Restaurant Types



Visit our hub to explore all types of videos, articles and resources.

Start Learning

The Complete Guide to Best Cash Registers for Small Businesses (2024)


Jim McCormickAuthor

Best Cash Registers for Small Businesses: How to Evaluate Your Options

In the fast-paced world of retail and hospitality, having an efficient and reliable cash register is essential for small businesses. Modern technology has transformed traditional cash registers into sophisticated point-of-sale systems, offering a wide range of features to streamline transactions and enhance business operations. In this guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about cash registers for small businesses, from understanding their modern-day capabilities to choosing the best option for your specific needs.

What is a modern-day cash register? How has this combined with point of sale and its supplementary features?

The cash register has transformed into a comprehensive point of sales system, integrating beyond payment processing to manage sales, inventory, and customer transactions. Equipped with hardware like touchscreen monitors and barcode scanners, then paired with sophisticated software, these systems streamline operations and enhance customer service. By tracking inventory in real-time, automating tasks, and providing detailed analytics, POS technology has revolutionized small business operations, serving as a central hub for various functions from managing employee schedules to tracking customer preferences.

What are the requirements for different types of small businesses?

Small businesses encompass a diverse range of industries, each with unique needs and requirements for their cash register systems. Retail businesses, such as boutiques, convenience stores, and grocery stores, rely on cash registers to process sales, manage inventory, and track customer transactions. Restaurants and food service establishments also utilize cash registers, often with additional features tailored to the hospitality industry, such as table management, menu customization, and integration with kitchen printers.


Retail Businesses


Sales Processing

Process transactions, calculate totals, and generate receipts.

Process orders, split bills, and manage tabs.

Inventory Management

Track stock levels, manage reordering, and monitor product sales.

Manage ingredient levels, track menu popularity, and reorder supplies.

Customer Transactions

Record sales history, manage returns, and track customer information.

Manage reservations, record dining preferences, and track loyalty programs.

Additional Features

Barcode scanning, loyalty program integration, and sales reporting.

Table management, menu customization, and kitchen printer integration.

What are the dimensions to evaluate small business cash registers on?

When evaluating cash registers for small businesses, several key dimensions should be considered:


  • Sales Transactions: Ensure the system can efficiently process various types of transactions, handle discounts, and calculate taxes accurately. Look for features like split payments and refunds to accommodate diverse customer needs.

  • Inventory Management: Evaluate the system's ability to track stock levels in real-time, generate automatic alerts for low inventory, and manage reordering processes seamlessly. Advanced features may include SKU management, batch tracking, and integration with supplier systems.

  • Reporting Capabilities: Assess the system's reporting tools for generating detailed sales reports, analyzing trends, and identifying opportunities for growth. Look for customizable reporting options to tailor insights to specific business needs.

Ease of Use:

  • Intuitive Interface: Look for a user-friendly interface with clear navigation menus, intuitive buttons, and customizable layouts. Features like touchscreen functionality and shortcut keys can enhance ease of use and minimize training time for employees.

  • Training Support: Evaluate the availability of training resources, such as online tutorials, user manuals, and customer support services. Look for systems that offer ongoing training and assistance to ensure staff proficiency.


  • Expansion Options: Consider whether the system can accommodate business growth by supporting additional registers, locations, or users. Scalable solutions may offer cloud-based infrastructure, modular hardware components, and flexible pricing plans to adapt to changing business needs.


  • Compatibility: Assess the system's compatibility with third-party software and hardware solutions commonly used in your industry. Look for seamless integration with accounting software, payment processors, CRM systems, and eCommerce platforms to streamline operations and data management.

  • API Access: Evaluate the availability of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) for custom integrations and software development. Access to APIs allows businesses to extend the functionality of their cash register system and integrate with proprietary or industry-specific software solutions.


  • Total Cost of Ownership: Consider both upfront costs and ongoing expenses, including hardware purchases, software licensing fees, maintenance contracts, and transaction processing fees. Evaluate the value proposition of each system based on its features, reliability, and long-term cost-effectiveness.

What are different types of cash register hardware?

Types of cash register hardware include traditional, point of sale terminals, and mobile handheld point of sale systems.

