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What is the best POS system for restaurants and hospitality businesses? Find out here

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What is the best POS system for restaurants and hospitality businesses? Find out here

By Daisy O'Malley - June 28, 2024

Is it an over-exaggeration to say that an effective point-of-sale POS system is crucial to restaurant success? 

We don’t think so. Think about it — a POS system is at the heart of your restaurant operations. 

It handles customer payments, streamlines the order process, and increases efficiency. Not to mention, it also provides valuable data about sales, productivity levels, and customer preferences. 

This is why it’s so important to have the right POS system for your business. Whether you’re running a coffee shop or a full-service restaurant, you need a system that has the features and functionality to support your operations. 

But with so many POS systems to choose from, how do you know which platform is right for your restaurant? 

You’ve come to the right place for answers! In this article, we walk through some of the top POS systems on the market. But first, let’s start with the key features to look out for. 

Key features to look for in a point of sale (POS) system

If you’re on the lookout for a new POS system or want to upgrade your current setup, here are some of the features you need:

  • Usability and interface. Keep an eye out for a POS system that’s simple and easy to navigate. With an intuitive system, you spend less time figuring out how the system works and more time using it effectively. 
  • Reporting and analytics. A POS system should provide sales, inventory, customer, and employee data that informs your decision-making to help you boost profits. For example, if you know that a particular dish is a top seller, you can tailor your menu accordingly. 
  • Payment processing. Your POS system should support multiple payment options, like credit/debit cards, mobile, and contactless payments. Ideally, it should also have fast transaction speeds and high reliability to ensure payments are quick and efficient. 
  • Integration capabilities. Integrating a POS with other software is vital for a seamless restaurant operation. It allows you to synchronise data across channels, streamlining your workflow and accessing valuable insights to make data-backed decisions. Take a look at Toast and Nory as an example. By integrating Toast’s ePOS system with our restaurant operating software, you can manage daily revenue, staffing, and supply chains from a central location. 

Nory success story 🥳 Find out how Griolladh used the Toast integration to gain essential visibility and control over their expanding operations. By predicting hourly sales with up to 95% accuracy, Griolladh optimised spending, lowered its costs, and enhanced profit margins.

“Nory has been with us every step of the way. It’s been incredibly helpful to the business, and has played pivotal role in the successful franchising of Griolladh.” – Jacob Long, Co-founder at Griolladh

Best POS systems by restaurant type

Now for the moment you’ve been waiting for! Keep reading to see our top POS systems, starting with the best platforms for coffee shops.

Best POS for coffee shops

The ordering process is quick in cafes, with multiple customers queuing at once to place their orders. So, other than all the features listed above, a coffee shop POS system also needs to enable fast and efficient order entry. 

Here are a couple of our suggestions that fit the bill: 

Square

Square is a versatile POS system known for its ease of use and comprehensive features, including payment processing, inventory management, and sales reporting. It also has hardware options, such as contactless card readers, terminals, and stands that connect with tablets and smartphones.

Square's POS system on mobile and desktop

(Image source)

So why has Square made the list for coffee shops? 

Because it enables quick and efficient transactions, which is crucial for busy coffee shop environments. It has a user-friendly interface and flexible hardware options, both of which create a smooth and seamless ordering process.

Lightspeed

Lightspeed is a robust POS system with specific functionalities for hospitality businesses. Detailed inventory management, menu optimisation, and analysing customer behaviour are just a few examples. 

Lightpseed's POS system, card reader, and hospitality worker

(Image source)

Lightspeed is ideal for coffee shops looking for an intuitive but sophisticated POS solution. It’s easy to use, but it has an advanced inventory management system that tracks stock levels and manages suppliers, ensuring that popular items are always available.

And if you integrate Lightspeed with Nory? You can use our AI features to make sure you’re stocked and ready to meet customer demand. Together, our systems analyse sales trends, peak times, and customer preferences to predict demand and order ingredients accordingly. 

Best POS for quick-service restaurants (QSRs)

Much like coffee shops, QSRs need POS systems that are quick and efficient. Customers expect a speedy service — with a slow POS, that isn’t going to happen. 

You also need a system that keeps track of inventory in real-time. With orders coming through so quickly, it can be hard to keep tabs on inventory and make sure the shelves are stocked to meet customer demand. But with real-time insights? You can easily see when you need to order more ingredients. 

