Restaurant POS Software
1973 was a landmark year for the world of technology and hospitality. IBM, the Big Blue, introduced the first-ever physical restaurant POS system. Despite being limited in functionality, it was an invention that revolutionized the sector - Staff was able to communicate orders directly with the kitchen through remote printing, provide customers with crystal clear bills, and improve the overall experience of dining. As the decades progressed, the dependence on POSes continued to grow. Unprecedented demand from the hospitality sector saw the need for a POS to stretch beyond just simple information handling and printing. The modern POS needed to be a flexible digital solution, providing data-driven insights, and capable of displaying critical details on several parameters. Restaurants could then directly translate these features to financial and operational gains.
Corporations around the world answered restaurateurs' calls and introduced a heavily modified, 21st-century digital restaurant-centric solution named the restaurant POS software, which is scalable, feature-rich, and most importantly, widely available online. This ‘free and open-source restaurant POS software’ blog enlightens users on the category, informing prospective buyers about the features and advantages of using a restaurant POS, its positive impact on operations, and includes a brief history of the restaurant POS as we know it today. Finally, the article enlists the best free and open source restaurant POS software available in the market today. Read the article further to gain some much-needed knowledge on the Restaurant POS software.
Evolution of Restaurant POS
Need for Digital Restaurant POS Solutions
There is no doubt that the introduction of POS Software elevated the performance of restaurants onto a new tier. The major reasons for implementing a digital POS solution are as follows:
What is Restaurant POS Software?
Restaurant POS software or point of sale system is a collection of digital tools and applications, under one centralized platform, that can assist buyers in managing and carrying out several restaurant management activities - such as inventory and order management, table management, and delivery assistance to name a few. The best restaurant point of sale software helps restaurants improve their daily operations, which directly impacts revenue and customer service satisfaction. Restaurant point of sale software is an end-to-end solution, which simplifies the management of restaurant operations. Good restaurant POS helps businesses address specific operational loopholes, elevating productivity, satisfaction, and revenues to new levels.
Increasing Operational Efficiency Through Restaurant POS Software
Restaurants looking to breach the breakeven or profit barrier need to galvanize their operational capabilities. An ideal tool to help them do so is the restaurant point of sale software. First, the restaurant point of sale system is responsible for streamlining inventory maintenance. Inventory is trip-wire - restaurants that order excess, lose raw materials to waste, and those who order too little cannot fulfill orders leading to losses in revenue, lowered serviceability & poor customer satisfaction. Therefore, restaurant POS software controls unnecessary inventory spending and ensures the accurate availability of resources.
With a spurt in global online food delivery, it is the responsibility of restaurants to ensure exceptional online services. The best restaurant management software helps monitor every detail in the delivery chain - right from order placement to preparation and food delivery tracking. Optimizing the online delivery process reduces operational latency, increases the productivity of restaurant staff. Top restaurant POS software also provides detailed insights via reporting and analytics tools. The observations gleaned from visualized data reporting help a restaurant's management make better decisions regarding resource throughput, occupancy rates, staff deployment, etc. These factors contribute positively to operational efficiency.
Order and table management are critical aspects of operations in a restaurant too. Table management tools allow users to reserve tables through online portals thereby reducing conflict. Surge booking patterns can convince restaurants to lay additional tables. The process also lets restaurants streamline guest inflows, reduce table conflicts, and increase the efficiency with which staff serves tables. Similarly, the best restaurant point of sale systems allows easy tracking of orders placed via the software, ensuring efficient kitchen operations and order fulfillment. All the points combined together result in high restaurant performance.
With online payment options available to owners of restaurant point of sale software, it is not surprising that payment recording and management have become easy. Integrated payments reduce the need to constantly cross-examine ledgers, or payment verifications - leading to higher resource productivity through better planning and implementation. It also increases the overall financial reporting capability of restaurants, leading to an increase in operational efficiency.
