Quick service point-of-sale (POS) systems serve as the central hub for cafes and restaurants serving fast or on-the-go food by processing customer transactions, tracking inventory, and providing sales reports. The best quick service restaurant POS systems also have kitchen display systems, customer-facing displays or kiosk solutions, with software fees starting under $100 per month.
Top 6 Quick Service Restaurant POS Systems 2019
Quick Service POS
(Best Overall) Restaurants needing customer-facing tools like kiosks, digital menus, displays, and online ordering
Small quick service restaurants wanting to easily display allergy or nutrition information
Small- to medium-sized restaurants wanting customizable reporting tools
High-volume or chain quick service restaurants
Cafes with a simple menu needing a free POS
Quick service restaurants wanting food waste tracking for a low cost
How We Evaluated Quick Service Restaurant POS
Every quick service restaurant needs to be able to easily process customer sales, track menu items and ingredient levels, manage customers, and track employees. However, each quick service restaurant is set up differently, so the best quick service restaurant POS systems have software and hardware solutions including self-order kiosks, customer facing displays, and kitchen displays that can be set up according to each restaurant’s needs.
We determined the best quick service restaurant POS using the following criteria:
- Price: We prioritized systems that are affordable for small businesses, including startup and monthly fees, hardware costs, and payment processing fees.
- Ease of use: A quick service POS system needs to be user-friendly for both employees and customers in a fast-paced environment.
- Restaurant inventory management: We looked at what kind of ingredient tracking and supply order management each system has.
- Kitchen display features: Quick service POS systems should have a kitchen display system (KDS) for quickly preparing customer orders.
- Customer facing display: We considered whether or not each system offers a self-order kiosk or other customer-facing display such as a drive-thru display.
- Reporting: We included systems that offer reports on data such as sales numbers, popular menu items, and employee performance.
- Integrations and add-ons: We looked at what integrations or add-ons are available for each system such as loyalty programs and email marketing.
Based on the above criteria, TouchBistro is our top pick for quick service POS. It is competitively priced with flexible hardware and apps for POS, kitchen display, and customer-facing solutions. Plus, TouchBistro has all of the basic features a small quick service restaurant needs including a user-friendly interface, real-time ingredient-level tracking, and employee management.
TouchBistro: Best Quick Service POS for Small Businesses
TouchBistro is an iPad restaurant POS that has a quick service solution with more than 200 built-in features including inventory and menu management, reporting, and unlimited user logins. TouchBistro also has the most options for KDS, customer facing displays, and kiosks out of all the systems on our list at a competitive price point.
TouchBistro starts at $69 per month for a single register. Additional registers come with an extra monthly fee. TouchBistro is the only solution on our list that is not entirely cloud-based, so you will likely need to purchase an Apple Mac Mini to serve as the “brain” or server for your software system. Mac Minis cost around $800 and each iPad is under $400.
TouchBistro also has kitchen display, kiosk, and customer facing display solutions that are available at an additional quoted price. Restaurants can purchase hardware separately or through TouchBistro with a payment plan that can be bundled together with the software costs. Hardware payment plans are available with interest rates starting at 0%.
TouchBistro Pricing Plans
iPad Licenses Included
Small quick service w/ one register
Small to midsize restaurants wanting 2 registers
Midsize - large restaurants or restaurants with bars
Requires Local Server for Storing iPad Data
Requires iMac or Mac Mini for Back-End Management
TouchBistro Payment Processing
TouchBistro is also unique because while it has a proprietary payment processing solution, TouchBistro also partners with Chase, Square, TSYS, WorldPay, and others so that restaurants can pick the integrated payment processor of their choice. This makes TouchBistro a great fit for new, small, and growing quick service restaurants as there is a payment processor that can offer competitive rates for all sized businesses.
TouchBistro has hundreds of front-end features and a local area connection, which means managing orders and processing payments on is fast and customizable. On the back end, TouchBistro also offers over 50 different reports and customizable templates.
TouchBistro Inventory Management
TouchBistro has almost just about every inventory management feature a quick service restaurant could want. TouchBistro has features for restaurants to create customizable inventory countdowns, track stock levels in real time, and view detailed ingredients and menu item reports. Restaurants can manage unlimited ingredients including wholesale costs, retail pricing, and unit measure for each.
