POS Reviews

TouchBistro vs. Square for Restaurants: Which POS is Better?

TouchBistro and Square are among the leading restaurant POS systems on the market.

Choosing the ideal fit for your requirements can seem challenging, but I’m here to help.

In this roundup, I will take an in-depth look at the main distinctions between these comprehensive restaurant management and commerce platforms.

Square vs TouchBistro

Here’s what we have on the menu:

  • An overview of both systems: TouchBistro and Square for Restaurants
  • A feature-by-feature comparison
  • My thoughts and observations on how the two platforms differ

By the end of this post, you will be well-equipped to determine which system best aligns with your needs. Ready to start?

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

TouchBistro – Tailored for the Restaurant Industry

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.

New staff members can bypass lengthy training – if they’re familiar with iPhones, they’ll master TouchBistro in no time. Customizable menus and interfaces help optimize operations over time.

TouchBistro’s User Base

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.

TouchBistro KDS

TouchBistro’s Standout Features

Kitchen Display System (KDS): TouchBistro’s KDS enhances order management and communication, integrating online orders, working offline, providing insightful analytics, and connecting with POS systems.

Reservations: TouchBistro offers online reservation capabilities, management tools, and guest data handling, with personalized reservation note options.

Online Ordering: TouchBistro allows direct ordering from your website, social media, and other platforms, eliminating third-party commissions. It integrates with TouchBistro Marketing and simplifies delivery. However, additional fees apply when using delivery platforms other than DoorDash Drive.

Menu Management: Simplifies menu organization with automatic syncing to in-venue and online menus, along with upselling tools and personalization features for various order types.

Tableside Ordering: Improves customer service with staff taking orders at the table using handheld devices, easy bill-splitting, multiple payment options, and automated upselling.

Profit Management: In partnership with MarginEdge, improves real-time inventory tracking and cost management. It also calculates plate costs, adjusts menu pricing based on profit data, and helps with strategic decisions.

More information on TouchBistro:

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

Compare TouchBistro vs. top restaurant POS alternatives

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

Square: The Adaptable Jack-of-all-Trades

Square mobile POS kit

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

Who should opt for Square?

Square is an excellent option for:

  • Smaller Restaurants: Ranging from quick service eateries to upscale dining venues.
  • Cafes: Perfect for establishments serving coffee, tea, and light fare.
  • Food Trucks: Apt for on-the-move businesses seeking a mobile-friendly solution.
  • Fast-Casual Restaurants: Offers quick service without cutting corners on quality.
  • Bars and Breweries: Handles custom drink menus and ensures age verification.
  • Ghost Kitchens: Ideal for delivery-only ventures without a traditional dining area.

However, for high-traffic venues or full-service restaurants with complex operations, Square might fall short in some respects.

Square KDS

Key Features of Square for Restaurants

Payment Processing: Processes payments through Apple Pay, Android Pay, and all major credit cards. Payment transactions work even in the absence of an internet connection. Adheres to Payment Card Industry standards.

Square Team Management & Payroll: Features include staff scheduling, handling time-off requests, and customizing access levels. Fully integrates with Square Payroll for hassle-free payroll processing.

Square Online for Restaurants: Develop your mobile-friendly website for online ordering without any commission charges. You can offer options for curbside pickup, staff delivery, or courier service.

Square Marketing & Loyalty: Encourages engaging consumers through personalized email/text campaigns and social media integration. Customer Retention through automated campaigns and the loyalty program fosters repeat business.

Square Kitchen Display System (KDS): Assures alignment between front and back-of-house with real-time order updates. Includes customizable notifications and can set timers and alerts for optimum kitchen management.

Square is no longer just for retailers; it’s a formidable choice for restaurants, also.

More information on Square:

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

Compare Square vs. top restaurant POS alternatives

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

Feature Comparison: TouchBistro vs. Square

Ease of Use

TouchBistro: Designed to be intuitive and easy to use, even for those with no POS experience.

Square: Modern and familiar user interface design simplifies learning and operation. The system is easy to set up and doesn’t require much training.

Payment Processing

TouchBistro: Integrated and third-party payment processing with support for major credit cards, debit cards, and gift cards.

Square: Accepts payments via Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Wallet, as well as all major credit and debit cards. Square requires you to use its platform for payment processing.

Menu Management

TouchBistro menu management screen
TouchBistro menu management screen

TouchBistro: Advanced features to design menus, update prices, add modifiers and options, and manage categories.

Square: Decent basic menu management system, enables you to handle menu items, inventory, and pricing. You can create distinct menus for various times of day, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Inventory Management

TouchBistro: Inventory can be tracked in real-time in TouchBistro, with the system updating counts for each item used.

Square: Allows you to track essential information such as stock levels, cost of goods sold, and item variances. This helps maintain an accurate record of the inventory.

Employee Management

TouchBistro: Includes employee management tools like timecards, schedules, and permissions settings.

Square: Handles scheduling, managing, and paying employees from your Square POS. Integrated with Square Payroll, which automates tip and commission calculations.

Online Ordering & Delivery

TouchBistro Dine marketplace
TouchBistro Dine marketplace

TouchBistro: Supports online ordering on your own website and their own platform TouchBistro Dine with delivery through DoorDash.

Square online website builder
Menu built with Square Online

Square: Offers a free add-on Square Online that allows you to build and design your own mobile-optimized websites for online ordering. Supports multiple delivery options including on-demand DoorDash or Uber couriers.

Table Management & Reservations

TouchBistro reservation screen shot

TouchBistro: Includes table layouts, floor plans, and advanced online reservation capabilities with TouchBistro Reservations.

