POS Reviews

5 Best Square for Restaurants Alternatives

Square for Restaurants is a well-known name in the restaurant industry, however, it’s not your only option. Think you might want to find something that aligns more closely with your unique needs?

In this article, I’ll be exploring 5 leading alternatives to Square: Toast, TouchBistro, Lightspeed Restaurant, GoTab, and SpotOn.

I will take you through an extensive overview of each platform, scrutinizing key features, pricing, hardware requirements, their advantages and drawbacks, and overall how they measure against Square.

With this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to evaluate the POS system that best harmonizes with your restaurant’s specific goals and necessities.

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

Square logo graphic

Reasons to Explore Square Competitors

Square offers an affordable and easy-to-use POS system that makes it a great free option for restaurants just starting out.

However, as restaurants scale up, they may face limitations with Square’s functionality.

The reporting can be complex for larger, data-driven businesses, and Square lacks some advanced features like robust inventory management. It also provides little customization, which growing restaurants need to tailor the POS to their expanding requirements.

While an occasional system outage may be tolerable, reliability becomes critical as the business grows.

Square’s ecosystem is a strength it could also restrict the flexibility to integrate with new technologies.

So while Square is an ideal free POS system for new restaurants, those that achieve growth may want to graduate to a more advanced, customizable, and reliable POS alternative suited for large-scale operations.

Now, I will review some of the top competitors of Square worth considering as your restaurant scales up. We’ll look at advanced POS systems like Toast, Lightspeed, and TouchBistro, examining their robust features, customization, reliability, and flexible integrations compared to Square.

If you’re feeling limited by Square’s lack of advanced inventory management, complex reporting, customization limitations, occasional outage, or fewer integrations as you grow, graduating to one of these more powerful alternatives could better meet your restaurant’s needs at scale.


Toast customer facing display

Lately, Toast has become a big name in the world of restaurant tech. It has grown fast and acquired other businesses to be a complete solution for people running restaurants. Toast’s goal is to be a complete commerce platform for running your restaurant.

Fast Company named Toast one of 2023’s most innovative companies. It has a big list of features for your restaurant, like handling payments, managing your menu and inventory, marketing and loyalty programs, staff management, controlling food and labor costs, reporting, and a lot more.

Toast can work with many different food and hospitality businesses: everything from full-service and fast-food restaurants to cafes, bars, and food trucks.

Because Toast can handle a lot of growth, it can suit businesses big and small, and grow with you.

Why Toast is an Alternative to Square

Advanced features: Toast offers a more comprehensive set of features, including real-time inventory tracking, labor cost control, business reporting, and customizable dashboards, which provide more extensive functionality compared to Square.

Menu management: Toast’s menu management is highly customizable, allowing you to easily handle seasonal or rotating menus. This is a significant advantage over Square’s more time-consuming menu management process.

Customization: Toast’s system is tailored to cater to a wide variety of food and hospitality businesses, enabling you to adapt it specifically to your restaurant’s needs. Square, on the other hand, offers limited customization.

Integrations: Toast offers an Open API, which enables you to integrate with popular platforms like Grubhub and Uber Eats, or even create custom integrations to suit your specific needs. This open approach is an advantage over Square’s more limited integration options.

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


TouchBistro dashboard on iPad

TouchBistro is an excellent choice for independent, full-service restaurants, but also useful in managing operations for a variety of dining establishments.

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, which means your data remains secure and readily accessible.

Ease of Use: TouchBistro is among the easiest POS systems to navigate. Its user-friendly design allows for quick learning and mastery, making it perfect for restaurants seeking a hassle-free system.

TouchBistro is a versatile solution for small to medium-sized full-service restaurants, quick-serve locations, bars, and cafes that benefit from a robust Kitchen Display System (KDS).

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

Why TouchBistro is an Alternative to Square

Advanced features: TouchBistro offers several advanced capabilities that Square lacks, such as a sophisticated Kitchen Display System (KDS), commission-free reservations, and an enhanced reservations management system. These features bring added functionality for restaurants at various scales and can streamline operations.

