The Best Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems for Restaurants

by Back of House Staff

Updated August 7th, 2023


Choosing the right Point-of-Sale (POS) system is one of the most important decisions you will make for your restaurant. The right POS will keep everything flowing and moving as it should, but the wrong choice will cost you time and money in the long run.

With so many different options on the market these days, it can be hard to figure out which POS systems will truly allow you to make smarter decisions for your business. That's why we've done the research for you; there's no need for you to spend hours combing reviews on the internet. Our experts have identified the best options for restaurants to consider, no matter your size or stage of business.

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Toast’s straightforward interface, array of features, and seamless integration with apps for staff management make it an ideal choice for restaurants wanting an established POS system. It’s easy to use and allows you to scale with one POS provider.
Visit Toast Website

Who it's best for

Restaurants looking for an comprehensive POS system that easily integrates with their other current software

Things to consider

Toast has a higher upfront cost compared to other POS systems and requires customers to use their hardware too.

Where it excels

Toast is incredibly easy to use, with a number of features and variety of integrations with other systems.

Feature overview

  • Save time and do more with less staff with handhelds and contactless ordering

  • Serve more people and collect valuable data for marketing and loyalty programs with Toast Mobile Order & Pay

  • Toast’s payroll and team management solutions and robust reporting allow you to keep track of the important numbers for your business. 

  • Continue taking orders, adding tips to checks, printing receipts, and opening cash drawers during a network disruption with offline mode

  • Customize your interface and integrations to exactly what you need

Onboarding and support

Toast offers 24/7 support for all of their restaurant partners, so you can call them at any time to troubleshoot a problem. You can choose between self-service onboarding or onsite + remote onboarding with a dedicated consultant to get started. They also have an online Customer Care center with articles, walkthroughs, system updates, and relevant news to stay up-to-date.

Payment processing

Toast will work with you to build a custom payment processing rate that fits your restaurant's unique characteristics and needs. Their hardware and software is equipped with technology to help you prevent fraud and protect your and your customers’ data.


Toast offers integrations with almost 90 of the most-used restaurant software solutions for scheduling, accounting payroll, inventory, and delivery. You can explore all Toast integrations to see for yourself.

What real restaurants say

“Toast is the simplest POS for people who have never worked in the industry. It allowed us to hire untrained applicants and get them up to speed quickly. The best part of Toast is actually the user experience. It's a simple and effective point of sales for us. We've tried Square also, and this one's so much more easier to use. And we love the handhelds to have it all integrated and make it simple. They basically did everything we wanted in a POS, and there's not much more you can ask for.” – Mike W., Manager (Agoura Hills, CA)

“One of the things that I do like about Toast is the option to modify things or to make them very specific. So if 'm going in and I write ‘iced latte’ underneath it, we can input the twenty flavors that we have, and then we can keep on going down the list and adjust it. However, one of the things that I have issues with and wish would change was a broader sweep of making something, like, ‘all to-go’ or you don't have to go into each mod and not have to backtrack to change things once the order goes through.” – Ashley M., Barista (Dallas, TX)


Toast offers three POS price tiers to choose from, plus they offer a discount for bundling POS and payroll. They charge monthly hardware and processing fees.

If you’d like to build your own package to best fit your needs, they’ll work with you and create custom pricing.


Who it’s best for


Quick Start Bundle

Restaurants that just need the initial hardware and basic POS software

$0/month (but with higher processing fees)


Restaurants looking to streamline their operations with enhanced features



Restaurants that want to increase their revenue with online ordering and delivery


Build Your Own

Restaurants with multiple locations or that want to mix and match services

Contact the Toast team for custom pricing

Learn more about Toast





square logo
Square’s straightforward, powerful interface, detailed and organized onboarding, and low setup costs make it a fantastic choice for cafes, food trucks, and smaller, simpler operations looking to get started with a POS system.
Visit Square Website

Who it's best for

Restaurants with simpler operations looking to get started with a POS system

Things to consider

It might not be the best fit if you have a big menu or lots of modifications. It may struggle to scale up with your business as it grows.

