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Running a restaurant can feel like just that—running. Whether you’re providing a full-service or quick-service dining experience to your customers, your restaurant needs to be a well-oiled, fast-moving machine.
And your restaurant POS system is a crucial cog in this machinery.
Glitchy, slow, or unsecure restaurant point of sale systems can have some pretty serious consequences—so how can a business owner decrease the risk by finding the best POS system for restaurants?
With the multiple, sometimes even conflicting, needs of restaurant finances, restaurant point of sale systems are a very particular, demanding breed. And it’s crucial to pinpoint which restaurant POS systems will be the best fit for your restaurant, in particular.
That’s where we come in—we review all the ins and outs of all of the best POS systems for restaurants on the market.
Which of these top restaurant POS systems is the best fit for your business?
The first of the top restaurant POS system options is Clover. With the perfect balance of flexibility and capability, this POS company offers some of the most restaurant-friendly POS systems on the market.
In order to see all that Clover POS systems have to offer your restaurant, let’s comb through all of their restaurant POS software and hardware options:
Clover restaurant point of sale systems offer up some of the best features for restaurant needs. Plus, you’ll have a wide array of Clover hardware to choose from, so let’s comb through your options:
The most basic yet most mobile piece of Clover restaurant POS hardware is the Clover Go.
The Clover Go comes in both a Bluetooth and plugin version, and it will allow your restaurant to accept magstripe, chip, and contactless card payments when linked to a smart device.
This restaurant point of sale hardware is also the most affordable Clover restaurant POS hardware option, as well—the Clover Go costs $59.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a piece of handheld restaurant POS system hardware that will do it all, then consider the Clover Flex.
The Clover Flex offers up a remarkably long list of capabilities—especially when you consider its small, smartphone-sized stature. You’ll be able to process all forms of payments, scan barcodes, capture signatures, and print receipts—all in one, fully integrated restaurant POS system.
This Clover restaurant POS system hardware will cost you, though—the Clover Flex is $449.
Another piece of restaurant POS system hardware that Clover offers up is the Clover Mini. This restaurant POS system hardware is the first fully countertop option that Clover offers.
You’ll be able to access the whole package you’d expect from a countertop restaurant POS, with the streamlined footprint that you’d expect from a best POS system for restaurants that labels itself “Mini.”
The Clover Mini restaurant POS system hardware comes with a starting cost of $599.
Finally, if you’re looking for a full-blown countertop restaurant POS system from Clover, look to the Clover Station. This is arguably the best POS system for restaurants that need a high-speed, top-performing countertop POS system.
With the Clover Station, you’ll be able to process all forms of payments, ring customers up, scan barcodes, and print receipts. Plus, you’ll have the option between a high-speed receipt printer or one that features a customer-facing display.
The Clover Station starts at $1,199.
If you decide to go with a Clover POS system for your restaurant, you’ll also have your choice of two different restaurant POS software options.
The first option for Clover’s restaurant POS software is the Register Lite plan. This won’t be a free restaurant POS software—it costs businesses $14 a month to use.
With this cost, you’ll gain access to all of the following capabilities:
The more powerful version of Clover’s POS software is the Register plan. This restaurant POS software will cost your business an extra $29 every month, which will open up the following extra perks:
Want to look into another top option for restaurant point of sale systems? Consider Square point of sale systems.
Square’s restaurant point of sale systems are some of the most popular in the industry. Plus, the way their affordable restaurant POS software and hardware converts smart devices into powerful point of sale systems makes for a low price point for newer businesses that are working with smaller budgets.
Let’s take a look at all Square has to offer as it vies for the title of best POS system for restaurants:
First, let’s look at the lineup of restaurant POS system hardware that Square offers:
Square’s magstripe reader is pretty much the only piece of free restaurant POS hardware you’ll be able to find on the market.
The magstripe reader comes free with your Square account and will plug directly into the headphone jack of your smart device, allowing you to convert your tech into a powerful restaurant POS system that can reader card magstripes.
If you want your business to be able to accept chip cards through its restaurant POS system, then you’ll need to upgrade from Square’s free restaurant POS hardware.
Square’s chip reader functions just like their magstripe reader—by plugging into a smart device headphone jack, but it will process only EMV chip technology.
