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Updated Apr 16, 2024

The Best POS Systems for Coffee Shops in 2024

Tom Anziano headshot
Tom Anziano, Business Ownership Insider and Senior Writer
Verified Check With BorderEditor Reviewed
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Editor Reviewed
This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.
Best for Overall Value
  • Stellar value for price
  • Free online ordering tools
  • Variety of hardware
Visit Site
Links to Clover POS
  • Stellar value for price
  • Free online ordering tools
  • Variety of hardware
Best for Customer Experience
  • Self-checkout and payment
  • Dietary restriction alerts
  • Two-way delivery texting
Visit Site
Links to CAKE
  • Self-checkout and payment
  • Dietary restriction alerts
  • Two-way delivery texting
Best for Hardware
  • Spillproof hardware
  • Self-service kiosks
  • Devices with long battery life
Visit Site
Links to Toast
  • Spillproof hardware
  • Self-service kiosks
  • Devices with long battery life
Best for Cafes
  • Combo and upsell buttons
  • Drag-and-drop floor plan
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) functions with add-ons
Visit Site
Links to TouchBistro
  • Combo and upsell buttons
  • Drag-and-drop floor plan
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) functions with add-ons
Best for Startups
Square POS
Square company logo
  • Useful free plan
  • Virtual terminal
  • Add-ons to scale
Links to Square POS
  • Useful free plan
  • Virtual terminal
  • Add-ons to scale

Table of Contents

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Point-of-sale (POS) systems are hardware and software combinations that allow businesses to accept payments. Many of the best POS systems have plans and features designed specifically to help coffee shops go beyond charging customers. The right solution lets you create menus, track inventory, manage employees and implement marketing campaigns to provide excellent service that keeps customers coming back.

From coffee trucks to multilocation sit-down cafes, there are endless types of coffee shops and what works for one might not work for another. We’ve researched the top systems while considering the needs of all kinds of coffee shops. These are our top five choices and the reasons why we think they stand out.

Compare the Best POS Systems for Coffee Shops

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Our Top Picks for 2024
Clover POS
Square POS
Best use case

Overall value

Customer experience




Free trial

30 days




30 days

Starting price


$69/month + activation fee




Loyalty program

Yes, starting with Standard plan

Paid add-on

Custom price add-on

$99/month add-on

$45/month add-on

Payment processing

2.3% + 10¢

2.5% + 10¢

Custom rate

Custom rate or third party

2.6% + 10¢

Free hardware

Virtual terminal


2 terminals/devices

No, but iPad based

Swipe reader & virtual terminal

Customer service

24/7 live support

24/7 live support

24/7 live support

24/7 live support

Free: M-F 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. PT

Review Link
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Clover POS: Best POS System for Overall Value

  • Clover combines easy-to-use software and reliable hardware in one affordable package.
  • You get stellar POS functions and valuable features ideal for coffee shops, such as loyalty programs, for free.
  • You have to use Clover hardware with its POS system and you might be charged an early termination fee.
Editor's Rating: 8.9/10
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Clover provides coffee shops with the best value overall thanks to its affordable plans with extensive features and hardware options to get customers their coffee fixes and keep them coming back. We love that setting up a menu with color-coded categories and modifiers is easy, so your baristas won’t miss a decaf or oat milk order. Incorporating festive holiday brews or cool summer beverages is painless. The software will track inventory and create reports showing which seasonal products are a hit. We were impressed that online ordering with automatic menu updates comes without a fee.

You also get valuable tools to build customer loyalty, including CRM metrics tracking and an app with punch programs and gift cards. We appreciate that managing your employees is a breeze. Plus, Clover’s sleek and durable hardware options fit seamlessly into any coffee shop and integrate with over 300 software solutions. Customer-facing screens allow for self-checkout and tipping, while handheld devices let you take customers’ orders as they stand in line.

CAKE: Best POS System for Customer Experience

  • Cake’s kiosks and quick response (QR) code ordering and payments mean guests don’t have to wait around for a server.
  • The platform is easy to use and helps waiters select modifiers and meet customers’ dietary restrictions.
  • Two-year contracts, activation fees and lack of transparent payment processing rates could make Cake an expensive option for some coffee shops.
Editor's Rating: 8.9/10
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We think Cake offers everything your coffee shop needs to curate an excellent customer experience. We love that durable, easy-to-use self-service kiosks or QR codes at the table let people place and pay for customized orders, so your staff can focus on making coffee and your customers won’t have to wait. For table service, waiters can take orders on tablets easily and ingredient tracking will alert them to any dietary restrictions. Plus, Cake lets you manage waitlists when you’re busy.

