POS Reviews

5 Best Lightspeed Restaurant POS Alternatives

Lightspeed POS is a major player in the restaurant tech industry, but it isn’t the only viable option. Interested in seeking alternatives that might better align with your specific requirements?

In this blog post, I’ll evaluate 5 top Lightspeed alternatives: Toast, TouchBistro, Square for Restaurants, SpotOn, and GoTab.

Each of these platforms will be thoroughly examined, including a discussion of their main features, pricing, and hardware, as well as assessing their pros and cons. All of this is aimed at providing a comprehensive comparison with Lightspeed.

With the help of this guide, you’ll be better equipped to choose the POS system that matches your restaurant’s goals and needs perfectly.

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

Lightspeed logo graphic

Reasons to Explore Competitors to Lightspeed

Though a leading POS system, Lightspeed has some limitations:

  • Costly without Lightspeed Payments – Monthly fees rise significantly without using its processor.
  • Expensive for small businesses – Pricing is on the higher side with monthly software and register fees.
  • Annual contract required – Must commit to a year to get lower rates versus monthly terms.
  • iOS only – Not compatible with Android or other devices.

For restaurants wanting more affordable rates, flexible contracts, seamless integrations, and cross-platform hardware support, Lightspeed may fall short. Competitors without these pricing, contract, integration, and device compatibility restrictions should be considered by restaurants needing a POS better tailored to their budget and needs.

Now, I will review some of the top competitors of Lightspeed worth considering for your business. We’ll look at POS systems like Toast, TouchBistro, and Square, examining their pricing models, contract terms, integrations, and hardware compatibility compared to Lightspeed.

If you’re feeling limited by Lightspeed’s high costs without its processor, expensive rates for small businesses, required annual contracts, integration challenges, or iOS-only device support, one of these more affordable and flexible alternatives could be a better match for your restaurant’s needs.

Toast: Best for businesses that require a complete set of restaurant-focused features

Toast customer facing display

Toast has recently surfaced as a formidable competitor in the restaurant technology sector. With its swift expansion and a succession of high-profile acquisitions, Toast aims to become an all-encompassing restaurant operating system, positioning itself as a comprehensive solution for restaurants.

Fast Company recognized Toast as one of the most groundbreaking companies of 2023. The platform offers a rich suite of features, inclusive of payment processing, inventory and menu administration, marketing and consumer loyalty programs, staff management, control of labor and food costs, business reporting, and a plethora of other services.

Toast serves a broad spectrum of food service and hospitality businesses, including full-service restaurants, fast-food centers, cafes, bars, food trucks, and more.

Also, due to its high scalability, Toast matches well with businesses of all sizes – from small cafes to larger multi-venue establishments. As your business expands over time, the system is designed to scale up efficiently alongside your growth.

Why Toast is an Alternative to Lightspeed

Payment Processor: While Toast does use a proprietary processor (Toast Payments), the system’s integration allows for a seamless and efficient process that could potentially outweigh the cost factor. However, if using a non-proprietary processor is a priority for you, this may be an area of compromise.

Affordability: Toast falls mid-range in terms of overall software and hardware fees. It offers a choice of different pricing tiers based on the features and functionality required, making it an affordable option for small and medium-sized businesses that need flexibility.

Contract Terms: Toast does require a one-year contract, which might not be as flexible as some other POS systems that offer month-to-month or pay-as-you-go options.

Robust Integrations: Where Toast shines is in its API, which allows for custom integrations. It can seamlessly connect with a variety of third-party apps and technologies, enabling you to create a system that matches your restaurant’s unique needs.

Cross-Platform Hardware Compatibility: Toast’s hardware is Android-based, providing an alternative for businesses looking to diversify from iOS-exclusive systems. With its open-system nature, it can integrate with a wide range of Android devices and peripherals.

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

Quick Start Bundle: Starting at $0/month

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

Core Plan: Subscription starting at $69/month

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

Growth Plan: Subscription starting at $165/month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toast Go device

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

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

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

Toast customer facing display

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

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

Toast Tables waitlist dashboard

Innovative 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.