Square: A new feature for 2023 is the OpenTable and Square for Restaurants integration. Now, you can improve turn times and seat more guests with real-time table status alerts.

Customer Loyalty Programs

TouchBistro loyalty marketing screen
TouchBistro loyalty marketing screen

TouchBistro: Easy-to-use loyalty and rewards programs can be set up in TouchBistro through an add-on.

Square: Use the Square Loyalty add-on to offer rewards or gift cards for repeat visits. Enroll customers in the program at the checkout by having them enter their phone numbers.

Reporting & Analytics

TouchBistro: Includes sales, labor, inventory, and other reports and analytics to inform business decisions.

Square sales reports dashboard
Square sales report dashboard

Square: Provides insights into the best-selling dishes and menu items, tracks sales trends over time, and assesses the performance of individual employees.

Hardware Options

TouchBistro: Runs on iPads to take orders and process payments table-side. TouchBistro also provides a wide selection of other hardware.

Square POS stand for iPads
Square iPad stand

Square: Offers a variety of hardware options including Square Stand Restaurant Station, Restaurant Mobile POS Kit, Square Reader for Contactless and Chip, Square Terminal, and Square Register.

Third-Party Integrations

TouchBistro: No open API, but TouchBistro integrates with many third-party applications and services for added functionality.

Square: Part of a larger ecosystem of Square products, which means it can integrate with other Square services like Square Payroll and Team Management.

Payment and Credit Card Processing


  • TouchBistro Payments (US only)is powered by Chase and provides pricing through an innovative cost plus pricing model.
  • 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.


  • Variable Rates: Square offers variable rates based on the type of transaction—swipe, chip, or online.
  • Third-Party Integration: Square can integrate with other payment processors if you’re not willing to switch entirely.
  • Instant Transfers: Square offers instant transfers to your bank account for a small fee.

Hardware Compatibility


TouchBistro supports iPads 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 hardware devices

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.

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.


  • Compatible with iPads and most Android devices.
  • Can use existing hardware to some extent.
Square POS hardware
  • Square Stand Restaurant Station: This is a full setup that includes a cash drawer, receipt printer, and kitchen printer, making it a good fit for full-service restaurants.
  • Restaurant Mobile POS Kit: This kit is designed for mobile or pop-up setups. It includes a Square Reader for contactless and chip payments, a phone case, and a Samsung Galaxy A32.
  • Square Reader: This device is versatile and can be used in all types of restaurants. It has improved Bluetooth connectivity, enhanced security, and longer battery life.
  • Square Terminal: Priced at $299, this terminal can read all types of cards and provides full access to the Square POS system. It’s a versatile option that covers everything from taking payments to printing receipts.
  • Square Register: For those looking for an all-in-one solution, the Square Register is priced at $799 and includes a touchscreen card terminal facing the customer and a built-in card reader. All you need is WiFi.

Supported Countries

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

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

TouchBistro Pros and Cons

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

Square for Restaurants Pros and Cons

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


Both TouchBistro and Square offer user-friendly POS systems with key features tailored for restaurants.

TouchBistro shines with its specialized tools like tableside ordering, reservations, and robust kitchen display system.

Square wins on a free pricing plan pricing, extensive integrations, and powerful marketing capabilities. Restaurants should weigh factors like menu and order complexity, desired hardware, required integrations, and budget to choose the POS that best fits their needs.

Key Takeaways:

  1. TouchBistro simplifies restaurant operations with its intuitive iPad POS, while Square offers multi-platform hardware flexibility.
  2. TouchBistro provides transparent pricing, while Square has affordable monthly plans starting at $0.
  3. Square offers more extensive third-party integrations, while TouchBistro focuses on core restaurant-centric features.
  4. TouchBistro specializes in tableside ordering and reservations management to optimize customer service.
  5. Square provides superior marketing and loyalty capabilities to boost customer engagement.

In summary, TouchBistro excels at restaurant workflows while Square is better for adaptable hardware, marketing tools, and budget flexibility. Restaurants should carefully match their needs to the strengths of each platform.

Read more:
5 Best TouchBistro Alternatives & Competitors
5 Best Square for Restaurants Alternatives

Which types of restaurants may be better suited for TouchBistro or Square

TouchBistro may be a better a for:

  • Full-service restaurants – TouchBistro is designed for full-service restaurants, with features like tableside ordering, reservations, and robust kitchen display systems.
  • Mid-sized restaurants – The features and pricing of TouchBistro cater well to mid-sized restaurants with complex operations.
  • Restaurants wanting an integrated system – TouchBistro offers deep integration between its modules like online ordering, reservations, and loyalty programs.
  • Bars and breweries – TouchBistro provides specific support for bar tabs, creating and managing complex drink menus.
  • Restaurants that value simplicity – The intuitive iPad interface makes TouchBistro easy to use for restaurants that value simplicity.

Square may be better suited for:

  • Small counter-service restaurants – Square offers affordable pricing and quick setup for small, counter-service eateries.
  • Multi-location restaurants – Square’s ecosystem integrates smoothly across multiple locations.
  • Budget-conscious restaurants – Square has no monthly fees beyond card processing costs, appealing to cost-conscious restaurants.
  • Restaurants wanting flexibility – Square allows switching between plans and works across various devices.
  • Restaurants focused on marketing – Square provides powerful integrated marketing and loyalty capabilities.

In summary, full-service and mid-sized restaurants may benefit more from TouchBistro’s specialized capabilities, while small counter-service establishments may find Square’s flexibility and pricing better suited to their needs. The strengths of each system align with particular restaurant types.

Avatar photo

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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