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Our in-depth research found that Lightspeed Restaurants is the best overall hospitality POS system thanks to its versatility, great features like customisable floor plans, and huge range of integrations
However, if you’re just running a small cafe or coffee shop, then a simpler system from Zettle or Square might suit your business perfectly for a much lower overall cost.
Best overall hospitality POS system
£39 per month (excl. VAT)
£25 per month (excl. VAT)
$69 per month (approx. £55 plus VAT)
£29 per month (excl. VAT)
No monthly fee
£29 – card reader
£189 – store kit
No monthly cost
£16 – Square reader
£49 per month (excl. VAT)
With so much choice out there, it can be tricky to work out which POS system is the best fit for your hospitality business. To get some expert assistance and save hours of research time, use our free EPOS comparison tool to compare bespoke quotes from leading POS companies. There’s no obligation, and it only takes a minute to answer a few quick questions.
Or, just read on to discover our top picks for a whole range of hospitality businesses.
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Pricing: from £39 a month
While it’s one of the more expensive options out there, Lightspeed Restaurants is our top overall choice for hospitality POS due to its versatility and advanced features. In our testing, Lightspeed scored highly for usability, business management, stock management, and business development, underlining how Lightspeed combines advanced features with an accessible and straightforward interface. Lightspeed integrates with Uber Eats and Deliveroo for delivery orders, lets you easily manage sales data from multiple locations, link menu items for easy upselling, and split bills by diner, course or item.
This range of powerful features at a premium price makes it best suited to larger hospitality businesses but, if you’ve got big ambitions for your bar, pub or restaurant, then it could be well worth the investment.
To get some extra insight on Lightspeed, we spoke to Anthony Dyer, the owner of Friends of Ours, a brunch spot in Hoxton, London that uses Lightspeed for in-house service and delivery:
“With Lightspeed, it’s so easy to put new menu items up. You can have it up and running within 30 seconds. We can also upload a dedicated delivery menu and sync it directly with UberEats and Deliveroo.”
Pricing: From £25 a month
For restaurants of a decent size, we recommend Epos Now as the best restaurant POS due to its range of powerful features. A key tool is the Kitchen Display System, which lets you increase the speed and accuracy of your service by digitally sending orders directly to the kitchen (and also making sure those last minute order changes don’t fall through the cracks). In our testing, Epos Now impressed when it came to business management, stock management, and usability – and it offers an impressive range of app integrations. This means you can sync your Epos Now data with big names like Xero accounting software and Mailchimp for impactful email marketing campaigns. Unfortunately though, it has no CRM features of its own, so you’ll have to rely on integrations for customer loyalty features.
Again, the price is pretty high, but Epos Now is a mighty POS system that can make a huge difference to your restaurant business.
To learn more about some other great restaurant POS options, check out our rundown of the best restaurant POS systems.
Pricing: $69 per month (approx. £55 per month plus VAT)
Hospitality specialist Touchbistro is our top choice for a pub and bar POS system thanks to high-level features that are specially tailored to businesses in this sector. Its reporting options are particularly strong, with Touchbistro offering a choice of over 50 business reports. This includes some excellent pub and bar reports, such as a modifier report that reveals which premium spirits are most popular with your guests, and a deleted items report that helps you reduce spillage by pinpointing staff members that delete an unusually high number of items from tabs. This helped Touchbistro to get a very high business management score in our testing, and it backed this up with strong performances in stock management, usability and help and support.
Touchbistro is the most expensive POS in this list but, with these deep reporting options joined by first-class upselling and staff management tools, we think it’s worth it for pubs and bars that want to dream big.
For more information on top bar and pub POS systems, take a look at our guide to the best POS systems for pubs and bars.
Pricing: From £29 per month plus additional module fees
There are lots of good takeaway POS options out there, but our top pick is Goodtill. What really stands out is its accessibility – Goodtill runs off an iPad and has a customisable interface that uses lots of colour and means you can quickly get new team members up to speed. For takeaway businesses, Goodtill offers a Goodeats add-on (for an extra 2.7% plus 12p per transaction) that quickly gives companies an online presence for online collection and delivery orders. This includes a unique URL branded for your business and effortless integration with your Goodtill menu. When it comes to our testing, Goodtill excelled in business management, stock management and usability, with its weakest areas being price and help and support.
Lots of POS companies offer takeaway tools, but few focus as much attention on them as Goodtill, and this augments an already impressive offering. If you’ve already got the hardware, it’s a great compact option for your takeaway business (and if you haven’t, Goodtill can supply iPads for an extra fee).
For the lowdown on some other great takeaway POS systems, head to our best takeaway POS systems guide.
