Because of the fast-paced nature of the hospitality industry, managing daily operations can be quite challenging for restaurant workers. This is where point-of-sale (POS) software and hardware solutions come in!
By bringing efficiency and digital automation to their daily tasks, restaurants can not only improve their customer service but also gain valuable business insights.
Let’s go over all of the benefits that restaurant POS systems UK bring and review the best ones for UK-based restaurants.
What Does POS Mean?
Point-of-sale (POS) solutions are software and hardware solutions that help businesses manage their daily tasks.
Here are the key uses of POS systems when it comes to restaurants:
- Creating invoices
- Automated payment transactions
- Payment tracking
- Order processing and management
- Monitoring sales revenue
- Generated in-depth data reports on transactions and users
- Stock and business inventory management
- Table and menu management
- Tracking, adjusting, and monitoring work hours
- Syncing with third-party integrations
Today, businesses can access their POS systems from the comfort of their home or from anywhere, really, since most are web or app-based and can be opened from a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet device. Most POS solutions are cloud-based and can be used from any location if there’s steady WiFi or 3G/4G access.
POS Software and Hardware Types
There’s no doubt that many businesses use a POS solution nowadays, especially in the hospitality, entertainment, and retail industries.
Here’s a brief list of POS solutions that can help restaurants improve their business:
- Cloud-based POS solutions: Perfect for companies that need to keep track of their transaction analytics or access their account at any time, wherever they are.
- POS smartphone applications: An excellent option for startups or small companies with low budgets and who want to use a portable, lightweight POS.
- Mobile-based POS software: Perfect for merchants who are frequently changing their location and retail businesses that are obliged to process their payments from a sales vendor stand.
- Multichannel solutions: Most affordable option for eCommerce or in-person companies that want to sync, manage, and track their stock orders.
- Kiosks that provide self-service: The most suitable choice for businesses that provide customers with self-service, such as checkout.
- Touch-screen solutions: An excellent option for businesses that offer self-ordering and self-checkout via display screens.
Restaurant POS Systems
Although there are many POS solutions out there, we’ve selected six first-rate and cost-effective POS systems that can quickly enhance your customer experience.
Like TouchBistro, LightSpeed is a POS software solution designed to improve and automate restaurant management. Given that this POS software has a plethora of tools and features that might take a little longer to master, the company offers free-of-charge POS training for their clients.
The POS can be used with a stable internet connection (WiFi, 3G, or 4G), but it’s also capable of saving data without internet access. When the internet is back on, the POS software will automatically update all changes that happened while it was offline.
Restaurants can connect the POS software to any type of hardware, so there’s no need to buy specific devices in order to use it. The POS can be downloaded on all kinds of Android and Apple-based devices, including smartphones, tables, laptops, and desktop computers.
The POS software can be synced with LightSpeed’s screen display management system for the kitchen and a screen display for customers. There’s an option to sync the POS with the hardware in the front of the restaurant’s venue with the kitchen hardware.
Also, there’s a free-of-charge 14-day period for restaurants that would like to test out the POS instead of making a decision on whether to buy it.
Since LightSpeed offers a tailor-made enterprise subscription plan, it’s also suitable for large-sized restaurants and food chains.
- Restaurant employees will have access to the POS data 24/7 from their chosen device.
- Businesses don’t need to sign a contract in order to subscribe to LightSpeed.
- LightSpeed will provide its clients with personalised technical support and onboarding sessions, so they can learn how to use all the POS tools and features.
- The POS software will save all the changes in the data while it’s offline and automatically update it once the internet connection is on.
- The starting price is higher than other POS software solutions on this list.
- LightSpeed’s user interface design and features are a bit more complex compared to other POS software solutions on this list. Restaurant employees might need a bit longer to learn how to use the POS.
In addition to software, Lightspeed sells hardware devices for retail, hospitality, and golf-oriented businesses. The company sells two POS hardware kits and several devices that businesses can purchase separately.
