5 Best Restaurant POS Systems (September 2023)

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Choosing the right restaurant POS system is crucial to the success of your restaurant business.

You’re likely already aware of this fact and have undertaken some research on various software comparison and review websites.

But if you’re anything like me when I first embarked on this journey, you’re probably still feeling overwhelmed and confused by the sheer volume of options available.

The restaurant software market has grown exponentially in recent years, leading to hundreds of POS systems and restaurant management software options.

This growth, while beneficial in terms of choice, can make the decision process incredibly daunting. When I was researching this topic, I found myself more confused than enlightened, as what one user finds good or bad might not align with your specific needs.

And, while software companies will undoubtedly attempt to sell you their solution, they may not always present the complete picture.

To bring some clarity to this situation, I spent months reviewing all the restaurant POS systems with the highest user ratings and documenting their features, and now, I’ve compiled all this information into a simple, freshly updated overview for 2023.

This article will save you countless hours of research and testing by providing you with the following:

  • My top picks for the best restaurant POS systems in 2023
  • A guide to choosing a solution that suits your business
  • A detailed feature-by-feature review and comparison of the best restaurant management systems

The Top 5 Restaurant POS Systems

  • Description:

    The most innovative POS system on the market

    Best for restaurants that want to get started with a free basic plan with the option to upgrade to many advanced features and integrations.

  • Description:

    Designed by restaurant industry veterans

    Best for independent full-service restaurants looking for a well designed, feature-rich and secure cloud/server-based POS system.

  • Description:

    Best for small restaurants and coffee shops

    A small business POS for establishments that need a subscription-free plan, smooth transactions and easy-to-operate retail features.

  • Description:

    Excellent hardware options and no long term contracts

    All-in-one POS solution with modern restaurant-specific features for fine-dining, QSRs, bars, and food trucks.


The most innovative POS system on the market

Best for restaurants that want to get started with a free basic plan with the option to upgrade to many advanced features and integrations.


Designed by restaurant industry veterans

Best for independent full-service restaurants looking for a well designed, feature-rich and secure cloud/server-based POS system.


Cleverly crafted POS with exceptional design

Best for upscale eateries seeking powerful data insights, retail features, and extensive integration possibilities.


Best for small restaurants and coffee shops

A small business POS for establishments that need a subscription-free plan, smooth transactions and easy-to-operate retail features.


Excellent hardware options and no long term contracts

All-in-one POS solution with modern restaurant-specific features for fine-dining, QSRs, bars, and food trucks.

Toast POS


The most innovative POS system on the market

Best for all types of restaurants that want a complete restaurant management system.

  • Rapid development of new features
  • Toast Tables Reservation system
  • Includes a free starter plan
  • Android only
  • Locked into Toast payment processing
Start a Free Plan Our Review

Toast is the fastest-growing restaurant POS system on the market. According to a 2022 survey of over 800 independent restaurants Toast has grown from a 1.4% market share in 2017 to a whopping 30.6% in 2022. (Source).

Restaurants need technology solutions that simplify their operations, instead of becoming bogged down with multiple or legacy POS systems. Historically, restaurant owners have been late adopters of tech, which creates a great opportunity for the company that can get it right.

Toast saw the importance of the restaurant POS and responded by creating an all-encompassing solution tailored to the restaurant industry.

Toast Go 2 Hardware Device

Toast is a great restaurant POS system if you want to want to start with something small. With Toast’s free basic plan, restaurant owners can get up and running without breaking the bank.

You will also love the flexibility to upgrade whenever and however you want, offering a full range of features and integrations.

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 is a restaurant point of sale and management system specifically crafted for the food service industry, designed with diverse needs in mind.

Whether you run a restaurant, cafe, bar, food truck, or coffee shop, Toast is tailored to support all types of food and hospitality endeavors.

If you are a growing restaurant with multiple locations, Toast would serve as the ideal solution. It simplifies handling menus, online sales, customer loyalty programs, and more, across all your outlets.

Toast caters to all restaurant types. Its pay-as-you-go options for hardware offer a flexible, scalable solution that grows with your business.

In summary, you’ll find that Toast is a top option for:

  • Restaurants
  • Cafes
  • Bars
  • Food trucks
  • Coffee shops

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 Tables waitlist dashboard

Noteworthy Features of Toast

Toast Tables is an exciting new platform for you to make restaurant reservations that compete with other services like OpenTable and Resy. The platform allows your customers to book a table or be put on a waiting list directly through your restaurant’s website or app.

In addition to these features, Toast Tables has extended its partnership with Google, enabling your restaurant customers to make reservations on Toast Tables directly from your restaurant’s Google Business Profile.

Toast Tables booking with Google dashboard detail

Key features for you as a restaurant owner:

Integrated Reservation and Waitlist Management: Toast Tables integrates with other Toast POS and Kitchen Display Systems. By using this system, you are able to handle reservations, waitlists, and orders in a single platform.

Real-Time Table Updates: You can use real-time updates for the table status to keep track of guest orders, order fulfillment, and payment for their meals.

Personalized Guest Profiles: With Toast Tables, you can make individualized profiles for guests. This feature can aid your restaurants in predicting customer preferences, acknowledging special events, and appreciating loyal customers or important guests.

Toast online ordering screenshot

Collaboration with Google: The collaboration with Google allows guests to book a reservation through Toast Tables directly on your restaurant’s Google Business Profile. This means that users who are searching for restaurants on Google can book a table on Toast Tables without leaving the search results page.

Cost Savings: You can use the system to avoid the expenses of third-party reservation platforms. You can pay a fixed monthly fee without any per-cover charges and select from various package options based on your seating policies.

Improved Capacity Management: The system simplifies seating capacity management for your restaurants, offering helpful features such as estimated wait times, automated notifications, and two-way SMS messaging. These features aid you in managing customer expectations and cutting down on no-shows.

Marketing and Loyalty Program Integration: Before their visit, guests are able to check out your menu and sign up for your restaurant’s loyalty program. This helps to encourage repeat visits by providing guests with valuable offers and allowing for ongoing communication.

Although Toast Tables has impressive features, it will be challenging for Toast to enter the reservation market that is currently dominated by major players such as OpenTable and Resy. However, Toast’s history of successfully introducing new services, such as online ordering, establishes a solid basis for this feature.

Toast Tables also allows you to manage your tables from anywhere in the restaurant using handheld devices.

This enables you to see who’s waiting for a table, add them to the queue as they arrive at the door, assign them seats when they arrive at your restaurant, monitor their progress through their meal, collect payment from each guest, and keep track of how many tables are occupied versus empty throughout each shift.

Toast Tableside Ordering and Payments

Tableside ordering and payments are becoming increasingly popular in the restaurant industry, and Toast POS offers solutions for both. With Toast’s tableside ordering feature, you can take orders directly at the table using a handheld device.

This allows for faster and more accurate order entry, as well as the ability to customize orders on the spot. Additionally, the tableside ordering feature can integrate with your kitchen display system, allowing orders to be sent directly to the kitchen for preparation.

Toast’s tableside payment feature allows for a seamless and secure payment process at the table. Your guests can split the check, add tips, and pay with a credit card or mobile wallet all from the convenience of their table. This feature not only improves the guest experience but also increases your table turnover and reduces wait times.

A key feature of Toast POS for your restaurant is its robust online ordering and delivery management capabilities. This allows you to easily manage online orders and deliveries.

This is one of Toast’s strong points and explains part of its huge growth. Your customers can place orders and pay directly online, with orders automatically sent to your kitchen display system.

The delivery management feature lets you manage deliveries in real time. You can track orders, assign drivers, and provide delivery status updates to customers. This streamlines your delivery operations, reducing errors and delays while improving the customer experience.

Toast order from Google search

Toast Online Ordering with Google

Toast recently launched Order with Google integration, allowing you to unlock a new online ordering channel. This enables smooth ordering directly from Google search for potential customers. They can order from your menu right on the search results page without visiting your site first.

Toast Mobile Order & Pay offers you a convenient, all-inclusive mobile ordering and payment solution. Your guests can simply scan the QR code to explore your menu, place an order, and pay right on their phone.

This feature is designed to help your restaurant cover more tables with reduced staff and increase revenue by allowing guests to order and pay from their phones.

According to Toast, restaurants that add Toast Mobile Order & Pay typically see an average increase between 10% and 12% in Toast processing volume.

Toast Contactless Payments

In the wake of the pandemic, contactless payments have become increasingly important in the restaurant industry. With Toast’s contactless payment feature, your guests can pay for their meals without having to touch a shared credit card machine or exchange cash. Toast offers you several contactless payment options, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, and tap-to-pay credit cards.

Toast Go mobile device

Toast’s card reader is also EMV-compliant, meaning it meets the latest security standards for credit card transactions.

Toast’s contactless payment feature is fully integrated with the Toast POS system, allowing you seamless payment processing and real-time reporting.

Contactless payments not only provide a safer and more hygienic payment option for your guests, but they also allow you faster table turnover and reduced wait times.

As a restaurant owner, you want a POS system that integrates with a wide range of third-party apps and services, allowing you to customize your system to meet your unique needs.

Toast third party integrations screenshot

What I like about Toast is its open API, so you can integrate with popular apps and services like online ordering platforms, loyalty programs, accounting software, and more.

For example, Toast integrates with popular online ordering platforms like Grubhub and Uber Eats, allowing you to manage online orders directly from your Toast POS system.

Toast also integrates with loyalty programs like LevelUp and Paytronix, allowing you to easily track and manage your customer rewards programs.

In addition to these popular integrations, Toast’s open API allows for custom integrations with other third-party apps and services. You can even work with Toast’s development team to create custom integrations that meet your unique needs, whether it’s integrating specialized inventory management or custom reporting tools.

