The Best POS Systems For Restaurants On A Tight Budget
There are things you want to spend money on and there are things you need to spend money on. A restaurant POS falls into both categories. Unless you plan on going back to the Stone Age, you’re going to need to invest money in a POS system. But that doesn’t mean that you need to purchase an exorbitant system with every bell and every whistle money can buy.
You want to find a POS that meets all of your needs and doesn’t cost too much. With so many different systems out there, though, that’s easier said than done.
To make your life easier, I have compiled a list of five restaurant POS systems that strike a balance between affordability and quality. Keep reading for a full description of each.
The ideal talech (see our review) user will not necessarily be looking for the absolute cheapest POS on the market. Rather, he or she will be looking for a software that is reasonably affordable and high in quality—something that offers the most bang for your buck, in other words. At $44/month (when billed annually) talech is not the cheapest POS on this list (although there are certainly much more costly systems on the market). However, given all the features and capabilities it comes with, talech is nothing short of a good deal.
- In-house marketing.
- Universal payment processor integration.
- Retail and hospitality capability.
- For $44/month, you can take advantage of features that are often exclusive to vendors charging upwards of $100/month. Understandably, talech won’t perform at quite the same level as those vendors but with advanced cash, inventory, and customer management features, it is a competitive (and affordable) alternative.
- Outstanding 24/7 customer service at no additional fee.
- Limited offline functionality.
Look at talech if..
- You are not brand new to the POS world or are looking to expand.
- You need a robust feature set.
For a full review of talech click here.
Instore (see our review) is easy to use and has a simple, intuitive design. It is also reasonably priced (at $39/month for the basic plan). Instore’s pricing system is somewhat unique for a few reasons. First, there is no annual contract; your only option is to pay for a monthly subscription. Second, you will be required to pay a start-up fee of $99 ($199 for the Pro plan). While $39/month for the basic plan is a competitive price, you are limited to four functions: Taking Payments, Tracking Customers, Rewards Program, and Selling Gift Cards. The good news? You can actually do quite a bit with those four functions. (The pro plan gives you more features but will cost you $59/month.)
- Excellent customer service.
- Social Media Integrations with Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare.
- Instore Rewards – Instore’s customer loyalty program.
- Affordability. Once you pay the start-up fee, Instore is one of the most affordable POS software on this list, given the variety of features it supports.
- Customer service is somewhat limited. Phone representatives are available weekdays from 7 am to 7 pm.
Use Instore if…
- You are looking for a balance between price and functionality.
- You are a small business owner who will be able to make ample use of the four functions supported by the basic plan.
For a full review of Instore click here.
At $60/month, Meza (see our review) is the most expensive POS on this list. There is a very important reason why I’ve included it, however. The monthly fee may be higher than you’d get with Instore or talech, but Meza provides you with unlimited devices, unlimited orders, and unlimited support during business hours. If you feel like you would be able to make use of a POS with unlimited everything, Meza is truly one of the best deals you are likely to find. That, combined with broad innovative features and ease of use, makes Meza a restaurant POS that ought to perk your interest considerably.
- Hybrid system with offline functionality.
- Meza App – iPhone App that allows customers to summon restaurant staff, ask for the bill, order, and pay the tab.
- Incredible pricing. You are not likely to find a similar deal anywhere else.
- Advanced features that reflect a POS built for the modern restaurant-owner.
- Meza is relatively new. While that isn’t necessarily a “con,” it does mean that purchasing it comes with some amount of risk.
Meza may be for you if…
- You are an expanding or medium-sized business that will be able to take advantage of Meza’s unlimited price plan.
For a full review of Meza click here.
Epos Now (see our review) is a massive company that delivers a POS with a great UI and a highly effective support team. The standard Epos Now plan is priced at $39/month. This software is highly versatile. It has excellent restaurant management features but can be used for retail purposes as well. This feature flexibility may come in handy for restaurants that sell merchandise (t-shirts, mugs, bottled salad dressing, bbq sauce, etc.) and need a POS that can handle certain retail-based demands.
- Universal compatibility – while some POS are limited to Android or iOS compatibility, Epos Now runs on any device that supports Google Chrome or Safari.
- Retail and hospitality versatility.
- Customizable dashboard.
- Easy to use.
- Excellent customer support.
- Restaurant and retail features.
- Features could be more robust.
- Only integrates with one payment processor.
Look at Epos Now if…
- You’re looking for an easy to use POS solution that won’t break your bank
- Your small business has no plans to expand. Epos Now is most effective for small businesses and while it can handle larger ones as well, expansion will be costly ($24 for each additional register).
For a full review of Epos Now click here.
The good news about eHopper (see our review) is that, at its lowest pricing tier, it is completely free. The bad news is that it is more suitable for retail, but can still be used for very small restaurant businesses. eHopper is simple and intuitive and offers most of the basic features you’ll need to get started, though limitations of the free plan include the inability to integrate merchant services, no access to support, and access to only one terminal. For $34.99/month (billed annually), you will be able to add terminals to your plan and eliminate the free plan’s limitations.
- Ease of use.
- Offline functionality – although eHopper will work without an internet connection, a wifi connection is required to accept credit card transactions.
- Free plan!
- At $34.99, even the paid “Freedom” plan is affordable.
- Lack of many features that come standard with most POS systems.
Look at eHopper if…
- A new business owner or new to POS and want to try one out for free.
- You are an extremely small food service provider.
- You are looking for a simple POS.
For a full review of eHopper click here.
As difficult as it may be to find the perfect restaurant POS amongst so many options, this list provides a pretty good idea of what affordable choices you have. Keep in mind that quality is often in the eye of the beholder. In other words, you need to identify your specific needs and find the POS that covers them at the most affordable price. Don’t simply go with the cheapest POS if it means risking your business’s ability to effectively operate. By that same token, avoid a POS with excess features that will just go to waste if purchased. It’s all about balance.