Written by Zara Chechi Reviewed by Ruairi Shirlow Updated on 29 November 2023 On this page What is a Restaurant POS System? 1. Square – Best overall 2. Clover – Best for staff performance tracking 3. Zettle – Best for affordability 4. Epos Now – Best for chains 5. TouchBistro – Best for customer service 6. Lightspeed – Best for ease of use 7. Toast - Best for features Buying Guide: How to Choose a Restaurant POS System How much do restaurant EPOS systems cost? Which restaurant EPOS system has the best free plan? Our methodology Verdict FAQs Expand 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 your restaurant has been hit by the UK's labour shortage in 2023, you're not alone. According to market research firm CGA, one in nine hospitality jobs remained vacant at the end of 2022. In this scenario, you've got to do the most with your current staff to keep customer experience levels high.POS systems can be key tools to help you with that – and for our money, Square is the best POS system on the market. That said, we were also impressed with six other providers, which we cover in this ranking. What are the Best Restaurant EPOS Systems? 1. Square – Best Overall2. Clover – Best for Staff Performance Tracking3. Zettle – Best for Affordability4. Epos Now – Best for Chains5. TouchBistro – Best for Customer Service6. Lightspeed – Best for Ease of Use7. Toast – Best for FeaturesClick any of the links above to begin comparing price quotes for EPOS systemsSquare's restaurant-specific version easily connects kitchen and front of house while its intuitive interface offers massive help during rush hours. Accordingly, it lands a high 4.7/5 overall score 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 analysed. Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Our Top Pick Square for Restaurants Clover Zettle EPOS Now TouchBistro Lightspeed Toast Score 4.7 Score 4.5 Score 4.4 Score 4.2 Score 4.2 Score 4.1 Score 4.0 Best for Overall Best for Staff performance tracking Best for Affordability Best for Chains Best for Customer service Best for Ease of use Best for Features Pricing From £0/month Pricing Custom Pricing £0/month Pricing Custom Pricing From £56/month Pricing From £59/month Pricing From £80/month Pros Free POS appDelivery and pick-up integration Pros Sturdy POS systemEasy to useHas a handheld POS systemIntegrated online store Pros Cheap hardware Versatile till set ups Pros Good customer supportFree trial and demo Pros Extensive number of restaurant featuresIntegration with delivery apps Pros Extensive report templatesVery easy to use and ideal for busy bars or restaurantsPowerful and scalable solution Pros Hardware allows for fast checkoutAdvanced plans incorporate payroll and team scheduling toolsOffline mode Cons Transaction fee build-upSupport not available via live chat Cons Limited customer supportReporting could be betterInitial investment is costly Cons Transaction fee build upFew business development tools Cons Quite expensive compared to competitorsOnly provides paid training, which is bad for restaurants with high staff turnover Cons Not a good choice for multi-location restaurantsExpensive Cons Doesn't work on Android tabletsDoesn't allow you to integrate third-party payment processorSupport not available via live chatNo free trial Cons Doesn't work on iPadDoesn't allow you to integrate third-party payment processorSupport is only available via phone Ready to find the best POS system for your restaurant? Get started What is a Restaurant POS System?Restaurant POS systems are point of sale systems that feature hospitality-focused functionality.These systems allow restaurant staff to take payments, manage inventory, customise floor plans and place orders. More advanced systems may offer features such as online ordering, integration with delivery apps, and marketing and analytics tools.A POS system tends to include the software subscription, as well as any hardware necessary to run your restaurant, including a payment terminal and portable card machines.Key benefits of using a restaurant POS system include:Reduced server errorsFaster order processesLower labour costsReduced inventory wasteImprovement to your business’ success through analytics 1. Square – Best overall restaurant EPOS system Square 4.7 Pricing From £0 Quick overview Square scores a 4.7/5 in our research, although it should be noted that it has less restaurant-specific features than other systems, such as Clover or Lightspeed. However, it performs well in other areas and is a great option for restaurants with straightforward needs. Read more + Read less - Strengths Free POS app Delivery and pick-up integration Easy to use Weaknesses Transaction fee build-up Support not available via live chat Pricing See more See less Package Price Processing rate Free £0/month 1.75% (in-person), 1.4-2.5% + 25p (online) or 2.5% (invoices) Restaurant Plus £69/month 1.75% (in-person), 1.4-2.5% + 25p (online) or 2.5% (invoices) Premium Custom 1.75% (in-person), 1.4-2.5% + 25p (online) or 2.5% (invoices) How much does Square cost?With POS software starting from £0 per month, and transaction fees that sit within a similar range to those charged by competitor, Square boasts some of the best value for money on the market. If you want more sophisticated features than those available on the free plan, Square's dedicated Restaurant system costs £69 per month, which is cheaper than equivalent systems from Clover or Toast, but more expensive than our value for money champion, Zettle.What we found during testingYou can customise 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.