You will appreciate Toast’s robust integration options.

For more details on all major features see my complete Toast review.

Toast customer facing display

Toast Pros & Cons

  • A Complete and Scalable Restaurant Management System: This end-to-end platform ensures smooth operations between your front and back-of-house teams while catering to restaurants of all sizes. It allows you to expand your operations seamlessly as you grow.
  • Rapid Development of New Features: Toast constantly introduces new features to help your business adapt to the latest consumer trends and preferences. This not only increases efficiency but also ensures you can keep up with the evolving restaurant industry.
  • Built for Restaurants: Toast boasts features catered to different types of restaurants, like fast food chains, fine dining, and casual eateries. Their focus on the industry enables you to adopt a POS system that understands your needs.
  • Omnichannel Service and Online Ordering: Toast helps you operate seamlessly across mobile, online, and in-person ordering channels. This supports online, pick-up, and delivery options to not only cater to evolving customer preferences but also enhance convenience while increasing sales through digital channels.
  • Locked into Toast Payment Processing: Users are required to use Toast’s in-house credit card processing solution, restricting their ability to shop around for potentially better or more affordable alternatives.
  • Add-ons Can Get Expensive: While Toast POS offers a range of valuable add-ons to help restaurants enhance their operations, these extra features often come with additional costs. These expenses might be prohibitive, especially for small or start-up establishments looking to maintain a low-budget operation.
  • Not Very Transparent Pricing: Another downside of Toast POS is the lack of transparent pricing information on the website, including the various hardware bundles and add-on features. This can make it difficult for potential clients to compare Toast POS with other providers.
  • Only Available in a Few English-speaking Countries: Toast is only available in a select few English-speaking countries, limiting access for restaurants operating outside these markets. This geographical restriction may make Toast POS less desirable for global or multi-national brands looking for a comprehensive solution across all their locations.

Toast POS Review Summary

Toast offers an awe-inspiring number of features and capabilities in a single platform. Since its start in 2011, Toast has rapidly expanded its offerings through constant new feature development and integration. Their platform delivers almost every tool a restaurant could need.

Highlights include full order, inventory, labor, CRM, and analytics management alongside innovations like Toast Tables with reservations and waitlist management with integrated Google ordering. The extensive customization does mean a steeper learning curve than basic POS systems. However, Toast provides more than enough features and flexibility to meet most restaurants’ needs.

Toast is ideal for small to medium-sized restaurants and coffee shops seeking an affordable all-in-one management platform. Integrations like online ordering and delivery provide small businesses with the capabilities to compete with larger chains.

More information on Toast:

My detailed Toast Review provides an even more in-depth look into this restaurant POS system.

And finally, to try Toast out, head over to pos.toasttab.com


TouchBistro website 2023
TouchBistro POS

Designed by restaurant industry veterans

Best for independent full-service restaurants looking for a well designed, feature-rich and secure cloud/server-based POS system.

  • Speedy & easy to use
  • Commission-free reservations
  • Excellent offline functionality
  • Fewer integrations than competition
  • Somewhat limited reporting features
Try Now Our Review

TouchBistro is an excellent choice for independent full-service restaurants but has also been proven effective at helping any type of eatery manage its business.

Not only does it offer a visually appealing and intuitive design, but it also has an abundance of rich features. It further offers the convenience of a hybrid cloud/server system, giving you peace of mind knowing that your data is always accessible and secure.

TouchBistro screenshot of sales dashboard

Ease of use: TouchBistro is one of the easiest POS systems to use. It is easy to use and you can learn it in a short time. TouchBistro is great for restaurants that want something quick and easy to work with.

New employees don’t have to waste precious time going through an extensive tutorial – if they are familiar with iPhones, then they can easily figure out TouchBistro. You can customize your menus and interface with this tool which will help you speed up your processes in the long run.

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 makes it easy for many types of restaurants to connect, communicate and collaborate in a single unified platform that keeps track of all orders, sales, customer information, and more.

However, I think TouchBistro is best for small to medium-sized independent full-service restaurants.

TouchBistro is also a good fit for QSRs, bars, coffee shops, and other food service businesses that need a great Kitchen Display System (KDS).

Who is TouchBistro POS NOT for?

Touchbistro is not for large chain restaurants, hotels, or other enterprise-level businesses requiring multiple locations, sub-vendors, employees, and complex financials.

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 dashboard on iPad

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 dashboard on iPad

Noteworthy Features of TouchBistro

User Interface & Ease of Use: As a user, you’ll appreciate TouchBistro for its user-friendly, intuitive interface, and fast learning experience. Its drag-and-drop functionality allows you to easily manage your menu while the comprehensive order management system allows you to keep track of all orders in one place.

Kitchen Display System (KDS): The KDS enhances order organization and communication. The system instantly displays, manages, and records orders for you. It integrates online orders and even operates offline. It provides important analytics that will help your decision-making and integrate with your POS system.

Reservations: The Reservations add-on enables your guests to book online while giving you tools to manage the reservations and guest data. It allows you to block specific dates, personalize reservation notes, and switch guest details among varying platforms.

TouchBistro Online Ordering

With TouchBistro’s online ordering feature, you can accept orders directly from your website, TouchBistro Dine, social media, and other platforms. Customers can opt for pickup, delivery, or schedule orders at their convenience. One major advantage is you retain 100% of profits without paying third-party commissions.

However, you’re limited to using your own drivers or DoorDash Drive; to use other delivery platforms like UberEats or GrubHub, you’ll need to employ Deliverect and pay associated fees. This feature increases revenue through multi-touchpoint ordering, integrates with TouchBistro Marketing for targeted promotions, and streamlines delivery operations with automatic driver dispatching.

TouchBistro Menu Management

With TouchBistro’s menu management, you can smoothly add, clone, and organize menu items, saving you time by automatically syncing changes to in-venue and online ordering menus. The feature includes upselling tools, with color-coded menus and high-quality images to assist in promoting items.

TouchBistro’s menu management also separates takeout and delivery orders from dine-in orders. Additionally, it includes personalization features for enhancing guest experiences and handling unique order requests.

TouchBistro Tableside Ordering

The tableside ordering feature allows for orders to be taken directly at tables using handheld devices like iPads. This minimizes back-and-forth to the POS system and allows servers more guest interaction. The easy bill-splitting function enhances the checkout speed and customer satisfaction. Pop-up upselling prompts aid in boosting per-cover revenue.

Additional payment functions include dividing payments among different clients, processing various types of payments, sending digital bills and receipts, and adding personalized messages or tip guides to bills.

TouchBistro Gift Cards

By offering TouchBistro Gift Cards, you can amplify your marketing efforts and sales. You can personalize gift cards for occasions like birthdays and holidays, and customers can make online purchases or opt for digital gift cards for added convenience. Customers’ gift card redemption via smartphones simplifies the dining process even further.

TouchBistro Profit Management

In partnership with MarginEdge, TouchBistro presents profit management features that enhance visibility over your restaurant’s finances. It provides real-time inventory tracking and cost management while automatically updating ingredient costs and quantities in your recipes.

This enables you to accurately calculate plate costs and adjust menu pricing based on profitability data. It also integrates budget tracking tools, allowing you to set targets and watch your spending across all business areas. By syncing with your POS, the profit management module bridges the gap between the front-of-house and back-of-house operations, simplifying strategy decisions and workflow.

TouchBistro KDS

Pros and Cons of TouchBistro

  • Reservations: TouchBistro’s commission-free reservation tool helps restaurants manage bookings effectively and learn about diner preferences for an exceptional hospitality experience.
  • Ease of Use: The POS system is fast, reliable, and easy to use. Staff familiar with iPhones can easily operate TouchBistro without extensive training.
  • Payment Processing Options: Users can choose between TouchBistro Payments or a third-party processor like Square, an option not commonly available in other POS systems.
  • TouchBistro Profit Management: Their partnership with MarginEdge integrates inventory and cost management with interactive sales reports for improved financial optimization, waste reduction, pricing adjustment, and strategic planning.
  • Offline Functionality: The POS system continues to process payments even during internet outages, ensuring uninterrupted service.
  • Limited Integrations: Although there are some software integrations available, they may not be as extensive as others provided by competing POS systems.
  • Online Ordering: TouchBistro relies on integration with Deliverect to connect with delivery services other than DoorDash Drive.

TouchBistro Review Summary

If you’re looking for a Point-of-Sale system that is exclusively tailored for restaurants, TouchBistro is one of the best. It has all the features you need to operate your restaurant efficiently, including an easy-to-use interface that will be loved by your FOH and BOH staff.

If you’re looking for a new point-of-sale system or are just curious about TouchBistro, I highly recommend checking it out.

More information on TouchBistro:

My detailed TouchBistro Review provides an even more in-depth look into this restaurant POS system.

And finally, to try TouchBistro out, head over to touchbistro.com

Lightspeed Restaurant

Lightspeed for restaurants POS system
Lightspeed Restaurant
Starts at $69/month

Cleverly crafted POS with exceptional design

Best for upscale eateries seeking powerful data insights, retail features, and extensive integration possibilities.

  • Ease of use & interface design
  • Reporting & analytics
  • E-commerce capabilities
  • Limited offline functionality
  • Not the cheapest option
Free Trial Our Review

Lightspeed is the way to go if you have a restaurant business looking for sophisticated reporting and analytics tools with retail capabilities.

Lightspeed’s acquisition of Upserve has been a game-changer. Now, restaurants can benefit from the powerful analytics and data tools that make Lightspeed one of the premier POS solutions available.

Lightspeed offers restaurant owners the tools to easily understand and manage the way their restaurant works. With built-in data access and in-depth analytics, you can get a clearer picture of the restaurant without having to dig too deep.

