There have been some exciting developments in EPoS systems designed to optimise the management of hospitality businesses, including many specifically for restaurants of all types – from street food outlets to formal dining establishments.
A good restaurant EPoS system should help you manage and streamline all aspects of your business, from front of house to back of house. Typical elements of POS systems will help you with include: handling reservations, taking and assigning orders, taking customer payments, cash flow, inventory management (stock levels and usage to reduce wastage), staff matters (such as scheduling and tracking labour costs) and kitchen management.
>See also: Opening a restaurant: The key ingredients to start-up success
The other key part of any hospitality PoS solution comes from the data it will generate.
All the systems on offer will provide business data and analytics, but the best EPoS systems for restaurants will present you with easily understood reports and useful overviews of how each part of your business is performing.
Perhaps most important is the data that can help you with customer engagement and marketing. For example, tracking customer order history can help identify favourite food and beverage combinations so you can customise special offers, loyalty programs or discounts. Insights such as these can help your business to grow and expand, creating a firmer base for a longer lasting project and help secure your future.
Remember, it’s not just about seeking efficiencies, it’s also about building a place where you and your staff enjoy working and thereby creating the best customer experience.
How much does a typical EPoS system cost?
It’s tricky to pin down the cost as POS system pricing will vary depending on the size and/or type of restaurant you run. If you’re buying your hardware upfront, you could be looking at upwards of £300. Monthly software costs will set you back anywhere from £20+ depending on its functionality and how many devices you use.
These costs are quite broad and will also depend on many other factors around your business.
Future-proofing and the importance of system updates
Technological development in the market continues apace, so it is important to choose a supplier that is updating its software and hardware configurations on a regular basis.
One of the latest advances we have seen is from JeM that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to forecast sales using trend analysis.
There are a good number of EPoS suppliers in the market to choose from and as mentioned earlier, some are pure play specialists in the hospitality sector, tailoring their offer by restaurant type. Below, we list 15 systems available in the UK market.
EPoS systems for restaurants and cafés
The EPoS systems listed below have a brief introduction of the product, features (though not an exhaustive list) along with hardware available and manned customer support hours. Note that there are usually written and video guides on the provider’s website so that you can troubleshoot less urgent issues that come up.
Looking through these offerings, you can expect a lot of standard features like accepting multiple payment methods, analytics or reporting features and offline mode so that you can still take payments without an internet connection.
As mentioned above, a lot of variables can affect the price of your EPoS system and are therefore bespoke to your needs. Where possible, a price is included in the listings below. Just be aware of hidden costs like payment processing and hidden hardware costs. It’s wise to ask about any additional pricing upfront.
The Restaurant EPoS Providers listed here are:
- Epos Now
- NFS Aloha
- Oracle MICROS
Also available in the US and Europe, Clover wants to customise the dining experience for your restaurant. This means you can add Clover-approved hardware such as a kitchen printer or a cash drawer. You’ll also have access to additional apps through Clover Dining to help you manage bar tabs, shift, tips and Happy Hour. There are two basic systems: Station Pro (for larger restaurants) and Mini (for mid-sized restaurants with a limited number of tables)
- Digital receipts
- Create email and social media campaigns quickly
- Integrated payments: cash, swipe, EMV, Apple Pay, Google Pay
- Suggested tip screen
Hardware: Clover Flex (handheld unit), Clover (small tabletop unit), Clover Station Pro (14-inch HD display tabletop), kitchen printer, weight scale, barcode reader
Customer support hours: Contact number can be found through your account or you can call 0371 200 1436. No support hours specified.
As its name suggests, eatPOS specialises in systems for restaurants, cafés, pubs, takeaways and other eateries. It’s also been designed with Covid-19 in mind to make customer ordering as contactless as possible.
A digital menus integration means that you can create a digital menu with a drag and drop editor.
There are four EPoS packages available for hospitality with varying numbers of tablets, cash drawers and printers in addition to the main unit. Each is bespoke based on your business’ needs.
