5 Best Ice Cream Shop POS Systems (2024)

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In this guide, we’ll give you the scoop on the best ice cream shop POS systems.

We’ll talk about essential features, from managing the inventory of fresh ingredients to processing customer payments, how they boost profitability, and which system is best for your type of ice cream parlor.

In today’s fast-paced digital era, an upgrade to a modern POS system is more than necessary, it’s transformative. It simplifies operations, boosts customer service, and speeds up sales.

The Top 5 POS Systems For Ice Cream Shops In 2024

  • Square – Best subscription-free POS for smaller ice cream shops
  • Toast – Best for larger ice cream parlors that want takeout and online ordering features
  • Lightspeed – Best for ice cream shops seeking powerful inventory, data insights, and retail features
  • TouchBistro – Best for high-traffic shops looking for a fast and easy-to-use system 
  • Shopify – Best for ice cream shops that also sell merchandise online

What is an Ice Cream Shop POS System?

A POS system is like your digital cash register on steroids. But it’s not just about ringing up sales; it’s also your tireless business assistant. It tracks top-selling flavors, busiest hours, and overall sales trends.

It’ll keep an eye on your stock levels, manage your staff schedules, and even help you run loyalty programs for those regulars who can’t get enough of your double chocolate chip.

All you need to get started is a computer or tablet, a cash drawer, a receipt printer, and a barcode scanner. The software can live in the cloud or be installed directly on your device.

Plus, a POS gives you the data you need to make smart decisions for your business.

There are different systems out there, from Square and TouchBistro to Toast and Lightspeed. Costs range from subscription-free to around $100/month for the fancy stuff.

Essential Features of an Ice Cream POS System

You want a POS system that’s tailored to the needs of your ice cream shop. Here are some key features to look out for:

  1. Inventory Management: A POS system should provide streamlined inventory management, so you can easily track your ice cream flavors, toppings, and other ingredients. Automatic updates, ingredient-level tracking, and low-stock alerts are essential features to minimize stock shortages and maximize efficiency.
  2. Payment Processing Options: To cater to customer preferences, a POS system must support multiple payment methods, such as integrated credit card processing, mobile payments, and gift card support. These options offer convenience and boost sales.
  3. Customization Capabilities: Your POS system should allow you to create custom menu items, adjust pricing for promotions, and set personalized offers based on customer preferences. This flexibility lets you adapt to market trends and differentiate your shop from competitors.
  4. User-Friendly Interface: A simple and intuitive interface is crucial for both employees and customers. It should be easy to learn and navigate, allowing your staff to be more efficient and the customer experience to be more satisfying.
  5. Detailed Reporting: A good POS system should generate in-depth sales reports and customer behavior analyses, offering valuable insights into your ice cream shop’s performance. These data-driven insights help you make better business decisions and identify areas for improvement.

Square

Square POS website screen

Square is the perfect solution if you need a free plan, smooth ice cream shop transactions, and easy-to-operate retail features.

They’ve also included the website builder Square Online so your ice cream parlor can have an online presence.

Square online website

The system values speed and operational efficiency, ensuring quick order entries. Square’s unique aspect, the conversational modifiers, simplifies how orders are written, modernizing this duty and making it more effortless.

Additionally, Square offers effective marketing and loyalty program tools, aiding you in connecting with their customers effectively.

Square’s payment system is inclusive, accepting several methods, focusing on safety, and providing quick transactions. Comprehensive data analysis and reporting are also available, giving cafés a clear perspective on their operations and performance.

With Square, you get all the basic features such as sales reporting, payments, and employee management that are essential for your operations – no matter the size of your establishment.

Ease of use: I really like this system because it is intuitive and easy for beginners to use. The interface is modern and looks great on both iOS devices and Android smartphones and tablets.

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 For Ice Cream Shops

Square’s Point of Sale (POS) system is an exceptional choice for ice cream shops, given its unique set of features specifically designed for this briskly moving industry.

