As dining establishments strive to enhance efficiency, streamline processes, and deliver exceptional dining experiences, the integration of cutting-edge Point of Sale (POS) systems has become an indispensable component of their success.
With 2023 well underway, it’s time to explore the realm of POS systems for restaurants and identify the best solutions reshaping how culinary businesses operate. In this article, we will dive deep into the latest offerings and unveil the top restaurant POS systems that are setting new standards of excellence.
Gone are the days when POS system restaurant software merely facilitated basic transactions. Today, these sophisticated platforms encompass various functionalities, encompassing order management, inventory tracking, staff management, customer relationship management, and beyond. The best POS systems for restaurants empower restaurateurs to seamlessly manage their operations while gaining valuable insights into their business performance.
What are Restaurant POS Systems?
A restaurant POS, or Point of Sale, is a comprehensive and automated software and hardware system designed specifically for the needs of any food service business. That includes quick service restaurants, franchises, mom-and-pop restaurants, food trucks, etc. It is the central hub for processing transactions, managing orders, and tracking various aspects of restaurant operations. A restaurant POS system typically includes hardware components such as touch POS terminals, receipt printers, kitchen display systems, card readers, and software that provides the interface for managing different functions.
The primary function of a POS system restaurant software is to facilitate and streamline the ordering and payment processes. It allows waitstaff to take orders directly at the table, transmit them to the kitchen, and generate bills for customers. The system can also handle various payment methods, including cash, credit/debit cards, mobile payments, and even gift cards.
However, a modern POS system restaurant software goes beyond basic transaction processing. It offers many features and capabilities that can significantly improve a restaurant’s overall efficiency and management. These include inventory management, menu customization, table management, reservation system, restaurant employee scheduling and performance tracking, integration with online ordering system and delivery platforms, customer relationship management (CRM), and reporting and analytics.
ordering in 5 minutes
What are the Benefits of Restaurant POS Systems?
Many POS systems for restaurants offer numerous benefits that can significantly impact a dining establishment’s efficiency, profitability, and overall success. Some key benefits of using a restaurant POS system include the following:
- Streamlined Order Management: POS systems enable seamless order-taking and processing, reducing manual errors and enhancing order accuracy. Orders can be transmitted directly from the table to the kitchen, minimizing communication delays and ensuring timely food preparation.
- Improved Efficiency: Most POS systems for restaurants automate various processes, such as calculating bills, splitting checks, and processing payments, which saves time for both staff and customers. This efficiency translates into faster table turnovers and increased customer satisfaction.
- Inventory Management: POS systems for restaurants track inventory levels in real-time, helping restaurants monitor ingredient usage, identify popular dishes, and streamline purchasing. This prevents overstocking or shortages, reduces wastage, and optimizes inventory costs.
- Menu Customization and Flexibility: With a POS system you can create a menu, manage it, and implement other advanced features. Specials, discounts, and promotions can be applied and managed efficiently, providing flexibility in adjusting offerings to meet customer demands.
- Table Management and Reservations: Restaurant POS providers offer restaurant-specific features to manage table assignments, reservations, and waitlist management. This ensures efficient seating, reduces customer wait times, and enhances the dining experience.
How to Choose the Right Restaurant POS Software?
Choosing the best POS system for your business is a critical decision that can greatly impact your business’s efficiency and success. Here are some restaurant POS system features and factors to consider when selecting a new POS system.
- Business Needs: Assess your specific business needs and requirements. Consider factors such as the type of restaurant (quick-service, fine dining, etc.), number of locations, seating capacity, menu complexity, and integration requirements with other systems (such as online ordering or accounting software).
- Features and Functionality: Evaluate the features and functionality offered by each POS system. Look for a POS system integrated into restaurant management software with essential features like order management, table management, menu customization, inventory tracking, reporting, and integration options. Consider additional features that may benefit your operations, such as CRM capabilities, employee management tools, or offline mode support.
- Ease of Use: A user-friendly interface and intuitive design are essential for seamless operations. Look for a POS system that is easy to set up, navigate, and train your staff. Consider the learning curve for your team and choose a system that minimizes disruptions during the transition.
- Scalability and Flexibility: Consider the scalability of the POS system. Will it accommodate your business’s growth and evolving needs? Look for a system that can handle increasing order volumes, new locations, and additional features as your restaurant expands. Additionally, ensure that the system allows customization and adapts to your specific workflows.
