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6 Best POS Systems For Coffee Shops & Cafes

Coffee shops are busy places, and you need a POS that can keep up. These point of sale software options have all the features you need for your cafe or coffee shop.

    Nicolette Kier
  • Last updated onUpdated

  • Matt Sherman
  • REVIEWED BY

    Matt Sherman

    Lead Staff Writer

Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

The best POS system for a coffee shop offers strong inventory management and menu management, tipping features, online ordering, a loyalty program, and niche features like wholesale coffee ground sales and coffee ground subscriptions.

We evaluated several of the best POS systems for small businesses based on software pricing, retail and restaurant sales features, POS hardware options, and software contract requirements to help you find the right cafe POS system for your business.

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  • Best for small coffee shops that offer food and retail items
  • $0-$60+/location/month
  • Monthly contracts, no termination fee
  • Best for small coffee shops that offer food and retail items
  • $0-$60+/location/month
  • Monthly contracts, no termination fee

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  • Best for catering one-time and recurring events
  • $69-$399+/month
  • Custom contracts, early termination fee
  • Best for catering one-time and recurring events
  • $69-$399+/month
  • Custom contracts, early termination fee

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  • Most customizable POS hardware, software, and payment processing
  • $44.95-$114.85/month or custom
  • Custom contracts
  • Most customizable POS hardware, software, and payment processing
  • $44.95-$114.85/month or custom
  • Custom contracts

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  • Best for large fresh food and nonperishable inventory management
  • $69-$399+/month
  • Monthly/custom contracts, early termination fee
  • Best for large fresh food and nonperishable inventory management
  • $69-$399+/month
  • Monthly/custom contracts, early termination fee

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  • Best for full food and alcohol service
  • $0-$165+/month
  • Two-year standard contract, early termination fee
  • Best for full food and alcohol service
  • $0-$165+/month
  • Two-year standard contract, early termination fee

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  • Best for wholesalers, drive-thrus, and franchises
  • Custom pricing
  • Three-year standard contract, early termination fee
  • Best for wholesalers, drive-thrus, and franchises
  • Custom pricing
  • Three-year standard contract, early termination fee

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Table of Contents

What Is A Cafe POS System?

A cafe POS system is software paired with a credit card reader that allows you to sell coffee and other items such as baked goods and store merch. With good coffee shop POS software, you can set a permanent menu, create special menu items, sync coffee sales with available inventory, provide online ordering for customers in a rush, and even offer a loyalty program to get more repeat customers.

A high-quality POS could also allow you to try new ventures like tea and coffee bean subscriptions and catering, or help you take your coffee shop on the road to events and trade shows.

6 Best POS Systems For A Coffee Shop

The best POS system for a coffee shop offers good menu and inventory management, tipping, a loyalty program, and mobile ordering, plus niche features like event ticket sales and multi-location management. Our best cafe POS systems include:

Compare The Best Cafe POS Systems

Pricing Payment Processing Hardware Cost Online Ordering Free Trial
Square $0-$60+/month/location 2.6%-2.9% $49-$1,389
TouchBistro $69-$399+/month Custom $299-$628+ $50/month
Clover Custom Custom $49-$1,799
Lightspeed Restaurant $69-$399+/month 2.6%-2.9% $299-$329+ Essential plan and up
Toast $0-$165+/month 2.49%-3.99% or custom $0-$875+
Revel Systems Custom Custom Custom Added fee

 

Square: Best For Small Coffee Shops

Square For Restaurants

Total Rating 4.8
Pricing4.8

Ease Of Use4.9

Features4.9

Customer Service4.6

User Reviews4.5

Pricing

$0-$60/month/location + custom option

Online Ordering

Yes

Equipment Cost

$0-$799

Get a free card swiper from Square at no cost when you create a free account. Claim your card reader.

Pros

  • Free POS system
  • Free online ordering website
  • Affordable POS hardware
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Occasional fund holds
  • No ingredient-level inventory management

Square iPad stand and card reader at restaurant counter

Square iPad stand and Square card reader on a counter at a shop.

Why We Chose Square POS System For Small Coffee Shops

Square is one of the best free POS systems available, with completely free in-person and online sales platforms, plus extremely affordable POS hardware. It's quick and easy to get signed up with Square, order your Square card readers, and start selling with an unlimited number of iPads (free plan only.) This is why we recommend Square for small cafes and new coffee shops that are just starting up.

Square POS Pricing

Square For Restaurants Plans Price  When To Use
Free $0/month Use if you need the basics in restaurant POS software plus simple processing
Plus $60/month/location Use if you need advanced inventory and 24/7 customer service
Premium Custom Use if you process more than $250,000 a year

Square plans start at $0. Single-location businesses can use Square’s free retail and restaurant apps on an unlimited number of POS systems.

If you have multiple locations or want to add on advanced inventory or employee management, you’ll pay $60/location/month. Each location includes one POS device license. You’ll pay an extra $40/device/month on paid plans.

On the free plan, the Square KDS (kitchen display screen) app, installed on an iPad, costs $20/device/month. On the paid plan, you get an unlimited number of KDS for no extra cost.

