POS Systems For Restaurants: Everything You Need To Know

POS Systems For Restaurants: Everything You Need To Know

The Point of Sale (POS) system is perhaps one of the most important pieces of equipment that a restaurant can have. Without it, not only will your business be unable to process any sales, but you will also miss out on restaurant management software integrations that support the management and administration of your business.

When searching for the best POS systems for restaurants, it is important to consider how well it will integrate into your business. The right POS system should not only make transactions efficient and accessible to customers, but also reduce your operating costs and provide restaurant management tools.

Fortunately, not only will this article outline the benefits of restaurant POS systems, but we have also provided a detailed list on what systems are best for you and your business.

What Is A POS System?

A Point of Sale (POS) system is the combination of hardware and software that not only performs payment processing, but also administrative tasks like inventory management, tracking customer satisfaction, loyalty programs, and so much more.

There are different models of POS systems, each suited to a different style of hospitality businesses. The right POS system is one that integrates well into your current business practices and service design. For example, small coffee shops may choose their POS system to be an EFTPOS terminal at a counter, so all customers know where to order and pay from. This visual representation is important, especially when it comes to restaurants, as a Point of Sale must be easily accessible by customers.

Why you need a different POS system for your restaurant

When deciding which of the best restaurant POS systems to choose for your business, you need to pick one that is different from generalised POS systems. That is, it is best to choose one that not only provides efficient payment processing, but also includes a restaurant management system. This restaurant POS software should come complete with features that make running a business far simpler and more cost-efficient for restaurant owners, amongst other reasons.

Reason 1 - Flexibility

Having a good restaurant POS system is not just about making payment processing instantaneous, although this speed makes business run far smoother. Rather, both quick service and full service restaurants should have flexible means of payment processing to improve customer service.

This flexibility not only includes additional payment types beyond using a cash drawer or accepting card, but also gift cards, vouchers, and splitting the bill. By integrating the split bill feature, especially when it can be done per dish or person, you can guarantee complete customer satisfaction.

Reason 2 - Restaurant Management System

Regardless if you are running a business out of food trucks, or fine dining restaurants, all hospitality businesses should have a management system included in their restaurant POS system. This can even include managing your restaurant remotely, especially if you are in charge of a chain business. Otherwise, the management system should include the ability to: perform sales analytics, monitor sale rates, identify which products are performing well and which needs improvement, as well as process your accounting reports.

While there are POS systems that offer these management tools, your restaurant POS system requires those that are specifically directed towards managing a restaurant. This means your system should also include means of inserting and tracking bookings, processing phone and online ordering, managing customer loyalty programs, and whatever you think your business model requires.

Reason 3 - Customisable Features

Restaurant POS systems should differ from any other potential Point of Sale system by having features customisable to their environment. Namely, it is beneficial for staff to have features included in their POS system, whether this is at a terminal or on a portable tablet, to provide ordering and table service, host a floor plan to manage bookings, and even menu management linked to the cash drawers.

You also should be more than capable of replicating your restaurant's set up with the POS system, incorporating automatic menu changes or edits, applying discounts, providing gift cards, and whatever else you see fit for your restaurant.

Important things to consider when choosing a POS system for your restaurant

While we have provided in-depth reasoning for obtaining a restaurant POS system that suits your business, there is more to consider when making a choice. The model of your business, the products you sell, and employee scheduling being just a few of the considerations needed before buying a restaurant POS system.

1 - Restaurant Model

It is important to have a determined model for your business before looking into restaurant POS systems. This is because your system should integrate into your business model seamlessly, supporting how you take both in-person and online orders, delegate table service, manage bookings, or the online ordering of goods.

For example, if you are running your business out of food trucks, you will need to consider your limited space and lack of tableside ordering when it comes to your restaurant POS system. In this case, a small card reader integrated with a cash drawer would be best; the portable reader by Square for restaurants is a good choice for this business model.

2 - Ordering & Inventory Tracking

When it comes to running a restaurant, it is integral to stay on top of your stock. While pen and paper has worked for many in the past to track inventory and predict what needs to be ordered, your restaurant POS system can take over this lengthy task.

With the right POS system, your inventory tracking, including good costs, can be an automated and quick service. This can make online ordering of products far easier, especially if your system provides a list of menu items that are selling well and/or are running low; whether this is through table service, or delivery and takeaway sales reports.

3 - Employee Management

Any restaurant owner, regardless of the size of their business, can benefit from a POS system that tracks employee data and shifts. The right POS system should provide employees with means of clocking in and out of shifts. It should also provide a management system to schedule shifts, including sending out personalised timetables to any employee.

The system should also make the accounting involving your staff to be streamlined. That is, your employees bank accounts should be within the operating system so pay slips can be easily calculated and administered. You should not be spending hours balancing books as you figure out what your staff is owed; your restaurant POS system should take care of it for you.

