POS Reviews

6 Best Cloud & Ghost Kitchen POS Systems (2024)

As a ghost or cloud kitchen operator, your business model primarily focuses on preparing food for takeout and delivery, accepting orders digitally, and partnering with third-party delivery services.

In this unique setting, a comprehensive Point of Sale (POS) system can significantly enhance your operations.

The right ghost kitchen POS system not only coordinates all your orders from various platforms into a single interface but also tracks ingredients, manages drivers, and provides valuable data analytics.

Illustration of food delivery driver for a ghost kitchen

We researched all the major restaurant POS systems to find the ones best suited for ghost or cloud kitchens. Here they are:

The Top 7 Ghost Kitchen POS Systems In 2024

Square – Best overall all-in-one ghost kitchen POS
GoTab – Best flexible and commission-free ordering solution
Toast – Best online ordering and delivery system
Lightspeed – Best advanced analytics feature
TouchBistro – Best integrated loyalty features
Truffle Systems – Best pickup features for ghost kitchens

Note: Our reviews are reader-supported. We may earn affiliate commissions from links on this page. Learn more…

Why use a Ghost Kitchen POS?

A Ghost Kitchen Point of Sale (POS) system is a crucial tool for ghost kitchen businesses, streamlining order management across platforms like Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub. This all-in-one solution enhances operational efficiency, inventory management, and order processing. 

Additionally, these modern cloud-based point-of-sale systems provide valuable data analytics and reporting to guide strategic business decisions. With its intelligent customer management and integrated marketing tools, a Ghost Kitchen POS effectively aids in building a loyal customer base and promoting business growth.


Square

Square for Restaurants: The Comprehensive Ghost Kitchen POS Solution

Square for Restaurants provides a tailor-made POS solution for ghost kitchens, facilitating every aspect of running and expanding your virtual restaurant venture.

With Square Online, you can accept orders on your free personalized website and manage them seamlessly using the Kitchen Display System (KDS), enabling curbside pickup and delivery.

You can simultaneously manage multiple virtual restaurants under one cloud kitchen, unifying operations, payroll, and staffing. And, benefit from the intelligent routing and reporting capabilities to enhance order accuracy and minimize errors.

One notable feature is Square’s integrations with applications for inventory management, delivery, and restaurant administration, including Chowly, Postmates, Quickbooks, Marketman, Homebase, and BentoBox.

Furthermore, Square offers marketing tools to connect with customers and heighten sales. Effortlessly design, send, and monitor email and social media campaigns while implementing a loyalty program to reward your regulars.

Square KDS

The Square KDS allows you to manage orders from anywhere with a single screen, offering detailed ticket views, timers, and alerts to prioritize and organize orders. This feature is engineered to optimize order accuracy and maximize efficiency in your kitchen.

Additionally, Square’s POS system encompasses payroll functionalities, letting you compensate your team from any location and automating tax filings. This feature is a boon for ghost kitchens with staff dispersed across various sites or working at different schedules.

Square Pricing & Hardware

Free plan: There’s no monthly fee, but there is a transaction fee for each in-person sale. 2.6% + 10¢ for swiped or tapped card transactions. 3.5% + 15¢ when the card number is keyed in. Online payment: 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction.

Plus: Includes more advanced features designed specifically for restaurants. $60/month for one device per location. +$40/month per added countertop POS device. (+ processing fees).

Premium subscribers get everything in the Plus subscription and custom pricing for add-ons like Square Payroll, Square Marketing, and Square Loyalty.

Example pricing of some add-ons:

Square Payroll +$35/mo then $5/mo per employee
Square Loyalty From $45/mo per location
Square Marketing From $15/mo per location

(Hardware is not included in the subscription. See hardware costs in the section below).

Contract length

A key advantage of Square’s payment processing is the absence of long-term subscriptions, providing flexibility in the usage of its services. You can opt for month-to-month payments and easily cancel your subscription anytime without penalties.

As a result, you can experiment with different business strategies while staying agile and adaptable to changing market conditions.

The Square app is available worldwide. Card payment acceptance is available in the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, France and Spain (Source).

Square terminal

The Square Terminal can read all types of cards. You can use it for everything from taking payments to accessing your Square POS system to printing receipts to using all the features of Square’s app. The price for the terminal is $299.

Square contactless card reader

Square Reader for Contactless and Chip: Restaurants can now process payments more easily with the new Square Reader, which has improved Bluetooth connectivity, enhanced security, and longer battery life.

Square Stand Restaurant Station with cash drawer, receipt printer, and kitchen printer.

Square restaurant POS mobile kit device

Restaurant Mobile POS Kit for Square for Restaurants. Includes a Square Reader for contactless and chip (2nd generation), a phone case, and a Samsung Galaxy A32.

The Square Register is a countertop setup and a fully integrated point-of-sale system. No extra tablets or apps are required. Includes a touchscreen card terminal facing the customer and a built-in card reader. Costs $799.

Square User Reviews

Here is a summary of my analysis of user reviews, testimonials, and complaints about Square for Restaurants as seen on major review sites like Capterra, G2, and others.

