10 Types of Restaurant POS Systems - Pros & Cons

10 Types of Restaurant POS Systems - Pros & Cons

September 1, 2023

Selecting the right Point of Sale system for your restaurant is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your business's efficiency and customer service. With various types of restaurant POS systems available, each comes with its own set of pros and cons. In this blog post, we'll explore the advantages and disadvantages of different POS systems to help you make an informed choice.

1. Cloud-Based POS Systems:

Cloud-based POS systems store data on remote servers and can be accessed via the internet. They are flexible, scalable, and often more affordable, as they don't require extensive on-site hardware. Ideal for small to mid-sized restaurants, food trucks, pop-up restaurants, and those looking for mobility.


  • Lower upfront costs.

  • Accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.

  • Scalable and flexible.

  • Automatic software updates and data backup.


  • Ongoing subscription fees.

  • Reliance on internet connectivity.

  • Limited offline capabilities.

Popular Cloud POS Systems: Chowbus, Toast, Square

2. Tablet POS Systems:

Tablet-based POS systems run on tablet devices, such as iPads or Android tablets. They offer mobility, allowing servers to take orders and process payments at the table. Great for casual dining, fast-casual, and quick-service restaurants.



  • Vulnerable to theft or damage.

  • Limited screen size for complex orders.

  • Potential connectivity issues.

Popular Tablet POS Systems: Chowbus, Lightspeed, Square

3. Traditional POS Systems:

These are the classic, on-premises POS systems that have been used for many years. They often consist of dedicated hardware and software installed on local servers within the restaurant. Suitable for full-service restaurants, fine dining establishments, and large-scale operations.


  • Reliable and stable performance.

  • Customizable to specific restaurant needs.

  • Suitable for large-scale operations.


  • Expensive upfront costs for hardware and software.

  • May require IT expertise for maintenance.

  • Limited mobility and scalability.

Popular Traditional POS Systems: Aloha POS, MICROS (Oracle Hospitality), Harbortouch

4. Mobile POS Systems:

Mobile POS systems are designed to work on smartphones or handheld devices. They are highly portable and suitable for outdoor events, food trucks, and pop-up dining experiences. Often used by small, mobile businesses and independent vendors.


  • Extremely portable.

  • Low hardware costs.

  • Ideal for pop-up events and outdoor venues.


  • Smaller screens may not be suitable for complex menus.

  • Reliant on smartphone battery life.

  • Limited features compared to dedicated POS systems.

Popular Mobile POS Systems: Paypal, Chowbus, Shopify

5. Self-Service Kiosk POS Systems:

These systems enable customers to place orders and pay without assistance from waitstaff. Commonly used in fast-food chains, quick-service restaurants, and establishments with high customer volume.


  • Streamlined order process and reduced labor costs.

  • Increased order accuracy.

  • Speedy service for customers.


  • High upfront investment in kiosk hardware.

  • Limited to certain restaurant types.

  • May require staff assistance for technical issues.

Popular Kiosk POS Systems: Elo, Chowbus, Verifone

6. Online Ordering and Delivery POS Systems:

These systems are designed to manage online orders and integrate with third-party delivery services. Perfect for restaurants that offer takeout, delivery, or want to expand their online presence.


  • Expands restaurant's reach to online customers.

  • Streamlines order management.

  • Integration with third-party delivery services.


  • Requires dedicated staff for order packing and delivery.

  • Transaction fees for third-party delivery partnerships.

  • Potential for delivery-related challenges (late deliveries, order accuracy).

Popular Online Ordering Systems: Grubhub, Chowbus

7. Enterprise POS Systems:

Enterprise-level POS systems are designed for large restaurant chains and franchises. They provide centralized control and management of multiple restaurant locations from a single dashboard.


  • Centralized control and management of multiple locations.

  • Consistent branding and pricing across locations.

  • Robust reporting and analytics.


  • High upfront costs for enterprise-level systems.

  • Complex implementation and maintenance.

  • Limited flexibility for individual locations.

Popular Entreprise POS Systems: Chowbus, Toast

8. Specialized POS Systems:

Some POS systems are tailored to specific niches, such as bars, coffee shops, pizzerias, bakeries, or ice cream parlors. They offer industry-specific features and customization options.


  • Tailored features and functionality for specific restaurant types.

  • Streamlined operations for niche markets.

  • Enhanced customer experience.


  • Limited versatility for different types of restaurants.

  • Potential for higher costs due to specialized features.

  • May not scale well for growth or diversification.

Popular Specialist POS Systems: Slice (for pizzerias), Lavu (for bars/nightclubs), Chowbus (hotpot restaurants)

9. Pop-Up and Food Truck POS Systems:

These specialized systems are designed for temporary foodservice operations like food trucks, pop-up restaurants, and catering services. They are often compact, mobile, and easy to set up.


  • Compact and mobile for temporary setups.

  • Streamlined order taking and payment processing.

  • Suitable for limited-time events.


  • Limited features compared to full-scale POS systems.

  • May require specific hardware adaptations.

  • Potential for connectivity challenges at outdoor events.

Popular Food-Truck or Pop-up POS Systems: ShopKeep, TouchBistro, Chowbus

10. Open-Source POS Systems:

Open-source POS systems are free or low-cost software solutions that can be customized to fit a restaurant's specific needs. They are suitable for tech-savvy restaurant owners who want full control over their POS software.


  • Cost-effective or free software.

  • Highly customizable to unique restaurant needs.

  • Community support and active development.


  • Requires technical expertise for setup and customization.

  • Potential for compatibility issues with hardware.

  • Limited support compared to commercial POS solutions.

Popular Open Source POS Systems: Floreant POS, uniCenta, Chromis POS

Closing Thoughts

When choosing a restaurant POS system, consider your specific needs, budget, and long-term growth plans. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, so it's essential to select the one that aligns best with your business goals and operational requirements.

Remember, the right POS system can streamline your restaurant's operations, enhance customer service, and contribute to the overall success of your establishment.

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