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

Square for Restaurants: Perfect for user-friendly operations for new or smaller businesses

Square began as a generic POS system, but it has impressively developed Square for Restaurants to suit the distinct demands of food service businesses.

With its modern, user-friendly interface, the POS is a fitting solution for many types of food service ventures. What makes it unique? Its user-friendly design, complimentary basic plan, and powerful marketing features.

Read more: Top Restaurant Challenges Square Aims to Resolve

Why Square is an Alternative to Lightspeed

Here’s how Square could be a better choice for restaurants:

Payment Processing: Square does rely on its proprietary payment processor; however, it excels in delivering smooth transactions which may outweigh the limitation of choice in this aspect.

Affordable for Small Businesses: Square offers a subscription-free plan, making it affordable, especially for small businesses. There are no long-term contracts – a beneficial point for startups or small establishments needing flexibility.

Flexible Contract Terms: Square’s no-contract policy offers the flexibility needed for changing business needs, making it more adaptable compared to services that require annual contracts.

Robust Integrations: Square integrates excellently with the broader Square ecosystem and supports various prominent third-party apps crucial to business operations.

Cross-platform Hardware: The Square Point of Sale app is available on compatible Apple iOS and Android devices. Square’s payment processing works with its POS and hardware, and you can accept payments anywhere customers are, including in-person, online, and mobile payments. Square’s hardware accessories, such as the Square Reader for contactless and chip, are compatible with both iOS and Android devices

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

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

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

Example pricing of some add-ons:

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

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

Contract length

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

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

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

Square terminal

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

Square contactless card reader

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

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

Square restaurant POS mobile kit device

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

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

Square mobile POS kit

Noteworthy Features of Square

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

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 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.

Square online website builder

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 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.

Square marketing assistant dashboard


  • 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 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.

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

TouchBistro: Best for small to medium-sized full-service restaurants preferring iOS platforms

TouchBistro dashboard on iPad

TouchBistro stands out as an excellent pick for independent full-service restaurants but is equally effective for other types of eateries needing an easy-to-use and fast system.

This system offers an intuitive design and many restaurant-specific features. Its hybrid cloud/server system provides constant access to your data while ensuring its security.

TouchBistro is a versatile solution for small to medium-sized full-service restaurants, quick-serve locations, bars, and cafes.

However, larger chains, hotel restaurants, or other businesses with complex multi-location needs may find it less suitable.

Why TouchBistro is an Alternative to Lightspeed

Payment Processing: Payment processing fees depend on whether 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.

Affordable for Small Businesses: TouchBistro is notably effective for independent full-service restaurants and small to medium-sized businesses, given its attractive pricing starting at $69 per month.

Contract Terms: TouchBistro requires a contract commitment, and the contract term is provided in the quote you get directly from TouchBistro.

Robust Integrations: While TouchBistro has fewer integrations than the competition, it still provides crucial features like kitchen display systems, reservations, online ordering, menu management, tableside ordering, and profit management. These features integrate well with each other, providing a comprehensive ecosystem for restaurant management.

Cross-Platform Hardware: TouchBistro is designed for use on Apple devices, offering a quick-to-master solution.

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

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

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

Add-on pricing (starting at):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TouchBistro hardware devices

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

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

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

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

TouchBistro screenshot of sales dashboard

Innovative Features of TouchBistro

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.

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.

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.

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 loyalty marketing screen
TouchBistro loyalty marketing screen

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.

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

SpotOn: Best for competitive processing fees and flexibility in contract terms

new SpotOn hardware

SpotOn is one of the leading cloud-based restaurant POS systems. Other similar systems include Toast, TouchBistro, Lightspeed, and Square. These newer systems are taking the place of older legacy systems like NCR and Oracle.

SpotOn is a good fit for a variety of restaurants, especially fine-dining and casual restaurants, as well as quick-service restaurants, bars, and food trucks.

All the core restaurant POS features and hardware devices that you would expect are included as well as many advanced features and add-ons.

In fact, I think it’s notable how many features and hardware choices SpotOn has considering it’s a relative newcomer in the restaurant POS scene.

The company was founded in 2017 and is headquartered in San Francisco. SpotOn serves the restaurant, sports, entertainment, and retail markets, with a primary focus on the restaurant and sports/entertainment sectors.

