Restaurants are a beautiful mess. On the surface, you’re greeted with a smile and given beautiful food and drink in an aesthetic setting that appeals to all your senses. What happens behind the scenes is another story.
One of the heroes behind the efficient running of a restaurant is a solid POS system. Without it, you may experience order-taking errors, inventory problems, or a lack of real-time data. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the best POS systems for restaurants so you can make the best choice to keep your business running as smoothly as possible.
QuickLook: Best Restaurant POS System
What is a Restaurant POS System?
A restaurant POS (Point of Sale) system is a comprehensive software solution that manages sales transactions, inventory, and customer preferences. Essentially, it’s the central hub where orders are taken, bills are generated, and payments are processed.
An efficient POS system is crucial for restaurants as it ensures streamlined service, reduces human errors, provides insightful analytics for business growth, and significantly enhances the overall dining experience for customers.
Benefits of Using a Restaurant POS System
While it may be appealing to stick to traditional ways of running a restaurant, it would be unwise to notice the benefits that come from using some modern advancements. Let’s go over the benefits in detail:
Streamlined Order Management
- Real-time order processing and tracking, ensuring instant response to customer requests.
- Minimized human errors in order-taking and transcription, leading to accurate orders every time.
- Integrated communication between the kitchen and front-of-house, reducing wait times.
- Digital receipts for environment-friendly transactions.
- Efficient handling of split bills or group payments.
Enhanced Customer Service
- Quick and accurate order fulfillment, ensuring customer satisfaction.
- Personalized customer preferences and order history, creating a tailored dining experience.
- Integration with loyalty programs and promotions, incentivizing repeat visits.
- Instant feedback collection, allowing for continuous improvement.
- Table reservation integrations offer customers convenience and assurance.
Increased Efficiency in Operations
- Automated inventory management and ingredient tracking, reducing wastage and ensuring stock availability.
- Easy menu modifications and updates, facilitating dynamic menu changes in line with customer demand or ingredient availability.
- Simplified employee scheduling and time tracking, ensuring optimal staff allocation during peak hours.
- Financial reporting and analytics, providing a clear picture of the restaurant’s fiscal health.
- Digital integration with suppliers for automated restocking and order placements.
8 Best Restaurant POS Systems
Now, let’s ensure your restaurant is primed for peak performance. Delving into the realm of point-of-sale technology, we’ll be covering the best in the business, ensuring you’re equipped for efficiency, customer satisfaction, and growth.
Toast has become a favorite among full-service restaurants thanks to its all-in-one approach. With features tailored to handle high-volume dining, such as tableside ordering and menu management, it’s particularly suitable for establishments that manage multiple tables, courses, and, often, complex orders. Fine dining and upscale eateries would find Toast’s comprehensive suite most beneficial.
Key features of Toast include:
- Integrated Tableside Ordering: Empowers waitstaff to input orders right at the table, enhancing efficiency and reducing errors.
- Dynamic Menu Management: Provides tools for instant menu updates, daily specials addition, and pricing adjustments.
- Real-time Reporting: Offers insights into sales, inventory, and customer preferences on-the-fly.
- Loyalty and CRM Integration: Facilitates the creation of reward programs and integrates with customer relationship management tools for better patron retention.
- Quick start bundle: Starting at $0, ideal for small businesses and single-location ventures.
- Core: $69 per month
- Growth: $165 per month
While Square is versatile enough for various establishments, it shines brightest for quick-service restaurants and food trucks. Its intuitive interface, speedy transactions, and mobile compatibility make it a go-to for places that require fast turnover or are on the go. Cafes, pop-up stalls, and small eateries often lean on Square for its simplicity and efficiency.
Key features of Square include:
- Rapid Payment Processing: Enables swift checkouts, ensuring minimal wait time for customers.
- Mobile Point of Sale: Offers the flexibility to take payments on the move, ideal for food trucks and pop-up events.
- Inventory Tracking: Keeps tabs on stock levels in real time, preventing potential shortages or overstocking issues.
- Digital Receipts: Provides eco-friendly and convenient receipt options, sent straight to customers’ emails or mobiles.
- For in-person card transactions, like when a customer’s card is swiped, Square charges a fee of 2.6% + 10¢ for each transaction. If the card details are entered manually, the fee is marginally higher at 3.5% + 15¢.
