There are a lot of point-of-sale and customer relationship management systems out there and choosing the one that’s best for your business can be challenging.
Advancements in technology have made POS and CRM systems more feature-rich, making many simpler to use than ever before. Of course, the number of truly advanced systems also makes it more difficult to choose the one that works best.
We researched a dozen systems to help you make an educated decision about your system. Many are cloud-based, operate independently of an internet connection, and utilize iPads with docking systems. Each POS system below is capable of check splitting and payment processing, so we looked past those features to save you time.
What they can do for you: TouchBistro is consistently ranked at the very top of POS system lists. This iPad-based system is designed with simplicity in mind so operators and their teams can learn to use it quickly. Tools include menu management, staff management and scheduling, customer relationship management, and rich analytics and reporting across a broad spectrum of metrics.
What we like: We think it’s awesome that not only does TouchBistro serve bars and restaurants of all sizes and categories, the system works for breweries and food trucks as well. There’s good reason that Gordon Ramsay has said, “It provides an amazing infrastructure for guiding new and existing businesses. TouchBistro’s technology is absolutely transforming how to run restaurants today.”
Cost: $69/month for Solo (single license), $129/month for Dual (two licenses), $249/month for Team (maximum five licenses), Unlimited requires a custom quote (six-plus licenses). All subscriptions billed annually. Hardware is sold separately.
Click here to learn more about TouchBistro.
What they can do for you: Toast is among the best POS hardware and software solutions available. Fast-casual, casual, fine-dining, bar, nightclub… Toast has solutions for every type of operation. Toast systems are simple to learn and use, offering a full-featured software suite that handles everything from payment processing, inventory tracking and quick menu changes to integrated payroll, labor reports and other analytics, and access to needed capital.
What we like: That a number of our 2020 Nightclub & Bar Award winners—Drink in Boston and The Bar-Bill Tavern in upstate New York—use Toast. Award-winning venues don’t reach elite levels of operation spending more time than necessary in front of screens. Toast helps team members keep their focus where it’s needed most: on the guests.
Cost: Software starts at $79/month per terminal. Installations starts at $499.
Click here to learn more about Toast.
What they can do for you: With clients like Momofuku, Upserve is obviously doing something right. Their hardware and software solutions help streamline operations, control costs, and reduce waste. Their Menu Intelligence report can help identify which items are generating the most revenue, Server Performance gives team members “report cards,” and Daily Digest gives operators a look at how their businesses are performing. Other important features include inventory management, fully integrated online ordering, and full labor management tools.
What we like: We love POS systems that offer deep, actionable insights so operators can spend less time sifting through spreadsheets. Upserve certainly has that capability, but we also like Training Mode, which helps staff master tasks like splitting checks processing payments without stress.
Cost: $59/month for Core, $199/month for Pro, $359/month for Pro Plus subscriptions. Additional terminals incur additional fees. Qualified buyers can enjoy 0 percent financing on hardware and software.
Click here to learn more about Upserve.
What they can do for you: This POS system is designed to be used by quick- and full-service restaurant and bar operators. ShopKeep for restaurant and bar operators offers employee and shift performance tracking, sales analytics (including the ability to drill down by suppler), inventory tracking with re-order triggers, and a marketing dashboard.
What we like: That ShopKeep’s tools help their customers see average annual sales growth rates in excess of eight percent. With more than 25,000 customers, that’s an impressive track record.
Click here to learn more about ShopKeep.
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What they can do for you: Revel is an iPad-based POS solution. We find it interesting that operators can not only choose which system works best for their type of venue—Bar POS, Nightclub POS, Pizza POS, Brewery POS, and Winery POS—they can choose from three different iPads: 2018, Pro or Mini 4. Revel provides operators with real-time labor, product mix, hourly sales, COGS, and inventory reports.
What we like: That one of our 2020 Nightclub & Bar Award winners—The Port Bar in Oakland, CA—uses this system. We also like Revel’s CRM system, which can capture guest emails and manage email marketing campaigns.
Cost: Starts at $99/month per Revel terminal
Click here to learn more about Revel.
What they can do for you: From bars to quick-service to full-service and even hotels, Lightspeed is one of the leading POS systems on the market. Operators can customize the platform to their specific floor layout, remove iPads from their docks so servers and bartenders can take orders from anywhere, and handle online orders. Lightspeed offers robust reports for single- and multi-unit operations: create guest profiles and track their visits, track employee sales performance, identify busy dayparts, and track top-selling items.
What we like: There’s a lot to like about Lightspeed, from the well-designed hardware—including several types of printers—and the deep software. We like the iPad-based ordering kiosk that gives guests the ability to place orders themselves, which Lightspeed claims leads to increased order sizes, and we really like that real-time reporting and analyzing how an operation is performing isn’t dependent on Lightspeed hardware. Their secure cloud solution means an operator can check in on their business from anywhere at any time.
Cost: Starts at $59/month, with standard add-ons costing $12/month each and premium add-ons costing $39/month each
Click here to learn more about Lightspeed.