Swift and Effective

Square excels in its speed and effectiveness. Created for quick order entries and in-shop operations, it is ideal for the high-speed ice cream shop environment. Features such as real-time menu updates across different devices and the capacity to replicate an order with ease enhance this effectiveness.

Conversational Modifiers

Square’s exclusive conversational modifiers feature eliminates traditional order entry methods. You can input orders in a more instinctive and quicker conversational style, further streamlining your operations.

Square KDS

Square Kitchen Display System (KDS)

With Square KDS, your ice cream business can manage all orders neatly from one screen. This reduces costs and enhances the efficiency of busy periods with digital tickets, ensuring all orders are accurately prepared.

examples of Square hardware

Hardware Options

Square provides a variety of hardware options to accommodate ice cream shops of all sizes. From the all-in-one Square Register and stand kits to heavy-duty stations and receipt printers, you can select what best fits your business needs. The portable Square Terminal with an integrated mobile POS system even allows for counter-side service.

Online Ordering

Square enables online ordering without imposing any additional monthly charges or commissions.

Square menu builder dashboard example

Marketing and Loyalty Programs

Square’s tools enable you to design, dispatch, and monitor email and social media campaigns, amplifying your marketing strategies. Additionally, its loyalty program encourages repeat customers and can be effortlessly established at checkout.

Payments

Square accepts a multitude of payment methods, whether online or from any spot within your ice cream shop. With perks like next-day transfers and zero chargeback fees, coupled with end-to-end encryption for PCI-compliant payments, it ensures smooth financial transactions.

Insights and Reporting

Get a deeper understanding of your ice cream shop with Square’s exhaustive data and personalized reports. Access real-time sales directly from your POS, generate reports by employee performance, time of day, returns, etc., and receive alerts when inventory falls below a certain level.

Where Square Can Improve

Limited Advanced Features: Square 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.

Key Takeaways of Square POS for Ice Cream Shops

  • Fast and Effective: Square’s fast POS system allows you to process orders rapidly and streamline your ice cream shop’s operations, enhancing time efficiency and potentially elevating customer service.
  • Conversational Modifiers: This feature enables quicker order input in a more user-friendly and instinctive way, which could potentially decrease errors and boost productivity.
  • Square Kitchen Display System (KDS): This system organizes orders on a single screen, helping your ice cream shop manage peak hours efficiently and cut costs with its digital tickets.
  • Diverse Hardware Options: Square offers a variety of hardware options, ensuring there’s an appropriate choice for all ice cream shop sizes. Additionally, the Square Terminal facilitates convenient counter-side service.
  • Promotion and Loyalty Programs: Square provides tools for email and social media promotion, allowing you to engage more customers. Furthermore, the loyalty program aids in incentivizing repeat business and fostering customer loyalty.
  • Safe and Multiple Payment Choices: Square can manage a wide array of payment methods securely and offers benefits such as next-day transfers and no chargeback fees.
  • Description:

    The fast and easy-to-use system

    Best for new or smaller food service businesses that want to start on a free plan and want to sell products online.

  • Includes free plan. Plus plan starts at $60/month
  • Pros:
    • Subscription free plan
    • No long term contracts
    • Integrates with the Square ecosystem
  • Cons:
    • Lacks some advanced features
    • No on-site support
Description:

The fast and easy-to-use system

Best for new or smaller food service businesses that want to start on a free plan and want to sell products online.

Includes free plan. Plus plan starts at $60/month
Pros:
  • Subscription free plan
  • No long term contracts
  • Integrates with the Square ecosystem
Cons:
  • Lacks some advanced features
  • No on-site support

Toast

Toast POS website screenshot

Toast has risen as a prominent force in the restaurant technology sector, witnessing fast-paced expansion and gaining recognition through several significant acquisitions.

Dubbed one of the most innovative companies of 2023 by Fast Company, Toast provides a feature-packed platform that encompasses a broad spectrum of functions. These include payment processing, inventory and menu management, marketing and customer loyalty schemes, staff management, control over labor and food costs, and business reporting, among others.