Lightspeed caters extensively to bars and restaurants with a heavy focus on inventory management. If you’re running a brewery, wine bar, or restaurant with a diverse drink menu, Lightspeed’s detailed ingredient tracking and inventory features can be a game-changer. It also excels in establishments that juggle a mix of dine-in, takeaway, and delivery services.
Key features of Lightspeed include:
- Precision Ingredient Tracking: Offers a detailed breakdown of each ingredient, which is crucial for venues with intricate drink concoctions.
- Advanced Inventory Management: Provides tools to manage stock efficiently, ensuring no beverage runs out unexpectedly.
- Multi-Service Integration: Seamlessly blends operations across dine-in, takeaway, and delivery modules.
- Customizable Floor Plans: Enables dynamic table and seating arrangements to accommodate various dining setups and events.
- Lightspeed offers a tailored pricing structure that adjusts according to individual business requirements. For a thorough understanding of the system’s features and associated costs, it provides a no-obligation demo.
SpotOn is favored by modern eateries looking to enhance their customer engagement. With integrated loyalty programs and marketing tools, it’s perfect for restaurants that have a recurring clientele, like neighborhood bistros or specialty cuisine spots. This POS system helps establishments foster a dedicated customer base and capitalize on repeat business.
Key features of SpotOn include:
- Integrated Loyalty Programs: Engage and reward loyal customers, encouraging repeat visits.
- Comprehensive Marketing Suite: Offers tools for email campaigns, social media promotions, and more, to keep diners informed and attracted.
- Real-Time Analytics: Provides instant insights into sales, customer preferences, and other crucial metrics.
- Mobile Integration: Ensures seamless order and payment processing on mobile devices for flexible and speedy service.
- SpotOn values a personalized approach to pricing, ensuring that each establishment gets a package tailored to its unique needs. It invites potential clients for a no-pressure, casual conversation with its tech experts to determine the best fit for their restaurant.
Tailored specifically for the unique needs of restaurants, TouchBistro often finds its home in fine dining establishments and cafes. Its intuitive table management and floor plan features make it ideal for places that want to optimize seating arrangements and enhance the dining experience. It’s particularly beneficial for venues with dynamic seating demands, such as event spaces or brunch spots.
Key features of TouchBistro include:
- Dynamic Table Management: Facilitates optimal seating arrangements, ensuring smooth traffic flow and enhanced guest comfort.
- Detailed Sales Reporting: Offers insights into best-selling items, peak business hours, and staff performance, aiding in informed decision-making.
- Inventory Tracking: Keeps a close eye on stock levels, aiding in waste reduction and ensuring timely replenishment.
- Employee Performance Metrics: Equips management with data on server sales, tips, and working hours, helping streamline staffing needs.
- TouchBistro’s pricing starts at $69 per month. For a more detailed and tailored pricing structure based on specific requirements, it’s recommended to request a quote directly from the company.
6. Aloha by NCR
Aloha, with its rich history in the restaurant POS world, is a go-to for many established chains and high-end restaurants. Its robustness and reliability make it a great choice for large establishments and those with varied menu offerings. Think big hotel restaurants, resorts, or venues that host events—they often rely on Aloha for seamless operations.
Key features of Aloha include:
- Integrated Reservations and Waitlist: Aloha’s system seamlessly integrates reservation management, allowing hosts to manage tables, guest count, and waitlists effortlessly.
- Real-time Inventory Management: Track ingredients, get low-stock alerts, and monitor wastage with the advanced inventory tools that Aloha provides.
- Order and Pay at the Table: Enhance the dining experience by allowing patrons to both order and pay directly from their table through integrated mobile devices.
- Loyalty Program Integration: With Aloha, restaurants can introduce and manage a customer loyalty program, rewarding repeat customers and encouraging more visits.
- Aloha operates on a quote-based pricing system, which means that the cost is customized based on the specific needs and scale of your establishment.
Clover’s adaptability and customizable features make it a popular choice for niche restaurants or those with unique operational needs. Whether you run a themed diner, a vegan eatery, or a dessert parlor, Clover’s app-driven approach lets you mold the POS according to your specific requirements.
Key features of Clover include:
- App Market Customization: Clover’s standout feature is its App Market, allowing restaurants to handpick functionalities and integrations that align with their specific needs.
- Advanced Reporting and Analytics: Dive deep into sales data, understand customer preferences, and generate comprehensive financial reports all from one platform.
- Contactless Payments: In an era of health consciousness, Clover supports various payment methods, including NFC, QR codes, and mobile wallets, ensuring safe and efficient transactions.
