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Best Square Point of Sale Competitors and Alternatives (2022)

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How does Square’s POS system stack up to the restaurant industry competition? Let’s explore Square’s competitors and alternatives.

Why Consumers Switch From Square or Choose Square Competitors

Is it time for you to switch to a Square competitor? Square is a point of sale (POS) system frequently used in restaurants and retail shops. Although some business owners are happy with using Square, others may be wondering, “is Square right for my business?”

If you’re on the fence about using Square, it might be because you’ve been using this POS system and you’re dissatisfied with your experience, or you’re just curious to know what else might be out there.

There are reasons why you may want to find an alternative to Square. Payment processing fees (2.6% plus 10 cents per in-person transaction and 2.9% plus 30 cents per online transaction) are a big Square concern for business owners. Also, Square lacks key front-of-house features (like a reservation management system) and limited inventory management capabilities (many restaurants must integrate third-party systems for advanced inventory tracking.)

These drawbacks cause many restaurant owners to research Square competitors and, hopefully, find a POS better suited for their business.

To help restaurant owners compare the best POS systems, we analyzed popular options to give you an overview of POS alternatives to Square. By the end of this article, you will have a good understanding of which Square competitor might be a better fit for your bar or restaurant business.

The Restaurant POS Comparison Tool
A free, customizable Restaurant POS Comparison Tool to research and compare point of sale systems in one Excel spreadsheet or editable PDF.

Best Square Alternatives According to Third Party Reviews

When searching for the best square alternatives, it’s important to use impartial, unbiased data. Reading through customer reviews can be a great help, but it’s difficult to accurately evaluate a product based on a few good or bad experiences. 

To aggregate multiple third-party reviews, we’ll turn our search to G2, an industry-leading review site. 

G2 collects real-time data from user reviews, online sources, and social networks to assess various products and vendors. As G2 collects data, its algorithm quickly works to calculate the customer satisfaction and market presence scores. The platform updates in real-time to consistently provide business owners with the most current and accurate information.

What’s great is that G2 presents this data accessibly on its G2 Scoring Grid. The G2 Scoring Grid shows how restaurant POS systems rank in relation to each other. To discover information on each product, users can click on any POS icon on the grid and read hundreds to thousands of real unbiased customer reviews. 

How does the G2 scoring system work?

The G2 Restaurant POS Scoring Grid has two axes. The X-axis measures customer satisfaction and the Y-axis measures market performance.

These two axes create four quadrants in the grid, listed below.

  • Top Right: Leaders, Strong satisfaction, strong market presence
  • Top Left: Contenders, Weak satisfaction, strong market presence
  • Bottom Right: High Performers, Strong satisfaction, weak market presence
  • Bottom Left: Niche, Weak satisfaction, weak market presence

All data points on the G2 Scoring Grid are based on the following information:

  • Review recency
  • Amount of feedback provided in the review
  • Attribution (did the reviewer keep their name and company public?)
  • Whether the reviewer is a current user of the solution
  • Community engagement with the review

Users can alter their grid view based on the following filters: market segments, star rating, pricing options, trending products, and company size. Each filter allows users to compare products used in markets similar to their own.

The Restaurant POS Comparison Tool
A free, customizable Restaurant POS Comparison Tool to research and compare point of sale systems in one Excel spreadsheet or editable PDF.

Which Square competitor wins?

In G2’s Restaurant POS System category, Toast ranks #1 out of 19 total competitors.

As you can see on the grid above, Toast is the strongest performer in its category. The Toast G2 Reviews page shows that Toast has 198 reviews with an average 4.5/5 star rating.

When customers leave a review, they are asked to detail what they like and dislike about the product. Here is an example Toast review on G2:


About the #1 Rated Square Competitor: Toast POS

According to G2’s research, Toast POS is the best Square alternative. Toast is an all-in-one POS platform and software system built specifically for restaurants. 

Because Toast is designed exclusively for restaurant use, it can solve issues unique to businesses in the food and beverage industry. Toast offers online ordering, loyalty programs, website management, email marketing, employee management, and other features that pair with its top-of-the-line hardware options. And, it’s all cloud-based, providing restaurateurs with analytics to help them grow.  

Here’s a list of Toast’s Key Features

  • Restaurant-grade hardware that is IP54 spill-proof rated and super durable

  • Faster speed of service with quick order and payment processing

  • Hardware designed to blend in with restaurant decor

  • Cloud-based access that allows restaurant owners and managers to access data anywhere, anytime, and on any device

  • Software that is easy to set up and simple to learn

  • Open integrations with leading industry partners

  • Transparent pricing options and competitive rates on all transactions

  • No hidden fees or additional markups

  • A single point of contact for payment and point of sale

Additional Toast Features

Tableside Service 

Toast offers handheld technology designed for busy restaurant environments. Their portable devices allow servers to spend more time with guests, accelerate service, and speed through payment processing.