Menu management: TouchBistro simplifies menu organization and management, allowing for easy updates to in-venue and online menus, and personalization of various order types. These features make it more efficient and less time-consuming compared to Square’s menu management process.

Customization: TouchBistro is designed specifically for the restaurant industry and offers a highly customizable system to meet the unique needs of a wide range of dining establishments. This contrasts with Square, which provides limited customization in its restaurant-focused features.

Reliability: TouchBistro’s stability and reliability as a hybrid cloud/server system help ensure that its users have secure and readily accessible data even during network issues, providing an edge over Square.

Integrations: Though TouchBistro has fewer integrations than some competitors, it still presents a more open ecosystem when compared to Square, allowing for custom integrations according to users’ requirements. TouchBistro’s integrations include Profit Management with MarginEdge and delivery services like DoorDash Drive, enhancing overall functionality.

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

Lightspeed Restaurant

Lightspeed restaurant POS graphic

Founded in 2005, Lightspeed is a leading global provider of cloud-based point-of-sale and e-commerce solutions for the retail, hospitality, and golf industries. With teams across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific, Lightspeed serves businesses in over 100 countries worldwide.

Lightspeed’s unified hospitality platform is designed specifically to meet the needs of restaurants, cafes, bars, and other food and beverage establishments. It combines point-of-sale capabilities with integrated payments, inventory management, staff management tools, and powerful reporting insights.

As Lightspeed continues expanding its unified payments solution globally, many customers are already seeing benefits such as streamlined processes and cost savings compared to legacy systems and terminals. The company also frequently enhances the platform with advanced features like machine learning-powered analytics for restaurants.

For restaurant owners looking for an industry-leading cloud-based POS platform, Lightspeed provides a compelling option with global reach.

Why Lightspeed is an Alternative to Square

Advanced features: Lightspeed offers sophisticated features that Square lacks, as it combines point-of-sale capabilities with integrated payments, inventory management, staff management tools, and robust reporting insights. It also offers new features like machine learning-powered analytics for restaurants.

Menu management: While the information does not directly touch on menu management, Lightspeed’s organized menu layout that speeds up navigation significantly contributes to efficiency and improves overall service quality.

Customization: Lightspeed is highly customizable, catering to job-specific roles and enhancing security by safeguarding confidential data. This level of customization exceeds what Square offers.

Reliability: Lightspeed is hailed as a leading global provider, showcasing its reliability in consistently delivering services to businesses in over 100 countries worldwide.

Integrations: Lightspeed supports integration with more popular platforms like UberEats, DoorDash, and OpenTable, making it more flexible and open than Square.

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

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

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

All Essentials features, Loyalty program, Gift cards

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lightspeed hardware

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

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

Lightspeed restaurant examples of handheld hardware

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

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

Lightspeed menu management

Noteworthy Features of Lightspeed

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.

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.

Lightspeed’s payment processing platform integrates AI and blockchain technology for a single, universal sign-on at any point of purchase globally. Each transaction is recorded on a private blockchain, potentially enhancing security and traceability.

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 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.

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


new SpotOn hardware

SpotOn is a leading cloud-based restaurant POS system that competes with other modern platforms like Toast, TouchBistro, Lightspeed, and Square. These new digital systems are replacing outdated legacy POS solutions from vendors like NCR and Oracle.

Ideal for various restaurant types including fine dining, casual dining, quick service, bars, and food trucks, SpotOn offers all the core POS features and hardware you’d expect. Despite being a relatively new player founded in 2017, SpotOn provides many advanced functions and add-ons comparable to longer-standing rivals.

Based in San Francisco, SpotOn initially focused on restaurants, sports, entertainment, and retail. But the restaurant industry is now its primary market. For any restaurant looking to upgrade to a contemporary cloud-based POS, SpotOn should be considered along with top competitors like Toast and Lightspeed.

Why SpotOn is an Alternative to Square

Advanced features: SpotOn offers a wide range of modern and specific features for restaurants, including online ordering, digital waitlisting, reservations, labor management, and reporting features. Its offering of low credit card processing fees, no long-term contract requirement, and a variety of hardware options has made it a popular choice in the hospitality industry.