- Employee Management Tools: Handle staff scheduling, track working hours, and even manage tips and commissions directly through the Clover interface.
- Starter: $60 per month for 36 months
- Standard: $135 per month for 36 months
- Advanced: $185 per month for 36 months
SkyTab At Your Service.
A SkyTab POS system will transform your restaurant’s operations — from front-of-house to back-of-house and everything in between. Starting at $29.99/month, our supercharged tech is ready to serve.
SkyTab stands out for its advanced tableside solutions, making it particularly fitting for restaurants focused on enhancing customer interaction. Places that emphasize the dining experience, like tasting menus or interactive food spots, would find SkyTab’s direct-to-table approach invaluable. It streamlines the payment process, reduces wait times, and gives staff more time to engage with patrons.
Key features of SkyTab include:
- Direct Mobile Ordering & Payments: Enable patrons to conveniently order and pay via their mobile devices, reducing long lines and wait times.
- Integrated Printing Solution: SkyTab devices are equipped with built-in printers, streamlining the process of generating receipts without delay.
- Enhanced Customer Interaction Tools: Utilize features such as SMS outreach, feedback collection, and integrated loyalty programs to foster strong relationships with diners.
- Reliable Offline Functionality: Ensure continuous sales operations, even in areas with intermittent internet access, with SkyTab’s robust offline capabilities.
- Starting at $29.99 per month with zero upfront costs.
Features to Look for in a Restaurant POS System
Every establishment is unique, thus, deciding on which POS system to choose for your restaurant is of utmost importance. Prioritizing features that align with your specific needs ensures smoother operations and also elevates the dining experience for your patrons. So Let’s delve into the essential features to consider when making this critical choice.
A user-friendly interface is paramount in ensuring that staff can seamlessly navigate through orders, manage tables, and process payments. Intuitive touchscreen capabilities allow for quicker operations, while a customizable layout ensures that the POS is tailored to the specific needs and flow of the restaurant.
Multiple Payment Options
With the evolving landscape of financial transactions, having a POS solution that accepts a wide range of payment methods becomes essential. From traditional cash transactions to credit and debit cards, as well as modern mobile payments, a versatile POS can cater to diverse customer preferences. Moreover, integration with third-party payment processors provides added flexibility and security.
Inventory Management Tools
Efficiently managing inventory can be the difference between profitability and wasted resources. Real-time tracking ensures that restaurant owners are always informed about inventory levels, aiding in automated reordering processes. Further, by maintaining ingredient-level tracking, restaurants can optimize recipe costing and significantly reduce waste.
Reporting and Analytics
In today’s data-driven world, having access to sales reports and performance metrics is invaluable for restaurant owners. These insights, from customer trends to peak operational hours, empower restaurateurs to make informed decisions. Customizable reports provide an in-depth analysis, offering actionable strategies to enhance business performance.
Scalability and Integration
As a restaurant grows, its operational needs evolve. A scalable system ensures that as the business expands, be it in services or additional locations, the software can adapt accordingly. Moreover, integration capabilities allow the POS to seamlessly work with other essential restaurant management tools, such as accounting software or reservation platforms.
System Reliability and Support
Operational hiccups can be detrimental to a restaurant’s reputation and customer experience. Hence, having a reliable POS system backed by 24/7 technical support ensures that any issues are addressed promptly. Regular software updates, coupled with robust security measures, further guarantee the protection of valuable customer data and smooth operations.
Setting the Table: Leading Restaurant POS Solutions
The restaurant industry, with its welcoming ambiance and delicious cuisine, hides a complex operational setup behind the scenes. A dependable POS system is a crucial component for seamless restaurant management, preventing order errors, streamlining inventory, and providing real-time data.
This article has examined the best restaurant POS systems to help you make an informed choice, ensuring the smooth and efficient operation of your business while preserving the enchanting experience for your customers.
What are the benefits of using a restaurant POS system?
A restaurant POS system streamlines order processing, enhances customer service, and provides actionable analytics for better decision-making.
Can a restaurant POS system handle different payment methods?
Yes, most restaurant POS systems can process multiple payment methods, including cash, credit cards, mobile payments, and even third-party integrations.
Can a restaurant POS system handle customization?
Absolutely! Many POS systems offer customizable layouts, feature settings, and integrations tailored to a restaurant’s unique operational needs.
How much does a restaurant POS system cost?
The cost varies based on features, scale, and brand. Some start with a basic monthly fee, while others offer customized pricing. It’s best to consult with individual providers for precise figures.