What is the Best Restaurant POS Software? A Top 4 Comparison

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Angela Keen
November 8, 2021

If you are a restaurant owner, having the best restaurant POS system is a top priority to help you run your restaurant operations. You may be using one already, but perhaps it’s time for a change. In this article, we share our top 4 favorite restaurant POS systems to consider for your store. 

What is a restaurant POS system anyway?

A point-of-sale (POS) system is a crucial element of all successful retail operations, and especially for restaurants in today’s market. Simply put, the POS system is where transactions are made in your restaurant. Historically, this would have been a cash register, but with today’s technology,  POS systems allow restaurant owners to have mobility with cloud-based networks.

In addition to handling basic transactions, POS systems can also aid restaurant owners with other essential business functions, such as:

  • Reporting
  • Accounting
  • Inventory
  • Invoicing

Why is a POS system good for a restaurant?

Because of the high volume of credit card transactions and cash flow passing through a restaurant on a regular basis, a POS system is not just a good idea for a business—it’s a necessity. POS systems can strategically track every sales transaction within your restaurant. 

In addition to monitoring transactions, POS systems can also serve as credit card processors, making transactions safer and more secure for both your restaurant and your customers. 

Computerizing these processes helps you to have a better handle on your bookkeeping, cash flow, and inventory all at once. As a business owner, you can also help to minimize employee theft as your employees will not be able to alter any of their computerized checks in the system without your approval.

What should I look for in the best restaurant POS system? 

When it comes to finding and choosing the best POS system for a restaurant, it’s going to come down to three fundamental things—what you want, what you are looking for, and what you need. The best restaurant POS system should not only cover all of the things you are looking for but also provide you with these basic benefits:

  • Efficient management of sales
  • Hassle-free transactions
  • Better-kept inventory
  • Higher levels of security
  • Improved business reporting
  • Smoother flow with your kitchen
  • Improved customer loyalty
  • Better labor management
  • Clearer menu display
  • Streamlined accounting

How should you choose the best POS system for your restaurant?

As you can see, a POS system  is a critical tool for a restaurant, which is why finding the best POS system is so crucial for your business. With so many different features available, it can be tricky to narrow down your options. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you focus your priorities when choosing a POS system of your own.

  • Do you have a credit card processor?
  • Will your restaurant accept mobile payments?
  • Is online ordering a feature your restaurant needs?
  • Do you want to allow customers to tip on screen?
  • Will you need the ability to split checks or keep tabs open?
  • Does your inventory management need to be on an ingredient level?
  • Will you need to be able to accept online reservations?
  • Do you need Quickbooks integration?
  • Is table or floor management a feature you will require?
  • Do you need to be able to print to your kitchen?
  • Are you looking for employee time card management functions?
  • Will you need to sell items by weight?
  • Are there any other features you’d need from your POS system?

What is the best restaurant POS system?

Finding the best restaurant POS system will be dependent on your particular business needs but in an attempt to answer this question we reviewed the top 4 restaurant POS companies and wrote our honest reviews.

TouchBistro POS

TouchBistro Restaurant POS

TouchBistro is thought by some  to be the best restaurant POS system because of its attractive interfacing with easy-to-use features. Run your entire restaurant by using a single iPad, even if you lack an Internet connection. You can even sync devices if you decide that your operation should simultaneously run off multiple iPads.

Who it’s best for

Full-service restaurants looking for a sleek and straightforward POS system should turn to TouchBistro. For restaurant businesses with ten or fewer POS stations, TouchBistro is an excellent option.

What we like

  • Integration capabilities with third-party delivery apps
  • Allows for the use of Square
  • Excellent in-house reservation system
  • It does not require the use of the internet

What is missing

  • Add ons can make monthly fees pricey
  • Does not allow online payments

What it costs

The basic pricing model for TouchBistro is $69/month. Added features get combined with the monthly fees and are broken down as follows:

  • Reservations: $229/month
  • Loyalty: $49/month
  • Gift cards: $25/month
  • Online ordering: $50/month

Powerful integrations

While TouchBistro is not the most extensive in terms of reporting and management features, there are additional add ons (listed above) that can be bolted on.

