5 Restaurant POS System Costs to Consider (Before You Buy)

5 Restaurant POS System Costs to Consider

Posted: Jan. 25, 2019

A point-of-sale system is potentially one of the most valuable buys you could make for your restaurant, so it’s important to carefully think over all of your options. While you might be familiar with what kind of features you want, you should also take the time to investigate the price and how this price aligns with your budget.

These days, restaurants are fairly familiar with the ins and outs of point-of-sale systems. But if you’re looking for an upgrade in order to improve your workflow, employee communication, and customer service, a new restaurant point-of-sale system might be the right choice for you.

When you’re in the market for a new restaurant POS system, think about a variety of potential costs before making the proper financial choice. For example, be sure to examine:

  1. Legacy vs. iPad restaurant POS system costs
  2. Payment processing costs for your restaurant POS system


  3. Restaurant POS system product costs


  4. Restaurant POS system installation and implementation costs


  5. Support and maintenance costs for a restaurant POS system


All of these topics and more will prove to be vital factors in your restaurant POS system choice. These issues can in turn affect how effectively you can manage budget and workflow, in addition to a number of other objectives that affect your restaurant.

So with the significance of these five kinds of costs in mind, let’s begin learning about the potential prices you need to investigate before making the right choice for your restaurant’s POS system.

When you buy a restaurant POS system, you need to consider either a legacy or a POS system.

1. Legacy vs. iPad restaurant POS system costs

A major factor that determines the cost of your new restaurant POS system is whether you’re looking for a legacy POS system or an iPad POS system.

While they function in similar ways, legacy and mobile POS systems carry a variety of different costs that make the choice between them incredibly important.

In order to find a POS system for your restaurant with the right affordability for you, carefully consider these costs:

  • Legacy costs. A legacy restaurant POS system involves large, hardware terminals that are updated manually. They are usually bulkier and slower than mobile, iPad-based POS systems. Also, they are almost always significantly more expensive than mobile point-of-sale systems, due to the fact that you’re installing a whole computer into your restaurant that has to be operated through a local network.

  • iPad costs. An iPad restaurant point-of-sale system 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 of POS system uses cloud-based software that you can easily update and adjust for your needs. iPad systems are also cheap options available to restaurants who are looking for a more affordable alternative to a legacy point-of-sale system.

While they are similar pieces of technology, legacy and mobile point-of-sale systems result in vastly different workflows. Your choice of either will affect your restaurant’s future business, so it’s vital to choose carefully.

Remember to consider your payment processing costs when you're in the market for a restaurant POS system.

2. Payment processing costs for your restaurant POS system

When you’re trying to understand all of the comprehensive costs that your POS system entails, payment processing will seem like a hidden cost that can tighten your budget.

It’s safe to say payment processing can be an unexpected factor in a restaurant POS system price that you’ll want to address in the initial research stages.

While it doesn’t comprise the initial price number, payment processing does affect your budget down the line. So paying a little more for a system up front could cut down on payment processing fees later on.

When it comes to an element like payment processing, you should always be aware of key factors that can decide a payment processing fee. You should, for instance, always pay attention to:

  • 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.

  • 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 setup. 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.

  • 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? 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.

Although payment processing fees exist outside of your restaurant’s POS system, they are so intertwined with how your point-of-sale system operates that it would be foolish to ignore them when you’re in the market for a new POS. So remember to investigate the payment processing procedure and fee structure in each POS system to determine what fees will accompany your sales volume in the future.

When you're looking at restaurant POS systems, always look at the cost of the product bundle itself.

3. Restaurant POS system product costs

Perhaps the biggest decision you make in your POS purchase will be the number of terminals you want and what kind of hardware bundle and product plan you’re looking for.

While terminal and plan costs are the primary decisive element in the cost of a restaurant POS system, you should make sure you fully understand what essentials makeup this number before you make a proper judgment.

You should always look into specific elements that make up your POS product provisions. For example, examine the following elements:

  • Product plan cost. Different point-of-sale providers offer different hardware bundles and product plans that you can select based on the size and expansion of your restaurant. It’s important to address your restaurant’s needs, whether you’re a burrito truck or a seafood chain. For example, will your restaurant grow in the future? If so, you may want to look at a scalable POS system to implement into your restaurant. So figure out what you’d want the main purpose of your restaurant POS system to be (is it managing mostly the back-end or it will also assist in customer service?) and choose a plan to address those needs. Try to put together a list of the essential features you need so that you can narrow down your search to software that offers those services. Otherwise, you’ll end up overpaying.

  • 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. While this might not seem too extreme if, for example, you’re moving from one iPad terminal to two, it’ll make a big difference when you’re purchasing something like a legacy system. Given that some providers base their monthly fees off of the number of terminals you have, it can also have the potential to affect longer-term, monthly prices as well.

  • Extra features cost. Different restaurant POS systems can integrate with various software platforms, offering improved functionality and workflow. 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 an 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. However, not every point-of-sale 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.

What hardware bundle you choose, as well as the number of terminals and kiosks you choose, will play a huge role in your system’s overall cost, so the decision should not be taken lightly. Take the time to truly think about your restaurant’s needs, if another terminal or two is needed. You don’t want to grow as a restaurant only to need to consistently expand your POS system, but you also need a point-of-sale system that has the ability to expand along with your restaurant at an affordable price.

It's important to know the installation costs of your restaurant's POS system.