- Integration Capabilities: Evaluate the POS system’s ability to integrate with other essential tools and platforms. Seamless integration with online ordering platforms, delivery services, payment processors, accounting software, and customer relationship management tools can streamline your operations and enhance overall efficiency.
What are the 10 Best Restaurant POS systems?
The best restaurant POS system should be user-friendly, with an intuitive interface that simplifies order taking, efficient order placement, menu customization, integration with other essential tools, valuable insights into the restaurant’s performance, and other important features. It should empower your staff to adapt to the system quickly, reducing training time and minimizing errors during daily operations. Here are the best POS systems for restaurants, comparing their features to help you choose the right POS system for your business:
|Systems||Sales Reporting||Inventory Management||Employee Management||Customer Relationship Mgmt||Online Ordering||Loyalty Program||Integration Capabilities||Mobile Access||Offline Mode|
|Square for Restaurants|
|Aloha POS by NCR|
The restaurant POS system Square is explicitly designed for any restaurant business. It provides comprehensive features to streamline operations, including front and back of the house, to improve efficiency and customer service.
Square for Restaurants supports sending orders directly from the front-of-house to the kitchen display system. It can handle multiple orders, including dine-in, takeout, and delivery. It also lets you design your floor plan to match your restaurant layout. You can see table status at a glance, manage multiple sections, and even manage your team where you can set roles & permissions, track labor vs. sales, and even manage tips & commissions.
- Ease of Use: Square for Restaurants is known for its user-friendly interface, making it easy for staff to learn and use.
- Comprehensive Features: The system provides a wide range of features, from menu and order management to analytics and reporting, making it a one-stop solution for most restaurant needs.
- Payment Flexibility: Square accepts a variety of payment methods, including all major credit cards, mobile wallets, and even gift cards.
- Integration: The system integrates seamlessly with other Square products and a variety of third-party applications, offering added functionality.
- Cost: For small businesses or those just starting, the costs of using Square for Restaurants, notably the premium plan, might be high.
- Hardware Compatibility: Square for Restaurants has limitations on the hardware it supports. If you already have POS hardware, you’ll need to check if it’s compatible with Square.
- Offline Mode Limitations: While Square does offer an offline mode, there are limitations to what it can do. For example, you can’t process certain types of payments or refunds in offline mode.
- Customer Support: Some users have reported that while Square offers 24/7 support, the quality and speed of support can sometimes be lacking.
2. Lightspeed Restaurant POS
Lightspeed Restaurant is a cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) system designed specifically for the foodservice industry. It is equipped with features to handle the unique demands of restaurants, bars, cafes, and other similar businesses.
The POS system lets you design and manage your floor plan to match your restaurant layout, helping with efficient table turn and seating arrangements. It also offers robust inventory management, features to manage employees’ roles, shifts, permissions, and performance, and integrates with various payment processors, facilitating smooth and secure transactions.
- Comprehensive Features: Lightspeed offers a wide range of features, including order management, inventory control, employee management, and customer relationship management, making it a well-rounded solution for restaurant management.
- Ease of Use: Lightspeed Restaurant is generally praised for its intuitive and user-friendly interface, which can make training staff more straightforward.
- Integration Capabilities: The system integrates well with various third-party applications, enhancing its functionalities and versatility.
- Cloud-Based System: Being a cloud-based POS means you can access your business data from anywhere and at any time, not just from your restaurant.
- Price: Some users have noted that Lightspeed can be expensive, especially for small businesses or startups with tighter budgets.
- Occasional Software Bugs: Some users have reported occasional software glitches that can interrupt service. However, Lightspeed’s customer support team usually addresses these promptly.
- Hardware Compatibility: Lightspeed may not be compatible with all types of hardware. If you already have hardware, you’ll need to make sure it’s compatible with the system.
- Learning Curve: Despite its user-friendly interface, the extensive features of Lightspeed may require a learning curve for some users.
Loyverse is a free POS software aimed at small and medium businesses. The name “Loyverse” is short for “Loyalty Universe.” The system is mobile-based and is available for both iOS and Android devices. Restaurant owners can track sales growth and manage sales data at any time and from any place. They can instantly visualize trends and determine their best-selling items or categories.
- Cost: One of the biggest draws of Loyverse is that it’s free for its basic features, which include sales transactions, inventory management, and basic analytics.
- Ease of Use: Users often mention that the system is intuitive and easy to navigate, which can make training staff quicker and easier.
- Mobility: As a mobile-based system, it allows for operations on the go, which is great for businesses like food trucks or outdoor events.
- Customer Loyalty Program: The integrated loyalty program is a great feature for small businesses looking to increase customer retention.
