Best POS systems for restaurants 2023 These top POS systems for restaurants will help prepare your business for whatever the industry throws at it. Written by Stephanie Lennox Updated on 27 October 2023 Our Research When judging the best POS systems, our writers work with expert researchers to focus on key features that matter most to small businesses. These include value for money – setup, hardware and transaction fees – help and support, plus the till, stock, and business management tools available. Written and reviewed by: Stephanie Lennox Writer Robyn Summers-Emler Digital Growth Editor Our independent reviews are funded in part by affiliate commissions, at no extra cost to our readers. Square is currently the best POS system for restaurants in 2023 overall according to our expert researchers, but the competition was tough:Square for Restaurants was determined the best fit for startup restaurants founded in the last three years. You can start serving your customers some delicious bills and receipts with just an iPad.Clover is best for small restaurants that also sell products, such as a delicatessen. It has a strong mix of inventory tracking and till management tools, making it perfect for restaurant-cum-retailers.Zettle is our top choice for low-maintenance restaurants that need a simple till system, such as food trucks.Each restaurant POS system has different strengths, so read on or 🔍compare quotes to find out which may be the best choice for yours. Best Restaurant POS Systems at a glance Square: Best overall POS system for restaurantsClover: A great choice for small restaurants, with retail options tooZettle: An excellent POS for food trucks, stalls and pop-upsEpos Now: Best POS for larger restaurantsTouchBistro: Perfect for high-end restaurants or those with multiple sitesClick any of the links above to begin comparing costs on POS Systems for your own business's size and needs. Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward FEATURED BEST OVERALL Provider Lightspeed for Restaurants Provider Square Provider Clover for Restaurants Provider Zettle Provider EPOS Now Provider Touchbistro Best for Growing restaurants Best for Best overall choice for restaurants Best for Small restaurants that also sell retail products Best for Food trucks and other low-maintenance restaurants that need a simple till system Best for Restaurants with 10+ employees Best for High-end restaurants that need to prioritise customer experience Pricing From £59 per month Pricing From £149 for a terminal (excl VAT) Pricing From £4.12 per month Pricing Price from FREE Pricing £399 upfront or £25 per month Pricing £69 per month Table management Table management Table management Table management Table management Table management Booking system Booking system Booking system Booking system Booking system Booking system Order and pay app Order and pay app Order and pay app Order and pay app Order and pay app Order and pay app Want to use our free comparison tool to compare costs from the best POS systems available? Compare Costs In this article, we cover: Best restaurant POS systems Square for Restaurants Clover Zettle Epos Now TouchBistro How does a POS system work? What types of businesses are POS systems suitable for? Our Methodology Final verdict Restaurant POS system FAQs What is a POS system?A point-of-sale (POS) system is used by businesses to take card payments from customers and stay on top of their sales. It is a set of hardware and software services working together so businesses to automate transactions, track sales data, generate reports, manage your inventory, track employee hours and much more.Modern POS systems are entirely digital and allow you to fulfil customer needs wherever they are – as long as you have a POS app and an internet-enabled device.Users are spending more money through mobile POS payments, with an average transaction value of around £2,100 per person per year in 2023, worldwide, according to Hotel Tech Report.All in all, Square's POS system is great value for money, easy to use and packed with the features most restaurants need.It was determined as best overall because we know that for bustling restaurant businesses specifically, floorplan customisation and booking capabilities are very important – so this is what we focused on as our core research areas including business and stock management, business development and usability.Then we considered the stresses of inflation, labour shortages and the cost-of-living crisis. The UK may have technically dodged a recession, but business overheads are still rising dramatically. So we know that today's SMEs need to prioritise cash flow, which means searching for the POS system that provides the most value for money.For expert advice on picking the right POS system for your restaurant business, simply select which options and features you need with our 🔍free cost comparison tool and get bespoke quotes tailored to the needs of your business. 🥘1. Square for RestaurantsBest for startup restaurants founded in the last 3 years 4.7 out of 5 Price 5 Help and Support 5 Till Features 3.6 Compare costs Our team of researchers analysed Square for Restaurants for pricing, help and support, customer reviews, and restaurant features. In every category, it achieved at least a top-three ranking compared to the rest.Its vast library of features means Square can play the role of multiple systems, which makes it excellent value for money for small business restaurateurs. Users are offered sophisticated table management features, and the option to integrate booking tools and delivery apps. The Square terminal is also one-touch, making for speedy transactions that can dramatically boost sales. Helpfully, users are not required to have a merchant account, which means you can start serving customers as soon as you’ve received the Square card reader and downloaded the Square for Restaurants software onto your iPad.Indeed, ease of use is a big benefit of the Square for Restaurant POS, so it's easy to