If you’re a manager of a restaurant, we take our hat off to you. With so many people pulling on you from almost every direction, it can get very stressful. More so if you’re just starting and are unfamiliar with the systems and procedures successful restaurants use to stay efficient.
From stock inventory to staff management, you’ll likely need technology that helps you automate, and efficiently assist you in your daily tasks. Technology in the form of a POS system, is a necessity you can’t do without.
A quick Google search will reveal that when it comes to restaurant POS systems in the UK, Square POS has undoubtedly dominated the industry. Catering to small restaurants, you can build your restaurant empire from the humble beginnings of an iPad. That said, many other restaurant POS systems could be called upon when all features and requirements are considered.
Larger restaurants have successfully stood by EPOS Now for its advanced features while Lightspeed has been the POS of choice for restaurants that offer a range of tiers - making it perfect for growing businesses. All-in-all, there’s a great deal to contemplate when choosing a POS system for your needs and price point.
This post will guide you through the top POS systems in the UK so that you can decide which one works best for you.
Need help building the restaurant of your dreams that runs efficiently? growyze provides a 100% paperless stock control process for your restaurant and integrates with restaurant POS systems such as Square. Book a demo here to find out more.
How does a restaurant POS system work?
POS stands for Point of Sale. In its simplest definition, a POS system facilitates your restaurant to accept payments and keeps track of sales. It allows venues to accept in-store card payments. You could say it evolved from the cash register whose function was similar. It can consist of software, hardware, payment processing, a credit machine, scanners, printers, and a cash drawer - or be completely cloud-based.
Over and above accepting payments from customers, the POS software also stores data and gives you a historic view of your accounts.
Types of restaurant POS systems
If you’ve made the decision to start running your own restaurant and are already working on your opening, or you're thinking of making a change from your old POS system to a new one, we’re here to support you. There are three types of POS systems you could choose from:
- On-Premise POS
- Cloud POS
- Hybrid POS
An on-premise POS is installed onsite to run on your desktop to a closed network on a local server.
The upside to the on-premise POS is that without the need for an internet connection, you can expect a decrease in latency issues. This may be the best option if you’re in a slightly unique venue or a location which doesn’t get great WiFi. You also have the advantage of full control over your server which can enable better security.
The downside, however, is that with it being in a fixed location you can say goodbye to remote access. To access anything in the system, you’ll need to physically enter the restaurant.
On the far side of the on-premise POS is the Cloud POS which runs fully in the cloud on a network of remote servers hosted on the internet. You’ll be able to store, manage and process data on the Cloud POS but with it being fully internet-dependent, it comes with a drawback. No internet connection could see customers waiting anxiously to pay their bills. On the upside, implementation of the Cloud POS to another location is easier as you can set it up from anywhere.
Cloud-based software also means that you can work from anywhere. This is important to many restaurant managers today, who want more autonomy and flexibility in how they work.
Hybrid POS systems, as the name suggests, offer the best of both worlds, weaving all that’s good about the On-Premise POS and all that’s powerful from the Cloud POS.
The speed is as fast as the On Premise’s POS, you have native access like a Cloud POS and since it's a mix between the two, latency issues are as good as non-existent. However, the downside is that this can be a more expensive option, with a higher learning curve required.
Top POS systems for UK restaurants
Now that you’re familiar with the different types of POS systems, here’s a list of the top restaurant POS systems starting with two of the most affordable.
Square POS caters to the small, modern-thinking restaurant owner who’s looking for an affordable and quick start to conducting sales. It offers versatility, allowing you to sell in person, online and over the phone. It also enables you to make payments and access analytics, eCommerce and CRM under one roof. Over and above serving the food and beverage industry, they serve professional services, retail and large businesses.
Budget: Square Point of Sale software is one of the most affordable restaurant POS. The software is free to use with zero setup fees or monthly costs. You are, however, required to make a payment every time there’s a tap, dip or swipe.
The best option for: Smaller businesses that don’t have the starting capital to invest or commit to a POS long term. It’s no wonder Square POS is one of the most common restaurant POS systems. Square POS is also the best small restaurant POS system due to ease of setup.
Key features: Versatile payment options available, payment protection, customisable checkouts, e-Commerce and awesome customer service.
Keen to sign up? Square POS will get you started.
Zettle is an on-the-road POS that caters specifically to small businesses. Previously called “iZettle”, the POS company was acquired by PayPal in 2018 for $2.2bn (£1.6bn), as PayPal looked to expand into “in-store” businesses, as well as online. For food and drinks businesses specifically, Zettle offers what it calls the “Zettle Go POS app”. This is an all-in-one point of sale system that allows restaurant vendors to set up pricing, take payments and see reports on sales. As well as the app, you’ll likely need a Zettle “reader” to take payments in your restaurant.