TouchBistro Kitchen Display
TouchBistro has a digital kitchen display screen solution available that works in conjunction with kitchen ticket printers. It offers a comprehensive view of all unprepared food items with tickets color-coded based on how long they have been open. The screen is customizable with different ticket sizes, font sizes, and more. Employees can manage the screen by dragging and dropping orders and tickets.
TouchBistro Customer Facing Display
TouchBistro has a kiosk solution that works seamlessly with TouchBistro POS and kitchen display system. Restaurants can set up the kiosks so that guests pay with a card at the kiosk or at a central checkout register. Restaurants can also create combo deals for upselling, and customers can customize and view pricing as they are ordering.
In addition to a self-order kiosk, TouchBistro also has a customer facing display solution that shows patrons their orders as they are being rung-up. Customer facing displays, such as this one from TouchBistro, are helpful for quick service restaurants for reducing errors during the order-taking process. Like the kitchen display and kiosk solutions, customer facing display is also an additional quoted fee.
TouchBistro has built in reporting that includes customer sales and transaction history, sales totals, and sales numbers by menu item or category. Restaurants can also create custom reports and save them for future use. Though TouchBistro’s reports seem to cover just about all of the basics, several reviewers state they wished the reporting features were more advanced. If advanced, customizable reporting is what you are looking for, consider using Lightspeed.
In addition to the customer facing display, self-order kiosk, and kitchen display add-ons, TouchBistro also has a proprietary loyalty program, digital menu boards, and an online ordering integration. TouchBistro also integrates with many third-party software systems such as QuickBooks, Xero, and 7Shifts.
What TouchBistro is Missing
The biggest flaw with TouchBistro is that many of the features, like kitchen display, customer display, and the loyalty program are not built into the base price. TouchBistro has a lot to offer, but if you need all of the features it can become expensive. TouchBistro also does not have any built-in solutions to manage or send purchase orders directly through the app.
TouchBistro is a highly rated iPad POS system. TouchBistro customer reviews say that the system is easy to use and that the customer support is fast and reliable. Some reviewers say they would like more flexibility with the reporting features.
Get Started With TouchBistro
TouchBistro is a user-friendly system that can be customized with registers, kitchen displays, customer displays, and self-order kiosks to meet the needs of any quick service restaurant. Also, TouchBistro has affordable payment plans for hardware and a variety of integrated payment processors to choose from. Visit TouchBistro for a free quote.
Lavu: Quick Service POS for Displaying Nutrition Information
Lavu is a highly customizable cloud-based iPad POS for quick service restaurants. Lavu offers features like self-service kiosks, recipe costing, and purchase order management, but is also the only system on our list with solutions for displaying nutrition and allergy information, all for a starting price of less than $80 per month.
Lavu is $69 per month per terminal, making it one of the more affordable options on our list. The system operates on iPads, which can be purchased separately for under $400 each. Inventory reports can also be viewed on any smartphone with the Lavu Pilot app. Lavu has extra features like ordering kiosks and digital menus that are available for additional custom prices.
Lavu Payment Processing
Lavu offers Lavu Pay, which is Lavu’s own payment processing solution. However, like TouchBistro, Lavu does not force restaurants to use its processing services. Lavu offers restaurants options, and also integrates with Square, PayPal, and other third-party payment processing services so restaurant owners can shop around for the best rate.
Lavu has standard restaurant POS features such as menu customization, check-splitting, and inventory management built into the base price. Additional features like online ordering, self-service kiosks, and digital menu boards are available for an extra quoted fee. What sets Lavu apart is that businesses can upload nutritional data for each menu item including allergy information and alerts for gluten, dairy, soy, and vegan and vegetarian options while also providing the calorie, fat, sugar, and carb data.
Lavu Inventory Management
Lavu has one of the best restaurant inventory management systems. Lavu inventory provides quick service restaurants with real-time inventory data based on sales, see the value of inventory on-hand, tie menu items together with ingredients, and see where you can cut back on wasteful spending. Lavu is one of the only quick service restaurant POS systems that includes tools to manage purchase orders and vendor relationships directly within the software.
Lavu Kitchen Display
Lavu has a kitchen system called Lavu KDS. Lavu KDS is a standard kitchen display system that sends customers’ orders taken on the POS or kiosk directly to the digital display screen in the kitchen.
