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Updated May 15, 2024

Best Business Phone Systems for Restaurants

A modern business phone system can help your restaurant take reservations, communicate with kitchen staff and even text customers.

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Jeff Hale, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
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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 Collaboration
RingEX
RingCentral company logo
  • Starting price of $20 per month
  • Unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada
  • 24/7 chat and phone support
USALinks to RingEX
Visit Site

855-619-0564

  • Starting price of $20 per month
  • Unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada
  • 24/7 chat and phone support
Best for Video Conferencing
Zoom
Zoom company logo
  • Starting price of $10 per month
  • Unlimited international calling
  • 24/7 live web and chat support
USALinks to Zoom
Visit Site
  • Starting price of $10 per month
  • Unlimited international calling
  • 24/7 live web and chat support
Best for Small Businesses
Ooma
Ooma company logo
  • Starting price of $19.95 per month
  • Unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada
  • 24/7 phone support
USALinks to Ooma
Visit Site
  • Starting price of $19.95 per month
  • Unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada
  • 24/7 phone support
Best for Multisite Retail
Nextiva
Nextiva company logo
  • Starting price of $23.95 per month
  • Unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada
  • 24/7 email, chat and phone support
USALinks to Nextiva
Visit Site
  • Starting price of $23.95 per month
  • Unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada
  • 24/7 email, chat and phone support
Best for Voice Intelligence
Dialpad
dialpad company logo
  • Starting price of $15 per month
  • Unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada
  • 24/5 live web and chat support
  • Starting price of $15 per month
  • Unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada
  • 24/5 live web and chat support

Table of Contents

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Business News Daily’s team of experts has spent years reviewing the latest solutions that help businesses perform at their best. We begin by scouring the marketing for leading software and services as well as lesser-known tools. Next, we conduct extensive research, testing products and comparing them head to head. Finally, we consult user testimonials to incorporate real-life experiences into our ratings. Each independent analysis is supported by a top editor who ensures our recommendations live up to Business News Daily’s standards for quality, accuracy and fairness.

When looking for the best business phone systems for restaurants specifically, we sought solutions that facilitate seamless communication with front-of-house employees, kitchen staff and diners. We favored platforms that enable customers to make reservations and place takeout orders via phone, let managers host video calls with suppliers and allow hosts to text customers about wait times and special promotions. Our assessments took into account each system’s ease of use, implementation process, customization and integration options, pricing and plan limits. Learn more about our methodology.

Clear, reliable and cost-effective communications are critical to the success of any business, and restaurants are no exception. Food businesses need open lines of communication with vendors, employees, repair technicians and customers to keep the kitchen running smoothly seven days a week. Popular food establishments need the right phone system and hardware to take reservations and to-go orders without interrupting the customer flow during peak times.

The best business phone systems for restaurants offer worry-free calling and communication features that can function perfectly in sit-down establishments, delivery services, catering and food truck settings. To help you identify the best business phone system for your restaurant, we studied dozens of the category’s most popular options. We scored our best picks based on their available features, pricing, ease of use, customer service and more.

Looking for other restaurant solutions?

 

Compare Our Best Picks

BND Ribbon
Our Top Picks for 2024
Nextiva
Dialpad
Rating9.3/108.8/109.4/109.5/109.4/10
Best use case

Best for Collaboration

Best for Video Conferencing

Best for Small Businesses

Best for Multisite Retail and Healthcare

Best for Voice Intelligence

Monthly price

$20-$35

$10-$20

$19.95-$29.95

$23.95-$37.95

$15-$25+

Customer service

24/7 chat and phone

24/7 live web and chat

24/7 phone

24/7 email, chat and phone

24/5 live web and chat

Free trial length

14 days

N/A

30 days

7 days

14 days

Available plans

4

4

3

3

3

Review Link
Scroll Table

Reviews

RingCentral company logo
  • RingCentral features more than 300 out-of-the-box applications and 2,000 integrations.
  • The company offers business phone numbers in more than 100 countries.
  • You can’t mix and match service plans to support the unique requirements of different restaurant locations or corporate employees.
Editor's Rating: 9.3/10
Visit Site

855-619-0564

In our RingCentral review, we found the phone system to be an effective and reliable all-in-one communications platform for large restaurant groups that need a single system for messaging, video chatting and calling. It’s a cloud-based platform, so communications are readily available through traditional-looking IP desk phones, web browsers, computers and mobile applications. RingCentral boasts 99.999 percent uptime thanks to 32 data centers across the globe, plus direct peering with more than 45 carriers and 200 internet service providers to ensure uninterrupted connectivity.