The company also offers these popular add-ons:

Square Coffee Shop POS Features

Square For Restaurants Features Availability
Multi-Store Support
Contactless Payments
Multi-Channel Selling
Gift Cards
Customer Loyalty Add-on
Marketing Tools Add-on
Online Ordering
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management
Delivery Management
EBT Acceptance
Employee Management
Text Messaging

Square’s best features are completely free for all users, which positions Square as a uniquely affordable POS provider. These free features include:

  • In-Person Sales: Create a custom, intuitive ordering flow so baristas can serve customers fast. Save cards on file so customers can checkout even faster when they’re in a rush.
  • Online Sales: With a free Square online ordering website, you can sell online for in-store pickup, local delivery, and shipping. Square is also synced with your Google Business profile so customers can find and order from your business when they search for coffee shops near them.
  • Gift Card Sales: Square offers one of the best gift card systems, as digital Square gift cards are free and physical ones are low-cost.
  • Coupons & Discounts: Manually generate coupon codes and discounts for customer groups (or general codes for all customers) to use in-store or online.
  • Event & Subscription Sales: Sell appointments as event tickets. Sell coffee bean subscriptions with subscription settings and saved cards.

Coffee bean subscription online ordering site built with Square Online

Coffee shop online ordering website built with Square offering coffee bean subscription options.

While Square lacks built-in perishable ingredient tracking, Plus plan features have good inventory tracking. Once an item runs out, Square’s inventory tracker will auto-86 that menu item so that no customer tries to buy something you no longer have in stock. You’ll also get low-stock alerts to minimize instances where you run out of a customer’s favorite pastry or flavor shot.

Hardware Cost & Options

Square POS hardware for small business POS

Square handheld POS system, Square Register, and Square iPad stand.

You can use the Square For Restaurants POS app on most iPads.

To take payments, you’ll need at least a first-generation Square Card Reader, which costs $49, or the newly released second-generation card reader at $69. This will allow you to take chip and tap card payments, mobile wallet payments, and digital payment apps, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Countertop POS options include the all-in-one Square Register with customer-facing display ($799) and Square Stand for iPad ($149, not including iPad).

The Square Terminal ($299) is a great mobile POS system for taking payments at events and in-store.

Payment Processing Costs

Cafe owners are required to use Square Payments, Square’s built-in payment processor. Payment processing fees include a flat rate of 2.6% + $0.10 for all in-person transactions and 2.9% + $0.30 on all online orders.

You cannot integrate Square with any other payment processor.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Square has a month-to-month contract that you can cancel at any time with no penalty. The company also has a great hardware warranty that applies whether you buy your hardware from Square or a third-party seller.

When To Use Square Cafe POS System

You should use Square in your cafe if you:

  • Want completely free in-person and online sales software
  • Only need simple cafe inventory management
  • Want to sell retail items and coffee bean subscriptions for a low monthly fee

We recommend Lightspeed Restaurant as a strong alternative cafe POS system if you need more extensive inventory management. We recommend Toast POS as an alternative if you like Square's hardware but need more online ordering and loyalty program features.

Get Started With Square For Restaurants

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TouchBistro: Best For Catering

Total Rating 4.3
Pricing4.0

Ease Of Use4.6

Features4.9

Customer Service3.9

User Reviews4.1

Pricing

$69/month

Online Ordering

Add-on

Equipment Cost

Call for quote

Pros

  • House accounts for established catering customers
  • Catering order delivery settings
  • Multiple payment processing options
  • Works without Wi-Fi

Cons

  • Very few multi-location management features
  • Requires one+ year contract
  • Early termination fee

TouchBistro iPad POS register interface with attached card reader sitting on restaurant counter

TouchBistro iPad POS register interface with an attached card reader sitting on a restaurant counter.

Why We Chose TouchBistro POS For Coffee Shop Catering

TouchBistro works well for catering because of its customizable service and delivery fee settings, plus its built-in quoting system and the ability to use your online ordering page as a catering order page. You can create custom catering menus and house accounts to charge repeat customers. Plus, TouchBistro works offline, so people can order and pay from a coffee stand or food truck even if there's no Wi-Fi connectivity.

TouchBistro POS Pricing

TouchBistro Plans Price  When To Use
TouchBistro Plan $69+/month If you have basic restaurant needs and are interested in purchasing add-ons

If you don’t use any integrations or add-ons, TouchBistro is $69/month for one register, billed annually. The Dual plan includes two user licenses and costs $129/month. The Team plan includes five user licenses at $249/month, and the Unlimited plan includes unlimited user licenses at $399/month.

TouchBistro pricing is mostly for the POS core feature set. The best TouchBistro add-ons for coffee shop owners include:

  • Online Ordering: $50/month
  • Gift Cards: $25/month
  • Loyalty: $99/month
  • Marketing: $99/month
  • Kitchen Display System: $15+/month

TouchBistro has one of the best kitchen display systems for coffee shops offering catering because you can schedule upcoming orders and prepare your inventory in advance.

The company also charges a $200 setup fee that includes hardware setup and a software walkthrough.