From trending menu items and granular sales data to staff performance reports and more. Understanding which items are top performers, underachievers, or hidden gems can be game-changing when it comes to optimizing your menu selection. With all of this valuable information, you are practically sitting on a goldmine of potential insights.

Lightspeed offers 200+ integrations, so you can easily add additional features and services as your business grows.

If you’re looking to take your restaurant in a new direction, using a restaurant POS that also has retail capabilities could be the key to unlocking success. With Lightspeed Restaurant POS, you can easily expand into selling merch, offering cooking classes, and launching other retail operations.

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 POS is suited for a wide range of restaurant types, thanks to its versatile features and customization options. Some of the restaurant types that can benefit from Lightspeed POS include:

Full-service independent restaurants: Lightspeed’s table management, reservation management, and CRM capabilities cater to the unique needs of full-service restaurants.

Cafes and bistros: The user-friendly interface, menu management, order management, e-commerce capabilities, and payment processing features make it a good choice for small establishments.

Quick-service restaurants (QSRs): The system’s quick order entry, efficient payment processing, and employee management features make it usable for fast-paced environments.

Food trucks and pop-up restaurants: The mobile compatibility of Lightspeed POS, including its iPad app, makes it an option for food trucks and pop-up restaurants that require flexibility and mobility.

Multi-location restaurants: The Advanced and Enterprise plans offer multi-location support, allowing larger chains and franchises to manage multiple locations.

However, it may not be suitable for all types of restaurants or food service businesses. For instance, larger and more complex restaurants that require more advanced inventory tracking features and employee scheduling options may find that the Lightspeed Restaurant POS system does not meet their needs.

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 menu management

Noteworthy Features of Lightspeed

Reporting and Analytics

Benefit from Lightspeed’s advanced insights and analytics features to make informed decisions for your business. Customizable reports, dashboard overviews, and sales analysis help you identify trends, top-selling items, and areas needing improvement.

User Interface and Ease of Use

Lightspeed’s modern and intuitive UI makes it simple for staff and management to use. The dashboard displays real-time transaction data, and its organized menu layout speeds up navigation, reduces wait times, and elevates overall service quality.

Table Management and Reservations

Speed up order entries and modifications with Lightspeed’s Order Management. Its table management tools keep track of occupied, reserved, and ready-to-reset tables. The feature also supports takeout and delivery options, offering your customers more convenient ways to order.

Payment Processing

Lightspeed supports a variety of payment methods, from mobile payments to gift cards. Its EMV-compliance ensures secure transactions, and it effortlessly processes credit card payments from multiple providers. For those who prefer cash, it integrates with cash drawers for secure handling.

Supported Payment Methods

Enable an enhanced payment experience with split payments, tipping, and accounting software integration. Split bill among guests or payment methods. Also, your customers can add tips straight on the payment screen. Seamlessly import financial data into accounting software like QuickBooks or Xero.

Employee Management

Optimize labor costs, identify top performers, and enhance staff efficiency using Lightspeed’s scheduling, time tracking, and performance evaluation tools. Assign staff roles and permissions based on job duties for added security and protection of sensitive data.

Inventory Management

Track your inventory in real-time with Lightspeed. Optimize ordering and reduce waste while managing suppliers and creating purchase orders swiftly and accurately. The system’s real-time monitoring reduces waste and controls costs while maintaining the quality of the food.

Customer Loyalty and Engagement

Create lasting customer relationships with a structured loyalty program and gift cards. Use the built-in CRM to track customer preferences and deliver personalized communications, promotions, and loyalty programs. Gift cards encourage repeat business and serve as a strong word-of-mouth marketing tool.

Lightspeed eCom: Webstore Feature

Incorporated with its POS system, the eCom feature lets you streamline online orders and inventory management. Display menus online and let your customers place orders for delivery or pick-up. The integrated reservation system simplifies the table booking process, while options like in-store pickup and curbside services enhance the convenience for your consumers. You can lure customers with special promotions via discount codes and manage digital gift cards effectively.

The inventory synchronizations ensure a balance between your online and in-store inventories, preventing overstocking or understocking. With the platform’s seamless integration with delivery platforms like UberEats, Doordash, and a reservation platform, OpenTable, you can effectively widen your customer reach.

Lightspeed Kitchen Display System (KDS)

Lightspeed KDS is a software solution that displaces the traditional kitchen printer and positions orders on an iPad for your kitchen staff. It helps you to keep track of preparation time, lets your staff interact with orders, and sends automated alerts to the front-of-house on order completion. You can personalize display options according to different restaurant and kitchen necessities.

Lightspeed order screen

Pros and Cons of Lightspeed Restaurant

  • Reporting and Analytics: Lightspeed Restaurant boasts advanced reporting and analytics tools, enabling you to gather in-depth insights into your business’s performance. The 2020 acquisition of Upserve upgraded Lightspeed’s analytics with detailed sales data, employee performance metrics, and inventory management information.
  • Advanced Insights: The system provides enhanced insights to optimize server and menu performance, and time management, and fosters better communication among restaurant staff across various shifts through a virtual logbook.
  • Ease of Use: The intuitive interface and customizable layout of Lightspeed Restaurant cater to both experienced and novice users. The system’s uncomplicated navigation and simple order entry process facilitate faster table turnover, easier staff integration, and a smoother transition with reduced training time.
  • E-commerce Capabilities: With the Lightspeed ecom feature, you can create a website equipped with retail capabilities to sell branded products or gift cards to your customers, thereby attracting new clients and boosting revenue. You can link your website to delivery platforms such as UberEats or DoorDash and connect with OpenTable for reservations.
  • Customer Support: In the 2021 G2 Grid Report on restaurant POS systems, Lightspeed earned top marks for its quality of support and ease of use among its competitors in the industry.
  • 14 Day Free Trial
  • Price: Lightspeed is a bit pricier than some other POS systems in the market. While the system boasts several features and benefits, the cost might deter some restaurant owners, particularly those in the early stages of their business.
  • Limited Customization: Despite Lightspeed’s user-friendly interface, it might not deliver the desired customization level for some restaurant owners. For instance, some users reported that customizing the order screen layout is challenging, which could hamper efficiency during busy periods.

Lightspeed Review Summary

Lightspeed Restaurant is an innovative restaurant POS system that combines the features and ease of use of other well-known POS systems like TouchBistro and Toast but with more advanced reporting and retail capabilities.

Plus, there’s a free trial so you can try before you buy. Lightspeed is available in 100+ countries, so it’s perfect for businesses around the globe. Lightspeed is very easy to use, even for the non-tech crowd. Many users say it’s easy to use, even simple to learn, and very intuitive.

More information on Lightspeed:

My detailed Lightspeed Review provides an even more in-depth look into this restaurant POS system.

And finally, to try Lightspeed for free, head over to lightspeedhq.com

Square for Restaurants

Square for Restaurants POS system
Square for Restaurants
Includes free plan. Plus plan starts at $60/month

Best for small restaurants and coffee shops

A small business POS for eateries that need a subscription-free plan, smooth transactions and easy-to-operate retail features.

  • Subscription free plan
  • No long term contracts
  • Integrates with the Square ecosystem
  • Lacks some advanced features
  • No on-site support
Try Now Our Review

Square for Restaurants is the perfect solution if you need a free plan, smooth restaurant transactions, and easy-to-operate retail features.

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 is a point-of-sale system designed particularly for small to medium-sized food service businesses. This means it’s not simply another payment processing software; it’s also a comprehensive restaurant management package.

Square POS hardware

They’ve also included the website builder Square Online so your restaurant can have an online presence. That’s key to staying competitive in today’s restaurant industry.

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).

  • Smaller Restaurants: Establishments that offer a menu of food and beverages for customers to enjoy in a dining setting, ranging from fast food to fine dining.
  • Cafes: Small establishments that primarily serve coffee, tea, and light snacks. They often focus on providing a comfortable atmosphere for customers to socialize and relax.
  • Food Trucks: Mobile food service businesses that operate from a vehicle, serving food and beverages to customers on the go.
  • Fast-Casual Restaurants: A hybrid between fast food and casual dining, these businesses offer quality food with quicker service than traditional sit-down restaurants.
  • Bars and Breweries: Businesses that primarily serve alcoholic beverages, sometimes accompanied by a small food menu.
  • Ghost Kitchens: Delivery-only food businesses that operate from a central kitchen, without a physical dining space for customers.

Each type of food service business has its distinct set of requirements and challenges. Cafes and restaurants often need efficient table management and order tracking systems, while food trucks require mobile-friendly POS solutions. Fast-casual restaurants need quick order processing and seamless inventory management, whereas bars and breweries may require features like age verification and customizable drink menus. Ghost kitchens, on the other hand, rely heavily on delivery integration and online order management.

Types of Food Service Businesses Less Suited to Square

Square might not be the best fit for full-service restaurants with complex operations, as its features may not cater to all their needs. High-volume establishments, such as nightclubs or large event venues, may also face connectivity issues with Square. In such cases, Toast POS or TouchBistro could be more appropriate choices.

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 mobile POS kit

Noteworthy Features of Square

Payment Processing

Square allows payments through Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Wallet, and all major credit and debit cards. Payments can be processed even in offline mode and also tableside via the Square Terminal. The platform is compliant with the Payment Card Industry standards.


  • User-friendly Interface: Easy to navigate
  • Affordable Payment Processing: Flat rate of 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction
  • Strong Omnichannel Support: In-person, online, and mobile payments
  • Device Compatibility: Supports both Android and iOS devices

Menu & Table Management

Square’s versatile menu management system includes customization of menu items, addition of modifiers, pricing manipulation, creation of distinct menus for various times, and efficient inventory tracking. Restaurants can also set up floor plans, manage meal sequences and customer occupancy times, and provide tableside ordering.