The best POS systems for restaurants

Now that we know what makes restaurant POS systems integral to running a business successfully, it is time to determine what are the best models out there. Each POS system for restaurants will be analysed carefully and summarised for easy perusal; the final choice, however, comes down to what you think works well with your business.


Summary: While it is perhaps one of the best known POS systems, Square does not offer features specifically designed for restaurant use. This lack of software by Square POS for restaurants is one of the few reasons why Square is not a perfect score, as it is otherwise an affordable and quick service that allows for even beginning restaurants the chance to have a POS system that supports them. This is because Square POS software is completely free, and the hardware range can be suited for any environment.


  • Software comes free, with more features on offer when you invest in a plan

  • POS hardware is simple and portable

  • Set up involves plugging it in and getting started


  • Does have higher processing fees than most restaurant POS suppliers

  • Not made specifically for restaurant use

Rating: 4.8/5

epos now

Summary: More focused on POS hardware, which explains its more expensive services, Epos Now offers a range of systems to choose from. While this allows flexibility in designing a POS that suits your restaurant, the lack of restaurant POS software restricts restaurant owners from utilising portable systems like tablets. However, the POS hardware itself is easy to use and comes with 24/7 customer service through various communication methods.


  • Quick service and support for customers

  • Does contain restaurant specific features


  • A lot more expensive than most POS providers

  • Not the broadest range of products

Rating: 3.5/5


Summary: While intended to be a POS system that can integrate with any business, regardless if they are part of the restaurant industry or not, Lightspeed does offer a specific restaurant POS system called Lightspeed Restaurant. Perhaps more beneficial for larger or chain-based restaurants, this POS system focuses more on providing support features for business engagement and customer management. It provides loyalty programs, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, and more in-depth inventory management, along with the usual POS system capabilities. Its global success makes Lightspeed particularly useful for those considering international expansion.


  • Broad range of POS features

  • Integration capabilities with most tools


  • Extra cost associated with additional analytical tools

  • No offline mode, always requires stable internet connection

Rating: 4.5/5


Summary: TouchBistro is specifically designed as a restaurant POS system, which means it offers features that work together to create a restaurant management system that suits all food businesses. These features include tableside ordering, online orders, inventory tracking, bill splitting, and menu management. It also provides administrative support with over 50 reports and the ability to track how staff are performing.

Overall: The price of Touch Bistro's software plans can range from $69-399 per month.


  • Created for restaurants

  • Provides offline features

  • No limit set on users


  • There is a lack of detail when it comes to the reporting features.

Rating: 4.5/5


Summary: Triniteq offers a flexible POS system called WaiterPOS and PowerEPOS that are suited for single or multi-site hospitality venues of all types. With integrated customer relationship management system, this software focuses on maximising your interactions with customers, regardless of your business model. 

Overall: 6-month POS software trial


  • System speed

  • Ease of use

  • Multi-site use


  • Switching between operating modes can cause software issues

Rating: 5/5


Summary: More suited for small businesses with its limited inventory management capabilities, Clover provides a restaurant POS system with plenty of service features. Including a built-in barcode scanner, the Clover Mini POS system also allows for table service and payment, as well as easy stock management.

Overall: Includes a free plan, with the cost of using the software coming to $14.95 a month.


  • Easy to use

  • Provides various customer support options

  • Low cost but high value software


  • The actual hardware is incredibly pricey

  • No offline services available

Rating: 4/5


Summary: A cloud based POS system that works for any business in the hospitality industry; big or small. Focusing on providing support for business owners requiring support for everyday functions, Ordermate works best in hospitality venues. Features of the system include inventory management and customer rewards programmes, as well as the unique remote menu to make business that bit more efficient.


  • Extensive back-of-house reporting

  • Easy to use

  • Features for order and delivery tracking


  • Preferred support is through a request form rather than calling

Rating: 5/5


Summary: A cloud based platform suitable for restaurants with single or multiple locations, Bepoz has a distinct focus on customisable reporting and analytics. This includes gauging customer loyalty, providing gift vouchers or memberships, marketing tools and more. This restaurant POS system also comes with a rapid response customer support team.

Overall: This restaurant POS system cost starts at $100.


  • Fast customer support

  • Customisable tills

  • Offers mobile POS and easy integration


  • Can be initially hard to grasp, especially using the report function

  • No free plan on offer

  • Can be expensive

Rating: 4.5/5


Summary: Intent on keeping the POS system integration process as simple as possible, Impos provides both singular items or hardware bundles to choose for your business. You can pay for this hardware outright, or simply rent for some time to determine whether Impos suits you. The system includes hospitality training, including Impos Certified courses for the whole team, and employee management tools. It also includes the ability to create your very own floor map, including adding and mapping your online bookings.