  • Ease of Setup and Use: Many users commend Square for its user-friendly setup process and intuitive design. The system is easy to configure, adaptable for various devices including iPads and smartphones, and provides quick access to online market tools.
  • Cost-Effective: Business owners appreciate the affordability of Square for Restaurants. The pricing is competitive, and the system offers a variety of financial management tools such as integrated payment processing which contributes to a low-stress financial experience.
  • Efficient Sales Tracking and Payment Processing: The app has been highlighted for its capabilities in sales monitoring and secure payment processing, with immediate transaction fees rather than monthly billing.
  • CRM and Website Integration: Users appreciate the CRM tools provided by Square and find the website creation services particularly beneficial for enhancing their online presence, which is especially notable for quick transitions to online ordering during events like the pandemic.
  • Resourceful Features: Square for Restaurants POS is valued for its many features that assist in business operations, including inventory tracking, promotional offers, loyalty rewards, customer feedback collection, and seamless QuickBooks integration.
  • Complex Restaurant Issues: Some users report that Square for Restaurants is not ideal for complex restaurant operations. Glitches have led to crashes, with systems becoming unresponsive during busy times, causing major distress for restaurant owners. The system is also criticized for being unable to handle the intricacies of a full-service restaurant setting.
  • Customization Limits: Certain users find it tedious to customize menus and loyalty programs. Adjustments to the system may require excessive steps, which can be frustrating, especially for businesses with frequently changing offerings.
  • Technical Support Concerns: There have been complaints regarding the level of technical support provided by Square. Troubleshooting complex issues has sometimes proven difficult, with tech support struggling to resolve problems effectively. Furthermore, the lack of on-site support from Square when compared to competing products is a significant drawback for some users.
  • Inadequate Reporting: Users have mentioned that the reporting feature for Square for Restaurants POS could be improved. Detailed drill-down reports are lacking, making it cumbersome for business owners to analyze sales and inventory effectively.
  • Hardware Problems: Issues with the card reader have also been mentioned, with it occasionally rotating during a swipe and causing a read error, although solutions like anchoring the reader have been used to fix it.

Where Square Stands Out

Ease of Use: Square has a modern and familiar user interface design that simplifies learning and operation. The system is easy to set up and doesn’t require much training. This means your staff can focus on guests rather than learning the system.

Affordable Pricing: The Free plan includes fundamental services, such as online ordering and POS. The Plus plan costs $60 per month and includes advanced features like coursing as well as 24/7 support. For in-person payments, all plans include a processing rate of 2.6% plus 10 cents.

No long-term contract: Getting started with Square for Restaurants is simple because there are no installation fees or long-term commitments required. Additionally, you have the flexibility to upgrade, downgrade, or terminate your plan whenever necessary.

CRM Capabilities: The system has CRM features that allow for customer profiles, order history tracking, and integration with Square Loyalty and Marketing. This creates a complete solution for managing customers.

Square online website

Square Online is a free add-on that allows cloud kitchens to build and design their own websites for online ordering.

Square Online integrates with Order with Google so when a customer searches for the restaurant on Google Search or Maps, they will see an ordering button on the search result that they can select to choose an ordering channel.

Square Online also has e-commerce capabilities for restaurants that want to sell products online.

Integration with the Square Ecosystem: Square for Restaurants is part of a larger ecosystem of Square products, which means it can integrate with other Square services. This includes Square Payroll and Team Management for handling permissions, schedules, timecards, and tips, and Square KDS.

Where Square Can Improve

Limited Advanced Features: Square for Restaurants may lack some advanced features offered by other POS systems, such as in-depth inventory management and comprehensive reporting tools

Complex Reporting: The reporting features are causing concerns because they lack sufficient detail and are complex, making it difficult to search for specific information. Additionally, the process of reconciling sales to receivables is lengthy.

Lack of On-Site Support: Square for Restaurants does not provide on-site support, which may not be suitable for businesses that rely on in-person assistance.

Limited Support for Complex Menus: For restaurants with frequently changing or complex menus, Square for Restaurants might not be the best choice. Making changes to the menu can be slower than other systems.


GoTab

GoTab POS website screen

GoTab, founded in 2016, is an adaptable and innovative restaurant POS and commerce platform specifically designed to enhance the operation and service of food service businesses through technology.

GoTab is compatible with almost any web-enabled mobile device, which allows you to utilize your existing hardware and save costs.

GoTab is primarily geared towards contactless service, mobile ordering, payment, and efficient communication.

Its intuitive interface, compatibility with various systems, and real-time analytics provide ghost kitchen operators with the necessary tools to modernize their operations, enhance efficiency, and stimulate growth.

GoTab pocket POS

GoTab offers simple-to-use and easy-to-integrate technology with features like order management, centralized menu management, kitchen display system (KDS) function, as well as the capability to integrate with other POS systems and more.

GoTab also offers flexible service model capabilities, allowing operators to adjust their service models on the go.

For instance, in the event of an unexpected staff shortage, operators can activate QR ordering, or extend ordering to non-traditional service areas like a patio or waiting area, making it a versatile solution suited for large, medium, and small venue formats.

GoTab’s KDS feature also enables operators and managers to maintain direct communication with customers through text, providing transparency and unmatched hospitality, like notifying a customer if an order’s delivery is delayed.

Lastly, GoTab’s 100% cloud-based platform offers flexible hardware options, eliminating barriers for ghost kitchens wanting to transition to more advanced technology without having to make a costly initial investment.

The transitions to new technologies and the operational adoption of new systems are seamless, unlike traditional, complex, and confusing transitions in hospitality technology.

GoTab Pricing & Hardware

GoTab stands out with potentially significant cost savings and flexibility through its transaction-based pricing model.

  • No additional charges for essential products or support.
  • Option to buy your own hardware or opt for GoTab-branded hardware.
  • Feature-rich offerings catered to diverse business needs without additional costs.
  • Savings on processing fees through the “Open Tabs” feature.
  • Customized enterprise pricing available.

Processing Fees:

  • 2.25% + $0.15 for Card Present Transactions. (When a card is tapped, dipped or swiped in person).
  • 2.5% + $0.25 for Card Not Present Transactions. (When an order is placed through mobile ordering, card on file or manual entry).

Contact GoTab for a pricing quote for the Quickstart, Premium and Enterprise pla

GoTab is only available in the US.

GoTab offers a diverse range of hardware options to suit various business needs. GoTab can run on any Internet-connected Android, iOS, or Windows tablet or phone.

Some key features of their hardware offerings are:

Kitchen Ready: GoTab provides responsive, high-quality touch displays designed to withstand high-volume kitchen environments.
Buy Online: Restaurants can purchase GoTab hardware such as tablets, handhelds, printers, and displays from the GoTab Store.
At Your Service: A dedicated onboarding team is available to help restaurants set up their hardware, whether live and onsite or over the phone.
More Choices: GoTab allows restaurants to use any hardware that works best for their operation, ensuring they are never locked into a specific device.

