Cake POS Review: Restaurant Features, Pricing, Alternatives

Cake is a user-friendly restaurant POS system with a built-in loyalty program and 24/7 customer service.
Hillary Crawford
By Hillary Crawford 
Updated
Edited by Claire Tsosie

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Cake is a cloud-based point-of-sale system for restaurants, bars and cafes, both large and small. For restaurant owners looking for a customizable system, it's a solid choice. The company carries its own splash-resistant terminals and sells software packages that include real-time reports, menu management, floor management and a suite of integrations for restaurant accounting and operations. Guest management and online ordering are considered add-ons.

Since a two-year-long contract and activation fee are involved, restaurant owners should take their time deciding whether Cake POS is right for them.

Overview

Software cost

$69 per month plus $49 per month per additional terminal.

Hardware cost

$1,499 for the POS station without a customer touch display; $1,699 for the POS station with a customer touch display; stations include a 15-inch POS terminal, thermal printer, cash drawer and payment cube.

Payment processing cost

3.29% plus 15 cents per American Express transaction; 2.5% plus 15 cents per other credit card transaction.

Contract length

2 years.

Live support

24/7 phone, text, email and chat support.

Ease of use

With its intuitive user interface and Quick Menu Edit feature, Cake POS is easy to navigate. Integrations may pose a learning curve.

Cake POS features

Core software plan

  • Floor management: Full-service restaurants with multiple seating areas can manage all of them in one place with customized floor plans.

  • Menu and order management: Managers can quickly add new items and modifiers to the menu and make price adjustments where needed. There’s also an area for employees to log notes or special instructions that’ll be sent to the kitchen.

  • Employee management: Cake POS software comes with timecard management so employees can clock in and out through the system. In addition to helping restaurants track overtime and breaks, it divides tips for employees too.

  • Reporting: Reports delve into sales and labor costs and can be filtered by date, employee, product category, payment type, order type or revenue center. Restaurants can compare those sales and labor costs side by side and sort them by order averages and modifier sales as well.

  • Loyalty program: Customers log into Cake’s digital punch card loyalty program using their phone number or the app and earn rewards and discounts.

  • Basic inventory management: Items can be marked as 86’d, or out of stock, and managers can update stock counts so that front-of-house staff knows when a particular menu item is limited. For advanced inventory management, Cake integrates with Orca, which costs $109 to $129 per month.

  • Other POS capabilities: Front-of-house staff can split checks by seat and can also split the cost of shared items, like appetizers, among several guests. Additionally, Cake offers training and certification courses for employees.

Cake POS station.

Cake POS station.

Add-ons

  • Online ordering: Cake has an in-house, customized online ordering option that fully integrates with the POS system and gives customers the option to select contactless curbside pickup. The platform is personalized for each restaurant to match its branding and menu. The company’s integration with ItsaCheckmate lets restaurants connect with third-party delivery services too.

  • Guest management: Customers can “get in line” virtually and receive text notifications when their tables are ready. In addition to calling the restaurant to make a reservation, guests can visit Google Reservations, the restaurant’s website, cake.net or an app called The List. If repeat customers make a reservation, the system will alert the restaurant’s host so that they can give them a more personalized experience.

  • Mobile POS software: Cake’s OrderPad app turns iPads into mobile POS stations so front-of-house staff can take orders curbside, tableside or while guests are waiting in line.

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NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5

Payment processing fees 

0.40% + 8¢

plus interchange, in-person; 0.50% + 25¢ plus interchange, online.

Payment processing fees 

2.6% + 10¢

in-person; 2.9% + 30¢ online.

Payment processing fees 

2.7% + 5¢

in-person; 2.9% + 30¢ online.

Monthly fee 

$0

Monthly fee 

$0

Starts at $0/month for unlimited devices and locations.

Monthly fee 

$0

Pricing

  • POS station: $1,499 plus a one-time $999 activation fee per location for the 15-inch touchscreen POS terminal, thermal printer, cash drawer and payment cube. Restaurants can opt for a station with a customer touch display for $1,699. Software is $69 per month plus $49 per month per additional terminal with a two-year contract.

