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How much do restaurant POS cost

Thanks to cloud computing and the software-as-a-service subscription model, a restaurant POS (point of sale) system is significantly cheaper and more powerful today than it was ten years ago. However, there are so many different systems and pricing structures that it can be hard determine which system is the best value.

To determine the total POS system cost, we need to understand the POS functionality, and run that against the hardware cost, software cost, and payment processing fees, to get to value—the most important denominator.

Features of a Restaurant POS System

A restaurant POS system can enhance your productivity in myriad ways, with many offering the following functionality:

  • Table management
  • Employee management
  • Inventory management
  • CRM
  • Customized ordering
  • Sales reports
  • Phone and email customer support
  • Automated ordering
  • Customer loyalty programs
  • Online ordering integration
  • Offline functionality

choosing a POS - Upserve

In addition, the type of restaurant you run could impact which system is best for you.  For example a bar pos system is probably going to be designed for quick transitions.  However, a pizza pos may be designed for online order and customizations.

Hardware Cost for POS Systems

The cost of a restaurant POS system can start at around $600 for a handheld tablet package. If your needs are more intensive, you can expect a cost of around $2,600 or more for a full starship pos system with terminals. However, the hardware isn’t the most expensive part of the long-term cost (that would be the software).

To determine the total restaurant POS system cost, we need to understand the POS functionality, and run that against the hardware cost, software cost, and payment processing fees, to get to value—the most important denominator.

Buying a bundled POS software subscription with your hardware can reduce the upfront hardware costs, sometimes down to free. You can also lease POS hardware for around $100 per month.

In addition to the basics, you may also need to purchase a barcode scanner, additional tablets, receipt printer(s), a router, networking cables, or even a server. If you need such extras, your hardware could set you back $3,000 or more for one register.

Some examples of restaurant POS hardware include:

  • Cash drawers
  • Credit card readers (including EMV compliant chip readers)
  • Receipt and order printers
  • Stands and workstations
  • WiFi routers and extenders (for larger facilities)

Restaurant POS System Software Cost

Restaurant POS systems have moved from a single upfront cost to software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscription models. This shift has meant businesses enjoy frequent software updates, remote data storage, and dramatically improved support.

Look for inventory management, CRM, sales reports, employee management, and simple marketing features at a minimum. Fees start around $69 per month, but for large businesses, or systems that provide more advanced POS features, you could pay more than $150 per month per terminal.

choosing a POS - Upserve

Payment Processing Fees

Some POS software providers allow you to pair with a selection of merchant accounts; in others your merchant account is the POS provider. In the latter case, monthly service fees are often comparable to credit card processing fees, which can be anything between 2.2% and 4.5%. Total sales processing fees will depend on your sales volume.

What Are The Average Credit Card Processing Fees?

For most restaurateurs, one of the biggest mistakes they make is to assume the rate they pay is the cost. Which usually means they’ll pick the lowest “cost,” without truly understanding all of the restaurant credit card processing fees they’ll be paying.

Any time you swipe a card in your restaurant, there are three fees that you are actually paying – they make up the total cost of the credit card processing fees.

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1- Transactional Fees

Every time you swipe, these fees are assessed. Interchange fees and assessments are transaction fees. These are the fees the card-issuing banks and associations charge for each transaction. Interchange fees usually consist of a percentage of each transaction in addition to a flat per transaction fee. Assessments are based on a percentage of the total transaction volume for the month.

2- Fixed Fees

Examples of these fees might be your terminal fees, PCI compliance fees, or annual fees. These fees are also any monthly fees you pay your payment processor in the form of your payment processing rate.

3- Incidental Fees

The name is pretty transparent – these fees only appear per incident. These are most often related to chargeback fees. These fees can also be batch fees or non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees.

Three fees. OK. Easy enough, right? Understanding that is half of the picture. Once you know where the fees on your monthly statement are coming from, you have to understand credit card processing pricing models. That’s the “fee” in your control. That’s how your restaurant payment processor gets paid.

waitstaff putting orders into Breadcrumb

Understanding Credit Card Pricing Models

You don’t have control over the various fees you incur when cards are swiped in your restaurant. But you do have control over choosing a credit card pricing model. Here are the restaurant credit card processing pricing models to know.

  • Interchange Plus: Interchange is a percentage rate set by the banks and payments networks. This rate can vary from restaurant to restaurant making it difficult to give an exact estimate.
  • Tiered: When processing providers designate pricing by “tiers” – based on a set of qualifying criteria – and price transactions accordingly.
  • Blended: This is a very similar pricing model to Tiered, minus the tiers themselves. The best example of it in “the real world,” would be PayPal.
  • Flat Rate:  A payments processor charges based on a fixed percentage of credit card transactions.


Service and support cost

Once implemented, the heavy spending should be over, and your restaurant POS should be completely focused on MAKING money. However, there are always ongoing service and support costs that need to be factored into a POS investment.

The problem is, very few POS system customers actually pay for ongoing support contracts from their vendors. As much as we want to believe Upserve products and services are completely fail-proof, sometimes things go wrong. That’s why we include support and software upgrades for the life of the product, included in the subscription fee.

And, just as a nice nod to our team, Upserve’s subscription – including all support and upgrades – is still lower than most companies’ service costs alone.


The POS cost savings come from one simple reason – the cloud-based design. Thanks to real-time, on-demand connectivity, our support team can gain instant access to customer systems without having to wrestle with on-premise concerns, outdated technology, or pricy service calls. We just set things straight and get you back in the business of serving customers.

Total Restaurant POS System Cost

If you have a single register business, expect to front in the vicinity of $1,000-$1,500; add another $1,000 in software subscription fees, plus payment processing fees that will vary with the above fees and pricing models explained. Look for fair and transparent pricing from your payment processor and know that you do have control over the insights you get! 

Let Upserve Help Grow Your Business with 0% Interest Financing

That’s why at Upserve, excited to announce that we’re offering 0% financing for 36 months for the entire Upserve system: Upserve POS hardware, software, and implementation. By financing your purchase, Upserve tech begins working for you right away, saving you time and allowing you the flexibility to budget for other investments that can bring your restaurant vision to life.

Check out Upserve’s POS tips guide!

See How Much You Can Save with Upserve's Point of Sale!

Written by   |  
Mitchell Hall is a writer and editor living in Boston, MA. Originally from New Zealand, growing up he spent nearly ten years greedily imbibing the spirit of hospitality as a kitchenhand, waiter, and barman.
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