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7 Best Cafe and Coffee Shop POS Systems of June 2024

Restaurant point-of-sale systems can work well for cafes and coffee shops, but don’t opt for more features than you need.
By Hillary Crawford, Karrin Sehmbi
Last updated on May 2, 2024
Edited byChristine Aebischer
Fact checked and reviewed

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If you’ve ever faced a throng of caffeine-craving customers from behind the register, you know how important it is to have a reliable point-of-sale (POS) system. The right coffee shop and cafe POS system will keep the line moving, include easy-to-use features and help turn customers into regulars. Look for a system that offers customer-facing displays for tipping, loyalty programs, employee time-tracking features and online ordering options.
Here are our picks for the best coffee shop and cafe POS systems.

Best Cafe and Coffee Shop POS Systems From Our Partners

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Estimates assume an average interchange fee of 1.81% + $0.10, based on our latest available data. Estimates provided reflect online and in-person transactions, but exclude any keyed transactions. Estimates are based on the lowest monthly plan and processing fees for each provider.

Product
Cost Estimate
Payment processing fees
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Square Restaurant POS

Learn more

on Square Restaurant POS's secure website

Get an estimated monthly cost for your business.
5.0/5

Best for Overall cafe and coffee shop POS

In-person: 2.6% + $0.10

Online: 2.9% + $0.30

$0.00

Free plan; $60 Plus plan; $192 and up for Essentials bundle.

Get an estimated monthly cost for your business.
Learn more

on Square Restaurant POS's secure website

Clover POS

Learn more

on Clover POS's secure website

4.0/5

Best for Using third-party payment processors

In-person: 2.3% + $0.10

Online: 3.5% + $0.10

$14.95

and up.

Learn more

on Clover POS's secure website

Toast POS

Learn more

on Toast POS's secure website

4.0/5

Best for Larger coffee shops that serve food

2.49% + $0.15

if you buy hardware upfront; 3.09% + $0.15 for pay-as-you-go option.

$0.00

Starter Kit; $69 Point of Sale plan; custom Build Your Own plan.

Learn more

on Toast POS's secure website

TouchBistro

Learn more

on TouchBistro's secure website

3.5/5

Best for Customer relationship management platform

N/A

Quote-based.

$69.00

and up.

Learn more

on TouchBistro's secure website

Lavu

Learn more

on Lavu's secure website

3.5/5

Best for Cash discount program

N/A

Quote-based.

$99.00

and up.

Learn more

on Lavu's secure website

SpotOn Restaurant

Learn more

on SpotOn Restaurant's secure website

4.0/5

Best for Customizable plans

1.99% + $0.25

For most cards in paid plans.

$0.00

and up.

Learn more

on SpotOn Restaurant's secure website

Lightspeed Restaurant POS

Learn more

on Lightspeed Restaurant POS's secure website

3.5/5

Best for Inventory management

In-person: 2.6% + $0.10

Online: 2.9% + $0.30

$69.00

Starter plan; $189 Essential plan; $399 Premium plan.

Learn more

on Lightspeed Restaurant POS's secure website

Our pick for

Overall cafe and coffee shop POS

Square Restaurant POS

Learn more

on Square Restaurant POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

Free plan; $60 Plus plan; $192 and up for Essentials bundle.

Our pick for

Using third-party payment processors

Clover POS

Learn more

on Clover POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$14.95

and up.

Our pick for

Larger coffee shops that serve food

Toast POS

Learn more

on Toast POS's secure website

Payment processing fees
2.49% + $0.15

if you buy hardware upfront; 3.09% + $0.15 for pay-as-you-go option.

Monthly fee
$0.00

Starter Kit; $69 Point of Sale plan; custom Build Your Own plan.

Our pick for

Customer relationship management platform

TouchBistro

Learn more

on TouchBistro's secure website

Payment processing fees
N/A

Quote-based.

Monthly fee
$69.00

and up.

Our pick for

Cash discount program

Learn more

on Lavu's secure website

Payment processing fees
N/A

Quote-based.

Monthly fee
$99.00

and up.

Our pick for

Customizable plans

SpotOn Restaurant

4.0
NerdWallet rating 
Learn more

on SpotOn Restaurant's secure website

Payment processing fees
1.99% + $0.25

For most cards in paid plans.

Monthly fee
$0.00

and up.

Our pick for

Inventory management

Lightspeed Restaurant POS

Learn more

on Lightspeed Restaurant POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$69.00

Starter plan; $189 Essential plan; $399 Premium plan.

Our picks for the best coffee shop and cafe POS systems

Square Restaurant POS

Best overall cafe and coffee shop POS
Why we like it: Square is easy to use and built to incorporate customer-facing displays for tipping. The Square Stand swivels to face the customer, while the Square Register has a separate customer-facing screen. The free software plan, which comes with an online ordering page, may be sufficient for smaller cafes and coffee shops. However, with an array of add-ons, plan tiers and kitchen display system hardware, the product leaves room for growth, too. Read our full Square POS for Restaurants review.