iPad POS kit
The iPad POS solution kit contains the following devices and accessories:
- Digital printer
- Portable and lightweight cash drawer
- Barcode scanner that can be connected to the POS software system via Bluetooth
- Printer paper rolls
- iPad tablet stand
Desktop POS kit
The Desktop kit is slightly smaller than the iPad kit. It contains three devices:
- Portable cash drawer
- EPSON digital printer for receipts that connects via USB
- Barcode scanner that connects via USB
Additional Hardware Equipment
Businesses can buy individual POS devices if they’d rather not get the entire POS kit. Here’s what Lightspeed offers:
- Portable cash drawer
- Digital printer for labels by Zebra
- Barcode scanning device that works via Bluetooth
- Barcode scanning device that works via USB
- EPSON ™-m30 printer
- Mobile payment device
- WisePOS E payment device
- iPad tablet stand
- WisePad 3 payment device
Prices and Fees
LightSpeed offers four subscription plans for restaurants, and all the prices are available in USD. However, here’s a list where you can find the approximate price in pounds:
- Starter: £54
- Essential: £149
- Premium: £399
- Enterprise: Businesses must apply for a personalised quote
Businesses also need to request a personalised quote for the hardware devices.
Square’s POS is an excellent option for small restaurants and food kiosks that have just started to develop their business. It offers great value for money and plenty of features. You can use it through Square’s POS app or via desktop computer, laptop, and tablet.
The POS has a very straightforward user interface design, so employees won’t need a lot of time to learn how to use all of its main tools and features. It can also be synced to a card reader and a digital printer, so restaurant employees can track and monitor their daily transactions through their Android or Apple smartphones.
Square’s software solution has an extensive library that contains integrations, tools, and features, making it one of the most affordable yet highly developed POS systems out there.
Businesses don’t need to make an account to use the POS solution. Once they order the card reader and sync it with the POS application, they can start using it immediately.
- Square’s POS software solutions are free of charge, but you need to buy the hardware, like the card reader, to use them. Prices start at approximately £16, plus additional VAT expenses.
- Businesses can download and sync third-party integrations with Square’s POS solution.
- The POS software has an extensive amount of management features, such as staff, inventory, payment, sales, etc.
- A great option for small businesses (daytime restaurants and bistros, drinks and snacks cafeterias, etc.) that want to automate their payment options without spending a lot of money on extensive POS software and hardware solutions.
- The POS solution doesn’t have a training mode.
- There’s a limited amount of front-desk management tools and features.
- Businesses cannot manage or adjust bookings and reservations through Square’s application. To manage reservations, restaurants will have to download and add a third-party integration, such as TapMango.
Prices and Fees
Square’s POS software solution is free of charge, and there are no extra rates or fees restaurants need to pay to use it. However, they will need to connect the software with one or more hardware devices.
Here’s a list of what’s included in the free POS software solution by Square:
- Fast 24-hour payment processing
- Fraud protection and prevention
- One free-of-charge Square Reader device specifically for magstripe
- Secure and encrypted transactions
- 24/7 customer support via phone
- Dispute and conflict management
The rates per transaction change, depending on the payment method used by customers:
- If customers pay by card (Mastercard, Visa, Visa Electron, AMEX, Discover), restaurants will pay 2.6% and an additional 10 cents for each transaction.
- If customers pay on an eCommerce website, use Square Online Checkout, or with an e-invoice, restaurants will pay 2.9% and an additional 30 cents for each transaction.
- In case restaurant employees must manually enter the debit or credit card details of the client, they’ll have to pay 3.5% and an additional 15 cents per transaction.
Square Hardware Prices
In addition to the POS software, Square also sells hardware devices:
- Square Reader: A portable payment reader that costs £19.00 plus additional VAT expenses. The reader accepts contactless debit and credit card, chip & pin, and digital wallet payments.
- Square Register: A POS kit with pre-installed software, two touchscreen displays, and a card terminal. The kit costs £599 with additional VAT expenses.
- Square Terminal: A touchscreen payment device with a pre-installed printer. The terminal costs £149 with additional VAT expenses.
- Square Stand for iPad. The stand costs £99 plus additional VAT expenses.
- Square Stand package: The kit consists of Square Stand for iPad, a printer including paper, and a cash drawer. It costs £339 plus additional VAT expenses.
- Square Register package: The kit consists of Square Register, a printer including paper, and a cash drawer. It costs £979 plus additional VAT expenses.
3. Zettle by PayPal
Without competition, Zettle offers one of the most reasonably priced POS software and hardware solutions, with transaction rates starting from 1.75%. This makes it an excellent choice for restaurants with low budgets or sales revenues that are looking for efficient ways to speed up their payment process and improve the customer experience.
The POS software needs to be connected with one of Zettle’s card reading devices, which costs only £29.
Zettle POS software can be accessed through an online application that restaurant employees can download on a tablet or a smartphone. They must connect their devices to a 4G or WiFi network to use the app.
