When you’re running a bar or pub, everything has to work. That means no interruptions to your point of sale (POS) system, smooth service and fast payments.

Thankfully, there are quite a few POS software systems today specifically made for hospitality businesses – pubs and bars included. Many of them have, however, a limited reputation and lack of pricing transparency so it’s a little hard to identify the good from the bad ones.

We’ve taken the work out of that by researching the options. Here are six of the best POS systems for bars and pubs in the UK.

Bar & pub POS systemCost per tillBest for
1. TouchBistro£49+/moAdvanced features that are easy to figure out
2. ZonalCustom quoteCustom solutions for high-revenue bars
3. iKentoo£49+/moImpressive offline functionality
4. iZettle Pro£39+/moiZettle Reader integration
5. Lightspeed Restaurant£79+/moBreadth of POS features
6. Epos Now£25+/moScalable EPOS for larger bars
Bar &
pub POS
Best for
1. TouchBistroEasy-to-use advanced features
2. ZonalCustom solutions for high-revenue bars
3. iKentooImpressive offline functionality
4. iZettle ProiZettle Reader integration
5. Lightspeed RestaurantBreadth of POS features
6. Epos NowScalable EPOS for larger bars

TouchBistro – best all-round value

Best for: User experience

Pricing: £49+/mo per till

Compatibility: iPad

Pros: Good range of features, not too expensive, offline functionality

Cons: No Android compatibility, customer loyalty extra cost, 1 year’s commitment

Originally from Canada, TouchBistro is gaining traction in the UK with a decent customer service and very user-friendly software. Within the POS app, the advanced settings are explained with descriptions or illustrations, making this a great choice for bars wanting a shorter learning curve. The software works on iPad and not Android tablets or PC computers.

TouchBistro tablet screen behind a bar counter

TouchBistro works on iPad, which we recommend you get a tablet holder for. Photo: TouchBistro

You pay a licence for each iPad till, with the option to pay monthly, twice a year or annually (the more you pay upfront, the cheaper). There’s a minimum of 12 months’ commitment. Unlike POS systems with tiered-feature plans, you get the same extensive features with all the licences, but advanced customer loyalty options cost extra.

Although features apply to any hospitality business, pubs and bars can especially benefit from the tipping options, split bills, drink menus with modifiers, stock management and employee accounts with separate permissions.

The software is cloud-based, but stores data on the iPad too so the POS app can work smoothly if the internet stops working. When the WiFi is back on, the new transactions are uploaded in the cloud to keep everything synced. If you’re using multiple iPad tills, TouchBistro can provide a serve to set up locally to ensure all iPads are synced while offline.

TouchBistro pricing
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 featuresFrom £29 + VAT/month
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 featuresFrom £29 + VAT/mo

TouchBistro offers free customer support 24/7 through the app, phone or by email. The service is generally highly rated by users.

Payment integration: iZettle, PayPal Here, Square

Can you try before you buy? Yes, there’s a 7-day free trial without registration and further 21 days’ free trial if you create an account.

Zonal – custom solutions for high-revenue pubs

Best for: Customer service and tailored EPOS

Pricing: From £5k per site incl. hardware, software, training, installation etc.

Compatibility: PC, iPad

Pros: Personalised approach, good customer service, choice of software modules

Cons: Expensive, no support between 12am-8am, not for tablets-only

Zonal logo

You don’t see Zonal advertised everywhere, but most pub goers will have set their eyes on their colourful till display while they wait to pay for a drink. Zonal is a family-owned company that has existed for 40 years, and its branded Aztec EPOS was first launched in 2003. Both small and large UK hospitality businesses are using Aztec, including Wetherspoons, Be At One and Pizza Express.

The Aztec software looks a bit retro, but it works smoothly. Photo: Zonal

Rather than relying on aggressive marketing, Zonal prefers a personalised approach to customers. There is no pricing on their website – instead, you phone or message them about your requirements, and they can then advise and give a quote.

Quite frankly, the system is the most expensive on this list. For example, a one-till site would cost around £5,000 with hardware, software, installation, training and everything else included. It is therefore not for low budgets, but rather for businesses with enough capital and knowledge to know what they need in the long term.

Zonal offers modular hospitality management software, custom EPOS and till equipment. This includes e.g. table management, order and pay apps for tablets, stock management, in-depth reporting, EPOS interface editing, payroll, kitchen management, customer loyalty functions and online ordering.

The POS system is run on custom-built POS touchscreens that can withstand spills, grease and regular wiping. These are also purchased through Zonal. It’s possible to use the EPOS on iPad, but you still have to have one ‘master till’ computer for this to work.