  • Traditional Cash Registers: These are standalone devices equipped with a cash drawer, a keypad for transaction input, and a receipt printer. They are suitable for basic sales processing but lack the advanced features found in modern POS systems.
  • Point of Sale Terminals: POS terminals feature a touchscreen monitor or tablet connected to peripherals like barcode scanners, receipt printers, and cash drawers. They offer a comprehensive solution for managing sales, inventory, and customer information, enhancing operational efficiency.
  • Mobile Handheld Point of Sale: Utilizing smartphones or tablets with dedicated POS software, mPOS systems are augmented with accessories like card readers and barcode scanners. Their portability allows businesses to process transactions anywhere, making them particularly advantageous for businesses with limited space or those operating in mobile environments like outdoor events.

Top features of cash registers for small businesses

Top features of cash registers for small businesses encompass a variety of essential functionalities:

  • Inventory Management: Efficiently monitor stock levels, manage different product variations, and receive timely alerts for low inventory to ensure products are always available for customers. This feature helps small businesses avoid stockouts and maintain customer satisfaction.

  • Sales Reporting: Access detailed reports on sales performance, offering insights into revenue trends, profit margins, and top-selling products. These reports empower small business owners to make informed decisions, adjust strategies, and optimize operations to maximize profitability.

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Seamlessly capture and organize customer information, track purchase history, and implement loyalty programs to foster stronger customer relationships. By understanding customer preferences and behavior, small businesses can enhance engagement and encourage repeat business.

  • Integration with Payment Processors: Streamline payment processing by integrating with various payment methods, including credit cards, mobile wallets, and contactless payments. This feature enables small businesses to offer convenient payment options to customers, enhancing the overall shopping experience.

  • Employee Management: Simplify employee management tasks by assigning user roles and permissions, tracking employee hours, and monitoring sales performance. This functionality helps small business owners effectively manage staff, ensure accountability, and prevent unauthorized transactions, contributing to a more efficient and secure work environment.

  • Secure Transactions: Ensure the security of transactions by implementing encryption protocols and adhering to industry-standard security measures. Small businesses can provide peace of mind to customers by safeguarding their payment information against unauthorized access and fraud.

Best cash registers for small businesses

Toast stands out as the ultimate cash register and point of sale solution for small businesses and restaurants, offering a comprehensive suite of features designed to streamline operations and enhance customer experiences.

Hardware Excellence: Toast's restaurant-grade hardware is spill-proof rated, ensuring durability and minimizing downtime caused by everyday spills. It's designed to blend seamlessly with any restaurant decor while delivering faster order and payment processing, thereby accelerating turn times and increasing revenue.

Powerful Cloud-Based Software: With Toast's cloud-based software, manage orders, sales, and payments from anywhere, anytime, and on any device. The system is incredibly user-friendly, simplifying setup and learning processes, while also offering open integrations with leading partners for expanded functionality.

Transparent Payment Processing: Toast boasts transparent pricing with simple and competitive rates on all transactions, eliminating hidden fees or additional markups. Plus, businesses receive dedicated support from a single team for both payments and POS, ensuring a seamless experience.

Tailored Solutions for Restaurants: Toast offers specialized features tailored specifically for restaurants, such as tableside service with handheld technology for accelerated service and improved order accuracy. Additionally, features like online ordering and delivery help businesses grow their off-premise sales without costly third-party commissions.

Robust Reporting and Management Tools: Take control of your restaurant's performance with detailed analytics, location overviews, sales summaries, and product mix monitoring. Manage your menu effortlessly from any device with real-time updates and item countdowns to keep your operations in sync.

Testimonials Speak Volumes: Industry professionals like General Managers from various establishments testify to the impact of Toast on their businesses, citing benefits such as increased sales, improved service speed, and enhanced guest experiences.

With Toast, you can focus on serving your guests while the platform takes care of the rest. From top-notch hardware and software to transparent payment processing and unparalleled support, Toast is the ultimate partner for small businesses and restaurants aiming to thrive in today's competitive landscape.

icon Tech Tip

Learn how a better point of sale system can help you run your restaurant.

Read now

Is this article helpful?

DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only, and publication does not constitute an endorsement. Toast does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, graphics, links, or other items contained within this content. Toast does not guarantee you will achieve any specific results if you follow any advice herein. It may be advisable for you to consult with a professional such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor for advice specific to your situation.