Why SpotOn is an Alternative to Lightspeed

Here’s how SpotOn might be a better choice for restaurants when considering the 5 factors mentioned:

Payment Processing: SpotOn offers competitive credit card processing fees when using their own payment processing with rates as low as 1.99% + $0.25 per transaction. However, if you choose not to use SpotOn’s payment processing services, your monthly cost increases from $25 to $195, making it less cost-effective for those who prefer an alternative payment processor.

Affordable for Small Businesses: SpotOn is suitable for a variety of businesses, including small restaurants and food trucks, with a starting monthly fee of $25 for those using SpotOn’s payment processing service. It has a relatively low cost of entry considering both the software and hardware fees.

Flexible Contract Terms: SpotOn offers a month-to-month payment model without requiring any long-term contracts. This gives restaurants the flexibility to try out the system without making a long-term commitment.

Robust Integrations: SpotOn is designed to integrate with other software and systems, making it easy for restaurants to work with the technology they already use. The POS system supports online ordering, labor management, reporting, and other modern restaurant-specific features.

Cross-platform Hardware: SpotOn is a Windows-based system, that provides its own excellent hardware devices as well as support for Android and iOS devices.

SpotOn offers three main pricing plans for restaurants, each with different features and costs. Here’s a simple breakdown of each plan:

Quick Start

  • Ideal for: Small counter-service restaurants or cafes.
  • Subscription Cost: $0 per month.
  • Transaction Fees: 2.89% + 25 cents per transaction. (There are processing minimums that apply.)
  • Included Hardware:
    • 15” Station hardware bundle with a guest-facing display, among other items.
  • Software:
    • Cloud-based Restaurant POS software.
    • Access to a powerful dashboard for marketing, reporting, review management, and SpotOn Capital.


  • Ideal for: Counter-service restaurants needing essential employee and guest engagement features.
  • Subscription Cost: $99 per month plus $3 per employee each month.
  • Initial Hardware Cost: $850 outright or available through financing.
  • Transaction Fees: 1.99% + 25 cents for most card transactions.
  • Included Hardware:
    • 10″ Counter hardware bundle with a guest-facing display, among other items.
  • Software:
    • Cloud-based Restaurant POS software with added employee management features.
    • Commission-free online ordering system.
  • Additional Features:
    • More features and software options are available upon request.


  • Ideal for: Full-service restaurants looking for a fully integrated system with tools to boost revenue.
  • Subscription Cost: $135 per month plus $3 per employee each month.
  • Initial Hardware Cost: $1,350 for a Station and Kitchen Display System (KDS) hardware bundle or available through financing.
  • Transaction Fees: 1.99% + 25 cents for most card transactions.
  • Included Hardware:
    • 15″ Station hardware bundle.
    • Kitchen Display System (KDS) touchscreen monitor with Fresh KDS software.
  • Software:
    • Cloud-based Restaurant POS software with employee management.
    • Online ordering and QR order & pay functionalities.

Considering all of the features offered by SpotOn POS, the price is worth it. SpotOn Payments has very low commission rates on the Counter-service and Full-service plans, so for many types of restaurants, this is a good deal.

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

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.

  • 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

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

GoTab: Great for restaurants seeking transaction-based pricing without long-term commitments

GoTab POS website

GoTab is a versatile and innovative restaurant POS and commerce platform founded in 2016 with a mission to improve the operation and service of the hospitality industry through technology.

Offering a range of features GoTab focuses on contactless service, mobile ordering, payment, and efficient communication. Its user-friendly interface, integration with various systems, and real-time analytics provide restaurant owners the tools they need to modernize their operations, increase efficiency, and drive growth.

GoTab works on virtually any web-enabled mobile device, meaning you can use your existing hardware and save costs.

Why GoTab is an Alternative to Lightspeed

Payment Processing: GoTab operates on a proprietary payment processing system. They have a competitive, transaction-based pricing model which means there are no monthly costs unless transactions are being made.

Affordable for Small Businesses: As GoTab employs a transaction-based pricing structure, it does not burden small businesses with regular subscription fees. This makes it an attractive proposition for small businesses where transaction volumes may vary.