Lavu Customer Facing Display
Lavu has digital menu boards and self-service kiosks for customers. These can be set up to display allergen and nutrition information so customers can easily make informed choices on menu items based on their dietary needs and preferences. This level of transparency provides an easier ordering process and eliminates concerns or guesswork for guests with dietary restrictions.
Lavu includes standard restaurant reports on bestselling menu items, transactions, register sales, voided payments, sales by employee, discounts, promotions, sales by time of day, payment types, and more. If you are using Lavu’s online ordering integration, the POS also compiles that data in reports.
Like TouchBistro and Square, Lavu has an array of proprietary add-ons including accounting, payments, loyalty, gift cards, customer management, delivery, online ordering, digital menu boards, kitchen display systems, and more. Lavu also works with several third-party providers such as Square, PayPal, and Chowly. Plus, Lavu has an open API, so quick service restaurant owners can create their own integrations.
What Lavu is Missing
Lavu does not have features to create combo deals such as drinks and a side with a sandwich like TouchBistro does. Lavu also does not have the tools to monitor food or inventory waste. However, the biggest flaw with Lavu is that it has a lower average customer review than many of the other solutions on our list.
Lavu customer reviews are average. Business owners like that the system is easy to use and has a lot of features. Most of the negative reviews report difficulties in contacting customer support and getting issues resolved in a timely manner.
Get Started With Lavu
Lavu is an affordable and feature-rich quick service restaurant POS. It is also the only solution on our list with features to display nutrition and allergy information. Visit Lavu to schedule a free demo.
Lightspeed Restaurant: Best Quick Service POS for Reporting
Lightspeed Restaurant is a cloud-based touch-screen POS system specifically designed for the food service industry. Lightspeed has standard quick service features like customer-facing displays, kitchen displays, and self-order kiosks. Where Lightspeed really stands out is with its custom reporting module, which is unparalleled for POS software starting under $70 per month.
Lightspeed Restaurant Pricing
Lightspeed Restaurant starts at $69 per month for one register, which is similar to most systems on our list. Lightspeed provides custom pricing for each restaurant as additional registers. Features like loyalty programs and kitchen display systems come with extra fees. Lightspeed Restaurant also offers hardware bundles with accessories such as receipt printers, cash drawers, and kitchen printers. Computers and iPads are sold separately.
Lightspeed Restaurant Payment Processing
Lightspeed Restaurant has its own payment processing solution called Lightspeed Payments which has processing rates of 2.6% plus 10 cents per transaction, which is not the lowest rate available, but is pretty standard for built-in payment processing solutions. However, like TouchBistro and Lavu, Lightspeed lets businesses choose other integrated payment processors if they want. Lightspeed also works with TSYS, Vantiv/WorldPay, and 2Accept.
Lightspeed Restaurant Features
Lightspeed Restaurant includes back-end features to help businesses manage everything from inventory and menus to employees and analytics. Lightspeed’s analytics features are one of the best on the market, especially for a small business price point.
Lightspeed Restaurant Inventory Management
Lightspeed Restaurant has standard ingredient-level inventory tracking where quick service restaurants can add individual ingredients and quantities to menu items to track stock levels in real time. Restaurants can also add wholesale costs to ingredients to track how much a menu item costs and compare those costs to profits. Lightspeed also has a setting that can automatically remove out-of-stock items from the menu so they cannot be sold.
Lightspeed Restaurant Kitchen Display
Lightspeed has a cloud-based digital kitchen display that shows open orders, their cook times, and whether or not they are ready to be served. Like TouchBistro, Lightspeed’s kitchen display is color coded so staff can easily see an item’s status.
Lightspeed Restaurant Customer Facing Display
Lightspeed Customer Facing Display allows customers to see items, order modifiers, and pricing as it is being rung up. Unlike other quick service restaurant POS systems, Lightspeed customer facing display is an app that can be downloaded for free on any iPad. All restaurants need to do is pair the app to the POS over the Wi-Fi connection.
Lightspeed Restaurant Reporting
Reporting and analytics are one of Lightspeed Restaurant’s best features. Most POS systems provide sales totals and even bestselling menu items. Many of the quick service POS systems on our list also provide reports on ingredient stock levels.