Pricing: No monthly fee, transaction fees of 1.75%-2.5%, card reader is £29
Zettle (owned by PayPal) is our top choice for a coffee shop POS – it’s a simple and compact system that’s ideal for small businesses. There’s no monthly fee, just a £29 charge for the Zettle card reader, and a 1.75% charge for card transactions (2.5% for invoice transactions and payment link transactions). Like the fee structure, there’s an elegant simplicity to the Zettle interface, and the reporting feature illustrates this perfectly. With just a few taps on the Zettle app, you can see detailed sales data and export it to Microsoft Excel. In our testing, Zettle scored highly on usability and price, underlining why it’s a great option for small hospitality businesses with relatively low transaction volumes.
A low-priced, compact and easy-to-use POS system, Zettle is a great choice for coffee shops.
Like the sound of Zettle but want to know more? Our Zettle review has all the answers.
Pricing: No monthly fee, transaction fees of 1.75%-2.5%, card reader is £16
A simple but surprisingly powerful POS system, Square is our best POS for small cafes. Like Zettle, there’s no monthly fee – instead you pay £16 for the card reader and then a 1.75% charge for card payments and 2.5% for virtual terminal and invoice transactions.
And, with Square payments (part of Square’s all-in-one POS solution), the money from the sales you make will be paid into your bank account the next working day, or even instantly for an extra fee. One of the best features for busy cafe owners though is the Square dashboard, an at-a-glance picture of your business that updates in real time, and lets you see exactly what is and isn’t selling. Square was an exceptional performer in our testing, with impressive scores in business management, stock management, business development, usability, price, and help and support.
A pint-sized powerhouse that can grow with your business through optional add-ons, Square is the ideal POS system for any small cafe owner short on time and cash.
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Picking a best POS for hotels is pretty tricky as hotels often use a property management system (PMS) such as Cloudbeds that takes care of room bookings etc. There are integrated POS and PMS providers but, if you want a great POS provider that will make it much easier to take care of your hotel’s food and beverage offering, then Iiko is a great option. Automation is key to Iiko’s appeal – this is one of the smartest POS systems out there and it uses AI in very clever ways. For example, it works out your predicted stock levels and suggests purchases so you can stay on top of them without stockpiling. Plus, it can also work out smart sales forecasts that intelligently interpret your current and past sales data to see into the future.
At £49 per month, Iiko is definitely one of the pricier POS systems out there. But what you’re getting is a truly 21st century approach to POS that makes it easier to run the food and beverage part of your hotel business. There are a million things that go into running a hotel, and that huge time saving potential means that, coupled with a great hotel PMS, Iiko is our best POS system for hotels.
Here are some of the ways that POS systems can help your hospitality business:
To choose the best hospitality POS systems, we combined our knowledge of what hospitality businesses need from POS systems with in-depth research that rated POS systems out of 5 on the following areas:
What sort of till features does the POS system offer, does it have a training mode (where dummy transactions can be made), can it handle bill splitting or receipt customisation?
This assesses how well the POS system handles business reporting, staff performance tracking, sales forecasting, integration with delivery apps, and whether it can be used offline.
The core part of this category is inventory management, but it also includes how easy it is to create product variants and any barcode creation and printing tools.
Here, we examine a POS’ CRM and customer loyalty features, as well as how well it connects with an ecommerce site, and what sort of brand awareness the POS system has.
How easy is the POS system to set up and use, does it produce digital receipts, and does it have a one-touch till with instant product search and customer lookups?
How much does the average pricing plan cost, and is there a free plan or a free trial/demo?
When is support available and is it offered via phone, live chat or email? How helpful is the knowledge centre and does the POS system offer daily backups?
Does the POS offer advanced restaurant features like multiple employee logins, the ability to take online orders, table booking, floorplan customisation, inventory management, third-party integrations, and a Kitchen Display System (KDS)?
The right POS system for your hospitality business will always depend on the features you need, the size of your business, and your budget, but our overall top pick for the best hospitality POS is Lightspeed.
It’s definitely more expensive than some of its rivals but it’s versatile, easy to learn and has great advanced features like customisable floor plans and bill splitting.
However, not every hospitality business needs such a complex and powerful system. If you’re just starting out or just have a low transaction volume, then Square is a great option. There’s no monthly fee (just transaction fees and a low fee for the card reader), and you’ll get access to next-day transfers and a surprisingly deep range of business insights.
As you can see, it’s not exactly straightforward to work out which POS system is the right fit for your hospitality business. To get some expert assistance, check out our free EPOS comparison tool. Just take a minute to answer some quick questions, and you’ll get no-obligation bespoke quotes from some of the UK’s leading POS providers.
Tell us what you're looking for and compare leading providers
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Alec is Startups’ resident expert on politics and finance. He’s provided live updates on the budget, written guides on investing and property development, and demystified topics like corporation tax, accounting software, and invoice discounting. Before joining, he worked in the media for over a decade, conducting media analysis at Kantar Media and YouGov, and writing a wide variety of freelance pieces.
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