Intending to become an all-encompassing operating system for food service businesses, Toast is a one-stop solution for ice cream shop owners and operators.

Although it offers a vast range of features, Toast keeps its pricing competitive, making it one of the leading Point of Sale (POS) systems for ice cream shops on the market.

Toast hardware devices

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 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.

Where Toast Stands Out for Ice Cream Shops

Toast presents a comprehensive array of features and benefits that make it a perfect fit for ice cream shops. Designed with user-friendliness at the forefront, Toast features intuitive screens for speedy order entry and modifications, making it straightforward to use and grow alongside your business.

Customer Experience: Toast prioritizes delivering an outstanding experience for your customers. The quick order mode ensures swift service for ice cream and beverages. Furthermore, with Toast Mobile Order & Pay, customers can bypass queues, order, and pay smoothly, typically leading to a revenue increase for ice cream shops using it.

Toast KDS dashboard example

User-friendly Kitchen Display System (KDS) and Inventory Management: Toast assists in keeping your ice cream shop running seamlessly with its simple-to-use KDS and inventory management features. You’ll also gain access to an entire ecosystem of 100+ partners to make end-of-day closing less stressful.

Smooth Operations: Toast features an intuitive interface that simplifies splitting checks and tabs, even in high-traffic settings. Its ability to handle complex transactions rapidly and precisely ensures superior customer service.

Toast POS hardware

Sturdy and Fast Hardware: Toast’s hardware is built to endure the demanding environment of an ice cream shop, remaining reliable despite spills and splashes. Its durability and speed enable efficient customer service.

Effective Loyalty Programs: You can implement Toast’s loyalty program to retain customers and promote repeat business. Within weeks, the program can lead to a significant number of sign-ups. By rewarding frequent visits with discounts or free items, customer retention and repeat business are enhanced.

Toast POS reporting dashboard

Data-Driven Decision Making: Toast’s reporting and analytics features empower you to make decisions based on data. Sales data can be used to identify best-selling flavors, enabling menu adjustments accordingly. Real-time data assists in managing orders and sales more effectively, while customer data from the loyalty program enables personalized marketing efforts and improved customer relationships.

Scalability and Reliability: Whether you’re operating your first shop or expanding a chain, Toast offers scalable solutions that meet your budget. It provides ice cream shop-grade hardware that’s built to withstand everyday spills, hardwired connections, and an offline mode to keep service up and running.

Toast Go device

Mobile Payment and Ordering Technologies: Toast’s mobile payment and ordering technologies offer several advantages for your ice cream shop. Customers can place orders directly from their mobile devices, reducing long queues and wait times during peak hours.

Contactless Payment: Including Apple Pay and Google Pay adds convenience and safety. The mobile POS system allows staff to take orders and process payments directly from a tablet anywhere in the shop, improving service speed and efficiency.

Marketing and Loyalty Tools: Toast’s marketing and loyalty tools can significantly benefit your ice cream shop. Its built-in loyalty program encourages repeat business and helps build a loyal customer base.

Where Toast Falls Short

  • Locked into Toast payment processing
  • Long term contracts
  • Not very transparent pricing
  • Only available in a few English-speaking countries

Key Takeaways for Ice Cream Parlor Owners

Comprehensive Feature Suite: Toast provides tools that can improve many aspects of your ice cream shop operations, from improving your customers’ experience to simplifying payment and ordering processes.

Scalability and Dependability: Whether you run a small ice cream shop or a chain of them, Toast offers scalable solutions. This flexibility, combined with sturdy hardware and the capability to function offline, ensures uninterrupted service, even in peak-demand situations.

Data-Informed Decisions: With Toast, you gain access to reporting and analytics tools that can offer insight into top-selling flavors. This can be advantageous when planning your menu and making other essential business decisions.

Enhanced Operations: Efficiency and error reduction are crucial for any business. With features like digital order slips and invoicing, Toast aids in reducing mistakes and boosting operational efficiency.