BPA Restaurant Pro
What they can do for you: The hardware and software of this system are purpose-built for restaurants of all sizes and categories. Like other platforms, BPA Restaurant Pro has inventory solutions. However, this platform also has food costing capability. There are also security features both for guest data and to help prevent employee theft. The software comes free with hardware systems. Accessorizing the system with tablets means servers are always on the floor, ready to take orders and process payments.
What we like: BPA’s EatOnTheWeb feature brings online ordering and delivery to any restaurant, meaning operators can open up an additional—and valuable—revenue stream with a dedicated website.
Cost: $40/month for license and support, $70 for software only on a single station ($400/additional station), $1,295 for single Elite POS hardware system ($1,000/additional system)
Click here to learn more about BPA Restaurant Pro.
What they can do for you: Clover gives you the ability to manage the front and back of house, measure employee performance so you can identify your top (and bottom) team members. The platform handles payroll (including taxes), helps operators secure capital, tracks metrics and provides real-time insights, creates guest profiles and can implement rewards programs, and offers an app market so operators can easily install what they need for their businesses.
What we like: The app market is impressive but we also like their full-service and quick-service restaurant hardware. Their largest bit of kit, the Clover Station, comes with a cash drawer, receipt printer and handheld Flex device to take orders and payments tableside. Mini is ideal for bars and full-service restaurants and is compatible with other Clover accessories so operators can build their perfect systems.
Cost: $499 for Flex, $749 for Mini, $1,349 for Station
Click here to learn more about Clover.
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What they can do for you: Talech is an iPad- and cloud-based restaurant POS solution. Operators can customize their menus—including add-ons and exclusions—and even change them in real-time. The platform gives operators the ability to schedule discounts for different dayparts if they so choose. Talech manages guest relationships, inventory and employees.
What we like: Because Talech is iPad-based, the interface is intuitive. One of the biggest barriers to implementing new technology is learning curve. This platform takes that challenge out of the equation.
Cost: $44/month for Starter level (best for cafés; single device only), $62/month/first device for Standard (quick- and fast-service restaurants), $89/month/first device for Premium (full-service)
Click here to learn more about Talech.
What they can do for you: This Sysco product allows operators to customize their floorplans, including patio areas and multiple floors. CAKE can integrate an online reservation system, provide real-time inventory to prevent sending orders to the kitchen that can’t be completed due to 86’d items, and claims a six percent increase in table turns. This platform has robust report generation, assisting in the management of employees, identification of what items are selling and which are not, and tracking of sales trends.
What we like: Their dedicated bar and pub solution. Using what CAKE calls Speed Screens, bartenders can place and edit orders and cash out guests from a single screen. Bar teams can also easily track every open order via the order queue, again from a single window.
Cost: Starting at $69/month
Click here to learn more about CAKE.
What they can do for you: Not only is BrewPOS built for bars and restaurants, it’s also intended for use by breweries. The robust features list includes a dedicated Bartender Mode, the ability to pre-authorize tabs, setting up automatic discounts, kitchen printing in any language, daypart-specific menu implementation, and Delivery Mode. BrewPOS can manage employee clock-ins/outs and payroll across multiple locations. In fact, the platform offers rich real-time reporting for single- and multi-unit operations.
What we like: The aforementioned Bartender Mode. Faster ordering and payment processing means less time bartenders have their backs to guests or are otherwise disengaged.
Cost: $69/month for one station, $129/month for two stations, $169/month for three stations, $199/month for four stations, $249/month for five stations, $299/month for six stations, $349/month for seven stations, $399/month for unlimited stations
Click here to learn more about BrewPOS.
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What they can do for you: SevenRooms isn’t a POS system—it’s an elite reservation and CRM platform. What they offer is a full venue management suite that integrates with several POS systems, payment providers, and booking channels operators already use. The software completely manages reservations and seating while also collecting a massive amount of guest datapoints to help operators provide incredible, memorable service and build long-lasting, valuable relationships. The platform helps fill empty seats, boost marketing efforts and profits, and create granular guest profiles so managers and servers can deliver fully personalized guest experiences. SevenRooms integrates with Toast, Lightspeed, Google, OpenTable, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Mailchimp and much more.
What we like: SevenRooms is constantly seeking to innovate and help operators thrive. One way they achieve those goals by conducting deep industry research. They share their in-depth reports so the industry and operators can grow. You can check out our analyses on SevenRooms reports here, and our interview with CEO Joel Montaniel here. 2020 Nightclub & Bar Rooftop of the Year award winner PHD Terrace at Dream Midtown uses SevenRooms to better engage with guests and meet their needs.
Cost: $495/month per location, with additional services incurring additional fees
Click here to learn more about SevenRooms.
Disclaimer: Neither the Bar & Restaurant nor Nightclub & Bar Show teams received any for of compensation in exchange for inclusion on this list. Most costs listed are for recurring subscriptions/fees and do not include hardware purchase or lease prices. Check with individual services for accurate pricing.