Lightspeed does all of this and also provides insights on sales, employees, tips, and more. Lightspeed also provides visuals such as graphs with each report and has information on what each report does and why the information is helpful. Lightspeed also lets restaurants create custom reports, or combine a bunch of different reports into one master report. All reports can be saved for future use and / or exported.
Lightspeed Restaurant Integrations
Lightspeed Restaurant has some of its own add-ons like Lightspeed Loyalty, self-order kiosks, and kitchen display. Lightspeed also has about 50 third-party partner integrations including QuickBooks, Xero, Chowly, Homebase, and more.
What Lightspeed Restaurant Is Missing
Lightspeed is not as customizable as TouchBistro, and does not have any nutritional or allergy display information like Lavu does. Lightspeed also does not have their own solution for online order management.
Lightspeed Restaurant Reviews
Lightspeed Restaurant reviews are excellent. The system is incredibly easy to use and feature-rich. Users say that the system is stable and reliable, reports are detailed, and that customer support is helpful. There aren’t too many negative reviews but some users mention they would like more comprehensive employee reports.
Get Started With Lightspeed Restaurant
Lightspeed Restaurant has the best custom reporting system out of all the quick service POS systems on our list. It also has a free customer display app that can be paired to any checkout register. Visit Lightspeed Restaurant for a free 14-day trial.
Revel Systems: Best Quick Service POS for Chains
Revel Systems is a cloud-based iPad POS for restaurants that comes at a higher price point, but has features like kiosks, card pre-authorizations, retail sales capabilities, and flexible hardware setups that make it a great fit for larger or chain restaurants that need a robust and feature-rich system.
Revel Systems Pricing
Revel Systems starts at $99 per month per register, which is a higher base cost than most of the other systems on our list. However, Revel includes customer relationship management and employee management features in the base model, whereas most POS systems charge extra monthly fees.
Revel Systems operates on iPads, which can be purchased through Revel Systems along with accessories like iPad stands, cash drawers, receipt printers, and more. Revel Systems also has a proprietary payment processing solution called Revel Advantage Payment Processing. Payment processing rates are not disclosed on the website. There is also an option for businesses to keep their existing payment processor when switching to Revel Systems.
Revel Systems Features
Revel Systems is a full-featured POS with tools for payment processing, inventory tracking, reporting, customer relationship management, employee management, and more. Revel Systems also has restaurant-specific features including the ability to design menus and pre-authorize payment cards for bar tabs.
Revel Systems Inventory Management
Revel Systems has ingredient-level inventory tracking. It allows quick service restaurants create menus and enter recipes for each menu item with specific ingredient amounts. When a menu item is sold, Revel automatically deducts those ingredients from the on-hand inventory count. Restaurants can set up custom low-stock alerts for each ingredient and receive a notification when items are low. Revel also has an inventory app for smartphones that businesses can use to take inventory counts, scan barcodes, and receive purchase orders.
Revel Systems Kitchen Display
Revel has a digital kitchen display solution that automatically sends orders from the POS to the screen in the kitchen. The kitchen display operates on an iPad with a touchscreen so staff can scroll through orders. Revel also has printed ticket solutions.
Revel Systems Customer Facing Display
Revel Systems has a few customer facing display options including a self-order kiosk and a regular customer facing display for checkout areas. Both solutions can be customized for each quick service restaurant to display branding, specials, and loyalty program information.
Revel Systems Reporting
Revel Systems has detailed sales reporting that shows daily totals, popular menu items, and inventory reporting to show which menu items are most profitable, where there is food waste, and costs versus profits for recipes and menu items. Revel lets restaurants enter specific recipes with individual ingredient quantities for accurate stock tracking.
Revel Systems Integrations
Revel’s main integration is with QuickBooks for accounting. There are also integrations with third-party software for operations including employee scheduling, online ordering, and marketing. The system has an open API so restaurants can create custom integrations.
What Revel Systems is Missing
The biggest flaws with Revel Systems is that businesses are required to use Revel’s built-in payment processor, which means there’s no ability to shop around for the best price. Revel also requires customers to sign a three-year contract, whereas most other systems have an annual or month-to-month agreement.
Revel Systems Reviews
Revel Systems user reviews are fairly positive. Users like the detailed reporting tools and 24/7 customer service. Reviewers also like the wide range of compatible hardware and software integrations. The most common complaint is unexpected down time from software glitches, bugs, and database errors.