Inventory Management

Square’s inventory management feature helps track stock levels, cost of goods, and item variances, aiding in reducing waste, improving stock tracking accuracy, and saving time.

Square Team Management & Payroll

Square employee management feature offers scheduling, handling time-off or shift requests, access customization, and real-time reports of staff sales and costs. This feature is integrated with Square Payroll, offering automatic payroll, multiple pay rates, online accounts, and accounting integration with QuickBooks.

Square online website builder

Square Online for Restaurants

Square Online offers businesses a free platform to create their own mobile-friendly websites for online ordering. This can be a full website or a sales page integrated with your existing site. Orders are synced with your Square POS and kitchen equipment.

The platform eliminates commission costs by offering options like curbside pickup, staff delivery, or courier delivery. For deliveries, couriers from DoorDash or Uber can be dispatched automatically. Your staff can also handle deliveries, with options for pickup also available.

Additional features include multi-location support, order tipping, multiple payment options, and connection to social media.

Order with Google

Restaurants can increase online orders with Order with Google. Customers can find the restaurant’s Square Online page using Google Search or Maps. They can order directly from the restaurant’s website, saving commission fees and improving profit margins. This also enables restaurants to collect useful customer data.

Square marketing assistant dashboard

Square Marketing & Loyalty Overview

Square Marketing is an affordable, user-friendly tool designed for restaurants to manage their marketing, sales, and customer service. It offers benefits such as increased customer engagement, more repeat business, and improved brand awareness.


  • Increased Customer Engagement: Personalized email/text campaigns targeted to specific customer segments, along with social media integration, encourage interaction and relationship building.
  • More Repeat Business: Automated campaigns and loyalty program help retain customers by offering personalized discounts or promoting new menu items.
  • Improved Brand Awareness: Collecting customer reviews and sharing promotional content on social media enhance brand visibility and awareness.

Square Loyalty

Reward regular customers with Square Loyalty through rewards or gift cards. Enroll customers at checkout with their phone numbers and send automated text messages on points or rewards. Customize reward levels and promote the program via automated text campaigns.

Square Kitchen Display System (KDS)

Square KDS streamlines back-of-house workflows for restaurants by offering features such as:

Real-time order synchronization between front and back of house.
Customizable ticket layouts, timers, and alerts.
Insights on prep times to identify and resolve bottlenecks.
Consolidated order views for organized fulfillment.
Prep station routing and expeditor mode to enhance order accuracy and speed.
Adaptable configurations for various kitchen setups and ordering channels.

Square KDS

Pros and Cons of Square for Restaurants

  • Ease of Use: Square’s modern, user-friendly interface ensures minimal training is required, allowing staff to focus on guests.
  • Affordable Pricing: With a free basic plan and a comprehensive Plus plan for $60 per month, Square offers value for money. All plans have a transaction fee of 2.6% plus 10 cents.
  • Flexibility: No installation fees or long-term commitments make it easy to start using Square. Plans can be upgraded, downgraded, or terminated according to need.
  • CRM Capabilities: Customer profiles, order history tracking, and integration with Square Loyalty and Marketing create a complete customer management solution.
  • Square Online: A free add-on that allows restaurants to design their own websites for online ordering, integrating with Google for easier accessibility, and providing e-commerce capabilities.
  • Integration with Square Ecosystem: Square for Restaurants integrates with other Square services like Square Payroll, Team Management, and Square KDS.
  • Limited Advanced Features: Square may not provide some advanced features like in-depth inventory management and comprehensive reporting tools.
  • Complex Reporting: The reporting feature can be complicated to use and lacks sufficient detail, making it difficult to find specific information.
  • Lack of On-Site Support: Square does not offer on-site support, which may be inconvenient for businesses that need in-person assistance.
  • Limited Support for Complex Menus: Restaurants with frequently changing or complex menus may find making changes on Square slower than other systems.

Square Review Summary:

Square has all the features and capabilities of a restaurant system – from restaurant-specific features, such as kitchen display systems integration, to retail features like loyalty programs.

Plus, Square also has a great website builder included in their free plan, allowing you to easily create or edit an online presence for your restaurant. Overall, their offering caters specifically to small restaurants.

More information on Square:

My detailed Square for Restaurants Review provides an even more in-depth look into this restaurant POS system.

And finally, to try Square out, head over to squareup.com

SpotOn Restaurant

Illustration of SpotOn POS
SpotOn Restaurant

Excellent hardware options and no long term contracts

All-in-one POS solution with modern restaurant-specific features for fine-dining, QSRs, cloud kitchens, bars, and food trucks.

  • Very feature rich
  • Robust hardware devices
  • Low credit-card processing fees*
  • Limited offline functionality
  • Requires SpotOn devices
  • *Requires SpotOn Payment for low fees
Try Now Our Review

Did you know that SpotOn is one of the top contenders when it comes to cloud-based restaurant POS systems? Along with rivals Toast, TouchBistro, Lightspeed, and Square, modern POS systems like these are replacing legacy ones such as NCR and Oracle.

SpotOn is especially great for a diverse range of restaurants, from upscale establishments to chill dining spots, bars and on-the-go food trucks.

new SpotOn hardware

Not only does SpotOn offer all the essential POS features and hardware devices, but it also boasts various advanced features and add-ons to enhance your restaurant’s functions.

SpotOn is a new player in the restaurant point-of-sale game but don’t be fooled by its young age. Founded in 2017 and based in San Francisco, SpotOn has already impressed with its array of features and hardware options.

The company caters to the restaurant, sports, entertainment, and retail industries but has a particularly strong focus on the restaurant and sports/entertainment sectors.

The system’s price starts at $25 per month, but there are some conditions to consider. To take advantage of this low rate, customers must sign up for SpotOn’s payment processing services. If you do not use their payment processing services then you will be charged $195 per month for access to the software.

SpotOn charges a commission of 1.99% + $0.25 for regular transactions, which is quite low, but 2.99% + $0.25 for reward, corporate, international, and keyed-in card transactions.

The pricing for SpotOn’s POS system varies depending on the package and hardware and can include:

  • $25/month for the software (including payment processing)
  • $195/month for the software alone (without payment processing)
  • $65/month for SpotOn’s restaurant-specific features

Some examples of add-on pricing:

  • $65/month for a customer loyalty add-on
  • $65/month for a website add-on

Other notable add-ons include marketing, payroll

Please note that the specific pricing for SpotOn can vary depending on the package and hardware. It’s recommended to contact SpotOn directly for a custom quote based on your business’s unique needs.

Hardware pricing varies by device and promotions may apply. Other prices may depend on what agreement you can reach with SpotOn depending on your requirements. Although SpotOn charges a setup fee, they do not openly display the cost on their website.

Considering all of the features offered by SpotOn POS, the price may still be worth it. SpotOn Payments has very low commission rates, so for some types of restaurants, this can be a good deal.

SpotOn is a versatile solution that is suitable for a variety of restaurant types. The types of restaurants most suited for SpotOn include fine dining, casual dining, quick service, bars, and food trucks.

Fine dining restaurants. SpotOn has customizable features such as reservations and waitlisting, advanced reporting capabilities, remote management, and flexible configuration options. SpotOn provides service and support, including in-person installation and training.

Casual dining restaurants. SpotOn includes contactless ordering and payments, handhelds, online ordering, and reporting, among others. The system includes all necessary features such as custom menu creation, table layouts, quick ordering, and payments, as well as real-time updates and reports.

Quick service restaurants. QSRs can benefit from SpotOn’s essential features that including customized menu creation, quick ordering and payment processing, and handheld POS with contactless payment options. The system offers digital loyalty rewards that are integrated to encourage customers to return.

Bars. The system has a range of features for bars such as QR code ordering and payment options, handheld devices for quick ordering and payments, reporting, marketing and review management tools, loyalty programs, and other similar features.

Food trucks. If you are operating a food truck, pop-up, café, or mobile kitchen, SpotOn is an excellent option as it provides a comprehensive restaurant management platform that includes a specialized handheld solution called SpotOn Sidekick. The device has both WiFi and 4G cellular technology, allowing food trucks to operate in any location.

At the moment SpotOn is only available in the US.

Your restaurant’s success is deeply intertwined with your choice of hardware. I believe that SpotOn’s hardware, a cornerstone of the complete solution it provides, could be a transformative asset to your operations.

Handhelds: Experience the advantage of speed and simplicity with SpotOn’s handheld point-of-sale (POS) systems. Compatible with your iOS and Android devices, these handheld systems also support peripherals like barcode scanners, cases, and Bluetooth printers.

SpotOn handheld POS devices

These handheld devices come with two functionalities – order only or full payment, enabling your staff to process orders or payments swiftly, from any location within your establishment. Tailored for ease of use, they are available in various sizes, and include cases, belt hooks, and hand straps.

Kiosks: Invest in enhancing customer experience with SpotOn’s self-service kiosks. These tools are engineered to eliminate long queues and serve more customers, offering personalized interactions. Quick add buttons, favorites, add-to-cart button scrolls are only some of the features that expedite the ordering process.

There is an added benefit: the kiosks suggest combos, add-ons, and upsell items, stimulating revenue increment. You can select from different models – countertop, freestanding, and outdoor – with screen sizes of 15″ and 22″.

SpotOn KDS

Kitchen Displays: SpotOn’s Kitchen Display System (KDS) augments your operations, presenting real-time order tracking. As soon as an order is placed, it heads directly to the kitchen, paving the way for customization. Your orders or individual items are also efficiently routed to dedicated stations.

Payment Devices and Accessories: SpotOn offers a variety of accessories like cash drawers, payment devices, barcode scanners, scales, and customer-facing displays. What makes it better is the ability to integrate them easily with leading payment providers, without overhauling your existing workflows.