Focus on Customer Experience: Toast helps to elevate your customer’s experience by offering options for rapid order processing, loyalty programs, and seamless transactions. These features result in improved customer satisfaction and increased sales.

  • Description:

    The most innovative POS system on the market

    Best for food service businesses that want advanced online ordering, take-out, and delivery features.

  • Pros:
    • Rapid development of new features
    • Toast Takeout system
    • Rugged mobile hardware devices
  • Cons:
    • Android only
    • Locked into Toast payment processing
Description:

The most innovative POS system on the market

Best for food service businesses that want advanced online ordering, take-out, and delivery features.

Pros:
  • Rapid development of new features
  • Toast Takeout system
  • Rugged mobile hardware devices
Cons:
  • Android only
  • Locked into Toast payment processing

Lightspeed

Lightspeed-POS-website

Lightspeed Restaurant is a powerful, cloud-based POS system designed specifically for the food service industry. Whether you own a small ice cream shop or a multi-location business, Lightspeed has a comprehensive suite of features that can be tailored to your unique needs.

Lightspeed quick serve mode dashboard

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 User Reviews

Where Lightspeed Stands Out for Ice Cream Shops

With Lightspeed, your ice cream shop can benefit from a multitude of standout features designed to boost smooth operations, efficiency, and customer service.

Customizable Layouts and Menus: Lightspeed grants you the flexibility to design personalized floor plans that perfectly mirror your ice cream shop’s layout and seating arrangements. Moreover, it allows you to customize different menus to match specific devices, shifts, or events.

Automated Inventory Management: Lightspeed’s automated system lets you manage your inventory efficiently, ensuring you never run out of your customers’ favorite flavors. This feature assists you in accurately tracking your stock and controlling ingredients seamlessly.

Lightspeed hardware devices

High-Quality Hardware: Lightspeed provides premium hardware specifically designed for eateries and ice cream shops. This includes technology that ensures smooth operations even offline and printers that withstand the humidity of a bustling ice cream shop environment.

Lightspeed sales dashboard

Advanced Reporting: With Lightspeed’s robust reporting features, you’ll gain a clear view of daily sales, crucial for inventory control and effective order management. This is particularly advantageous for ice cream shops with a wide variety of flavors.

Efficiency and Management: To simplify your ice cream shop management, Lightspeed offers built-in reports and Advanced Insights for understanding your best-selling items, a straightforward floor plan customization feature for increased efficiency, and the ability to set employee permissions for individual locations or collectively manage them.

Delivery Integration: With Lightspeed Delivery, expand your customer reach by synchronizing with major food delivery apps. Orders from UberEats, Skip The Dishes, or DoorDash are directly sent to the POS, consolidating all online orders on one single screen. You can even incorporate promo codes to attract customers.

Payment Experience: Lightspeed assures a streamlined unified payment experience, facilitating transactions with credit card, debit card, and mobile payments. Customers can quickly pay at the counter from the payment terminal, with no hidden costs or installation fees.

Where Lightspeed Falls Short

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

  • Price: Lightspeed 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 ice cream shop 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 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.

Key Takeaways of Lightspeed for Ice Cream Shops:

  • Customizable Layouts and Menus: Lightspeed provides the flexibility to tailor floor plans and menus to perfectly represent your ice cream shop’s unique needs and offerings.
  • Automated Inventory Management: With this feature, the system can efficiently manage your inventory, ensuring that you always have your customers’ favorite treats in stock.
  • Delivery App Integration: By integrating major food delivery platforms like UberEats, you can extend your reach to more customers and manage all orders in one place.
  • High-Quality Hardware and TrueSync Technology: Lightspeed offers durable, food-service-specific hardware. Also, the TrueSync feature allows for smooth operations even in the event of Wi-Fi disruptions.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience and Sales: Lightspeed focuses on offering a variety of service and payment options, loyalty programs, and the convenience of online ordering. All of these contribute to enhancing the overall customer experience.
  • Description:

    Cleverly crafted POS with exceptional design

    Best for food service businesses seeking powerful inventory, data insights, and retail features.

