The Ultimate Guide to Choosing POS Systems for Restaurants 

Do you know every successful restaurant has an X factor? It is not a secret sauce or a seasoned chef either but an efficient tool that streamlines operations and keeps visitors returning for more. We are here to unlock this secret weapon called POS systems for restaurants and help you pick the perfect fit for your business. Let’s get started!

From managing your staff and inventory to streamlining orders and payments, the POS (point-of-sale) system is the lifeblood of your restaurant operations. However, the world of restaurants is ever-evolving, and picking the right POS system might seem like navigating a maze.

When you try to find the perfect fit for your restaurant, you will get a plethora of options each boasting a range of unique features at different pricing structures. Here, choosing the right POS system for a restaurant can be overwhelming.

Don’t worry readers!

This guide will highlight every nitty-gritty detail of point-of-sale systems, top options along with key features, pros and cons, and pricing model, empowering you to pick the right one for your restaurant.

Get ready to delve into the world of POS systems for restaurants!

What Is a POS System for Restaurants?

best restaurant POS systems

POS system for restaurants is short for point-of-sale which is a core of your business. It is beyond maintaining inflow and outflow. From taking orders to keeping track of the inventory, it is a comprehensive software that handles every single aspect of your operation. 

So, what does a POS system do? Here is the breakdown.

Taking Orders: These systems can punch in orders on a touch screen which is directly linked to the kitchen like a smart home technology. This speeds up the whole service process and eliminates potential errors.
Inventory Management: This system helps you track ingredients and notifies you before you go out of stock. This way you can prevent stockouts, ensure timely restocks, and prepare what your customers want.
Payments: Your customers can pay their bills via cash, credit card, or mobile wallets with the help of POS systems. It also manages split bills and gift cards and adds tips as well.
Customer Management: Some POS systems allow users to store customer details and even preferences. This allows you to run targeted marketing campaigns and loyalty programs.
Analysis and Reporting: POS for restaurants provides valuable reports on menu performance, sales, and activity of your staff. This analysis and reporting feature helps you make informed decisions for your business.

A POS system offers the following advantages to your restaurant business.

Enhanced Efficiency and Streamlined Operations: This system eliminates manual order taking as customers can place their orders using touchscreens. Quick turnaround time keeps your customers happy and enables you to serve more visitors. POS system tracks your inventory in real-time, eliminating human error, boosting productivity,  automating tasks, and ensuring accurate transactions each time.
Improved Customer Satisfaction: Customers can personalize their orders and split bills, ensuring seamless ordering. Your customers don’t need to wait for clearing checks as these systems facilitate convenient and quick payment processing. You can also engage your customers with loyalty programs (discounts, targeted promotions, coupons) on repeated visits, encouraging returns and fostering brand loyalty.
Data-Driven Decision: As the POS system offers analysis and reporting features, you can use this data (employee performance, sales trend, and menu popularity) to make informed decisions about your menu, staffing, and marketing. You can schedule shifts efficiently, manage employee permission, and track labor costs.
Increased Security: POS systems offer secure data encryption and transaction which protects your customer information and overall business operations. Plus, you can manage taxes, and tips, and stay compliant with regulations.

What is the Cost of a POS system for Restaurants?

POS Systems

The exact cost of a POS system depends on your choice of hardware, software, level of customization needed, or required features. For small businesses, the average cost of POS software falls between $15 to $100 per month. Whereas, hardware POS cost between $30 to $1000 or beyond.

On-premise hardware POS systems can cost between $30000 to $5000 per year and cloud-based POS system prices can fall somewhere between $600 to $1500 per month.

06 Best POS Systems for Restaurants in 2024

Now, you have understood what a POS system is, its benefits, and its costs. Let’s take a look at the 06 best restaurant POS systems to pick the right one for your needs.

Square POS

  • Best for: Small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Price: Free; $60 per month.
  • Google Play Store Rating: 4.7
  • App Store Rating: 4.8
best restaurant POS systems

Square POS is one of the most popular POS systems for restaurants. It is renowned for its affordability, user-friendly interface, and effortless setup. Square POS is a cloud-based system that works seamlessly across various devices including smartphones, tablets, and dedicated Square hardware like Square Register. 

