Best POS Systems for Bars and Pubs

These are the 5 best POS systems to help bars and pubs serve customers efficiently and safely

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It’s safe to say that the hospitality industry couldn’t be any more different to how it was last year. As we get used to the ‘new normal’, the return to bustling bars, packed hotel poolsides, and up-close silver service almost seems like a pipe dream. 

Bars and pubs – in particular – are having to find safer ways to serve customers, like providing table service, taking contactless payments, and using order and pay platforms. It means bars are having to run tighter shifts, and technology is being relied upon to run things more efficiently. 

This is why investing in a dependable bar EPOS systems is more important now than ever before. A point of sale system can a support a bar or pub business as they make the most out of the current situation – but it has to be intelligent, adaptable, and reliable. 

It's also a good idea to think about investing in an order and pay app to use alongside your EPOS system. An order and pay app will enable you to set up click and collect, order at table, and delivery services.  There are several ways to set up order and pay which you can read more about in our guide to setting up click and collect.

If you don’t think your current bar POS system is capable of helping your business bounce back after the pandemic, then it’s time to find a better solution. 

Whether you own a bar, a pub or a hospitality business that does a bit of both, we’ve got a selection of the best bar and pub POS systems to help you make the most out of the new normal. And, if you can’t decide on the right option for your business, you can always rely on the Startups.co.uk team to help you out. 

How did we compile our list of the best pub and bar POS systems?

We’ve been supporting startup businesses for over 20 years. In that time, we’ve spoken to thousands of businesses, and built up a wealth of knowledge on all things point of sale. 

We know the tools that businesses need to flourish, and having covered the coronavirus pandemic from day one, know exactly what businesses need to get the most out of the challenging situation.

From tableside management to stock control, our top POS systems for bars and pubs offer all the features you need. So take a look at our deep-dives and see which one is best for your business.

To help you out further, we've also labelled the types of order and pay platforms that you can use alongside each of the POS systems featured in the article.

The best bar POS systems

Bars and pubs come in all shapes and sizes – some offer an array of amazing cocktails and beers for day time drinkers, while others serve bar snacks, delicious food and cater for late night partiers. The following five bar POS systems have been designed with all of these businesses in mind – and they’ll help you to keep the distance in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, too.

Now, let’s take a deep-dive into our top five pub and bar EPOS solutions for 2020.

1. Zettle Food and Drink: Best POS system for small bars and pubs

Zettle Food and Drink pricing: £29/month per iPad

Zettle Food and Drink summary


Perfect for small and startup hospitality businesses, Zettle Food and Drink (now known as “Zettle Food and Drink” without the “i”) gives you all the tools you need to take-off. In fact, you can start taking payments as soon as you receive its card reader in the post. It may sound like a simple set up, but the Zettle Food and Drink app is rammed full of all the features you need to run a sophisticated bar or pub. 

With the Zettle POS software on multiple iPads you can minimise the number of staff clustered around one area. They’ll have access to Zettle’s table management feature and they can take contactless payments at the table with Zettle’s wireless card machine. Zettle also offers Zettle Payment Links, which allows customers to pay through a link sent to them via text or email. 

If you’re looking to grow your business quickly, Zettle Food and Drink offers bars and pubs in depth reporting through its Backoffice web application. You’ll be able to see which menu items sell well and find out when you need to do something extra to get more customers through the door.  

Zettle’s Food and Drink POS package costs just shy of £800, and it includes a card reader, docking station, receipt printer, kitchen printer, and an iPad. It charges 1.75% for each card transaction (a pretty reasonable rate) and 2.5% for card-not-present transactions (Payment Links).

Editorial note: Zettle has recently rebranded to Zettle by PayPal, and, accordingly, the Food and Drink product is now named Zettle Food and Drink. The product offering remains the same. So, for the time being, we will continue to refer to the brand by its previous, well-established brand name “Zettle” in this article, and we'll refer to the hospitality product as “Zettle Food and Drink”. You can find out more about its new branding at zettle.com


Order and pay options: separate app or website and social media integration required


iZettle Food and Drink prosiZettle Food and Drink cons
Table managementDoesn’t integrate with delivery software
Customer relationship management featuresOnly available on iPad
Low transaction feesNot as sophisticated as specialist restaurant software
No need for a merchant account
Easy to use and full training mode

What the users said:


“Very happy with the Zettle card reader, small enough to carry around, works in weak signal areas. Would highly recommend it to potential new customers. Great backup support if needed.”