- Limited Features in Free Version: While the free version of Loyverse is quite robust, some features, like employee management and advanced inventory, require a paid subscription.
- Customer Support: Some users have reported that customer support can be hard to reach or slow to respond.
- Lacks Some Advanced Features: Compared to some other POS systems for restaurants, Loyverse may lack advanced features, such as in-depth reporting or complex inventory management, which some businesses may require.
- Integration with Other Software: Depending on your existing software and tools, you might find that Loyverse doesn’t integrate as seamlessly as you’d like.
4. Revel Systems
Revel Systems is a cloud-based iPad POS system designed to cater to the needs of a wide range of businesses, including restaurants, bars, retail businesses, and more. It offers a range of features to streamline operations, enhance customer service, and simplify management tasks.
The system provides detailed inventory tracking, has built-in labor management tools for scheduling, time-tracking, and defining user permissions, enables businesses to track customer preferences and habits, run restaurant loyalty programs, manages gift cards, and so much more.
- Comprehensive Features: Revel stands out from other point-of-sale systems in that it provides a wealth of features that cater to different aspects of restaurant management, such as order and table management, inventory tracking, and detailed analytics.
- Ease of Use: Many users find Revel Systems intuitive and user-friendly, making staff training easier.
- Integration Capabilities: Revel Systems can integrate with various third-party applications, enhancing its versatility and the range of services it can offer.
- 24/7 Customer Support: The system offers round-the-clock customer support to assist users whenever they encounter issues.
- Cloud-Based System: Being a cloud-based system allows for real-time updates and remote access, which can be particularly helpful for restaurant owners managing multiple locations.
- Occasional Software Bugs: Some users report occasional software glitches, which can interrupt service.
- Complex Setup: The setup and initial customization of Revel Systems might be complex and time-consuming for some.
- Hardware Compatibility: Revel Systems is designed for use on iPads, which may not be compatible with existing certain software and hardware options in some businesses.
POSBistro is a comprehensive, point-of-sale (POS) software designed for restaurants, food trucks, bars, coffee shops, and other types of food and beverage businesses. The software helps you keep track of stock levels in real-time, manage your supply chain, staff schedules, tracking working hours, and reviewing employee performance.
POSbistro also allows you to build customer databases, manage loyalty programs, and handle gift cards, and gives you insight into sales trends, product popularity, and other key metrics, which can support business decision-making.
- Intuitive User Interface: POSbistro is known for its user-friendly interface, making it relatively easy for staff to get acquainted with the system.
- Mobile Compatibility: Its compatibility with a variety of mobile devices provides flexibility, which can be particularly beneficial for businesses like food trucks or for managing outdoor seating areas.
- Offline Mode: The ability to function offline ensures business continuity even in case of an internet outage.
- Wide Range of Features: From sales management to reporting and analytics, POSbistro provides a comprehensive suite of features that can cater to the different needs of a food and beverage business.
- Limited Customization: Some users have noted that the system doesn’t allow as much customization as they’d like.
- Customer Support: While this can depend on specific circumstances and regions, some users have reported that customer support could be improved in terms of response time or effectiveness in problem-solving.
- Software Updates: There have been reports of software updates causing temporary disruption in service or changes in the user interface that require adjustment.
ordering in 5 minutes
6. Clover POS
Clover POS is a versatile, cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) system designed to meet the needs of many businesses, from restaurants and bars to retail stores and service businesses. Clover provides various hardware options, from mobile devices for on-the-go payments to more substantial countertop systems.
The system enables businesses to manage orders efficiently, including dine-in, takeout, and delivery options, making table management and inventory tracking much easier. Plus, Clover has CRM capabilities, allowing businesses to track customer behavior and preferences and manage loyalty programs.
- Ease of Use: Clover is known for its intuitive design and user-friendly interface, which can make training staff much easier.
- Versatile Hardware Options: Clover offers a variety of POS hardware options, from compact mobile devices to full-scale countertop systems, making it adaptable to different types of businesses.
- Integrated Payment Processing: Clover’s built-in payment processing makes it easy to accept a variety of payment types, including credit cards and contactless payments.
- App Market: The ability to download additional apps from Clover’s App Market allows businesses to customize the system to their specific needs.
- Cost: Some users find Clover to be expensive, particularly when factoring in the cost of hardware, software, and payment processing fees.
- Contract Requirements: Depending on your payment processing agreement, you may be locked into a long-term contract with Clover, which could be a downside for some businesses.
