality, since it’s not drag and drop. To change the size of the tables you have to click a bar chart button rather than drag them to make them bigger, something restaurants with large floor plans might want to consider.

SpotOn also has a comprehensive help center with guides to all its hardware and software, and there’s a 24/7 phone line you can call if you run into trouble.

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

4. Clover: Best for Professional Restaurant Hardware

Pricing Custom

Medium to large restaurants

Owners or managers who want to deep dive into their analytics

Businesses that want top of the range hardware


Small pop ups or simple establishments (food trucks or independent cafes)

Businesses that want clear pricing

Restaurants that want automated tip sharing tools

Hardware and softwareTransaction fees
Custom packages Custom (example rate: 1.0% + 10¢)

Clover is the best POS system for professional restaurant hardware. Its collection ranges from countertop terminals complete with screens (no need to purchase your tablets separately), to handheld devices that sync with the main EPOS system, and allow you access to all features, from order management to reporting.

We particularly like Clover’s customer display screens: they’re bright and very reactive to touch, making it easy for customers to use them. Another standout is Clover’s fingerprint login function, making it quicker for staff to access the interface and serve customers.

However, Clover no longer displays its pricing in Canada, instead offering custom packages. This can understandably put some businesses off, since it can be hard to tell if it’s in your budget. Clover still advertises pricing for the US market, and based of that, we can tell you it’s on the expensive side. If you’re a budding restaurateur, you might be better off with cheaper options like Square or SpotOn, both of which have free plans.

Useful Features

Clover’s POS system includes all the basics and more. You can create custom table plans that perfectly match your restaurant’s layout, create customized orders for guests, and even transfer orders from one table to another if customers switch seats.

You’ll also be able to see the status of each table in real-time, track and transfer bar tabs, send orders straight to the kitchen, split bills, manage staff, take bookings, and track your sales.

There’s also a Clover app store, where you can find a variety of marketing and reporting tools to integrate into your POS system.

Hardware Offering

Clover has a variety of payment plans, most of which include a software account and a set of hardware, with hardware options varying by plan. All of Clover’s equipment has a sleek modern design, with white frames and silver finishes.

Here’s what’s available with Clover:

  • Station Duo: A terminal with a 14 inch staff touchscreen, customer screen (complete with swipe, dip, or tap reader), cash drawer, and receipt printer
  • Station Solo: Same as above, minus the customer-facing screen and card reader functionality
  • Mini: A small terminal with an 8 inch touchscreen, that can also take dip or tap payments
  • Clover Flex: A handheld device that connects to both wifi and 4G, and doubles as a card machine and POS interface, complete with a built-in receipt printer
  • KDS: A 14 inch or 24 inch touchscreen

Clover also offers a bunch of restaurant accessories, such as KDS bump bar (to operate KDSs mounted on the wall), stands and wall mounts, scales, kitchen printers, and employee login cards.

Clover POS terminal with screen set to table plan
We really liked Clover's layout. It's spaced-out, clear, and bright. Source: Expert Market

Is Clover Easy to Use?

We found Clover much easier to use than the other POS systems we tested – with the exception of Toast – because the layout of the front and back end is very straightforward.  Everything is nicely spaced out, avoiding clutter, and Clover makes use of different colors to visually separate items from each other.

However, Clover doesn’t have a training mode, and its support center doesn’t have as large a library of guides as competitors’, such as Square’s.

5. Lightspeed Restaurant: Best for Increasing Customer Loyalty

lightspeed logo
Pricing From $89/month
Suitable for

Businesses who want to pay no up-front costs

Restaurants owners looking to expand and grow

Establishments who have extensive and complex inventories

Not suitable for

Businesses who want a physical terminal

Restaurants that need automated tip management

Restaurants that change their floor plan frequently

Package PriceCard processing fees
Starter $89/month Starter and Essential 2.6% + 10¢
Essential $239/month Premium and Enterprise Custom
Premium $499/month
Enterprise Custom

Lightspeed Restaurant is the best POS system for restaurants looking to increase customer loyalty, thanks to its range of integrated marketing features.

You’ll get access to email and SMS marketing, loyalty programs, and automated marketing, all of which can entice customers to return.

There’s also an optional Order Anywhere feature, which allows you to give your customers more ways to order, such as online, or via a QR code. These tools can help create a loyal customer base and contribute to growth.

However, because Lightspeed is a tablet-based type of POS system, it can only be operated via iPad, and the company doesn’t sell physical terminals. If you’d prefer a physical terminal, providers like Toast or Clover have got you covered.

Useful Features

On top of its marketing and loyalty tools, Lightspeed restaurant also has a robust array of restaurant management features.

You’re able to customize your floor plan, menu, and displays, which is especially useful for customer-facing screens and KDSs. Other top features include ingredient usage tracking, cost vs profit breakdowns for menu items, and automated resupply orders.

Lightspeed’s POS system also has an offline function, which means it’ll log data even if you get disconnected from the wifi, and sync everything automatically when connection returns.

Hardware Offering

Lightspeed’s POS software is completely app-based and only works on iPads. You can purchase iPads from Lightspeed, or use your own if you already have them.

Lightspeed doesn’t disclose the price of any of its hardware, which is kind of frustrating if you’re trying to budget.

The KDS and customer display screens are also app-based, and Lightspeed doesn’t offer dedicated hardware for these. This means you’ll need to buy additional tablets, which can really drive up costs if you need to buy tablets for multiple locations.

A lot of restaurants prefer these types of systems because they offer mobility to staff, but if you want dedicated KDS of customer display hardware, you can get them through providers like Clover, Square, or SpotOn.

