Written by Zara Chechi Published on May 31, 2022 On this page Best Overall Winner - Square Best for Ease of Use - Lightspeed Best for Customer Service - TouchBistro Best for Range of Features - Toast Best for Affordability - Zettle by PayPal What are the Best Alternative Restaurant POS Systems? How Much Does a Restaurant POS System Cost? Verdict Our Methodology FAQs Expand Our overall winner for POS systems for restaurants is Square, thanks to its free POS app, restaurant features, and simple interface. We also explore which POS systems are best for factors such as affordability and customer service.Our research team has done all the hard work for you and identified the best POS systems for restaurants.POS systems for restaurants have all the necessary features, such as the ability to process different methods of payment and centralize reports, as well as restaurant-specific features such as customizable floor plans.If you want to compare tailored prices, you can use our handy comparison tool to receive no-obligation quotes from trusted suppliers. Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Square Lightspeed TouchBistro Toast Zettle 4.8 4.3 4.0 4.2 3.7 Price $0/monthPlus: $60/month Price From $69/month Price From $69/month Price Starter – $0Restaurants Basics – $110/monthEssentials – $165/monthCustom – bespoke Price $0/month Best for Overall Winner Best for Best for Customer Service Best for Range of Features Best for Affordability Key Features Optimized floor plansKitchen display systemOnline ordering Key Features ScalableDelivery and contactless online orderingAdvanced insights Key Features Loyalty schemesTable monitoringProcess every payment type Key Features Caters to quick & full serviceContactless orderingMarketingPayroll & team managementAvailable internationally (US, UK & CA) Key Features Card/cash paymentsReportsGift cardsDiscountsStaff management Best Overall Winner – Square Square Pricing $0/month Square POS review 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.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.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.Square also lacks comprehensive inventory management tools. 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. Read more + Read less - 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 See more See less Package Price Transaction fee Free (Square) $0 1.75% card-based transaction + 2.5% manual sale Restaurant $60/month 1.75% card-based transaction + 2.5% for manual sale Hardware Card readers + stand: $0 - $149 Best for Ease of Use – Lightspeed Lightspeed Pricing From $69/month Try Lightspeed Quick overview Lightspeed's restaurant-focused POS system is bursting with features to manage your operations more smoothly. Scoring a 4.3/5 overall, Lightspeed takes second place in the best POS for restaurant race.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. 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. Read more + Read less - 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 See more See less Package PriceWhat you get Essentials $39 1 register, inventory, reporting & analytics, 24/7 support, dedicated account manager Plus $119 everything above plus loyalty and gift cards Pro $289 everything above plus advanced insights and advanced inventory Best for Customer Service – TouchBistro TouchBistro Pricing From $89/month Try TouchBistro TouchBistro POS review Quick overview TouchBistro scores highly in our research for help and support with a solid 5/5. Great customer service gives the tools and support you need to overcome any snags or issues that could threaten the running of your restaurant.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 flexible, making 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.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. Read more + Read less - 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 Automatic contract renewal Pricing See more See less Package Price (billed annually)What you'll get Lean $89/month Integrated payments, 24/7 customer support, API access Standard $159/month Accounting, ecommerce, integrated payments, 24/7 customer support, API access Best for Range of Features – Toast Toast Pricing From $0 Try Toast Toast POS review 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.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.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. Read more + Read less - Strengths Offline mode Customizable Weaknesses Customer service Only runs on Android Pricing See more See less Package Price Starter $0 Essentials $165 Custom Bespoke Best for Affordability – Zettle by PayPal Zettle by PayPal Pricing From $29 Quick overview It's no surprise that Zettle by PayPal is our top pick for an affordable POS system, because it's free! You will have to purchase the card reader to process payments, however – this is priced at around $29 for your first Zettle Card Reader 2 (plus $79 for any further readers). The free app and affordable hardware means Zettle is a great option for those focusing on staying within budget, although the POS app still packs a punch in terms of features. While Zettle lacks restaurant-focused features, it offers Zettle for Food and Drinks, which is great for start-ups and small businesses, specifically food trucks, cafes, and mobile eateries.You can access simple and real-time reporting within the app, making it easy to track sales and staff. Inventory management is made easier with the ability to organize and sync your stock – staying on top of stock levels is important to ensure you don't run into any sticky conversations with customers. Zettle's stock management is one of its highest scores, with a 5/5.A key feature of the Zettle app is its simplicity. Once installed, you can be set up and ready to go within minutes, which is why Zettle scores well for usability (5/5). However, Zettle doesn't integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) systems, which makes it difficult to run customer loyalty programs or marketing campaigns.Zettle scores poorly in the business management (2.8/5) and business development (2.5/5) areas as it lacks many features found in other POS systems, such as Lightspeed, Square or TouchBistro.Square is one of Zettle's closest competitors as both offer free POS apps, however, Square's software is a lot more comprehensive offering more features and tools. Zettle is best suited to businesses that only require the bare bones of a POS system. Read more + Read less - Strengths Free POS app Low-priced hardware Easy to use Weaknesses No specialist hospitality features No integration with CRM Pricing See more See less Hardware First reader $29 (additional readers = $79) Find the right POS system for your business with our comparison tool Compare and save What are the Best Alternative Restaurant POS Systems?Not every excellent POS system has made it to our ‘Best' spots, but some are still worthy of a mention. Here are our choices for the best alternative systems, if the ones above didn't quite tick all your boxes.CloverClover scored highly in our research, and boasts tons of great restaurant features. Sync up your front and back of house to increase efficiency, organization and profit. Your floor plan can be built to deal with guest orders and ticket times by tables.The bill can be split in whatever way your customers want, by person, item, or custom amount. Payments can also be taken offline.Clover's prices:$1,349 (or 3 payments of $450) for hardware + $74.95 per month for software$1,848 (or 3 payments of $616) for hardware + $84.90 per month for software$3,497 (or 3 payments of $1,165) for hardware + $94.85 per month for softwareThe cost for hardware seems a little steep, however, this is a one-off fee which can also be spread out over three months, making it more affordable. The per month fee is in line with similar POS systems' prices.Epos NowEpos Now offers a restaurant POS system that includes features such as:Connection to major delivery appsInventory trackingRobust reporting toolsIts 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.Epos Now's prices:Core hardware and software starts from $1,145 + $39 (standard) or $54 (premium) per month for softwareBoth the hardware and the monthly software fee are reasonably priced, although appear a lot more expensive than providers like Square or Zettle. These systems, however, are much more simple and don't have as many features or hardware pieces. Epos Now's system is a little more expensive and bulky, but is more comprehensive. ▶ Read more: Check out our detailed Epos Now review Use our comparison tool to receive no-obligation quotes from trusted POS system providers Compare and save How Much Does a Restaurant POS System Cost?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.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. ▶ Read more: How Much Does a Point Of Sale System Cost? 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. Our MethodologyOur 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:HardwarePriceUsabilityHelp and SupportBusiness DevelopmentThese 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. 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 machine2. Mobile – software POS system that can be used on any mobile device3. Cloud-based – software that can be accessed remotely and used on any compatible device4. 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 Business Services Expert 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.