The Push X TouchBistro integration helps to improve some of your reporting capabilities by automatically sending your sales and labor data from your POS to Push Operations. Improve your accuracy with scheduling, planning, and forecasting with the help of the Push Operations integration.

Lightspeed POS

Lightspeed Restaurant POS

Lightspeed Restaurant offers an iPad POS system for restaurants at an affordable price. Best of all, Lightspeed Restaurant works well for restaurants of all sizes and service styles, from quick service to full-service.

Who it’s best for

Restaurant owners looking for an affordable all-in-one POS system can find precisely what they’re looking for with Lightspeed Restaurant.

What we like

  • Customer-facing loyalty app
  • Reservation management
  • In-depth ingredient management with notifications of low inventory
  • Affordable base pricing

What is missing

  • The flat-rate payment processing model isn’t ideal for high-volume restaurants
  • Add on features can significantly add to the monthly software fee

What it costs

The basic monthly software fee for Lightspeed Restaurant is $69/month, billed on an annual basis. Added features, such as the powerful integrations listed below, come at an extra cost.

Lightspeed Restaurant can also handle payment processing, with a flat-rate fee of 2.6% + $0.10 for each transaction. If you are a high-volume restaurant looking for lower processing fees, you have the option to integrate with an outside processor at a fee.

Powerful integrations

If you’re looking for added features, such as KDS, customer-facing displays, QuickBooks integrations, etc, Lightspeed Restaurant has these capabilities. 

Another powerful integration of the Lightspeed Restaurant POS is the Push X Lightspeed integration. Integrate an entire HR system with Push Operations, helping you save time and money as a business owner. Reduce errors, streamlining workflow, and lower labor and payroll costs through the help of the Push Operations integration.

Square POS

Square Restaurant POS

Square for Restaurants offers an excellent POS system at a price competitors can’t beat. With an extremely easy to use interface, Square hits the nail on the head in terms of details specific to restaurant operations. 

Who it’s best for

Restaurants looking for optimal customization in their POS system, including the ability to have a free system.

What we like

  • Employee management included
  • Works on either Square Register or iPad
  • Free online ordering
  • Free plan available

What is missing

  • No reservation management is available
  • It does not include your merchant account

What it costs

Square offers a free monthly plan with very basic features. It operates through an iPad, or you can opt to purchase a Square Register at $799/each. The more restaurant-specific reporting tools can be paid for at $60/month in the Plus version.

Processing rates are flat and pay as you go at 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction. For customers who pay through your free Square Online Store, you will be charged a higher rate of 2.9% + $0.30.

Powerful integrations

One of the most powerful integrations of Square is the Push X Square integration. With Push Operations, you can automate payroll, better understand labor, compare clocked hours, and take care of the employee’s HR lifecycle.

Squirrel POS

Squirrel Restaurant POS

Squirrel is a web-based restaurant POS system that provides a wide range of POS solutions and services. Known for its modular and versatile system, restaurant owners can choose from multiple hardware options, payment processing methods, and operation styles.

Who it’s best for

Best for smaller to medium-sized businesses, Squirrel is an excellent POS system and is simple yet packed in industry-specific tools.

What we like

  • Customer engagement features
  • Kitchen video display
  • Modular and configurable system
  • Easy to 86 items

What is missing

  • It can be slow at times
  • Could have more integration features available

What it costs

The essential cost for Squirrel is $60/month for one device. Any additional devices can be added at $20/month per device.

Powerful integrations

At this time, Squirrel has minimal integration capabilities, but the one that stands out the most is the Push X Squirrel integration. With the help of Push Operations, your Squirrel POS can help you pull in your restaurant and employee data to forecast your daily and weekly sales better.

What else do I need to know?

Ultimately, as a restaurant owner, you need to prioritize finding a high-quality POS system to run your operation. Whether you are new to the industry or looking to improve your services, finding the best restaurant POS system for your restaurant will be a critical decision sure to play a critical role in the success of your restaurant.

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