BEST OF

6 Best Restaurant POS Systems of August 2022

The best restaurant POS systems have inventory tracking features, employee management tools and strong reporting capabilities.

Aug 2, 2022

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For restaurants, point-of-sale systems do much more than just accept credit and debit card payments. They also help with communication between the front and back of house, table and menu management, inventory tracking and sales reports.

The best options, listed below, are reliable, easy to use and packed with features that make day-to-day restaurant operations go smoothly. All of NerdWallet's top picks are also equipped with 24/7 customer support and tools for inventory management, table management and employee management.

Best Restaurant POS Systems

Our pick for

Overall restaurant POS

Toast
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on Toast POS's secure website

Toast POS

Toast

Payment processing fees

2.99% + $0.15

Monthly fee

$0

Starter Plan. Essentials Plan also available

Shop now

on Toast POS's secure website


Why we like it

Every element of Toast's POS system is designed in a restaurant-first way. Hardware options are made to withstand spills, grease and heat. These include self-serve kiosks, kitchen display systems, handheld POS systems and guest displays that let customers view orders. Its free plan also offers 24/7 support via email, live chat and phone, just like its higher-tier plans do.

Pros

  • 24/7 phone, email and chat support.

  • Free plan available for restaurants with one or two POS terminals.

  • In-house payroll software available.

  • Online ordering and customer loyalty programs are included in some plans.

  • In-house delivery platform available.

  • Built specifically for restaurants.

  • Offers 0% interest financing, subject to approval, and pay-as-you-go plans.

Cons

  • Contracts last between one and three years.

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Our pick for

Free plan

Square
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on Square Restaurant POS's secure website

Square Restaurant POS

Square

Payment processing fees

2.6% + 10¢

Monthly fee

$0

Starts at $0/month for unlimited devices and locations. Free, Plus, and Premium plans available.

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on Square Restaurant POS's secure website


Why we like it

The free version of Square for Restaurants comes equipped with a comprehensive list of features, including inventory management, menu management, table management and employee time tracking.

Pros

  • Free plan available.

  • App and card readers are compatible with iOS and Android devices.

  • Can pay for hardware in installments.

  • No long-term contracts or installation fees.

  • In-house payroll software available.

  • All plans include a free online ordering page.

Cons

  • Free plan doesn’t include 24/7 support.

  • Customer loyalty program is an add-on for all plans.

Read Full Review

Our pick for

Quick-service restaurants

Clover
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on Clover POS's secure website

Clover POS

Clover

Payment processing fees

2.3% + 10¢

Monthly fee

$40/Month

Standard Plan. Accept payments and run your business with a compact 7" countertop POS.

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on Clover POS's secure website


Why we like it

Clover’s sleek hardware options make it a strong choice for quick-service restaurants that take customer payments at the counter. The handheld Clover Flex is ideal for curbside and delivery orders.

Pros

  • 24/7 customer support.

  • Can pay for hardware in installments.

  • Can create a customized customer loyalty program.

  • Includes online ordering capabilities.

Cons

  • Cannot use existing tablets that weren’t bought through Clover.

Read Full Review

Our pick for

Reporting capabilities

Upserve
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on NerdWallet's secure website

Upserve

Upserve

Payment processing fees

N/A

Monthly fee

$59/mo

$59 and up.

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Why we like it

Upserve, a POS system made specifically for restaurants, features a variety of reporting options that aren’t standard on other POS systems. For example, the system can automatically email a Daily Digest to the restaurant owner each morning to keep them in the loop on the previous day’s business.

Pros

  • Compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

  • 24/7 support.

  • Offers 0% financing on software, hardware and implementation for qualified buyers.

  • Customer loyalty program comes with Pro and Pro Plus plans.

  • Built specifically for restaurants.

Cons

  • Upserve Inventory is an add-on in the Core plan.

  • Online ordering is an add-on for all plans.

  • Contract required; early termination fees apply.

  • Average in-person installation and configuration fee starts at $1,700.

Read Full Review

Our pick for

Customizability

Lightspeed
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on Lightspeed POS's secure website

Lightspeed POS

Lightspeed

Payment processing fees

2.6% + 10¢

Monthly fee

$69/Month

Lean Plan. Standard & Advanced Plans available.

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on Lightspeed POS's secure website


Why we like it

While some POS systems strictly limit what hardware you can use, Lightspeed Restaurant allows restaurants to combine different brands’ restaurant-specific items in their hardware stack. This is especially ideal for restaurants with an existing collection of hardware.

Pros

  • 24/7 phone, text and email support.

  • Free online training with a specialist.

  • Compatible with hardware from different brands.

Cons

  • Accounting integrations, customer loyalty programs, advanced reporting and online ordering are add-ons for all plans.

  • Annual contracts are required for lower pricing.

Read Full Review

Our pick for

Locally installed option

TouchBistro
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on NerdWallet's secure website

TouchBistro

TouchBistro

Payment processing fees

N/A

Monthly fee

$69/mo

$69 and up.

Learn more

on NerdWallet's secure website


Why we like it

For restaurants that haven’t warmed to the idea of a totally cloud-based POS system, TouchBistro is a solid option. It’s a hybrid POS, meaning it’s locally installed but data is still sent to the cloud. Though other cloud-based POS systems can accept payments in offline mode, the system will maintain other capabilities, like real-time reporting, in a Wi-Fi outage.

Pros

  • 24/7 support.

  • Built specifically for restaurants.

Cons

  • Customer loyalty programs and online ordering are add-ons for all plans.

  • Contracts are automatically renewed and can't be terminated early; canceling an automatic renewal requires 30 days' notice.

Read Full Review

Our picks for best restaurant POS systems

Our pick for: overall restaurant POS

Software cost: Free and up.