Large and international restaurant groups will appreciate the ability to collaborate through team chat and messaging in RingCentral’s digital workspace. This can help keep disparate teams on the same page with menu changes, supply chain interruptions, marketing campaigns and other external factors that could affect multiple restaurant locations or franchisees. With a multitude of international operations, RingCentral will work seamlessly with your other tech solutions, offering ample opportunity for customization and automation to eliminate many time-consuming tasks and increase efficiency across departments.

Zoom company logo
  • Every phone plan comes with Zoom’s popular video conferencing tools.
  • You can choose between an unlimited plan and a metered, pay-as-you-go calling plan.
  • The software integrations are quite limited compared with those offered by other business phone platforms we’ve reviewed.
Editor's Rating: 8.8/10
Visit Site

Zoom’s overwhelming popularity as a remote work solution granted it status as a generic name for video conferencing, but the cloud-based video conferencing tool also supports phone communications in unique ways. In our Zoom review, we found that, unlike most cloud-based business phone platforms, Zoom includes an option for a metered, pay-as-you-go plan that might be very attractive for smaller food businesses that serve customers on the go through food trucks, farmers markets, and events such as festivals and conventions.

Large restaurant groups with corporate offices will appreciate the ability to communicate with some of the industry’s highest-quality video feeds, featuring crisp sound and no lag. During our review process, we engaged in video demos with multiple providers and found Zoom to have the best performance. In addition to top-of-the-line video communications tools, all Zoom phone plans include unlimited international calling with active noise and echo cancellation, making this phone system ideal for loud, busy restaurants with lots of foot traffic and high call volume.

Ooma company logo
  • Ooma includes more than 50 standard communications features with its small business phone service plans.
  • The company offers transparent pricing without requiring a long-term contract.
  • The entry-level plan does not include video communications tools that come with most other business phone services.
Editor's Rating: 9.4/10
Visit Site

Our Ooma review features one of the easiest cloud-based phone systems to implement and use, making it an attractive option for smaller restaurants and food trucks that need an effective business phone solution that simply gets the job done. From your administrator account, it’s easy to record a greeting with your restaurant’s address and hours of operation, with custom options for after-hours, holiday messages and voicemail.

The virtual receptionist lets you control the call flow with menu options for reservations, to-go orders, weekly specials and events, and more, allowing your support staff to spend more time with your on-site customers. Restaurant owners will also appreciate the Android and iOS apps that come standard with every Ooma plan.

Once your mobile app is set up, you can take calls and flip them between devices to ensure you’re always available for last-minute calls from suppliers who have questions or from employees who need to adjust their schedules. With the “find me, follow me” feature, you can set your phone system to ring on multiple devices at the same time

Nextiva company logo
  • Nextiva offers mix-and-match plans to support the unique requirements of different locations or employees cost-effectively.
  • The system includes strong features to help you provide exceptional service to your repeat customers.
  • The company’s advertised pricing reflects discounts that are not available to many smaller businesses.
Editor's Rating: 9.5/10
Visit Site

During our Nextiva review, we determined that the platform is one of the most user-friendly business phone systems we’ve reviewed. The intuitive drag-and-drop call flow builder allows even those without experience managing a cloud-based business phone platform to build a call menu that automatically routes calls to the appropriate phone based on set days, times, locations and devices.

Nextiva also offers the security, encryption and geographically diverse data centers to effectively support communications across large restaurant groups and franchises with locations all around the world. The ability to mix and match plans makes Nextiva a cost-effective custom solution. You can provide an entry-level phone plan with basic services for all of your restaurants’ front-of-house phones and higher-end plans with more streamlined features for your corporate employees who work with food suppliers, landlords, banks and other operational partners daily.

Other features, like Call Pop, can help high-end restaurants provide personalized service for repeat customers. Before you pick up the phone, you’ll be updated with your company’s latest interactions with the caller, responses to any surveys they’ve completed, their overall satisfaction score and the total value of their account. With the right tools in place, you can easily tailor the correct services to meet the demanding expectations of high-end restaurant customers.

dialpad company logo
  • Local numbers are available in more than 70 countries.
  • A 100% uptime service-level agreement is available with the Enterprise plan.
  • Toll-free numbers require an additional fee, plus 2 cents per minute.
Editor's Rating: 9.4/10

Dialpad is an AI-focused, all-in-one communications platform that’s well suited for both large restaurant groups seeking efficiency across departments and small food businesses interested in using technology to begin streamlining operations. In our Dialpad review, we found that, unlike most of its competitors, Dialpad offers many AI-assisted productivity features at all subscription levels. These tools include time-saving automations to eliminate repetitive tasks, as well as real-time coaching to help train new employees quickly and improve the overall phone experience for customers.