To sum up, SpotOn’s arsenal of hardware devices offers an all-encompassing suite to meet any restaurant’s requirements. If you’re considering a POS solution tailored precisely for the food and beverage sector, SpotOn can become your ideal partner.

New SpotOn Hardware Devices for 2023

new SpotOn hardware

Announced in May 2023, SpotOn’s latest line of restaurant POS hardware includes devices such as the 15.6” Station, the 10” Counter, and the 6.5” Handheld.

User-friendliness is built into these devices: the updated software and larger screens on the Station and Handheld simplify menu and modifier navigation. For easy navigation, the Handheld’s user interface now clusters menu items, enables search, illustrates floor plans, and provides table status updates.

The new lineup of SpotOn’s hardware devices, set to launch later this year, promises to boost SpotOn’s standing in the restaurant POS market. Here’s a sneak peek into why:

Customization and Flexibility: The new devices offer multiple configurations, adjusting to the evolving needs of your restaurant. Choose the Station with an option of an attached or detached guest-facing display, a base payment reader, or a side-mounted payment reader. This customization ensures you select a setup that ensures streamlined operations.

Efficiency and Speed: Sporting an 18% larger touchscreen display and an easy-to-hold leather strap, the Handheld empowers seamless tableside payment. The Counter, specifically designed for quick-service restaurants and cafes, accommodates contactless and dip payments and includes an optional guest-facing display for enhanced speed and precision.

Durability and Reliability: Equipped with high-definition touch screens, these are IP54-rated devices, ensuring protection against dust and drink spills, making them reliable and durable.

Enhanced Customer Experience: These devices are primed to augment customer satisfaction. To illustrate, the Handheld’s screen rotates to face the customer during payment, whilst the Station and Counter’s customer-facing displays boost order accuracy and speed up checkout.

Future-Proofing: SpotOn has collaborated with FIS to evolve into a payment facilitator for its customers, offering improved control over payment processing. Furthermore, this partnership enables tokenization, facilitating SpotOn customers to understand their patrons’ preferences and buying habits for highly personalized experiences.

In conclusion, these new additions promise to strengthen SpotOn’s hardware portfolio with their superior customization, efficiency, durability, and user experience. Backed by robust support and service, the new devices are future-proof, making SpotOn an even more competitive player in the restaurant POS market.

Noteworthy Features of SpotOn

Here is an overview of the key features of SpotOn POS for restaurants:

  • A customizable interface allows for menu customization and table layouts
  • Integrated features like online ordering, reservations, loyalty programs, etc.
  • Handheld devices for taking orders and payments at the table
  • Robust order management system with modifiers and special requests
  • Integrated payment processing with competitive rates
  • Inventory management with low stock alerts and automatic reordering
  • Employee management for scheduling, time tracking, and payroll
  • Detailed sales and analytics reporting
  • Table management with layouts and table status indicators
  • Easy-to-use menu management with drag-and-drop and search functions
  • Advanced features like marketing, reservations, online ordering, e-commerce
  • Integrations with accounting, inventory, and delivery partners
  • Offline mode allows limited functionality without internet
  • Hardware options like kiosks, kitchen displays, barcode scanners
  • Newly released hardware focused on customization, efficiency, and customer experience

The key advantages of SpotOn for restaurants include the integrated suite of features, user-friendly interface, robust hardware options, competitive payment processing rates, and advanced capabilities like online ordering and marketing tools. Its emphasis on customization also allows it to adapt to specific restaurant needs.

See my full review of SpotOn

SpotOn reservations
SpotOn reservations

Pros and Cons of SpotOn for Restaurants

  • Excellent hardware devices: Robust and reliable options such as touchscreen stations, handheld devices, customer-facing displays, self-service kiosks, and kitchen display systems.
  • Modern restaurant-specific features: Online ordering, Google ordering, digital waitlisting, reservations, labor management, reporting, and easy integration with existing technology.
  • SpotOn Reserve: This lets you handle your online reservations and digital waitlist in a single location. The new feature Seat & Send allows guests to pre-order food and drinks while waiting for seats.
  • No long-term contracts: Flexible month-to-month POS system without long-term commitment requirements.
  • Low credit card processing fees: Competitive rates as low as 1.99% + $0.25 per transaction when using SpotOn’s payment processing.
  • Flat rate delivery cost: Integrated delivery service powered by DoorDash, offering a lower flat rate compared to third-party delivery app commissions.
  • Limited hardware compatibility: Only works with SpotOn’s hardware, potentially disadvantaging businesses with existing POS hardware or different preferences.
  • Higher fees for non-SpotOn payment processing: Charges 2.99% + $0.25 for reward, corporate, international, and keyed-in card transactions.
  • Dependence on cloud: Less robust offline functionality compared to competitors like TouchBistro.
  • Expensive add-ons: Additional features like loyalty programs and website building can increase the overall system cost.

Other User Reviews of SpotOn

Here is a summary of user reviews from some of the online review sites like Capterra and G2:

  • Ease of Use: User-friendly and intuitive interface, easy for new employees to learn, and accessible cloud-based system for remote management.
  • Features: Valuable features like real-time reporting, labor cost management, back office updates, payroll reporting, tableside service, authorizations, multi-location management, modifiers, and discounts. Integration with third-party delivery services and scheduling tools also praised.
  • Customer Support: Mixed reviews; some praise for availability and helpfulness, while others report unfriendly staff and lack of urgency in addressing issues.
  • Pricing: Transparent pricing and no long-term contracts appreciated; cash-discounting feature saves on processing fees but may cause confusion in certain functions.
  • Overall Assessment: SpotOn POS is well-regarded for its ease of use, features, and pricing, but customer support could be improved. Users generally feel it has improved their restaurant’s efficiency, profitability, and overall performance.

SpotOn Summary

SpotOn Restaurant POS is a comprehensive solution catering to various restaurant types, offering excellent hospitality hardware, industry-specific features, and flexible terms without long-term contracts.

Competitive credit card processing fees and low flat-rate delivery costs add to its appeal. However, limitations like reliance on SpotOn hardware and payment processing, weaker offline capabilities, and potentially costly optional features should be considered.

Despite these drawbacks, SpotOn remains a versatile, user-friendly platform that can boost operational efficiency. If you seek a POS system that simplifies work, adapts to your needs, and supports growth, consider trying SpotOn.

More information on SpotOn:

My detailed SpotOn Review provides an even more in-depth look into this restaurant POS system.

And finally, to try SpotOn out, head over to spoton.com

2 mobile devices on table with charts on documents used for an analysis

How to Find the Best POS System for Your Restaurant

That was my compilation of the 5 best restaurant POS systems currently available.

After exploring the options above, you may still be asking yourself which one is ideal for your business.

Selecting the right point-of-sale (POS) system is one of the most important technology decisions you will make. The POS system impacts day-to-day operations and directly influences the guest experience. This guide will examine key factors to consider when choosing a POS system for your restaurant.

Key Selection Criteria
When evaluating restaurant POS systems, start by outlining your unique business requirements. Consider details like your service style, menu options, payment methods, and reporting needs. Some key criteria to evaluate include:

  • Ease of Use – An intuitive interface with flexible menu setup and easy order taking is vital for servers and bartenders. Look for systems designed specifically for restaurants.
  • Hardware – Handheld devices, kiosks, receipt printers, and cash drawers should integrate seamlessly. Ensure durability and portability for high-volume restaurant environments.
  • Integration – Choose a POS with seamless integration to accounting software, inventory systems, loyalty programs, and staff management platforms you already use.
  • Cost – Balance software subscription fees with hardware expenses. Factor in payment processing fees, maintenance, and employee training costs.
  • Features – Match core features like order management, payment processing, and reporting to your restaurant’s priorities. Additional features like online ordering and reservations may benefit your brand.
  • Customer Support – Look for responsive and experienced customer support in case technical issues arise during busy shifts.

Comparing Top Contenders
With your restaurant’s needs in mind, compare leading POS systems like Toast, Touchbistro, and Square. Contrast hardware options, plan pricing, and add-ons for each. Narrow down top choices by requesting demos.

To evaluate if a certain POS meets your requirements, you can either check the overall conclusion at the end of this article or continue to explore the feature-by-feature comparison for detailed insight into specific features.

Feature by Feature Comparison Review

Part 1: Core Restaurant POS Features

Payment and Credit Card Processing

Understanding payment processing fees can be a difficult task for restaurant owners, as they might end up paying more than necessary, negatively impacting their profits.

Factors such as lack of transparency, intricate fee structures, and difficulties in comparing POS systems contribute to this confusion, leaving owners feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about navigating this crucial business aspect.

Restaurant POS companies primarily profit from payment and credit card processing by charging transaction fees. They encourage customers to utilize their payment processing services to ensure revenue generation, simplified support and troubleshooting, integrated reporting, and gain a competitive edge.

Although opting for a single company for both POS and payment processing offers convenience to restaurant owners, it is vital to compare fees and secure the best deal possible.

Toast includes a built-in payment processing system called Toast Payments and doesn’t allow for any third-party payment integration. It operates on a flat-rate model and you need to get a custom quote from Toast.

  • Toast Payments is a required, integrated part of the Toast POS system.
  • Be aware of the long-term contract, potential fee increases, and early termination fees.
  • Understand the difference between card-present and card-not-present transactions and their associated fees.
  • Carefully compare fees and terms before committing to Toast Payments to ensure the best deal for your business.

TouchBistro includes an integrated payment processing solution called TouchBistro Payments, powered by Chase. TouchBistro also supports integration with third-party payment processors, offering flexibility in choosing a payment solution that fits your needs and budget.

