When it comes to point of sale (POS) systems, it pays to choose one that’s made for food-and-drink when you run a café. General tills may not have specialised features essential for coffee shops, but hospitality EPOS will.

That said, a small café does not always require all the larger-scale operations of a big restaurant, so the complexity of the software also matters.

For some, a simpler checkout can be more efficient, but a single café POS system to manage all daily operations with staff management and ingredient tracking can really save you time and money in the long run.

We combed through the UK options – and here’s our take on the best POS systems for cafés.

Cafe POS system Cost* Best for Website
Lightspeed £39+/mo All-round POS with ordering add-ons
Zettle Free Small cafés with a single till
Square £0-£69/mo Cafés reliant on easy multichannel selling
Goodtill by SumUp £29+/mo POS with socially distanced ordering
TouchBistro £49+/mo User-friendliness and detailed features
Nobly £39+/mo Busy coffee shops with poor internet

*Excluding VAT.

Cafe
POS
Best for Site
Lightspeed All-round POS with ordering add-ons
Zettle Small cafés with a single till
Square Cafés reliant on easy multichannel selling
Goodtill by SumUp POS with socially distanced ordering
TouchBistro User-friendliness and detailed features
Nobly Busy coffee shops with poor internet

Mobile Transaction rates POS systems in 6 general areas: product, plans and pricing, transparency and sign-up process, value-added features, reviews and customer support, and contract.

Each criteria gets a score ranging between 1 and 5, resulting in one overall star rating reflecting the EPOS’s value for a small business.

A POS system’s primary function is to register and manage transactions in person, so the relevance of point of sale features for the targeted sector, technical efficiency and user-friendliness of the checkout get the highest weighting within the product criteria.

Read more about our rating criteria here.

Lightspeed Restaurant – all-rounder with add-ons

Best for: Staff and table management features

Pricing: From £39 + VAT/mo (1 till)

Compatibility: iPad only

Pros: 24/7 customer support, offline mode, built-in payments, table service functions

Cons: Costly without Lightspeed Payments, add-on fees can rack up, no Android compatibility

Lightspeed Restaurant contains a well-rounded set of features for cafés wanting shop floor and management operations covered by one system. The software works well offline, though card payments may still require a network connection.

It is relatively user-friendly, but setting up products and the app layout can take longer than other POS systems because of the customisation options. But once you get the hang of it, the system will be easy and clearly built for fast-paced businesses.

Image: Mobile Transaction

Lightspeed Restaurant screen

Lightspeed Restaurant is not just for restaurants – its features suit cafés too.

There is no minimum contract, and you can choose to pay the subscription monthly, although annual plans are available for a lower price.

The Essentials plan includes one iPad till licence and enough features if you don’t do table service. You’ll need the Plus subscription for table service management, customer loyalty features and gift cards.

You can opt to use the built-in Lightspeed Payments system with specific card machines provided by Lightspeed, resulting in a lower subscription price. If you want to integrate with Zettle, SumUp or Paymentsense, you pay a higher monthly or annual cost for the POS subscription.

Lightspeed Restaurant costs
Essentials plan* £39 + VAT/month (annual plan)
£59 + VAT/month (monthly plan)
Plus plan* (incl. table service, loyalty, gift card features) £79 + VAT/month (annual plan)
£99 + VAT/month (monthly plan)
Additional registers From £29 + VAT/month
Add-ons/integrations From £15 + VAT/month
Lightspeed Payments Visa, Mastercard: 1.2% + 10p
American Express: 2.75%

*Pricing listed includes Lightspeed Payments. If you don’t use Lightspeed Payments, an extra £30/month is added on the annual plans or £20/month is added on the monthly plans.

Lightspeed
Restaurant
costs
Essentials plan* £39 + VAT/month (annual plan)
£59 + VAT/month (monthly plan)
Plus plan* (incl. table service, loyalty, gift card features) £79 + VAT/month (annual plan)
£99 + VAT/month (monthly plan)
Additional registers From £29 + VAT/month
Add-ons/integrations From £15 + VAT/month
Lightspeed Payments Visa, Mastercard: 1.2% + 10p
American Express: 2.75%

*Pricing listed includes Lightspeed Payments. If you don’t use Lightspeed Payments, an extra £30/month is added on the annual plans or £20/month is added on the monthly plans.