  • Starts at $69/month
  • Pros:
    • Ease of use & interface design
    • Reporting & analytics
    • E-commerce capabilities
  • Cons:
    • Limited offline functionality
    • Not the cheapest option
Description:

Cleverly crafted POS with exceptional design

Best for food service businesses seeking powerful inventory, data insights, and retail features.

Starts at $69/month
Pros:
  • Ease of use & interface design
  • Reporting & analytics
  • E-commerce capabilities
Cons:
  • Limited offline functionality
  • Not the cheapest option

TouchBistro

TouchBistro POS Website

Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Toronto, Canada, TouchBistro is a leading provider of cloud-based Point of Sale (POS) systems specifically designed for the restaurant industry. With a focus on addressing the unique needs and challenges of modern-day food service businesses, like ice cream shops, TouchBistro has become an essential tool for over 29,000 establishments worldwide.

What truly sets TouchBistro apart from many other POS systems is the integration of these features, creating a cohesive and efficient solution for business owners.

TouchBistro screenshot of sales dashboard

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 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 Excels for Ice Cream Shops

TouchBistro provides a robust point of sale (POS) solution specifically tailored for restaurant and ice cream shop businesses. The platform effectively simplifies operations, enhances customer interaction, increases sales, and saves both time and money while providing critical business insights. Let’s explore the key areas where TouchBistro shines for ice cream shops.

Efficient Operations and User-friendly Interface

Fast order-taking: TouchBistro’s “Fast Bar” register mode and counter-side ordering system enable you to speed up the ordering process and serve more customers in less time.

User-friendly: Its intuitive interface reduces staff training time and improves service efficiency.

TouchBistro loyalty marketing screen
TouchBistro loyalty marketing screen

Sales-Enhancing Features

Commission-free online ordering: Expand your customer reach while keeping 100% of the profits.

Barcode scanner and loyalty program: Sell products using a POS-integrated barcode scanner and foster repeat business with a rewarding loyalty program that applies to both in-shop and online orders.

Improved Customer Experience

Customer relationship management: Recall customers’ favorite orders and set the stage for personalized service.

Customer-facing display: Allow customers to verify their orders in real-time, enhancing satisfaction. Hybrid POS system: Ensure uninterrupted operation during internet outages.

TouchBistro KDS screenshot

Payment Processing and Management

Fast payment processing: Process transactions swiftly, optimizing service and customer convenience.

Versatile payment options: Support swipe, dip, tap, and mobile payments, as well as streamlined bill splitting and table transfers.

Effective Staff Management

Staff permissions management: Mitigate theft by controlling permissions for employee access.

Integration with 7Shifts: Simplify scheduling and labor management with 7Shifts integration.

Time and Money-Saving Features

Quick register buttons: Minimize order times with quick register button functionality.

Easy menu updates: Adjust menus to accommodate seasonal shifts, holidays, or different times of the day.

TouchBistro sales report

Business Insights and Reporting

In-depth reporting: Access over 50 comprehensive business data reports through TouchBistro’s powerful reporting feature.

Real-time insights: Track daily and weekly revenue, popular ice cream flavors, and unusual staff activity to make informed decisions for enhanced business performance.

Where TouchBistro Falls Short

  • Limited integrations: While TouchBistro has a number 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.
  • Online ordering: TouchBistro relies on integration with Deliverect to connect to other delivery services than DoorDash Drive.

Key Takeaways

  • Sales Boost: With commission-free online ordering and a loyalty rewards program, TouchBistro helps expand your customer base and encourages repeat business.
  • Customer Experience: The platform offers a CRM to remember preferred orders and a display for order confirmation, heightening personalized service.
  • Reliability: As a hybrid POS system, TouchBistro guarantees uninterrupted service, even without an internet connection.
  • Efficiency: Quick register buttons and easy menu updates significantly save time and streamline your operations.
  • Reporting & Analytics: Access to over 50 business data reports provides valuable insights to inform strategic decisions for your ice cream shop.
  • Description:

    Designed by restaurant industry veterans

    Best for independent food service businesses looking for a well-designed, easy-to-use, and feature-rich POS with integrated loyalty features.