  • TouchBistro Payments is an integrated solution that accepts a wide variety of payment types.
  • Key features include offline payment processing and tableside contactless payments
  • Be aware of potential fee increases during the contract and understand the terms of your agreement.
  • TouchBistro supports integration with third-party payment processors.
Lightspeed payment processing

Lightspeed has an integrated payment processing solution called Lightspeed Payments. It uses a flat-rate pricing model, and customized quotes are available for businesses processing over $50K. Third-party payment processor integration is available.

  • Lightspeed Payments is an integrated solution that offers a seamless, secure checkout experience.
  • The system accepts various payment types and card brands, including mobile payments and international cards.
  • Key features include quick, secure processing with no monthly transaction limit, built-in PCI Compliance, and clear payment reports.
  • Flat-rate pricing starts at 2.6% +10c, with customized quotes available for businesses processing over $50K.
Square payment processing promo illustration

Square is a popular payment processing solution known for its simplicity and ease of use, offering in-person, online, and remote payment processing options. The processing fees vary depending on the transaction type, with transparent pricing and no hidden fees. Square also provides custom pricing for businesses processing over $250,000 per year.

  • Square offers various payment processing options, including in-person, online, and remote transactions.
  • Transparent pricing model with processing fees depending on transaction type:
  • In-person: 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction. Online: 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction. Remote: 3.5% + 15 cents per transaction
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: 6% + 30 cents per transaction
SpotOn payment devices

SpotOn has its own payment processing solution for a seamless and secure checkout experience. The system features a transparent, flat-rate pricing model, making it easier to predict processing costs and manage budgets.

Third-party payment processor integration is available, but if you do not use their payment processing services then you will be charged $195/month instead $25/month for access to the software.

  • SpotOn’s payment processing solution accepts a wide variety of payment types and card brands, catering to a diverse customer base.
  • SpotOn charges a commission of 1.99% + $0.25 for regular transactions, which is quite low, but 2.99% + $0.25 for reward, corporate, international, and keyed-in card transactions.
  • Third-party payment processor integration is available but at a premium cost.

Order Management

Toast online order screen

Toast’s order management capabilities include:

  • Tableside Ordering and Payments: Servers can take orders and accept payments directly at the table using handheld devices, allowing faster, more accurate order entry and customization. Orders can be sent directly to the kitchen display system, and guests can split checks, tip, and pay with credit cards or mobile wallets.
  • Online Ordering and Delivery Management: Toast POS enables easy management of online orders and deliveries, with customers placing orders and paying through the platform. Orders are automatically sent to the kitchen, while delivery management allows real-time tracking, driver assignment, and status updates.
  • Toast Mobile Order & Pay: Guests can scan a QR code to view the menu, order, and pay on their phones, helping restaurants serve more tables with reduced staff and increasing revenue.
  • Contactless Payments: Toast offers contactless payment options such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and tap-to-pay credit cards, providing a safer payment experience amid the pandemic.
  • Toast Online Ordering with Google: The Order with Google integration unlocks a new channel for restaurants using Toast Online Ordering to receive more orders.

TouchBistro’s order management features include:

  • Tableside Ordering: Servers can take orders directly from customers at their tables using iPads, reducing time spent at the POS system and enabling easy bill splitting and upselling prompts to boost revenue.
  • Online Ordering: Restaurants can accept orders through their website, TouchBistro Dine, social media, and other platforms without paying third-party commission fees. However, they must use their own drivers or DoorDash Drive for delivery, or pay applicable fees for other platforms via Deliverect integration.
  • Menu Management: Restaurant owners can easily add, clone, and organize menu items, syncing changes to both in-venue and online ordering menus. Takeout and delivery orders can be viewed separately from dine-in orders for streamlined operations.
  • Floor Plan & Table Management: TouchBistro offers tools for planning dining room layouts, assigning staff to sections, and tracking table availability, allowing for efficient table and seat management and reduced waiting times.
Lightspeed order screen

Lightspeed’s order management features include:

  • Table Management and Reservations: Staff can track table statuses for efficient floor management and improved customer service.
  • Online Ordering and Delivery: Customers can order online through Lightspeed’s platform or popular delivery services, consolidating order management in one place.
  • Payment Processing: Lightspeed supports various payment methods, including credit/debit cards, mobile payments, and gift cards, and is EMV-compliant for secure transactions.
  • Order Entry and Modification: Easy order entry, modification, and check management provide a seamless ordering experience.
  • Integration with Delivery Platforms: Integrations with major food delivery apps, such as UberEats and DoorDash, send orders directly to the POS software, expanding delivery zones and customer reach.

Overall, Lightspeed offers efficient order management and diverse ordering options for customers.

Square for Restaurants’ order management features include:

  • Table Management and Reservations: Create floor plans and efficiently organize layouts within the Square dashboard, optimizing space and minimizing errors with tableside ordering.
  • Online Ordering and Delivery: The free Square Online add-on enables mobile-optimized websites for online ordering, with orders appearing on the Square POS and kitchen systems. Offer curbside pickup, staff delivery, or courier delivery to avoid commissions.
  • Payment Processing: Square accepts various payment methods, including Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Wallet, and major credit/debit cards. Process contactless transactions and tableside payments with the Square Terminal.
  • Integration with Delivery Platforms: Square offers delivery options with on-demand DoorDash or Uber couriers, without marketplace commissions, or staff-handled deliveries.
SpotOn order with Google screen

SpotOn’s order management features include:

  1. Direct Integration with POS System: Develop an online menu with orders transmitted directly to your point-of-sale system, streamlining pickup and delivery experiences.
  2. Take-Out and Delivery: Customers can order from your website, Facebook, and Google pages, with adjustable pacing and guest information storage for targeted marketing and repeat business. Delivery service is powered by DoorDash.
  3. QR Code Ordering and Payment: Enable tableside ordering and payment or contactless payment through QR code scanning. Group ordering allows guests to order individually and split checks by amount.
  4. Integration with Order with Google: Customers can find your restaurant on Google and place orders directly from your Business Profile.

In summary, all five systems offer robust order management features, including tableside ordering, online ordering, and delivery. However, they differ in their delivery integrations and additional features.

Toast and SpotOn stand out with their direct integration with delivery platforms, while TouchBistro requires third-party integration. Square and Lightspeed offer comprehensive features similar to Toast and SpotOn.

All systems provide real-time updates and detailed reports, helping restaurants manage their operations effectively.

Inventory Management

Toast allows for real-time tracking of inventory levels, helping to reduce waste from unused or spoiled items. It also provides valuable data and analytics that can help businesses make informed decisions about their menu offerings.

The system tracks sales data and customer feedback, allowing businesses to identify popular items and trends and make adjustments to their menu accordingly.

Toast’s inventory management feature is integrated with its other features. For example, when a customer places an order, the system automatically updates the inventory levels, ensuring accurate tracking of stock.

TouchBistro lets restaurants to keep track of their stock levels, reduce food waste, and increase profit margins. It provides real-time reports on stock levels, helping restaurant owners to maintain optimal inventory levels and make informed decisions on ordering from vendors.

A notable feature is its recipe-logging functionality. With recipe logging, restaurant staff can record ingredient details such as costs and quantities, and build recipes directly in the POS system.

The menu items that contain the newly arrived inventory ingredients are updated automatically, saving staff time and minimizing the possibility of errors.

Additionally, customizable pop-up alerts can inform servers when an item is running low, reducing the likelihood of guests ordering items that are out of stock.

However, compared to its competitor, Toast, TouchBistro’s inventory management feature is considered to be more basic. Toast offers more advanced inventory management features, such as the ability to track ingredient costs and margins, view inventory levels by location, and set up automatic purchase orders.

Lightspeed inventory management screen

Lightspeed Restaurant tracks inventory levels in real-time and provides alerts when stock is running low. This helps restaurant owners maintain optimal inventory levels and minimize waste.

The system also allows for supplier management and the creation of purchase orders, ensuring that the right amount of supplies is always on hand.

One of the standout features of Lightspeed’s inventory management system is its waste reduction and cost control capabilities. By monitoring stock levels in real-time, the system ensures that only the necessary amount of ingredients are used in each dish or recipe, helping to reduce waste and keep costs down.

Square for Restaurants allows restaurants to monitor their inventory levels in real-time. As menu items are sold, the system automatically updates inventory levels, helping restaurants avoid out-of-stock situations.

This feature is integrated with the menu management system, allowing for the creation and customization of menu items, incorporation of modifiers, and assignment of individual prices for each offering.

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

The reporting features have been noted for their complexity and lack of sufficient detail, making it difficult to search for specific information. Additionally, the process of reconciling sales to receivables is lengthy.

SpotOn also provides real-time inventory control, allowing you to manage your inventory from anywhere with updates, alerts, and front-of-house countdowns. This helps ensure that your staff never sells menu items that have run out.

It also offers hierarchical controls to manage your inventory either for an entire enterprise or for a particular location. With this feature, you can modify menu assignments, pricing, and permissions, and implement changes across devices or locations.

Summary: The five systems all provide real-time tracking of inventory levels and aim to reduce waste, but differ in their advanced features and user-friendliness.

  • Toast’s standout feature is its integration with other system features, updating inventory levels as orders are placed, and providing valuable data for menu decisions.
  • TouchBistro, while good for basic inventory management, falls short in comparison to Toast’s more advanced features. It offers unique recipe-logging functionality and customizable pop-up alerts to inform servers when an item is running low.
  • Lightspeed Restaurant also offers real-time tracking with alerts, as well as supplier management and purchase order creation. It stands out with its waste reduction and cost control capabilities.
  • Square for Restaurants, while providing real-time inventory updates and menu management integration, lacks advanced inventory management features and has been criticized for its complex reporting tools and lengthy process for reconciling sales to receivables.
  • SpotOn Restaurant provides real-time inventory control and allows management from anywhere with alerts. It features hierarchical controls to manage inventory across an enterprise or specific location and enables changes across devices or locations.

