5 Best Point of Sale Systems for Small Restaurants

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Is your small restaurant working slower than it should because there is no point of sales (POS) system to handle payments? In previous years, small establishments were limited to just a couple of ways to accept customer payments. However, today with technological developments in the areas of RIFD technology, cloud computing, and smartphones, businesses have a plethora of choices to choose from.

POS is a system that acts as a central hub for accepting payments, customer management, tracking sales/inventory, analyzing trends to spot opportunities, and much more.  POS systems help improve the daily running of a small restaurant by automating tasks and keeping track of vital information. For the customer it provides more ways to pay and a faster checkout experience.

Investing in a POS system is a no-brainer if you want to increase profitability and potentially expand. Less time spent on mundane tasks means you’ll have more time to work on improving profitability for your restaurant.

However, there are a lot of POS systems to choose from and going through them all can take a long time. In this article we have narrowed down the list to 5 best POS systems for small restaurants. This article will save you time by giving you a digestible overview of the POS systems that are worth considering.

Table of Contents

Is Your Restaurant a Small Restaurant?

Not sure if you are classed as a small restaurant? The SBA states that limited-service restaurants with less than $12 million in annual revenue and full-service restaurants with less than $8 million are classed as small businesses. 

However, for the purpose of this article we are talking about restaurants that are generating less than $1 million in gross revenue and have fewer than 3 locations fall into the “small” category. Does that sound like your establishment? Then you’ll find the information here applies to your business.

POS System Comparison Chart

POS Entry Level Pricing Credit Card Transaction Fee Integrated Payment Processing/Gateway Internet Needed? GetApp Rating (out of 5)
TouchBistro POS $69/mo $2.99 + $0.15 Yes No 4.5
Square POS $60/mo 2.6% + 10 cents Yes Yes 4.7
Lightspeed POS $69/mo 2.6% + 10 cents Yes Yes 4.3
Toast $75/mo 2.49% + 15 cents Yes Yes 4.3
Talech Register $29/mo Depends on payment processor No Yes 4

Note, all the point-of-sale systems reviewed below can be run on your phone or tablet. 

 

TouchBistro

TouchBistro is specifically designed for the fast-paced nature of the restaurant business. This software solution is ideal for businesses that are trying to reduce waiting times to increase the number of customers that can be served per hour. It’s especially important for small restaurants that are operating at capacity and need to increase the hourly income.

TouchBistro is designed for businesses that use a menu and work through a mobile iPad network. The hardware is synced with a local network and requires no extra special equipment. Therefore, start-up costs are low and give the appearance of a modern establishment.

The mobility of a tablet-based system means staff remains mobile while executing orders. The devices are also capable of accepting payments at the table. Therefore, customers will not be left waiting at the table to pay after they have finished eating.  

Pros

  • There is no need to use the internet to run TouchBistro
  • Cheap entry-level solution for small businesses
  • Strong staff and inventory management

Cons

  • Limited functionality
  • Long customers service wait times
  • Pricing plan based on number of users

In conclusion, TouchBistro has an aggregate user rating of 4.5/5 and this is fully justified by the intuitive features on offer. Your employees and customers will love the increase in speed and simplicity. There is a free trial to see what TouchBistro has to offer and entry-level pricing starts at just $69 per month. 

TouchBistro is also applicable for medium-sized businesses, which means you can still use the POS system when you scale up from a small restaurant. Some of the top eateries in the United States are using TouchBistro – some food for thought.

Square POS

Want to invest in Square POS, but not sure if it’s the right match for your needs? Square POS is one of the top choices for new businesses and is one of the top-rated point-of-sale software on GetApp.

 The learning curve is small and it has great features to help small restaurants succeed. You can also take advantage of the free-to-start option, which is perfect for businesses on a tight budget. Once profitability increases from the POS system you can upgrade to receive the entire suite of functions on offer from Square POS.

Square POS works with most Apple and Android devices via a point of sales app. You can also use the system on tablets, which is great in a small restaurant setting where waiters need to comfortably take orders.  The system will give your small restaurant a boost as accepting payments is simplified.

Pros

  • System is easy to use and you’ll save time training to use Square POS
  • Low price for the features on offer.
  • Strong analytics

Con

  • Glitchy software and can lose connection causing synchronization issues
  • Live customer service lacks features and there is minimal troubleshooting
  • Suspicious transactions are immediately placed on hold, which can take time to resolve

     

Overall, the aggregate user rating is 4.7/5 making it the highest-rated POS system on this list. The investment into Square POS is a no brainer because of the powerful analytics features. In this data-driven world you need to be aware of where your small restaurant is succeeding and failing.

Transaction fees are one of the significant downsides of Square POS since they are more expensive than what credit card companies charge. They can add up so you’ll need to weigh the costs against the positives.

The $69 per month entry price means small businesses shouldn’t have a problem budgeting for this vital piece of software. You can also take advantage of the free trial to see if Square POS lives up to the hype.