We appreciate that Cake sends texts when a coffee order is ready for pick up and customers can text back questions for you to answer. You can deliver orders through Cake’s delivery service or by integrating with your customer’s preferred delivery apps. Cake continues to implement new services like loyalty programs and marketing services, but it isn’t clear if these features come standard or cost extra. We were disappointed with the required two-year contract, activation fees and lack of transparent pricing and card processing rates.

Toast: Best POS System for Hardware

  • Toast provides hardware, like handheld terminals, built to last in a busy coffee shop.
  • You can save time and sell more by letting customers order and pay from kiosks or right at the table.
  • Pricing for payment processing and add-ons to grow your business isn’t clear and can be expensive, plus there are early termination fees.
Editor's Rating: 9.3/10
Visit Site

In a high-paced coffee shop spills are bound to happen. Toast offers durable hardware that can withstand hot beverage mishaps. We love that you can choose from multiple POS options and accessories designed to blend seamlessly anywhere. We found the sturdy handheld Toast Go 2 with 24-hour battery life to be especially useful. Kiosks and order-ready boards let you serve more coffee quicker. Plus, Toast boasts hardware that functions three times faster than competitors.

Besides resistant hardware, Toast has useful features to optimize your coffee shop. We like that customers can order and pay from their phones so they get their coffee quicker and you get higher turnover. Plus, you can manage menus, see item countdowns and get notifications easily when orders are up. We were impressed that most features are included in a free plan. However, getting paid add-ons for loyalty, promotions, retail, marketing and takeout requires a paid plan. We were disappointed that bundled pricing isn’t transparent. You’ll have to call for a quote and for payment processing rates.

TouchBistro: Best POS System for Cafes

  • TouchBistro offers excellent features for counter and sit-down service for cafes of all sizes.
  • Reports and menu tools help you feature the items and combos your customers love.
  • Useful add-ons, like loyalty and gift card programs, can drive up the price and canceling your contract can be difficult and costly.
Editor's Rating: 9.4/10
Visit Site

We found TouchBistro’s restaurant-focused POS software ideal for cafes of all sizes. You get useful features to better serve customers at the counter and tableside, plus employee and inventory management tools. We especially love that the intuitive menu includes predictive order buttons, upselling reminders and combos to sell more of the food and coffee pairings customers love. For cafes with many tables, the drag-and-drop floor plan makes managing dine-in customers a breeze.

The software runs well on iPads, but you can use TouchBistro or third-party hardware. TouchBistro Payments offers cost-plus card processing with Chase or you can choose a third-party payment processor but cash deposits take longer. We love that cafes that thrive on repeat customers can purchase add-ons, like loyalty, marketing and online ordering programs. We were impressed that the loyalty platform doubles as a CRM. Cafes that stay open late will love the 24/7 customer support. You’ll have to call for accurate pricing of the software bundle and processing rates. We were disappointed that cancellation requires a 30-day written notice and a fee.

Square POS: Best POS System for Startups

Square POS
Square company logo
  • Square includes essential POS features plus a free swipe reader and you only pay for processed payments.
  • As your business grows you can pay for add-ons, robust hardware and change to a paid plan at any time.
  • Phone support is only available Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT and you’ll have to pay $45 per month for customer loyalty features.
Editor's Rating: 9.3/10

Square is our choice for new coffee shops because it offers everything you need to get up and running without pinching your pocket. We love that the free plan includes essential POS features while only charging when you take a payment. Although Square’s processing rates aren’t the cheapest, prices are competitive and transparent, plus there are no hidden fees, so there won’t be any surprises on your bill. The Virtual Terminal and free card swipe reader keep costs down by accepting payments from your desktop or iPad.

Using Square is a breeze, so you can set up menus and start taking payments right away. It’s easy to create customized categories and modifiers and the inventory tracker blocks items with out-of-stock ingredients automatically. We appreciate that you can plan ahead with reporting that highlights popular products and busy hours. Plus, you get basic tools to manage small teams, access to the free tier of Square Online and free digital gift cards. As your business grows, you can purchase add-ons for customer loyalty, payroll and marketing, subscribe to a paid plan or purchase affordable hardware.

Costs of POS Systems for Coffee Shops

When shopping for a POS system there are three separate costs to consider: software, hardware and payment processing. Some providers will bundle these costs together. You might also have to pay activation, early termination or other usage fees. While most vendors publish transparent pricing online, others charge based on the particulars of your coffee shop so you’ll have to call for a quote.