Employee Management

Toast employee scheduling

Toast: Offers comprehensive employee management tools, including scheduling, time tracking, job roles assignment, and payroll integration.

TouchBistro: Provides a basic staff management system, allowing unlimited users and designed to manage labor costs. However, its features are more basic compared to other POS systems.

Lightspeed Restaurant: Includes scheduling, time tracking, performance evaluations, permissions, and user access controls. Robust time tracking and payroll capabilities allow for efficient labor cost optimization.

Square for Restaurants: Handles scheduling, managing, and paying employees directly from the POS system. Integrated with Square Payroll, it offers automated tax filings, employee benefits, customizable pay schedules, and accounting integration with QuickBooks.

SpotOn Restaurant: Features SpotOn Teamwork, a comprehensive employee management tool with scheduling, time tracking, job roles, and payroll management. The SpotOn Teamwork App improves employee engagement by providing a single platform for staff to manage schedules, access tips, and receive communications.

In summary, all five systems offer employee management tools, each with unique features.

  • Toast excels in cost control and team management with a high user rating.
  • TouchBistro, while user-friendly, is more basic in comparison to the rest.
  • Lightspeed Restaurant prioritizes robust time tracking, payroll calculation, and data security.
  • Square for Restaurants integrates employee management with its POS system and payroll service, emphasizing real-time reporting and payment automation.
  • SpotOn Restaurant stands out with its SpotOn Teamwork, focusing on schedule management, payroll accuracy, and employee engagement.

Reporting & Analytics

Toast POS: Picture yourself having a clear, real-time snapshot of your restaurant’s performance, including sales, staffing, and menu success. That’s what Toast POS offers you. It’s like having a personal data assistant who crunches numbers and gives you valuable information to make your restaurant more profitable. 

TouchBistro: Now imagine you have an assistant who sends you over 50 straightforward, real-time reports on sales, menu choices, payments, and staffing that you can read from your smartphone.

TouchBistro sales report

TouchBistro does just that. But, fair warning, if you’re looking for deep dives into sales, employee performance, and inventory, you might find it a bit basic.

Lightspeed: Lightspeed is like a personal business coach. It provides you with a customized view of your business performance. You can peek at real-time data on sales, inventory, and staffing right from your dashboard. Want to know who your top-selling employee is, or which menu item is a hit? Lightspeed has you covered.

Square for Restaurants: With Square, you’re getting a system that keeps an eye on your restaurant’s top-selling items, how your employees are doing with their sales, and how your business is performing in real-time. It’s all neatly organized in your Square Dashboard. But keep in mind, the reporting tools can be a bit hard to navigate, and you might find yourself spending extra time reconciling sales to receivables.

SpotOn POS: SpotOn provides you with detailed reports on your restaurant’s operations. Everything from end-of-day summaries to daily sales recaps is included. However, it might not be as good as some others in spotting long-term trends, and some tasks like reconciling deposits still need a hands-on approach.

In summary, Toast POS is like having an eagle-eyed data assistant; TouchBistro is handy and uncomplicated but may lack some depth; Lightspeed is your personal business coach, while Square for Restaurants could make your life easier, but might be a bit tricky to navigate. And SpotOn POS, it’s like a co-pilot, although it may not see as far ahead as some others.

Table Management

Toast Tables waitlist dashboard

Toast POS: “Toast Tables” is your virtual maître d’. It’s linked to Google, so customers can make reservations straight from Google search. As an owner, it gives you a bird’s-eye view of reservations, waitlists, and orders. And guess what, it’s personalized, so it knows your customers and their preferences.

TouchBistro: It’s like having a digital blueprint of your restaurant in your pocket. Drag and drop tables to reflect your layout, assign staff sections, and link tables to specific reservations. You even get analytics on table turnover to see how your staff is doing. It’s a simple, effective way to manage your restaurant floor during busy times.

Lightspeed: Imagine your ordering process is a well-oiled machine. Lightspeed does just that by integrating table management into its Order Management system. It keeps tabs on occupied and reserved tables, takes and modifies orders, and provides real-time updates. All from one platform!

Square for Restaurants: Square is your smart interior decorator. It lets you organize your restaurant layout digitally. Track how long your customers occupy a table, assign servers, and monitor available tables. And exciting news for 2023, they have integrated with OpenTable to help seat more guests and improve turn times.

SpotOn table management
SpotOn table management screen

SpotOn POS: SpotOn is like your digital restaurant manager. Design your table layout, send orders to the kitchen from a handheld device, and use SpotOn Reserve for smoother online reservations. A comprehensive tool to boost efficiency and communication in your restaurant.

In summary, all these POS systems have features to manage your restaurant’s flow, but each with its unique strength.

  • Toast POS focuses on integrating with Google and personalizing customer experiences.
  • TouchBistro emphasizes managing your floor plan and staff sections
  • Lightspeed’s strength is in integrating table management with order management.
  • Square is about optimizing your restaurant space and has new OpenTable integration.
  • SpotOn POS stands out with its handheld device for instant order placing and payment collection.

Menu Management

Toast POS makes menu management easy. Customize your menu, tweak pricing, and track sales data to spot hot sellers. Plus, it’s linked with other features like online ordering, inventory, and reporting.

TouchBistro menu management screen
TouchBistro menu management screen

TouchBistro streamlines your menu changes and organizes items with just a few clicks. It offers upselling tools, handles takeout orders, and personalizes menus to enhance guest experience. 

Lightspeed Restaurant is all about user-friendly efficiency. Feature your star dishes, add dish descriptions, and manage price tags. Customers can customize their orders easily with modifiers and variants. Seasonal or event-based menu changes? No problem.

Square online menu creation
Square online menu creation

Square for Restaurants is versatile. Manage menu items, inventory, and pricing in one place. Customize menus for different times of day or special events. Its inventory management updates in real-time as you sell items. But, be warned, if your menu changes often or is complex, Square might not be as quick to update as other systems.

SpotOn centralizes menu management across all your sales channels. It ensures consistency and accuracy and integrates with other SpotOn features, simplifying a typically complex process.

In summary, all five systems offer robust menu management features.

  • Toast POS shines with its data tracking for sales and inventory.
  • TouchBistro excels in upselling and personalization.
  • Lightspeed stands out for its user-friendly design and efficient handling of modifiers and variants.
  • Square offers solid features but might lag behind for complex, frequently changing menus.
  • SpotOn scores high for centralizing menu info across all your sales channels. Choose the one that fits your restaurant’s specific needs.

Part 2: Advanced Restaurant POS Features

Marketing and Loyalty

Toast email campaign creator
Toast email campaign creator

Toast has marketing and loyalty add-ons integrated right into its payment system. Leverage data from transactions for focused marketing and keep those customers coming back for more.

The Toast Loyalty program is an easy way for regulars to get rewarded and it’s simple for them to join either in-store, online, or on their devices.

TouchBistro loyalty marketing screen
TouchBistro loyalty marketing screen

TouchBistro caters to your marketing needs with TouchBistro Marketing – a tool specifically designed to ramp up customer engagement and revenues. Build your own web app, get feedback, send out updates, and flaunt those special promotions. Plus, you can craft beautiful emails using easy templates.

Their customer loyalty program, TouchBistro Loyalty, rewards customers based on their spending, and can be integrated with TouchBistro Marketing for a seamless approach to customer data and communication.

Lightspeed Restaurant offers a CRM feature for tailoring your marketing efforts to your customers’ preferences.

Reward your regulars with discounts or exclusive deals. Even offer gift cards to drive repeat business and encourage new diners. Overall, Lightspeed is all about fostering customer loyalty and engagement.

Square comes with Square Marketing – a tool that helps you manage your marketing, sales, and customer service. Launch personalized email and text campaigns, and even connect with your audience on social media.

Square Loyalty allows you to reward regulars and can be managed directly from the POS, allowing you to track sales and measure the impact of your loyalty program all in one place.

SpotOn marketing template
SpotOn marketing template

SpotOn packs in a bunch of features to enhance your operations and customer engagement. Its marketing automation tools include email campaigns, SMS marketing, social media integration, and detailed analytics and reporting.

SpotOn also has a loyalty add-on for rewarding customers, encouraging repeat visits, and enticing customers to try new things. With SpotOn, enrolling in the loyalty program and redeeming rewards is a breeze.

In short, all these systems offer great marketing and loyalty features.

  • Toast POS excels in integrated payment processing and easy customer sign-up.
  • TouchBistro stands out for its seamless integration of marketing and loyalty, and its easy-to-use email templates.
  • Lightspeed is all about personalized communication and a built-in loyalty program.
  • Square offers personalized campaigns and social media integration, with comprehensive loyalty program management.
  • SpotOn is an all-rounder with a strong focus on marketing automation and an easy-to-use loyalty program. Pick the one that suits your restaurant’s needs.

Reservation and Waitlist Management

Toast Tables reservation screen
Toast Tables reservation screen

Toast has a cool platform called Toast Tables, making it super easy to manage reservations and waitlists. It’s all part of the Toast family, so it works perfectly with other Toast POS and Kitchen Display Systems.

You can keep track of reservations, waitlists, and orders all in one spot. You also get real-time updates on tables, guest profiles, and even collaboration with Google for direct reservations.

Plus, it’s cost-effective and has neat features for capacity management and loyalty program integration.

And, Toast Tables has teamed up with Google so your customers can make reservations directly from your Google Business Profile.

