POS Systems for Restaurants

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Buyer's Guides - PoS Systems for Restaurants

Some buyer's guides which recommend PoS systems based on restaurant size and needs include guides from GetApp, Software Advice, Capterra, Toast, TouchBistro, Tech.Co, and Oracle. A white paper on the topic of choosing POS systems was also published by QSR Magazine.


  • This is a buyer’s guide with an option to choose products depending on your needs. Products may be filtered by type of store, size, price, and rating.
  • The Software Advice Buyer's Guide highlights the following insights regarding choosing POS systems:
    • 1.) POS software choice should be based on business size.
    • 2.) Top-requested POS features and recommended POS software functionality, such as spoilage reporting for all restaurants and a reservation system for all formal sit-down restaurants should be a consideration in choosing POS systems.
    • 3.) The typical budget for a POS system and the pros and cons of cloud-based and on-premise POS software should also be considered in choosing POS systems.


This is a buyer’s guide which also features an option to choose POS systems based on pricing options, popular features, number of users, and deployment. A filter system on this guide makes it easy for restaurant owners to choose a POS system based on their needs.
  • The Capterra Buyer's Guide highlights the following insights regarding choosing POS systems:
    • 1.) Owners should consider the big picture especially if there is a plan to scale to become a chain of restaurants.
    • 2.) The ease of use should be a priority in choosing a POS system.
    • 3.) The use of wearable technology is recommended for seamless purchases and the use of self-service kiosks to cut down on labor and misheard orders.


  • This is an equipment buying guide that features choices that depend on the different types of restaurant such as full service/fine dining, fast casual, pizzeria, bar, cafe/bakery, and food truck. The guide is divided into sections according to the different types of restaurants for ease of reading.
  • The Toast Equipment Buyer's Guide highlights the following insights regarding choosing POS systems:


  • This is a buyer’s guide that aims to help business owners decide whether to upgrade their equipment or not. It also aims to help owners reduce cost, increase revenue and profitability, improve customer satisfaction, reduce food order placement time, and improve staff productivity.
  • The Touch Bistro Buyer's Guide highlights the following insights regarding choosing POS systems:


  • This guide features a side-by-side comparison of the top restaurant POS systems. It compares each system depending on its price, hardware, key features, and on what type of restaurant it is best for.

  • The Tech.Co Buyer's Guide recommends the following POS systems:
    • 1.) TouchBistro is the best all-around POS for restaurants for its versatile interface and strong inventory and staff management options.
    • 2.) Square as the second-best for its ease-of-use, full-packed features, and reasonable support team.
    • 3.) Lightspeed Restaurant as the third best for being the best in third-party integration. Third-party apps such as loyalty programs and employee scheduling can easily be integrated onto this POS system.


  • This is a white paper that highlights the 9 most important considerations an owner should consider in choosing a POS system. These considerations are: 1) ease of use, 2) cost and value, 3) fast customer checkout, 4) reporting capabilities, 5) uninterrupted service, 6) customization, 7) data security, 8) ability to scale and 9) customer support.
  • QSR Magazine's white paper highlights the following insights regarding choosing POS systems:
    • 1.) Ease-of-use should be the most important consideration in choosing a POS system. They recommend POS systems that have an intuitive interface, require simple employee training, feature a mild learning curve and pre-configured hardware.
    • 2.) The next consideration should be the cost and value. Investment in a POS system should result in a strong ROI, outweigh the cost of business, as well as be customizable depending on the exact needs of the business and have the option to scale.
    • 3.) The third most important consideration should be that the POS system should feature fast customer checkout. Fast order processing, hybrid architecture for uninterrupted service, customer-facing display, and a touchscreen interface are features that should be checked when choosing a POS system.


  • This is a buyer’s guide similar to the buyer's guides of Software Advice and Capterra. In this buyer's guide, POS systems can be filtered based on pricing models, devices supported, organization types, geographies served, and the third party apps it is integrated with.

