Compare the best restaurant POS systems [2020]

If you are looking for the Best POS System for a Restaurant or Bar, you came to the right place. We gathered the top Point Of Sale picks for your restaurant, bar, cafe, food truck or quick service food business. There are loads of great features in the POS systems that we reviewed here, we hope our expert picks & real users reviews will help you to make an informed choice for your business. 

Compare the best restaurant POS systems [2020]

If you are looking for the Best POS System for a Restaurant or Bar, you came to the right place. We gathered the top Point Of Sale picks for your restaurant, bar, cafe, food truck or quick service food business. There are loads of great features in the POS systems that we reviewed here, we hope our expert picks & real users reviews will help you to make an informed choice for your business. 

9.2/10
Outstanding

742 reviews on 3 websites

Revel POS is Best for:

  • Real Time Reports (Sales, inventory & More)
  • Great Customer Database & Loyalty Programs
  • Full Integration With Third Parties
  • iPad / tablet POS
  • Retail
  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Pizza POS
  • Inventory Management
  • Online Ordering
8.8/10
Very Good

606 reviews on 3 websites

Touchbistro Best Features:

  • Reservations and Table Seating
  • Menu Management, Custom Reports
  • Inventory, Analytics and CRM
  • iPad / tablet POS
  • Restaurants
  • Table Organization
  • Staff Management
  • Online Ordering
  • Order From Table
8.6/10
Very Good

734 reviews on 4 websites

Toast Best Features:

  • 24/7 Support via Phone, Chat & Email
  • Customizable Menu Software
  • Best Kitchen Display System
  • Restaurants
  • Quick Service
  • Bars
  • Staff Management
  • Online Ordering
8.2/10
Good

431 reviews on 3 websites

Upserve POS Best Features:

  • Payment Processing & Full Service Restaurant POS
  • Staff Management
  • Comprehensive Payment Services with Full Reporting
  • iPad / tablet POS
  • Restaurants
  • Quick Service
  • Bars
  • Pizza POS
  • Online Ordering
7.8/10
Fair

13 reviews on 2 websites

Future POS Best Features:

  • Fast and Accurate Ordering
  • Customer Loyalty Program
  • Advanced Security
  • Restaurants
  • Quick Service
  • Bars
  • Secured Environment

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Helping you to find the best POS system for your restaurant

A good POS system is crucial to any restaurant’s success, ensuring that service runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible, as well as keeping track of stock and taking payments too.

Despite the rise of online delivery services, the restaurant industry in the US is as popular as ever, with over a million restaurants located across the country employing 15.3 million people, with projected sales of $863 billion for 2019.

It’s estimated that around 45% of diners eat out more than twice a week, with a further 20% going out to eat once a week, spending 51% of the weekly family food budget in the process.

With that many people visiting restaurants, it’s important that your POS is as up to date as possible to make sure that those customers have a positive experience that means that they’re likely to come back for more.

Here, we’re going to take a look at why it’s so important to get your choice of POS right, some of the key factors and features to take into account and some of the best POS systems we offer here at Comparisun.

The Importance of Selecting the Right POS for Your Restaurant

As we’ve mentioned, the restaurant industry continues to grow, so it’s vitally important for yours to evolve with the times and ensure that all aspects of the business are performing as well as they possibly can, especially when it comes to your POS.

POS systems are constantly improving, with new tools and capabilities that you need to be aware of.

As you’ll be all too aware, the experience of eating out is about much more than just the food, and the level of service that customers receive is one of the most important things that go into making their visit a memorable one, whether that’s for the right or wrong reasons!

It’s this demand for a high quality of service that is one of the main reasons why selecting the right POS is so important for your restaurant, even if that’s something a little more niche like a pizza shop than a traditional sit down restaurant.

Having a good POS also helps to take the strain off your front of house staff, making it easier for them to seat customers, take orders and sometimes wirelessly send them through to the kitchen ready to be prepared, helping to speed up the whole process for everyone.

POS can also play an important part in keeping track of your inventory of ingredients, ensuring that you can keep on top of ordering new ingredients, as well as helping to track your revenue and return on investment.

Ultimately, if your POS isn’t kept up to date, it just makes services slower and more frustrating for everyone, from the kitchen to the waiting staff, but most importantly, the customers, especially when things start to get busy, which is why it’s so crucial to get this choice right.

Important Factors to Consider Before Investing In a POS System

Before you start looking at specific types of POS for your restaurant, there are a couple of things to bear in mind.

Features

The first thing that you should do is think about all the features that you need your POS to have. It might be a good idea to have a think about some of the problems that you have with your current system and write down a list of how things could be improved.

Not all POS systems are equal and we’ll be going into more detail about some of the more specific features that they may have, but it’s important to have a good idea of what you need before you start making any decisions.