TouchBistro Coffee Shop POS Features

TouchBistro Features Availability
Multi-Store Support
Contactless Payments
Multi-Channel Selling
Gift Cards Add-on
Customer Loyalty Add-on
Marketing Tools Add-on
Online Ordering Add-on
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management
Delivery Management
EBT Acceptance
Employee Management
Text Messaging

TouchBistro has an excellent online ordering and loyalty program, giving coffee store owners the ability to create custom-branded web apps that look just like mobile apps.

TouchBistro’s loyalty program allows you to create milestones for dollar discounts, percentage discounts, and free items so that customers can decide whether to save or use their points. Plus, customers can get birthday gifts.

Coffee shops that provide one-time or repeat coffee supplies or catering for events like community meetings or business conferences will appreciate these unique TouchBistro features:

  • Customer Accounts: Customers can consistently get their coffee and pay all at once or add credits to their account before your shop provides ingredients/services
  • Catering Setup & Details: Your online ordering page can double as a catering quote system and order scheduler. You decide how far in advance someone should request catering and enter order notes.
  • Delivery Management: Set different delivery zones and delivery service fees based on how far an area is from your coffee shop.
  • Partial Payments: Require a deposit before committing to one-time or repeat catering.
  • On-Location Sales: With TouchBistro’s hybrid online-offline capabilities, you can sell bags of coffee, pastries, and merch during events. That way, your catering menu can also work as a sampling menu!

TouchBistro catering house account for a city hall

TouchBistro catering house account applies payment credit towards coffee for weekly meetings.

The offline mode makes TouchBistro a great food truck POS system if you decide to take your shop on the road.

Back at your coffee house, baristas get upselling reminders in real-time as customers add to their orders. If you purchase a POS with a customer-facing display, customers can see upsells on their end as well.

Hardware Cost & Options

TouchBistro POS hardware

TouchBistro countertop iPad POS, iPad stand, handheld iPad POS, cash drawer, card reader, and receipt printer.

TouchBistro runs on iPads and iPad Minis, which you may source yourself or purchase from TouchBistro.

TouchBistro also supports hardware from third-party suppliers such as Chase Payments Solutions (formerly Chase Merchant Services), Square, Star Micronics, Verifone, and Epson.

Check with TouchBistro before purchasing any hardware to make sure the hardware models are compatible with TouchBistro software. Alternatively, you can contact TouchBistro for a quote on hardware and make your purchases through the POS company.

Payment Processing Costs

TouchBistro offers integrated payment processing through TouchBistro Payments (powered by Chase) with cost-plus pricing. You have to contact the company to get a quote.

TouchBistro integrates with multiple other payment processors and gateways, including Moneris, Square, and Worldpay.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

TouchBistro gives you annual and custom contract options. The company does charge an early termination fee if you cancel your plan early, so consider a shorter plan until you’re sure TouchBistro is the right POS option for your cafe.

If you do end up canceling your plan, you must send a written notice to TouchBistro at least 30 days before the end of your subscription term, or you’ll automatically be charged for another term.

When To Use TouchBistro Cafe POS System

You should use TouchBistro in your cafe if you want to:

  • Set up one-time or recurring event catering services
  • Sell outside your coffee shop in a food truck or at events
  • Have a complete customer relationship management platform that includes a solid loyalty program

We recommend Revel Systems if you like TouchBistro's offline mode but want more payment processor options. Lightspeed Restaurant is a better POS system for coffee shops if you have more extensive inventory management needs across one or several locations.

Get Started With TouchBistro

Read our in-depth review

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Clover: Most Customizable Option

Total Rating 4.3
Pricing4.0

Ease Of Use4.8

Features4.5

Customer Service4.4

User Reviews4.1

Pricing

Starts at $0/month

Contract

Depends on merchant services provider

Equipment Cost

$49-$1,799 per device

Pros

  • Several merchant account options
  • Attractive POS hardware
  • Free online ordering module
  • Customer engagement features

Cons

  • Can’t purchase hardware separate from merchant account
  • Hardware is expensive
  • Potential for scams from resellers

Clover Station POS system table management

Clover Station POS system table management.

Why We Chose Clover POS System As The Most Customizable Coffee Shop POS System

With Clover POS, you get to choose from an array of sleek POS hardware, select one of several payment processing providers to get the best payment processing rates and choose apps from an entire app market to customize your software. The app market offers apps for everything from event ticket sales to third-party delivery platform ordering to a loyalty program builder.

Clover POS Pricing

Clover POS Plans Price  When To Use
Clover Payments $0/month If you only need to process payments and don’t need any POS hardware
Clover Essentials $14.95/month If you have a small retail/service-based business and don’t take returns
Clover Register $49.95/month If you have a small to mid-size retail/service-based business and need more POS features
Clover Counter Service Restaurant $54.95/month If you have a quick-serve restaurant, cafeteria, or mobile food service business
Clover Table Service Restaurant $84.95/month If you have a full-service restaurant or bar

The Clover pricing above is available if you purchase your Clover hardware upfront from Clover.com.

If you decide to pay for your Clover hardware over time, you’ll be charged one monthly fee for your Clover hardware/software package. Monthly pricing for both your software and hardware is the following:

  • Counter Service Restaurant: $100/month-$190/month
  • Table Service Restaurant: $160/month-$310/month

We strongly discourage paying monthly for your hardware since you don’t own your hardware while using it, and in general, you end up paying more over time. We recommend a small business loan or line of credit if you can’t pay for your POS hardware upfront or find a Clover merchant services provider that allows you to finance equipment.