Clover POS

Best for using third-party payment processors
Why we like it: Clover's core software plan for counter service restaurants like coffee shops includes a loyalty program and no-fee online ordering. In addition, Clover Flex and Mini POS systems are equipped with LTE, a standard for wireless data transmission, which will kick in during Wi-Fi outages and allow cashiers to continue taking orders as usual. And if your coffee shop deals with long lines, the handheld Flex POS system enables staff to take orders anywhere. Read our full Clover POS review.

Toast

Best for larger coffee shops that serve food
Why we like it: As NerdWallet's top overall pick for restaurant POS systems, Toast is a solid pick for cafes and coffee shops that sell made-to-order food options and plan to expand. Highlights include an offline mode, in-house delivery service, the Toast TakeOut app for online ordering, a $50-per-month loyalty program and a kitchen display system. Read our full Toast POS review.

TouchBistro

Best customer relationship management platform
Why we like it: TouchBistro's software is locally installed, meaning it's fully functional in the event of a Wi-Fi outage. Just ensure your payment processor is integrated with the POS or has its own offline mode so you can continue accepting payments. In addition, the company's loyalty program, which starts at $99 per month, doubles as a customer relationship management platform. The program keeps track of customer data like allergies, birthdays and preferences and sends targeted offers to customers, making it easier to recognize repeat customers and their orders. Read our full TouchBistro review.

Lavu

Best cash discount program
Why we like it: Lavu's terminals are entirely iPad-based and business owners can piece their hardware components down to the rotation bases and brackets. One of the company's most unique features is its cash discount program that rewards customers for paying in cash and upcharges those who pay with a card. Read NerdWallet's Lavu POS review.

SpotOn Restaurant

Best for customizable plans
Why we like it: Similar to Toast and TouchBistro, SpotOn can support full-service restaurants as well as smaller cafes or coffee shops that also serve food. And with its add-ons — like DoorDash delivery, digital menus, gift cards, loyalty programs and reservations — SpotOn gives business owners the flexibility to customize their plans and just pay for what they need.

Lightspeed Restaurant

Best for inventory management
Why we like it: Lightspeed Restaurant’s focus on detailed inventory management makes it a good option for cafes and coffee shops that are trying to maximize profit margins and see how different menu items are impacting their bottom line. For that reason, it’s most cost-effective for cafes that are working with a large number of ingredients and also serving food. Read NerdWallet's Lightspeed Restaurant review.

What is a cafe POS system?

A cafe POS system allows cafes and coffee shops to quickly accept payments (plus tips) from customers in line or at the counter, track sales data, spot trends and, in most cases, implement loyalty programs to keep customers coming back. They may also support online or in-app order ahead functions and accommodate cafes that serve food in addition to coffee and other drinks.

Read more about POS systems

Learn more about the components that make up a POS system and how they can help your business run smoothly. Some POS systems are industry-specific, but others can be used universally.

How to choose a cafe or coffee shop POS system

Here are some factors to consider to find the right cafe POS system for your business.

Monthly subscription fees

Cafe POS system providers often charge a monthly subscription fee for POS software capabilities, though some offer basic plans for free. For each provider you’re considering, find out which plan includes all of the features your cafe needs — like inventory management and employee management, for instance — and make sure that monthly subscription fee fits into your budget for the foreseeable future.

Hardware features

At a minimum, cafes should consider POS systems that include a screen, cash drawer and receipt printer. A customer-facing display is another useful hardware feature that lets customers easily add tips to their totals. You’ll also want to decide whether you need a POS system that has an offline mode for accepting payments when Wi-Fi goes out. This feature may require you to buy a separate router.

Payment processing

If you’d like to be able to accept orders online as well as in person, make sure to check whether that capability costs extra or is included in your POS plan. Payment processing costs are another sticking point. To calculate your fees, plug your average number of monthly transactions and the average total receipt amount into our credit card processing fees calculator. It’s also important to find out whether your POS system lets you work with third-party processors or limits you to using its in-house payment processing services.

Extra features

Extra features for managing employees and retaining customers can be nice to have, too. Look for the ability to let employees clock in and out and tip out when a shift is over. Additionally, customer loyalty programs can help employees spot regulars and motivate customers to keep coming in to rack up discounts or points.
Last updated on May 2, 2024

Methodology

NerdWallet’s point-of-sale systems provider ratings reward companies whose products and services are priced well and work in a variety of payment scenarios, among other criteria. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including cost, system capabilities, contract requirements, customer service and integrations and add-ons. Learn more about how we rate point-of-sale (POS) systems providers.
These ratings are a guide, but services, hardware and pricing can vary widely from business to business and provider to provider. We encourage you to shop around and compare several providers.
NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.
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