Top Features of Restaurant POS Software
The ideal features that delineate excellent restaurant point of sale software from the rest of the solutions are as follows:
Key Benefits of Restaurant POS Software
The best point of sale systems extends business capabilities a hundred-fold. Restaurant POS software is no different for outlets looking to increase customer satisfaction, create/sustain value in operations, and increase business profitability. The biggest benefits restaurant point of sale systems bring are:
Market Status of Restaurant POS Software
The incredible demand for full feature-set restaurant point of sale systems highlights its effectiveness in the hospitality industry. Several companies across the globe responded with multifarious solutions ranging from free and open source restaurant POS software and freemium restaurant point of sale software to premium top restaurant POS software. In many cases, restaurants received bespoke solutions. A list of the world's best free and open source restaurant POS software is below.
The Best Free and Open Source Restaurant POS Software
Floreant is a free and open source restaurant POS software. The restaurant POS Software is over 12 years old and supports many types of restaurants - small cafes, international franchises, cloud kitchens, etc. The restaurant point of sale system is capable of being installed in under 90 seconds, thanks to a zipped file with an embedded database. It supports touch screen interfaces and can run without connecting to the internet. The restaurant point of sale software is platform-independent - Windows, Mac, Linux support - and also provides a PRO version with multiple advanced in-built features. The latest downloadable version is 1.4 build 7077, licensed under the MRPL 1.2.
Source - Floreant
The best features of Floreant Free Restaurant POS software are as follows:
- Users can plug in the delivery module, which allows initiating, tracking, and reporting on all customer orders placed online for home delivery
- The reporting and analytics tool records and ensures employee tip management while generating detailed reports on sales analysis, card transactions, etc.
- Managers also have access to employee management features such as hourly rate, hours worked, gratuity, role in the restaurant, etc.
- Integrated inventory module.
- The restaurant point of sale system adds users customer loyalty program and manages gift cards that are redeemable for rewards
- Provides excellent table management features in the top restaurant POS system enables fast service to guests through a ticketing method, accommodates split or separate checks, and manages orders (editing and reordering) for the entire table
- Assists with complete kitchen control including printers and touch screen display monitors for smooth order execution
TastyIgniter is a free and open source restaurant POS software. The restaurant POS system is a product of the Laravel PHP framework, providing support to an array of restaurants - including takeaway and online order-only franchises, small Bistros, multi-chain restaurants, etc. The free restaurant POS software prides itself on being easily customizable for individual users, helping outlets create their own brands while attracting, and retaining customers with top-of-the-line functionality. Users can also attain premium support by paying a small fee. The open source restaurant POS Software now has the MIT license, starting from version 3.0.0.
Source - TastyIgniter
The best restaurant POS system features of TastyIgniter are:
- An intuitive and easy-to-access reporting and analytics dashboard to help restaurant owners stay ahead of all restaurant performance data.
- Dedicated online ordering with brand-element integration. Patrons can specify delivery or pickup, and the dispatch integration enables restaurants and users to track the order place for online delivery. Restaurants can also specify delivery zones with specific charges
- The discount mechanism allows businesses to specify rebates and attractive offers during off-season or holidays
- Clean order management interface to keep restaurants and personnel up-to-date on user-specified dishes, reorders, cancellations, etc.
- Restaurant owners can also manage an unlimited number of branches and outlets from a single source or central device.
- The restaurant point of sale system enables users to upload any number of menus and provides enough buffer to maintain and manage infinite orders
- Customers can also give reviews of the restaurant services and food through the review management system
- Provision of an advanced ePOS inventory system
Unicenta OPOS is a free and open source restaurant POS software. The restaurant point of sale software is platform-independent - supported on mobile or PC - and is Windows, Mac, Linux compatible. Unicenta’s restaurant point of sale software is capable of remote order distribution, making sure cloud kitchens in specific zones can respond to orders faster. The Free Restaurant POS software is hostable on the Cloud, a Server, or the Local self-contained machine. The latest version of the popular restaurant POS system is V4.6.3. Restaurants can customize interfaces to reflect the brand and the software is operable by restaurants of all sizes.