The platform’s analytics and reporting features let restaurant owners see if calls are being missed, with detailed heat maps to allocate resources to the right days and times. Call transcription is a standard feature with Dialpad’s phone plans. It tracks every detail of each phone conversation, including action items, keywords and caller sentiment. With automated reporting options, Dialpad will send you an email each morning with a summary of every call in your system. While most cloud-based providers advertise uptimes exceeding 99.9 percent, Dialpad is unique in its 100 percent uptime guarantee with a service-level agreement through the top-tier Enterprise plan.

Costs of a Business Phone System for Restaurants

Your subscription rate or user fee typically makes up the biggest portion of your cloud-based phone expense, starting anywhere from $10 to $20 per month for a basic, entry-level plan. Most restaurant phone providers’ plans are priced by the number of user accounts, which you could think of as phone locations in a restaurant setting.

One exception to the pricing norm is Zoom’s pay-as-you-go metered plan, which costs $10 per month plus added fees for outbound mobile and landline calls billed in 60-second intervals. Higher-tier plans with robust calling features and thousands of toll-free minutes or SMS/MMS (text/multimedia) communications cost around $30 per user per month. You can expect to find a discount if you commit to an annual or multiyear contract or purchase a significant number of user accounts.

TipTip
Pay attention to the default number of users when you’re comparing costs, as some providers advertise their prices with bulk discounts applied for larger businesses.

Add-on expenses are minimal in this category, covering vanity or toll-free numbers and associated minutes, additional local numbers and mobile SMS/MMS fees if you exceed your monthly allotment. Most providers do not charge one-time implementation fees or other hidden costs at checkout, and some, like RingCentral, offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with your service.

Custom onboarding and implementation services are available for larger restaurants and restaurant groups, but pricing for this service is usually provided only through a custom quote. In most instances, restaurant managers and owners will be able to implement a cloud-based phone system in one day without any outside assistance.

You’ll find that most business phone service providers rent and sell hardware, like IP desk phones, that arrive preconfigured for your system. All you’ll need to do is plug them in and log in to your account to begin making and receiving calls. Purchase prices for these phones range from around $100 for a simple handset to more than $500 for a larger IP desk phone designed to handle heavy call volume.

Most service providers carry similar telephone hardware from the major business phone manufacturers — including Cisco, Poly and Yealink — alongside their in-house brands. If you’re on a tight budget, you might be able to find refurbished models at a discount. If you have older phone hardware you want to use, you can usually purchase a VoIP adapter that will let you make cloud-based calls from a traditional handset.

Key TakeawayKey takeaway
Prices in this category vary by a wide margin, as they cover everything from a single food truck to an international restaurant chain. To understand the cost of a new phone system, it’s important to have a solid understanding of your voice, messaging and video communications requirements.

Features of a Business Phone System for Restaurants

In terms of the user experience, features separate a modern cloud-based system from older traditional landlines. While you’ll find that most service providers in this category offer the same or very comparable communications features, they tend to be spread and priced differently across plans. That’s why it’s important to understand which features matter the most to your restaurant before you make a purchase decision.

Analytics

It’s nearly impossible to make objective decisions without trustworthy data. If your restaurant takes lots of reservations and to-go orders over the phone, you need a crystal-clear understanding of your call volume to staff appropriately and ensure that your customers get the support they need without giving up due to long hold times.

Most cloud-based phone systems provide basic call analytics and real-time metrics that let managers know if calls are being answered promptly, but more advanced options are also available. These include AI-powered recaps with call summaries, action times and conversation highlights. These features can be especially helpful when you’re working through new contracts with suppliers or negotiating a lease for a second location, for example.

Multilevel Auto-Attendant and IVR

Auto-attendants and interactive voice response (IVR) menus are often used interchangeably, but they differ in the way a customer interacts with your phone menu. Both can be considered virtual receptionists, prompting callers to select options by listening to menu choices or by saying what they need.