GoTab POS hardware

GoTab User Reviews

Here is a summary of my analysis of user reviews, testimonials, and complaints about GoTab as seen on major review sites like Capterra, G2, and others.

  • Customization and Flexibility: Users rave about GoTab’s flexibility, highlighting its customizable menu and zone setup that responds well to dynamic service models. This feature is specifically favored by venues that pivot their services regularly, such as breweries.
  • Strong Features and Innovation: The features of GoTab, including the shared tabs and kitchen display system, receive high praise for their uniqueness and practicality in enhancing service at large venues. Updates and new “nice to have” features roll out consistently, reflecting GoTab’s commitment to innovation.
  • Ease of Adoption and Use: Clients appreciate the ease with which they can learn and use GoTab’s system, complemented by hands-on customer service during the setup process. The user interface facilitates easy management of menus and ordering, which is credited for being invaluable during the challenges posed by the pandemic.
  • Responsive Customer Service: Fast and exceptional customer support stands out in the reviews. Any issues that arise are quickly addressed, showcasing the company’s dedication to its clients’ success.
  • Streamlined Operations: GoTab’s adaptability allows businesses to shift between full-service and labor-lite models with ease, aiding in cost management without sacrificing guest experience. Its ability to empower guests to have their own POS also opens up new revenue streams and improves operational efficiency.
  • Connectivity and Technical Glitches: Some users experience daily hiccups and bugs, including issues with Wi-Fi connectivity that affect the system’s performance, indicating a need for more robust troubleshooting solutions and stability improvements.
  • Learning Curve and Usability Challenges: Customers point out that certain functions are confusing or difficult for guests to navigate without detailed explanations, suggesting room for improvement in user experience design.
  • Incomplete Feature Sets and Workarounds: Although GoTab covers the basic functionality needed for most restaurants, there are calls for more advanced features. Users note the need to devise workarounds for features that are lacking or not yet fully developed.
  • Reporting and Management Functions: Enhancements are requested in the reporting area, where users ask for more detailed and automated reporting, such as weekly summaries, merchandise inventory, and sales breakdowns across multiple locations.
  • Integration Limitations: While GoTab offers a variety of integrations, some users desire a broader selection of third-party integrations to further streamline their operations and expand functionality.

GoTab: A Versatile POS Solution for Ghost Kitchens and Pop-Ups

GoTab offers a flexible and streamlined Point of Sale (POS) solution, perfect for ghost kitchens and pop-up eateries. This system is designed to ease the launching and handling of your virtual eatery, letting you dedicate your efforts to making and delivering meals.

  • Hassle-free Setup: GoTab supports the setting up of a ghost kitchen in your existing space without necessitating additional hardware. It simplifies the process of launching a pop-up eatery by eliminating technological complexities.
  • Tailor-made Menus: Experience the flexibility of altering your meals in real-time with GoTab. Incorporate images, videos, and elaborate descriptions to keep your menu lively and enticing for customers.
  • Sales and Inventory Oversight: Its manager dashboard enables real-time tracking of sales and inventory, facilitating effective resource management and data-driven decision making.
  • Kitchen Display App: Stay on top of order deadlines with GoTab’s Kitchen Display App that notifies staff of impending order pick-up times, ensuring timely preparation.
  • Interactive Text Communication: Engage in two-way text conversations with your customers once they start using GoTab, improving customer service and enriching the customer experience overall.
  • Contactless Transactions: GoTab promotes a safer and handier buying experience through its contactless ordering and payment system.
  • Real-Time Sales Analysis: It provides live sales performance insights, assisting in monitoring your business’s progress and making necessary changes.
  • Customer Feedback Collection: GoTab facilitates the gathering of customer feedback, ratings, and reviews, offering crucial insights into your customers’ experiences and preferences.
  • Marketing Efforts: With GoTab, leverage updated customer information for your marketing efforts. This allows segmenting your most valuable customers and launching automated email marketing, digital media, and paid social campaigns along with SMS notifications for those who have opted in.

Toast

Toast POS online ordering website

In recent years, Toast has emerged as a significant player in the restaurant commerce industry, experiencing rapid growth and gaining attention through several notable acquisitions.

Named one of the most innovative companies of 2023 by Fast Company (Source), Toast offers a feature-rich platform that covers a wide range of functionalities.

These include payment processing, inventory and menu management, marketing and customer loyalty programs, employee management, labor and food cost control, and business reporting, among others.

Aiming to become a comprehensive restaurant commerce system, Toast also positions itself as a one-stop shop for ghost and cloud kitchens.

Despite offering an extensive array of features, Toast maintains reasonable pricing, making it one of the top Point of Sale (POS) systems for ghost kitchens available.

Toast Pricing & Hardware

Here is the pricing plan for the Quick Start Bundle, Core, and Growth plan:

Quick Start Bundle: Starting at $0/month

A great match for food trucks or single-location cafes, this shop-and-go option includes initial hardware and our basic POS software. Features include cloud-based point of sale and hardware setup including one terminal (additional charges apply for subsequent devices).

Core Plan: Subscription starting at $69/month

Ideal for any restaurant looking to streamline operations and provide faster service, with flexible options to meet your specific needs. This package includes powerful cloud-based point of sale with reporting and analytics, simple, flat rate payment processing with real-time fraud monitoring, mobile dining solutions, including digital menus and mobile payments, and 24/7/365 customer care, with installation support.

Growth Plan: Subscription starting at $165/month

A software bundle including online ordering and delivery software for restaurants looking to add more revenue streams. This plan includes everything in Core, plus Toast Online Ordering, Toast Delivery Services, and Toast TakeOut App.

Please note that additional features and software are available for each plan, and you can pair each plan with a hardware setup of your choosing.

Credit card processing fees: You cannot opt to use a third-party payment processor as Toast will handle all credit and debit card transactions for you.

Toast believes that customers should receive more than just transaction reports from their card processor. To achieve this goal, they combine their card processing service with technology that engages with customers.

The information gathered from customers can then be used by restaurants to understand them better and create more targeted marketing campaigns.