  • OrderPad mobile POS: $49 per month for the OrderPad app and support, plus a $299 activation fee. Restaurants can purchase an iMag Pro II Payment Reader from Cake for $99. iPads are sold separately.

  • Guest management add-on: $79 per month for unlimited usage plus $199 due at signing.

  • Online ordering add-on: $49 per month plus 5% of total sales (this rate includes the merchant processing fee).

  • Payment processing: 3.29% plus 15 cents per American Express transaction; 2.5% plus 15 cents per other credit card transaction.

Pros

Ease of use

Reviews of Cake commonly mention its simplicity and ease of use. That's a major benefit, especially for restaurants hiring lots of new employees who need to learn the system. One feature that really stands out is its menu editing functionality, which lets you edit menu items and pricing on the fly with a few clicks.

24/7 customer support

Since restaurants, cafes and bars often operate outside of normal working hours, 24/7 customer service is a huge plus in case credit cards can’t be processed or employees can’t clock in, for example. Reviewers say that Cake’s support, which is available through phone, text, email and chat, is both responsive and helpful.

Durable hardware

Created specifically for the restaurant industry, Cake’s terminal is fully encased so that it can withstand spills, dust and crumbs. The screens are also flush with their frames so nothing can get stuck in the gaps. In terms of hardware durability, the company’s system is similar to that of Toast, which is also spill-proof and dust-proof.

Cons

Contract length

Cake’s two-year contract puts more pressure on restaurants to consider whether the product is the right fit for them both now and down the road. For that reason, it's a better choice for restaurants that have been open long enough to have a full understanding of their POS needs and overall trajectory.

Activation fees

Cake has activation fees for its POS terminal and mobile POS solution as well as a one-time signing fee for its guest management add-on. An extra $999 here and there might not make a huge difference for established restaurants, especially if they know Cake is the right long-term fit for them. However, it could make newer restaurants that are strapped for cash think twice.

Alternatives

Square for Restaurants

Software pricing:

Hardware pricing:

  • $0 for Square magstripe-only card reader ($10 for each additional reader) or if using Tap to Pay for iPhone (iPhone not included).

  • $49 and up for Square Reader contactless and chip card reader.

  • $149 for Square Stand iPad POS or Square Stand Mount (iPad not included; monthly financing available).

  • $299 for Square Terminal mobile card reader with built-in printer (monthly financing available).

  • $799 for Square Register two-screen system (monthly financing available).

Payment processing:

  • 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions.

  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions.

  • 3.5% plus 15 cents for manually keyed transactions.

Support: Monday to Friday 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific time for the free plan; 24/7 for paid plans.

Square for Restaurants is a great option for newer restaurants that are still getting a feel for what they want out of a POS system. It has no long-term contracts, doesn’t charge installation fees and offers a free plan for businesses that just need the basics. Like Cake, it integrates with a third-party solution for advanced inventory management instead of offering it in-house. While its loyalty program is considered an add-on, starting at $45 per month, restaurants can create a free online ordering page for pickup, delivery and contactless in-person dining.

Lightspeed Restaurant POS

Software pricing:

  • $69 for Starter plan.

  • $189 for Essential plan.

  • $399 for Premium plan.

Hardware pricing:

Pricing for Lightspeed's iPad and desktop hardware kits is quote-based. Individual hardware products are listed in Lightspeed's online store:

  • $99 for Chipper 2X BT card reader.

  • $199 for iPad stand or swivel stand.

  • $299 for WisePOS E countertop reader.

  • $429 for Lightspeed Lite Server for data backup and offline mode functionality.

Payment processing:

  • 2.6% plus 10 cents per in-person transaction.

  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions.

Support: 24/7 phone, email and chat support.

One of Lightspeed Restaurant’s major strengths is its in-house inventory management and costing feature. The software lets restaurants better control food waste with detailed sales and stock reports. The system also includes options for online ordering and delivery and enables customers to view menus, order and pay all from their phones using QR codes.

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