We recommend the counter service plan for most coffee shops unless you have a sit-down restaurant component.

Clover Coffee Shop POS Features

Clover POS Features Availability
Multi-Store Support
Contactless Payments Depends on hardware choice
Multi-Channel Selling
Gift Cards
Customer Loyalty
Marketing Tools
Online Ordering Depends on software plan
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management
Delivery Management
EBT Acceptance Add-on app
Employee Management
Text Messaging

Clover’s built-in feature set includes a free online ordering site and an easy connection to your Google Business profile. Since many people find coffee shops by searching “coffee shops near me,” people near you will find your shop and menu. Then, they can order directly through Google, which eliminates the number of steps people have to take to get a good cup of coffee.

Clover also offers a unique restaurant loyalty rewards program that essentially works as your custom-branded mobile app, without the huge price tag involved with creating and maintaining one.

With your custom app, you can also create custom loyalty points settings. You can decide which items customers get points on, whether you want points to be redeemed on certain items or a certain dollar/percentage discount, and schedule special limited-time loyalty offerings.

On the customer side of the app, customers who order ahead online can set up their order preferences, easily reorder past items, and set up a linked payment method so they can autopay at checkout. Customers get reminders on their app and at the register about redeeming loyalty points.

Clover loyalty program on smartphone

Clover coffee POS system loyalty account on smartphone.

Clover also has a great app store with hundreds of apps that are compatible with your Clover hardware and online ordering suite. Business owners who want to teach coffee roasting or latte art classes, collaborate with local artists to host a class at your shop (such as a candle-making workshop), or rent out their venue can install one of several Clover ticketing apps.

If you want to offer free events to draw potential customers to your shop, such as an open mic night, you can “sell” free tickets for people to RSVP. Those who RSVP in advance could even get a discount on their purchase, which may encourage them to show up on the day of the event.

Hardware Cost & Options

Clover POS hardware

Clover countertop POS system, handheld POS system, barcode scanner, cash drawer, and card reader.

Individuals who purchase their POS hardware upfront from Clover.com will pay the following prices:

  • Clover Go: $49 small Bluetooth card reader that you can connect to a smartphone to take payments
  • Clover Flex: $599 handheld POS terminal for tableside servers to take orders, accept payments, and print receipts
  • Clover Mini: $799 compact countertop POS device for coffee shops to take orders, payments, and print receipts
  • Clover Station: $1,699 (Clover Station Solo) or $1,799 (Clover Station Duo) full-size countertop POS system and optional customer-facing display to take orders, payments, fire orders, and print receipts

We recommend the Clover Go for small businesses and the Clover Mini for coffee shops with a small counter. The Clover Station paired with a customer-facing display will help reduce barista (and customer) errors, as customers can verify their order before paying.

In June 2023, Clover launched a proprietary kitchen display screen, which costs $799 plus a $25/month software subscription if you purchase from Clover.com. This is a great option for cafes selling food and large fast-paced coffee shops with orders coming in from online ordering platforms.

Clover offers a variety of hardware accessories, such as kitchen printers, barcode scanners, and cash drawers. Pricing for these things will vary depending on what hardware you already have and your software plan.

If you purchase your Clover hardware, software, and merchant services from a Clover reseller, your hardware costs may vary from the pricing listed above.

Payment Processing

If you purchase your Clover hardware and software plan upfront from Clover.com, you’ll get the following flat-rate payment processing:

  • Card-Present Transactions: 2.3%-2.6% + $0.10 per transaction
  • Card-Not-Present Transactions: 3.5% + $0.10 per transaction

Card-not-present transactions include any phone order, third-party ordering platform order (such as Grubhub or Order With Google), online order on your website, manually-keyed-in card payment, and any form of payment that is not a swipe/chip/tap card payment, cash, or check.

If substantial sales at your coffee shop come from online orders, choose a different payment processing provider. Also, if you generate high sales volumes every month, consider a payment processor with an interchange-plus pricing model, which is much more affordable for high-volume businesses.

Contract Requirements/Alerts

Individuals who purchase their Clover hardware and software from Clover.com will have to choose between 36-month and 48-month contracts, with early termination fees if you cancel your Clover subscription early.

There are a lot of Clover scams out there, so be careful. Check out our list of the best Clover resellers to find a Clover hardware provider with the best contract terms and payment processing rates.

You can’t use your Clover hardware with any other POS software, sell your Clover hardware, or transfer ownership of your hardware in any way, making your Clover devices useless if you want to stop using Clover POS software.

When To Use Clover Cafe POS System

You should use Clover in your cafe if you want:

  • Custom payment processing fees from a merchant services provider
  • Several handheld and countertop POS terminal options and hardware accessories
  • To customizable your cafe POS system with third-party software in a simple way

We recommend Revel Systems if you want your own merchant services provider but want an enterprise-level custom software build. Lightspeed Restaurant is a good idea for software with lots of integrations but better inventory management than Clover.

