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Riley Hutton at Truluck's Bar

When you’re researching a restaurant POS system, you’ll likely read about open-source solutions. An open-source POS can be intriguing because it seems significantly less expensive than standard options.

However, low-cost, open-source software tools often come at a price. Here’s what you should know about open-source solutions (and why they’re not as good as they seem).

What is Open-Source Point of Sale Software?

Open-source point of sale software is a popular choice for restaurants because they’re cheaper than inclusive systems.

They’re called “open-source” because their coding is accessible by other developers, who work to change and improve the product over time. This can be beneficial because it unites code from some of the smartest and most dedicated programmers, many of whom are experts in the field.

The catch is that open-source software tools for the restaurant industry often lack the features and support that your company will likely require down the line. From dealing with a software glitch to teaching a new server how to use it, there are many benefits of closed-source, inclusive systems.

If you’re considering an open-source restaurant POS and you’re wondering how it might differ, here are a few essential considerations.


It’s important that your point of sale software is installed correctly across all of your devices in a way that enables them to seamlessly communicate with one another. If your open-source POS software is installed incorrectly on one device, it may not send data to the other devices properly, skewing your overall analytics.

Moreover, employee training is a key aspect of proper POS installation. Your employees must be trained on how to use and troubleshoot the software across each tool. Most closed-source software includes built-in training programs in the overall cost of the software. Since open-source programs tend to come on a budget, make sure that installation and training services are included.

Open-source tools might seem like a great way to save money, but it’s important to consider the full range of benefits and drawbacks associated with this choice.


One of the best benefits of POS systems is that they can be endlessly customized to meet your specific needs. Let’s say you want to add on-demand buttons for your house-made products, or to make it easy to update your rotating craft beer list.

Cloud-based Upserve POS is 48% cheaper than legacy solutions.

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These kinds of actions, which improve daily flow in the restaurant and turn tables faster, are much harder to accomplish with open-source software tools. This is because they are open to the public and don’t come with hyper-specific customization tools or support. If you’d like to add such customization, you’ll usually have to hire an outside company to do the work for you.

In addition to incurring extra labor costs, hiring outside maintenance support can add an additional learning curve if they aren’t used to the software, thereby increasing the length of maintenance time.


Since there are so many developers iterating and fixing open-source POS systems, they’re often very secure when used as intended. However, it’s important to consider the security consequences if you’ve purchased open-source software from one company, yet rely on a second company to customize features or maintain it.

Alternatively, most closed-source POS systems are owned, customized, and maintained by a single company with full-time developers and staff. Here at Upserve, our focus on security extends through everything we do – from annual PCI compliance assessments, to employing a team of security experts. We aim to lead the industry in Payments, POS, and Data security standards and best practices.


breadcrumb person taking orders

What is Open-Source Point of Sale Hardware?

Now that we’ve discussed the nuances of open-source software, let’s dive into the other essential element: POS hardware.

From the desktop computer in the back of the house, to the iPads used to take orders and payments, to the mobile phones keeping you updated with daily sales, your hardware is everything.

Open-source systems today are often compatible with a variety of hardware tools, including Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android. Since you’re responsible for the upkeep of this hardware, including regular software updates, maintenance and replacement, it’s important you feel comfortable with the hardware.

Open-source tools might seem like a great way to save money, but it’s important to consider the full range of benefits and drawbacks associated with this choice.

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As a professional copywriter, Dan typically spends his days buried in a booth at a local coffee shop. Ideas flow best with a cup of coffee in one hand and a bagel in the other. Dan has written for Entrepreneur Magazine, Military.com, and other media publications.
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