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June 22, 2018 Top 10 POS System Reviews: How to Choose the Best POS for Your Restaurant

pos system reviews

Ready to upgrade your POS system but overwhelmed by your options? Cloud-based or on-premises. Pay monthly or upfront. Apple iPad or Android tablet system. If your head is spinning, you’re not alone. That’s why we’re sharing 10 POS system reviews. Plus, see the 3 questions to keep in mind as you start your POS system reviews.

Top 3 Questions to Ask Yourself During POS System Reviews

1) Is it EMV compliant?

Your POS system must be EMV-compliant which means you can process credit cards with the “chip.” All 10 POS systems we reviewed are EMV compliant.

2) Is it an on-premises or cloud-based POS system?

Before diving into POS system reviews, decide if an on-premises or cloud-based POS is right for you. First, here’s what those terms mean:

On-premises: If you haven’t changed POS systems in a few years, you’re likely running an on-premises or “legacy” POS system. Your POS runs on a server at your location.

Cloud-based: This means that your POS system is hosted in a data center and is internet-accessible. Your data is stored on secure servers “in the cloud” which means off-premises.

Affordability

Cloud-based POS system reviews tout benefits like nearly instant installation and cost savings. Because the POS software is “in the cloud” – you don’t have to purchase upgrades, perform maintenance, or fix bugs – it’s all automatic. However, cloud-based POS systems can come with hefty monthly subscription fees.

Internet Connectivity

With an on-premises POS, you don’t rely on an internet connection – it’s ideal for locations with slow (or no) internet. But most cloud-based companies in our POS system reviews still let you process transactions and operate in offline mode when the internet is down.

Security

For many, having an on-premises POS is all about control. They like having their data stored on a server…on-premises.
However, cloud-based POS system reviews quickly reveal that being solely responsible for your data can be a security threat. If your server crashes or is damaged in a fire or flood, it’s gone (unless you’ve been backing it up). You may also be responsible for data theft.

Reporting

Others like real-time reporting that cloud-based POS systems offer. But every on-premises option in our 10 POS system reviews includes access to robust reports and data “in the cloud.”

3) Does the POS have mobile capabilities? Which mobile platform/s is it compatible with?

The 10 companies in our POS system reviews all include functionality to process orders (and even payments) using mobile devices – usually tablets. Mobile functionality is important if you cater, have a food truck, or sell outside of your four walls.

iPad POS systems like Square and TouchBistro even use iPads as the main “register.” However, you’ll see in the 10 POS system reviews that many companies allow you to also use Android or even Windows mobile devices.

When choosing the best restaurant POS, think about what mobile devices you and your staff are most comfortable using. Now…let’s get into those 10 POS system reviews!

1. Square

Best POS for Restaurants That Want:A simple, affordable solution…ideal for new restaurants
Price:Starts at $29 for the Square Reader + 2.75% processing fee per transaction
Cloud-Based:Yes
Mobile Platform:Apple iOS or Android

If you’ve been doing POS system reviews, you’ve probably heard of Square – and are enticed by its simplicity. You can get started fast with the free Square mobile app downloaded onto a tablet. Then, hardware starts at $29 for the Square Reader – that’s their card reader that accepts chip and magnetic stripe payments and connects to your tablet.

There are no monthly fees with Square. However, processing fees start at 2.75% plus 10 cents per transaction – it can add up fast! As you scale up your business, Square offers customized pricing for restaurants generating over $250,000 annually.

Most POS system reviews of Square praise its simplicity and security – both for your customers and your business:

  • Accepts every major credit card
  • Analytics and sales reporting included
  • Marketing, feedback, and loyalty add-ons
  • Integrates with third-party inventory and payroll applications

2. Toast

Best POS for Restaurants That Want:All the marketing bells and whistles
Price:Starts at $100/month + purchase of hardware
Cloud-Based:Yes
Mobile Platform:Android

No current list of POS system reviews would be complete without one of the latest POS companies on the scene. Meet Toast. It integrates key marketing features into a point-of-sale system that runs on Android tablets.

Toast acts as the payment processor, so it costs less and is more versatile than many POS systems. While Toast has features you’ll find in most POS system reviews, the company stands apart by also including powerful marketing tools like:

  • Integrated online ordering
  • A trackable loyalty rewards program
  • Ability to create, accept, and sell gift cards (both physical and digital)
  • Inventory management system

3. Digital Dining

Best POS for Restaurants That Want:To customize a POS system to their needs, easy integration with other software
Price:Variable Pricing Structure
Cloud-Based:No (But DD Dashboard provides cloud-based reports)
Mobile Platform:Apple iOS, Android, or Windows

Can your POS do that? If it’s Digital Dining POS, the answer is yes.

In use at over 55,000 restaurants, Digital Dining is a powerhouse POS with flexibility not seen in other systems. For example, Digital Dining is set up on-premises but the innovative DD Dashboard provides real-time reports “in the cloud.”

In POS system reviews of Digital Dining, the standout feature is the fingerprint login. Say goodbye to your employees clocking each other in or out – or fumbling with their server card – they use their fingerprint for fast and secure POS login.

Another key benefit of Digital Dining in POS system reviews? It plays well with others – offering more integrations than most. One of the most popular integrations is Buzztime’s customer-facing dining technology. Buzztime lets guests play games and trivia, order from a digital menu, and securely pay…all on touchscreen tablets that sync with Digital Dining POS.

