How to Choose the Best POS System for Your Hospitality Business

How to Choose the Best POS System for Your Hospitality Business
Choosing a point-of-sale system for your restaurant is one of the most important decisions you can make for your business. Prioritise understanding the differences and the features that can best support your needs, your staff and your customers.
by Maya Rollings Jan 13, 2023 — 4 min read
How to Choose the Best POS System for Your Hospitality Business

One of the most important aspects of running and growing a hospitality business is having an efficient way to make a sale. With a good point-of-sale (POS) system, you have the tools to process each transaction and manage everything that comes before, after, and in between – all in one place. Regardless of whether you own a cafe, a quick-service restaurant, a full-service restaurant, a bar, multiple locations, food trucks or a ghost kitchen, streamlining your operations with a good POS will leave you more time to focus on your customers, staff and ways you can take your restaurant to the next level.

In the face of business challenges like labour shortages or increased economic uncertainty, a good POS system can also reduce labour costs and open up ways for you to maximise your staff and your business overall.

Considering the many ways a POS system can impact your operations — not to mention the time it could take to switch — it’s important to do your research so that you can weigh up the factors that matter most to you and understand exactly what you’re paying for.

Choosing a POS system type for a restaurant

There are many different types of POS systems and it can be very confusing to know which system will work best for your business.

Cloud POS

A cloud POS is a web-based POS system that allows you to process payments securely through the cloud (i.e., the internet) on any device, including tablets and smartphones. This means you can access your transaction and sales history from anywhere and manage your business however and wherever you choose.

For food trucks or restaurants with multiple locations, having centralised access to store information or the ability to perform standardised system updates for every location can eliminate the hassle of running between locations and save you plenty of time in the long run.

Mobile POS

A mobile POS is a type of cloud POS system that refers exclusively to handheld devices and devices that allow customer flexibility (i.e. table side ordering and payments). These POS systems make it easier to eliminate traffic jams at the counter and ultimately empower your customers to check out their way, a component 52% of customers list as key to a satisfactory restaurant experience.

With Square for Restaurants you can choose from two handheld hardware options: Square Terminal, which comes with a built-in receipt printer or the pocket-sized Mobile POS kit. Both work best at any restaurant, including bars, breweries and ghost kitchens.

Traditional POS

Traditional POS systems (also called legacy or on-premise POS systems) are systems connected to local servers on a closed network, ultimately meaning they have less flexibility in comparison to a cloud or mobile POS system. They require payments to be processed at stationary terminals and for data to be accessed at your main location.

Unlike Square, traditional POS systems also require you to pay upfront licence fees, buy new versions to update to the latest software, and they typically have to be installed by a professional technician.

Features that matter when choosing a restaurant POS system

Different POS systems offer a range of features that can impact your restaurant in a multitude of ways. Determining how the varying levels of flexibility and automation can maximise how you do business is important for your customers, staff, financial health and overall efficiency.

Ease of use

When it comes to knowing how your restaurant is performing, a POS system with intuitive features and straightforward data reports can help you do so with ease. With easy-to-understand features from Square, you can get your staff trained in minutes and reduce order errors with intuitive order entry while also having the ability to view comprehensive sales and inventory reports in real time.

Streamline kitchen operations

Integrating your POS with a tool that communicates with your back of house and sends orders directly to your kitchen boosts efficiency and order accuracy. The Square Kitchen Display System is flexible enough to work with how your kitchen operates, ensuring that online and delivery orders are also sent to your kitchen staff in an organised and effective way.

You can also streamline your kitchen operations by integrating your POS with other apps in the Square App Marketplace. For example, you could integrate with popular delivery apps via Cuboh or Deliverect to create online ordering options with the choice of delivery or pickup, keeping it simple for your restaurant and painless for your customers.

Customer and staff satisfaction

Keeping your staff and your customers happy is always top of mind. With a cloud POS system, you can make your team members’ lives easier with simple clocking in and out procedures and straightforward shift reporting.

With customers, mobile POS systems give you the flexibility to take table side orders and payments which ultimately empowers your customers to dine and pay how they choose. Cloud POS systems also make it easier to connect with customers. You can offer a loyalty program, share updates and discounts via email marketing, and understand customer behaviour with insights and guest profiles.

Support when it matters most

Questions are normal, regardless of how long you’ve been using a tool or been in your industry. Things are rapidly evolving and it’s important to rely on a system that comes with quality customer support for those moments when you need help in an instant. Square for Restaurants has 24/7 award-winning customer support, so whether you run a bar or brewery that runs into the early morning hours or a 24-hour quick-service restaurant, there’s always someone available to help and keep your business running smoothly.


Whether you’re just starting out or expanding, costs are always a primary factor when it comes to how you operate your business. POS systems, on average, cost between a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, and those prices are on the higher end for traditional POS systems that require upfront fees, maintenance fees, hidden fees and more. Square for Restaurants makes it simple to understand costs with transparent pricing that ensures you always know what you’re paying for, from the initial investment to ongoing support.

There are no commitments or misleading contracts and Square also makes it easier to cut costs by consolidating your operational efforts with marketing, invoicing, gift card and loyalty programs, all available through Square.

Whether you’re on the hunt for the first POS system for your restaurant or the third, make the decision that makes the most sense for your business, your team and your customers.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.

Maya Rollings
Maya Rollings is an editor at Square where she writes about all things customer experience, from building a solid customer base to leveraging tools and technology that meets them where they are in their journey.


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