- Limited Customization: While Clover’s App Market allows for some customization, the core software has been reported by some users to offer limited customization options.
- Occasional Software Glitches: Some users have reported occasional software issues, which could interrupt business operations.
7. Aloha POS by NCR
Aloha POS by NCR is a widely used point-of-sale (POS) system designed for the restaurant industry. It suits various establishments, from fast food and casual dining to upscale restaurants and bars.
Aloha POS supports tableside ordering, which allows servers to take orders directly at the table using mobile devices, reducing errors and improving service speed, inventory tracking and management features, tools for scheduling, payroll management, and tracking employee performance.
- Industry-Specific Design: Aloha POS is designed specifically for the restaurant industry, which means it’s tailored to meet the unique needs of different types of food and beverage establishments.
- Comprehensive Features: From tableside ordering and inventory management to CRM and robust reporting, Aloha POS offers a wide range of features to help streamline operations.
- Reliable and Robust: Aloha POS is known for its reliability and robustness, making it a trusted choice for many restaurants.
- Integrated Payment Processing: Aloha POS allows businesses to process various types of payments, providing convenience for customers and easy reconciliation for businesses.
- Complexity: Some users have reported that Aloha POS can be complex to set up and use, potentially requiring more time for staff training.
- Customer Support: While NCR provides customer support for Aloha POS, some users have reported difficulty reaching support or resolving issues quickly.
- Limited Flexibility: Aloha POS might offer a different level of flexibility or customization than some newer, cloud-based POS systems for restaurants.
8. Epos Now
Epos Now is a cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) system that caters to retail and hospitality industries, including restaurants. This versatile system provides POS services, inventory management, and CRM tools, which can be accessed from any device with an internet connection.
The system efficiently facilitates the management of orders, including table-side ordering, split checks, and customer tabs. It also provides users with inventory tracking, scheduling tools, employee performance tracking, and CRM tools that allow businesses to record customer details, track purchasing behavior, and manage loyalty programs.
- Versatility: Epos Now is designed to serve both retail and hospitality industries, making it a versatile choice for a variety of businesses.
- Cloud-Based: Being a cloud-based system, Epos Now allows for remote access from any device with an internet connection, providing flexibility for business owners and managers.
- Third-Party Integrations: The ability to integrate with numerous third-party applications means that Epos Now can be customized to meet the specific needs of a business.
- Hardware Compatibility: Epos Now is compatible with a wide range of hardware, allowing businesses to choose equipment that best suits their operations.
- Cost: Some users have reported that the cost of Epos Now, particularly the monthly software subscription and add-on features, can be higher than some other POS systems for restaurants.
- Customer Support: While Epos Now offers a 24/7 support helpline, some users have reported long wait times or difficulties in resolving issues.
- Usability: Some users have found the system difficult to navigate, particularly when first getting started, which may require more training.
- Updates: Occasional updates to the system can cause functionality issues or changes in the user interface, leading to a learning curve for users.
Lavu is one of the more powerful mobile POS systems designed specifically for bars and restaurants of all sizes. It operates on the iPad platform, providing an intuitive, touch-screen interface that simplifies order-taking and payment processing.
This mobile POS system for restaurant businesses can not only process payments but also makes restaurant management simple with features like customizable table layouts, easy split-check functionality, color-coded modifiers for special requests, menu customization, and advanced reporting, and it allows users to manage inventory and track levels in real time
- Ease of Use: Lavu operates on the iPad, providing an intuitive, touch-screen interface that is typically easy for staff to learn and use.
- Tailored for Restaurants and Bars: Designed specifically for the hospitality industry, Lavu offers features that directly cater to the needs of bars and restaurants.
- Inventory Management: Lavu’s real-time inventory tracking helps prevent shortages and reduce waste, which can save businesses money.
- Offline Mode: Even if the internet goes down, Lavu’s offline mode ensures that business can continue as usual.
- Hardware Limitations: Because Lavu operates on the iPad, businesses may need help with the types of hardware that can be used with the system.
- Customer Support: While Lavu offers customer support, some users have reported that it can sometimes be slow or unresponsive.
- Software Glitches: Some users have reported occasional software bugs or glitches, which can disrupt service or create difficulties in using certain features.
- Cost: Some small businesses might find Lavu to be more expensive than other POS options, particularly when considering the cost of iPad hardware and the monthly software subscription.
AccuPOS a popular accounting system like QuickBooks and Sage to provide seamless transactions and up-to-date inventory and sales reporting. It is designed to be used by a wide range of businesses, including retail establishments and restaurants of various sizes.
