Restaurant POS: What Is It and Why You Should Invest in One?

Marketing 19 minute read 22nd March 2023

Are you tired of trying to manage your restaurant with a pen and paper? Or are you looking for ways to improve your dining business and attract more customers? Whatever the case, a restaurant POS can be the transition you need to make.

Digitizing every operation might seem overwhelming, but this is where POS comes into play. This article will discuss what a restaurant POS is, how it works, its types and benefits. Moreover, you will discover the best POS system for restaurants as well as the cheapest option available.

What Are Restaurant POS Systems?

restaurant pos

POS is short for Point of Sale. Restaurant POS systems are a combination of software and hardware that handle a restaurant’s orders and payments. The most common components involved in a POS are:

  • A computer system, mobile, or tablet
  • Drawer for cash
  • Credit card checker
  • Receipt printer
  • Display that faces the customer

If you are still wondering what restaurant POS systems are, the answer is simple. These systems help you manage your restaurant in every aspect. You will be able to streamline the essential operations of your restaurant. Moreover, they integrate with other technologies and procedures, such as restaurant CRM, table management, and loyalty programs.

The modern POS system does more than automate your business. It helps you make better decisions by keeping track of everything from orders and inventory to payments.

How Does a Restaurant POS System Work?

restaurant pos

Before choosing a suitable system for your business, you must learn how a restaurant POS system works. This is because you can’t reap all its benefits without knowing how it works and what it can do for your business. Some of its basic operations are:

  1. Order Handling: When a customer orders something off the menu, a server enters the order into a computer attached to the POS system. The system automatically takes the order to the kitchen for preparation.

  2. Order preparation: When the order goes to the kitchen, the cook can enter the key to notify the server once the food is ready.

  3. Payment handling: Once the server enters the order in the system, it calculates the total bill and creates the invoice. Customers can pay through cash, mobile, debit, or credit cards.

  4. Menu handling: The modern POS allows you to digitize and set pricing for your menu. It also lets you hide items that are currently unavailable.

  5. Table management: It lets servers take orders directly from the map of tables inside the system. You can also set different colors for occupied, ordered, and waiting tables.

  6. Inventory management: A restaurant POS system keeps track of your inventory. It also alerts your staff when supplies are running low.

  7. Staff management: You can enter the data of each employee in the system and efficiently assign them to tables.

  8. Track sales: It helps you track all your sales and generate reports on footfall, customer lifetime value, and employee performance.

Types of POS Systems for Restaurant

Depending on a business’s goals, size, and scope, restaurants can choose from many types of POS systems. But without the correct information, this task can feel like spotting a needle in a haystack.

Before deciding which POS system will be best for your restaurant, you must determine your goals and budget. Read on to discover POS types, features, and benefits to make an informed decision.

Restaurant POS Type #1: Hosted on Cloud POS

restaurant pos

A cloud restaurant POS uses a web interface. You can access this type of POS from anywhere with an internet connection. It uses remote servers, which gives you flexibility and easy access.

As your restaurant grows, you can quickly scale a cloud POS by adding more terminals and expanding to new locations. It uses minimal hardware, so integrating it in additional areas won’t require costly hardware upgrades or installations.

You can also customize this system according to the needs of your business. It allows you to integrate online ordering, loyalty programs, etc. This POS is ideal for small to medium restaurants with multiple locations.

Restaurant POS Type #2: Mobile POS

restaurant pos

Mobile restaurant POS operates on a smartphone or tablet. Servers can take orders directly on the device without moving back and forth to the fixed terminal. This reduces the wait times and enhances the overall customer experience.

By removing the need for a fixed terminal, mobile POS increases server efficiency, improves order accuracy, and helps reduce errors. These systems are highly portable and flexible. This allows servers to strengthen mutual communication and collaboration.

These systems are best for food trucks, catering companies, and temporary restaurants looking for mobility and flexibility.

Restaurant POS Type #3: Terminal POS

restaurant pos

A terminal restaurant POS is a traditional and one of the oldest types of POS. It can handle a large number of orders and payments. It comprises several hardware components attached to a computer or touchscreen device. Mainly restaurants operating in a physical location use this system.

It is important to note that they are less flexible and hard to scale. These systems are perfect for traditional restaurant businesses looking for a reliable and robust design in a single area installed in a fixed location.

Restaurant POS Type #4: Automated Kiosk POS

A kiosk is a type of booth used for different purposes. With an automated kiosk restaurant POS, customers can order and pay independently. These systems don’t need human interaction and typically consist of a touchscreen kiosk. These are the most efficient of all types of POS systems.

They help you do your service fast and reduce labor costs. These systems are best for restaurants with high volumes and the need to process orders quickly. They allow you to offer a fast, convenient, and efficient ordering experience.

Benefits of a Restaurant POS

restaurant pos

The National Restaurant Association conducted a survey in 2021 which revealed that 82% of restaurants faced hiring difficulties. This means that digitizing your restaurant is now more critical than ever.

Although the primary goal of a restaurant POS is to digitize and streamline the daily processes of a restaurant, it serves many other purposes. Combining the following benefits can help you make better decisions and grow your business.