- Built-in Table Booking system
- Extensive stock reporting capabilities and have audit trails to help reduce waste
- Personalised branding on app
- Pre-defined meal deals and automatic calculation of multi-buy deals
- Live stock-take counters on the POS
Hardware: POS units, tablet, cash drawers, printers, self-service kiosk, fingerprint reader, card scanner, LCD customer display, barcode scanner, thermal printer, secure tablet stand, loyalty cards
Customer support hours: Phone support available 9:30am-5:30pm Monday to Friday on standard plan; 9:30am-12am Monday-Sunday on extended support plans. Call on 0116 380 0299.
Epos Now promises to help you get ahead and evolve your business with its POS offering. Unlike some other providers, you can do tableside orders on mobile phone and do a stock take with the phone’s camera.
The Complete Solution package gives you hardware and the first month of software along with installation, configuration and training from £399.
- Manage floor plan in real-time to boost table turnover
- Accept all payment types for one blended rate
- Integrations with over 100 apps including: Mailchimp, Xero, Deliveroo, various loyalty programmes (e.g. Loyalty Dog, Gift Trees etc.) and their own Epos Now Apps for Delivery and Pay at Table.
- Automate purchase orders and use low stock warnings
Hardware: Kitchen Display System, iPad stand, additional iPad (optional), thermal receipt printer, all-metal cash drawer
Customer support hours: Phone support on 0800 2 945 945 but no hours stated. Web chat also available.
Gardiff’s main focus is managing your account and letting your customers order from anywhere. It offers an end-to-end view of your restaurant operations whether a small restaurant or a multi-site chain.
- Accounting software like Sage, Quickbooks and Xero
- Other integrations include Preoday, Shopify and Woo Commerce
- Delivery apps Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats
Gardiff costs from £1,195 or £20 a week.
- Take orders through your own branded app, web platform or QR codes
- Sell gift cards and create a loyalty scheme
- No commission on any orders and no minimum term
- Tackle transaction fraud
Hardware: Touch screen tills, self-service kiosk, waiter tablets, card terminals
Customer support hours: Phone support 365 days a year, early morning until late at night. Call on 0203 846 5564.
Goodtill is the EPoS from payment provider, Sumup. It says that it’s feature-rich so that you can adapt it to your restaurant or café. The GoodEats platform lets you run a click and collect service while Table Ordering means that customers can order from their table using a QR code. Both methods efficient and contactless.
Starts at £49 per till per month but you can add additional functions starting at £9.
- Manage multi-site effectively under one unified system
- All of the tech is iPad-compatible
- Integrate with your existing hardware, delivery, and software providers (payment providers, accounting software etc.)
- Loyalty iOS app which creates promotions, points-based programs and QR codes
- Free next day deliveries for orders over £100
Hardware: iPads, mini iPads, iPad stands, printers, card readers, kitchen display screens, customer display screens.
Customer support hours: Live chat 9am-5pm Monday- Friday. Weekends and bank holidays 10am-5pm. Phone support 8am-7pm Monday-Thursday, Friday 8am-9pm, Saturday 8am-9pm, Saturday 10am-9pm, Sunday and bank holidays 10am-6pm. Call 0203 322 4095.
>See also: How to shift your pub or restaurant from eat-in to takeaway and delivery
JeM offers an all-in-one solution that’s a little more tech-savvy as it can produce sales forecasts with artificial intelligence technology. You can even place JeM iPad terminals on the tables so that customers can do their own orders. The company works in partnership with the Payment Sense merchant service provider.
Prices are competitive and bespoke.
- Sales forecasting through artificial intelligence
- Have your own website for integrated ordering online (or via App)
- Takeaway Management
- Generate voucher codes on receipts which will encourage diners to visit again
- Designate roles to each staff member
Hardware: iPad, printer, cash drawer, till stand, printer rolls, Zettle card reader
Customer support hours: 9am-5pm Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm Saturday, closed Sunday. Call 0175 338 6565.
