Finding software can be overwhelming. We've helped thousands of restaurateurs choose the right restaurant POS software so they can analyze food sales and navigate a tip-based payroll.

Showing 1-20 of 199 products

Epos Now

Epos Now is a retail management system for small to mid-sized businesses. In addition to its Point of Sale module, the solution also offers integrated Inventory Management, Customer Management, and Retail Accounting, including general... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 182 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Toast POS

Toast POS is a flexible system built exclusively for restaurants and the food service industry. Offering tools like online ordering, delivery, takeout, mobile app ordering, contactless payments, and e-gift card purchasing, this solution... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 132 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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TouchBistro Restaurant POS

TouchBistro is an iPad-based point of sale (POS) solution for restaurants of all types. Specifically designed to meet the unique needs of the restaurant industry, TouchBistro comes complete with food service specific features and advanced... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 114 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Talech Register

Talech POS is a cloud-based retail, restaurant & bar and professional services solution that offers point-of-sale (POS), inventory and customer management, appointment scheduling and deep, real-time analytics. The solution stores data... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 105 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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ShopKeep

We recommend ShopKeep POS for restaurant owners. The system is a native iPad application, meaning it fully-utilizes the Apple iOS operating system. The flat monthly fee includes unlimited support and updates from the vendor. Read more

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Recent recommendations: 93 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Revel Systems

Revel Systems is a cloud-based Point of Sale system designed for iPad, which is suitable for many industries, including restaurants. This customizable system comes with strong security features and is designed to be PCI compliant. Read more

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Recent recommendations: 49 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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BPA Restaurant Pro

BPA Restaurant Pro is a retail management solution designed to help small to large enterprises manage accounting processes and streamline point-of-sale operations. Key features include time tracking, reporting, inventory management,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 43 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: On premise
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Clover POS

Clover POS is an integrated point-of-sale (POS) system with custom hardware designed for several types of retailers. This POS system is available in both web-based and server-based deployment versions and offers countertop hardware... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 13 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Tray

TRAY is a cloud-based software platform that enables service on-demand for merchants in the Family Entertainment, Amusement and Restaurant industries. The product suite includes point of sale, self-order kiosks, online ordering, electronic... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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ITWERCS POS

ITWERCS POS is a cloud-based retail solution that helps restaurants manage point-of-sale operations, customer interactions, reservations and more. The centralized platform enables employees to create personalized profiles and track... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 9 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: Cloud
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Upserve

Upserve is a complete restaurant management solution featuring an Android or iOS-based point-of-sale (POS) system, automated inventory management, sales analytics, and more. The platform offers several time-saving tools, including... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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HIPPOS

Hippos is an on premise point of sale (POS) can be operated with or without the internet. The internet is only used to sync data between the POS and Cloud (web portal). Hippos solution is designed for cafes, bakeries, quick and full-service... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Bepoz

Bepoz is a cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) solution designed for restaurant, retail and admissions businesses of all sizes. The product caters to both single as well as multi-location retail. It offers stock control, cash control,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: On premise
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Appetize

Appetize is a modern cloud-based Point of Sale, inventory and analytics platform transforming how enterprises manage and process guest transactions. Appetize is trusted by some of the largest and highest volume businesses in the world,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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LS Retail

LS Retail is a retail management system consisting of point of sale (POS) and enterprise resource planning (ERP). Key features include inventory management, customer management, retail accounting, e-commerce, warehouse management and... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: On premise
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SpotOn Restaurant

SpotOn Restaurant is a cloud-based point-of-sale solution that enables businesses to streamline processes related to food ordering, tableside payments, customer retention and more. The online ordering functionality enables businesses... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Gotmerchant.com

Gotmerchant.com is a free point of sale solution for restaurant owners. Users of this system receive software, hardware, support, training and credit card processing for a monthly per-terminal fee. Touchscreen menu-ready. Read more

Platforms: Win
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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PayPal Here

PayPal Here is a mobile application that allows retailers and merchants to process transactions. The application uses a card reader device attached to a smartphone. This solution helps retailers and field sales staff to process transactions... Read more

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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PayPal

PayPal is a digital payment platform that enables businesses and individuals to pay and accept payments through an online portal without revealing any financial details. The solution is suitable for businesses of all sizes. PayPal... Read more

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Lightspeed Restaurant

Lightspeed Restaurant is a cloud-based point of sale (POS) solution for restaurants suitable for full-or quick-service restaurants, bars, nightclubs, hotel restaurants, cafes and more. Key features include floor management, customer... Read more

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Buyers guide


Last Updated: June 4, 2020

If you own or manage a restaurant, you know that handling the chaos between taking orders, passing them to the kitchen, tracking each order, and making sure each dish on each table is billed appropriately can be quite challenging. Doing it manually is essentially the equivalent of juggling dozens of playing pins at one time and you are bound to drop one, or many.