Source - UniCenta
The top restaurant POS software features of UniCenta oPOS are:
- Dedicated inventory management tools, capable of recording barcodes, opening & closing stock, vendor management features, category management, multi-restaurant mode, etc.
- Staff management functionality including performance snapshots, hourly wages, check-in & check-out times, etc.
- Detailed and visualized data reporting tool that highlights financial, operational, customer, and employee insights
- Specific loyalty and discount tools such as personalized restaurant cards, loyalty rebates, etc.
- Allows restaurants to split checks for a single order from multiple users and easily record the payment
- An intuitive table and floor management function. It is easily customizable per brand. Allows restaurants to ensure users can book tables online, restaurants can manage orders according to respective tables, and ensure correct billing
SambaPOS V3 is a free and open source POS Software. One of the best open source restaurant POS software, SambaPOS supports over 12 languages and barcode printing. The restaurant point of sale system links to an SQL 12 Express database, while there is specific functionality provided for grouping orders on a ticket, and easy formatting for printing purposes. The restaurant point of sale system can also handle multiple functionalities like recording cash refunds, and in-restaurant entity linking. SambaPOS V4 is a complete solution for restaurateurs, offering Advanced reporting and analytics, delivery and online order management, split checks, separate bills, and table management, besides much more. However, SambaPOS V4 is NOT an open source restaurant POS software.
The top restaurant POS software features of SambaPOS are as follows:
- Enables the detailed, easy tracking and recording of package deliveries from restaurants
- Easy execution of loyalty program initiatives - coupons and discounts
- Availability of Inventory tracking and management tools
- Efficient table management using the entities features - specifying table arrangement and personnel responsible
- Easy to record and calculate tax deductions per order
#5 Point of Success
Point of Success is a free restaurant POS software. The restaurant point of sale system assists all types of restaurants to improve business efficiency, achieve high growth and provides the right type of security of data. This top restaurant POS Software runs on Windows (64-bit), 4GB RAM, and a standard screen resolution of 1024x768. Alongside the free restaurant POS software plan, it provides two separate paid plans for users.
Source - Point of Success
Point of Success' best restaurant POS system features are:
- Ability to process gift cards & provide rebates to customers as part of loyalty programs initiated by the restaurant
- Availability of an online ordering integration, but the facility has to be availed through BigHoller online ordering services
- Staff management tools include employed timekeeping, wage management, and shift scheduling
- Online table management enables waiters to serve orders appropriately while allowing customers to reserve tables and lower waiting periods
- Accepts, tracks, and records credit card payments
- Splits check-up into many components so that users know what they are paying for
- Facilitates remote printing of orders in the kitchen to ensure minimal lag between placement and preparation
- Detailed Business reporting using analytics and intelligence platforms
- Optional Inventory management integration to keep track of goods, ingredients
eHopper is a free restaurant POS software. The restaurant point of sale system is platform-independent and runs on tablets, PCs, Poynt terminals, and mobile devices. As a top restaurant POS software, eHopper provides an internal customer database that restaurants can use to access, modify, edit and use customer information for various purposes - including marketing, communication, and loyalty programs. eHopper also records and manages payment transactions made through credit cards, any online transfer mode, and cash. The restaurant point of sale software offers a touch of localization by including multiple regional languages, and currency support. Restaurants and cafes can also input a default surcharge rate which will be automatically applied to all card transactions. Furthermore, the restaurant POS software also supports exchange programs and integration of applications including the popular Quickbooks.
Source - eHopper
The best features of eHopper restaurant POS software are as follows:
- Real-time inventory management - covering information on categories, prices, and quantities.