- Zettle POS software is easy to set up and has a user-friendly interface design, so restaurant employees won’t need to spend a lot of time mastering its features.
- The card reading devices connected to the Zettle software are quite affordable, so restaurants won’t need to spend much of their monthly budget to purchase or subscribe to a POS solution package.
- Businesses don’t need to pay extra fees or rates each month. All they have to pay is a rate per transaction and purchase Zettle’s card reading device for the low price of £29.
- Zettle’s hardware devices are straightforward and portable, and restaurants can process transactions from debit and credit cards, chip & pin, or digital wallets.
- Although there are no fixed fees or monthly rates, the transaction rates are pretty high compared to other POS systems and card readers on this list. The rates per transaction can even reach 2.5%.
- The payment processing time can sometimes take up to 48 hours.
- Restaurants cannot use QR codes or barcode payment methods with Zettle’s card readers but only with Zettle’s GoApp.
- The POS software doesn’t have a training mode.
- Zettle’s POS won’t be able to collect data if the hardware devices are not connected to the Internet. This can be a big disadvantage for restaurants that offer services outdoors or in places where there’s a low Internet signal.
Prices and Fees
Zettle offers two hardware devices:
In addition, the company sells the following Zettle Store POS kits:
- Mini: Prices start at £189
- Food & Drink: Prices start at £399
- Retail: Prices start at £599
- Configuration: Prices start at £311
- Mobile: Prices start at £259
The POS software is free of charge. The transaction fees can vary but are often in the range between 1.75% to 2.5%. The chip & pin payment rate and PayPal payment fees are fixed at 1.75%, while for other payment methods the fees can reach up to 2.5%.
Another thing that restaurants should consider is that Zettle doesn’t offer eCommerce-based payments. Therefore, although the card reader is cheap and the POS software can be used for free, restaurants that want to take online orders will not be able to use Zettle’s POS system.
GoApp by Zettle
GoApp is an online application developed by Zettle. Restaurants can use this app on their smartphones or tablets, from any location with a steady internet connection. The application is relatively easy to use and has a simple and minimal design interface.
Here’s a list of some of the basic features of GoApp:
- Stock management: Employees can add and monitor stock levels and keep a close eye on each product’s availability and expiry dates.
- Multiple users: GoApp can be used by multiple users who have created a profile.
- Sales revenue management: The app allows employees to track and monitor the sales revenue on a daily basis and manage refunds. There’s also an option to download data reports of bestselling products in a specific timeframe.
- Gift cards: GoApp’s users can sell loyalty gift cards to their customers.
- QR code payments: The application can process transactions via unique QR codes if customers want to use contactless payment methods.
Clover offers simple and user-friendly POS software and hardware solutions that are great for small restaurants and those that offer an online ordering option. The POS software can be customised to suit the unique wants and needs of restaurants, and can be synced with hardware devices sold by Clover.
The company has an extensive application and third-party integration store, so restaurants can choose their preferred integrations and tools and add them to their tailor-made POS. Some of the most popular integrations are:
Clover’s software solution has plenty of features that will improve the overall workflow in the restaurant – both in the front and back office. Some of Clover’s POS features are:
Inventory and stock management: Restaurants will be able to track and monitor their products and their date of expiration, as well as automatically re-order specific stock products from their vendors.
Menu management: Restaurants can create, adjust, or delete items from their e-Menus. There’s also an option to customise the interface design of the menu. For example, restaurants can add images next to the dishes and drinks on the e-Menu, choose the colour palettes, add their logo, and customise the menu’s overall design.
Staff management: With the staff management features, restaurants can simplify and improve employee management while enhancing the level of operational productivity.
Restaurant managers can set up work schedules, create invoices, evaluate each staff member’s overall performance, manage the work timetable and adjust working days and hours for each employee, keep track of free days or sick leave, etc.
Additionally, with Clover’s innovative Time Clock feature, restaurant managers will be able to monitor and track staff attendance and find out if someone is taking advantage of the work schedule.
In-depth data reports: Clover’s POS software allows restaurants to access and download all their sales information. Each time the restaurant makes a transaction by using the POS software, the data reports will automatically be updated in real-time. These reports help restaurants track, monitor, and analyse all their sales, compare and contrast the sale percentage per staff member, and find out what are the most popular drinks and dishes on a weekly, monthly, or yearly level.
Staff training: Clover’s technical and customer support team will train restaurant employees and help with the on-site process of software installation. The company also offers to provide assistance and help for all their clients via live chat, telephone, or email.