You’ll pay a monthly subscription fee for POS software. Some providers have free plans with basic features ideal for new or small establishments. For paid plans, most companies offer tiers of service while some have custom pricing. You should expect to pay anywhere from $59 to $200. Prices can increase significantly by adding features like customer loyalty programs, marketing tools, online ordering or payroll capabilities, so shop for a solution that includes the tools you need standard.

Many providers include one or two hardware devices in their monthly subscription. For expanded options, expect to pay anywhere from under $100 for handheld devices to more than $2,000 for a fully integrated solution. Businesses with limited budgets should look into POS software that works on tablets and phones or allows third-party hardware.

The final cost you need to consider is payment processing. For the lowest rates, look for a vendor that lets you choose from the best credit card processors. A few companies force you to use their processing service, so check out rates on their website or call for a custom quote based on the size of your coffee shop.

FYIDid you know
The amount you pay when you run a card depends on a few factors. Read our guide to understanding credit card processing fees so you can shop for a POS system that offers the best rate.

Features of POS Systems for Coffee Shops

Many POS systems offer features geared towards restaurants but coffee shops have unique needs. Customers expect quick service and highly customized orders. Here are essential features to serve coffee efficiently and keep your customers happy.

Menu Management

The days of a simple pot of filter coffee are long gone. Whether it’s soy milk, double-shot, cold brew, decaf, iced or with a pump of hazelnut, customers expect a lot of customization. Your employees need an interface that lets them select modifiers easily. Some POS systems alert employees to allergens so you avoid mistakes. Menus should update automatically, both in-store and online, whenever you make a change or run out of an ingredient.

Inventory Management

Specialty coffee drinks, especially seasonal promotions, contain multiple ingredients. POS inventory management will keep track of what you have in stock and block any menu item automatically that contains something you’ve run out of. Some will alert you whenever you’re running low and others allow you to see the cost of menu items based on ingredients. If you’ve got high stock rotation, consider a platform that includes purchasing features.


Most providers allow you to run timesaving POS reports. You can use reports to manage employee performance, see your busiest hours so you can staff accordingly and understand which locations are the most successful. Coffee shops should look for reporting that allows them to track customer preferences and seasonal trends, so they can tailor their products and marketing to boost sales.


Coffee shops are fast-moving places with a lot of hot beverages moving around. All POS hardware needs to withstand unfortunate mishaps, but the right setup depends on the size and characteristics of your shop. Most establishments will be OK with a tablet or iPad that accepts contactless payments. A customer-facing screen helps ensure your baristas get the order right. Mobile POS devices are great for quick and accurate table service, while self-service kiosks can free up your staff and get customers in and out in a flash.

Not sure which hardware is right for your coffee shop? Read our FAQs to find out everything you need to know about credit card machines.

Self-service Orders and Payments

Kiosks are a great way to let your customers order and pay themselves, which frees your staff to concentrate on making beverages. Not all establishments can afford the hardware price, so consider a provider that allows your guest to order and pay with apps or QR codes. Customers will be happy not having to wait around for a server, so they can get a coffee and be on with their day.

Online Ordering

Coffee shops usually see a big rush before the morning commute. Help your customers avoid lines by letting them place orders online for pick-up. Many providers send alerts when the order is ready and even include two-way texting to resolve any issues. If you’re located in a business area, consider a POS system that includes integrations with popular delivery apps. Be sure to check whether online ordering is included standard and if you have to pay a commission.

Loyalty Programs

Coffee lovers have increasingly endless options to get their caffeine fix, so building customer loyalty is essential for success. Most providers include loyalty programs, although sometimes as a paid add-on. You can create an app with digital punch cards, special offers, personalized promotions and other rewards. Customers can store their payment information and their coffee preferences to make ordering quicker. Gift cards are another great way to keep people coming back, but this feature is sometimes separate.

Customer Management

Customer management is one feature that varies widely between providers. While some allow you to collect basic information like email addresses for receipts and lists, others have loyalty programs that double as CRM-enabled POS systems. You get essential tools to understand and communicate with your customers. When they come into your shop, your baristas will already know how they like their coffee. Plus, you can track CRM metrics to get useful insights.

Did You Know?Did you know
One of the most cost-effective ways to reach customers is email and personalization is the future of email marketing. The right POS system will let you collect information about customers and discover trends so you can tailor personalized email promotions that bring people into your coffee shop repeatedly.