4. Restaurant POS system installation and implementation costs

A restaurant POS system requires specialized installation and effort to help incorporate it into your restaurant’s structure and workflow. Oftentimes these installation and implementation services will require an extra fee paid to your POS provider.

Although providers require installation and implementation fees less frequently, they can still significantly affect the overall cost of the restaurant POS system.

If you’re looking to do more research about a POS system’s auxiliary costs, take a close look to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into considering these fees:

  • Installation cost. POS system providers will often charge an installation fee that will differ from the initial terminal purchase. Depending on the nature of your point-of-sale system--whether or not 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.

  • 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.

Don’t let the initial costs of incorporating your restaurant’s POS system hold you back. These costs are relatively minimal in the grand scheme of your POS system’s installation and are well worth the trouble. However, understanding them ahead of time is an invaluable act. You’ll be able to better incorporate the point-of-sale system into your workflow, as well as make adequate adjustments in your budget.

Make sure to investigate the support and maintenance cost of your restaurant POS system before you buy it.

5. Support and maintenance costs for a restaurant POS system

It’s incredibly important to understand what kind of care your restaurant POS system will require in the future, especially because the costs of maintenance will vary depending on whether you buy a legacy or a mobile point-of-sale system.

When you’re examining support and maintenance issues for your restaurant’s POS system, you need to keep factors in mind such as:

  • 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 painlessly free of charge, which will come in handy in the long run.

  • Repair costs. When thinking about repair costs, you should also think about what kind of repair services your restaurant POS system’s provider offers. Do they have a dedicated customer service line or they only respond via email? Will they send a specialist out to your location if your problem can’t be fixed over the phone? These are questions you need to ask if you’re looking to get the right customer service at the right time.

  • Monthly cost. Most restaurant POS systems charge a monthly fee for using their product. This fee will cover the customer service you receive from your provider and correlates to the kinds of repairs you can expect if your system breaks down. While this fee will differ depending on the hardware bundle you purchase and on what type of POS system you’re using, it is one of the more important long-term costs that you should factor into your POS choice, as it will stay with your budget throughout your ownership of the system.

Support and maintenance are lasting factors that will affect your restaurant’s POS system for years to come. Take the time and care to make sure that all the services you need to repair and maintain your POS system are offered by your provider before making any purchase decisions.

Check out this guide to restaurant POS systems!

A new point-of-sale system can do wonders for your restaurant’s efficiency and workflow. But there are a number of cost factors you need to investigate before you make a purchase, especially if your restaurant is running on a tight budget.

Use this guide to important costs as a way to refine your search and your purchasing process. You’ll find that a smarter purchase will turn into a more effective one in the future.

If you want to learn more about the benefits or costs involved with acquiring a point-of-sale system, take a look at some more resources that can help you in your search:

Posted: Jan. 25, 2019 | Written By: lavuadmin


Schedule a demo with LAVU


It’s a fact: The quality of your restaurant’s POS system can mean the difference between profit and loss. Having the right POS solutions positively affects the functionality of every aspect of your business. From maintaining optimum customer care standards, to your ability to manage your inventory, effective POS can help your restaurant succeed beyond your wildest expectations.


Leverage Your Restaurant Data to Accommodate New Minimum Wages

Apr. 22, 2019 | 0


Discussing a fair and reasonable minimum wage for tipped employees must also include helpful ways restaurants can adapt to rising costs. In the restaurant world, labor efficiency can make or break your business. New minimum wage laws for tipped employees are taking effect, and restaurant owners…

read more


Increase Your Restaurant Traffic with These 6 Social Media Tips

Jan. 23, 2017 | 6


As a restaurant owner, you likely know how much of an impact social media can have on your…

read more

All Articles

Leverage Your Restaurant Data to Accommodate New Minimum Wages

Apr. 22, 2019 | 0


Discussing a fair and reasonable minimum wage for tipped employees must also include helpful ways…

read more

Using Restaurant Order Systems: The Definitive Guide

Apr. 19, 2019 | 1


With new technology spreading to the restaurant industry, there’s a heightened level of…

read more

RevPASH, the Essential Formula for Restaurant Management

Apr. 17, 2019 | 0


In restaurant management, the leading objective is to maintain the profitability of the business…

read more

3 Takeaways from a Fast Casual Chain's Success (and Catastrophes)

Apr. 15, 2019 | 0


The creator of fast casual dining set new industry standards over its 26 years in business. See the…

read more

A Restaurant Guide to Hosting the Most Popular Summer Events

Apr. 12, 2019 | 0

Success Tips

As people get ready to let loose and enjoy the warm air, remember that summer can be a lucrative…

read more

Is your FOH Restaurant Staff Doing This?

Apr. 10, 2019 | 0


Make sure your restaurant FOH staff isn’t turning off customers with these four irritating…

read more

Top 6 Restaurant Labor KPIs that Reveal Everything

Apr. 08, 2019 | 0


Running a restaurant is tough, and as the owner or manager of a restaurant, you want to use every…

read more

5 Mistakes Restaurant Managers Can Easily Fix

Mar. 29, 2019 | 0


Achieving perfection as a restaurant manager is impossible; every day presents new challenges. But…

read more

Restaurant Inventory Management Software: The Essential Guide

Mar. 27, 2019 | 1


Running your restaurant comes with its own set of challenges. You have to schedule staff shifts…

read more