If you decide to buy this restaurant POS system hardware for $35, you’ll also receive a free magstripe reader as backup for any customers without EMV chip cards.
The next step up for Square’s restaurant POS system hardware options operates a little differently. Square’s reader for chip and contactless payment still requires a smart device in order to process payments, but it will connect to said smart device through Bluetooth.
With this POS hardware for restaurants, you’ll be able to accept chip and contactless payments. Again, this POS hardware will cost you extra—$49—but it will also come with a free magstripe reader for customers who don’t have access to EMV technology or contactless payments.
If you’re looking specifically for an iPad restaurant POS system, then we suggest you turn your search toward the Square Stand.
With this restaurant POS, iPads become powerful countertop POS hubs. The Square Stand restaurant POS system comes complete with a chip and contactless reader and an iPad stand with a magstripe reader.
Aside from the cost of the iPad itself, this iPad restaurant POS system will cost your business $169.
If you’re looking for the most efficient, high-powered restaurant POS system for your business, then consider investing in the Square Register.
Unlike other Square restaurant point of sale systems, the Register doesn’t require that your business come to the table bearing a smart device. So, if you’re not interest in an iPad restaurant POS system but your want a countertop POS, then the Register is your best Square option.
The Register is able to process all forms of payments and comes with a dedicated, customer-facing display.
For the most powerful, fully integrated restaurant POS system that Square offers, you’ll have to pay an upfront cost of $999.
That said, investing in the Register will allow your business to access lower payment processing fees, so be sure to keep that in mind while weighing your options.
No restaurant POS system is complete without a restaurant POS software. What does Square’s restaurant POS software bring to the table?
Let’s see what capabilities its two restaurant POS software options can animate their hardware to perform:
Square’s default restaurant POS software is Square Point of Sale. This free restaurant POS software comes automatically with your business’s Square account.
But that’s not to say that it won’t be able to address your business’s needs. In fact, this free restaurant POS software outpaces some of its most costly competitors with its long list of capabilities:
On the other hand, if you want to seriously upgrade your restaurant POS software through Square, then consider investing in Square for Retail.
This restaurant POS software will cost your business $60 a month. And though it’s called Square for Retail, it offers some pretty stellar capabilities that might prove useful for your restaurant POS system.
With this restaurant POS software, you’ll gain access to:
Perhaps you’re just opening your business, and you’re looking for the right restaurant POS system for your initial needs.
For the best POS system for restaurants that are new on the scene, we suggest aiming for the most affordable, straightforward option before scaling up from there.
As a result, new restaurants will likely be best-served by the restaurant POS system bundle that comprises the Square magstripe reader, Square Point of Sale app, and any smart device they can get their hands on.
The only real barrier of entry for this restaurant POS system is the necessary smart device. So if you’ve already got that taken care of, you’re that much closer to securing a free restaurant POS system for your new business.
After that, you can scale up to more powerful—and costlier—restaurant POS systems as your business’s needs evolve.
Alternatively, you might be running a well-established quick-service restaurant and searching for a restaurant POS system to address its particular needs.
In which case, you’ll likely need a powerful countertop POS system for your restaurant’s high-volume needs. As such, we suggest you look to either the Clover Station or the Square Register for your quick-service restaurant POS needs.
Although the Clover Station bundle offers a receipt printer, the Square register comes with a more powerful restaurant POS software, along with lower payment processing fees.
Finally, if you’re looking for the best POS system for restaurants that offer full service, then you’ll likely want to come up with a one-two punch of power and mobility.
Our advice for full-service restaurants is to access a countertop restaurant POS system, along with several synced card readers for your employees.
Depending on your full-service restaurant’s specific needs, we suggest either going with a Square Stand and Square Reader combo or a Clover Mini and Clover Go combo. With either of these bundles, your employees will be able to ring your customers up right at the table.
With all of the ins and outs on the best restaurant point of sale systems laid out in front of you, what’s the bottom line for all of this info?
That will ultimately be up to you to decide. And now that you’re equipped with all of the necessary info for deciding the best POS for restaurants like yours, you’re all set to make this decision for yourself.
After all, no one knows what your business needs from its POS system better than you do.