train new staff members on the system. However, while the software is fairly rudimentary, it also comes with lots of possible integrations to be expanded upon as your restaurant grows. Square starts from free – here are some more of the best free POS systems we've ranked. Pros Cheap to get started with hardware starting at £16 + VAT 94% overall rating for restaurant businesses, according to our research Strong table management tools mean it can be used by restaurants with fewer than 2 employees Cons No training mode option Limited front of house features mean it's best for quick-service restaurants What don't we like about Square for Restaurants?The one area that Square is lacking is front-of-house features. Managing orders or reservations isn't possible in-app – compared to Epos Now, for example, using which you can check or make changes at home from your mobile, desktop, or laptop. Consequently, we don't recommend Square to full-service eateries or restaurants with multiple service offerings.You can integrate the platform with third-party extensions like restaurant management tool TapMango to access these functions, but Square's primary audience is definitely quick-service startups that want to design a simple payment process, like a daytime cafe or sandwich bar.Square's restaurant POS pricing Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Pricing From £149 for a terminal (excl VAT) Hardware Cost From £149 for a terminal (excl VAT) Transaction Fees 1.75% 🥘 2. CloverBest for small restaurants that also sell retail products 4.3 out of 5 Price 2.8 Help & Support 3.0 Till Features 4.3 Compare costs One of Clover's biggest pull factors is its specialist focus on both the retail and restaurant industries, which makes it a great option for delis that focus on serving food, as well as selling products in-person and online.Clover's reporting tools are all geared towards selling. You can use the software to generate a complete sales overview including total sales per item, order types, and VAT.The platform's transaction fees are also low (2.3% + £0.08 per sale).There's also a very large app store available with Clover, so you can tailor the software to fit your exact needs. Notably, it's one of the few POS choices that integrates with Mailchimp, which you can use to send marketing emails advertising special 2 for 1 dining offers or discounted products.That doesn't mean Clover strays away from its core purpose as a restaurant POS. We gave Clover an impressive 4.6 out of 5 in our full Clover review for its impressive hospitality features. The app puts in a solid performance for staff management, sales forecasting, and even facilitates sophisticated actions like being able to edit menus directly from the till. Pros Cheap pricing plans average out to just £8.20 per month - good for cash-poor SMEs Cheap to add additional terminals (£40 per terminal) Range of hardware options available so you can grow your POS system alongside your business Cons High transaction fees (2.7% + £0.08 per sale for Register Lite) Businesses can only buy Register Lite if they make credit card sales of less than £50,000 per year What don't we like about Clover POS?Clover POS' lowest-priced software tier, Payments Plus, costs £4.12 per month. If this sounds too good to be true, that's because it is.Payments Plus' thin library of features is lacking in areas like staff management. Unlike a POS system like Square, which provides a broader range of financial and business services beyond just point-of-sale, including payment processing, payroll, and more – Clover is much simpler with no bells and whistles, primarily offering hardware and software solutions.Clover's restaurant POS pricing Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Pricing From £4.12 per month Hardware Cost £14.95 per month Transaction Fees 2.3% + £0.08 per sale 🥘 3. ZettleBest for food trucks and low-maintenance firms 4.4 out of 5 Price 5.0 Help & Support 3.0 Till Features 4.3 Compare costs POS systems can have a lot of extra perks or bonuses but the primary objective is simple: to process payments and transactions. Our analysis has shown that no tool does this better than Zettle – you can check out our full Zettle review here.Zettle operates a pay-as-you-go model, which has been the main driver of the company’s popularity in the UK. You simply purchase the card reader, then use it however frequently or sporadically to take payments of any type.Zettle has recently pushed up its payment processing fee from 1.25% to 1.75%. However, the software itself is much cheaper than Square for Restaurants, as it is completely free to setup.That easily makes Zettle the best POS system for value for money, particularly if you're a startup that's looking to save on overheads. The Zettle hardware is also available for relatively little, with a Zettle 2 card reader at a very affordable £29.The latest model is lightweight, fairly dirt resistant, and has some clever customer-focused features – like the rubber strips on the back which stop it from slipping off surfaces.Used in conjunction with the Zettle POS app, you'll be able to take any payment from anywhere as long as you have a WiFi/4G/3G connection. Pros Completely free to set up Low-cost hardware with the Zettle card reader priced at just £29 Second-best tool for restaurant features according to our research Cons No training mode option No delivery support - unsuitable for takeaway services Poor for selling food products - no ability to setup barcodes or QR codes What don't we like about Zettle?Our expert team of researchers found that Zettle performs well for an affordable POS system that's popular with users. However, when it came to restaurant features, Zettle was our lowest-scoring software choice for industry-specific functionality.You can't use Zettle in offline mode, so if your restaurant has an outdoor eating area you might experience connectivity issues that can stop you taking orders. No delivery support means Zettle is also unsuitable for