Menu management: SpotOn has an order feature that allows staff to take orders from customers via various methods, such as at the table, counter, or through online ordering, and then send these orders directly to the kitchen or bar. It supports any customizations or special requests, providing flexible menu management.

Customization: This POS system allows for custom menu builds and table layouts, adapting to the specific needs of the restaurant. Its flexible system can be tailored according to restaurant operations, making it easier for staff to use – something in which Square is often limited.

Reliability: SpotOn’s unique approach is aimed at working fluently with other software and systems, providing an integrated and smooth experience. Although its offline functionality isn’t as robust as some of its competitors, it provides handheld devices that enhance overall efficiency.

Integrations: SpotOn stands out with its ability to connect and work smoothly with other software and systems a suite of digital marketing tools alongside a reservation system and a loyalty rewards program. It also integrates with Google Order. This provides restaurants with the ability to work easily with existing technology.

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 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 Square

Advanced features: GoTab provides multiple sophisticated features such as contactless ordering, flexible menu & pricing setups, and auto-batching & tipping that Square might lack. Its marketing features include tools for customer segmentation, dynamic pricing, auto-gratuity, and promotions management, providing increased functionality.

Menu management: GoTab enables operators to update menus instantly across all their outlets with its advanced Menu Management features. This includes the ability to handle complex and constantly changing menus, which is something that proves more time-consuming with Square.

Customization: GoTab’s hospitality-focused platform offers a high level of customization. This includes tailored workflows and customer communication, enabling operators to mold the system to their unique needs, surpassing what Square offers in this realm.

Reliability: GoTab’s dedicated support and multiple happy customer testimonials suggest that it’s a reliable solution.

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 Square competitors

Square is a popular system for smaller food service businesses and is included in our review of the best restaurant POS systems.

However, here are some of the reasons to consider an alternative to Square:

  1. Advanced features – Look for robust capabilities like detailed inventory and reporting tools that Square lacks. Systems like Toast and Lightspeed offer more functionality.
  2. Menu management – Ensure competitors can handle complex, changing menus more easily than Square’s time-consuming process.
  3. Customization – Check for the ability to tailor systems to your restaurant’s specific needs. Square offers little customization.
  4. Reliability – Research uptime and outage history to avoid problems Square has faced (Source). Choose a stable provider.
  5. Integrations – Consider competitors with open ecosystems and abundant third-party integrations, unlike Square’s closed approach.

For restaurants needing advanced features, customizable options, complex menu support, reliability, and flexible integrations, Square alternatives are worth evaluating.

Summary: What is The Best Square Alternative for You

In conclusion, each of the POS systems – Toast, TouchBistro, Lightspeed, SpotOn, and GoTab – discussed here provide unique advantages over Square, making them potentially beneficial options for different restaurants:

Toast is a comprehensive POS system geared towards every kind of hospitality business. It stands out from Square through its robust inventory management and tableside ordering features. Toast’s POS software is more adaptable to the restaurant’s specific needs, providing notable advantages in customization and inventory management.

TouchBistro shines in its ease of use, the professional nature of the features offered, and its level of customization. It provides a more user-friendly interface and responsive customer support, making it potentially a more restaurant-friendly choice than Square.

Lightspeed offers powerful features not available in Square, including high-level POS capabilities, detailed inventory management, role-specific customization, and machine learning-powered analytics. Its open ecosystem supporting numerous integrations indicates that Lightspeed could be a more flexible and robust choice than Square.

SpotOn’s advantages over Square lie in its wide-ranging features, flexible menu management, custom menu builds and table layouts, and its ability to connect seamlessly with other software and systems, demonstrating it as a potentially better alternative for restaurants with specific requirements unfulfilled by Square.

GoTab outshines Square with some of its advanced features, the ability to handle complex and changing menus, a high level of customization, and extensive third-party integrations. It’s a contactless ordering system with sophisticated marketing tools and customer segmentation capabilities, indicating that it may be a more efficient and feature-rich choice than Square.

While Square forms an effective system for smaller food service businesses, these alternatives show promise for restaurants needing more advanced features, greater customization, complex menu support, high reliability, and plentiful third-party integrations.

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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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