Get Started With Clover POS

Read our in-depth review

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Lightspeed Restaurant: Best For Large Inventory Management

Lightspeed Restaurant POS Review

Total Rating 4.0
Pricing3.1

Ease Of Use3.8

Features5.0

Customer Service4.3

User Reviews4.7

Pricing

$69-$399+/month

Online Ordering

Essential plan and up

Equipment Cost

$129-$519

Pros

  • Loyalty program on all plans
  • In-depth ingredient management
  • Built-in employee management
  • Online and mobile ordering options

Cons

  • Offline mode lacking
  • It can get pricey with add-ons

Lightspeed Restaurant add coffee item to menu

Lightspeed Restaurant add an item to the menu.

Why We Chose Lightspeed Restaurant POS System For Large Inventory Management

We love that Lightspeed Restaurant has the best POS inventory management and purchase ordering capabilities. You can easily track inventory on an ingredient level rather than a completed item level, track inventory wastage, set up vendors and quick purchase ordering, and get in-depth reports on inventory performance. There are also multi-location inventory, menu, and item performance report features built into Lightspeed.

Lightspeed Restaurant POS Pricing

Lightspeed Restaurant POS Review Plans Price  When To Use
Starter $69/month Single-location restaurants looking to start a loyalty program
Essential $189/month Restaurants with one or more locations looking for online ordering capabilities
Premium $399/month Larger restaurants & hotels looking for custom payment processing rates

Most coffee shops will only need the Starter or Essential plan. The Essential plan includes Lightspeed eCom for online ordering. You’ll pay an extra $59/month/register and will pay an additional monthly fee for added locations.

You’ll need to get a custom quote for Lightspeed products like Lightspeed Subscriptions and third-party software integrations like dedicated employee management software.

Lightspeed Restaurant Coffee Shop POS Features

Lightspeed Restaurant POS Review Features Availability
Multi-Store Support Essential plan and up
Contactless Payments Essential plan and up
Multi-Channel Selling Online and third-party delivery platform orders
Gift Cards
Customer Loyalty
Marketing Tools
Online Ordering Essential plan and up
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management
Delivery Management Paid add-on
EBT Acceptance
Employee Management
Text Messaging

Lightspeed’s most unique inventory management features include:

  • Ingredient-Level Tracking: Build products out of individual ingredients with ingredient-level inventory tracking and auto-86ing included, so you never sell an item you don’t have the ingredients for.
  • Suppliers: Add suppliers and associate them with certain products. Add purchase order emails for suppliers that accept emails and links to supplier ordering websites if email purchase orders are not accepted.
  • Automated Purchase Orders: Set up and automate recurring purchase orders and automated single purchase orders when stock falls below a certain level. Update all stock automatically when you mark an order as received.
  • Stock Rules: Create stock rules that send low-stock notifications, purchase order emails to vendors who take email purchase orders, and links to supplier ordering pages in notifications for vendors that do not accept email purchase orders.
  • Stock Movements: Monitor stock movements within single or multiple locations. Monitor product expiration dates, damaged items, stock counts, stock transfers between locations, and more to get an idea of where you’re losing money and how to optimize your menu.

Lightspeed Restaurant purchase ordering from Lightspeed admin

Lightspeed Restaurant automated purchase ordering setup.

For the front of the house, Lightspeed Restaurant’s quick-serve POS system interface includes a streamlined menu and allows baristas to take orders and payments at the same time, attaching the order to a customer’s name to be called out when their coffee is ready. You can also convert a quick-serve POS to a self-serve kiosk when you’re short-staffed.

Another one of Lightspeed’s unique features is its integration with Lightspeed eCommerce, a self-contained restaurant/retail online ordering website builder. The website builder includes a beautiful customizable template, integrations with your online menu and third-party delivery platforms, and a reservation app. You can also sell retail items and subscriptions for pickup, local delivery, and shipping.

The reservation app could be a great tool for renting out your venue for special events.

Hardware Cost & Options

lightspeed restaurant hardware bundle

Lightspeed Restaurant software on iPad, cash drawer, receipt printer, and kitchen printer.

Lightspeed Restaurant is an iPad POS system. Hardware options include a countertop POS with a customer display, standalone iPads for tableside ordering, and/or iPad kiosks for self-ordering. Lightspeed’s KDS is also iPad-based.

You may purchase your own iPads or through Lightspeed at $329 per device. The iPad stand costs $199, the kitchen bump bar costs $199, the cash drawer costs $129, and the kitchen printer costs $299.

It’s important to purchase your card reader (Lightspeed supports Verifone products) from Lightspeed to make sure your Lightspeed Payments account is configured correctly with the hardware.

We advise contacting Lightspeed to get a custom quote on a hardware bundle.

Payment Processing Costs

Lightspeed has its own processing program, Lightspeed Payments. Its fees are 2.6% + $0.10 for card-present transactions and 2.9% + $0.30 for card-not-present transactions for business owners on the Starter and Essential plans.

If you sign up for the Premium plan, you’ll get a custom payment processing rate, which should be lower than the rate offered on lower-level plans.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Lightspeed Restaurant has monthly and annual plans. Monthly plans are much more expensive, but Lightspeed also charges an early termination fee if you cancel your contract early. Consider this when you’re signing up for a Lightspeed subscription.