Lightspeed POS

Lightspeed POS was created by a Canadian company with the restaurant business in mind. They have over 15 years of experience delivering eCommerce solutions so you can count on Lightspeed POS to add value to your small restaurant.

The POS system does have a generic version, but you’re encouraged to take advantage of the personalization that’s on offer to modify the system. You’ll need to communicate with the company to share your needs to help them implement the right configuration choices.

Stock management with Lightspeed POS is excellent, which means waiters won’t take orders that cannot be fulfilled. Also, the system accepts various payment types such as credit/debit cards, cash, gift cards, checks and store credit. The system can be deployed on iPhones and iPads, but not on Android systems. Finally, there is a lot of training material online for you and employees to figure out how to use Lightspeed POS.

Pros

  • Simple interface and web-based
  • Great customer service with phone, email and live chat
  • Intricate employment management

Cons

  • Bugs such as screen freezing for a few seconds
  • Cannot process payments when on offline mode
  • Add-ons are expensive

In conclusion, the 4.3/5 aggregate user rating means that Lightspeed POS is an excellent solution for small restaurants. Consider the free trial to see what this POS system can do to improve profitability and efficiency. The risk-free free trial is a good option if you’re on a tight budget and want to try Lightspeed POS without parting with cash.

The Mac-based compatibility is a disadvantage if you want to use Android and Windows-based devices to run your small restaurant. However, overcome this shortcoming and you’ll love the customized nature of this POS system.

The analytics and reporting features are another highlight that will help you figure out the biggest earners on your menu. It helps with the decision making process of how to make menu changes to increase your chances of success.

Toast

Interested in a POS system that’s created for restaurants and offers an all-in-one solution to run your businesses? Then Toast has the functionality to bring your establishment into the modern digital world. The comprehensive array of functionality on one platform means you won’t need supplementary software to fill in the holes.

The flexible Android app allows you to integrate third party apps, which enables Toast to be combined with other systems. The app offers you the flexibility to use the devices that you might already have at your small restaurant.

Toast also integrates the POS system with payroll management allowing for a complete solution. Having one system to overview various parts of your restaurant helps reduce the chaos that can come when using multiple systems.

Want customers to interact with your business? Then you’ll be pleased with Toast’s customer-facing screens. That’s perfect for collecting feedback and allowing customers to join a loyalty program. Implementing these extra steps to your small restaurant might seem like hassle, but it can go a long way towards increasing your business.

Pros

  • Simple to use and very user friendly
  • Competitive price for an Android-based POS system
  • Exceptional customer service

Cons

  • Too many updates, crashes a lot and connectivity issues
  • Must use Toast credit card processing
  • Additional cost for add-ons

Overall, Toast has an aggregate user rating of 4.3/5 so it’s a feasible option for any small restaurant. The combination of compatibility with Android devices and user friendly interface means it’s worthy of your consideration.

The entry-level price is a touch higher than the alternatives in this guide at $79 per month, but you can use a free trial to see what’s on offer. Consider taking advantage of the digital gift card and loyalty program functionality to increase the percentage of return customers.

Talech Register

Talech Register is a cloud-based POS system that is well-suited to small restaurants. It offers a combination of useful features such as customer management, appointment scheduling, inventory management and real-time analytics.

Furthermore, you can integrate iPads into the setup allowing waiters to take orders and view items on the menu that are not in stock. This saves time since waiters will be notified when menu items are taken off the menu instead of having to go back and forth.

Also, table management is simplified so you can make reservations without double booking. However, as a small restaurant handling table reservations might not be the biggest issue you’re facing. It’s a nice feature to have for when your restaurant expands.

The one thing that Talech Register lacks is an integrated solution to payment processing. Talech works with USAePay, CreditCall, and Virtual Merchant as their payment gateways. You would have to find your own payment processor that is compatible with those three gateways.

Pros

  • Easy to use and navigate
  • Excellent features for small restaurants
  • Great inventory features

Cons

  • Limited offline functionality
  • Long wait times and poor customer service
  • Payment processing isn’t streamlined

To summarize, the Talech Register has an aggregate user rating of 4.0/5, which means it’s the lowest rated on this list. However, it has enough functionality to be worth the investment – especially if you are just starting out with limited staff and menu. 

The entry-level pricing to get started with this POS system is extremely low at $29 per month and there is a free trial to give it a try without financial risk. With Talech Register you can grow your small restaurant and improve the professionalism of the joint. Customers will be sure to notice and give you brownie points for making the upgrade.

Conclusion

The importance of installing a good quality POS system in your small restaurants cannot be emphasized enough. It’s one of the biggest business decisions you can make and will play a key role in your success. With the right POS system you’ll increase customer satisfaction, turnover more customers per hour and decrease costs by improving the efficiency of your processes.

In this article you discovered the best POS systems for small restaurants so now it’s time to make the right choice. You can’t go wrong by choosing any one of the options above. Consider the POS system that compliments your business the best. They all offer a free trial so there is no harm in jumping in now to see what benefits await you on the other side.

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