Budget: Zettle has a very similar pricing model to Square, offering use of its Zettle Go software for free, with a standard fee for every transaction made. Zettle is a flexible choice for budding restaurateurs.
The best option for: Bar owners may enjoy the flexibility that comes with Zettle, and the ability to take payments from any location. This makes Zettle a good choice as a bar and restaurant POS system.
Key features: fast checkout, easy setup, reliable.
Want to learn more about Zettle POS? Head to their website.
Go Epos are the ‘new kids on the block’ but they have actually been around for a lot longer than most of the other companies on this list. The POS business provides an iPad POS solution for cafes, pubs, bars, restaurants. Go Epos has been designed to meet the requirements of both hospitality and retail businesses and boasts greater flexibility for personalisation than their competitors. The software connects to cloud web office software but also works offline if the internet stops working.
There are integrations available for credit card links and loyalty software and the suite of integrations is growing all the time.
The Go Epos app only works on iPads and the cloud web office is browser based so it will work on any device with an internet connection.
Budget: For a small monthly subscription, you get access to all features of the core software and the Cloud Web Office. Go Epos do not believe in limiting access to certain functions and charging extra to unlock features like ‘table tracking’. You can also cancel your subscription at any time. Because of the opportunity to switch on and off your subscription, Go Epos is popular among seasonal business with multiple tills.
The best option for: Businesses that require the personal touch especially when it comes to customisation. The eat in and take away function allows you to have both eat in and take away items in the same sale with correct VAT calculations, so very suitable for any cafés, bakeries or sandwich shops that sell in and out items. Small to medium sized restaurants and any hospitality business that also has a retail element.
Key features: Works online and offline, multi-site, extremely configurable, no contract, cancel anytime, 30 day’s FREE trial of full functionality.
Go Epos are transparent and experienced in what they do. Go check them out.
Lightspeed is a state-of-the-art POS that offers a one-stop restaurant POS system for medium-sized restaurants that are no longer novices to POS systems. Lightspeed gives bartenders and restaurant owners the ability to create menus (and menu combos), open tabs for visitors and split bills during checkout. Lightspeed also has the added benefit of being able to sync with popular delivery apps - essential if this is something your restaurant offers.
Budget: Lightspeed has something for every budget making it a fair option for both smaller businesses and seasoned restaurant owners alike. Their pricing plans also include one terminal with additional abilities to create gift cards and loyalty programmes, and an Enterprise plan with price-on-request, for further customisation.
The best option for: Medium-sized restaurants would appreciate this POS system.
Key features: A wide range of payment options, multiple site management, remote and on-the-go working options.
Lightspeed has so much to offer. To learn more about it, click here.
Epos Now is a full POS system offering, ideal for medium-to-large restaurants. Within the hospitality industry, they serve restaurants, bars and pubs, cafes and takeaways. They offer a wide range of customisation and the ability to integrate with apps for restaurant accounting and popular payment systems. Similar to Lightspeed, Epos Now integrates with major delivery apps and provides sales revenue reports on different sales channels.
Budget: For restaurants specifically, Epos Now offers either a one-off fee, or the ability to pay monthly. They offer Link card readers and Pro card readers for 4G, and WiFi-enabled payment processing. Card payments are charged at a standard card transaction fee and customer refunds are free!
The best option for: Seasoned restaurants that know their way around POS systems as well as large restaurants that process a lot of payments (thanks to the slightly lower payment processing fee).
Key features: Everything in one package, remote business management, reach customers where they are.
To discover more about its features, click the link to the Epos Now website.
Goodtill is a POS system for day-to-day operations that helps to minimise extra costs while increasing productivity. Used in restaurants, pubs and bars to mention a few, this POS system helps to make food and drink ordering easy. It’s important to note that Goodtill is “iPad-based POS software”. This is great if you use iPads throughout your restaurant, or have decided this is the best investment for your POS option. However, if iPads aren’t for you it may be best to consider another option.
Budget: For a small fee you get a core package that includes standard features such as tab and table management, covers and customers tabs. However, if you want any other features, such as browser-based ordering, table ordering or kitchen display screens, these are all additional modules that come with either transaction fees or recurring monthly add-on fees, which can bump your price up.
The best option for: Goodtill is best for those seeking flexibility and the ability to customise their POS based on the exact features their restaurant requires. This makes it useful for slightly obscure business models, pop-ups and budding restaurateurs who desire a bit more flexibility on setup from their POS system.
Key features: Table ordering, click & collect, kitchen display and multisite.
To see if their POS will suit your needs click here.
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Book a demo to find out how we can streamline your back-of-house.