Where it excels

Simplicity of setup, DIY-ability

Feature overview

  • Prioritize convenience and flexibility with a server-friendly interface, as well as menu and online ordering customization options

  • Take orders tableside with the mobile POS kit, and print receipts directly from the countertop terminals

  • Sync orders from anywhere and keep your team organized with floor and kitchen management tools

  • Respond to needs in real time with their live reporting functionality to optimize your menu, view live sales, and get service reports

  • Optimize your current setup without purchasing new hardware — Square is compatible with iPad and industry kitchen printers, receipt printers, cash drawers, and routers.

Onboarding and support

Square gives you plenty of detailed guides to get started with their POS system, or you can enlist 1:1 setup services (in-person or remote) starting at $1,399. For restaurants using the “Free” tier services, customer support is available M-F 6:00am-6:00pm PT. Those in the “Plus” tier have access to 24/7 support via phone or email.

Payment processing

Square uses PCI compliant hardware, end-to-end encryption for payments, and fraud prevention software. They have transparent, set processing fees that apply to each transaction. The processing rate varies depending on the type of transaction.

  • In person: 2.6% +10 cents per transaction

  • Online: 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction

  • Invoices: 3.3% + 30 cents per transaction

  • Manually entered: 3.5% + 15 cents per transaction


Square’s nearly 40 integrations include management solutions for restaurant operations, delivery and ordering, items and inventory, and accounting and tax. Learn how you can be more efficient and attract customers by exploring their full list of integrations.

What real restaurants say

People have high praise for Square’s simplicity and easy setup. While most people rave about their customer support, some have said it’s less than stellar.

“We decided to use Square when we started up mainly due to the cost. And the fact that very little additional equipment needed to be purchased. One thing I really liked about it is how easy it was to use and the portability of it. I could use it at festival type events, in house probably anywhere. The only thing I think I wish I would have known was it just wouldn't quite meet our needs and integrate with our systems as well as NCR or some of the bigger ones, but it worked for us for a while.” – Gregg G., Owner (Kelso, WA)

Overall, I really like Square. It doesn't cost anything to download and use. The cost is actually in the fees and how much you're charging, which is great. The other thing I like about it is the ease of use. My needs are very basic. I'm an ice cream truck. I serve shaved ice and novelty bars, and every now and then I do some other baked items or hot cocoa and stuff, so I don't need a lot of the POS for back of the house because it's just me on the truck. Really, I just need something to organize everything, and when I'm going through, checking things out, it works great.” – Shaun H., Owner (McKinney, TX)


Square has three flexible pricing options to get your new POS system up and running quickly. Prices do not include additional fees for payment processing, additional locations, and POS hardware.


Who it's best for



Restaurants who just need the basics + countertop POS devices

Free (plus processing fees)


Restaurants with multiple locations that may need some additional support

$60/month (plus processing fees)


Expanding restaurant businesses processing $250,000+ each year

Custom pricing (contact the Square team)

Learn more about Square




lightspeed logo
Lightspeed’s flexibility, non-proprietary hardware, and ability to see across multiple touchpoints make it a solid choice if you’re managing multiple restaurant locations.
Visit Lightspeed Website

Who it's best for

Established businesses with multiple locations, including hotel/resort integrations

Things to consider

Lightspeed is known to have a lengthy onboarding process that may be a challenge for restaurants looking to implement their POS quickly.

Where it excels

It’s an all-in-one operations platform that can manage multiple locations and is easily customizable for a variety of needs. It also offers hardware — printers, buzzers, scanners, and more — to keep business going.

Feature overview

  • Configure screens, menus, floor plans, and inventory to improve your workflow

  • Take orders and payments from anywhere with QR code capabilities, Lightspeed delivery, and offline mode

  • Keep track of data for multiple locations from one simplified touchpoint

  • Get informative insights about your menu and staff performance to keep improving with Daily Digest

  • Create customer profiles for guests and personalized deals and promos based on their behavior

Onboarding and support

“Essential” and “Premium” plans receive personalized, 24/7 customer support. They’ll help you set up your menu and hardware during a 1:1 onboarding session.