Key Features of Square POS:

Streamlines operations including taking orders, applying modifiers, and integrating with KDS (kitchen display system).
Track inventory levels, manage purchase orders, and get notified for low-stock items.
Accepts major payments, including cash, credit cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, and manages bill splits and gift cards.
Generate reports on items sold, sales, and taxes.
Ease of storing basic details of customers and offer digital receipts.

Pros and Cons of Square POS:

Pros
  • The intuitive interface makes it a great choice for beginners.
  • Many budget-friendly pricing plans for budget-conscious businesses.
  • This system is scalable, you can add additional features or hardware according to your growing needs.
  • Manage your restaurant from any mobile device and take payments from anywhere.
  • Seamless integration with third-party for online ordering, marketing, and accounting.
Cons
  • Lacks advanced features like robust inventory control, multilocation management, or detailed employee scheduling.
  • Charges fee on every transaction.
  • Basic reporting might not be suitable for restaurants seeking in-depth analysis.
  • Customer support is limited.

Clover

  • Best for: Small to medium-sized businesses.
  • Price: 90-day free trial; Paid plan starts at $14.95 per month.
  • Google Play Store Rating: 4.6
  • App Store Rating: 4.8
POS software

Clover is another best POS software which is designed with a user-friendly interface. It is a cloud-based POS system that utilizes the Android operating system, making it easy for staff to learn and understand. This POS system offers a range of hardware options including mobile POS devices, countertop stations, and self-service kiosks.

Key Features of Clover:

Touchscreen for taking orders, modifiers, and integration with kitchen display system.
Ease of tracking stock levels, managing recipe cost, and notifying for low-inventory.
Accepts popular payment methods including cash, mobile wallets, credit cards, and gift cards.
Ease of running loyalty programs and marketing campaigns to engage customers.
Valuable reports on sales, customer behavior, and labor costs.
Easy payroll tracking, scheduling shifts, and managing staff permissions.
App market to extend functionality.

Pros and Cons of Clover:

Pros
  • The user-friendly interface makes it the best option for staff to learn and navigate easily.
  • Flexible hardware options to pick the best suited.
  • Scalable system that grows with you according to your increasing needs.
  • Industry-specific apps to enhance functionality.
  • Multiple pricing plans to fit a range of budgets.
Cons
  • Charges fee on each transaction.
  • Limited customization option for complex workflows.
  • Requires a stable internet connection to work seamlessly.

Revel

  • Best for: Growing businesses, multi-location chains, and iPad-centric operations.
  • Price: $99 per month; Onboarding fee is $674.
  • Google Play Store Rating: 4.6
  • App Store Rating: 4.7
point-of-sale system

Revel is another cloud-based point-of-sale system allowing access from any device, specifically iPads. From order-taking, and managing inventory and employees to customer engagement tools and reporting, Revel is a comprehensive choice for restaurants of different sizes.

Key Features of Revel:

Utilizes iPads for taking and handling orders, managing tables, and processing payments.
Offers real-time tracking for inventory including purchase order management, low-stock alerts, and cost of recipe.
Manage employees including payroll processing, scheduling, and permission control.
Valuable insights into labor costs, sales, menu performance, and customer behavior.
Loyalty programs, digital receipts, and gift cards for customer engagement.
Adapt to the growing needs of your business.
Seamlessly integrates with delivery services, accounting software, and other third-party platforms.
Strategic integration with popular payment processors.

Pros and Cons of Revel:

Pros
  • Adapts to growing business needs.
  • Easy to learn and use interface, specifically for iPad users.
  • You can access the system from any part of the world with an internet connection.
  • 24/7 customer support for troubleshooting issues.
Cons
  • Only works on iPads; Not ideal for restaurants that prefer Android devices.
  • Reporting and backend features are complex.
  • Some users have reported difficulties in maintaining accuracy in stock levels.