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.Would we recommend Square?As you'd expect, Square's free plan does lack some more advanced features, such as floor plan customisation and end-of-shift reporting which can be accessed on the Restaurant Plus plan.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 it includes advanced restaurant features and is able to handle multiple locations.We like that Square offers a simple, low-cost POS system that is intuitive to pick up and great for smaller cafes with fewer staff members who don't need a complicated and expensive system. 2. Clover – Best for staff performance tracking Clover 4.5 Pricing Custom Compare Costs Clover review Quick overview Clover scores a 4/5 overall in our research, and offers strong features for managing your business. Clover's handheld POS system, Clover Flex, is great for businesses that are mobile so you can take orders on the go or away from your till area. It also doubles up as a barcode scanner. Read more + Read less - Strengths Sturdy POS system Easy to use Weaknesses Limited customer support Reporting could be better How much does Clover cost?Clover is more of an investment than lower-priced systems like Zettle and Square. It doesn't publicly list its UK pricing, instead offering custom pricing plans. While it's frustrating that you can't find out how much Clover will cost without speaking to a member of Clover's sales team, bespoke pricing plans can be really beneficial, enabling you to agree on a plan that's just right for your needs and your budget.What we found during testingMany 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.We gave Clover's help and support provision a score of 4/5 after testing it out, thanks to the 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.Would we recommend Clover?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. Zettle – Best for affordability Zettle 4.4 Pricing £0 Quick overview Zettle by PayPal offers a free POS app and affordable hardware, which is one of the main reasons it scores a 4.4/5 in our research. Zettle has a specific 'food and drink' system that is caters for the hospitality industry. Scoring a respectable 4.4/5 for restaurant features, Zettle offers sales reports, staff performance, and easy stock editing. Read more + Read less - Strengths Cheap hardware Versatile till set ups Weaknesses Transaction fee build up Few business development tools Pricing See more See less PlanTransaction fees Tap to Pay (mobile) Free Card transactions and QR codes 1.75% Reader From £29 Invoices and payment links 2.5% Terminal From £149 How much does Zettle cost?Zettle is our top scorer when it comes to pricing, with a free POS software app and affordable card machines from just £29 each. Bear in mind, however, that this is a much simpler system than those offered by Zettle's competitors. While it's not specifically designed for restaurants, Zettle can be customised to meet your needs, albeit with fewer bells and whistles than the more advanced systems available. However, simplicity has its advantages, so don't dismiss Zettle on that basis.What we found during testingYou 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 features earnt one of its highest scores during our user testing process: a stellar 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.Would we recommend Zettle?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. Compare and save on EPOS systems Get free quotes 4. Epos Now – Best for restaurant chains Epos Now 4.2 Pricing Custom Epos Now review Quick overview With an overall score of 4.2/5, Epos Now offers restaurant management features. It's no surprise it scores the highest in the restaurant features area with a 4.6/5. Its kitchen display system comes with the functionality to receive online orders, pass orders directly to the kitchen, and remove errors quickly. Read more + Read less - Strengths Good customer support Free trial and demo Weaknesses Quite expensive compared to competitors Only provides paid training, which is bad for restaurants with high staff turnover How much does Epos Now cost?Epos Now's Full Service POS system is available for £339 for a complete restaurant management and payment system. It's possible to request a customised quote from Epos Now's sales team, or take advantage of flash sales – for instance, a recent online promotion offered zero upfront costs for hardware and a £79 subscription fee. That said, Epos Now is usually less transparent than other providers with regards to hidden costs and transaction fees, so it's difficult to make a definitive comparison.What we found during testingEpos 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.During our testing process, we scored Epos Now highly in the customer service department with a 4/5. This is because you can conveniently contact customer service via phone, email, live chat, or reach out to the Epos Now community online.Would we recommend Epos Now?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. This largely comes down to the fact that it charges monthly subscriptions for software as well as hardware lease fees.While Epos Now's prices are not clearly listed, they are higher compared to providers like Square or Zettle. The latter options offer free POS software and hardware starting from £19. This makes Epos Now a less ideal choice for restaurant owners who are just starting out or running on a tight budget. 