Fortunately, there are tools like restaurant POS software that can automate parts of that process and make it much easier for you to manage. To help you understand how restaurant POS software can help, and what features it provides, we have prepared this guide. Here’s what we will cover:

  • What is restaurant POS software?
  • Benefits of restaurant POS software
  • Competitive advantages of using restaurant POS software
  • Business sizes using restaurant POS software
  • Software related to restaurant POS software
  • Features guide
  • Pricing guide
  • FAQs
  • Tips and Tools

What is restaurant POS software?

Restaurant POS software is a tool that helps restaurants streamline sales, cash flow, food inventory, and bookkeeping. Some of its features include payment gateway, order management, analytics, and table reservations.

Some advanced tools also offer features such as food costing to make it easier for restaurants to perform budgeting and a built-in marketing suite to help restaurants create and execute outreach campaigns. The tool can also be used by other businesses in the food and beverage industry, such as cafes, food trucks, and bars.

Benefits of Restaurant POS Software

Restaurant POS software offers many operational benefits to restaurant owners and operators. Obviously payment processing is great, but restaurant software systems offer critical capabilities that help food businesses optimize daily operations and achieve consistent business success. Key benefits include:

  • Inventory control. Tools are provided for monitoring perishables and tracking stock levels by recipes and portions. This gives an easy snapshot for kitchen and restaurant product needs.
  • Reporting and analytics. Critical performance information can be packaged into easily understood insights. Operators and owners can leverage this data to make informed business decisions like managing food costs and monitoring product margins.
  • Customer management tools. Operators can create loyalty and rewards programs, track crucial customer information and create sustained retention.

Competitive Advantages of Using Restaurant POS Software

Sixty-three percent of restaurants don't have a POS system in place. These are restaurants using cash registers, credit card processors, Excel spreadsheets and maybe QuickBooks for accounting.

If they want to scale operations, restaurants should bring on a restaurant POS system for:

  • Growing the business. Automated inventory control and customer management creates operational efficiencies and enables informed decision making. Smarter decisions will lead to greater business sustainability and increased growth.
  • Better understanding of key customers. Software can identify and generate sustainable relationships with valuable customers and create repeat business from a regular customer base.
  • Succeeding in a competitive market. Automating day-to-day time drains can set a restaurant apart from competitors. This frees up managers to spend more time managing employees and interacting with customers.

Business Sizes Using Restaurant POS Software

The restaurant POS market can fill the needs of any restaurant business demographic, be it pop-ups and food trailers, single location restaurants or multiple location businesses.

  • Small restaurant business: If your operation consists of a single location, be it a fixed restaurant, a rotating pop-up or a mobile food trailer, you'll be best served by a basic restaurant POS system. You'll be fine with limited hardware or advanced features.
  • Midsize restaurant business: If you operate a high-volume, growing restaurant with one to five locations, you'll want a restaurant POS system that offers advanced features. These include reporting and analytics, inventory control and maybe even online ordering capabilities.
  • Large/enterprise restaurant business: Managers and operators of more than five locations should look for a restaurant POS option with advanced dashboards and analytics and multiple-location management.

Software Related to Restaurant POS

Many POS systems on the market today offer retailers with all critical capabilities packaged into one solution. However, if a core capability that retailers need is missing from their POS system, they'll want to look to specialized software to fill the void. Popular specialized software includes:

Features Guide

A List of Common Restaurant POS Features

When comparing restaurant POS systems, it's important to understand the functionality included in each. The most common functions of these systems are listed in the table below:

Order entry Input customer orders, including any special modifiers. Communicate with bar and/or kitchen. Complete payments. Split checks.
Inventory management Monitor bulk food on hand. Track portioned items to determine food costs. Set thresholds for minimum product counts and assign automatic reordering.
Recipe costing Determine the monetary value of each batch and/or serving of a menu item.
Customer management Track customer purchase histories. Support a loyalty rewards program. Store valuable customer contact information.
Tablet-based system Allow customers to input tips on tablets and sign their names. Enable a mobile POS experience for servers and customers.