TouchBistro Dine marketplace
TouchBistro Dine marketplace

TouchBistro brings you a commission-free reservations tool, so you can manage reservations without breaking the bank. It gives you insight into what your diners love, which is key to delivering amazing service.

The tool is part of the TouchBistro POS system, which means managing reservations and orders is easy and user-friendly. With the TouchBistro Reservations add-on, your customers can book their tables online and you get to manage reservations and customer data with ease. 

Lightspeed’s comprehensive order management feature includes handy table management and reservations tools. This lets your staff keep track of which tables are busy, reserved, or ready to be reset.

The system also links with popular delivery services and OpenTable, so you can manage all your reservations and delivery orders in one place, making things super easy for you and your customers.

While Square for Restaurants doesn’t have a dedicated reservation and waitlist feature, it does offer table management capabilities. You can create floor plans, manage the flow of meals, and take orders directly at the table.

They’ve also teamed up with OpenTable, so you can get real-time alerts on table status and give personalized service using reservation data.

SpotOn reservations
SpotOn reservations

SpotOn offers a full-featured reservation and waitlist management tool called SpotOn Reserve. This includes online reservations, digital waitlisting, contact tracing, and automated SMS confirmations.

It all works together with the SpotOn POS system, making it easy to manage reservations, waitlists, and orders.

In summary, all five systems offer robust reservation and waitlist management features, each with its unique strengths.

Toast and TouchBistro stand out for their integrated systems that allow for seamless management of reservations and orders.

Lightspeed and Square offer comprehensive table management features, with Square integrating with OpenTable for reservation management.

SpotOn stands out for its comprehensive reservation and waitlist management feature that includes contact tracing and automated SMS confirmations.

Retail and E-commerce Management

In the context of modern cloud-based POS systems, the focus is no longer only on transaction processing. POS systems are transforming and adding features that are designed to enhance commerce and customer interactions.

A rising trend among restaurants is the exploration of new income streams through the selling of retail products.

This could be branded merchandise, pre-packaged food items, or even gift cards, all contributing to an enriched customer experience and increased revenue.

In the following section, I will take a look at how the 5 POS systems cater to this expanding need for retail and e-commerce capabilities.

Toast: Its strong points lie in a comprehensive online ordering and delivery management system. It offers real-time tracking, efficient driver assignments, and customer updates.

Toast’s Mobile Order & Pay, along with its contactless payment options, make it a breeze for customers to order and pay, and the integration with Google gives your restaurant extra visibility. 

TouchBistro: This system shines with its multi-touchpoint ordering system. Not only can customers order through your website or TouchBistro Dine, but they can also use social media platforms.

The integration with TouchBistro Marketing lets you target promotions at your diners, making it an interesting choice if you’re keen on effective marketing campaigns.

Lightspeed: If you’re thinking of expanding your restaurant’s reach online, Lightspeed’s eCom system has got you covered. This includes everything from online reservations and curbside pickup to inventory management and promotions.

A unique feature is its ability to build a retail-capable website, perfect if you’re interested in selling branded products or gift cards.

Square Online website builder
Square Online website builder

Square: Square Online stands out with its free add-on that allows restaurants to build and design their own websites for online ordering. Its Google integration is also a great plus, making your restaurant easily discoverable.

Like Lightspeed, it allows you to build a website with retail capabilities, allowing for an extra revenue stream.

SpotOn: SpotOn provides a more customizable solution, offering flexibility in menu building and table layouts. It keeps the customer’s experience smooth with Google integration, online ordering, curbside pickup, and more.

Similar to Lightspeed and Square, it also offers website building with retail capabilities.

In summary, all five systems offer robust e-commerce platforms that support online ordering and delivery services. However, there are differences in their capabilities when it comes to reservations and selling retail items online.

Toast does not offer built-in retail systems, while TouchBistro does not support selling retail items online. Lightspeed offers both but requires a separate subscription for its e-commerce platform. Square offers a comprehensive retail solution, but its reservation system is not as robust as some of the other systems. SpotOn has website-building capabilities for a webshop with products.

Best Restaurant POS – My Conclusion

As you’ve seen, there are a lot of great cloud-based restaurant POS systems out there. When reviewing the top systems, Toast stands out as a leader in the market. With its scalable software, customizable features, and integration capabilities, Toast is able to accommodate restaurants of all sizes and needs.

This flexibility, combined with its comprehensive restaurant management tools for order, inventory, labor, CRM, and more, makes Toast a dominant force in the restaurant software market.

Other top systems like Lightspeed, TouchBistro, SpotOn, and Square offer their own strengths as well, so it depends on your restaurant’s specific requirements. But, if you need omnichannel order management, excellent data insights, and seamless growth capabilities as your business expands, Toast has the solution.

Though Toast’s availability is limited in many countries, TouchBistro and Lightspeed serve as excellent alternatives for those seeking a more widely accessible solution.

September 2023 – Added new features to SpotOn, Lightspeed, and Square
September 2023 – Removed Shopify
September 2023 – Added new BOH features to the TouchBistro section


1. Menu & Inventory Management: Change your menu items easily with this feature. You can also keep track of your inventory in real-time to know what needs to be replenished.

2. Staff Scheduling & Employee Management: With staff scheduling, you can quickly organize shifts for waiters, cooks and other employees and ensure that they’re clocking in and out accurately. The reporting feature will provide valuable insights into overall employee performance.

3. Table Management: Assign guests to their tables quickly and easily, ensuring that all your customers are served efficiently. On-table QR codes free up your staff’s time by allowing customers to seat themselves, to order themselves, and to pay their checks, all through their own devices. Some systems can have detailed floor plans and seat management.

4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM): You can use your POS to manage your customer database. Create targeted email campaigns with relevant offers and messaging. The CRM can be used to automatically send offers to customers who haven’t visited your business in a while. Data analysis from your CRM will also give insight into which marketing campaigns are most effective.

5. Payment Processing: With payment processing, you can accept payments with ease, including credit cards and mobile wallets. Some systems also have Pay-at-the-table features.

6. Online Ordering & Delivery Management: Many restaurants want to be able to take orders online. If a system doesn’t offer online ordering natively, it should integrate with an online ordering and delivery service.

7. Reporting & Analytics: With reporting and analytics, you can gain valuable insights into your business with sales metrics, best-selling products, customer loyalty programs, daily sales, the restaurant’s busiest hours, staff performance and more.

8. Kitchen Display System (KDS): A KDS allows restaurant staff to monitor orders in real time, alert chefs when orders are ready, and check the progress of each order easily. The system also assigns orders to specific food preparation sections, so all items are ready simultaneously and duplicates are eliminated.

9. Split Checks: With split checks, you can easily divide orders between multiple people, ensuring each customer pays only for their own meal.

10. Loyalty Programs: With loyalty programs, you can reward loyal customers with discounts and other promotions that are tailored to each customer’s needs. A POS makes it easy for customers to earn and redeem their loyalty rewards.

11. Mobile/Tablet POS: Equip your waitstaff with table-side ordering tools, allowing them to send orders directly from the customer to the kitchen with real-time alerts that provide visibility into product availability.

12. Cloud-Based Solution: With a cloud-based POS system, you can access your data from any device with an internet connection and keep it securely backed up.

13. Online Reservations: Available in some advanced POS solutions, but most have integrations with apps like OpenTable for online reservations.

14. Third-Party Integrations: Many POS systems support integration with other systems, including accounting software, payroll services, email marketing platforms, and CRM solutions.

15. Retail & Online Store Capabilities: Some POS systems have integrated tools for selling retail items and creating an online store. Restaurants that also sell retail products can enjoy many benefits, such as increased sales and a larger customer base. Retail items can also increase foot traffic and create more marketing opportunities for the restaurant.

Identifying solutions for your specific type of restaurant is a good start in narrowing your choice.

Quick-Service Restaurants (QSR) need POS systems with enough speed and ease of use to quickly process orders and payments. A POS system designed for QSR should also include integration with digital menu boards so you can update menus and menu displays fast. Support for self-service kiosks is also an excellent way to keep customers moving.

Full-Service restaurants need POS features that allow customers to make reservations online or over the phone. If you want to seat guests quickly and turn tables fast, table management is a must. Wait staff can use table-side ordering with mobile Point of Sale units giving customers the convenience of paying at the table.

Fast-casual restaurants need a POS system with many of the same features as a full-service restaurant, but it’s also vital to make ordering faster. Table kiosks for self-ordering menu items and pay-at-the-table functionality are easy ways to make this happen. A POS system can integrate online order information with your kitchen display system (KDS), so staff knows what to prepare. It can also print receipts and labels, making paperwork easy.

A restaurant point of sale (POS) system is an all-in-one solution that restaurants use to manage orders, process payments, and run day-to-day operations. Key features of a restaurant POS system include:

  • Order Taking: Servers or cashiers can enter orders directly into the POS system, which are then sent to the kitchen. The system tracks each item ordered for billing and inventory purposes.
  • Payment Processing: The POS system manages payment processing by accepting cash, credit cards, and other forms of payment. This automates the payment process rather than relying on manual calculations.
  • Menu Management: Restaurant managers can add, remove or update menu items and pricing in the POS system. It can also track the most popular and profitable menu items.
  • Inventory Management: The system tracks food usage and can generate inventory reports. Managers can set reorder points within the system to help manage food costs.
  • Analytics and Reporting: POS systems collect data on sales, costs, voids, discounts and taxes. This data can be extracted into reports to help analyze business performance.
  • Integration with Other Systems: POS systems can integrate with other restaurant management systems like staff scheduling, accounting, loyalty programs, online ordering, etc. This improves data accuracy and reduces manual entry.

The core benefits of a restaurant POS system are increased operational efficiency, faster order taking, reduced errors, optimized business intelligence, and streamlined payment processing. The right POS helps restaurants run smoothly.