The Best Examples of Restaurant POS Systems

Our site is reader-supported – by clicking our links, we can match you with a potential supplier, and we may earn a small commission for this referral.

If you’re looking at successful restaurants wanting a piece of their pie, we get it. At this point, you may have the chef, the crew, and the location – and it’s fair to wonder what’ll take your eatery to the next step.

Having written about B2B services for nearly 15 years, we can assure you that an efficient restaurant point of sale (POS) system is an important ingredient of the success spice.

Who are the Restaurant Chains Using?

These are some of the providers we recommend based on our research.  Clicking on the links will take you to the provider’s website.

  1. Square – Best overall
  2. TouchBistro – Best for customer service
  3. Lightspeed – Best for ease of use
  4. Toast – Best for features

If you’d like to choose one for your business, the quickest way is to use our free comparison tool. Through it, we’ll match you with the providers best suited to your business and they’ll reach out to you with custom quotes in no time!

However, if you’d like an insight of what gets the world’s leading restaurant chains moving, we prepared a detailed list of their chosen POS systems, along with our expert take on whether they can fit your bill or not. To check that and get some inspiration, just head below.

Swipe right to see more
0 out of 0

Toast

SpotOn

Clover

Lightspeed

Price
  • Starter – $59/month
  • Growth – $129/month
  • Optimize – $279/month
Price
  • Free: $0/month
  • Plus: $60/month
  • Essentials Bundle (includes hardware): $192/month
Price
Price

From $0 (including hardware)

Price

From $165/month for 36 months OR $1,699 + $89.95/month

Price

From $69/month

Key Features
  • Excellent features for onboarding new staff
  • Open API means hundreds of third-party integrations
  • Manage all vendor relationships in one place
Key Features
  • Optimized floor plans
  • Kitchen display system
  • Online ordering
Key Features
  • Hardware allows for fast checkout
  • Advanced plans incorporate payroll and team scheduling tools
  • Offline mode
Key Features
  • High customisation
  • Native payment platform
  • Versatile till hardware
  • No contract commitment
Key Features
  • Intuitive back office
  • Offline mode
  • Take payments & refunds over phone, email or mail
Key Features
  • Scalable
  • Delivery and contactless online ordering
  • Advanced insights

What Point of Sale System Does Starbucks Use?

Starbucks POS

Heard of Square? It’s a pretty renowned POS system. Back in the day, Starbucks used to have quite a good partnership with it. In fact, you could argue that Starbucks was responsible for giving Square the caffeine boost it needed to make such a splash in the POS market.

Unfortunately, this affiliation with Square wasn’t to last. The two parted ways back in 2014, and Starbucks decided to invest in the services of Oracle – a big gun in the POS provider industry. 

And both needed it. Starbucks required a heavy duty POS system that had the capacity to grow with them, and that’s exactly what Oracle’s Simphony has done.

What Is Oracle Simphony?

Oracle’s POS system is more than just a means for customers to pay for their coffee. It’s a data collection center, providing Starbucks with all the information it needs to make intelligent business decisions. Whether it’s recognizing the need for a new store or sending customers tailored offers based on their buying habits, Oracle allows Starbucks to get the most out of its customer data.

But we’re forgetting the basics – that Oracle is simply an easy to use POS system. It enables baristas to quickly process coffee orders with its intuitive menu function, and helps store managers with back office operations – whether it’s managing rotas, or assessing stock and losses.

Integration with Mobile POS

Did you know that Starbucks beat Apple and Samsung to become the first company to offer its customers the means to pay via mobile?

That’s right. With the release of its app way back in 2011, Starbucks was the first to give its customers the means to pay via their cellphone. Sure, it wasn’t quite the sophisticated NFC (near-field communication) technology we use today. But virtualizing gift cards by turning them into unique barcodes meant that Starbucks’ POS system could scan customers’ accounts, and subtract the cost of their order.

Fast forward eight years, and the Starbucks app has become more than just a place to pay and log rewards. It’s a hub where people can order and pay for their coffee in advance. It’s also another way to collect valuable data on buying habits, integrating with Starbucks’ in-store POS system to keep sales and stock figures in one place. 

There’s no doubt that Starbucks’ POS system is at the forefront of modern retail technology. Providing the company with the means to process transactions, manage customer relationships, and improve business operations, there’s no wonder Starbucks is very much at the top of the coffee chain game.

Who Does Starbucks’ POS Suit?

Businesses looking to expand. Oracle’s POS system guides Starbucks’ growth by analyzing customer data and pinpointing areas of opportunity.

What Point of Sale System Does Burger King Use?

Burger King

Burger King also relies on Oracle to provide for its POS system needs, although it actually uses Oracle’s MICROS POS system instead.

Burger King chose this system because it offers a flexible solution, which can be tailored to meet the exact needs of the business as it grows and evolves.

The MICROS system supports numerous languages and multiple user IDs, and offers a range of security features. It also allows each cashier’s activity to be tracked and analyzed.

Other benefits of the MICROS system include:

  • Touchscreens completely customizable to the Burger King menu
  • Restaurant managers can assign user IDs, set up alerts, and perform other tasks from front of house
  • Mymicros.net lets managers access information from anywhere at any time, since it’s securely stored online

Who Does Burger King’s POS Suit?

Businesses with specific needs. MICROS allows businesses to fine-tune the solution to fit their specific goals.

What Point of Sale System Does KFC Use?

KFC chicken

In the United States, KFC is owned by Yum! and currently uses Oracle’s MICROS RES POS system. This is a highly intelligent system which has helped to enhance customer experience, and speed up transactions across KFC’s restaurants.

The MICROS RES system was rolled out across KFC locations in the USA in 2010. The system enables maximum transfer of information with minimum input, thereby enhancing ease of use and the customer experience. 