Toast

  • Best for: All types of restaurants.
  • Price: Free; Paid plan starts at $60 per month.
  • Google Play Store Rating: 4.0
  • App Store Rating: 4.9
point-of-sale system

Toast is another best POS system that is specifically designed for the food service industry. From full service to bars, cafes, and quick services, this system offers a comprehensive management solution to all. It is a cloud-based point-of-sale system that offers many features catering to diverse food service needs.

Key Features of Toast:

Assess your system and data from any part of this world with an internet connection.
Operates on Android tablets, making it easily navigable for staff.
Offline mode keeps your system running even without electricity.
Range of restaurant-grade hardware options like receipt printers, tablets, and terminals.
Seamlessly integrates with more than 100 third-party apps to extend functionalities.
Track inventory, manage stock levels, and prevent running out of stock.
Customers can place orders and pay for the food online for delivery or pickup.
Ease of scheduling staff, streamlining payrolls, and tracking labor costs.
Valuable data on sales, marketing, and customer behavior to make data-driven decisions.
Run loyalty programs and send targeted marketing messages to engage customers.

Pros and Cons of Toast:

Pros
  • An all-in-one solution streamlines entire operations.
  • User-friendly interface.
  • Adapts to the growing needs of your business.
  • Detailed analysis and reporting enable you to make data-driven decisions.
  • Customer engagement tools boost your small business sales and build brand loyalty.
Cons
  • Expensive pricing model.
  • Might require contract lock-in.
  • Limited customization options.

Aloha POS

  • Best for: Full-service and multi-location restaurants.
  • Price: Free; Paid plan starts at $65 per month.
  • Google Play Store Rating: 4.3
  • App Store Rating: 3.9
POS Systems for Restaurants

Aloha POS is another restaurant POS system that offers a comprehensive suite of features to handle every aspect of your operations. It is trusted by more than 100,000 restaurants across the world. This POS system offers two key product suites namely ‘Quickservice’ and ‘Tableservice, each catering to specific restaurant needs.

Key Features of Aloha POS:

Intuitive design makes it easy to learn and use for your staff.
You can choose between on-premise and cloud-based solutions.
Ease of creating and making modifications.
Manage your menu effortlessly.
Ease of managing tables and customers.
Manage your inventory, and track ingredients, and stock levels to avoid outstocks.
Detailed reporting on sales, customer data, and performance.
Seamlessly integrates with third party solutions including kitchen displays, online ordering, and loyalty programs.

Pros and Cons of Aloha POS:

Pros
  • Scalable solution for all business sizes.
  • Offers a comprehensive suite of restaurant management tools.
  • Easy to understand and use.
  • Reliable name with a proven track record.
  • A cloud-based option allows you to access your system remotely.
Cons
  • Expensive pricing model.
  • Restaurants with basic needs might find its features overwhelming.
  • Involvement of contracts for using this POS system.

SkyTab

  • Best for: Small to large size businesses. 
  • Price: Starts at $29.99 per month.
  • Google Play Store Rating: 3.6
  • App Store Rating: 4.0
restaurant POS

SkyTab is another cloud-based POS system designed for restaurants of all sizes. This POS system offers a range of features to manage every aspect of your operations including customer management, front-of-house operations, and back-of-house operations.

Key Features of SkyTab:

Ease of managing orders, inventory, staff, and payments.
Customers can order and pay for the food from their devices.
Manage customer database including marketing campaigns, loyalty programs, etc.
Ease of managing waiting lists and reservations.
Offers POS hardware including touchscreens, waiter-facing tablet app, and tablets.

Pros and Cons of SkyTab:

Pros
  • Managing everything from a centralized location.
  • Mobile capabilities improve customer convenience and table turnover.
  • Building customer loyalty with engagement tools.
Cons
  • Not ideal for retail businesses.
  • Expensive price model for small businesses.

Wrapping Up

Choosing the best POS system for your restaurant is a crucial decision because it directly impacts your business success.

We have outlined the key features, pros and cons, and pricing structure of the best and most popular POS system.

Take your time, research well, and weigh the pros and cons of each option before settling for one. Whatever you choose, make sure it meets your specific needs, is user-friendly for staff, and falls under your budget to save some money

Come back to share your experience with us!

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