Other POS system reviews of Digital Dining touch on these benefits:

  • 24/7/365 support and customer service
  • Frequent diner and guest loyalty program
  • Table management and reservations

4. Revel

Best POS for Restaurants That Want:A scalable POS system for multiple locations plus powerful business tools
Price:Variable Pricing Structure
Cloud-Based:Yes
Mobile Platform:Apple iOS or Android

According to most POS system reviews, Revel is the ideal system for larger restaurants with several locations, like franchises or businesses that offer catering. The structure of the system is highly customizable – almost to the point of being built to order! You can select various hardware options and applications as well. Other features highlighted on POS system reviews of Revel include:

  • Ingredient inventory tracking
  • Tableside and online ordering
  • Franchise management

5. Dinerware

Best POS for Restaurants That Want:A Microsoft-based solution that also offers mobile functionality
Price:Varies by independent dealer
Cloud-Based:No
Mobile Platform:Apple iOS, Android, Windows

Dinerware is a Microsoft-based POS with a user-friendly interface. Dinnerware can fit the needs of almost any type of restaurant. It also offers a mobile option that be downloaded on a smartphone or a tablet, so servers can send orders to the kitchen right from the table. According to POS system reviews of Dinerware, key benefits are:

  • Tablet option for food trucks and tableside ordering
  • Dinerware is a “legacy” system, so many servers may already be trained in it
  • Table and menu management system

6. Breadcrumb Restaurant POS

Best POS for Restaurants That Want:An easy-to-use POS system with real-time reporting
Price:$69/month for one terminal + 1.99% plus 15 cents per transaction
Cloud-Based:Yes
Mobile Platform:Apple iOS

Most POS system reviews cite Breadcrumb Restaurant POS as one of the easiest to use. Breadcrumb Restaurant POS is an iPad-based POS system designed by actual restaurant owners and employees. You can process payments through Breadcrumb Restaurant POS’s own system for 1.99% plus 15 cents per transaction. POS system reviews of Breadcrumb Restaurant POS reveal these benefits:

  • Ability to create a table map
  • Easy-to-update menu options
  • Breadcrumb Live mobile app to monitor sales in real time

7. ShopKeep

Best POS for Restaurants That Want:An easy transition to a cloud-based POS, great for startups
Price:$49 per ShopKeep register
Cloud-Based:Yes
Mobile Platform:Apple iOS or Android

Sometimes, simpler is better. That’s the philosophy behind ShopKeep. While it still offers insights into sales and financials, the focus is on POS usability and a quick learning curve. POS system reviews of ShopKeep state that it’s a high-quality system with a simple interface that anyone can learn.

According to ShopKeep’s POS system reviews, other benefits include:

  • Easy to learn
  • Track inventory
  • Clear, simple reports

8. NCR Silver

Best POS for Restaurants That Want:To accept all forms of payment…fast! Best option if you only need 1 payment terminal
Price:$89/month for one terminal (no transaction fees unless you add additional terminals)
Cloud-Based:Yes
Mobile Platform:Apple iOS or Android

Looking for a reliable POS? How about one from NCR Corp, a point-of-sale company founded in the 1880s. Don’t worry, the technology isn’t stuck in the 19th century. In fact, NCR Silver ranks as one of the most innovative options on our list of POS system reviews – even accepting Bitcoin currencies. Plus, NCR Silver is fast: When implemented at Waffle House franchises, NCR Silver reduced transaction times by 79 percent.

NCR Silver is a cloud-based POS system with 2 configurations to choose from:

  • NCR Mobile POS: runs on portable Apple iOS devices, like iPhones or iPads
  • NCR Silver Register: countertop register that runs on Android

If you’re a small restaurant and plan on having one terminal, NCR Silver is a great value: there are no per-transaction processing fees – just the monthly subscription of $89. When adding terminals, there is a 10 cent transaction fee but it caps off at $39/month per device.

POS system reviews of NCR Silver always mention these key benefits:

  • 24/7 live support
  • Extensive options for hardware (from receipt printers to mobile add-ons)
  • Integration with Xero, Quickbooks, Paychex, LevelUp and more

9. TouchBistro

Best POS for Restaurants That Want:To offer tableside payment processing
Price:$69/month for one terminal ($399 for 6 or more terminals)
Cloud-Based:Hybrid (full functionality whether online or offline)
Mobile Platform:Apple iOS

TouchBistro is a POS system that offers credit card security and reduced risks for your patrons, by offering tableside payment processing. Their mobile POS option allows servers to accept payment right at the table, without having to walk away with a patron’s credit card.

TouchBistro provides everything you need to process payments, including an iPad stand (for over-the-counter payments), receipt printer, and cash drawer.

Other POS system reviews rave about TouchBistro benefits, like:

  • Simple bill splitting
  • Inventory tracking
  • Manage staff and schedules
  • Sales reports and analytics

10. Lavu

Best POS for Restaurants That Want:A POS system with special features just for your bar
Price:$69/month for single terminal
Cloud-Based:Yes
Mobile Platform:Apple iOS

Last but not least on our list of POS system reviews is Lavu, an iPad POS.

While Lavu works well for restaurants, it offers special features to streamline and speed up bar service: from fast tab closeout to real-time reports that show which drinks are selling fast. iPad POS system reviews of Lavu love its ability to match up ordering with inventory. For example, the company claims it can identify when a patron orders a top-shelf liquor but pays for well.

Lavu ranks high on lists of iPad POS system reviews of cloud-based platforms. Other benefits include:

  • The “86 Countdown” to alert when inventory is running low
  • Shift scheduling
  • Training and onboarding programs
  • Gift card and loyalty programs

POS systems can enhance your restaurant’s profitability while improving guest satisfaction. If you are looking for a POS system that is more tailored for the retail space make sure to check out Candy Bar’s blog on the ten best POS systems for retail. Selecting the best one for your business is a huge decision, so choose wisely and let these POS system reviews be your guide!

Top 10 POS System Reviews

The ultimate guide for owners & managers.

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