5. TouchBistro – Best for customer service TouchBistro 4.2 Pricing From $69 USD Quick overview TouchBistro scores an overall 4.2/5 in our research, and its restaurant features score is the highest of all the research areas, scoring an impressive 4.8/5. It offers plenty of restaurant-specific features, including table management, multiple menus, tableside ordering, and bill splitting. Read more + Read less - Strengths Extensive number of restaurant-features Integration with delivery apps Weaknesses Not a good choice for multi-location restaurants Expensive Pricing See more See less SolutionPrice POS system $69 USD/mo (£54 approx.) Kitchen display system $19 USD/mo (£15 approx.) Reservation system $229 USD/mo (£180 approx.) Profit management $330 USD/mo (£260 approx.) How much does TouchBistro cost?TouchBistro only lists its pricing in USD, and it starts from $69 per month, with this package including functionalities like taking payments, menu creation, table management, and more. If you also want a kitchen display, that's an extra $19 per month, while a reservation management system will cost you a pricey $229 per month. While TouchBistro offers great, fit-for-purpose restaurant features, before long, these add-ons can rack up a significant monthly investment.What we found during testingTable 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 sent to the kitchen. TouchBistro scores well in the business and stock management areas, we gave it a 5/5 in both categories during our hands-on testing.The system is simple, intuitive, and flexible, making it easy 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.Would we recommend TouchBistro?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, like Lightspeed or Toast, 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. 6. Lightspeed – Best for ease of use Lightspeed 4.1 Pricing From £59/month Lightspeed review Quick overview Lightspeed scores a 4.1/5 in our research, with its highest score being a 4.9/5 for restaurant features. It's not surprising it scores this as it offers a restaurant-specific platform. It offers features such as customisable floor plans, delivery and takeaway options, and multi-location management. Read more + Read less - Strengths Integrated CRM system In-depth inventory management Extensive report templates Weaknesses Doesn't work on Android tablets Doesn't allow you to integrate third-party payment processor Support not available via live chat Pricing See more See less Package Price (billed annually) Lean £59/month Standard £79/month Advanced £119/month Enterprise Custom How much does Lightspeed cost?Lightspeed's plans start at £59 per month, which is fairly affordable for a restaurant-oriented system. In total, it offers three plans split into neat tiers with clearly defined specs for what's included at each price point. At £339 per month, Lightspeed's Premium plan is more expensive than comparable plans from competitors, such as Toast's Essentials plan, which costs £150 per month.What we found during testingYou 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. We found these features really convenient, so rated Lightspeed a near-perfect 4.5/5 in our research process.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.Would we recommend Lightspeed?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. It's a suitable POS system for takeaway businesses, thanks to its delivery features.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. 7. Toast – Best for restaurant features Toast 4 Pricing From £80/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. Read more + Read less - Strengths Hardware allows for fast checkout Advanced plans incorporate payroll and team scheduling tools Offline mode Weaknesses Doesn't work on iPad Doesn't allow you to integrate third-party payment processor Support is only available via phone Pricing See more See less Package Price Starter £80/month Essentials £150/month Enterprise Custom How much does Toast cost?Toast's Quick Start Bundle is a huge draw, as it enables smaller businesses to benefit from a professional POS system without the need for financial investment. In case it's a hit, Toast's more expensive tiers start off a little more expensive than several competitors, with its Starter plan priced at £80 per month.What we found during testingToast Go® is a handheld device that increases order efficiency. The Toast Go® is extremely durable as it's spill, drop, and dustproof. 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 a 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. During our testing process, we scored Toast's hardware slightly higher than Square's, 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.Would we recommend Toast?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. Buying Guide: How to Choose a Restaurant POS SystemWhen choosing a restaurant POS system, there are a few considerations that may make your decision clearer.First things first, you should define your specific needs. Depending on whether you run an independent coffee kiosk or a multi-location chain restaurant, your desired system will have different capabilities. Make a list of must-have and nice-to-have features based on your restaurant’s operations to get a clear picture of what kind of system you genuinely need.Here are some extra tips on what to look out for when choosing a restaurant POS system:PricingRestaurant POS systems have a wide range of costs. Consider upfront costs, as well as whether both the software and hardware are included in the monthly subscription fee. Make sure to include the added cost of integration, training, and transaction fees in your budgeting.Realistically plan for any projected growth as well. While choosing a system that can accommodate your expected future needs will prevent you from having to switch systems later down the line, be careful not to splurge on an over-complicated system with unnecessary features.SoftwareChoose between a cloud-based system and an on-premise system, and ensure your software package includes the features you need to run your restaurant business smoothly. These could include:Reservation management, to