Skip to content

Lightspeed Restaurant POS Review 2024: Features and Pricing

Lightspeed's point-of-sale system for restaurants offers flexibility to support almost any kind of food service business.
By Alex Rosenberg, Karrin Sehmbi
Last updated on January 2, 2024
Edited bySally Lauckner
Fact checked and reviewed

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.

Our Take

The bottom line:

Lightspeed Restaurant is a highly customizable iPad-based POS system that scales and adapts to restaurants with widely ranging sizes, service styles and business models. Figuring out the add-ons you need for your business to operate smoothly may not be the easiest to do, though, and the total price for those additional features can add up quickly.
Full review

Lightspeed Restaurant POS

Payment processing fees
2.6% + 10¢ in-person; 2.6% + 30¢ manually keyed.
Monthly fee
$69.00 Starter plan; $189 Essential plan; $399 Premium plan.
Learn more

on Lightspeed's website

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 24/7 phone and chat support.
  • Free online training with a specialist.
  • May be compatible with hardware from different brands.

Cons

  • Annual contracts are required for lower pricing.
  • Monthly software fees are higher than many competitors.

Full Review

Lightspeed Restaurant is a highly customizable iPad-based point-of-sale (POS) system with a huge range of features and add-ons for full-service and quick-service restaurants, bars, coffee shops, takeout, delivery, self-ordering, staff and inventory management, loyalty and rewards programs and more.
As an iPad POS system, Lightspeed Restaurant could be set up as a single iPad, cash drawer, payment terminal and a couple of printers. It can also cover much larger and more complex arrangements, but costs could quickly add up accordingly if you want to use the system for a service model significantly different from a typical sit-down or quick-service restaurant.
The system can handle tables, in-house and takeout orders, delivery options, tabs, bills and payments. There are also many add-ons available (for an extra fee) to boost efficiency, support different or expanded business models, or provide additional analytics.
Lightspeed Restaurant POS can also integrate with third-party online ordering services as well as software for accounting, analytics, customer service, hotel management, invoicing, marketing, payroll, reporting and more.
Here's what you need to know to decide if the system is right for your business.

Lightspeed Restaurant POS is best for businesses that:

  • Are looking for a customizable system. Lightspeed offers a variety of hardware options as well as add-on features that enable you to build the system best suited for your business. 
  • May want to use their existing hardware. Some POS providers require you to use their proprietary hardware. Although Lightspeed offers hardware kits as well as individual hardware products, the company also lists on its site a number of third-party hardware products that are compatible with its software.
  • Prefer an all-in-one POS system provider and payment processor. Lightspeed only supports its own payment processing solution, Lightspeed Payments. If you prefer to use a third-party payment processor, you'll want to find a different POS solution. 

Deciding factors

Payment processing model
Flat rate.
Payment processing fees
  • 2.6% plus 10 cents per in-person transaction.
  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions.
Monthly fee
  • $69 for Starter plan.
  • $189 for Essential plan.
  • $399 for Premium plan.
Hardware cost
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.
Contract length
Annual contracts required for lower pricing.
Customer support
24/7 phone, chat and email support; one-on-one onboarding.

Where Lightspeed Restaurant stands out

Customization can fit almost any business

Lightspeed can be as simple or complex as you need and can be tailored to fit a wide array of restaurant layouts and service types. Just about every feature has significant customization and personalization options to help the system fit your specific needs and procedures.

You can reuse or bring your own hardware

You don’t need to buy hardware directly from Lightspeed. If you’re coming from a previous POS system or have a source to buy used hardware at a discount, you can use it with Lightspeed as long as it’s on the list of compatible options.
Lightspeed sells hardware both individually and in bundles and is fairly flexible in terms of compatible hardware. For example, it lists compatible iPad and iPhone models, several options for printers and many options for payment terminals. Pricing for its own iPad or desktop hardware kits is quote-based, but Lightspeed does list individual hardware products and prices in its online store.

Everything is integrated

Lightspeed has enough features and add-ons to handle the majority of your restaurant business all in one dedicated system, which can make things a lot simpler for you. The system can also integrate to share data with other related systems to make it easier for you to keep everything in sync.

Where Lightspeed Restaurant falls short

Learning curve

It might take a lot of effort to get everything just right with the huge array of configuration options, add-ons and integrations in Lightspeed Restaurant. Flexibility can be powerful, but watch out for the potential learning curve both for your initial setup and when training staff.

Add-on pricing

Lightspeed Restaurant supports add-ons for a lot of extra functionality, but the price for those add-ons can add up quickly. Because system pricing is quote-based, it's difficult to compare potential costs until you get customized quotes.

Offline functionality

As a cloud-based system, Lightspeed Restaurant requires an internet connection. That means that when you lose internet service, your POS system can’t work unless you buy Lightspeed’s Lite Server. The cost of this proprietary server is listed in Lightspeed’s online hardware shop, but note that use of this server for offline functionality may require additional costs related to installation and monthly use of the server.
Using a Lite Server will enable only basic functionality for orders, bills and receipts when offline. However, even with a Lite Server, you still can’t run credit, debit or gift cards, use third-party integrations with other software or use POS data for your reports. If the ability of a POS system to continue functioning during internet outages is important for your business, consider other restaurant-specific POS systems such as Toast and TouchBistro, which offer more robust functionality with their offline modes.

Alternatives to Lightspeed Restaurant

Toast

Why we like it: Toast offers its own purpose-built hardware for its POS, rather than using iPads like Lightspeed Restaurant. If you prefer dedicated options for the POS, payment terminals, self-order kiosks and kitchen displays that you know have been built with food service in mind, the company's hardware is a strong offering. It also offers a higher functioning offline mode than Lightspeed, which could be helpful if you’re concerned about connectivity with a cloud-based system. It has a free starter package and two higher packages. Read our full Toast POS review.

Square for Restaurants

Why we like it: Square is NerdWallet’s choice for best overall POS system, and Square for Restaurants is its specialized POS for businesses in food services. Similar to how Lightspeed offers its own retail POS solution, Square also has customized setups for retail and professional transactions. If you do a lot of retail business in addition to food service, or if you just want the flexibility to cover nearly any kind of transaction on your choice of iOS or Android devices, this product could be a great pick. A free starter tier, transparent pricing for payment processing and no contract requirement also makes it particularly easy to give it a try. Read our full review of Square for Restaurants.

Compare POS providers

To compare POS options, check out NerdWallet’s list of point-of-sale systems that are best for small-business owners. Our recommendations are based on the provider’s pricing and transparency, software and hardware options, system functionality, customer support, software integrations and contract requirements.

Learn more

on Lightspeed's website

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Close
Smart money moves for your small business

Create a free account to grow your business with tailored insights and explore small business products.

Close
Smart money moves for your small business

Create a free account to grow your business with tailored insights and explore small business products.