>See also: Restaurant website: Things to do and things to avoid
Lightspeed offers four feature bundles depending on your needs:
Starter – 1-2 locations. £59 per month (has basic reports, integrated payments, loyalty program, and marketplace integrations.
Essential –1-15 locations. £109 per month (all of Starter features plus online ordering, inventory management and real-time reporting).
premium –16-500+ locations. £339 per month (all of Essential features plus API access and PMS integration).
Enterprise – Bespoke, with dedicated support team and unlimited consultation services.
- No hidden fees or monthly transaction limits
- Chargeback management and fraud assistance from an expert team
- Self-ordering integrations
- Handle reservations using OpenTable
Hardware: iPad stand, printer, cash drawer, bluetooth scanner, receipt paper, USB receipt printer, USB scanner, zebra label printer, branded gift cards
Customer support hours: Live web chat available. Phone support on 0203 695 9599 but no hours specified.
Lolly prides itself on having an intuitive and dependable platform with a range of hardware to suit your restaurant business. You’ll also get card machine warranty and next day till replacement if yours is faulty. There are over 30 kitchen management, self-serve and payment solutions which ‘work straight-out-of-the-box’. One of its latest features is the ‘LollyBot’ – a 1.2m freestanding robotic waiter.
A three-month free software trial is available and there’s no minimum contract for software.
- Bar tabs, tables and happy hour promotion functions
- Lollyloyalty scheme
- Easy-to-update menus with seasonal dish changes and nutritional information
- Hardware to rent or buy at affordable rates
Hardware: POS screen, digital signage, self-serve kiosk, kitchen screen, card machines.
Customer support hours: Phone support available 9:30am-5:30pm Monday-Sunday. Emergency support until 10pm. Call 0845 206 8665.
NFS Aloha is used by 140,000 outlets worldwide, including some big names like Brewdog, Dishoom and Five Guys. It also offers multi-site management including a cloud-based back office.
- Dynamic pricing
- Prevent staff fraud and monitor your reputation on social media
- Upselling prompts for waiting staff
- Labour cost forecasts and efficient schedule creation
Hardware: Screens, receipt printers.
Customer support hours: 24/7 phone support on 0800 731 8451.
Like a couple of others in this list, Nobly POS is iPad compatible. In fact, the POS software is built on iPad technology. What’s more, the software is specifically designed for the hospitality industry. It’s also completely free to set up.
- Split and combine tables for easy customer placement
- Can get hardware for no upfront cost
- Integrates with payment providers Paymentsense, Barclaycard, SumUp, Zettle as well as accounting providers like Xero, QuickBooks and Deputy
- Refer another restaurant owner to Nobly and get £150 credit on your account
Hardware: Kitchen Display Screen, iPad, cash drawer, receipt printer, iPad stand, USB receipt printer, WiFi printer, barcode scanner
Customer support hours: Phone support 24/7 on 020 3514 9116.
Oracle’s restaurant POS runs on cloud-based ‘Simphony’ software, which enables you to automate daily tasks and adapt to new dining trends quickly. It is an all-in-one platform offering inventory management, loyalty programs, restaurant analytics reports, staff scheduling and menu management, built in a secure and open API.
- Hardware stands up to heat, cold, spills, drops and heavy use
- Single hot-swappable battery will last a whole shift
- Restaurant scheduling software for easy changes to rotas
- Manage menus in different languages
Hardware: POS unit, tablets, Kitchen Display Systems, self-service kiosk, EMV reader.
Customer support hours: Phone support 24/7 on 01753 871 400.
Square has its own suite of products that work together to create your PoS system. Popular ones include: Square KDS (Kitchen Display System), Online Ordering (with Click and Collect), Deliverect Order Manager (integrates with companies like Deliveroo, Uber Eats, Just Eat etc.)
A flat charge of 1.75 per cent for chip and PIN and contactless payments and 2.5 per cent for card not present transactions applies across all of the packages.
Free – Unlimited devices and unlimited locations.
Plus – £69 per month per location. 30-day free trial.