help you book out tables in advance and gather customer dataOnline ordering functionality, so you can offer your food to takeaway customers or accept online pre-ordersAnalytics, so you can learn which meals are most popular, which staff members are processing the most transactions, and moreInventory management, to help you keep on top of your ingredients and prevent you from running out of something unexpectedlyCustomer loyalty programs, so you can offer benefits that entice customers back to your restaurant as repeat visitorsIt's worth being aware that if you prioritize features that help automate your workflows and prevent manual work, you may be able to reduce your labour costs.HardwareThink about the important pieces of hardware that your business needs, and how many of them you need – from POS terminals and card machines to receipt printers, kitchen printers, and cash drawers. While most providers can offer portable card machines so your staff can take payments at the table, some providers can replace them with a mobile tablet that can save you some money and streamline the number of gadgets you need to maintain. Ensure your durability and compatibility needs are met.Add-ons, integrations, and supportAdd-ons like advanced analytics features can level up your operations and help you spot missed opportunities. You should also pay attention to the software that your chosen POS system can integrate with – for example, does it come ready to integrate with the accounting software brand that you're already using? You should also check the training resources, onboarding support, and post-implementation support terms providing by the POS provider to ensure your team will get the support they need to learn the new system.If you’re not sure, it's wise to try before you buy. Reach out to your shortlisted restaurant POS providers for free demos to evaluate their ease of use and performance. This gives more clarity than simply reading online user reviews. When testing the system, take a methodical approach, involve your team, and pay attention to features that improve day-to-day operations and save you time. How much do restaurant EPOS systems cost?When budgeting for an EPOS system for your pub or restaurant, there are a few categories to consider.Monthly software feeEPOS systems are comprised of both software and hardware. The software part of the deal often runs on a monthly subscription basis, where costs vary among providers and tiers. Some providers, like Square and Zettle, offer their software for no cost, but you’ll pay for their hardware. Others, like Lightspeed and Toast, offer tiered subscriptions costing between £59 and £150 per month, with hardware and software included in that price.Hardware costsEPOS system hardware can either be bought for an upfront, one-time cost, like Zettle’s card reader at £29, or paid for monthly as part of one ongoing fee that covers software and hardware, as explained above with Lightspeed and Toast. TouchBistro works on a build-your-own package basis, with each component of the system charged separately on a monthly basis.Transaction feesWhen choosing a POS system, you can also evaluate its affordability by examining the transaction fees or processing rates it charges on each payment. Although there may not be a significant difference between what providers charge here, it's still an important consideration because, when you pay a fee for every transaction, they can quickly add up. For instance, both Square and Zettle charge transaction fees ranging from 1.75% to 2.5% per transaction.It's important to consider the complexity of your needs when comparing the cost of POS systems as prices can vary greatly. If you're operating a small coffee kiosk or food van, opting for Square or Zettle's free software may suffice. However, if you're running a large restaurant, we recommend choosing a more comprehensive full service dining setup. Which restaurant EPOS system has the best free plan?As our reigning champ, Square has the best free plan. Its free EPOS app can be used alongside affordable hardware, with costs starting from £16 for a card reader. Square is easy to use, customisable, and offers a variety of features from employee management, inventory tools, and digital gift cards.Zettle by PayPal also offers a free EPOS app, however, it offers fewer features when compared with Square. It is super simple and suits start-ups or small businesses, especially as its transaction fees are much lower than Square's. Use our free comparison tool to get quotes from the top EPOS suppliers Compare and save Our methodologyOur research team compared 10 EPOS providers, looking at restaurant features, price, help and support, and customer score. Based on how well the providers performed in each of these areas, our team was able to find the best EPOS systems for restaurants as well as what each system is best for.The areas we looked at included:Hardware – this takes into account the industry type the hardware it suited to, bill splitting, and transaction processingBusiness management- this looks at various features such as detailed reports, offline mode, and delivery supportPrice – this score is worked out based on the average price of the provider and whether it offers a free plan or a free trialFor example, Square scores 4.8/5 for restaurant features and Clover a 4.6/5 and, although these scores are close, Square won out thanks to its integrations. However, Clover does have built-in, restaurant-specific features, such as being able to customise floor plans, take bookings, and split bills. Verdict Our expert research firmly places Square as our top EPOS system for restaurants, receiving a superb overall score of 4.7/5. Square's free EPOS app, restaurant