As for the fees, Toast customizes the rates for processing card transactions based on the specific needs of your restaurant. 

Toast is available in the US, Canada, UK, and Ireland.

Toast Flex is a handheld device constructed for you to swiftly take orders and process payments. Its design is spill-resistant, allowing you to conveniently manage contactless payment types like swipe, dip, or tap.

Toast Go device

Designed for smaller establishments such as coffee shops and restaurants with minimal counter space, Toast Go is an all-in-one portable device. You can take orders, process payments, and print receipts without swapping gadgets.

Toast Kiosk offers your customers a self-ordering experience. They can pick their dishes using a large, interactive touchscreen display. Particularly beneficial for quick-service restaurants, this device plays a helpful role in reducing wait times and enhancing the customer experience.

The Toast Terminal is a comprehensive countertop setup, covering a touchscreen display, card reader, cash drawer, and receipt printer, all ready to go.

Toast customer facing display

Toast Display, a customer-facing setup, supports you in managing restaurant orders. It gives you the ability to monitor orders in real-time and handle your inventory.

Bear in mind, that hardware costs differ based on the configuration you opt for, and some devices come included in certain plans. Should you require a tailored quote, you should reach out directly to the Toast team.

Toast hardware

Toast User Reviews

Here is a summary of my analysis of user reviews, testimonials, and complaints about Toast as seen on major review sites like Capterra, G2, and others.

  • User-Friendly Interface: Many Toast users express satisfaction with the system’s user-friendly interface. They find that the software is easy to navigate, and training new employees is straightforward due to its intuitive design.
  • Customization and Flexibility: Users appreciate the high level of customization available with Toast POS. The system allows them to tailor the POS to their specific business needs, from table layouts to menu configurations.
  • Comprehensive Reporting: The reporting features of Toast POS are praised by several users. They find the reports easy to tailor to their needs and are pleased with the ability to download them into different formats for further analysis.
  • Effective Tableside Ordering: The handheld devices for tableside ordering receive high marks for their ease of use and ability to increase efficiency for service staff, allowing them to spend more time with guests.
  • Mobile and Cloud-Based: Toast’s mobile compatibility and cloud-based platform are highlighted as beneficial, enabling business owners to manage their operations and access real-time data from anywhere.
  • Technical Problems and Outages: Some reviewers report experiencing technical issues with the system, including network-wide crashes and offline payment processing errors, which occasionally cause entry errors and disrupt operations.
  • Additional Costs and Fees: Fees associated with certain features and payment processing rates are a point of contention for some users, who believe these fees can be excessive and not fully transparent.
  • Limited Quick Service Features: Toast POS is criticized by some quick service restaurants for its limited feature set tailored to their business model, suggesting improvements in order management and throttling.
  • Problematic Payroll Service: There are some complaints specifically about Toast’s payroll service, with users advising others to avoid it due to errors in tax reporting and other difficulties.
  • Installation and Setup Challenges: A few users find the self-install process to be complicated, noting that initial setup could be smoother and sometimes requires intervention from company representatives.
  • Issues with Customer Service: A common theme among the negative reviews is dissatisfaction with customer service. Users complain about receiving minimal support from customer service representatives, stating they often follow scripts with limited product knowledge.

Toast: Simplifying Operations for Ghost Kitchens

Toast offers a comprehensive Point of Sale (POS) system designed to handle the unique needs of ghost kitchens. This means fewer administrative hassles for you, freeing you to focus on preparing delicious meals for delivery and takeout.

Efficient Operations Management

One of Toast’s key features is its efficient operations management capability. It makes it possible for you to manage offsite delivery even during peak hours without disturbing seated diners.

Additionally, Toast helps you create an efficiently managed labor force, including chefs, dishwashers, managers, and delivery drivers.

Maximizes Sales and Savings

Toast’s online ordering system is designed to boost sales while also saving you money. It comes with integrated, commission-free ordering channels, which means more profits for your kitchen.

The system also features built-in tools for upselling your meals and turning first-time diners into regular patrons.

Comprehensive Digital Ordering System

Toast’s robust digital ordering system enables online ordering and delivery and provides a profile on their ordering app. The system can handle order management during rush hours, listing on the commission-free Toast TakeOut app, and link you to a growing network of food lovers.

Advanced Kitchen Display System

Toast KDS

Another notable feature of Toast is the Kitchen Display System (KDS). It fits different screen sizes and integrates with Toast Go. The KDS also combines orders from all sources (kiosks, online, third-party platforms) and has features for alerts, auto-firing by prep time, and color-coded modifications for allergens.

Customer-centric Features

Lastly, Toast’s technology offers customer-focused capabilities. The integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system allows for outreach through email marketing, loyalty, and gift cards.

It offers restaurant-specific templates and automated campaigns based on guest history. Conveniently manage loyalty points and sell gift cards both online and offline, ensuring improved customer engagement.

To conclude, Toast offers an all-in-one solution to managing a ghost kitchen – from taking orders to food preparation and delivery. With numerous tools designed to attract and retain customers, Toast paves the way for increased sales and continuous growth.

What Makes Toast Stand Out

  • A complete restaurant management system
  • Rapid development of new features
  • Built for restaurants
  • Excellent business analytics & reporting
  • Online and contactless ordering
  • Online ordering through Google

Where Toast Falls Short

  • Locked into Toast payment processing
  • Add-ons can get expensive
  • Not very transparent pricing
  • Only available in a few English-speaking countries

Lightspeed

Lightspeed Restaurant: In the context of choosing a Point of Sale (POS) system for ghost kitchen operations, Lightspeed often comes up as a compelling option.

Established in 2005, Lightspeed has evolved into a prominent international supplier of cloud-based POS and e-commerce solutions, catering to businesses in over 100 countries spanning North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

Lightspeed concentrates its efforts on creating commerce platforms for independent food service businesses. Its comprehensive hospitality platform caters to the unique requirements of food and beverage providers, including ghost kitchens.

Lightspeed menu management

This all-in-one platform incorporates point-of-sale functions, integrated payments, inventory management, team management tools, and delivers valuable reporting insights.