- Gives restaurants the ability to split bills for multiple orders from the same table
- The employee management tracks staff schedules, wages, and assures complete restaurant security through permissions, and roles
- eHopper connects to any online ordering store or eCommerce platform, multi-device device optimization, and brand customizations. Restaurants can also handle deliveries through the order management tab.
- Efficient table management functions to manage orders, and help restaurant patrons make table reservations
- Customizable tip settings for employees - to enhance motivation - with managerial access rights to shift close-outs
- This free restaurant POS software provides detailed reporting through the Analytics tool to assess every stage of restaurant operations and make quicker decisions
Square is a free restaurant POS software. It enables restaurants to keep restaurant productivity high using the kitchen display system. A centralized tab collates all order information - for in-restaurant dining, takeaways, or delivery. Square presents restaurants with a customizable online ordering website. The restaurant point of sale system enables efficient menu management (also menu-based reports) - including dish rearrangement and menu design while bulk additions to taxes or categories are simple and time-effective. Real-time tracking of sales is made possible with a dedicated tool, as restaurants also have the opportunity to automate gratuity per bill. Billing errors or refunds are easily manageable with the check reopening feature.
Source - Square
The best restaurant POS software features of Square are:
- Intuitive, real-time click and drag layout for table management including seat placement map to enable efficient service per customer. Facilitates faster room organization.
- A reporting and analytics dashboard that provides insight from sectional menu sales, total sales, and other operating parameters (including kitchen performance)
- Facilitates team and staff management via the multi-app integrations - including check-in/out times, schedules, wages, etc.
- Inventory management integrations from Peachworks, Digital Pour, etc., provide a wide girth of functionality to track elements in real-time
- Online ordering and delivery management via multiple app integrations like - GoParrot and Slice
- Kiosk integrations to enable customer self-service
- Detailed tax and accounting methods to flush out irregularities and provide transparent billing records
#8 Linga rOS
Linga rOS is a free restaurant POS Software, based on a free trial. The restaurant point of sale system supports a multitude of restaurant types including cigar lounges, pizza-specific outlets, and neighborhood coffee cafes. API integration enables businesses to integrate their solution with rOS and customize the software to meet brand guidelines. The restaurant POS software supports every currency on the planet and provides a multilingual capability. The cloud-based restaurant point of sale software integrates with Quickbooks, Shogo, Xero, etc. Platform independence is a hallmark of rOS, and it also works in offline mode. Processing and recording payments are a breeze on the platform, with it handling EVM and PCI payments.
Source - Linga rOS
The best features of Linga rOS are:
- Detailed table management features including online reservations, average check amount per table, dining time, guest count, etc.
- Split check capabilities for guests
- Inventory management includes ingredient tracking and real-time Inventory comparison to avail bulk discounts
- A centralized reporting dashboard provides the data insight required by restaurants for customer analytics, process optimization, historical food cost analysis, sales, etc.
- Staff management features include employee payroll management, permissions, and roles, schedule management, timekeeping, etc.
- Alerting and notifications mechanism
- Cross-platform compatibility
- Online delivery tracking using the Linga OLO app which is integrable into rOS
#9 eZee Optimus
eZee Optimus is a restaurant POS Software, based on a free-trial period. The restaurant point of sale system encrypts customer and restaurant data. Furthermore, the restaurant POS system handles various third-party tool integrations and supports re-marketing and communication campaigns to the customer database. The restaurant POS software supports multi-linguistic content. eZee Optimus is a complete solution with the scope of the scale of solutions offered, which also includes centralized multi-outlet management and easy restaurant menu updates. It integrates easily with the leading mobile and web order online systems to ensure restaurants are always available for orders.
Source - eZee Optimus
The top restaurant POS software features of eZee Optimus are as follows:
- Real-time tracking, measurement, and management of all inventory goods at multiple outlets
- Delivery management is made efficient with driver assignment, route tracking, delivery time updates, etc.