  • The GetApp Buyer's Guide recommends the following POS systems:
    • 1.) Square Point of Sale for its value for money and support for all types of devices.
    • 2.) Cake for quick and full-service restaurants due to its simplicity and low cost.
    • 3.) TouchBistro as their Best POS System for 3 years, citing its iPad POS system as its winning feature.


This is a complete guide and the most comprehensive guide in this list. Not only does it recommend choices for buyers, but it also aims to help restaurant owners figure out their POS needs.

  • Oracle's Decision Guide highlights the following insights regarding choosing POS systems:

Research Strategy:

We were able to compile a list of buyer's guides for restaurant POS systems by searching through websites such as GetApp, Software Advice, Capterra, and Tech.Co. These guides feature filters that help restaurant owners choose POS systems based on the size of their restaurants and their needs. We were also able to find comprehensive buyer's guides from top companies that sell their own POS systems such as TouchBistro and Toast. Seeing as these guides do not contain any explicit biases and they utilized relevant statistics and hard data, we have opted to include these guides in this research. We have also included the white paper published by QSR magazine on the topic of choosing a POS system for restaurants and Oracle's Smart Decision Guide on restaurant management and POS systems.
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Best Practices - PoS Systems for Restaurants

One of the most important steps in choosing a POS system for a restaurant is for owners to make a list of both must have and nice to have features. This step will lead the search for a system that provides all the required functionality.

Determining the type of system to buy

  • There are 3 main types of POS systems for restaurants: traditional, mobile, and self-serve.
  • Traditional systems have been around since the 1980s and typically consist of several stationary terminals that are all connected to a central server located somewhere in the restaurant. Data can typically only be accessed on site but the systems generally offer many services including reservations, splitting bills, takeout/delivery, and managing inventory.
  • Traditional systems also tend to run on proprietary hardware that require visits from technicians to repair when something goes wrong. Mobile systems generally are cloud-based systems where the hardware required is flexible (think iPad or android tablet).
  • Mobile systems allow the servers to bring the system to the customers and also allow for integration with other systems. Restaurants can have one software for payments but integrate it with other programs that handle inventory, loyalty programs, employee management and more. These systems can also better accommodate the various ways that today's consumers expect to be able to pay, including chips, pins, and e-wallet apps.
  • Self-serve kiosks appeal to millennials and Gen Z customers who are accustomed to interacting with technology. This type of system can reduce labor costs, as fewer employees are needed for taking orders, and has also been shown to increase order size.
  • Determining the type of system that will work best for a given restaurant will immediately narrow down the choices.

List of needs

  • Arguably the most important step in choosing a POS system for a restaurant is making a list of the must have features. Each system will have its own unique offerings and the best system is often going to be the one that does what a particular restaurant needs. For example, a data-driven restaurant will need a system with robust reporting capabilities, while a foodie chef who changes the menu often will need a system that links inventory to menus and can accurately track ingredients.
  • In addition to a must have list, it is recommended to create a "nice to have" list. This will help eliminate some systems and narrow down the choices.
  • Although each restaurant's must have list will vary, some standard features to consider include quick checkout, ease of use, inventory management, robust reporting, easy setup, reservation and takeout capabilities, excellent tech support, and marketing tools.
  • Other features that are typically important for all restaurants are the ability for the system to be customized, security of payments, and features for managing cash.

Benefits of the system

  • Restaurants need to ensure that the benefits they are receiving from the POS system justify the cost. There should be benefits for owners, waitstaff and customers.
  • The benefits for owners include increased sales, detailed reports to help with decision-making, and more streamlined payroll processes.
  • The benefits for waitstaff include more efficient and easier payment transactions, simplified order taking when mobile systems are used, and easier cash register reconciliation.
  • For customers, the right POS system can increase the security of payments, allow for the convenience of many payment types, and decrease the wait time for paying the bill.