Flexible Contract Terms: GoTab does not require any contract. This means restaurants have the freedom and flexibility to adopt their POS system without commitments, providing flexibility, especially for businesses still exploring the best fit for their operations.

Cross-platform Hardware: GoTab offers a diverse range of hardware options and can run on any Internet-connected Android, iOS, or Windows tablet or phone.

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

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

Processing Fees:

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

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

GoTab is only available in the US.

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

Some key features of their hardware offerings are:

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


Innovative Features of GoTab

GoTab enables a personalized ordering and payment process for every guest at your restaurant. With features like mobile ordering, diners can enjoy quick, secure service without the need for an app. This versatility allows customers to order and pay in the way that suits them best, either in-person, online, or via mobile.

Dynamic Menu Management

GoTab’s system allows for rapid adjustments to your menu as and when required. This provides you with the ability to respond in real time to changes in inventory availability, reintroduce previously discontinued favourites, or introduce seasonal specials. Such agility assists in maintaining a lively, responsive menu.

Touch-Free Ordering and Payment

GoTab empowers your customers to explore your menu and place orders entirely via their smartphones. This non-contact ordering and payment strategies limit in-person interactions, potentially improving safety and convenience. The system that operates without conventional point-of-sale terminals ensures maximum flexibility for an enhanced customer experience.

Integrated Service

GoTab combines all aspects of the dining experience into a single unified system under your management. This encompasses everything from accessing menus to settling bills. It simplifies the process of ordering meals, beverages, condiments, managing tips, and more, aiming to streamline your operations and boost efficiency.

Future-proof Competitive Advantage

Contact-free and mobile ordering are fast becoming a standard expectation among consumers. GoTab equips your restaurant to proactively meet these emerging trends, offering a competitive advantage. It enables you to rapidly adapt to evolving protocols, safety requirements, and technology advancements.

More information on GoTab:

To learn more and to try GoTab out, head over to gotab.com

5 Things to Watch for in Lightspeed Competitors

  1. Pricing without proprietary processor – See if monthly costs stay low without being forced to use their payment processor.
  2. Affordable for small businesses – Find systems with lower overall software and hardware fees.
  3. Flexible contract terms – Look for month-to-month or pay-as-you-go options versus annual contracts.
  4. Robust integrations – Check that competitors seamlessly connect with all the apps and tech your restaurant uses.
  5. Cross-platform hardware – Ensure the POS works with Android and other devices in addition to iOS.

For restaurants wanting open payment processing, budget-friendly rates, short-term commitments, tight integrations, and multi-device support, Lightspeed competitors are worth evaluating.

Summary: What is The Best Lightspeed Competitor for You

Choosing the best alternative to Lightspeed largely depends on your business’s unique needs and preferences. Each of the discussed restaurant POS systems presents a variety of strengths that could make them a more fitting choice.

Toast: Designed for the restaurant industry, Toast offers a comprehensive set of features, including inventory management, online ordering, and customer loyalty programs. Their pricing is customizable and they provide a range of hardware options (including handheld devices) for tableside ordering. Toast, however, uses its proprietary payment processor, which could be a consideration for businesses that prefer using other payment services.

Square: Square is a user-friendly solution for mainly smaller food service businesses. It offers an affordable starting plan with added premium features available at additional costs. The system easily integrates with various third-party apps, and it works with iOS, Android, and Square hardware devices such as the Square Terminal. As with Toast, Square employs its proprietary payment processor, which might not be ideal if you prefer using an alternative provider.

TouchBistro: Best suited for independent full-service restaurants and small to medium-sized businesses. Its pricing is affordable, and it has strong offline functionality. However, it’s predominantly geared towards iOS users, so it may be less suitable if you prefer using Android or other platforms.

SpotOn: This system offers competitive credit card processing fees and provides the flexibility of a month-to-month payment model. It is integrated with modern, restaurant-specific features but shifts towards a higher cost if you don’t utilize their payment processing.

GoTab: GoTab operates without contracts, making it very flexible for businesses. It uses a proprietary payment processing system with a transaction-based pricing model, making it a cost-effective solution for businesses only wanting to pay per transaction.

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

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