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The Aloha point-of-sale, or POS, system for restaurants is a software product by NCR, a technology and professional services company. Aloha POS is one of the oldest POS systems on the market, but according to recent reviews, it’s struggling to keep up with the rest of the industry.
Despite Aloha’s user-friendly design and long-standing popularity, its lack of transparent pricing and abundance of reviews citing high costs and poor customer service makes it a so-so choice for most small businesses. Other POS systems like Square or Toast may be better alternatives for your restaurant.
Quote-based monthly subscription; reviews estimate $99 or more per month.
Quote-based; systems resell online for $895 or more.
Payment processing cost
Monthly subscription; no contract required.
24/7 dedicated customer support.
Ease of use
User-friendly for daily employee use; difficulties with setup and integration, according to reviews.
How does Aloha POS work?
Aloha POS software gives restaurant owners the ability to take orders, accept and process payments, manage employees, and perform several other business operations. NCR also offers Aloha POS hardware options, including traditional countertop and handheld terminals.
You can choose from several Aloha hardware terminals to run your POS software. NCR offers two main categories of hardware: traditional countertop terminals and mobile POS terminals.
Generally speaking, Aloha POS reviews from happy customers tend to focus on how user-friendly the system is; they say it's easy for employees to use and has a clear, simple display. The system can handle complicated orders like split tabs or checks by seat. It also has built-in features like tab payments and combo ordering, which reduces the price of certain items when they're ordered together.
As one of the first restaurant POS systems, Aloha POS is widely used across the restaurant industry. Because so many restaurants, bars and cafes use it — and have for decades — many employees you hire will be familiar with its main functions. This may minimize the system training necessary for new employees, especially if you tend to hire based on previous experience.
There are very few details online — including on the NCR website — about Aloha POS prices. This makes it difficult for new customers to estimate their initial and future costs, or to compare the system with others. For pricing, you'll need to request a quote.
Aloha POS users report subpar customer support. Many reviewers say they were unsatisfied with the service they received from Aloha support staff, especially during system setup and when working with add-ons and integrations.
Reviewers also report that customer service response times can range widely; some say it took days to weeks to receive help from the right department.
Square POS for Restaurants
Square for Restaurants offers a variety of industry-specific features, including ones for quick-service eateries, bars and ghost kitchens. Its pricing is transparent and straightforward, with a free software plan and an upgraded plan for a $60 monthly subscription, as well as premium plans with custom pricing.
The platform allows you to run front-of-house operations, from menu setups to table maps to tabs and gratuity. It also provides reporting and employee management features, as well as customer insights. Like Aloha POS, Square for Restaurants is an all-in-one POS system with fully compatible software, hardware, payment processing and add-on options.
Clover is a popular POS system for restaurants with a variety of hardware and software options. Many of its plans have features similar to Aloha POS, including employee management, loyalty programs and inventory management.
For the restaurant and retail industries specifically, Clover allows you to manage tables, take payments without Wi-Fi, set up low-stock alerts, schedule shifts for your team, and more.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.