takeaways. (See here for POS systems that are suitable for takeaways).Another drawback of Zettle is that, unlike other POS brands, such as TouchBistro, the app does not provide an internal CRM system within the app. Instead, you'll have to download third-party customer service extensions.This lack of customer loyalty tools is another reason that Zettle is a better choice for businesses that don't involve a lot of customer interaction.Zettle's restaurant POS pricing Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Pricing Price from FREE Hardware Cost From £29 Transaction Fees 1.75% 🥘 4. Epos NowBest for restaurants with 10+ employees 4.2 out of 5 Price 2.5 Help & Support 4.0 Till Features 4.3 Compare costs Epos Now is a great choice for large restaurants with 10+ employees thanks to its sophisticated staff management features. Post-COVID, the hospitality industry is suffering from labour shortages as more workers go off sick, requiring complex shift scheduling to manage absences. All Epos Now systems come with a handy clocking in/clocking out function, enabling you to see exactly how many hours each employee has worked.There's also its front and back of house synchronisation, its kitchen management features, and its workplace management system, Deputy. When you add all these to the above, you can see why Epos Now is the best option for established or chain restaurants with large staff volumes. Pros Integrates with delivery apps like Deliveroo Clocking in/clocking out function Automated employee performance reports generated each month to save on admin time Cons Customer management tools only available with integrations If you choose a one-off payment plan you'll need to buy a care and support package for an extra £39 No free trial available What don't we like about Epos Now?Easily Epos Now's biggest flaw is its opaque pricing plans. Initially the costs seem clear: you can either choose to purchase the system through a one-off payment of £399, or for £25 per month.This gets you the Epos Now software, a till system, printer, and personalised training and onboarding for every staff member – handy if you're hiring new workers regularly.However, there are lots of hidden charges associated with this promise including an additional £39 charge for their payments, care and support package for example – compared to Square, for example, which has predictable flat-rate pricing.The payment plan of £25 per month is also based on a three-year payment plan for startup businesses and could differ depending on your firm's financial position. It's best to contact the Epos Now customer service desk to understand exactly what you'll pay.Unfortunately, it's a fact of life that EPOS systems are notoriously difficult to understand. That's why we designed our🔍free cost comparison tool that will match you to provider quotes in minutes.Epos Now's restaurant POS pricing Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Pricing Additional fees via quote Hardware Cost £399 upfront or £25 per month Transaction Fees 1.7% 🥘 5. TouchBistroBest for high-end restaurants 4.1 out of 5 Price 2.0 Help & Support 5.0 Till Features 3 Compare costs TouchBistro’s specialist-restaurant POS software is rammed full of table management features to help you run and manage your business. These include sophisticated tableside ordering, in-depth back end reporting, and the ability to integrate with plenty of third party apps. For high end restaurants with cocktail bars, staff can process orders in just two taps, giving them more time to make customers feel welcome. At the table, naturally placed menu prompts enable servers to upsell on the spot, or inform customers of any allergy information. Similarly, the TouchBistro in-app floor view shows your wait staff how long the customers have sat there, so you can keep an eye on customer wait times and minimise the risk of complaints.The indirect benefit of this POS system is that restauraters can increase customer loyalty, which is particularly important in this industry, given how competitive the restaurant market is. Thanks to a built-in loyalty functionality, you can even collect information on what your members are ordering and send them targeted marketing material, such as offers on their favourite dishes or wines. Pros Great table management tools including section assigning Over 50 report options available including data on overtime hours and labour costs Cons Minimum 12 month contract and no free trial available Payment processing can take up to 4 days - not good for restaurant businesses that need to pay staff weekly What don't we like about TouchBistro?Just as we recommend TouchBistro for high-end restaurants offering a premium service, it unfortunately does not perform well for less-established firms or startups.This largely comes down to cost. TouchBistro's first pricing tier, TouchBistro Solo, costs £59 per month which is over £50 more than our wallet-friendly provider, Clover.On top of this, a second and third license for costs another £50 per month, while if you want 4+ users you'll pay £40 per additional license.Plus, TouchBistro's significant number of drawbacks mean you'll also need to fork out for a lot of integrations that can manage basic POS tasks like reporting, payment processing, and online ordering.Finally, Android users beware – TouchBistro is only compatible with iPad devices so it's a flat no if you're a die-hard Samsung or Google fan. Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward TouchBistro Software cost Starting at $69/month Hardware cost Pricing available via quote Transaction fees 2.99% plus 15p Compare TouchBistro to other POS providers with our simple online tool Compare How does a POS system work?These days, POS systems are more like little computers. Once hooked up to the internet, they provide a host of tools that help you to take transactions and manage your business. Your POS software works in conjunction with a card machine, and the transaction process runs a bit like this:Input the customer’s items into the system – they can be scanned or selected from a menuOnce they’ve been inputted, store the sale if it’s part of a bill, or total the sale and select whether the customer wants to pay by card or cashIf they pay by cash, enter the total amount. The cash drawer will then open. Give them any change they require, and the sale will be stored as a cash saleIf they pay by card, the amount is either transferred to the card machine, or you input the sale amount into the card machine. The sale is then stored as a card saleYou’ll be able to see how many card or cash sales you’ve taken in the back end of your POS system What types of businesses are POS systems suitable for?Every retail or hospitality business needs a POS system, regardless of the specific sector or size. However, there are different types of POS systems that suit certain types of businesses and restaurants better:POS Apps – best for small businesses with limited budgets who want a flexible and portable POSMobile POS systems – best for vendors on the move or retailers who want to process transactions on the sales floor.Touch-screen POS systems – best for businesses that want to speed up ordering and checkout processesCloud POS systems – businesses that want to access reports and POS data from anywhereOpen-source POS systems – best for businesses with abundant technical resources who want to set up their own custom systemMultichannel POS systems – best for businesses that sell online and in-person and need to sync orders and inventorySelf-service Kiosk POS systems – businesses with self-checkout options such as quick service restaurants, ticketing and hospitality Our MethodologyWe’ve been helping small businesses for over two decades. In that time, we’ve carried out extensive research into what makes a great POS system based on our knowledge of the specific pain points of restaurant owners. For example:Value for money – Which software is the most value for money overall?Floorplan customisation – Does the software provide you with the ability to plan your layouts for maximum efficiency and experience for your customers?Booking capabilities – Does the software provide you with the ability to connect with your clientele outside of the establishment and organise it cleanly and digitally?We conducted various rounds of research using a mix of user testing and existing customer reviews in order to try and reach conclusions to these questions – to reach conclusive scores, and to ensure that we're providing you with the most well-researched and up-to-date information at all times. Final verdictAccording to our research, the best POS systems for restaurants are:Square for Restaurants – best for startups needing a cheap all-in-one POS systemClover – best for restaurants selling products on the sideZettle – best for on-the-go food businesses such as market sellers or food trucksEpos Now – best for restaurants employing 10+ workers or agency staffTouchBistro – best for silver-service restaurantsAll of the top five restaurant pos systems on our list offer all the features restaurants need to operate effectively during a pandemic, including delivery app integration, booking system integration, and table service facilitation. Still, POS systems have plenty of hidden fees and pricing caveats that can differ depending on your firm's traits, making it difficult to get an accurate cost measurement.Before you decide on any POS software, we advise using Startups’ exclusive and 🔍free cost comparison tool to get bespoke pricing information. Save by Comparing Restaurant POS Quotes Is your restaurant business already using a POS system? Yes No Restaurant POS system FAQs What is the best POS system for UK restaurants and bars? Based on our research, Square is the best POS system for restaurants due to its good value for money, ease of use, and the fact that it's packed with handy features. What is the best POS system for small businesses? Square for Restaurants is our top-rated POS option for restaurant businesses. Its innovative hardware options and impressive pricing plans make for a system that can grow alongside your business. What are order and pay apps? Order and pay apps allow your customers to order and pay for their food on their phone. They are usually hosted by a third party provider and can be web-based (and accessed through a QR code) or native (downloadable). You can either integrate an order and pay app into your POS system or use it as a standalone system. Do I need an order and pay app or a POS system? Order and pay apps are not a replacement for a POS system as they aren't scalable and hardware integration tends to be limited. Instead, you should them alongside your point of sale system - either integrated into it or standalone. What is the cheapest POS system for restaurant? Square and Zettle would be considered the cheapest POS systems as their prices start from free. Startups.co.uk is reader-supported. If you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps Startups.co.uk to provide free reviews for our readers. It has no additional cost to you, and never affects the editorial independence of our reviews. Share this post facebook twitter linkedin Written by: Stephanie Lennox Writer Stephanie Lennox is the resident funding & finance expert at Startups: A successful startup founder in her own right, 2x bestselling author and business strategist, she covers everything from business grants and loans to venture capital and angel investing. With over 11 years of hands-on experience in the startup industry, Stephanie is passionate about how business owners can not only survive but thrive in the face of turbulent financial times and economic crises. With a background in media, publishing, finance and sales psychology, and an education at Oxford University, Stephanie has been featured on all things 'entrepreneur' in such prominent media outlets as The Bookseller, The Guardian, TimeOut, The Southbank Centre and ITV News, as well as several other national publications.