- The restaurant POS system allows users to keep track of important KPIs - Payables, sales, customer insight, inventory trends, etc. - using the reporting and analytics platform
- Restaurants can split bills for multiple orders from the same table
- Detailed shift reporting to help understand employee schedules, and timekeeping as part of staff management
- Efficient tip handling per server
- Integrations with the Table management application which allows users to reserve tables online, keep servers updated on orders per table, and provides data reports per table
- Data Summary allows users to view the most important daily operating KPIs - sales, revenue, total order, etc, - in a unified dashboard before the closing of operations
The market for free and open source restaurant point of sale systems is vast with even more viable options available for implementation by restaurants such as Loyverse, Lightspeed POS, and Upserve. However, Toast’s easy implementation and full feature-functionality set enabled it to take the restaurant POS system by storm and achieve status as the most popular restaurant POS software. A detailed profile of Toast is below.
The Popular Choice-
Toast is a restaurant POS software, available with a free demo. One of the biggest advantages of using this restaurant point of sale system is that it provides exceptional remarketing capabilities by storing important customer information securely. Toast is platform-independent, also capable of running on a handheld POS system. The restaurant point of sale software promises offline availability and 24x7 support. Toast runs on hardware that supports NFC and EMV integrations while also carrying the tag of a PCI Level 1 service provider with encrypted payment information of credit cards. Toast also implements machine learning for fraud detection. The top restaurant POS software integrates with 7-Shift and Bevspot to increase overall functionality.
Source - Toast
The restaurant POS software features that make Toast the best solution in the market are as follows:
- Inbuilt online ordering system which allows users to access the menu and pick items for delivery or takeaway. Note - this works only for orders placed via the restaurant’s website, with the POS displaying all ordered items
- This best restaurant POS system facilitates online delivery through localized driver networks. Delivery fees are chargeable at a flat rate, and all orders are trackable in real-time. Users can also specify delivery zones and minimum amounts, charging customers for delivery in some cases.
- The reporting and analytics dashboard provides restaurant insights on operations, delivery, inventory, customer habits, etc.
- Inventory tracking using shelf layout tools. Improved inventory analytics accounts for variance and COGS, waste tracking, and sum inventory reporting
- Automated, dynamic, and centralized Staff management with managerial level access to paycheck data, timesheets, schedules, onboarding, and employee benefits
- Restaurant POS system can also keep a close account of the Tips per employee
- Flexible point-based rewards program, linkable to a credit card. The platform also supports loyalty reporting.
The global restaurant POS software market is likely to grow at an annualized CAGR of 6.9 % to $4.6 billion in 2028. With an annualized 10.1 percent growth rate, mobile POS systems are the new in-thing for the restaurant and retail industries. Executing and evolving mobile-first, cloud-first, and full-feature set restaurant point of sale software will be critical for all stakeholders. Furthermore, a study by Accenture revealed that 91 percentof customers preferred personalized offers. Restaurant POS systems can offer personalized menu offers, loyalty program bonuses, etc. while shopping, adding to their appeal for restauranteurs. As the world navigates to ensure a combination of restaurant profitability and customer satisfaction, restaurant POS software with its many salientfeatures can lead the way. Fast adoption and implementation are key to harnessing restaurant growth through the best restaurant POS software.
Please use the comment section to provide your feedback. Any organizations having previous experience in using any restaurant POS system mentioned above may please do so on the review page. Companies looking to purchase the best-in-class restaurant POS software can refer to GoodFirms’ official Buyers Guide for restaurant POS software and stay hassle-free in their complete decision-making process. GoodFirms has also crafted an exhaustive and extensive software directory, easily referable by companies looking to purchase multi-capability, multi-category software to elevate every aspect of their operations.
Jason Adams is a writer with keen interest to continue learning and develop his research abilities. An avid reader and an eye towards growth, he is associated withGoodFirms, a frontline, and evolving reviews and rating platform.