Employee Management

POS software often includes tools for managing employees. You can set up shift schedules, monitor performance and manage tips. Some allow employees to clock in and out. If you have different sections, you can control what each employee sees. Some providers include add-ons to process payroll.

Payment Processing

Payment processing is at the heart of any POS system. Most offer hardware that accepts contactless and mobile payments. Businesses on a budget should make sure free or basic plans include this feature, as some providers only offer swipe readers for free.

Customer Support

Coffee shops tend to open early and cafes that serve food usually shut their doors quite late. While many of the providers we reviewed offer 24/7 customer support, a few restrict service to weekday business hours. Look for a POS service that will be available whenever you need help.

Choosing a POS System for Coffee Shops

Follow these steps to determine which POS system is best for your coffee shop.

1. Research Your Options

There are many POS providers on the market and many offer products and features specifically designed for quick-service restaurants and coffee shops. Take the time to inform yourself about all the options out there. Visit vendors’ websites to see product features and pricing details. Make sure that everything you need is included or available as an affordable add-on. Check to see what the hardware options are and if you can use third-party solutions. Consider talking to successful coffee shops in the area about what works for them.

2, Read Guides and Reviews

Unfortunately, not all vendors are transparent about pricing and package details on their websites. We recommend reading POS software guides, such as this one, to get an accurate overview of top solutions. It’s also a good idea to read online reviews to see how the service holds up in coffee shops and cafes.

3. Contact Vendors for a Test Run

The best way to see if a POS system will work with your coffee shop is to try it yourself. A few vendors offer free trials but you might have to call to request a demo. Speaking with a sales rep is always a good idea as beyond getting a feel for the platform, you can discuss custom plans and features based on the characteristics of your establishment.

4. Evaluate Final Pricing and Features

In some cases, you’ll get pricing and plan details right from the website. Usually, however, you’ll be given a custom quote after discussing the specifics of your coffee shop with the vendor. Consider additional costs, such as payment processing, hardware, online commissions and activation fees, before making a final decision. If you hope to grow your coffee shop and even expand to more locations, look for an option that will affordably scale with you.

Advantages of POS Systems for Coffee Shops

These are the main reasons why the right POS System will turn your coffee shop into a success.

Build customer loyalty

Coffee shops depend on loyal, repeat customers. POS systems include reward programs, CRM functions and marketing tools to help you find out what your customers love and offer them reasons to keep coming back for their favorite brew.

Improve customer experience

People visit coffee shops expecting different experiences. Some want to grab a latte and go, while others want to enjoy a cappuccino over a good book slowly. The best POS systems let you provide an excellent customer experience to all your guests. Online ordering with pick-up notifications will save busy guests time. Mobile ordering and payment get coffee to customers who need to concentrate with minimal interruptions.

Streamline your service

Coffee shops are busy places, often full of people in a rush wanting complex orders. A good POS system will help you stay on top of every order. User-friendly menus with custom categories and modifiers will make your baristas’ lives easier. Handheld devices let you take orders tableside or while customers are in line to help speed up service. Self-service ordering and payment mean better order accuracy and more time for your staff to focus on making coffee.

Stay on top of trends

Pumpkin spice lattes have become a cliché, but the fact is seasonal beverages are always a hit. POS reporting lets you see what products are trending and which are always popular, so you can tweak and manage inventory, seasonal menus and marketing campaigns effectively.

Bottom LineBottom line
The way customers discover and interact with businesses like coffee shops is constantly evolving and the best POS systems are changing too. The right modern POS solution will do more for your coffee shop than simply run payments. It will help you create a beloved establishment that lasts.


A POS system for coffee shops is a plan or custom solution offered by a traditional POS service provider with tools geared specifically to help coffee shops take orders, accept payments and manage operations.

There are a few POS vendors that offer free plans that only require paying card processing fees. However, you should look for a solution that offers you the best value for money for your specific needs.

Yes, coffee shops make money because they often have lower overhead costs than other foodservice businesses, such as fewer employees and less variety of ingredients in stock.

Yes, some POS systems have free plans, such as Square, although with limited features and hardware options.

The monthly cost of a POS system depends on the provider, plan, hardware, payment processing rates and other costs like add-ons and commissions. Apart from card transaction fees, you can pay anywhere from zero to a few hundred bucks per month.

Tom Anziano headshot
Tom Anziano, Business Ownership Insider and Senior Writer
Thomas Anziano is an advertising and marketing professional who has worked in the U.S. and Germany. He has also taught Business Writing in English to university students in Madrid, Spain. He holds a degree in Marketing and Spanish.
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