How much do restaurant POS systems cost?
If you’re looking for a new or upgraded restaurant POS, this is probably one of the first questions you’re going to have. Outside of features, price is likely one of your top considerations as you look for the best platform for your business.
To help you get an idea about how much restaurant POS systems cost, use this guide to understand the investment you will need to make based on 14 factors.
How Much Do Restaurant POS Systems Cost?
Whether you are starting from scratch or updating an existing system, there are a variety of costs to consider when choosing a restaurant POS.
Restaurant POS system costs can range from $59 to $279 per month for core software and hardware.
This price range gives you a starting point for how much a restaurant POS system can cost. From here, the price may change based on the features and additional hardware, software, and services you’d like to add-on. As you research costs for your POS, consider each of these 14 elements to get a full picture of the actual cost for your business.
14 Factors That Impact Restaurant POS Systems Cost
When researching restaurant POS system costs, consider each of these factors and how they impact pricing. Some of these factors will be baked into the monthly costs of your POS while others may prompt a one-time fee or continued increase in your monthly cost.
#1) Type of POS System
A major factor that determines the cost of your new restaurant POS system is whether you’re looking for a legacy POS or a tablet POS. While they technically function in similar ways, legacy and tablet POS systems carry a variety of different costs that make the choice between them incredibly important.
A legacy restaurant POS system involves large hardware-terminals that are updated manually. They are usually bulkier, slower, and more expensive than mobile, tablet-based POS systems. A major part of the cost is due to the fact you’re installing an entire computer system into your restaurant that must be operated through a local network.
A tablet POS distributes tablet-based software into mobile terminals throughout your restaurant. Instead of basing your operations around a central computer installed into your restaurant, this type uses cloud-based software that you can easily update and adjust for your needs. Tablet systems used through iPad POS software are an affordable option available to restaurants who are looking for an alternative to a legacy POS.
See how customers rate top POS systems based on value and cost. Review our POS competitive comparison guide to see how Lavu compares to Clover, Toast, and TouchBistro.
#2) Payment Processing and Receipt Management
When you’re trying to understand the comprehensive costs that a POS system entails, payment processing can seem like a hidden cost that can tighten your budget. It’s safe to say payment processing is something you’ll want to address in the initial research stages.
This is a piece of the cost not included in the implementation and upkeep. It is related to banking and card processing fees. With this said, paying a little more for a system upfront could cut down on potentially burdensome fees. You should, for instance, pay attention to the following:
#3) In-house Processing Fees
POS systems will charge you either through a monthly usage fee or through a credit card processing fee that will make up for the lack of a monthly fee. This can come in handy if you’re not planning to use a different merchant account and want to keep your payment processing fees contained within your restaurant’s point-of-sale system.
#4) Merchant Account Processing Fees
Other point-of-sale systems give you the option to use a pre-existing merchant account if you already have one set up. In this case, the cost will depend on the processing fees of the merchant account. This ends up turning the processing fee into a non-POS related fee, but the fact that your restaurant point of sale system still deals with this fee, as well as the fact that it’s based upon your sales amount, means that it’s still a cost worth considering.
#5) Credit Card Fees
With a wide variety of credit card processing options available, it’s important for you to understand how your POS system deals with payment processing and how it will affect any additional costs for your restaurant’s point-of-sale system.
Does your merchant account use flat-rate processing or tiered processing? What is the general pricing structure for the processor? Does your POS offer a Cash Discount Program, like the one offered by Lavu, that helps you to decrease the amount of credit card fees that you will pay? These are the kinds of questions you’ll need to answer in order to properly assess how a POS system’s payment processor will change your budget.
#6) Product Plan Cost
Providers offer different hardware bundles and product plans based on the size and potential expansion of your restaurant. Whether you’re a burrito truck or a seafood chain, a scalable POS system is critical if you intend to grow or add restaurant sites. In order to address this, figure out what the main purpose of your restaurant POS system is (managing the back end or assisting with customer service), then look at the plans that best address those needs. Put together a list of the essential restaurant POS system features you need so that you can narrow down your search.
#7) Cost Per Terminal
Most POS plans will charge you per terminal, and they might even change their plan based on the numbers of terminals you wish to use. This might not seem too extreme if, for example, you’re moving from one tablet terminal to two. However, a legacy system will cost significantly more to add terminals.
#8) Extra Features Cost
Different restaurant POS systems can integrate with various software platforms, offering improved functionality and workflow. Restaurant POS integrations can become especially helpful when one of your essential features isn’t covered in the core features of the software, but it might be covered through integrated software on the side.
Each integration is an opportunity to make unique combinations that can switch up how you manage your restaurant’s operations while also getting you all the features you need. Keep in mind not every POS system can integrate with every available software platform, so it’s important to understand what software your POS integrates with and how this can help you manage your restaurant in the future.
#9) Installation Cost
A restaurant POS system requires specialized installation and effort to help incorporate it into your restaurant’s structure and workflow. Oftentimes these installation services will require a separate fee paid to your POS vendor. Take a close look to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into concerning these fees.
POS system providers will often charge an installation fee that will differ from the initial terminal purchase. Depending on whether it’s a legacy or a mobile POS system, for example, your installation might include a variety of different costs to accommodate specialized hardware and software platforms. Other factors, such as any kind of specialized labor involved with the installation, will also weigh on installation costs.
#10) Implementation Costs
Even when your point-of-sale system itself is fully installed, there are other potential variables you need to consider before considering your restaurant’s POS system completely integrated into your business’ workflow. Mobile POS systems might require a purchase of a router and a standalone server, while legacy point-of-sale systems might need a computer of their own. Additionally, any kind of training required to orient your employees to the point-of-sale system will take time and money out of your pocket.
#11) Support and Maintenance
It’s incredibly important to understand what kind of care your POS will require in the future. Maintenance and support costs vary depending on the type of system, end of life, and future upgrades. Take the time to make sure all the services you need to repair and maintain your POS system are offered by your provider before making any purchase decisions, keeping the following factors in mind:
#12) Update Costs
This cost is especially important to think about if you’re looking to install a legacy POS system for your restaurant. Some point-of-sale systems need to be manually updated, which can affect your current operations. On the other hand, many mobile POS systems can update relatively pain-free and are included in your regular monthly service fee, which will come in handy in the long run.
#13) Repair Costs
When thinking about repair costs, consider the services offered. Do they have a dedicated customer service line, or do they only respond via email? Will they send a specialist out to your location if your problem can’t be fixed over the phone/email?
#14) Monthly Cost
Most vendors charge a monthly fee for using their product. This fee will cover customer service you receive and correlates to the kinds of repairs you can expect if your system breaks down. While this fee will differ depending on the POS system you’re using, it is one of the more important long-term costs that should factor into your decision.
Learn More About Restaurant POS System Costs
Use this guide to identify elements that can improve the cost of a POS system, and don’t let the initial restaurant POS systems costs hold you back. In the grand scheme of things, your POS system’s cost is well worth the expense. The benefits your restaurant will receive far outweigh the costs of a POS system as it will allow you to streamline your operations, empower your staff, and provide better customer experiences.
Or, download our Beginner’s Guide to POS Systems to get more information about what to look for while choosing the best POS for your business. Download it for free today.