Hardware cost: $799 for Toast’s Starter Kit, which includes a Toast Flex POS terminal, contactless card reader and router (no tablet required). Clients can also pay for the kit as a percentage of their sales over time. A two-year contract is required in both scenarios.

Payment processing cost: 2.99% plus 15 cents per transaction if you don’t pay for the Starter Kit upfront; 2.49% plus 15 cents per card-present transaction and 3.5% plus 15 cents per card-not-present transaction if you pay for the Starter Kit upfront.

Why we like it: Among other restaurant-specific features, Toast lets restaurants compare actual versus theoretical performance and add Toast Delivery Services to subscription plans. The in-house delivery service platform charges a flat fee for each order instead of a percentage of the order.

Toast runs on an Android operating system and recommends that clients use its hardware instead of their own tablets.

Our pick for: free plan

Software cost: Free and up.

Hardware cost: $1,389 and up for a Square Register Kit, which includes a Square register, cash drawer, receipt paper and receipt printer (no tablet required).

Payment processing cost: 2.6% plus 10 cents per in-person transaction; 2.9% plus 30 cents for online payments.

Why we like it: In addition to a free plan, Square offers flexibility to scale the system, cancel your plan without fees and pay for hardware in installments makes it an exceptional option for new restaurants, even though the free plan doesn’t include 24/7 support.

Though Square can operate on Android tablets, the tablet accessories offered on its site are mostly compatible with iPads.

Our pick for: quick-service restaurants

Software cost: $44.95 per month and up for quick service restaurants.

Hardware cost: $1,349 for the Station Solo, which includes a POS station, receipt printer and cash drawer (no tablet required).

Payment processing cost: 2.3% plus 10 cents per in-person transaction; 3.5% plus 10 cents per keyed-in transaction for table-service restaurants; can also choose from third-party payment processors.

Why we like it: Because employees can walk around with the Clover Flex and accept payments, it can help shorten long lines. The Full-Service Restaurant plan also includes features like a customer loyalty program and online ordering that some competitors treat as add-ons. The company doesn’t offer its own kitchen display hardware, but you can sync information between front and back-of-house via a third-party app.

Clover runs on an Android operating system and does not let clients use tablets that weren’t purchased through the company.

Our pick for: reporting capabilities

Software cost: $59 per month and up plus $40 to $60 per terminal.

Hardware cost: $1,350 for a POS terminal with a monitor and card reader (no tablet required).

Payment processing cost: A flat-rate, quote-based fee.

Why we like it: Upserve offers impressive reporting capabilities. It also handles Reputation Management, which collects all of the restaurant’s online reviews and reports them back, and Restaurant Logbook, which establishes a clear line of communication between employees and managers. Employees use the logbook to provide feedback and ask questions, while managers answer those questions via the Upserve Live app.

Upserve has customizable solutions for bars, breweries, coffee shops, delis, quick-service restaurants and more. Its Training Mode setting walks new employees through the different workflows they need to know, making it easy to learn. The system supports a variety of iPads and Android tablets, but the accessories on its site are mostly tailored to iPads. The company is owned by Lightspeed, which is another POS provider.

Our pick for: customizability

Software cost: Starts at $39 per month plus $39 per month per additional register.

Hardware cost: Quote-based.

Payment processing cost: 2.6% plus 10 cents per card-present transaction and 2.6% plus 30 cents per card-not-present transaction with Lightspeed Payments; can also choose from third-party payment processors.

Why we like it: Aside from customizability, Lightspeed Restaurant is also a good fit for restaurants that want the freedom to choose a third-party payment processor.

Lightspeed is compatible with a variety of iPads and iPhones and is optimized for use with iOS systems. Its supported hardware page doesn’t list any Android tablets.

Our pick for: locally installed option

Software cost: Starts at $69 per month.

Hardware cost: Quote-based.

Payment processing cost: Quote-based if you use TouchBistro Payments; can also choose from third-party payment processors.

Why we like it: TouchBistro is a locally installed system that has solutions for all types of restaurants, including food trucks, catering companies and bakeries. TouchBistro lets restaurants advertise their menu on a bigger screen via Apple TV, too. And since the POS system and digital menu board are synced, staff can make changes to the menu in real-time.

TouchBistro is an iPad POS system. It’s compatible with most iPad models but not Android devices.

How to choose a restaurant POS system

Consider the following factors when choosing a POS system for your restaurant:

  • Payment processing. A payment processor allows you to accept card payments, an important capability for most restaurants. Some POS providers offer their own payment processing services, while others give you the option to connect with various third-party processors.

  • Front-of-house management. All restaurants need to take, process and manage orders from customers. The best POS system for your restaurant will allow you to manage your front-of-house operations in the way that makes everything run smoothly, whether that includes tableside ordering, splitting and authorizing checks, communicating with the kitchen or managing your floor plan.

  • Menu and inventory management. A restaurant POS system should allow you to customize the menu, track inventory and note modifications, special offers and sold-out items.

  • Employee management and access. A good system allows you to set up employee access and permissions, schedule shifts, let employees clock in and out and split tips.

  • Reporting. Strong reporting capabilities are a must. Look for actual versus theoretical cost reports on food and labor to find opportunities for improving margins. Ideally you should be able to run reports on your restaurant’s different sales channels to see how each channel is performing. This can tell you which dishes are selling best in-house versus takeout, for example.

  • Integrations. Many restaurant POS systems allow you to connect to additional internal or third-party tools, such as online ordering apps, email marketing software and payroll services.

  • Support. Consider what kind of customer support is offered by restaurant POS providers. Some providers have phone, chat and email support, as well as implementation and training services. If your restaurant is open late at night, go with a product that offers 24/7 support.

Last updated on August 2, 2022

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.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Restaurant POS Systems of August 2022

Frequently asked questions