2.EPOS Now: best for large bars and pubs


EPOS Now pricing: One off payment of £1,199 or £47/month


EPOS Now summary

EPOS Now is a great bar and pub POS system. It offers tonnes of Covid-friendly features, including table-side ordering and payments and delivery app integration. Not only that, it syncs with a range of restaurant management systems, meaning you have all the tools you need to run an efficient, well-organised service. 

One of the biggest pains of running a bar or pub is stock taking, but EPOS Now offers a complete stock management system that allows you to track your inventory in real time, automate purchase orders, and create drink recipes to prevent over pouring. 

Thanks to its in-depth reporting capabilities, you’ll have all the data you need to know what’s selling and what’s not. You’ll also be able to spot seasonal trends so you can make the most out of them and maximise your profit. 

One of its handiest features is its kitchen management functionality. Going one step further than the likes of Zettle and Square, EPOS Now synchronises front of house and back of house, which means food orders can be updated and instantly changed on the kitchen display system. 

EPOS Now is available as a fixed POS system and an iPad POS system, and it’s compatible with a range of merchant account providers, including Payment Sense and WorldPay.


Order and pay options: POS software integrates with Yoello


EPOS Now prosEPOS Now cons
Sophisticated table managementReports of software being a little slow
Lots of third party app integrationsNo free customer support
Compatible with a range of merchant account providersSystem equipment is fairly expensive
Backed by lots of awards

What the users said:


“The epos system has been so easy to use and support has been great unlike other software providers we have used before. We decided to upgrade and get two systems whilst using an old till system.”

3.TouchBistro: best for gastropubs and cocktail bars


TouchBistro pricing: First license £49/month, 2nd and 3rd license £45/month, 4-9 licenses £40/month


TouchBistro summary

Just like EPOS Now, TouchBistro’s pub POS system is packed full of features to facilitate the daily operations of running a hospitality business. TouchBistro particularly caters to pubs and bars that want to focus on delivering a high end service. 

A feature that makes it one of the best POS systems for bars and pubs is its menu interface, which allows servers to quickly input orders. Thanks to a visual menu and programmable ingredients lists, new staff can quickly get to grips with different cocktails. 

TouchBistro’s tableside order management system has been set up to help hospitality businesses deliver seamless order taking. Staff can take orders for each seat, select menu items by course, and upsell on the spot thanks to menu prompts.

With features like ‘Fast Bar’ enabling a two step order process, staff can focus more on speaking to the customer, whether it’s discussing different wines or making them feel welcome. On top of that, TouchBistro's smart promotions tool facilitates promotional offers such as happy hours and seasonal events. 

If you need help encouraging customers back once they’ve left your pub or restaurant, you can set them up a loyalty account. You can use the account to track what they spend, then send them targeted offers. You can even set the account up to give them discounts at the till or after a minimum spend.


Order and pay option: TouchBistro Online Ordering


TouchBistro prosTouchBistro cons
Sophisticated table ordering systemMinimum contract length of one year
Customer loyalty featuresOnly compatible with iPads
Award-winning softwareExpensive if you’re not going to use all the features
Relatively easy to set upCustomer service a bit hit and miss

What the users said:


“Easiest system I've ever worked with, my staff also agree. The amount of features you get for the price is excellent, stock and staff management etc. Had one issue last year which they solved within 10 minutes. Would 10/10 recommend.”

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4. Square for Restaurants: best for popup bars and pubs


Square for Restaurants pricing: Free, £69/month, or bespoke all for an unlimited number of devices


Square for Restaurants summary

Like Zettle Pro, Square for Restaurants is ideal for startups and small businesses. With no need for a merchant account or wifi connection, it’s a quick and easy way for you to get your business going. In fact, the only things pubs and bars need to start welcoming customers are an iPad, the Square for Restaurants app and Square’s card reader, or the all-in-one Square Terminal

You can make your Square for Restaurants system as sophisticated or as basic as you need. Square’s got lots of equipment packages available for restaurants and because its POS accessories are supplied by a third party, you’ll be able to use them with other compatible software in the future. 

When it comes to Square’s software, you can expect to take advantage of lots of handy features; from staff management to table management. 

For those running a bar, the repeat order function is great for when the locals start getting the rounds in. And for those opening a pop up restaurant, the ability to split a bill between friends will make the payment taking process a lot easier. 