A remarkable feature of Lightspeed is the integration of sophisticated technological elements. These include a blockchain-based technology platform, real-time analytics, tailored workflows, and various integrations, all within an easy-to-use iOS-based UI.

Lightspeed regularly updates its platform by incorporating cutting-edge attributes like machine learning-driven analytics, specifically designed for the needs of food service businesses.

In summary, Lightspeed Restaurant is a powerful, cloud-based POS system designed specifically for the restaurant industry and its strong online ordering and e-commerce features make it a great choice for ghost kitchens.

Lightspeed Pricing & Hardware

Lightspeed Restaurant Essentials: $90/month (annual plan $69/month)

Features include: Menu manager, Mobile access, Takeout and delivery orders, Integrated payment processing, Reporting and analytics, Inventory, 24/7 support, Dedicated account management, Table Mode. 1 register.

Lightspeed Restaurant Plus: $246/month (annual plan $189/month)

All Essentials features, Loyalty program, Gift cards

Lightspeed Restaurant Pro: $516/month (annual plan $399/month)

All Plus features and Advanced insights, Advanced inventory. 1 register.

Additional registers +$34/mo
Add-on pricing starting at $12/month
Premium add-ons starting at $39/month

Transaction fees: 2.6% plus 10 cents per card-present transaction with Lightspeed Payments. Third-party payment processors are also available.

*Pricing at the time of publishing this guide. For the most current pricing, contact Lightspeed.

Lightspeed Restaurant POS is currently available in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and Australia.

Lightspeed hardware

There are several hardware options available for restaurants. These include an iPad hardware kit that includes a receipt printer, cash drawer, and kitchen printer but does not include an iPad or payment terminal.

There is also a Lightspeed iPad Stand by Vault, which is a restaurant-grade stand designed to mount an iPad securely.

Lightspeed restaurant examples of handheld hardware

In addition, there are several payment terminals available, including the Verifone e285, Verifone P400, and Verifone 400m, which all support tap, swipe, and dip payments and the e285 also supports tip entry and signature capture.

For a full list of supported hardware options, Lightspeed provides more information.

Lightspeed customer order dashboard

Lightspeed User Reviews

Where Lightspeed Restaurant Stands Out for Cloud Kitchens

Contact-Free Ordering and Payment: The unique Order Anywhere feature of Lightspeed facilitates customers to place orders straight from their phones, make payments via QR codes, and even schedule pick-up times. This leads to a smooth, secure service without any third-party commission fees, ensuring a pleasant experience whether dining in or picking up.

Customizable Online Ordering Experience: Lightspeed gives you the freedom to customize your online ordering experience to align with your brand, providing customers with greater command over their orders. A professionally designed digital layout showcases your menus online, lets you fashion profitable combo menus, highlight your star products, and offers customers the flexibility to personalize their order.

Lightspeed’s delivery integration, powered by Deliverect, synchronizes your menu with leading food delivery apps. It consolidates online orders on a single screen and seamlessly integrates orders from platforms like UberEats or DoorDash directly into your POS. It also equips you with tools to expand your delivery zone and engage customers with promotional discounts.

Lightspeed inventory management dashboard

The Inventory Management feature by Lightspeed optimizes ingredient usage via real-time stock tracking. It removes the need for manual stock calculation and spreadsheets, simplifying inventory management with automatic deductions as items are sold, and automatic replenishment upon stock arrival.

Lightspeed Payments: Payment processing that integrates AI and blockchain technology for a single, universal sign-on at any point of purchase globally. Each transaction is recorded on a private blockchain, potentially enhancing security and traceability.

The Advanced Insights feature goes beyond basic sales data, converting them into actionable strategies. It integrates customer, operational, and payment processing information for a full view of your business.

Automatic analytics help you identify trends early, understand profitable menu items, and provide guests with personalized deals and promotions to foster repeat patronage. Your restaurant operations can be managed remotely via your computer, phone, or tablet. You also receive a daily digest email every morning with a brief overview of the previous day’s sales.

Where Lightspeed Falls Short

While Lightspeed Restaurant POS is a highly regarded system, there are some areas for improvement and potential drawbacks to consider.

  • Price: Lightspeed Restaurant POS is more expensive than some other POS systems on the market. While the system offers a range of features and benefits, the cost may be a barrier for some restaurant owners, especially those who are just starting out.
  • Limited Customization: While Lightspeed’s interface is user-friendly, it may not offer as much customization as some restaurant owners would like. For example, some users have reported that it’s difficult to customize the layout of the order screen, which can impact efficiency during peak hours.

To summarize, Lightspeed Restaurant delivers a powerful POS solution along with features that manage delivery, inventory, and offer advanced insights into your business. These features render it as an all-inclusive solution for ghost kitchens.


TouchBistro

TouchBistro is crafted to suit the fast-paced environment of ghost kitchen operations.

A crucial component of TouchBistro is its integrated marketing platform. This feature enables you to devise personalized promotions, automatically initiate targeted marketing campaigns, and manage customer data with an inbuilt Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

With its emphasis on incorporating various customer interaction technologies, TouchBistro fosters improved communication and understanding of customer behaviors and trends.

TouchBistro dashboard on iPad

With an aesthetically pleasing, logically organized design, TouchBistro comes packed with various features. To ensure data availability and security, it functions using a hybrid model that combines both cloud and server systems.

Thanks to its intuitive design, mastering TouchBistro is simple, making it a valuable choice for ghost kitchens in need of an uncomplicated, easy-to-learn system.

If you’re familiar with the iOS ecosystem, you’ll likely catch on to TouchBistro even quicker. Additionally, the system allows you to customize menus and interfaces to your liking, improving long-term efficiency and potentially saving time.

TouchBistro Pricing & Hardware

I like the modularity of the TouchBistro pricing structure. You get a good deal at a low price and can choose from the selection of add-on options as your business grows.