  • Pros:
    • Fast & easy-to-use quick register buttons
    • Commission-free online ordering
    • Excellent offline functionality
  • Cons:
    • Fewer integrations than competition
    • Somewhat limited reporting features
  • Price starts at $69/month
Description:

Designed by restaurant industry veterans

Best for independent food service businesses looking for a well-designed, easy-to-use, and feature-rich POS with integrated loyalty features.

Pros:
  • Fast & easy-to-use quick register buttons
  • Commission-free online ordering
  • Excellent offline functionality
Cons:
  • Fewer integrations than competition
  • Somewhat limited reporting features
Price starts at $69/month

Shopify

Shopify website screenshot

Shopify POS is available in most countries where Shopify is available, including Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and many other countries.

Shopify is a good choice for ice cream shop owners looking to expand online or diversify their revenue streams.

Providing a comprehensive e-commerce system suitable for businesses of various sizes, Shopify also offers something suitable for ice cream shops; a POS system that effectively manages orders and inventory oversees employees, and expedites payment processing.

While Shopify offers many appealing features, it may have certain limitations for ice cream shops. For example, the lack of an offline mode and customization options can pose challenges, and in some cases, you might need to invest in additional integrations.

Shopify Benchmark dashboard

Essential tools like variance reporting might be missing, so if that’s crucial for your ice cream shop, Shopify might not be your ideal option.

However, don’t dismiss this solution entirely; its strengths such as easy online store setup, versatile integrations, and cost-effectiveness may outweigh these limitations. Therefore, it deserves careful consideration before determining the best-fit solution for your ice cream shop.

Where Shopify Stands Out for Ice Cream Shops

As an ice cream shop owner, Shopify can offer you a broad range of standout features that can make it an exceptional choice for your business:

Ease of Use: Shopify comes with user-friendly interfaces that simplify setting up your online store, managing products, and processing orders. This aids in streamlining your ice cream shop operations and delivering efficient service to your customers.

Sales and Customer Experience: Shopify offers you commission-free online ordering, boosting your ice cream shop’s sales without surrendering profits to third-party sites. It also includes a loyalty program, enabling your establishment to reward regular customers and encourage continual patronage.

Marketing and SEO: With Shopify, you can leverage smart marketing tools to capture your customers’ attention with targeted campaigns on social media platforms and Google. It also includes built-in SEO tools and an integrated blogging feature to enhance your ice cream shop’s online presence.

Scalability: Shopify offers scalable pricing plans meeting your budget irrespective of your operation size, whether you are running your first location or expanding a chain. This makes Shopify a flexible solution that can grow with your business.

Shopify website builder dashboard

Apps and Sales Channels: Through Shopify, you can enhance your store’s functionality with over 6000 apps available in the Shopify App Store. It also allows you to sell in multiple avenues – online, in-person, or wherever your customers are, using the Shopify POS app.

In summary, Shopify, with its focus on ease of use, customer experience enhancement, efficiency improvement, smart marketing and SEO tools, exceptional support, scalability, innovation, and versatility in selling avenues, firmly positions itself as a promising POS choice for your ice cream shop.

Shopify Pricing Overview

Shopify offers three pricing plans: Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify.

  • The Basic Shopify plan starts at $29 per month, offering two staff accounts, unlimited products, round-the-clock support, and fraud analysis.
  • The Shopify plan, priced at $79 per month, permits five staff accounts and provides unlimited products, 24/7 support, and an advanced report builder.
  • The Advanced Shopify plan comes at $299 per month and accommodates 15 staff accounts, unlimited products, perpetual support, and Advanced Shopify Plus.