Get Started With Revel Systems
Revel Systems is an incredibly robust quick service restaurant POS and management solution. Revel has lots of features, add-ons, hardware, and integrations that can be tailored for each business, making it a great fit for larger restaurants and chain restaurants. Visit Revel for a free quote.
Square: Best Free Quick Service Restaurant POS
Square is a free cloud-based iPad POS that has built-in payment processing and basic inventory and customer tracking. Square’s free POS app lets quick service restaurants set up as many registers, users, and products as they need and has paid features that can be added as needed like payroll processing, loyalty programs, and email marketing.
Square POS Pricing
Square POS is completely free to use. There are no monthly, startup, or cancellation fees. Anyone can create a Square account, download the app, and start using Square POS in a matter of minutes.
However, unlike most of the other quick service POS systems on our list, Square requires businesses to use its built-in credit card processing solution. Square Payments has a 2.75% transaction fee, which is not the lowest available, but is an extremely good rate for small businesses with average tickets below $20.
Square comes with a free magstripe card reader and other hardware such as iPad stands, receipt printers, and cash drawers are available for purchase. Restaurants can also purchase additional card readers, chip readers, and contactless card readers.
Square hardware costs include:
- Additional magstripe readers: $10
- Chip card readers: $35
- Contactless and chip readers: $49
- Square stand with contactless and chip reader: $169
Square also has optional add-on features, including a restaurant POS with menu management and specific restaurant reports. Unlike most of the other systems on our list which only offer quote-based pricing, Square explicitly states the fees for extra features.
Square add-on fees for additional features include:
- Employee management: $5 per month per employee
- Payroll: $30 per month plus $5 per month per employee
- Email and Facebook marketing: starting at $15 per month
- Loyalty program: starting $25 per month
Note: Square has recently changed its flat-rate fee of 2.75% to 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction. We will update the pricing and our ranking of providers in the next update of this article.
Square POS Features
Square POS is not the most robust system on our list, especially when it comes to restaurant-specific features. However, this free system covers the basic needs of any business selling food or products. Square can be used to accept all credit and debit card payments, process sales anywhere, organize and track products by category, build a customer directory, and view basic reports.
Square POS Inventory Management
The free version of Square POS lets you add individual products to inventory to track or you can upload many menu items at once with a CSV spreadsheet. The cloud-based inventory can be accessed from anywhere. Restaurants can also set up daily stock alert emails. Square inventory is easy to use, but it is not nearly as sophisticated as TouchBistro or other systems on our list that have ingredient level tracking.
Square POS Kitchen Display
Square does not have its own kitchen display solution. Instead, restaurants would need to use a third-party system called Fresh KDS. Fresh KDS is a kitchen display system that is specifically designed for use with Square POS. Like TouchBistro and Lightspeed, Fresh KDS is color coded to easily show the status of each order.
Square POS Customer Facing Display
Many of the systems on our list have separate customer facing display apps or self-order kiosks. Square does not have a specific app or kiosk option. However, quick service businesses can purchase Square Register, which is a hardware system that has a customer facing display.
Square POS Reporting
Square POS lets you view a variety of reports including tracking sales, customers, and inventory. Quick service restaurants can find out what the average sale is, how many customers are new or repeat business, and even which hour is your busiest for the day. Square’s reports are easy to use, but not nearly as robust as Lightspeed and some other systems on our list.
Square POS Integrations
Square has many proprietary features that restaurants can add and remove as needed including payroll processing, employee management, email marketing, loyalty programs, and more. Square also has a Square Restaurant option which is a POS system specifically designed for restaurants, though it has more features geared toward sit-down restaurants like table mapping. It also has more detailed reporting.
Square also integrates with a variety of third-party software programs for accounting, marketing, inventory, and more. There are dozens of integrations in total. Popular solutions include QuickBooks, Postmates, Mailchimp, Homebase, and ZipRecruiter.
What Square POS is Missing
Square POS is not a restaurant-specific POS system so it does not have many of the features included in other system on our list like ingredient-level tracking, a self-order kiosk, or menu management. These missing features mean that Square POS is not a good fit for a large restaurant or restaurant with a detailed menu, and is better as a free option for new or small businesses with a simple menu.