Here is the pricing plan for TouchBistro and its add-ons:

Monthly subscription fee: Starts at $69/month for up to two setups

Add-on pricing (starting at):

  • Online ordering: $50/month
  • Reservations: $229/month
  • Gift cards: $25/month
  • Marketing: $99/month
  • Loyalty: $99/month

TouchBistro Payments (US only)is powered by Chase and provides pricing through an innovative cost plus pricing model. The solution supports all major credit and debit cards, as well as swipe, dip, tap, and digital wallet payments from Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

TouchBistro Payments also offers an offline payments mode, allowing you to continue taking payments even when their internet is down.

Payment processing fees depend on if you use TouchBistro Payments (US only) or one of the available payment processing partners like Square. You’ll be able to use different payment processors depending on which one offers the lowest rate.

For example, Square charges the following: 2.6% +10¢ per transaction.

Please note that hardware and additional fees may apply to these prices. It’s recommended to contact TouchBistro directly for a custom quote.

TouchBistro is available in the US, Canada, the UK, Mexico, and over 100 other countries. (TouchBistro Payments is only available in the US).

TouchBistro supports iPads, iPad Pro, or the iPad Mini and runs best on devices from 2018 or later. These tablets are used to take orders and process payments table-side.

A TouchBistro setup can include an iPad stand, receipt printer, card reader, router, and modem.

TouchBistro also sells accessories, such as a Self-Service Kiosk, customer-facing display, KDS, and Digital Menu Boards. TouchBistro may also make use of third-party hardware such as cash drawers, card readers, and receipt printers.

TouchBistro hardware devices

Customizable Additional Hardware: Depending on the unique needs of your restaurant, you can mix and match different POS equipment such as cash drawers and receipt printers.

Hardware Setups for Different Venue Sizes: TouchBistro offers tailored hardware configurations based on the venue size and type of your restaurant. Whether you have a small or large venue, they have hardware solutions designed to fit your specific needs.

Integrated Hardware Support: TouchBistro also offers dedicated implementation specialists to provide round-the-clock support for your hardware.

TouchBistro suggests always purchasing the latest iPad models for the best experience and longevity of support. While they provide iPad stands, they also offer the flexibility for you to use your own. Their iPads are compatible with any iPad stands, allowing you to choose a stand style that aligns best with your restaurant’s look and feel.

TouchBistro sales reports

TouchBistro User Reviews

Here is a summary of my analysis of user reviews, testimonials, and complaints about TouchBistro as seen on major review sites like Capterra, G2, and others.

  • Ease of Use: The user interface is generally praised as user-friendly and easily navigable, making it simple for staff to manage tasks and learn the system.
  • Robust Features: TouchBistro offers comprehensive features for managing a wide range of restaurant operations, from room charges to extensive menus.
  • Menu Management: Users enjoy the intuitive platform for updating pricing, adding and removing items, and overall menu customization.
  • Self-Ordering Kiosk and Offline Functionality: The self-ordering kiosk feature for customer upgrades and the ability to operate without internet are well-received.
  • Quick and Efficient Order Taking: Utilizing iPads, the TouchBistro POS allows for efficient order taking directly at the table, enhancing the guest experience.
  • Inventory Tracking: Although it requires extensive setup, the inventory tracking capabilities are detailed and offer significant benefits once in place.
  • Responsive Customer Service: Some reviewers cite the customer service team as being quick to respond and helpful, often implementing suggested features.
  • Ongoing Software Improvements: The company is recognized for continuously rolling out new features and for being supportive during the challenges faced by the restaurant industry.

Technology Issues During Updates: Users experience significant technology issues when updates to TouchBistro are required, leading to potential downtime that businesses cannot afford.
Difficulties with Customer Support: Reaching customer support can be time-consuming, and some users face lengthy wait times and get passed from one representative to another.
Challenges with Reporting: Obtaining comprehensive reports is cumbersome, and the analytics provided are found to be lacking in depth by some users.
Onboarding and Training Challenges: Users noted the onboarding process could be difficult, and the lack of user-friendly support materials led to some businesses having to create their own training manuals.
Wi-Fi Connection Problems: Some users reported intermittent Wi-Fi connection issues, which occasionally require modem resets.
System Stability and Bugs: Instances of the system disconnecting daily, causing significant operational burdens and frustrations.
Limited Remote Management: Managing multiple restaurants or making substantial changes remotely is problematic due to limitations of the system’s infrastructure.

Where TouchBistro Stands Out for Cloud Kitchens

Online Ordering and Delivery

TouchBistro’s online ordering system enables you to receive orders directly from your restaurant’s website, bypassing third-party commission fees. This initiative is focused on boosting revenue by accepting orders for pickup and delivery via various avenues, including your website, social media channels, and more. Additionally, TouchBistro Marketing integration allows timely delivery of targeted online promotions to your customers.

Menu Management

TouchBistro provides easy management and updates for your online menu from any location. This ensures your menu stays current and aligned with your latest offerings.

Integrated Loyalty Program

Designed to attract online-ordering customers and encourage repeat business, TouchBistro’s loyalty program allows customers to place orders, accumulate points, and redeem rewards from any location.

POS System Integration

TouchBistro’s online ordering system connects with its POS system, ensuring that you receive immediate notifications of customer orders on your POS system for prompt acceptance.

Commission-Free Delivery Integration

Integrated with DoorDash Drive, TouchBistro offers a commission-free delivery solution—helping to move your orders from door-to-door without requiring separate delivery staff.

Digital Gift Card Integration

TouchBistro enhances the customer experience and drives additional revenue by allowing customers to pay for online orders using digital gift cards. It also enables them to purchase digital gift cards directly from your online ordering page.

Where TouchBistro Falls Short

While it is a highly regarded system, there are some areas for improvement and potential drawbacks to consider.

  • Limited integrations: While TouchBistro has some integrations available, it may not have as many options as other POS systems. This could be a limiting factor for businesses that require more extensive integrations with other software and platforms.
  • Limited reporting: There are certain areas where the reporting features need improvement to generate more useful sales, employee performance, and inventory reports.