The till features go beyond the mere basics. For instance, different modifiers or instructions are easily added to any order. You can split bills in any way, create VAT groups, customise the product menu and create various discounts. It also allows you to accept takeaways and delivery orders, if you get the right integrations.

Lightspeed can connect with Uber Eats and Deliveroo through its Delivery add-on, or take QR code orders on your premises through Order Anywhere. eCom for Restaurant is another module that includes a whole website for your business. These add-ons cost extra, though.

Customer service is included 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You get free onboarding to help you set up and get your questions answered.

Payment integrations: Zettle, Paymentsense, SumUp

Can you try before committing? Only a limited demo of the app – otherwise, get an offer from Lightspeed.

Zettle – efficient, free and simple

Best for: Budget-conscious cafés

Pricing: Free

Compatibility: iPad & Android devices

Pros: Easy to use, quick registration, free, payments built in

Cons: Limited features, support can be slow

Zettle POS is a great till system for small eateries like food trucks, bars and cafés. It works on iPad, iPhone and Android devices and is easy to get the hang of from the start, after the initial quick registration online that does not require a phone call.

Photo: Mobile Transaction

cafe counter with Zettle POS

Zettle EPOS fits in neatly in a modern coffee shop.

The app is called Zettle Go POS, and it comes with a product library that you can add food items to along with variants and images. You can create user PINs for different staff and add tips at checkout. There are no formal end-of-day reports, but you can view sales reports any time from the till and web portal.

The POS system can send payment links for remote payments, and accept cash, PayPal QR code payments and cards. Online payments are processed by Zettle, but the payment methods aren’t linked to an online ordering system for click and collect.

For accounting, Zettle integrates with Xero and QuickBooks.

Zettle costs
Zettle Go POS app Free
Zettle Reader transactions 1.75%
Zettle costs
Zettle Go POS app Free
Zettle Reader transactions 1.75%

Customer support is included and can be reached by phone, email and web chat on working days between 9am-5pm only, not weekends or evenings.

In terms of card machines, only Zettle Reader works with the system. This is a cheap card reader for £29 + VAT. If you need a standalone, mobile terminal, Zettle Terminal comes with the Go POS app built in, which would suit table-service or pop-up cafés especially.

Payment integration: Zettle

Can you try before committing? You can sign up and download the app for free, or request a hardware offer from Zettle.

Square – choice of apps, many selling tools

Best for: Small café with an online presence

Pricing: From £0

Compatibility: iPad & Android devices

Pros: No commitment, many payment tools included, cheap card reader

Cons: Can only use Square card machines, not for offline use

Square is a good place to start for many small businesses, because of its free, versatile Point of Sale app and complimentary tools on top. The app works on iPad, iPhone and Android devices, but has no offline mode.

There is also Square for Restaurants with more features relevant for cafés. It has a ‘Free’ plan with slightly more features than Point of Sale, or ‘Plus’ with a wider selection of features for £69 + VAT (no commitment required). This includes unlimited till licences at one location, which is good value for multi-till cafes.

Photo: Mobile Transaction

Square cafe EPOS on iPad

Although built for restaurants, Square for Restaurants can suit many cafés.

Square for Restaurants, however, is only compatible with iPad and Square Register, not Android devices.

Restaurants features include advanced tipping and service charges, table plans with orders attached, food menus and items with variants, employee management, a kitchen display system and gift cards. If the WiFi or network connection goes, you can still accept cash payments and use certain features on iPad.

Square offers some add-on plans like Loyalty so you can create a points-based customer loyalty programme. Other advanced features in almost any area can be added through integrations like MarketMan for food inventory.

You can connect the cafe till system with Square Online for your very own click-and-collect ordering page, or print QR codes for table-side ordering (all included free). The POS system otherwise integrates with Deliverect for food ordering on Just Eat and other platforms (extra cost).

Costs
Square Point of Sale software Free
Square for Restaurants subscription Free: £0/mo
Plus: £69 + VAT/mo
Card reader transactions 1.75%
Costs
Square Point of Sale software Free
Square for Restaurants subscription Free: £0
Plus: £69 + VAT/mo
Card reader transactions 1.75%

The apps works with Square Reader for card payments for 1.75% per card transaction. While Square Terminal syncs with the system for table-side payments, it has not got access to all the Square for Restaurants features available on iPad.