Square POS Reviews
Square POS reviews are generally positive. Users like that it is free and easy to use. Although the system is more limited than other solutions on our list, reviewers state that it is a great value and is robust for a free system. Most of the negative reviews are around Square’s customer service. Users report having trouble reaching a live representative in a timely manner.
Get Started With Square POS
Square POS is completely free to use and offers a great value for new or small businesses. Plus, restaurants can add on additional features as needed to create a custom solution. Visit Square POS to create a free account.
Toast: Best Quick Service POS for Waste Tracking
Toast is a tablet POS for the restaurant industry that has a dedicated solution for quick and casual restaurants. This cloud-based POS has hard-to-find features for reducing food waste, making it a great fit for restaurants that want to focus on inventory and portioning control for a software fee that starts at under $80 per month.
Toast quick service POS starts at $79 per month per terminal. Inventory management features are an additional quoted monthly fee. Most of the quick service POS systems on our list run on iPads, but Toast has proprietary hardware. Bundles start at $899 with a one-time installation fee that starts at $499. Toast offers 0% financing for hardware in some markets.
Toast Payment Processing
Toast has its own built-in payment processing service for a flat fee that is based on your business type. Similar to Square and Revel, Toast users are locked into using Toast’s payment processing.
Toast is one of the POS systems on our list that has a dedicated solution for quick service restaurants instead of a one-size-fits-all solution. Toast has all of the basic restaurant POS features including inventory tracking, payment processing, and sales reports. However, Toast also has inventory valuation reports, tools to measure actual food profits against theoretical profits, and analytics for reducing food waste through overbuying and over portioning.
Toast Inventory Management
Like the other solutions on our list, Toast has ingredient-level inventory tracking. Restaurants can create recipes and menu items in Toast, and assign specific ingredient amounts. Toast also has tools to attach wholesale and retail prices to individual ingredients, so restaurants can price out the costs and profits for different menu items. Toast has reports to monitor the difference between estimated menu item profits and actual profits, so businesses can identify over portioning and other issues.
Toast Kitchen Display
Toast has a sophisticated kitchen display solution that automatically syncs with orders placed through Toast POS. Toast has automation features so items are fired to the KDS screen based on cooking time so that all of the food for each table is ready at the same time. Toast kitchen display also integrates with online ordering and delivery apps, so all orders appear under the same kitchen system.
Toast Customer Facing Display
Toast has a self-order kiosk that operates on a touch screen where customers can browse the menu with pictures, choose their orders (which get sent directly to the kitchen), and pay for their meals right at the kiosk. Quick service restaurants customize menu categories, photos, and product descriptions.
Toast has detailed reports that let restaurants understand what menu items are trending, including most popular days and times. Quick service restaurants can also identify the most profitable items and calculate expected food and recipe costs for accurate ordering. With Toast, restaurants can also see how labor costs are translating into real-time sales by identifying the most productive employees. Businesses can analyze average order time, average delivery time, and more.
Toast has a lot of its own add-on features available including loyalty programs, payroll and team management, online ordering and delivery, gift cards, and more. Toast also has many third-party integrations including GrubHub, 7Shifts, and more. However, Toast does not have a QuickBooks or Xero integration for accounting.
What Toast is Missing
Toast does not integrate with QuickBooks or other mainstream accounting platforms. Toast also has hefty installation fees and requires restaurants to use proprietary Toast hardware, whereas most of the other quick service restaurant POS systems on our list run on iPads.
Toast user reviews are generally positive. The system is user-friendly and provides a lot of reporting data. Many reviewers also say that Toast’s customer service is extremely helpful and responsive. Some reviewers are not happy with the hardware installation process or fees.
Get Started With Toast
Toast is a great restaurant POS system for quick service businesses that want to manage food waste and costs effectively. It also has a lot of rare add-ons including online ordering and delivery and payroll management. Visit Toast for a free demo.
The best quick service restaurant POS can easily process customer orders, accept payments, and manage food inventory. The best quick service POS systems also have kiosk and kitchen display systems for flexible ordering and efficient order fulfillment processes.
TouchBistro is the best quick service restaurant POS because it is competitively priced with flexible hardware and apps for POS, kitchen display, and customer-facing solutions. TouchBistro also has affordable payment plans for hardware and a variety of integrated payment processors to choose from. Visit TouchBistro for a free quote.