An auto-attendant presents menu options to each caller, who selects what they want by pressing a number on a keypad, whereas IVR uses the caller’s voice comments. In either scenario, these menus are the consumer-facing portion of your restaurant phone system that can provide callers with answers to common questions, like your address or hours of operation. The system can also route callers to your host to take a reservation, place a take-out order or answer questions about your menu.

All cloud-based phone service providers include these types of phone system menus at each plan level. However, some providers’ virtual assistants are simpler to manage and adjust, thanks to drag-and-drop call flow builders and templates that make it easy for anyone to build a productive call flow that saves staff time and improves the customer experience.

Call Flip

The call-flip feature lets you seamlessly move conversations between devices without interrupting your call. Unlike a call transfer, a flip is intended to be picked up by the person who initiated the transfer. You can take a call from one of your suppliers on your back-office phone and flip the call to your mobile device so you can survey the walk-in or hunt down your head chef to confirm the week’s food orders.

Call flip is included as an entry-level feature with most business phone services. It lets you take and move calls between IP desk phones, mobile phones, computers, web browsers, tablets and many other internet-connected devices with a microphone and speaker or headphone jack.

Mobile Communications

Most restaurant owners are constantly running around town from supplier to supplier to get everything they need to keep the kitchen and the rest of the operation flowing smoothly. With a cloud-based phone system, it’s easy to make sure you’re available whenever someone needs you to request a last-minute change, schedule an important fumigation appointment or know if a supplier has run out of a key ingredient.

All cloud-based phone systems include Android and iOS apps that often mirror the user experience from the web browser or desktop application while letting you differentiate between personal and business calls. With a full-featured phone system at your fingertips, you’ll be able to take, make and flip calls between devices or make fast changes to your calling-menu options due to unforeseen circumstances.

Overhead Paging

Overhead paging is a cost-effective tool that lets diners know when their table is ready in many large restaurant settings. While some service providers refer to this feature as an intercom or group paging, many providers in this category, including Ooma, offer this service option with all plans.

In most cases, you’ll be able to integrate an existing overhead paging system with your new phone system by using a separately sold adapter, meaning you won’t need to install new paging hardware just because you switch phone service providers. Once you’ve connected through an adapter, you’ll be able to use your communications dashboard to make announcements about seating availability to the front of house and any outside waiting room, or communicate to the entire kitchen staff, depending on the locations of your intercom speakers.

Any phones intended to make overhead announcements will need a programmable button configured to a multicast paging function.

Software Integrations

One of the biggest reasons to move to a cloud-based phone system is the ability to integrate all of your communications across phone, chat and video with the rest of your technology, including your point-of-sale system and some of the best CRM software. All cloud-based phone systems include numerous integration and custom API options, but some platforms, like Nextiva, offer far more integrations than you’ll find with others, like Zoom.

While food trucks and restaurants with a single location may not see the value in software integrations, large restaurant groups should pay close attention to these tools when shopping for a new phone system. Many platforms, including Dialpad, offer integrations with Salesforce, letting restaurant supply companies automate call matching between the two systems with APIs and webhooks from Dialpad to grab account information faster.

Did You Know?Did you know
Cloud-based phone systems and their features rely on your internet connection to transmit data, with most providers advertising more than 99.9 percent uptime across their networks.

Choosing a Business Phone System for Restaurants

Follow these five steps to select the right business phone system for your restaurant.

1. Conduct market research.

Even if you’re an experienced restaurant operations manager, you’re probably not staying up to date with phone technology annually. That’s why it’s a good idea for everyone who’s considering a new phone system to browse a handful of online reviews, including those featured on our best picks page, to see the latest tools and features available. Once you get a sense of the myriad options available, you can begin to determine what makes the most sense for your restaurant.

2. Determine your exact needs.

Whether you’re setting up a new restaurant location or looking for a single phone line for a food truck business, you’ll want to take a detailed assessment of your communications needs, including the total number of lines, toll-free numbers, vanity numbers, IP phones, international calling capabilities, software integrations and any other new features you identified when conducting market research.

3. Contact vendors for demos.

Reach out to each business phone provider you’re considering, and ask to schedule a guided demo covering the tools and features you’re most interested in using. Once you’re done with your live demo, ask for help setting up a free trial account so you can begin putting what you saw into practice. The demo experience can tell you a lot about the service you can expect as a customer — just don’t forget that each demo is a tailored sales activity, and your actual experience may vary.

4. Compare the quotes.

Once you’ve completed your demos and free trials, you should be left with a small number of providers to consider. Take the time to compare each offer side by side and let price break the tie if you’re struggling to decide between options with similar capabilities.