If you purchase your POS hardware from Lightspeed, you must verify that you have received it within five business days or you won’t qualify for the hardware warranty. The warranty is 14 days for Apple products and 30 days for all other products.

When To Use Lightspeed Restaurant Cafe POS System

You should use Lightspeed Restaurant in your cafe if you're looking for:

  • Excellent inventory management and purchase ordering software
  • Intuitive POS registers and self-serve ordering kiosks to keep lines moving quickly
  • Several software integrations including third-party ordering platforms and liquid inventory management programs

We recommend Revel Systems if you're looking to build custom software integrations with an open API. We recommend Toast as an alternative if you want to take orders and payments from tables at your cafe.

Get Started With Lightspeed Restaurant POS Review

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Toast: Best For Full Food & Alcohol Service

Total Rating 4.0
Pricing2.6

Ease Of Use4.7

Features5.0

Customer Service5.0

User Reviews4.1

Pricing

$0-$165 plus custom plan

Online Ordering

Yes

Equipment Cost

$0+

Pros

  • Full-service restaurant POS
  • Excellent loyalty program
  • Advanced digital ordering options
  • Card pre-authorization for alcohol sales

Cons

  • Long-term processing contract
  • Early termination fee

toast coffee pos for quick serve

Why We Chose Toast POS System For Cafes With Full Food & Alcoholic Drink Menus

We believe that Toast is an especially great choice for coffee shop owners building out a full food and alcoholic caffeinated beverage menu. This is because Toast's kitchen display system is excellent at navigating dine-in, takeout, and delivery (both in-house and third-party delivery platform) orders. Toast's server tipping, bill splitting, and table management features are hard to beat. Plus, there's a card pre-authorization function for taking payments in a bar setting. You can also designate your bar as a different section with a different menu and payment rules.

Toast POS Pricing

Toast POS Plans Price  When To Use
Quick Start Bundle $0/month You have a small, single-location restaurant with basic feature needs
Core $69/month You need a full point of sale suite with processing and custom hardware
Growth $165/month You need advanced features and are looking to bundle with digital ordering
Custom Custom Larger businesses looking to access the entirety of Toast’s features

Toast offers a $0 down, pay-as-you-go Quick Start Bundle plan. While you pay nothing in subscription fees, you will pay a lot in payment processing fees. You can also only have one or two POS terminals on this plan.

We recommend starting with at least the $69/month Standard plan, which does require you to pay for your heat and spill-resistant Android POS system upfront but will save you a lot of money in payment processing fees.

Toast offers a Restaurant Basics plan, which we recommend for coffee shops with a sizable number of full-time staff members. This plan includes employee scheduling, payroll, 401(k)s, and business insurance. This plan costs $110/month plus $4/employee/month.

The $165/month Essentials plan includes the Toast digital ordering and delivery platform (you can get this as a paid add-on if you’re on the Standard plan). Most coffee shop owners don’t deliver fresh coffee, but you could use it to deliver retail items like coffee beans or pastries.

Toast Coffee Shop POS Features

Toast POS Features Availability
Multi-Store Support
Contactless Payments
Multi-Channel Selling
Gift Cards
Customer Loyalty
Marketing Tools
Online Ordering
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management
Delivery Management
EBT Acceptance
Employee Management
Text Messaging

Toast is a restaurant POS system that offers many ways for customers to order, including countertop orders, self-serve orders, tableside QR code ordering, online ordering for takeout/delivery, and integrations with all major third-party ordering platforms.

You can decide where menus show up and even create custom menus for certain ordering types. For example, you may want to exclude your alcoholic drink menu from your online ordering menu. You can also create different menus based on the time of the day, section of the establishment, and the POS system used to take orders.

Toast cafe POS system

Toast coffee POS menu item visibility settings.

Toast’s kitchen display screen can handle all ordering types. The POS system can designate which stations to send items to so that you can have baristas focusing solely on making coffee while cooks focus only on food orders. The kitchen display software can be customized to show ordering types, change the user interface, and reopen closed orders.

You’ll also find alcoholic liquid inventory tracking software among Toast’s third-party integrations. With liquid-specific ingredient tracking, you can get a better idea of how much servers are pouring per beverage and where liquid inventory is being wasted, and monitor for instances like theft and inventory damage.

Multi-location business owners can manage stock, menu item offerings and prices, employee schedules and permissions, payroll, and accounting across individual or all locations or a defined group of locations.

Hardware Cost & Options

Toast restaurant POS hardware

Toast online ordering on a smartphone, Toast admin dashboard on PC, Toast KDS, Toast Go 2 handheld POS, Toast countertop POS.

Toast software only works with Toast’s proprietary Android-based hardware.

Toast hardware comes at the following prices:

  • Toast Go 2 Handheld POS: $627
  • Countertop POS: $875
  • Outdoor Wi-Fi Access Point: $104
  • Kitchen Printer: $269
  • Cash Drawer: $134
  • KDS: $629 + $25/month
  • Self-Serve Kiosk Terminal: $809 + $90/month

The Toast Go 2 is one of the best handheld restaurant POS systems on the market, and we highly recommend it for sit-down restaurants and bars.