Shopify Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • User-Friendly: Shopify is easy to use, even for those with limited technical abilities.
  • Multiple Integrations, Including Payment Gateways: Shopify has many integrations, including payment gateways, making it simple to process customer payments.
  • Modern User Interface (UI): Shopify has a contemporary UI that is easy to navigate.
  • Flexible Pricing: Shopify offer flexible pricing plans, allowing you to choose one that aligns with your budget.

Cons:

  • Absence of Offline Mode: Shopify doesn’t feature an offline mode, thus an internet connection is necessary for its usage.
  • No Built-In Loyalty Program: Shopify has no in-house loyalty program, necessitating the use of a third-party loyalty program or creating your own.
  • Restricted Customization: Although Shopify provides numerous features, it lacks in customization options compared to other POS systems.
  • Description:

    Best POS for startup food service businesses that want a user-friendly, easy-to-install system with online ordering and e-commerce capabilities.

  • Pros:
    • Powerful website builder
    • Many retail features
    • Online ordering
  • Cons:
    • POS somewhat limited
    • Lacks some BOH features
Description:

Best POS for startup food service businesses that want a user-friendly, easy-to-install system with online ordering and e-commerce capabilities.

Pros:
  • Powerful website builder
  • Many retail features
  • Online ordering
Cons:
  • POS somewhat limited
  • Lacks some BOH features

Summary of Square vs. TouchBistro vs. Toast vs. Lightspeed vs. Shopify

Square:

Square has a straightforward setup process and is designed to expedite checkouts, an essential factor for ice cream shops dealing with long lines on hot summer days. It can accept all payment types, thus improving customer convenience. It contains a customizable tipping feature and integrates both online and in-person orders. The software is free to use, with businesses only paying when they process a payment.

The simplicity makes Square an excellent choice for small ice cream parlors, pop-ups, or mobile ice cream trucks that necessitate a straightforward, budget-friendly solution. Its consolidated system for tracking online and in-person orders would be beneficial for shops providing both sit-in and takeaway services. Plus, the absence of a monthly fee can serve as an advantage for startups or small businesses on a strict budget.

  • Description:

    The fast and easy-to-use system

    Best for new or smaller food service businesses that want to start on a free plan and want to sell products online.

  • Includes free plan. Plus plan starts at $60/month
  • Pros:
    • Subscription free plan
    • No long term contracts
    • Integrates with the Square ecosystem
  • Cons:
    • Lacks some advanced features
    • No on-site support
Description:

The fast and easy-to-use system

Best for new or smaller food service businesses that want to start on a free plan and want to sell products online.

Includes free plan. Plus plan starts at $60/month
Pros:
  • Subscription free plan
  • No long term contracts
  • Integrates with the Square ecosystem
Cons:
  • Lacks some advanced features
  • No on-site support

TouchBistro:

Created with an aim to increase sales, TouchBistro’s POS system is ideal for ice cream shops. It is equipped with a digital loyalty program, a POS-integrated barcode scanner, and pop-up reminders for both cross-selling and upselling. Additionally, it boasts time and money-saving features like predictively quick register buttons and integrated payment processing. It provides over 50 reports offering insights into your shop’s sales and operations.

Thanks to its focus on boosting sales along with a rich feature set, TouchBistro is well-suited for high-volume ice cream shops. The predictive quick register buttons and integrated payment processing can expedite transactions during busy periods, making it perfect for shops in high-traffic areas.

  • Description:

    Designed by restaurant industry veterans

    Best for independent food service businesses looking for a well-designed, easy-to-use, and feature-rich POS with integrated loyalty features.

  • Pros:
    • Fast & easy-to-use quick register buttons
    • Commission-free online ordering
    • Excellent offline functionality
  • Cons:
    • Fewer integrations than competition
    • Somewhat limited reporting features
  • Price starts at $69/month
Description:

Designed by restaurant industry veterans

Best for independent food service businesses looking for a well-designed, easy-to-use, and feature-rich POS with integrated loyalty features.