Recommended steps to follow

  • Determine the needs of the restaurant, including both must have and nice to have features.
  • Determine the type of system that is the best fit for the restaurant, based on both needs and cost.
  • Start researching systems and make a list of those that fit the criteria from the first two steps.
  • Reach out to companies and book demos of the systems that seem like a fit. Be sure to have a list of questions to ask during each demo to ensure that consistent information is obtained from each potential vendor.

Research Methodology

To determine the best practices for choosing a restaurant POS system, we looked for expert articles on industry sites such as QSR Magazine, Restaurant Business Online, Restaurant Den, and RestoHub. We found several articles with recommendations on how to choose a POS system and chose the practices that were mentioned the most often to include in our report. All practices included were recommended by multiple experts in articles written within the past 20 months.

Did this report spark your curiosity?


From Part 01
  • "Finding software can be overwhelming. We've helped thousands of restaurateurs choose the right restaurant POS software so they can analyze food sales and navigate a tip-based payroll."
  • "5. Considerations when purchasing restaurant POS software Consider the big picture for your restaurant. When evaluating restaurant POS systems, consider looking for a solution that not only manages a single restaurant, but also simplifies ordering and table management for an entire chain of restaurants/bars. Look for systems that streamline inventory or deliveries across multiple locations, and consider integration capabilities with other restaurant management software. Shortlist products that not only meet your current business needs, but support future expansion."
  • "Buying Considerations & Evaluation Checklist Increasing revenue and margins, by even a few percentage points, can make a world of difference for food service businesses, often to the point of success and failure. It’s no wonder, then, that so many restaurant operators are looking to technology to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Research shows, almost 24% of restaurant operators who have not purchased a new restaurant POS System within the past 3 years are planning to do so in the next 12 months."
  • "Take these key decisions into consideration when selecting the best fit POS system for your business: 1. Ease of Use 2. Cost and Value 3. Fast Customer Checkout 4. Reporting Capabilities 5. Uninterrupted Service 6. Customization 7. Data Security 8. Ability to Scale 9. Customer Support"
  • "Chapter 2: Buying Considerations No restaurant management and POS system, no matter how advanced, will save a restaurant with mediocre food, lousy service and poor ambiance — and, usually for those reasons, a scarcity of customers — from shuttering its doors. "
  • " For other restaurants, even those that are only moderately successful, however, integrated platform capabilities that increase efficiency and effectiveness in unprecedented ways can make a colossal difference in terms of a restaurant’s overall financial performance. "
From Part 02
  • "You’ll need an internet connection most of the time to process orders through your POS, and you will always need an internet connection to process credit card and debit transactions. Some POS systems, however, can still function if the internet goes down. You’ll want to ask about this when you’re shopping for a POS."
  • "When researching restaurant POS systems get an idea about how the companies do business. You will build a close relationship with your POS company as a partner in your restaurant. You want a company you can trust to provide a quality product and the support you need."
  • "One thing is for sure; you don’t want to wait until the last minute to purchase your new POS system. You want to give yourself plenty of time to research and compare the functions and features of the different systems you’re considering buying. Also, it can take some time to get your system installed and for you to learn the POS software, so expect the process to take at least 3-4 weeks in general."
  • "For most small business restaurant owners, the benefits and cost savings of a cloud-based POS solution far outweigh any marginal benefits that come from using on-premise software. For that reason, we consider “cloud-based” the first thing that you should look for in a restaurant POS."
  • "With the speed and versatility of the latest software that runs these, retailers and restaurateurs everywhere can effectively keep an eye on the various aspects of their business. They may be overlooked most of the time, but modern POS systems impact a business positively in so many ways."
  • "When purchasing a new restaurant POS system, keep in mind it plays a vital role in connecting all your restaurant activity. It is therefore crucial to ensure that you purchase the right software and hardware and that can only happen if you ask the right questions before you make a purchase."