On the pay-as-you-go Quick Start Bundle plan, you can get the handheld POS for no upfront cost and no monthly fees, as long as you agree to pay higher per-transaction payment processing fees. If you pay upfront for your POS hardware, you’ll pay between $69/month and $165/month for your POS software.

In general, we do not recommend the pay-as-you-go plan because the higher per-order fees will cost you more than the original price of the hardware once you get in enough orders.

If you can, pay for your POS hardware upfront. Otherwise, look into equipment financing to help you cover the costs of the restaurant hardware you need in your establishment.

Payment Processing Costs

Payment processing is included at a flat rate of 2.49% + $0.15 for all in-person transactions on the Standard plan or 2.99% + $0.15 on the pay-as-you-go Starter plan.

If you add online ordering to your Starter plan, you’ll pay 3.49% plus $0.15 per transaction, whether it’s online or in-person.

You’ll get a custom payment processing rate on New Restaurants, Essentials, and custom plans.

There is no option to integrate another payment processor to use with Toast.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Toast requires a two-year contract and processing agreement. If you want to terminate your contract before the two years are up, you’ll pay a hefty early termination fee to do so.

When To Use Toast Cafe POS System

You should use Toast in your cafe if you want to:

  • Offer a full sit-down food menu in addition to a to-go menu
  • Sell caffeinated alcoholic beverages like espresso martinis
  • Create an all-in-one restaurant management solution that includes liquid inventory management

We recommend Square For Restaurants as an alternative if you want a free restaurant POS system but don't want to pay higher than normal payment processing fees. Clover is a good alternative if you like Android-based POS hardware but want to choose your own payment processor.

Get Started With Toast POS

Read our in-depth review

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Revel: Best For Wholesalers, Drive-Thrus, & Franchises

Total Rating 4.0
Pricing3.6

Ease Of Use3.9

Features4.7

Customer Service4.2

User Reviews3.8

Pricing

Quote-based

Contract

Three-year commitment for lowest rate

Equipment Cost

Call for quote

Pros

  • Capable of handling multiple locations/franchises
  • Extensive order pickup features
  • Drive-thru POS integrations
  • Excellent inventory management

Cons

  • High cost for smaller businesses
  • Long-term contract with early termination fee

Revel mobile restaurant POS system

Revel iPad POS system with built-in swipe card reader.

Why We Chose Revel POS System For Wholesalers, Drive-Thrus, & Franchises

We love that Revel works as a restaurant and a retail POS system, which is especially great for coffee shops interested in selling subscriptions to customer accounts and taking wholesale orders.

This system also includes drive-thru features like drive-thru headsets and expo screens for coffee shops that want to build a drive-thru into an existing coffee shop or start a small drive-thru coffee kiosk.

Revel offers excellent multilocation settings and permissions, plus royalty payment settings, making this coffee POS system an excellent choice for coffee shop owners interested in franchising their businesses.

Revel POS Pricing

Revel POS Plans Price  When To Use
Revel plan Quote-based: three-year commitment for cheapest plan Use if you are committed to the product and have a need for high-end features.

The above plan was advertised by Revel until October 2023 and included conditions such as a two-terminal minimum and a three-year contract with Revel, making the starting price of this POS $198/month.

The company now requires every business owner to get a custom quote, which will be higher than the other POS providers on our list. This is because Revel Systems is for larger food service establishments that require more large-scale restaurant management software. For example, Revel is used by franchises like Cinnabon, Auntie Annie’s, and Kung Fu Tea.

There is a one-time $674 setup fee that includes software and hardware installation as well as training.

Revel Coffee Shop POS Features

Revel POS Features Availability
Multi-Store Support
Contactless Payments
Multi-Channel Selling
Gift Cards
Customer Loyalty
Marketing Tools
Online Ordering
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management
Delivery Management
EBT Acceptance
Employee Management
Text Messaging

Revel’s unique in-person and online ordering wholesale features include the ability to:

  • Create both retail and wholesale customer groups
  • Create wholesale discounts on items and automatically apply them to wholesaler customer groups
  • Create house accounts for customers like offices and cafes so they can receive goods when needed and charge them later on with a linked payment method
  • Send invoices as emails with due dates and customer notifications; Revel saves invoice items as layaway items until the invoice is paid, so you don’t sell more items than you have
  • Show retail and wholesale pricing as different price tiers on products; show dynamic pricing as customers add more to their cart
  • Make sales at places like trade shows or restaurant tastings with Revel’s fully offline mode

Revel Systems wholesale item discount settings

Revel System POS wholesale item discount.

Revel is one of the best drive-thru POS systems because the software integrates with Delphi Display Systems, which offers drive-thru hardware and software such as server headsets and digital menu boards. Revel’s kitchen display systems can also be customized to manage drive-thru orders. Servers at the window check to make sure all order items are complete and correct before handing them off to customers, and then that server closes out the order.

Revel’s franchising features include enterprise-level multi-location inventory, employee, and menu management from one master dashboard. Also, you can see monthly sales data as percentages, which will tell you how much to charge a franchisee in royalty fees for that month.

Hardware Cost & Options

Revel POS hardware

Revel iPad POS register, iPad stand, iPad customer-facing display, cash drawer, receipt printer, and card reader.