  1. Increased Revenue: Valuable insights into your restaurant benchmarks help you pinpoint areas for improvement. This enables you to plan accordingly, which ultimately increases your overall revenue.

  2. Enhanced Customer Experience: It helps you enhance your customer’s experience as they don’t have to wait too long for their orders. You can also keep track of their preferences, history, and orders to provide personalized service.

  3. Fraud Prevention: The system keeps track of every transaction, which makes it difficult for employees to commit fraudulent activities like stealing cash or food.

  4. Loyalty Programs Implementation: Loyalty programs and discounts greatly influence a restaurant’s growth. A restaurant POS can help you implement these programs accurately by tracking and returning points to discount them from the total bill.

  5. Reduction in Errors: It minimizes the need for human tasks, which reduces the risk of an error. This saves your restaurant from more significant problems like a bad reputation, customer churn, and loss in revenue.

  6. Automated and Streamlined Operations: A POS system helps you streamline and automate your restaurant. This lets you work on increasing the revenue without worrying about basic operations.

  7. Increase in Efficiency: As a POS system automates the operations of a restaurant, it significantly increases its efficiency. It also reduces the wait time by removing manual ordering.

Best POS System for Restaurant

restaurant pos

As important as a restaurant POS, choosing can be challenging given the wide range of options available. Each option has its features and benefits, so it is vital to research. Some of the factors you need to consider are as follows:

  1. Cost: Carefully plan your budget and total cost of hardware, software, setup, and maintenance.

  2. Features: Every POS must have basic features such as order management, payment processing, table management, and reporting.

  3. Ease of Use: A complex POS that requires a lot of maintenance will increase your costs instead of lowering them in the long run.

  4. Integration: Ensure your POS can integrate with other software, such as online ordering and email loyalty programs.

Once you’ve figured these out, consult the following list of the best POS system for restaurants based on type.

Toast Restaurant POS: Best Hosted on Cloud POS

restaurant pos

Toast restaurant POS is one of the best cloud systems. Its specific design for restaurants makes it the top choice for this category. With Toast, you can efficiently manage your orders and tables on the cloud. It even helps you split checks and tips.

You can add, delete, hide, and edit menu items for easy access. As a cloud POS, it enables online ordering so customers can place orders from the website or mobile app. It also provides valuable insights through its reporting feature.

Although the starting monthly subscription fee for Toast POS is $69 per terminal, the pricing for your business will depend on your specific needs. It also comes with a free plan.

TouchBistro Restaurant POS: Best Mobile POS

If a mobile POS system best suits your restaurant’s needs, then TouchBistro restaurant POS would be your ideal choice. It comes in mobile and cloud. You can access it from anywhere with an active internet connection.

In addition to all the essential features of a POS system, TouchBistro has a CRM database that helps you track your marketing strategy and make informed decisions. The pricing starts at $69 per terminal monthly.

Lightspeed Restaurant POS: Best Terminal POS

For traditional restaurants looking for a reliable terminal restaurant POS, Lightspeed is the best choice. It is a comprehensive solution that covers all aspects of your restaurant operations. It has a simple interface, so you won’t have to train your staff extensively.

Lightspeed can host the system on the cloud despite being a terminal POS. This means it has all the perks of a traditional POS while also being scalable. You would need a specific quote for your business, but basic pricing starts at $69 monthly.

Ziosk Restaurant POS: Best Automated Kiosk POS

restaurant pos

If your restaurant business is constantly moving and you have chosen an automated kiosk restaurant POS, buy Ziosk. It is the best for this category and comes with cloud hosting. In addition to the primary features of a POS, Ziosk is customizable.

You can apply your branding to the kiosks for consistency. The pricing for Ziosk depends on your specific needs, and the website doesn’t show a particular number. It is important to note that this type of POS might be expensive. However, __it reduces costs by eliminating unnecessary labor. __

Cheapest POS System for Restaurant

For small to medium restaurants looking to incorporate the benefits of a POS in their business, Square is the cheapest POS system for a restaurant. It has a free option, and the Plus version comes at a monthly fee of $29.

Additionally, Square charges 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction for live payments and 2.9% + 30 cents for online payments. It also offers options like loyalty programs and gift cards, which may incur extra fees.

With all the primary functions of a restaurant POS, Square offers flexibility at a competitive price. Moreover, Square comes with all types of POS, including terminal, cloud, kiosk, and mobile.


Restaurant POS has transformed the way a restaurant works. By streamlining the operations and transactions, these systems have taken away the need for extensive labor.

As technology continues to advance, these systems will see even more improvement. So, it’s time for restaurants to consider investing in a POS and digitizing their operations. This will enable automation, enhanced customer experience, and increased revenue.

After getting a proper POS, you can consider getting suitable WiFi marketing software. This will help you gather customer data and automate the most effective marketing campaigns.

Moreover, with a WiFi marketing solution like Beambox, you can quickly grow your rating on local review sites with simple and effective automation.

You can try Beambox for free for thirty days and see how it impacts your business growth. Start your trial today!

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