When it comes to accessories, here’s what Lightspeed can provide your restaurant with:

  • iPad stand: A black, Lightspeed-branded stand for the counter
  • Cash drawer: Available in sizes large or small, and connects to the iPad stand
  • Receipt printers: A variety of Epson models are available (some designs are slightly clunky)
  • Card machines: three mobile Verifone models (Verifone e285, Verifone P400, Verifone 400m), including one with a built-in receipt printer, and a Mobile Tap card reader attachment for iPads and iPhones

Is Lightspeed Restaurant Easy to Use?

Lightspeed Restaurant is generally easy to use. We found the front end slightly more difficult to navigate, and struggle with adding a tip and splitting the bill. However, creating and editing menus and table plans in the back end was simple enough.

Lightspeed also has a training mode, which is particularly useful if you have a large team, and its help center contains guides on a range of common topics, such as system setup (for both hardware and software), and how to use features such as table plans and order management.

Screenshot of Lightspeed Restaurant POS order summaries
Here's a look at order summaries in Lightspeed 's POS system. We appreciated the level of detail awarded to each order. Source: Expert Market

Buying Guide: How to Choose a Restaurant POS System

It’s a good idea to define the specific needs of your restaurant before you choose a POS system. Aspects you should take in to account include the size of your restaurant, how you serve your food (for example, counter ordering, table service, or QR code), and the number of locations you have.

Here’s what else to consider when evaluating your choices:

Costs and Pricing Structures

Consider upfront costs and monthly fees, as well as what’s included in them. Is it software and hardware, or one and not the other? For example, SpotOn offers “free” software and hardware, but its transaction fees are high, and you’ll need to pay extra to access the best features.

Don’t forget to include the added cost of integration and training in your budgeting, and to plan for any projected growth by choosing a system that can accommodate your future needs. Switching systems is expensive, so it’s easier to stick with the same provider in the future if you can.


Make a list of must-have and nice-to-have software features based on your restaurant’s operational model. These could include:

  • Inventory management: To help you keep on top of your ingredients and prevent you from running out of something unexpectedly
  • Reservation management: To help you book out tables in advance and gather customer data
  • Staff management: So you can reward your best employees and identify those that need further training
  • Online ordering functionality: So you can offer your food to takeout customers or accept online pre-orders
  • Analytics: So you can learn which meals are most popular, which staff members are processing the most transactions, and more
  • Customer loyalty programs: So you can offer benefits that entice customers back to your restaurant as repeat visitors

If you prioritize features that help you automate workflows and prevent manual work, you might be able to reduce your labor costs.


Think about what pieces of hardware are vital for your restaurant, and how many of them you need – from POS terminals and card machines to receipt printers, kitchen printers, and cash drawers.

Not all providers automatically provide you with portable card machines, for example. They’re sometimes replaced with a tablet or terminal that can take payments. But if you need your staff to do table service, you should choose a provider that includes portable card machines in their packages.

If you have existing hardware, just make sure to find a POS system that’s compatible with your existing equipment. This will save you from having to buy everything new. Most POS providers appreciate that you might be switching to them from another supplier, and that you won’t necessarily want a complete overhaul of all your hardware.

Add-ons and integrations

You should also pay attention to what software or apps your chosen POS system can integrate with. If you already use software, such as accounting software, make sure the POS system you choose has a ready-made integration for it, as this will help you streamline operations.

It’s also a good idea to check what other add-ons or apps are available via a POS system. Some providers offer advanced marketing or reporting features as add-ons, usually for an extra fee – but if these seem particularly valuable to your business they could be worth the extra price.

Customer support

Make sure you check how available the POS provider’s customer support team is, and how easily reachable they are.

A POS provider should have a customer support phone line that’s open on weekdays, at the very least. Live chat support and community forums you can go to in a pinch are a welcome addition.

You should also check the training resources, onboarding support, and post-implementation support terms provided by the POS provider to ensure your team will get the support they need to learn the new system.

How Much Does Restaurant POS Software Cost?

On average, monthly fees for POS systems are around $100 per month.

Hardware fees, if they aren’t included as part of a software package, can be much costlier at an average of $1,000 upfront. 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 and Lightspeed can be used on a tablet, which means that if you already own one, you only need to pay for their software, and eventually a card machine. These are typically affordable, costing around $50 for a basic reader, and around $300 for a handheld POS and reader combo.

Compare quotes and save money on your next restaurant POS system

Our Methodology

We recently completed a POS research and testing project that involved 10 major POS providers. We evaluated the features offered by each system – and tested them ourselves – to find out which ones catered best to the specific needs of both restaurants and retail businesses. For the restaurant POS side of the project, we rated each provider according to how it performed in six key areas of interest, which were:

  • Software Quality: the breadth of features included in the EPOS software, and how valuable they are to the average restaurant
  • Hardware/Equipment: the variety of equipment available to purchase or rent, with special importance given to key items, such as KDSs, portable card machines, and cash drawers
  • Ease-of-Use: how easy the system is to use, navigate, and customize
  • Help and Support: how effective and reachable the customer support team is, with bonus points given to EPOS systems with help centers and training modes
  • Costs: the price of the system, how it compares to competitors, and whether it’s good value for money
  • User Experience: whether everyday restaurant owners know and like the system, whether they’d recommend it, and what they say about it in online reviews

Our overall winner is Square, which offers a free POS app that is great for new or small restaurants, and paid plans that can accommodate the needs of larger establishments, and start at a reasonable $60 per month.

If you need more help getting matched with the perfect POS system, you can use our free quote-finding tool. 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 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

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:
Headshot of Expert Market Senior Writer Tatiana Lebtreton
Tatiana is Expert Market's resident payments and online growth expert, specialising in (E)POS and merchant accounts, as well as website builders.