Revel’s iPad POS hardware is quote-based. You also have the option to source your hardware yourself, but you have to get written permission from Revel before you make you do so. This is to make sure you only purchase Revel-compatible hardware.

Revel integrates with Delphi Display Systems for restaurant elements like digital signage.

Revel KDS systems

Revel customer-facing order status screen.

The company now provides order-status display screens like the one above that work on Android TVs. Order-status screens show when a customer’s order is being made and when it is completed, which is useful for keeping customers from clustering near the counter waiting for their drink. They can just watch the screen to see when their order is moved from “preparing” to “ready”. The screen is connected to Revel POS and Revel KDS, so as servers clear orders on their end, the orders themselves will automatically update on the order-status screen.

Payment Processing Costs

Revel offers an in-house payment processing system, Revel Advantage, which you’ll get a custom payment processing quote for.

You also have the choice to integrate your POS with third-party payment processors such as Adyen or FreedomPay. You will have to pay an extra monthly fee if you choose a third-party provider over Revel Advantage.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

You need to sign up for a three-year deal, agree to use Revel Advantage, and purchase your POS hardware from Revel to get the best rates.

However, there is a substantial early termination fee, so consider negotiating a short-term plan over a longer contract until you’re sure Revel is the right POS for your business.

When To Use Revel Systems Cafe POS System

You should use Revel Systems in your cafe if you want to:

  • Incorporate a drive-thru ordering system into your coffee shop or start a coffee kiosk
  • Use a hybrid restaurant/retail POS system to manage food and wholesale retail orders
  • Expand to several locations or franchise your business
  • Incorporate restaurant elements like self-serve kiosks, kitchen display systems, digital menu boards, and order-status boards

We recommend Lightspeed Restaurant as an alternative cafe POS system if you're interested in restaurant elements like order-status boards and digital signage but don't need (or can't afford) an enterprise-level system like Revel. Toast is an excellent alternative to Revel for a more modernized restaurant POS interface, but you will be very limited in your payment processor choices.

Get Started With Revel POS

Read our in-depth review

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Methodology

Merchant Maverick has been researching and reviewing POS providers since 2012. Our writers have tested over 100 different point of sale systems, evaluating pricing, features, ease of use, customer service, and user reviewers. Read more about how we rate POS providers.

When comparing different POS software systems, we consider many data points, including relative pricing, the depth of niche features offered, the price of hardware, and any associated payment processing fees. Our lists of the best providers include only apps we’ve deemed worthwhile from multiple vantage points. The POS vendors we pick share qualities such as widespread availability, accessibility, user-friendliness, and reasonable pricing. We also look carefully at niche features, such as check-splitting, inventory management, eCommerce, loyalty programs, gift cards, and more.

We spend an average of 10-15 hours researching and updating each one of our lists, making sure the providers included meet our internal standards for quality and reputation.

80+

Vendors evaluated

65+

Attributes assessed per vendor

20+

Features weighed

30+

Combined years of experience


How To Choose A Cafe POS System

To choose a cafe POS system, consider your store’s monthly POS software budget, the complexity of your menu and inventory, and how much money (and physical space) you have for POS hardware such as POS register screens, customer-facing displays, and cash drawers.

Also, consider whether you can start revenue-generating ventures such as event catering, coffee bean subscriptions, hosting events at your shop, and selling supplies wholesale. If any of these options sound like a good fit for your coffee shop, make sure the POS you choose has the built-in features or a software integration available to manage things like event scheduling, subscription sales, event ticket sales, and wholesale house account management.

Which Cafe POS System Is Right For Your Business?

The best cafe POS system for your coffee shop offers the right amount of menu and inventory management, boasts solid POS hardware choices that fit your space, and is within your budget. When you start a coffee shop, you may not have a lot of funding to invest in a more detailed POS system, so it makes sense to start small and cheap.

Once your business grows, you’ll want a cafe POS system that can handle more extensive inventory and customer management and even help you start new aspects of your business such as barista training courses for casual brewers and supply delivery services to surrounding businesses.

Don’t forget to negotiate a good merchant agreement when the time comes rather than working with a payment services provider that charges higher payment processing fees.

FAQs: Best POS System For Coffee Shop

How much is a coffee POS system?

Coffee POS software can range anywhere from $0/month to more than $300/month, depending on how many features and registers you need.

Which cafe POS system has the best loyalty program features?

Lightspeed and Toast have some of the best built-in loyalty features for a cafe. Both cafe POS systems include marketing tools, a rewards program, customer insights, and more.

What POS system does Starbucks use?

Starbucks uses a proprietary version of Oracle Symphony, an enterprise-level POS system. Larger businesses that want enterprise-level features for a lower monthly cost should consider Revel Systems.

What POS system does Dunkin Donuts use?

Dunkin Donuts uses Radiant Systems, now owned by NCR, a very popular restaurant POS system. For an enterprise-level system like Dunkin’s that comes with a lower price tag, we recommend Revel Systems.

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Nicolette Kier

Nicolette Kier

Senior Staff Writer
Nicolette began writing on small business topics in 2020. After hundreds of hours researching, testing, and assisting small business owners with web building and point of sale software, she is now an expert on all things eCommerce and point of sale. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh and resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Nicolette Kier
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