Pros:
  • Fast & easy-to-use quick register buttons
  • Commission-free online ordering
  • Excellent offline functionality
Cons:
  • Fewer integrations than competition
  • Somewhat limited reporting features
Price starts at $69/month

Toast:

Built specifically for the food service industry, Toast’s intuitive, user-friendly POS system minimizes staff training time, essential for fast-paced ice cream shops.

Toast includes tools for quick order entry and digital tickets to reduce errors. It offers diverse payment options like kiosks, online, and QR code ordering. Its daily reporting helps shop owners optimize menus, and a built-in loyalty program encourages repeat visits.

With customizable options and features, Toast suits mid-sized to large shops or chains with high daily transactions.

The ability to monitor sales and tweak menus is especially useful for shops with frequently changing offerings or seasonal specials. Toast’s loyalty program is great for shops with a steady customer base.

  • Description:

    The most innovative POS system on the market

    Best for food service businesses that want advanced online ordering, take-out, and delivery features.

  • Pros:
    • Rapid development of new features
    • Toast Takeout system
    • Rugged mobile hardware devices
  • Cons:
    • Android only
    • Locked into Toast payment processing
Description:

The most innovative POS system on the market

Best for food service businesses that want advanced online ordering, take-out, and delivery features.

Pros:
  • Rapid development of new features
  • Toast Takeout system
  • Rugged mobile hardware devices
Cons:
  • Android only
  • Locked into Toast payment processing

Lightspeed:

Lightspeed’s customer-focused POS offers flexibility with iPad POS ordering and contactless payments. It has in-built loyalty programs, and online ordering, and integrates with leading food delivery apps.

Lightspeed is ideal for shops aiming to improve customer service and personalize offerings. Its flexibility, online ordering, and delivery integrations suit shops with sit-down, takeout, and delivery models. Larger chains benefit from its multi-location management.

  • Description:

    Cleverly crafted POS with exceptional design

    Best for food service businesses seeking powerful inventory, data insights, and retail features.

  • Starts at $69/month
  • Pros:
    • Ease of use & interface design
    • Reporting & analytics
    • E-commerce capabilities
  • Cons:
    • Limited offline functionality
    • Not the cheapest option
Description:

Cleverly crafted POS with exceptional design

Best for food service businesses seeking powerful inventory, data insights, and retail features.

Starts at $69/month
Pros:
  • Ease of use & interface design
  • Reporting & analytics
  • E-commerce capabilities
Cons:
  • Limited offline functionality
  • Not the cheapest option

Shopify:

Shopify is great for shops looking to expand their online presence. Its user-friendly interface, commission-free online ordering, and built-in loyalty program simplify operations and boost sales. With smart marketing tools, SEO, round-the-clock support, and automatic upgrades, Shopify is designed to scale.

Appropriate for shops of any size, Shopify’s scalability works for small startups and big chains. Its app library and multi-channel selling suit shops aiming to broaden their reach. Customizable themes help specialty shops, traditional parlors, and café-style shops build online stores reflecting their brand.

  • Description:

    Best POS for startup food service businesses that want a user-friendly, easy-to-install system with online ordering and e-commerce capabilities.

  • Pros:
    • Powerful website builder
    • Many retail features
    • Online ordering
  • Cons:
    • POS somewhat limited
    • Lacks some BOH features
Description:

Best POS for startup food service businesses that want a user-friendly, easy-to-install system with online ordering and e-commerce capabilities.

Pros:
  • Powerful website builder
  • Many retail features
  • Online ordering
Cons:
  • POS somewhat limited
  • Lacks some BOH features

Conclusion

All five of these modern cloud-based POS systems are versatile and feature-rich, and they can be tailored to meet the needs of a wide variety of bakeries or pastry shops.

Explore these systems further by visiting their websites and scheduling demos or free trials. Get hands-on experience with the platforms that catch your eye.

Remember that choosing the right POS system can make a significant impact on your business’s success. It can enhance efficiency, improve customer satisfaction, increase revenue opportunities, and provide valuable insights for smarter decision-making.

Photo of author
Jan Lundvik
Jan is a writer and content creator at KitchenBusiness.com with a keen 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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