Transactions through Square settle in your bank account the next working day, or within minutes for an extra 1% fee.

You get 24/7 customer support on the Restaurants Plus subscription, and only 9am-5pm weekday support on all free plans.

Payment integration: Square

Can you try before committing? Yes, use Square’s free apps indefinitely, or get a 30-day free trial of the Restaurants Plus plan.

Goodtill by SumUp – adapted for socially distanced orders

Best for: Good features for a low overall cost

Pricing: From £29 + VAT/mo per till

Compatibility: iPad only

Pros: Table-side & online ordering features, choice of add-ons, offline mode

Cons: 12-month contract, no Android compatibility, extra cost for advanced features

Goodtill –  currently rebranding to SumUp Point of Sale – is an iPad EPOS system that starts at a low price: £29 + VAT for the core POS module. Cafés may then add the Hospitality module for an additional £9 per month and other feature modules like advanced promotions, kitchen display and customer loyalty. You sign up for a minimum of 12 months, though, so it is a bit of a commitment.

The till software gets good reviews by users and has a nice, adaptable interface for the checkout screen. Whether you need more than the Core POS module depends on how complex your food and drink operations are. For instance, the Hospitality module includes ingredient management, customer profiles, table management and tabs – none of which are in the Core module. The till software works offline, so poor internet is no barrier.

Photo: Goodtill by SumUp

The Goodtill self-service checkout can replace face-to-face ordering in your cafe.

Goodtill is one of the cheapest options for coffee shops that need alternative setups for social distancing. At no monthly cost, you can create a web page for your website or social media profile for ordering food online. The only thing you pay are transaction fees. This system, called Goodeats, lets you print QR codes for customers to scan with their phones to order and pay at the table.

Alternatively, you can add a Self Checkout Terminal (additional cost), enabling customers to order at their table or the front of the coffee shop from an iPad menu.

Goodtill costs
Core POS module £29 + VAT/month per iPad licence
Optional modules: Hospitality, Kitchen Display Screen, Uber Eats Integration, Deliveroo Integration £9 + VAT/month each
Optional modules: Advanced Stock, Promotions, Loyalty £18 + VAT/month each
Optional module: Business Analytics, ResDiary Integration £29 + VAT/month
Goodeats transactions No monthly cost
1.7% +12p for table orders & drop-off
2.7% + 12p for collect & delivery orders
No charge for first £1k of transactions
Goodtill
costs
Core POS module £29 + VAT/month per iPad licence
Optional modules: Hospitality, Kitchen Display Screen, Uber Eats Integration, Deliveroo Integration £9 + VAT/month each
Optional modules: Advanced Stock, Promotions, Loyalty £18 + VAT/month each
Optional module: Business Analytics, ResDiary Integration £29 + VAT/month
Goodeats transactions No monthly cost
1.7% +12p for table orders & drop-off
2.7% + 12p for collect & delivery orders
No charge for first £1k of transactions

Goodtill syncs with the accounting programs FreeAgent, QuickBooks and Xero. The EPOS system connects with a choice of traditional card machines and contract-free card readers, meaning you can start out cheap and later upgrade to a long-term card machine contract.

Payment integrations: Barclaycard Business, Zettle, Paymentsense, Retail Merchant Services, Square, SumUp

Can you try before committing? Yes, you can get a 30-day free trial or book a demo through SumUp’s website.

TouchBistro – easy for a feature-rich till system

Best for: User-friendliness

Pricing: From £49 + VAT/mo per till

Compatibility: iPad only

Pros: Intuitive app, affordable, lots of features

Cons: Doesn’t work on Android, customer loyalty features cost extra, 12 months’ commitment

Primarily built for restaurants, TouchBistro is an EPOS that also works for cafés. The interface is easy to grasp upon first use, and it has lots of features to manage any food-and-drink business. It only works on iPad, not Android devices or computers.

You can pay for the software annually, biannually, quarterly or monthly, but you have to commit to 12 months as a minimum.

You can use TouchBistro either in landscape or portrait mode on the iPad.

