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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.
$69 per month plus $49 per month per additional terminal.
$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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Square for Restaurants
Software pricing: Free and up.
Hardware pricing: $799 for a Square Register.
Payment processing: 2.6% plus 10 cents per in-person transaction; 2.9% plus 30 cents per online payment.
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. If restaurants want a custom domain and custom font for their online ordering page, they can subscribe to Square Online’s Professional plan for $12 per month.
Software pricing: $59 per month and up plus $40 to $60 per additional terminal.
Hardware pricing: $1,350 for a POS terminal with a monitor and card reader.
Payment processing: Quote-based.
Support: 24/7 phone and email support.
One of Upserve’s major strengths is its in-house inventory management and recipe costing, which come with its Pro and Pro Plus plans. As opposed to having to integrate with a third-party service, the software lets restaurants purchase ingredients with one click and better control food waste. Additionally, the system will send out a daily digest that includes data on menu performance, labor cost and sales from the night before. Upserve Marketing comes with all plans, and business owners can keep track of what people are saying about their restaurant with its Reputation Management feature, which is also included in all plans.