- Clover POS has budget-friendly subscription plans, starting from £8.20 monthly.
- Clover’s terminals are also quite affordable, as their average price is £40. They can be connected to Clover POS.
- The POS software solution can be customised, and there’s an option to add third-party add-ons.
- Restaurants can choose from an extensive hardware collection and connect Clover POS to card readers, terminals, printers, desktop computers, laptops, etc.
- Restaurants will get on-site help to install the software and a quick introduction to the hardware devices.
- The transaction fees are high compared to other POS providers, especially for restaurants and bistros that are just starting to grow their business and don’t have a high or consistent sales revenue.
- Restaurants are not allowed to buy and use Clover’s Register Lite if their yearly sales revenue is lower than £50,000.
- There is no clear and transparent information on UK-based businesses’ pricing and subscription plans.
Prices and Fees
The prices and fees for UK businesses are not shown on Clover’s website. However, it’s good to know that Clover offers various subscription plans for different types of industries, including:
- Quick Service (restaurant and dining)
- Home & Field
According to Clover’s US website, these are the three subscription plans for businesses in the hospitality industry:
- Starter: The Starter plan’s fixed rice is $1,699 and an additional $84.95 per month. The second option is to pay $160 monthly over a period of 3 years, without paying the fixed price.
- Standard: The Standard plan’s fixed price is $2,298 and an additional $99,90 monthly. The second option is to pay $210 monthly over a period of 3 years, without paying the fixed price.
- Advanced: The Standard plan’s fixed price is $4,097 and an additional $114.85 monthly. The second option is to pay $310 monthly over a period of 3 years, without paying the fixed price.
The monthly subscription plan is the better choice for restaurants with low monthly sales revenue that are looking to buy an affordable yet quality POS. If a restaurant chooses to subscribe to the monthly plan, they’ll have to pay each month for the POS software and purchase Clover’s hardware separately so the POS can be synced with it. Restaurants are not required to pay for the hardware devices until the end of the second month of using them.
After 3 or 4 years from the beginning of the subscription, restaurants can choose if they’d like to stop using Clover’s hardware and purchase devices of their preference.
The yearly subscription plan is an excellent option for businesses that are able to spend more money on a tailor-made POS and would like to use their own hardware devices from the beginning. There are no additional prices and fees except for the POS subscription they must pay yearly.
Both the monthly and yearly pricing plans offer 24/7 technical customer support.
Clover Hardware Prices
Clover sells the following hardware devices:
- StationSolo: POS software and hardware package that includes a touchscreen device, a digital printer, and a cash drawer. You can buy it for $1,699, or pay $125 monthly for three years.
- StationDuo: POS software and hardware package with two touchscreens displays, a receipt printer, and a compact cash drawer. You can buy it for $1,799, or pay $135 monthly for three years.
- ShopGo: Compact internet-based card reader. Fixed price: $49.
- Flex: Portable payment device with a pre-installed digital printer, code scanner, and camera. You can buy it for $599, or pay $35 monthly for three years.
- Mini: A small touchscreen payment device. You can either pay $799 upfront or $45 monthly per three years.
5. EPOS Now
EPOS Now can be a great addition to big restaurants or food chains with at least ten staff members due to its extensive amount of features and API integrations. The POS software solution offers a plethora of employee management options, which makes it the perfect choice for large-sized businesses in the hospitality industry.
With EPOS Now, restaurant managers can manage the working hours of each employee and track their sick and leave days. There’s also an option to create a profile for all employees and track their workload and daily, weekly, or monthly sales.
In addition, the POS software has the following features:
- POS Synchronisation between the kitchen and the front-of-house hardware devices
- An extensive kitchen management
- Inventory and stock management
- POS Synchronisation between several restaurant venues
- Technical customer support is available 24/7, 365 days a year
- eCommerce and API delivery, finance and accounting integrations
EPOS Now Pros
- The POS software supports integrations by various third-party apps, such as Xero, Deliveroo, Hopt, Mews, HubTiger, etc.
- EPOS Now can provide restaurant managers with in-depth staff reports automatically generated at the end of the month.
- EPOS Now offers more tools and features for staff, stock, customer, and kitchen management than many other POS solutions.
EPOS Now Cons
- To use the customer management features, restaurants will have to integrate third-party add-ons to the EPOS Now software.
- Restaurants that one to purchase EPOS Now software at once instead of paying monthly will also have to purchase a package that costs £39.