Overall: Due to the focus on providing hardware bundles, Impos regularly provides quotes upfront.


  • Has a mobile POS app

  • Offers a free trial

  • Includes floor map and booking features


  • Lacks delivery support, includes transaction fees for online ordering

  • May have high processing fees

  • Does not integrate with existing hardware

Rating: 4/5


Summary: A powerful system specialising in restaurant management, Tevalis boasts several features that make everyday operation far simpler. Not only does the software provide table management and reservation systems, you can also design the operation of your integrated hardware and analyse data on-site. 


  • Invested support team

  • Update software remotely at any time

  • Restaurant-orientated features


  • Updates and installations can be faulty

Rating: 4/5


Summary: POS software designed by hospitality businesses for hospitality businesses. Capable of integrating with most existing hardware, and providing 24/7 support, H&L has several features to suit a restaurant. Beyond inventory management systems and daily reports, you can also customise menu items and assign table orders with the interactive floor plan. There's plenty that H&L has to offer for you and your business.

Overall: Comes with a free plan demo, but costs depend on choice of software and hardware options.


  • Provides a training mode

  • Easily manages prices, discounts and surcharges

  • Interactive floor plan and booking system


  • No guidance available aside from calling support

  • Lacks customer loyalty and restaurant management software features

  • Not available as a multi-user service

Rating: 4/5


Summary: Abacus is a POS provider intent on providing support to any business owner, regardless of the size of their operations. Boasting a user-friendly interface and customisable features, you can proceed with introducing online ordering and loyalty programs. Abacus has a range of hardware and software that can not only provide an integrable sale system, but also a system with in-depth reports.

Overall: The standard plan for one device comes to $69/month, with the professional 4 devices approaching $189/month.


  • Offers a free trial

  • Mobile POS available

  • Plenty of customisable features


  • Only integrates with DoorDash for delivery

  • Experiences occasional delays in the mobile app

  • Customisation does not include category removal features

Rating: 4/5

Toast POS

Summary: Focusing on providing restaurants with the best features for running their business, Toast is particularly suited for small-to-medium sized restaurants. Its features include waste tracking, menu engineering tools, and even training or onboarding capabilities. This suits those interested in providing streamlined training processes for their staff, including raising existing skills.

Overall: Point of Sale plans start from $69/month, but there is a free pay-as-you go plan available.


  • Provides in-depth menu management and customisation

  • Supports tableside ordering and payment

  • Specific focus on restaurant features and training


  • Available only for Android users

  • Only limited support offered

  • Does not have integrated payment processors

Rating: 4/5

Types of POS systems for restaurants

If you are looking to base your review of restaurant POS systems on a specific measurement, look no further than our breakdown of systems below. Whether it is through costs, portability or internet reliance you are attempting to determine the type of POS system for restaurants you need by, we have you covered.

Most popular POS systems for restaurants

When it comes to popularity, the overall favourites include:

  • Clover

  • Toast

  • Lightspeed (Restaurant specifically)

  • TouchBistro

Cheapest restaurant POS systems

Sometimes the POS system of your dreams is slightly out of your price range. Luckily, there are plenty of affordable providers out there with a Point of Sale system suited for restaurants, including:

  • Toast

  • Square

  • Epos Now

Best iPad based POS systems for restaurants

If you are looking to set an iPad as your restaurant's Point of Sale, you need to find a provider with software that integrates with the device. POS providers with a focus on mobility through devices include:

  • Square

  • TouchBistro

  • Lightspeed

  • Toast

Best wireless POS systems for restaurants

If you do not want the fuss of cables and the need to be stationary when it comes to your Point of Sale, it is time to look at wireless systems. If you are looking to branch out to mobile Point of Sales, try these systems:

  • Square

  • Clover

  • Lightspeed

  • Toast

Cloud-based POS systems for restaurants

For those looking to free up hardware space and increase processing speeds, a cloud based POS system may be just what you are looking for. There are many Point of Sales running off of the cloud, but the best may be:

  • Lightspeed

  • Clover

  • Square

Handheld POS systems for restaurants

Mobile POS is becoming more popular in hospitality businesses, especially for those who are not looking to be tied to a stationary Point of Sale. For those interested in a handheld POS system for restaurants, the best restaurant POS systems are:

  • Square

  • Touchbistro

  • Lightspeed


There is plenty to consider when looking to integrate a Point of Sale system into your restaurant business. It is easy to get overwhelmed, but with this handy guide and its overview of the best restaurant POS software and hardware out there, you can make an informed decision on what suits you.

Whether you are looking for customer loyalty programs, streamlining online ordering, managing across multiple locations, customising your features, and so much more, there is a Point of Sale system for you out there.

Not every POS system offers full control of your bookings and floor plan. Book a demo with ResDiary today to learn how you can make the most of our table reservation software and your POS system today!

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