With no merchant account necessary, Square charges 1.75% per transaction, and transfers any funds straight into your business account within one to two business days. The software also integrates with heaps of third party apps, including delivery companies, customer relationship management software, and accounting software.


Order and pay options: Square Online or integrations such as Deliverect


Square for Restaurants prosSquare for Restaurants cons
Free version offers lots of featuresReporting and back end management isn’t quite as sophisticated as other bar POS systems
Integrates with a variety of appsOnly compatible with iPads
Access your sales data from anywhereYou can’t track stock on an ingredient level
Good table management capabilities

What the users said:


“We chose Square because the Square Terminal provides the freedom we need to take payments on and offsite, but also because we love the elegance of the design and the promise of a system that is faster and more straightforward for the business.”

5. Lightspeed for Restaurants: best for growing bars and pubs


Lightspeed for Restaurants pricing: Most popular package £59/month


Lightspeed for Restaurants summary

With specific packages for bars, restaurants, and even fine dining establishments, Lightspeed for Restaurants is well equipped to help hospitality businesses provide an exceptional service.

Its package for bars and pubs is built with efficiency in mind. The menu function has been designed so bar staff can reach the till sections they require in just a few taps, while multiple menus can be created and assigned to different devices.

When it comes to sorting the bill, Lightspeed allows you to split it by number or by seat, making it really easy for people to pay only for what they ordered. And when it comes to keeping tabs on exactly what customers are ordering, just head over to its cloud-based analytics centre to see what’s selling and what’s not.

With the option to integrate Lightspeed with order apps, delivery software, loyalty software, and supplier management software, Lightspeed is the ideal solution for growing businesses looking to get the most out of the current economic climate.

And when its most popular plan includes a register, personalised onboarding, and unlimited support, there’s plenty of reasons why Lightspeed is one of the best POS systems for bars and pubs. You can visit the Lightspeed site for more detail.


Order and pay integrations: Wi5 third party platform


Lightspeed for Restaurants prosLightspeed for Restaurants cons
Customise the system inline with your bar or pubs operationsReporting is fairly basic unless you’re prepared to upgrade
Lots of integratable appsNot particularly intuitive to set up
First-rate onboardingFairly expensive for startup pubs and bars
Great customer service
Good offline functionality (server required

What the users said:

“I've been using Lightspeed Restaurant POS at my cafe for over 3 years now and it continues to be an excellent system. All of our sales numbers are easily tracked and sorted. The programing interface is highly customizable to individual needs.”


Best bar and pub POS systems: the final verdict

In summary, the best bar POS systems are: 

  1. Zettle Food and Drink
  2. EPOS Now
  3. TouchBistro
  4. Square for Restaurants
  5. Lightspeed for Restaurants

If you’re after a modest POS system that’ll get you on your feet as quickly as possible, both Zettle Food and Drink (now Zettle Food and Drink) and Square for Restaurants are where to go. Both POS software products integrate with third party equipment, however Square’s Square Terminal enables businesses to take orders and payments and print receipts at the table at the same time – great for keeping everyone safe during the pandemic. 

For more sophisticated setups, EPOS Now, TouchBistro, and Lightspeed for Restaurants are all great options. That said, EPOS Now is the best option if you want to pay for your pub or bar POS system up front, while TouchBistro and Lightspeed for Restaurants offer different packages for different needs. 

When you’re choosing the ideal bar POS system, keep in mind where you want your business to go in the future. While all of our favourite POS systems give you room to grow, make sure you research integrations, ecommerce capabilities, and the features included in each package so you know which one is going to give you the most value for money long-term. 

It may also be a good idea to consider the type of order and platform you'd like to use alongside your new POS system. While using a standalone app is an option for all businesses, it may be better for you to choose one that integrates with your POS system – whether that's using your provider's own online platform or a third party.

If you'd like help comparing hospitality and bar POS systems, why not try out our comparison tool. Answer a few questions to tell us a little bit about your requirements. Once you've answered a few questions, we'll send you your matches, where you'll be able to compare quotes from providers that are suitable for your needs.


Aimee Bradshaw Senior Writer

Aimee is Startups' resident expert in business tech, products, and services. She loves a great story and enjoys chatting to the startups and small business community. Starting her own egg delivery business from the age of 12, she has a healthy respect for self-starters and local services.

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