Premium – Custom pricing but you must meet eligibility criteria.
- Repeat round of drinks function
- eGift cards
- Reopen closed bills
- Live sales figures
Hardware: Square reader, Square terminal, Square stand, Square register, printer, printer paper
Customer support hours: Phone support Monday-Friday 9am-5pm for customers on Free package and 24/7 support for customers on Plus or Premium package. Call 0800 098 8099.
TillPoint has a range of specialised apps to help you manage sales, promotions, operations, finances and HR/staff. You can integrate it with your existing hardware as the software can be used on any device. They have recently introduced ‘Hand-Held Ordering Pads’ – a paper-free way to take food and drinks orders as well as pay and print a receipt directly from the pad. They also have a feature called ‘TouchLoyalty’, which allows you to add a loyalty scheme for customers with member discounts and loyalty points based on how much they spend with you.
For price points you need to contact the company.
- Front of House management
- Kitchen Display system
- Online reservations
- Real-time reports
- Scalable – you can add new branches or more locations
- Staff hours tracking
- Stock tracking
Hardware: POS terminals
Customer support hours: Phone support 9am-5pm Monday-Friday. Call 0207 096 0965.
TouchBistro’s PoS is built especially for restaurants. It starts with a core unit which you build up with add-ons for customer engagement and restaurant operations.
The basic unit is $69 (£51) a month with online ordering at $50 (£37) a month, gift cards at $25 (£18) a month and self-service kiosks at $69 (£51) a month. Contact TouchBistro to get a quote which will be tailored to the type of restaurant you operate, e.g. Fine Dining, Fast Casual, Coffee Shop, Cafe etc.
- Upselling tools in the form of colour-coded menus
- Custom modifiers for menu personalisation
- Tableside Ordering
- Menu Management
- Staff Management
- Reporting and Analytics
- Gift card and loyalty scheme functions
Hardware: POS units, Kitchen Display System, customer facing display, digital menu board.
Customer support hours: Phone support 24/7 on 44-0800-051-3311.
Zettle promises simplicity and has its own hardware.
There’s simplicity in the flat transaction rates. Card transactions are 1.75 per cent; invoice transactions at 2.5 per cent; payment link transactions at 2.5 per cent; PayPal QR code transactions at 1.75 per cent.
Zettle by PayPal is the free point of sale app. It delivers sales reports, gift cards, refunds and discounts. Bear in mind that there are additional fees for hardware – card reader from £29, terminal from £149 and complete set up from £189.
- Switch quickly between accounts and checkout in seconds
- Take PayPal QR code payments
- Edit stock, track sales and see staff performance
- Integrations with a couple of other providers on this list including Goodtill and Lightspeed
- No contracts or hidden costs
Hardware: POS terminal, card reader, card reader dock.
Customer support hours: Phone support is available 9am-5pm weekdays, though there is also on-call support available from 5pm to midnight on weekdays. Call 020 3984 8464.
Live web chat is available 9am-5pm on weekdays.
Family-owned Zonal works for any size of restaurant and the software can bed accessed from any device. They have a customer base of over 16,000 hospitality businesses and a UK-based training and customer support team.
- Measure staff performance and monitor targets. Time and Attendance module has in-built reporting tool that allows you to view reports for days, weeks or any specific period
- Get data on which promotions are working effectively
- Has a series of rental packages
- Stock and inventory management with realtime alerts helps you optimise usage and determine portion size
Hardware: POS terminal, bar, kitchen and receipt printers, cash drawers, cash counting machines, scanners, printer rolls
Customer support hours: Phone support 8am-12am seven days a week. Call 0333 234 1210.
There is lots of choice and software options allow you to pick what’s best for your type of establishment. Even though companies offer largely similar products, it could be an individual function they have that is crucial to running your business so do your research carefully.
Remember to factor in availability of support during your operating hours as well as ease of use. Finally, consider whether you want a free trial before you commit to an EPoS system and don’t forget the customer experience in your purchasing decision. Good luck!
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