 Zonal costs
Price per tillFrom £5,000 including all hardware, software and service
 Zonal costs
Price per tillFrom £5,000 including all hardware, software and service

Given the higher price tag, you can expect a premium customer service from Zonal. The company makes an effort to work with the merchant to find ways to increase revenue and decrease costs through the software modules offered. Phone support is available 7 days a week every day of the year between 8am and 12am.

Payment integration: Verifone, any merchant service provider you want

Can you try before you buy? There’s no trial, but Zonal can provide a live demo at your premises.

iKentoo – great for offline functionality

Best for: Busy bars on a budget

Pricing: £49+/mo

Compatibility: iPad

Pros: Runs smoothly offline, 24/7 support, discounted card rate with SumUp

Cons: Activation fee, limited customer reviews in UK, no Android support

iKentoo is a feature-rich hospitality EPOS system for iPad with a customer base in France, Germany, the UK among other countries. Although not as big in the UK as other POS systems, it is a great choice for pubs and bars given its excellent offline functionality, integration with SumUp and food-and-drink features at an affordable price.

iKentoo bar POS

iKentoo EPOS is great for bars with patchy WiFi, since it doesn’t just rely on the internet. Photo: iKentoo

With iKentoo, you get all the same features in their tiered subscriptions. What you’re really paying for is the number of tills you’re using. On the Start plan, you can use the EPOS on one iPad till, on Premium it is up to three iPads, and Enterprise allows you to use the software on up to seven iPads (with additional iPad licences costing £7 each). On all plans, you pay a £159 activation fee.

Features include back office management, drink tracking, anti-theft user rights settings and synchronised price lists, and many other things that bars would need. It is very user-friendly, but where it really stands out is the offline functionality which they have really focused on in their development. iKentoo is a hybrid EPOS system, meaning it works over the internet to keep data centralised and synced, but it also stores data on your connected devices so if the internet goes, you won’t notice the difference in your POS system.

Customer service is available by phone 24/7 for registered customers. It is limited how many user reviews you can find from the UK, but iKentoo does by most indications provide a decent service in this country.

iKentoo costs
Start plan, 1 till£49/mo billed annually, £69/mo billed monthly
Premium plan, up to 3 tills£79/mo billed annually, £109/mo billed monthly
Enterprise plan, up to 7 tills£129/mo billed annually, £179/mo billed monthly, £7/mo per additional till
Activation fee£159
iKentoo costs
Start plan, 1 till£49/mo billed annually, £69/mo billed monthly
Premium plan, up to 3 tills£79/mo billed annually, £109/mo billed monthly
Enterprise plan, up to 7 tills£129/mo billed annually, £179/mo billed monthly, £7/mo per additional till
Activation fee£159

Apart from Paymentsense and iZettle, the POS system integrates with SumUp whom iKentoo has a partnership with. If you opt for SumUp Air, you get a discount on the card reader as well as a lower card rate through iKentoo.

Payment integration: SumUp (discounted rates), iZettle, Paymentsense

Can you try before you buy? Yes, if you contact iKentoo via their online contact form, they will get in touch to discuss your questions and give a 30-day free trial.

iZettle Pro – efficient for uncomplicated pubs

Best for: Small bars keen on an efficient system for 1-2 iPads

Pricing: £39+/mo per till

Compatibility: iPad

Pros: Ease of use, offline mode, discounted rate with iZettle Reader

Cons: Customer support not the fastest, no Android support, could have more features

Most people know iZettle for the card readers, but the company’s iZettle Pro EPOS is great for small hospitality outlets including bars and pubs. iZettle Pro is an iPad-only app with back office analytics, staff management and inventory features. It comes with an additional app that can track sales from a phone. There’s no long-term commitment, i.e. you can cancel the subscription any time.

iZettle Pro hospitality POS

iZettle Reader and iPad using iZettle Pro at The Grapes pub, London. Photo: Mobile Transaction

Many app features work offline, but without syncing to other connected iPads, so if you’re using several tills, just beware they won’t update sales information from the other tills until the WiFi is back on again. Because the system is not totally reliant on the cloud, iZettle Pro is great for those with a patchy internet connection.

Features include ingredient and vendor management, product variants, training mode, recorded staff hours and shortcut buttons you can add to the main till screen for the functions you use all the time. It gives you the option to integrate with Planday for more employee management tools and Xero for accounting.

It already integrates with iZettle Reader if you use that, charging you a lower card rate (1.25% per transaction) than iZettle Reader users who do not use Pro. With the iZettle card reader. iZettle Pro can also integrate with other card machines, details of which you can get by asking the support team.

iZettle Pro costs
Licence per iPad£39 + VAT/month
iZettle Pro
Licence per iPad£39 + VAT/mo

Customer support is included in the subscription, although it can take a while to get a response for non-urgent queries. You can reach customer service by email, phone or chat through the app every day, between 8am-8pm on weekdays and 9am-5pm on weekends.