Here are some POS systems that offer both of these functionalities. 

Toast

Toast is a POS system designed specifically for the restaurant industry. It offers features such as order management, payment processing, inventory tracking, and robust reporting. Plus, it provides both software and hardware solutions, such as touch-screen terminals and handheld devices for efficient tableside ordering.

Toast's POS system on mobile and desktop

(Image source)

For QSRs, Toast is an ideal POS solution. Its intuitive interface allows for fast order entry and processing, reducing wait times and improving customer satisfaction. The system also supports multiple payment methods, which speeds up the checkout process. 

And on top of this, Toast’s inventory management features track stock levels in real-time. Combine this with Nory’s restaurant operating system, and you’re in for a real treat. Accurately predict demand to ensure your QSR has all the items you need to fulfil customer orders — but without overspending on ingredients. 

Find out more about the Nory x Toast integration

SumUp

SumUp is a flexible POS system with features specifically for QSRs and fast food restaurants. It’s simple, efficient, and comes with a variety of hardware options to suit your operations. This includes self-service kiosks, point-of-sale solutions, card readers, and kitchen display screens (KDS) that all integrate seamlessly. 

SumUp's POS system and payment processing platform

The self-serve kiosks even have an upsell feature, making suggestions for add-ons to increase order value. It speeds up the ordering process for customers and helps you boost revenue in the process. 

Vita Mojo 

Vita Mojo is a restaurant management POS system. It has a range of features tailored to the needs of QSRs, including the automation of manual tasks, menu management, and digital ordering solutions. 

The user-friendly interface and intuitive design also make it easy for staff to navigate in the fast-paced environment of a QSR.  

Vita Mojo's POS system on a tablet

(Image source

Vita Mojo also enables kiosk ordering, where customers can place orders themselves at self-service stations. This streamlines the ordering process, reduces errors, and enhances the overall dining experience for guests. 

Plus, Vita Mojo also has a wide range of reporting and analytics features, allowing you to make data-backed decisions about your QSR operations. 

Best POS for full-service restaurants (FSRs)

Full-service restaurants need a robust POS system. Why? Because they generally have more moving parts than other types of hospitality business. For example, creating complex menu items or managing table reservations. 

Here are some of the POS systems that have well-rounded functionality to suit an FSR. 

Revel

Revel is a cloud-based POS system designed to meet the needs of various industries, including restaurants, bars, and retail businesses. It offers a wide range of features, including order management, payment processing, inventory tracking, and customer relationship management.

Revel's POS system table management features

(Image source)

But why exactly is Revel the ideal POS for a full-service restaurant?

For one, Revel’s table management capabilities are incredibly useful. These features enable restaurants to manage table assignments, track table status, and streamline operations between front-of-house and kitchen staff effectively. 

The system also has robust reporting and analytics, providing insights into sales trends, inventory levels, and customer preferences. You can also track insights from your table management, identifying high-volume and slow-turning tables. 

All of this information helps restaurants make informed decisions to improve the bottom line. 

Toast

Toast is on our list again as an ideal POS solution for FSRs! Why? Because it has all the features and functionality you need to streamline your entire FSR operation:

  • Pace the dining experience perfectly with course firing controls and order-ready notifications
  • Simplify table management with Toast’s integrated waitlist and reservation solution, Toast Tables
  • Streamline customer payments to keep service moving quickly with Toast Go® 2
FSRs using Toast's POS system

(Image source)

And with an ecosystem of over 200 integrations, Toast can help FSRs create the perfect POS system for your specific needs. From planning and execution, you can manage every step of your FSR operation. 

Lightspeed

Lightspeed makes the list again as an ideal POS system for FSRs. The software makes it quick and easy to manage your entire FSR operation, with an intuitive interface that’s simple to navigate. This means you spend less time figuring out how to use the software, and more time running your FSR. 

Lightspeed POS for FSRs

(Image source)

One of the standout features of Lightspeed’s POS is its focus on the customer experience. For example: 

  • Track key customer data, like how often they return to your restaurant, how much they spend, and which menu items they order the most 
  • Personalise the dining experience with precise customer data
  • Use integrated payment software to take quick, contactless payments from customers 
  • Enhance the customer experience by splitting bills between diners, course, or item

In the busy and fast-paced environment of an FSR, these features help you put the customer at the heart of your operation. 