Feature Details and Examples

Here are examples of what these critical tools look like with some top restaurant POS vendors:

Order entry: For servers, the view of the restaurant system is the order entry and check handling system. With a handheld device or a kiosk station, the order must be quickly and correctly entered. The order entry system must also handle special orders.

Order entry screen by Lightspeed Restaurant

Recipe costing: Recipe costing is a key function for a restaurant system. The system must check recipes against inventory and labor costs to determine actual costs and profitability for each dish.

Recipe cost input screen by Touchbistro

Inventory management: In addition to producing the spoilage reports, restaurant inventory systems track inventory use and costs, including economic reordering points. These systems also produce management reports to help detect theft and over-portioning.

Inventory management by Lavu

Customer relationship management: Newer restaurant POS systems can send targeted offers to customers by email and text messages. The system must have a way for customers to "opt out" of future offers.

Detailed customer profile by Toast

Restaurant POS Buyers' Top Requested Features

At Software Advice we've helped thousands of SMB retailers and restaurateurs find the best POS system for their unique business needs. We analyzed these consultations to determine trends in restaurant POS needs.

According to this analysis, these are the top requested restaurant POS software features for small to midsize retailers and restaurateurs:

Top Requested Restaurant POS Features

The Restaurant POS Software Functionality You Really Need

Small restaurant business Kitchen printing: Once an order is entered, it must be printed or displayed in the kitchen. The system should split the order by kitchen station if appropriate. At the same time, the system will adjust inventory. Advanced systems will sequence the dishes so a table's order is completed at the same time.
Midsize restaurant business Tip tracking and time clock: IRS regulations for tips are strict. The restaurant system needs to properly track, estimate and report tips for the IRS as well as state and local authorities, if appropriate. The system must also track hours worked by the staff, breaks, and compliance for juvenile workers.

Menu management: Tracks dishes and prices. Advanced systems will also provide layout options and feature pictures. The menu system provides nutrition information and special dietary information when/where required.
Large/enterprise businesses Automated inventory receiving: Restaurants can receive inventory multiple times a day. Fresh inventory can also vary in price frequently. The system should accept advance shipment notice (ASN) reports from suppliers and prepare inventory receiving reports to confirm amounts and prices.
All formal sit-down restaurants Reservation system: If a restaurant takes reservations, the system must record the reservation, manage the queue and balance seating between servers. Advanced systems will send reminders to customers by text or email and will activate restaurant-provided pagers when seating is available for a party.
All restaurants Spoilage reporting: Restaurants have perishable inventory that must be tracked and documented. The system must identify expired inventory to be removed from stock and provide compliance documents.

Pricing Guide

How Restaurant POS Software Is Priced and Hosted

Restaurant POS costs vary based on the software capabilities and hardware requirements of a restaurant.

POS systems for restaurants typically cost between $49 - $150 per month per terminal. And hardware costs can be as high as $1,000 for tablets, printers, network infrastructure, cash drawers, and other restaurant needs.

A big determinant of restaurant POS prices are the deployment option businesses choose. The two primary options include:

  • Cloud-based POS software that mostly features a subscription pricing structure with the system being priced on a per-terminal, per-month basis. Many vendors offer discounts to businesses that pay annually. Best for small or medium restaurants.
  • On-premise POS software is usually priced by the number of licenses and/or terminals required. Most of these systems require a large upfront fee for the right to use the software in perpetuity (rather than paying a monthly or annual subscription). Better suited for restaurant businesses with five or more locations.

What Businesses Typically Budget for Restaurant POS Software

By analyzing the numerous conversations Software Advice has with restaurant POS buyers, we can determine how much your peers are looking to spend on their new system.

Per Month Budgets of Restaurant POS Buyers

The majority of restaurant POS buyers are looking for a monthly subscription plan between $50 and $99 a month. Interestingly, 58 percent of restaurant POS buyers budget less than $100 while 90 percent of general retail POS buyers budget over $100. Keep this in mind when researching your new system, as a restaurant-specific POS is likely going to be the better option for you.