Truffle

Truffle Systems is a company specializing in food service point-of-sale systems. Established in 2010, Truffle has its headquarters in Canada. They have solutions tailored for various quick-service food and beverage establishments, including ghost kitchens.

One of Truffle’s standout offerings that may interest you is the “GoBox,” a contactless food locker system that simplifies the pickup process for your customers and drivers. This feature helps in reducing crowding in front-of-house areas and prevents confusion during deliveries.

Truffle’s platform also offers you a unified dashboard, giving you control over operations ranging from front-of-house to back-office. This includes ordering, fulfillment, pickup, delivery, inventory management, and customer loyalty programs.

Why You Should Choose Truffle POS for Your Ghost Kitchen

Truffle’s Point of Sale (POS) system is uniquely tailored to meet the specific needs of cloud kitchens. It offers a unique blend of innovation, custom solutions, and ground-breaking features. Here’s why:

Innovation and Efficiency

Efficient Management: With Truffle’s system, you can efficiently manage multiple locations and franchises, saving precious time when generating reports.

Timely Delivery: Using a mobile driver app, Truffle ensures on-time delivery of your orders, enhancing customer satisfaction.

Larger Online Orders: Truffle’s platform encourages your customers to place larger online orders, compared to traditional over-the-phone orders.

Labor Savings: Truffle significantly reduces labor costs through streamlined kitchen and order management.

Tailored Solutions for Growth

Customized for Ghost Kitchens: Truffle has solutions that simplify the scaling of your pizza shop, whether it’s a single-location or multi-location operation.

Empowering Local Businesses: Unlike commission-driven platforms, Truffle focuses on empowering local cloud kitchen like yours with sustainable, affordable tools that yield tangible results.

Revolutionary Features

GoBox: Truffle’s GoBox is a game-changer, offering a scan, grab & go system that streamlines the pickup process, enhancing guest experience, and freeing up your staff.

Driver App: The driver management tools provide a comprehensive view of your delivery force, complete with live order tracking for customers.

Real-Time Reporting: Truffle’s single dashboard with real-time data illustrates the success of your business, a vital tool for attracting potential franchisees.

In summary, Truffle POS stands out for ghost kitchens by offering a specialized, comprehensive solution that combines efficiency, customization, and cutting-edge features, all aimed at enhancing your operations and growth.

Where Truffle Falls Short

  • Pricing Structure: While Truffle Systems is affordable, their pricing model is dependent on a variety of factors which might make it less predictable and potentially more expensive for some businesses.
  • Integration Challenges: The system may face difficulties in sharing information with other systems such as inventory management, complicating the accounting process.
  • Software Complexity: As a multi-platform software that allows customization of restaurant layout, menu, etc., users may find it complex and challenging to use without proper training.

Truffle Payment Processing and Pricing

Truffle works with major payment processors such as Stripe, Global Payments, and Moneris, and also offers recommended hardware configurations that work seamlessly with their POS software.

Truffle POS’s pricing model is based on the size of the business. The pricing plans start at $79.99 and can vary depending on the specific needs of the business.

Appetizer: Priced at $79.99 per month. Features include:

  • 1 POS License
  • Menu Management
  • Modifiers
  • QSR Mode
  • Pizza Mode
  • Real-Time Reporting
  • Customer Support (Online & Email)
  • Optional Add-Ons

In addition to these monthly fees, there may be add-on costs depending on the specific needs of your business.

Grow & Engage Add-on for $19.99/month

Features include:

  • Online Ordering
  • Mobile Ordering App
  • QR Self Ordering
  • Customer Display
  • Gift Cards
  • Loyalty Programs
  • Customer Management
  • Marketing
  • Table Reservations & Waitlist

Do More With Less Add-on for $19.99/month

Features include:

  • Food Pickup Locker
  • Kitchen Display System
  • QR Self Ordering
  • QR Order & Pay
  • Driver App
  • Driver Management

Key takeaways:

  • Truffle POS offers innovative and efficient tools for managing your ghost kitchen.
  • It provides tailored solutions to help you grow your business.
  • Its revolutionary features, such as GoBox and the Driver App, streamline operations and enhance customer experience.
  • Truffle POS focuses on empowering local pizzerias with sustainable, affordable tools.
  • Truffle’s all-in-one management software includes menu management, customer loyalty programs, real-time reporting, and more.

Summary: Choosing the Right POS System

Opting for the right POS system is a pivotal business decision for any ghost kitchen. A well-suited system can refine operations, bolster efficiency, elevate the customer experience, and thereby, propel business growth and success.

Square for Restaurants, Toast, GoTab, Lightspeed, and TouchBistro each bring to the table robust solutions tailored to cater to the specific needs of ghost kitchens. All these systems equip you with features such as online ordering, delivery integration, inventory administration, and advanced analytics. Yet, each of them carves out a unique niche.

(Click the links below for my full review of each system).

Square stands out with its exhaustive suite of features and seamless integration with other Square products. Toast sets the standard with its robust online ordering system and customer-facing technology, designed to nurture repeat clientele. GoTab distinguishes itself with a flexible, commission-free solution that’s straightforward to implement and operate.

Lightspeed shines with its customizable online ordering experience and advanced insights feature. SpotOn captivates with its marketing automation tools and website creation element. Lastly, TouchBistro impresses with its integrated loyalty program and delivery integration feature, aimed at enhancing the customer experience and catalyzing additional revenue.

Choosing the perfect POS system for your ghost kitchen invariably hinges on your specific requirements and context. Consider crucial factors such as your budget, the scope of operations, desired integration platforms, and features of paramount importance to your business.

By meticulously scrutinizing each offering, and aligning it with your business objectives, you’re well-positioned to select the POS system best suited to your ghost kitchen’s needs.