Find out more about using Lightspeed for your full-service restaurant

Best POS for catering and food trucks 

For catering and food trucks, a POS system needs to be flexible and portable. You might be moving locations or operating out of a small space — who knows? So you need something that can easily move with you and adapt to different venues. 

Here are some of our suggestions.

Square

That’s right — Square makes the list for the second time! Its mobility and ease of use warrants a second shout-out. 

Square’s hardware includes mobile card readers and terminals that seamlessly integrate with smartphones and tablets, making it flexible to use from any location. Take a look at the Square app as an example. You can take payments directly from your mobile phone, making it an ideal POS for operating from different locations. 

Customer paying for food on Square's mobile app

(Image source)

Tevalis

Tevalis is an EPOS system built specifically for the hospitality industry. The reason it’s made the list for food trucks and caterers is its mobile ordering solution, which has been shown to increase customer spending by 20-40%! 

Tevalis tabeside ordering system on tablet and mobile

(Image source)

Not only does the mobile ordering system increase spending, but it’s also practical. It’s portable and space-saving, making it ideal for travelling operations like caterers and food trucks. 

SumUp

As well as being a great solution for QSRs, SumUp also makes our list for food truck operators. 

There are a lot of features that make the SumUp POS useful for food trucks. You can take orders on the go, use contactless payments to speed up the order process, and instantly make price changes or menu updates. 

And even better? You don’t need to be directly at your food truck to make these changes. 

Food truck operator using SumUp POS

(Image source)

But one of the biggest selling points is SumUp’s offline functionality. 

As a food truck business, you’re likely operating from different locations that don’t always provide a solid internet connection. When this happens, SumUp’s Point of Sale Pro has you covered.  It can continue working even without internet access, meaning that your operations run smoothly and that all of your valuable data is safely stored.

Best POS for bars and pubs

For bars and pubs, a POS system needs all the features we listed above — plus a few others to really elevate the customer experience. 

Creating ongoing tabs is a useful feature, allowing customers to continually make orders and settle the bill at the end of the night. Tracking liquor is also beneficial, helping bars and pubs stay on top of liquor levels and ensuring shelves are stocked to meet demand. 

Here are a couple of POS systems that we’d suggest.

Lightspeed 

Lightspeed makes the list again as an ideal solution for restaurants, bars, and pubs that want a simple but efficient POS system. The platform is incredibly easy for bartenders and waiting staff to use. In a few taps, bartenders can browse through menus, submit customer orders, open tabs, and accept payments — all in the same system. 

Lightspeed POS for pubs & bars

(Image source)

Not to mention, the system allows you to design custom floor plans to accurately represent your bar or pub, and create as many menus as you need for different times of the day. 

Shift4

Shift4 is a POS platform that provides a speedy service for the fast-paced environment of a bar or pub. It’s a user-friendly system that streamlines operations, including features like online ordering reservation and waitlist management, and access to sales and performance data.

Shift4's POS system on desktop and tablet, tablet, and card reader

(Image source)

The mobile ordering and pay-at-the-table solution streamlines the order and payment process for customers, and makes it easier for staff, too. Why? Because it’s quick and easy to take orders and payments on a mobile device.  

Integrate your POS system with Nory

Good news, folks — Nory’s restaurant management system integrates with all these POS systems! That’s right, if you use our operating system to manage your restaurant, you can also use the POS systems to totally streamline your entire restaurant operation. 

This means you can: 

  • Analyse sales and performance in real-time. Track orders from your POS system and analyse them in real-time with Nory’s AI analytics. Make quick and informed decisions to increase profits and improve your bottom line. 
  • Streamline operations. From front-of-house to kitchen staff and everything in between, combine your POS with our operating system to totally overhaul and improve your entire restaurant operation. 
  • Accurately predict demand. Combine the data from the POS system with Nory’s AI-powered system, and we can accurately predict demand for your restaurant. Optimise your labour scheduling and improve your inventory management to serve customers during peak times. 

Nory success story 🥳 See how Masa accurately forecasts sales within a 3% margin using Nory, controlling labour costs to within just 1% of what they’d planned! 

“Constantly being able to see what your sales are, what your cost of labour is — and trusting that is really valuable.” – Shane Gleeson, owner and founder at Masa

Constantly being able to see what your sales are, what your cost of labour is — and trusting that is really valuable.

Shane Gleeson, owner and founder at Masa

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