One of the standout features of AccuPOS is its seamless integration with accounting software like QuickBooks and Sage, real-time inventory tracking, tools for managing employee schedules and tracking performance, and a built-in CRM system.
- Accounting Integration: AccuPOS’s seamless integration with QuickBooks and Sage allows businesses to streamline their operations and reduce the time spent on manual data entry.
- Versatility: AccuPOS is designed to serve both retail and restaurant businesses, making it a versatile option.
- User-Friendly: Many users have reported that AccuPOS is easy to set up and use, reducing the time needed for training staff.
- Flexible Hardware Compatibility: AccuPOS is compatible with a wide range of hardware devices, offering businesses flexibility in their setup.
- Customer Support: While AccuPOS offers customer support, some users have reported inconsistencies in the quality and responsiveness of the support provided.
- Limited Customization: Some users have reported that the system has limited customization options compared to other POS systems.
- Software Updates: Like many software systems, AccuPOS requires regular updates, which some users have reported can cause occasional disruptions or require adjustments to workflow.
- A reliable restaurant POS system can significantly improve operational efficiency by automating order management, simplifying menu and customization, and providing real-time inventory tracking.
- A feature-rich POS system enables seamless order-taking, efficient table management, and personalized service, enhancing customer experiences.
- A sound POS system for restaurant businesses provides comprehensive reporting and analytics, offering valuable insights into sales trends, inventory management, and customer behavior.
- The ability to integrate with other essential tools and platforms, such as online ordering, payment processors, and accounting software, is crucial. Integration streamlines operations eliminates manual data entry, and provides a holistic view of the restaurant’s performance.
- Selecting a POS system that can scale your business is essential for long-term success.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
A restaurant Point of Sale (POS) system is the central hub for managing the various aspects of restaurant operations. The precise requirements can vary based on the specific type of restaurant, such as quick-service (QSR), fine dining, cafes, or food trucks. However, generally, a restaurant POS system should:
- Order Management: The system should be capable of taking orders at the counter, at the table, through a kiosk, or online. It should manage split checks, combine checks, manage tabs, and process various types of payments.
- Menu Management: A POS system for restaurant businesses should have an intuitive system for managing the menu, including updating item prices, daily specials, and out-of-stock items. It should also allow for item modifiers for customization.
- Table Management: For full-service restaurants, a POS system should provide a graphical floor plan for tracking which tables are occupied, what stage of the meal each table is in, and how long guests have been at each table.
- Employee Management: The system should manage employee schedules, track hours, calculate labor costs, and handle different permission levels for managers and staff.
- Inventory Management: A good POS system for restaurant businesses should manage the restaurant’s inventory in real-time, including tracking ingredient usage, alerting for low stock, and assisting in forecasting needs for future orders.
While a restaurant POS system can bring numerous benefits, there are also potential disadvantages to consider:
- Cost: POS systems often require a significant investment—up-front hardware costs, software licensing, no free online ordering page, and possibly installation fees. On top of this, there may be ongoing costs for software updates, hardware maintenance, and monthly service fees.
- Technical Issues: POS systems can experience technical issues like software bugs or hardware malfunctions like any digital system. This could disrupt operations, especially if the restaurant still needs a backup plan.
- Dependence on the Internet: Many modern POS systems rely on Internet connectivity to function fully. In internet downtime, the functionality may be limited, affecting business operations.
- Learning Curve: While many POS systems are designed for ease of use, there can still be a learning curve, especially for employees less familiar with digital technology. This can require time and resources for training.
- Data Security: POS systems handle sensitive data, including customer payment information. The system could be vulnerable to data breaches if it isn’t secure. It’s crucial to ensure your POS provider uses robust security measures.
POS (Point of Sale) and EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) are often used interchangeably. They both refer to where a transaction is completed, typically calculating the amount the customer owes, issuing an invoice, and selecting a payment method. However, there are some technical differences between the two.
- POS (Point of Sale): Traditionally, a POS system refers to the physical area in a store where transactions occur, which could include a cash register, credit card machine, and barcode scanner. Traditional POS systems are often standalone systems where the input data stays on the local device.
- EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale): An EPOS system, on the other hand, refers to a computerized system used for recording and tracking sales. It’s an advancement on the traditional POS system as it typically incorporates more sophisticated software, can handle more complex functions, and often includes integrations with other systems. EPOS systems usually have cloud-based functionalities allowing real-time data access and remote management.