For example, lots of POS systems these days are connected to the cloud, so that data doesn’t need to be stored on a physical server, while inventory tracking is another very popular feature that you’ll probably be requiring.

Usability

While it’s great having all those bells and whistles, it’s equally important that your POS is easy to use for all of your staff, otherwise, it quickly creates more problems than it solves.

A good POS should be simple to use and easy for your staff to get to grips with. There will undoubtedly need to be some period of training, but the quicker that you can get everybody up to speed, the better.

Thankfully, modern systems are designed to be as easy to use as possible and some may even include training tips as well.

Price

POS systems are a lot more affordable for smaller businesses than they used to be, and they generally don’t have high running costs, but there will probably still be a fair cost involved in the initial setup, which is something that you’ll have to bear in mind and consider your restaurant’s own budget.

Also, think about whether the POS will be able to be integrated with any existing hardware that you might be using, such as a cash desk.

Third-Party Integration

Something else which you might want to think about is whether the POS can integrate with any other existing software which you’re using.

This helps to keep everything in one place and streamline your processes. For example, you may be able to integrate with your reporting, accounting, ordering or email marketing software if you wish. 

Customer Support

Finally, if you do require a little help with your new POS system, it’s important to know what level of customer support they offer, even if you hopefully never need it!

It’s always reassuring to know that when you’re making such a big investment in something, that there’s always going to be on hand if you ever have any questions or problems going forward, especially as a faulty POS can easily wind up costing your restaurant serious time and money.

Ideally, some kind of 24/7 support is ideal, whether this is via phone, email or live chat, as if you have a problem, you probably need it sorting out as soon as possible, or risk a loss of sales.

Key POS Software Features

Now we’re going to run through some of the key features that you might need your restaurant POS to have, starting with the software side of things.

Billing

One of the most important features, your POS needs to be a simple and easy way of billing your customers and should offer the ability to easily void and edit transactions, apply taxes and extra charges and extra features such as allowing customers to split their bill between themselves.

Menu Management

Another fairly obvious one, the POS should allow you to easily edit and update the menu with new items, sort dishes into groups, change prices and remove items if they’re out of stock. Again, this should be as easy as possible for your staff to operate.

Inventory Control

It’s crucial to keep a good track of what ingredients you have in stock at any given time, not only for making sure that you have enough but also for keeping an eye on your profits.

Thankfully, a POS system can help with this, helping to keep your inventory up to date with every sale that gets made.

Some of these features will be more detailed than others, but even the most basic ones are very useful.

Reporting

Reporting on your business and its KPIs, whatever they may be. Most POS systems will have inbuilt features to help with your reporting or have the capability to integrate with your other reporting software.

Good reporting software should track everything from sales by department, item and hour, to food and labor costs and how many customers the restaurant is serving each day/night, as well as analytics features to help you make sense of all those numbers.

Reservation Management

A feature which is unique to restaurant POS systems is, of course, managing your tables and reservations.

This is crucial for your staff to be able to keep an eye on how busy the restaurant is and the status of each and every table, whether they’re occupied, waiting to be served, or ready to be cleared, to make the service run as smoothly as possible.

Loyalty Programs

A POS system can also help you out when it comes to marketing your restaurant and one of the ways in which it can do this is through loyalty card programs.

Loyalty and gift cards are a great way to incentivize customers to spend more and it’s estimated that loyalty programs can lead to customers spending as much as 39% more.

Cloud Services

As we’ve previously mentioned, another feature which is becoming increasingly popular with modern POS system is cloud services, meaning that all data is stored in the online ‘cloud’ rather than on a physical server.

This means that the system can be accessed from anywhere, not just from the restaurant itself, so you can easily keep track of operations no matter where you are.

Online Ordering

As we’ve mentioned, a POS can be useful for keeping track of your stock level of ingredients, but it can also be used to order more when you’re running low.

This makes the process of ordering a whole lot easier, cutting out unnecessary time and allowing you to save repeat orders so that they can be made simply with the click of a button.

Employee Management

You’ll also want to be able to use your POS system to accurately keep track of your employees, such as when they’re clocking in and out so that you can have a record of their hours worked and manage productivity.

This can also be useful for calculating overtime, monitoring performance and breaks and so on and is very useful when working on payroll.

Key POS Hardware Features

Card Readers

These days, ‘cash-only’ restaurants are becoming a rarity, so if your restaurant isn’t already equipped for card payments, then you need to ensure that it is with your new POS system!

All modern POS systems should be fully equipped to accept all major credit and debit cards, with card readers that staff can take to the customer’s table to accept their payment.

Cash Drawer

While most payments are now made by card, a cash drawer is still obviously an important part of your POS system. 

Firstly, you want to make sure that your cash drawer is going to be durable and secure as restaurants still handle large amounts of cash.

Other features to consider are whether the cash drawer is linked up to the POS so that it pops open every time you complete a transaction (which saves a surprising amount of time) and making sure that it can be securely fitted under a counter.