Payment integration: iZettle, third party card terminals (upon approval by iZettle)

Can you try before you buy? Yes, there’s a free 7-day trial. You don’t have to phone them – just sign up online and use it straight away.

Lightspeed Restaurant – wide range of features

Best for: Clean interface with lots of functions

Pricing: £79+/mo per till

Compatibility: iPad

Pros: Range of features, employee permissions, great customer support

Cons: Add-ons can rack up costs, offline mode requires Lite Server, lots of settings to go through

Lightspeed Restaurant is an extensive POS system for any hospitality business, pubs included. It’s pricier than the similar iKentoo software, but it has more features than that and most other iPad POS systems. This also means that there are more settings to choose when you get started, such as the myriads of employee permissions to consider. It’s relatively intuitive to use, but may need some guidance with some functions if you’re unfamiliar with advanced bar operations.

Lightspeed POS counter view

Lightspeed Restaurant can handle most operations not just in restaurants, but in bars too.

Bar features include inventory management, split bills, ingredient tracking and a customisable product menu with detailed options and modifiers. You get a lot of analytics and can set timed promotions such as happy hour deals. The table order functions are comprehensive, including the option to manage reservations. The app interface is easy on the eye, the dark theme blending in perfectly in a low-light bar.

The POS app is only compatible with iPad and only works offline if you purchase Lightspeed’s own Lite Server. For this reason, we only recommend the system if you are willing to pay for that or if you have a reliable WiFi connection that keeps you constantly connected to the cloud.

Customer support is great. You can reach them 24/7 by phone or email and you get a free one-on-one onboarding session at the start to allow you to ask any questions about using the system. There’s no minimum contract, but choosing to pay monthly is the most expensive option, while annual plans cost less. In fact , they don’t advertise the pay-monthly fees, which will likely be more than the quoted costs below. Lightspeed will offer various add-ons such as customer loyalty features, which can easily rack up the price.

Lightspeed Restaurant pricing
Licence per iPad, annual billingFrom £79 + VAT/month
Lite Server for offline modeAround £500
Various additional add-onsCustom pricing
Licence per iPad, annual billingFrom £79 + VAT/mo
Lite Server for offline modeAround £500
Various additional add-onsCustom pricing

Lightspeed Restaurant can integrate with iZettle Reader and certain Verifone card machines. They sell hardware bundles, which they would be eager to discuss with you over the phone.

Payment integration: iZettle, Verifone

Can you try before you buy? Yes, you can sign up for a 14-day trial without obligation.

Epos Now – better for large-scale bars

Best for: Custom setups

Pricing: £25+/mo per till

Compatibility: iPad, Android tablets, PC, Mac

Pros: Choice of purchase or lease options, can use PC touchscreens, multi-store management

Cons: 24/7 customer support costs extra, cheapest plan has limited features, some usability issues

Epos Now is a POS system that’s built for any size retail or hospitality business. Even a small bar or pub might prefer to use Epos Now because it is not just compatible with iPad – it works on Android tablets and purpose-built Windows touchscreens that can take regular cleaning, greasy fingers and rough handling all day. You can even pay for the software upfront instead of subscribing to a monthly plan.

Epos Now iPad bundle

Epos Now equipment bundle with iPad. Photo: Epos Now

You can subscribe to three POS plans, the most expensive (Enterprise) being a custom package for larger businesses. The cheapest plan, Standard, includes features like unlimited products and user accounts, but not customer support beyond the onboarding service and emailing. You’ll have to pay for the Premium plan to get 24/7 customer support with the option to phone.

Of the bar functions, the hospitality software can run happy hour promotions and update the stock level of drinks ingredients. If you get the custom POS monitors sold by Epos Now, you can swipe staff ID cards in the swipe reader on the side to speed up logins. Although the till menu looks modern and orderly, some of the buttons can be a bit too small for larger fingers, which could lead to errors.

The software is regularly updated in the cloud, but you have the option to work entirely offline through onsite servers. If you’re a bar with the prospect to grow rapidly, you can upgrade the service to get onsite support to fit around your needs across all your locations.

Epos Now costs
Standard till licence£25 + VAT/mo for first till, £15 + VAT/mo per extra till
Premium till licence£50 + VAT/mo for first till, £30 + VAT/mo per extra till
Epos Now costs
Standard till licence£25 + VAT/mo for first till, £15 + VAT/mo per extra till
Premium till licence£50 + VAT/mo for first till, £30 + VAT/mo per extra till

Epos Now integrates with many partner platforms including Worldpay, Sage Pay and PayPal.

Payment integration: PayPal Here, Barclaycard, Paymentsense, Worldpay, Verifone

Can you try before you buy? Yes, there’s a 30-day free trial or you can book a free demo.