Skip to content

6 Best Restaurant POS Systems of November 2022

The best restaurant POS systems have inventory tracking features, employee management tools and strong reporting capabilities.
Written by Hillary Crawford
Edited by Claire Tsosie
Last updated on August 2, 2022

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

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

Product
Best for
Payment processing fees
Monthly fee
Learn more

Toast POS

Shop now

on Toast POS's secure website

4.0/5

Best for Overall restaurant POS

2.99% + 15¢

if you pay for hardware monthly; 2.49% + 15¢ if you buy upfront.

$0

Starter plan; $140 Restaurant; $165 Essentials.

Shop now

on Toast POS's secure website

Square Restaurant POS

Shop now

on Square Restaurant POS's secure website

Best for Free plan

2.6% + 10¢

$0

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

Shop now

on Square Restaurant POS's secure website

Clover POS

Shop now

on Clover POS's secure website

4.0/5

Best for Quick-service restaurants

2.3% + 10¢

or 2.6% +10¢ in-person, depending on plan; 3.5% + 10¢ online.

$40

Starter plan; $44.95 Standard and Advanced plans.

Shop now

on Clover POS's secure website

Upserve

Best for Reporting capabilities

Not disclosed

You have to call and get a quote.

$59

Core; $199 Pro; $359 Pro Plus.

Lightspeed POS

Shop now

on Lightspeed POS's secure website

3.5/5

Best for Customizability

2.6% + 10¢

in-person; 2.6% + 30¢ online.

$89

Lean; $149 Standard; $269 Advanced.

Shop now

on Lightspeed POS's secure website

TouchBistro

Best for Locally installed option

N/A$69/mo

$69 and up.

Our pick for

Overall restaurant POS

Toast POS

4.0
NerdWallet rating 
Read Review
Shop now

on Toast POS's secure website

Payment processing fees

2.99% + 15¢

if you pay for hardware monthly; 2.49% + 15¢ if you buy upfront.

Monthly fee

$0

Starter plan; $140 Restaurant; $165 Essentials.

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.

Our pick for

Free plan

Square Restaurant POS

Read Review
Shop now

on Square Restaurant POS's secure website

Payment processing fees

2.6% + 10¢

Monthly fee

$0

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

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.

Our pick for

Quick-service restaurants

Clover POS

4.0
NerdWallet rating 
Read Review
Shop now

on Clover POS's secure website

Payment processing fees

2.3% + 10¢

or 2.6% +10¢ in-person, depending on plan; 3.5% + 10¢ online.

Monthly fee

$40

Starter plan; $44.95 Standard and Advanced plans.

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.

Our pick for

Reporting capabilities

Upserve

Payment processing fees

Not disclosed

You have to call and get a quote.

Monthly fee

$59

Core; $199 Pro; $359 Pro Plus.

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.

Our pick for

Customizability

Lightspeed POS

3.5
NerdWallet rating 
Read Review
Shop now

on Lightspeed POS's secure website

Payment processing fees

2.6% + 10¢

in-person; 2.6% + 30¢ online.

Monthly fee

$89

Lean; $149 Standard; $269 Advanced.

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.

Our pick for

Locally installed option

TouchBistro

Monthly fee

$69/mo

$69 and up.

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.

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 choose pay-as-you-go option on hardware.
  • 2.49% plus 15 cents for card-present transactions, if you pay for hardware upfront.
  • 3.50% plus 15 cents for card-not-present transactions, if you pay for hardware 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 for in-person transactions (2.5% plus 10 cents with Retail Plus plan).
  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions or invoices without a card on file (2.6% plus 30 cents with Premium plan).
  • 3.5% plus 15 cents for manually keyed transactions or card-on-file invoices.
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 for in-person transactions for most plans.
  • 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions on Retail Starter, Personal Services Starter and Professional Services Standard plans, as well as Home & Field Services Standard and Advanced plans.
  • 3.5% plus 10 cents for online or keyed-in transactions.
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 in-person transaction.
  • 2.6% plus 30 cents for manually keyed transactions.
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

Frequently Asked Questions