  • Order Ready Notifications – Servers immediately receive notifications when their table’s order is ready

  • Tableside Payments - Take tap, dip, or swipe EMV and card payments tableside

  • Guest Feedback - Collect and respond to guest feedback immediately

Analytics & Reporting

Toast allows restaurant owners and managers to take control of performance with detailed analytics. The cloud-based system provides access to essential reports and sales data from anywhere, on any device.

Menu Management 

Make menu updates from any terminal or a connected smartphone. Servers can view item countdowns in real-time to avoid awkward conversations with customers.

  • Cloud-based menu – Access and modify your menu from any device

  • Manu countdown – Manage item availability

  • A single menu – Menu updates automatically reflect in-house and online

Comparing Square and Toast

Square is excellent at helping small businesses accept payments, but restaurants often switch to a POS competitor when it comes time to grow. Let’s take a close look at how Square and Toast compare.

Toast outranks Square in its ability to navigate COVID-19-related challenges. While Square offers various features such as online ordering, contactless payments, COVID-19 resources, and flat-rate delivery service, Toast offers all of the above plus mobile order & pay.

When it comes to being an all-in-one partner, Toast has the most solutions. With Toast, users benefit from a vibrant partner ecosystem, national in-person sales team, 24/7/365 customer care, award-winning support, educational resources, a customer referral program, and an online customer community. Yet, Square only offers a vibrant partner ecosystem.

Toast has considerably more features than Square, including cloud reporting, restaurant-specific features, software designed specifically for restaurants, kitchen display systems, and table service. With Square, users need to use a second app for table service, and there are no restaurant-specific features because it was not designed exclusively for restaurants.

Square offers online ordering and multi-unit management for its users. However, it does not have delivery management, a takeout, and delivery app, or self-order kiosks. Toast has all of these features and more.

When it comes to payroll and team management, Toast makes it a breeze. This POS offers time cards, multi-location employee management, payroll, fraud reports, and employee scheduling. Square only features time cards and payroll.

Finally, Square can easily cost over $250,000 to set up and operate. On the other hand, Toast has flexible payment options with custom pricing, simple monthly payments, customer financing, and direct manufactured hardware.

The Restaurant POS Comparison Tool
A free, customizable Restaurant POS Comparison Tool to research and compare point of sale systems in one Excel spreadsheet or editable PDF.

5 Alternatives to Square for Restaurant Point of Sale

Clover

Clover is an excellent option for quick-service restaurants. The hardware options support counter service or tableside ordering and quick payment processing. Clover doesn’t offer back-of-house display screens, but restaurants can use a third-party app to sync front and back-of-house information.

Clover Pros

  • 24/7 customer support

  • Financing options

  • Online ordering

  • Offline payments

  • Tableside ordering and payment processing

Clover Cons

  • Requires Clover hardware

  • Customer service is inaccessible from third-party apps

  • Reprogramming Clover equipment is not an option


Upserve

Upserve designed its software specifically for restaurant use. There are customization options for different restaurant types, including bars, breweries, coffee shops, delis, and quick-service restaurants. 

Upserve Pros

  • Compatible with Android and iOS devices

  • 24/7 customer support

  • Built specifically for restaurants

Upserve Cons

  • Online ordering and inventory management must be purchased as add-ons

  • Users must sign a contract

  • Installation and configuration fees start at $1,700

Lightspeed

Lightspeed is a good option for restaurant owners who already have the hardware. Its software is compatible with iPads, iPhones, and other devices with iOS operating systems. Users can choose to use a third-party payment processor if they wish.

Lightspeed Pros

  • Free online training with a specialist

  • 24/7 customer support

  • Compatible with iOS devices

Lightspeed Cons

  • Not compatible with Android devices

  • Annual contacts must be signed to receive lower prices

  • Many features are only available as add-ons.

TouchBistro

TouchBistro is a local-cloud hybrid, which means it is installed in the restaurant and sends data to the cloud. This POS system is a good option for on-the-go or mobile restaurants, including food trucks, catering companies, and delis.

TouchBistro Pros

  • 24/7 customer support

  • Software is designed specifically for restaurants

  • Allows real-time menu changes and updates

TouchBistro Cons

  • No offline ordering

  • No 100% cloud-based option

SpotOn

SpotOn is a full-service POS system with features that support various types of restaurants, bars, cafes, coffee shops, and more. 

SpotOn Pros

  • 24/7 customer support

  • Easy-to-use systems

  • Advanced data reporting

SpotOn Cons

  • Users report being charged unexpected fees

  • Prices are more expensive for users who don’t use SpotOn payment processing

Using SpotOn hardware is required

How to Switch from Square

There are plenty of reasons why you might search for Square competitors. No matter your reason for switching, you deserve to find a POS system that perfectly matches your restaurant’s needs and budget. 

Looking for more support in your POS system search? Use our guide to navigating the top restaurant POS options and find the one that’s right for your business.

Take a look at how Toast and Square compare as restaurant POS platforms, and which one is the best choice for your restaurant or bar to help you boost sales, improve team productivity and morale, and accelerate your business growth.

The Restaurant POS Comparison Tool
A free, customizable Restaurant POS Comparison Tool to research and compare point of sale systems in one Excel spreadsheet or editable PDF.