The MICROS RES system in KFC restaurants was installed with front and back of house hardware – meaning that as a customer orders their food, the kitchen can instantly see exactly what needs to be prepared. This speeds up the entire operation, reducing the amount of time between the moment the customer makes their order and the moment they receive their food.

The MICROS RES is also capable of projecting forecasts from the front of house to the kitchens. This is invaluable in peak periods, when the software can instruct the kitchen to begin preparing popular items before it gets busy. 

The system also collects data, which is collated in a central facility that allows the company as a whole to monitor successes and enhance operations.

The system has recently been upgraded to include mobile orders.

Who Does KFC’s POS Suit?

Smaller and growing businesses. All restaurants value cost efficiency, but to a small business, it can be make or break. With MICROS RES, businesses can project their future costs, and only spend what is needed in the present.

Get free, tailored quotes from POS suppliers

What Point of Sale System Does Subway Use?

Subway restaurant

Subway’s POS system is custom made, specifically designed for its needs by Scoresby Interactive.

Subway’s aim when creating its POS system was simplicity of use. This was in order to reduce training time. They also wanted a system to prevent employee theft. 

The full list of Subway’s requests and goals can be seen below:

  • Reduce the amount of time needed to train new staff
  • Minimize the risk of employee theft
  • Increase the speed of service
  • Improve order accuracy

The system turned out to be so effective that staff found they could engage more with their customers whilst using it. Plus, Subway’s POS system is so easy to use that most store managers no longer need to offer new members of staff formal training. Now, they just give a simple orientation to each new employee at the start of their first shift.

Who Does Subway’s POS Suit?

Businesses with lots of staff. Onboarding new staff is an important yet time consuming part of running a restaurant. Cutting down on the effort and time needed to get new employees on their feet allows businesses to funnel their energy into growing their operations.

How Do You Find the Right POS System for Your Business?

When browsing for a POS system, it’s important to look for a solution that works for you while being aware of your size, budget, and business model.

Highly-customized POS systems – like some we’ve mentioned in this article – can come with a hefty price tag that your business could do without. However, it pays to search for a system that can fit naturally in a restaurant setting.

Versatile players like Square come with many industry-specific features and require little initial investment. Its transaction fee-based pricing means it’s not the best option for high-volume businesses, like bars and coffee shops, but it can serve small to medium-sized restaurants well. Zettle, while a simpler solution overall, packs great 3G connectivity, making it a solid POS for food trucks and street market vendors.

If your business is consolidated and fixed in a traditional location, providers such as TouchBistro are more likely to serve you due to their scalability potential and their inclusion of more advanced features, like floorplan management and marketing tools. These usually charge a monthly base fee and therefore, are more suited to large or growing operations.

Next Steps

Now that we’ve seen what capable POS systems can do for globally recognized restaurant chains, what about you? A system that works for food services juggernauts might not suit your business – and that’s okay!

On that note, the best way to find the POS system best suited to your needs is to compare quotes and through our free comparison tool, you’ll be able to do that in no time. It’ll allow us to match you with the providers best suited to your business and they’ll reach out to you with custom quotes, allowing you to compare them and select the one most poised to help you on your growth.

How We Test POS Systems for Businesses

We tested 16 market-leading POS systems to evaluate them in terms of functionality, usability, price, features, and more so we can make the most useful recommendations to US businesses.

Our rigorous testing process means these products have been scored and rated in eight main categories of investigation and 45 subcategories – in fact, we covered 61 areas of investigation in total. We then gave each category score a ‘relevance weighting' to ensure the product's final score perfectly reflects the needs and requirements of Expert Market readers – and that's our product testing algorithm in a nutshell!

Our main testing categories for POS systems are:

Till: the core functionality of the POS system which includes the processing of sales transactions. It involves features such as item scanning, item look-up, and price calculation.

Business Management: the features and tools provided by the POS system to support various aspects of running a business, such as employee management, shift scheduling, and customer management.

Stock Management: the POS system's capabilities to manage inventory and track stock levels including inventory tracking, stock alerts and transfers, and purchase order management.

Business Development: the features and tools provided by the POS system to help businesses grow and improve their operations, e.g. customer relationship management, marketing integrations, and sales forecasting.

Usability: how easily and intuitively the POS system can be used by the staff, including the user interface design, navigation, ease of training, and overall user experience during setup.

Price: the cost associated with acquiring and using the POS system, such as the initial purchase cost, licensing fees, subscription plans, and any additional charges or ongoing costs.

Help and Support: the assistance and resources available to users when they encounter issues or need guidance while using the POS system, including documentation, tutorials, or knowledge bases.

Features: the functionalities and capabilities provided by the POS product. This can include dedicated restaurant and retail functionality including KDS, loyalty management and multi employee login.

 

FAQs

Which is the best POS system for restaurants?
Square is the best POS system for restaurants, according to our deep-dive research, where it scores a high 4.7/5. Its low initial cost and iteration fully dedicated to the hospitality sector (Square for Restaurants) helped it get the top spot in our best restaurant POS systems ranking.
What POS software does Chick-fil-A use?
Chick-fil-A uses PAR as its POS software and hardware. Compatible with both Windows and Linux, PAR’s focus on high-volume businesses make it compatible to Chick-fil-A’s operation – a fact highlighted by their partnership of over 35 years.
What are the four types of POS systems?
The four types of POS systems are: terminal (which are based on specific hardware), mobile (which can be used on smartphones and tablets), cloud-based (which are run entirely online), and open-source (which uses free-to-use source code and is therefore free of charge).
How much does a POS system cost?
POS systems typically cost around $1,250 for an upfront investment and then around $1,000 per year to use the software
Written by:
Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.
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.