Hidden Costs of Restaurant POS Software

Typical hidden costs for a restaurant POS include:

  • Implementation fees: Depending on the need for specialized features and setups, fees for implementation can be nonexistent or cost as much as a couple thousand dollars. Learn more about POS implementation best practices.
  • Training and support fees: These vary from user to user depending on the needs of the restaurant. Do consider training one reliable employee to be the point person for the new system. The rest of the team can come to them with questions.
  • Hardware fees: Typical hardware includes registers, tablets, multiple printers and maybe barcode scanners.
  • Transaction fees: These can vary between two and four percent per transaction fee.

FAQs

What Are the Key Functions of Restaurant POS Software?

Here is a checklist of the must have restaurant POS functionality:

Order entry Input customer orders, including any special modifiers. Communicate with bar and/or kitchen. Complete payments. Split checks.
Inventory management Monitor bulk food on hand. Track portioned items to determine food costs. Set thresholds for minimum product counts and assign automatic reordering.
Recipe costing Determine the monetary value of each batch and/or serving of a menu item.
Customer management Track customer purchase histories. Support a loyalty rewards program. Store valuable customer contact information.
Tablet-based system Allow customers to input tips on tablets and sign their names. Enable a mobile POS experience for servers and customers.

What Questions Should I Ask Vendors When Evaluating Restaurant POS Products?

When evaluating restaurant POS vendors and their systems, these are some key questions you need to get answers to:

Does the functionality of the system meet your needs?

  • Consult with employees to determine operational pain points and create a list of must-have functionality to overcome these pain points. Walk through each with vendors and take note of the features they offer to remedy the paint points.

Are there any hidden fees?

  • Some POS system costs include tiered payment processing fees based on the total amount of money processed per month or year. Determine this and other potential costs before choosing a system.

Do you have to purchase hardware from the vendor?

  • The hardware on which your POS system operates is often just as important as the software itself. Ask if you can provide your own hardware or if you're required to purchase hardware through the vendors (often at a marked up price).

What Hardware Do I Need for My Restaurant POS System?

These are the critical hardware tools you need to get the most out of your restaurant POS system:

  • Tablets/monitors: Displays menu information and restaurant layout/seating. Show servers/bartenders any opened tabs. iPads and other tablets are replacing bulky monitors.
  • Credit card reader: Processes credit, debit, and gift cards. Most new readers accept EMV readers as well as enable mobile payments (Apple Pay, Android Pay).
  • Ticket/receipt printer: Send order tickets to bar and kitchen so they can prepare it. Paper receipts for customers are phasing out in exchange for email and text receipts.
  • Cash drawer: A secure place to house cash from tips and payments.

Tips & Tools

Build a Business Case for Restaurant POS Software

Adopting restaurant POS software, especially a mobile POS system, for your restaurant will effect positive change throughout all roles. Owners, operators, managers, servers, bartenders, cooks and more will all experience the positive benefits of moving to a POS system. If you need assistance building a business case for a manager, use this article and its use cases to win the decision.

Relevant Articles

Here are some recent articles about restaurant POS software you should check out:

Popular Restaurant POS System Comparisons

There are many POS systems on the market that might work for your business, so we've included the following pages for you to see detailed comparisons of a few top systems:

Recent Events in Restaurant POS Market

  • GrubHub partners with Breadcrumb POS by Upserve and Toast to streamline online ordering. GrubHub, a popular online food takeout/delivery marketplace, has partnered with Breadcrumb and Toast POS systems to enable users to manage online orders from the same device they use for the rest of their operation. This saves time tracking and managing orders across disparate systems and provides great insights into online ordering sales data.
  • United States Congress meet to discuss the repeal of The Durbin Amendment. The Durbin Amendment, passed in 2010, essentially set boundaries on how much banks can charge in fees for debit card swipes. Were Congress to repeal the amendment, restaurant owners would likely see higher payment processing costs and need to adjust their own prices accordingly.
  • Servers using tablet hardware. In addition to consumer-facing iPad technology, we're seeing an increase in iPads and mobile devices for line busting in quick service restaurant environments. Servers are using apps for iPhones, tablets and other mobile devices to take orders in high-throughput restaurant locations. For more, see our guide on POS systems for mobile devices.