- The company doesn’t offer free testing trials.
EPOS Now Hardware
Restaurants interested in investing in EPOS Now’s hardware can purchase the Restaurant POS package that consists of the following:
- POS touchscreen payment terminal (15.6’’)
- Touchscreen display for customers (10.1’’)
- Printer for receipts
- POS software
- Portable cash drawer
- Training and installation of the POS software and hardware
Additionally, businesses can buy separate accessories and devices, such as card machines, thermal printers, barcode scanning devices, etc.
Prices and Fees
EPOS Now offers a Restaurant POS package for £325, plus additional VAT expenses. The original price of the package was £899, but there’s an ongoing sale at the moment.
Restaurants can also submit an inquiry via EPOS Now’s website to get a personalised quote if they’d like to purchase hardware devices separately. The other way to get in touch with the EPOS sales team is to call the sales department at 08002945945.
The only extra fee businesses need to pay if they purchase EPOS Now POS software adds up to £39. After paying this amount, customers will receive an EPOS Now tailor-made package that provides support for payment processing and technical assistance for the POS tools and features.
TouchBistro’s POS software is tailored to meet the wants and needs of restaurants of all sizes. The POS software has an excellent range of tools, features, and third-party add-ons that can be especially useful for new restaurants looking for quick ways to grow their sales and enhance user experience.
TouchBistro contains various features, such as:
- In-depth data reports and analytics on employees, sales revenue, and payments
- Menu and stock management
- Table and reservations management
- Payment management
- Employee scheduling
- Gift cards for loyal customers
This POS can only be used on Apple tablets connected to the internet, which might not be suitable for restaurants with different hardware types. If the WiFi or 3G/4G goes off, the POS will collect the data even when it’s offline and automatically update once the internet connection is up and running.
The company provides technical support for all their clients anytime throughout the year and offers a free demo trial for anyone interested in trying out the software’s tools and features.
- The POS collects data even when there’s no internet connection and updates all the changes automatically once the internet is back.
- TouchBistro’s user interface is simple and easy to master.
- All kinds of restaurants and other businesses in the hospitality industry can benefit from TouchBistro’s POS, even self-service food and beverage kiosks, breweries, catering businesses, food trucks, etc.
- The installation process is easy and fast, and businesses can request technical support if they need help installing and syncing the POS software with the hardware.
- Businesses have to sign a 12-month minimum contract in order to use TouchBistro.
- The POS can only be used on iPads, which can be significantly limiting for businesses that don’t own Apple hardware.
TouchBistro sells iPad devices and POS packages tailored for restaurants of all sizes.
There’s no information on each product separately, and the packages’ prices and fees are not available on TouchBistro’s website, so businesses interested in making a purchase will have to submit an application and request a quote.
Prices and Fees
TouchBistro’s average monthly prices are shown in dollars, but if converted to pounds, the average price is about £54. There are several monthly subscription plans that businesses can choose from to customise their POS:
Front House Restaurant Management
- POS: £54
- Payment: Businesses must apply for a personalised quote
- Customer Facing Display: Businesses must apply for a personalised quote
- Kitchen Display System: £15
- Profit Management: £260
- Online Ordering: £39
- Reservations: £180
- Loyalty: £78
- Marketing: £78
- Gift Cards: £19
Recap: The Best Restaurant POS Systems in The UK
As you can see, each POS software comes with its own set of tools and features that may be well-suited for one restaurant but not necessarily for another.
Here’s a summary of the most affordable, user-friendly, and accessible POS systems for UK-based restaurants:
- Zettle by PayPal: Suitable for classic restaurants, movable kiosks, food trucks, or seasonal market food sellers. The best option for restaurants looking for a low-cost and user-friendly POS solution.
- Square: An excellent choice for brand-new restaurants and bistros that are looking for affordable POS software that offers plenty of features for a low price.
- EPOS Now: A great option for mid or large-size restaurants that have a more significant number of employees (at least 10 staff members)
- Clover: Perfect for restaurants of all sizes, especially ones that offer online ordering services.
- TouchBistro: Suitable for restaurants of all sizes, including large, high-level, silver-service venues.
- LightSpeed: Perfect for restaurants of all sizes, including enterprises such as fast food and chain restaurants, with many venues and customers daily.
All the POS solutions on this list offer plenty of tools and features, so choose wisely before settling for one. Analyse your budget and specific requirements, and then you’ll be able to make the right decision.