Payment processing

Lightspeed has a flat rate for integrated payment processing if you’re using the “Starter” or “Essential” packages: 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction. For those with a “Premium” or “Enterprise” package, custom rates are available.


Lightspeed has 25 integrations for their Restaurant (U Series) POS. You can check out the full list of integrations by software type on their website.

What real restaurants say

People say Lightspeed excels as a tool for managing inventory, menus, and more across multiple locations. However, they’ve expressed having a hard time getting ahold of customer support and frustration with system glitches.

“Lightspeed’s inventory management capabilities are excellent, letting me track items across multiple locations, add product variations, and use integrated vendor catalogs to order inventory. It makes your work easy and allows you to make transactions quite simply.” – Patrick K. (Houston, TX)


Lightspeed’s four pricing tiers cover everything from the most basic setup to multi-location businesses, with lots of room for customization so you can choose the package that works best for your restaurant.


Who it's best for



Restaurants that want to simplify their operations with the basics

$69/month (plus processing fees)


Restaurants that want to wow their guests with enhanced capabilities

$189/month (plus processing fees)


Restaurants that need to track inventory and performance across multiple locations

$399/month (plus processing fees)


Restaurants that want a personalized hardware and software package

Contact the Lightspeed team for custom pricing

Learn more about Lightspeed





SpotOn Logo
SpotOn is a POS company first, with a large suite of a-la-carte solutions and adaptable hardware that gives restaurants flexibility in their operations.
Visit SpotOn Website

Who it's best for

Restaurants looking for a POS system that offers flexible contracts and features

Things to consider

It can be tricky to make changes or troubleshoot issues yourself without the help of their support team.

Where it excels

They’re one of the only vendors that do on-site installs and training

Feature overview

  • Ensure seamless transitions with 4G LTE connectivity, even if service drops

  • Easily integrate with 25 partners or choose from SpotOn’s list of add-on services, including online ordering, digital waitlist and reservations, labor management, and reporting

  • See how your restaurant is doing at a high level with 90 fully interactive reports

  • Save money and time on creating marketing materials with market research capabilities and custom website builds

Onboarding and support

SpotOn offers white glove support, 24/7 support, in-person hardware installation, face-to-face staff training, ongoing virtual training and support for staff and management.

Payment processing

SpotOn’s standard payment processing rate is 1.99% + 25 cents per transaction. For Reward, international, corporate, and keyed-in cards, the rate is 2.99% + 25 cents per transaction. You can also talk through custom rates with the SpotOn team, and month-to-month contracts mean you aren’t locked in for multiple years and stuck with rate increases.


SpotOn has 30+ integration partners that enable online ordering, digital waitlists and reservations, staff management, and reporting. You can check out all of the integration partners on SpotOn’s website.

What real restaurants say

People say SpotOn is a tough system to learn but that it has lots of potential. It can be tough to make changes or troubleshoot problems yourself without contacting your support team, but it gets the basics done and has comprehensive onboarding.

One thing I would change about SpotOn is just to make it much more accessible to troubleshoot it, because there’s times when the software does go down, and it won't connect to the payment processor, and so on. That is always an issue. But I think the big thing I love is that we're able to use it across all of our different locations in our resort. That does help a lot.” – Tony M. (Sylmar, CA)


SpotOn offers more affordable pricing options and custom configurations built with your specific needs and budget in mind. Contact the SpotOn team for a personalized quote.

Learn more about SpotOn



Our evaluation process

We’ve developed a process to find the best POS systems for restaurants to keep things running smoothly. Here’s how we did it.

Surveys and other research with people in the industry

We conducted surveys and gathered feedback from operators and employees across different service models and segments with experience using these systems on a day-to-day basis.

Interviews with Back of House restaurant tech experts

We also gained insights from our staff of experts who have years of experience in the industry and with restaurant technology. 

Secondary research

All of this was supplemented with our own research and participation in product overviews and training sessions with vendors on their products and services.