The features are wide-ranging, with functions to help you sell more. It has essentials like table plans, customer tabs, advanced split bills, food menus with modifiers, tipping and staff accounts with custom permissions. You can save customer details in a library and accept gift cards, but customer loyalty features don’t go beyond this unless you subscribe to a loyalty plan (pricing not transparent).

With a Deliverect integration (additional cost), you can connect TouchBistro with online platforms like Uber Eats and Deliveroo. TouchBistro POS also has built-in options for pick-up and takeaway orders, but these are not connected to an online ordering system.

TouchBistro costs
iPad licence, 1st £49 + VAT/month
iPad licence, 2nd-3rd £45 + VAT/month each
iPad licence, 4th-9th £40 + VAT/month each
iPad licence, 10+ Custom quote
Loyalty features Custom quote
TouchBistro
costs
iPad licence, 1st £49 + VAT/mo
iPad licence, 2nd-3rd £45 + VAT/mo each
iPad licence, 4th-9th £40 + VAT/mo each
iPad licence, 10+ Custom quote
Loyalty features Custom quote

Friendly 24/7 customer support is included in the price, either through telephone, email or the app. The ease of use in the app is excellent, as it shows explanations next to settings so you understand what every little function does without having to look it up online.

TouchBistro is a hybrid EPOS system, meaning it can run on both your local server and the cloud. With just one iPad till, it will work if the internet is down, then upload sales and changes in the cloud when WiFi is back. A café with multiple tills will need a server to keep iPads synced. With the internet working, the software will run smoothly regardless of how many tills you have.

Payment integrations: Revolut Reader, Barclaycard Business, Paymentsense, Square

Can you try before committing? Yes, TouchBistro offers a 7-day free trial without registration, and a further 21 trial days if you create an account.

Nobly – smooth cafe POS system for busy tills

Best for: Busy cafés on a budget

Pricing: From £39 + VAT/mo per till

Compatibility: iPad only

Pros: Offline mode, ease of use, 24/7 UK support

Cons: Not the most feature-rich table orders, support can be slow

Nobly
(3.6/5)

Nobly is another user-friendly coffee shop POS system. The software is built for iPad and is speedy and intuitive to navigate. Although cloud-based, it also works offline, making it a reliable system for busy cafés where the internet may be temperamental.

You can pay monthly or annually per iPad licence, the latter being cheapest. There is no contract or minimum subscription required, but exact pricing is unfortunately not communicated until you speak with Nobly on the phone.

Nobly POS table menu iPad

Tableside orders are managed via a simple table plan in the app. Photo: Nobly

The Nobly app doesn’t have as many features as, say, TouchBistro, but that fits the bill perfectly for most cafés. You get inventory and ingredient tracking, detailed analytics and customer loyalty features (which often costs extra in other software). Table-side orders are a bit limited compared to pricier EPOS, but the simple layout is an advantage for busy tills that need to process orders quickly.

Those offering takeaway and delivery services can be listed on the Nobly Delivery app for no monthly fees, just a transaction fee.

Nobly costs
Subscription From £39 + VAT/month
Nobly costs
Subscription From £39 + VAT/month

The London-based customer support is available round the clock so you can phone or email any time for help. Some users have reported slow responses in some cases and lack of help during setup, but overall, the service is friendly and helpful. Given the simple interface, it takes very little time to train new staff on the till.

Payment integrations: Zettle, SumUp, Paymentsense, Barclaycard Business

Can you try before committing? You can book a free demo if you fill in contact details on Nobly’s website.

Summary

Cafe till system Best for Site
Lightspeed Balanced POS features and ordering add-ons
Zettle Small cafes with a single till and uncomplicated needs
Square Cafes reliant on easy multichannel selling
Goodtill by SumUp Great value with socially distant order options included
TouchBistro User-friendliness, customer service and advanced features
Nobly Busy cafes with unreliable internet
Cafe till
system
Best for Site
Lightspeed Balanced POS features and ordering add-ons
Zettle Small cafes with a single till and uncomplicated needs
Square Cafes reliant on easy multichannel selling
Goodtill by SumUp Great value with socially distant order options included
TouchBistro User-friendliness, customer service and advanced features
Nobly Cash-strapped, busy cafes with unreliable internet