Tablet Ordering

Some POS systems allow your staff to process orders on their own individual tablets or other devices, right there at the customer’s table.

This makes the ordering process a whole lot quicker, meaning that the order will go straight through to the kitchen the second that it is placed and allow staff to process payments without having to go back and forth between the POS system.

This is increasingly becoming a popular feature in the restaurant industry, so is definitely something that you might want to consider.

Kiosk Ordering

Something that larger chains are starting to implement is self-service ordering, allowing customers to walk up to a kiosk to place their orders and make their payment, without the need for any interaction with a member of staff.

Of course, this isn’t going to be suitable for smaller restaurants right now, although expect to see more features such as this which increase automation and make ordering as easy as possible.

Receipt & Label Printing

While digital receipts are increasing in popularity, it’s still important that your POS allows you to print out a physical bill for your customers.

You may also want a feature for printing out labels for certain ingredients and products, which a POS can take care of too.

You could also have a printer set up in the kitchen which prints out tickets containing the customer orders, to get them ready for preparation by the chef as soon as possible.

Kitchen Buzzer

Some POS systems can even link up with a buzzer in the kitchen so that the kitchen staff can be alerted when a new order comes through.

It can be difficult to hear yourself think in a noisy kitchen environment sometimes, so a nice clear buzzer is an effective way to get the message across!

The Best Restaurant POS Systems

Lavu

Lavu is one of the premier restaurant POS systems, exclusively designed for use in restaurants and bars and operated using iPad tablets.

The platform gives you full control over your restaurant and streamlines processes with an easy to use interface and is our top-rated restaurant POS system, with an average rating of 9.1 out of 10 based on 970 reviews.

Having a system specifically designed for the restaurant trade is what sets Lavu apart from the competition, with great features such as direct to kitchen ordering, which really speeds up and streamlines the ordering process.

Lavu also offers the Lavu ToGo app, which is ideal if you’re looking to accept delivery or takeaway orders online, with a GPS based delivery system to make sure deliveries run as smoothly as possible.

It’s also available in over 80 different countries and offers a number of flexible pricing plans, tailored to your establishment, starting out at around $69 a month for a single terminal.

TouchBistro

TouchBistro is another iPad based POS system which has been designed by a team with hundreds of years of combined experience in the restaurant industry, with restaurant owners in mind.

It’s one of the most popular iPad based solutions and fits any businesses in the foodservice industry, with an all-in-one package to not only make table service more efficient but also help out your backroom staff with employee management, menu design and more.

And if you want to check out all of TouchBistro’s features for yourself, they also have a free trial that you can take advantage of before making your choice.

Toast

Toast is another hugely popular POS system which is just as noted for its back-office integrations as for its front of house operations, with functions for customer management, staff performance tracking and product mix reports.

While the previous two systems have operated using Apple iPads, Toast uses the Android operating system, which many prefer to the iPad.

Useful Toast features include the ability to split bills between customers, an alert system to let front of house know when an order is ready for service and tableside service using the Android tablet.

The core software is available starting at $79 per month, with additional modules available for a further fee, and there’s also a free trial if you want to see the software for yourself before committing.

Revel

This scalable POS system allows you to pick and choose the tools that are right for the size of your establishment, with its POS services also integrated with finance and accounting tools for your back office needs.

Unlike the other systems we’ve mentioned so far, Revel isn’t designed specifically for restaurants, however, its range of features are ideally suited to the industry, whether it be a quick or full-service establishment.

Notable features include real-time reports on both sales and inventory, a great customer database for tracking customer loyalty and full integration with third-party software such as QuickBooks.

A couple of slight downsides to Revel are that you have to also use Revel’s own hardware and that the service contracts are fairly lengthy, but the number of great features means that it could still be the right choice for your establishment.

Upserve

Formerly known as Upserve Breadcrumb, Upserve POS are known for their smart-looking terminals and extremely user-friendly interface and the menu intelligence, when can help to provide insights into which are the most popular dishes with your customers.

Another great feature of Upserve is its digital ordering service, whereby customer orders go direct to the kitchen to make sure their order is prepared as quickly as possible and eases some of the strain on your staff.

The POS also integrates with Upserve’s other software solutions such as Upserve Payments and Upserve HQ for a comprehensive service.

It’s also one of the more affordable solutions, with three packages to suit restaurants of all sizes, which all offer a flat fee.

Future POS

Finally, Future POS is an award-winning system which has been operating for over 20 years and is constantly bringing out new features.

Its strengths lie in its reporting and analysis features, with access to multiple types of financial report and some of the best customer support in the POS industry, with dedicated 24/7 live support if you should run into any issues.

One thing to be aware of with Future POS is that you’ll have to purchase all of the hardware yourself, although you aren’t limited to any particular brands or operating systems and they are partnered with suppliers such as Epson and Pioneer.

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