5. Begin with a short-term contract.

Most business phone plan providers offer monthly and lower-cost annual service terms. If you have any doubts, we recommend beginning with a month-to-month contract to ensure you’re totally satisfied with the product and service before committing your business to an annual contract. With a free trial period and month of service, you’ll be able to extend your term commitment at a lower monthly rate with confidence. In some cases, you can secure a multiyear contract with a significant monthly discount.

TipTip
When in doubt, let price dictate your decisions, with the understanding that all of the major cloud-based phone service providers offer reliable options.

Advantages of Business Phone Systems for Restaurants

Cloud-based phone systems do a lot more than replace traditional phone lines. They provide clear and reliable digital communications through phone, text and video regardless of your location, whether that’s somewhere within your restaurant or a food truck on the road. Modern phone systems integrate with other essential business tools, including your CRM and POS systems, thus allowing you to collect valuable customer information and provide exceptional service with the help of multiple software applications. In terms of disadvantages, your call quality will be limited by your internet connectivity — but that’s about it.

Shortened Call Queues

With a cloud-based system, it’s easy to assign multiple devices to ring either simultaneously or in sequential order. With multiple devices in numerous hands, you can ensure someone is always ready to help with incoming questions and orders in a timely manner. For larger operations, AI-based routing can help manage customer interactions across all of your digital communication channels.

Valuable Customer Feedback

If you’re collecting your customers’ phone numbers, it’s easy to follow up via text once an order has been delivered and ensure everything has met or exceeded expectations. Some restaurant phone systems, like RingCentral, integrate with customer survey apps, providing deep insight into your restaurant’s people, processes and products. With the right data, you can make objective decisions quickly and improve your customers’ satisfaction.

Improved Take-Out Experience

Modern cloud-based phone systems make it easy to let your customers know when the kitchen has started on their order and provide an estimate for when it will be ready to pick up. Once your customer arrives, they can announce their arrival in a designated parking spot with a quick call or text reply.

24/7 Greeting and Information

Virtual assistants included with all cloud-based business phone systems make everything flow more smoothly during busy hours. When a host steps away to seat customers or becomes engaged with the waitstaff, your phone system can manage incoming calls through a menu with options to provide callers with hours and directions or route them to an office phone for reservations and take-out orders.

Did You Know?Did you know
You can still use your older landline desk phones with an IP phone adapter if you switch to a cloud-based system.

Business Phone Systems for Restaurants FAQs

A modern business phone system should feature an auto-receptionist or IVR to route calls and mobile communications, like text messages, to keep customers up to date. You will also want the ability to answer calls from multiple devices, including your mobile phone, so you’ll never miss a to-go order, reservation or important update from a supplier. With cloud-based systems, you’ll be able to integrate your communications with your other software applications, such as your POS system and your CRM platform.

Based on our reviews, the average entry-level cloud-based business phone system for restaurants starts around $17.78 per month. The price increases when you add more users, local numbers, toll-free numbers, phone hardware and other add-ons, like international calling and high-volume SMS. Most providers charge based on the number of user accounts, which is typically targeted to an office setting where each employee has a unique phone number, but smaller restaurants without corporate offices can think of each user as a unique phone.

Cloud-based phone systems such as RingCentral, Ooma, Nextiva, Zoom and Dialpad offer strong communication tools and features for restaurants, franchises and food trucks. Some platforms, like RingCentral and Ooma, have restaurant-specific tools to keep customers in the loop when their table is ready or make curbside pickup a breeze with text replies.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, most restaurants will need at least one front-of-house phone to take reservations or to-go orders and another back-of-house phone to manage day-to-day operations. Larger restaurants will often add a guest phone and use separate phones for the kitchen and office area.

Cloud-based phone systems are fast and easy to implement. In most instances, a small business can sign up for a phone plan and begin making calls the same day. If you’re transferring an existing number, you may have to wait a few business days for your former provider to release your number to your new provider.

author image
Jeff Hale, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
Jeff Hale is a communications and content marketing expert with extensive experience leading teams as a managing editor. He has deep knowledge of B2B communications technologies, including business phone systems and customer relationship management (CRM) software. Jeff is also an entrepreneur who knows the realities of launching and managing a small business, where he serves as a Content Director and SEO Consultant. In his role as an entrepreneur and professional, Jeff has identified new market opportunities for Fortune 500 clients and developed communications strategies and digital branding for tech startups and small businesses. Jeff holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Irvine, and an MBA from Chapman University.
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