You might also like:

How to Start a Ghost Kitchen Business: A Step-by-Step Guide
How to Write a Ghost Kitchen Business Plan (With Examples)
How to Choose The Best Ghost Kitchen Business Model
What Is a Ghost Kitchen? A Guide to Virtual Restaurants

FAQ

A ghost kitchen POS system refers to the point-of-sale software designed specifically for managing ghost kitchen operations. A ghost kitchen, also known as a virtual kitchen, is a professional food preparation and cooking facility that only produces food for delivery. Here are some key things to know about ghost kitchen POS systems:

  • They are optimized for online ordering and delivery logistics, with robust integration with third-party delivery apps like Uber Eats, DoorDash, etc. This allows easy management of incoming orders.
  • They allow building multiple virtual restaurant “concepts” within one ghost kitchen facility to reach a wider customer base. The POS seamlessly tracks orders per concept.
  • Features like menu management and inventory tracking are designed around multiple virtual menus and supply needs.
  • Robust reporting provides key insights per virtual restaurant on sales, costs, profitability, best-selling items, and optimized pricing.
  • Order load balancing helps manage order flow across multiple virtual brands during peak times to maximize output capacity.
  • Location mapping ensures optimal proximity to demand neighborhoods for efficient delivery.
  • Built-in driver assignment and order tracking provides oversight of deliveries.
  • Integrations with logistic tools help optimize delivery routes and sequencing.

The optimized online order, delivery, and virtual restaurant capabilities make ghost kitchen POS systems essential for efficiently running these unique business models. The consolidated reporting also provides visibility across multiple virtual concepts from one central system.

As a ghost kitchen operator, your operations revolve largely online, juggling orders from various platforms such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, GrubHub, and more. This is where a Ghost Kitchen Point of Sale (POS) system becomes your indispensable ally.

It integrates with all these platforms, hence enabling you to manage orders from a single interface. This not only minimizes errors but also bolsters overall operational efficiency.

Streamlining Operations

In the fast-paced world of a ghost kitchen, efficiency and speed are key—and a POS system can provide both.

Inventory Management

A POS system alerts you when stocks dip low by monitoring ingredient usage. In other words, it helps cut down waste while guaranteeing that essential items are constantly available.

Expect a smoother process, from receiving orders, preparing them, and ensuring they get delivered on time, all while bolstering efficiency.

Data Analysis and Reporting

Gain insights into sales trends, hot-selling items, rush hours, and more, through the rich data analytics and reporting offered by a POS system. This information guides decisions concerning menu alterations, pricing, and other strategic business moves.

Simplifying Payment Processing

Accommodating a variety of payment methods, from credit/debit cards, mobile payments to online payment platforms, a POS system breaks down the payment process. It makes it simpler for your customers and ensures you receive prompt payment.

Customer Management

Your POS system isn’t just another tool, it’s an intelligent system that aids in building a loyal customer base. By storing customer information and keeping tabs on their ordering habits, the system provides insights instrumental for personalized marketing, thus boosting repeat business.

Integrated Marketing Tools

Most POS systems come equipped with built-in marketing tools to amplify your brand. Expect features such as email marketing integration, loyalty program management, and social media integration, all aimed at enticing more customers.

A Ghost Kitchen Point of Sale (POS) system acts as the nerve center for your kitchen, managing orders, tracking sales, and unifying operations. When choosing a POS system for your ghost kitchen, consider the following functionalities:

  • Multifaceted Online Ordering Integration: Given the online nature of ghost kitchens, your POS needs to integrate successfully with a variety of online ordering platforms, such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub. Centralizing orders through one interface enhances efficiencies and reduces errors.
  • Real-time Order Management: Having live updates about order statuses and delivery tracking facilitates efficient kitchen workflow and assures prompt deliveries.
  • Dynamic Menu Management: Adjust your offering effortlessly with features for adding, editing, or removing items, modifying prices and updating descriptions.
  • Efficient Inventory Management: Track ingredient usage and receive notifications when supplies dwindle, thanks to the inventory management features.
  • Comprehensive Data Analytics and Reporting: Make data-informed decisions regarding the menu, pricing, and business strategies based on detailed reporting on sales, popular items, and peak times.
  • Managed Customer Relations: Keep tabs on your customers’ ordering patterns, store client information, and gain insights for personalized marketing efforts.
  • Multiple Payment Processing: Cater to various payment modalities, including credit/debit cards, mobile payments, and online platforms.
  • Seamless Kitchen Display System (KDS) Integration: Real-time order display on a KDS can greatly assist kitchen staff in managing workflows. Thus, flawless KDS integration is crucial.
  • Multi-location management: If managing multiple ghost kitchen locations, your POS should consolidate orders and coordinate operations across all these locales.
  • Reliability and Support: Choose a POS system renowned for its dependability, minimal downtime, and robust customer support.

A truly comprehensive Ghost Kitchen POS system goes beyond essential operational needs, incorporating robust marketing elements and website features.

  • Website Integration: The POS system should effortless attachment to your website, providing an easy, mobile-friendly ordering platform for your customers.
  • User-friendly Online Ordering System: A simplified browsing, selection, and checkout process is fundamental for your customers’ convenience.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM): A well-implemented CRM system that analyses customer data helps tailor your marketing approach to match customers’ habits and preferences.
  • Email Marketing Integration: The POS system’s alignment with email marketing software enables transmission of promotional messages, newsletters, and specials directly to your clients.
  • Loyalty Program Management: Having a function to create and manage a loyalty program supports customer retention and repetitive ordering.
  • Social Media Connectivity: The POS platform should facilitate straightforward sharing of menus and promotional posts on social media platforms to reach more extensive audiences and new customers.
  • Customized Analytics and Reporting: Detailed reports on marketing efforts like website traffic, promotional campaigns, and conversion rates, help fine-tune marketing strategies.
  • Online Reservations: If your business model includes dine-in or pickup options, ensure your POS system allows customers to make reservations or arrange pickups online.
  • Effective Feedback Management: POS systems should facilitate reviews and customer feedback. Reacting to this feedback can elevate your service and foster a positive reputation online.

Remember, the specific requirements of your ghost kitchen dictate which features hold precedence when choosing a POS system.

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Jan is a writer and content creator at KitchenBusiness.com with a focus on the restaurant and food service industry. Drawing from his background in tech and UX design, Jan breaks down complex systems into digestible, actionable insights.

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