features, and its ease of use, make it a great choice for many restaurants.For restaurants that want a more restaurant-focused EPOS system, Clover, TouchBistro and Lightspeed are good alternatives. Square lacks features such as Lightspeed's detailed menu descriptions or TouchBistro's built-in reservation management.If you want more help on your EPOS search, you can use our free quote tool to be matched up with EPOS suppliers. Just give us a few brief details about your business and we'll do the hard work. You'll then be contacted by trusted suppliers with obligation-free quotes. FAQs Why do I need a specialised EPOS system? A specialised EPOS system will be targeted towards your business needs and contain the necessary features for your industry. An EPOS system for a retailer will have different functions and features than one for a restaurant, so choosing a specialised system will make it much easier to run a smoother operation. How do restaurant point of sale systems work? A restaurant point of sale system functions in several areas, including:Sales: A POS system can track sales and is able to calculate bills, charge credit and debit cards, and calculate change if a bill is paid in cash.Kitchen: When an order has been placed, it can be sent to a screen in the restaurant kitchen and, once it's been prepared, the kitchen can confirm over the POS system that it has been made.Inventory: As orders are prepared, the system can automatically calculate inventory levels and send a warning if an ingredient or item is low in stock. Why are EPOS systems so important? EPOS systems are so important because they process your payments and they offer a wide range of features that make it so much easier to run your business.EPOS systems give you the ability to manage your business from one place, from employee performance to sales reports, EPOS systems are packed with helpful features. EPOS systems also help to streamline your business and provide tools to organise inventory, manage employees, and track revenue. Where are EPOS systems used? EPOS systems are typically used in retail and hospitality businesses. Anywhere that physical payments need to be taken, an EPOS system can be used. From a franchise restaurant to a food truck, EPOS systems provide a way to process payments, track revenue, and organise your inventory. What's the cheapest restaurant EPOS system available? If you're on a budget, three great options for a low-cost POS system are Square, Zettle, and Toast. They all offer free plans, with opportunities to scale up to a more advanced system as your business evolves. How do you set up a restaurant EPOS system? You've settled on your chosen provider, now you need to install your POS system – but how? Here's a step-by-step walkthrough:Set up user permissions and credentials for managers, cashiers, and servers based on their roles. You can configure passwords and access settings accordingly.Install POS hardware like terminals, receipt printers, cash drawers, kitchen printers, and barcode scanners. Ensure they are compatible and integrate with the software, ideally before signing contracts. Connect them to your wifi network if necessary.Configure menu, tax rates, payment methods, loyalty programs, and interface settings in the backend of your software. You may be able to add details such as ingredients, modifiers, discounts, pictures, and descriptions.Integrate accounting software, inventory management, ecommerce channels, or other tools for consolidated data and workflows.Train your staff thoroughly on using the POS software and hardware to take orders, process payments, and generate daily reports while cashing up.Some providers offer onboarding support to help this process run smoothly. It's also important to stay on top of any necessary updates to ensure that your system works as well as intended. What's the process for switching EPOS providers? If you currently have a POS system that isn't ticking all of your boxes, it may be time to think about switching. The process of switching POS systems will vary slightly depending on your provider and the details of your contract, but it doesn't have to be complicated.Migrate your data, including menus and any customer databases, to your new systemEnsure that your payment processor is compatible with the new systemIntegrate your third-party apps with your new softwareAdapt your existing hardware or arrange to obtain new hardware if necessaryTrain your staff to successfully use the new system What should I do if my EPOS system goes down? If your POS system goes down, your priority should be restoring service rapidly while minimizing disruption. Firstly, troubleshoot basic issues such as checking your wifi connection, rebooting your systems, and ensuring everything is plugged in correctly. If the issue persists, get in touch with your POS provider's customer support. Many offer 24/7 help to get you back up and running.POS system outage is frustrating because it grinds your business operations to a halt. In the meantime, you can be proactive by taking manual orders on paper to keep a record of sales. Coordinate your staff effectively to minimize confusion. In case customers are affected by elongated wait times, be transparent about the system's issue while continuing to work promptly to maintain business as usual.At closing time, examine the paper checks manually to ensure that the system's failure doesn't affect your accounting records. Once the system is operational again, it's critical to identify the root cause of the issue to avoid recurrence. 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. Reviewed by: Ruairi Shirlow Business Services Researcher 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.