Best Quick Service (QSR) POS Systems for Restaurants: 10 Must-Have Features
No matter what kind of cuisine your QSR is serving up, you need a POS system that can handle the pace. Here are the best quick service POS systems to consider.
If you operate a quick service restaurant, also known as a QSR, you know that speed is core to your concept. Quick is in the name for a reason.
And while the speed of your staff, the efficiency of your kitchen or back-of-house procedures, and your strategically curated menu all play a huge role in delivering on that quick service promise, there’s one huge piece of the puzzle that can make or break your restaurant’s success: the point of sale or POS platform you’re operating on.
So whether you’re a brand new restaurant owner looking for your first POS platform or a seasoned vet looking to make a switch, let’s find you a QSR POS that's quick enough to move orders through your kitchen, serve them out, and keep guests coming back.
Toast for Quick Service Restaurants
In early 2022, Toast announced Toast for Quick Service, a purpose-built solution for quick-service restaurants (QSR) of all sizes. Quick-service restaurants that run on Toast can increase sales and tips by improving their bottom line and serving guests faster with enhanced digital tools, ordering and payment workflows, and access to performance insights.
Toast for Quick Service is available for purchase today. Restaurant owners and operators can choose a solution that works best for their budget, from starter kits with no upfront costs starting at $0/month, to comprehensive plans with flexible payment options.
But don’t just take it from us. Here’s what others have to say about Toast:
Quick to learn, and even easier to use: Toast's restaurant-first platform is built with you in mind. Interested in learning more? Request a demo with a Toast specialist.
Find the right POS for your restaurant's unique needs
We’ll handle your info according to our privacy statement.
The best POS systems for quick service restaurants in 2023
Toast ranks #1 in the restaurant POS system category based on consumer reviews. G2 examines over 15 data points to determine market presence, using a combination of proprietary and third-party data, and exclusively uses consumer reviews to determine satisfaction. All of their scoring methodologies are explained in more detail on the G2 website, but we’ll provide a bit more information below.
How the G2 Grid Restaurant Review Scoring System Works
G2’s scoring system is based on thousands of customer reviews and a unique algorithm that helps to process the data and find meaningful patterns and results in real-time. Here’s a breakdown of the different elements in the grid and scoring system.
- X-Axis: Satisfaction, based on user reviews and feedback
- Y-Axis: Market presence, based on proprietary usage data, third-party data, and customer reviews
- Top right quadrant — Leaders: The restaurant POS systems that have both strong customer satisfaction ratings and a strong market presence
- Ex. Toast, Square, Lightspeed
- Top left quadrant — Contenders: POS systems with weak satisfaction scores and a strong market presence
- Ex. NCR Aloha POS
- Bottom right quadrant — High performers: POS platforms with strong satisfaction scores, but a weak market presence
- Ex. Upserve, CAKE
- Bottom left quadrant — Niche: These platforms have weak satisfaction scores and a weak market presence
- Ex. POSitouch, Payfacto
The G2 scoring methodology and grid system incorporate several attributes to surface the most helpful reviews for prospective technology customers. Some of the factors in satisfaction rates include customer satisfaction with product features, popularity, quality of reviews, age of reviews, net promoter scores (NPS), and more.
The top 8 features of a QSR POS system
1. Touchscreen point of sale (POS) terminals specifically designed for QSR
Modern point of sale (POS) technologies, like touchscreen terminals, exist to increase efficiency. They should be able to withstand the rigors of the restaurant with durable hardware, and they should be able to ensure that you and your team are always operating at the pace customers expect from a quick-service restaurant.
Many POS systems today, especially those used by quick service restaurants, have guest-facing screens, which allow guests to follow along as they order, quickly pay, and tip on the screen. This improves order accuracy and speed so your team can keep the line moving.
Best-in-class POS terminals can also take credit card and mobile payments via a reader directly integrated with the POS. Whichever payment processing device you go with, make sure it supports contactless Near Field Communication (NFC) — like Apple Pay and digital wallets — Europay Mastercard and Visa (EMV), and Magnetic Stripe Card (MSR).
The POS terminal is basically the heart of your restaurant technology. When choosing which POS platform to use for your quick service restaurant, keep speed, reliability, durability, and the ability to grow with your restaurant in mind.
2. Integrated online ordering
There’s no denying the power of online ordering — it’s growing 300% faster than in-house dining — but how can you implement it for your fast-paced restaurant?
Online ordering systems drive more revenue for your restaurant, allowing guests to order wherever and whenever. And with no one in line behind them, guests have the opportunity to linger over a menu with no pressure, making them more inclined to get that extra menu item. Plus, allowing the guest to place their own order online leads to more accurate orders, which means happier customers and less wasted inventory.
When choosing whether to go with a third-party online ordering service, such as Grubhub or UberEats, or an in-house online ordering solution, be sure to weigh the costs and benefits. While third-party services may allow you to reach new customers who haven’t heard about your restaurant before, they also come with a price: commission fees and no ownership over your own customer data. An in-house online ordering solution helps you control your brand and keep money in your pocket.
But if you do decide to use third-party online ordering services in addition to your own online ordering platform, be sure to go with one that directly integrates to avoid extra tablets cluttering the counter or double entry by your staff.
Overall, your customers are looking for you online — make sure your restaurant has a presence. Otherwise, they might go with another restaurant nearby instead.
3. Self-service QSR kiosks
Convenient and contactless, self-ordering kiosks simplify the guest experience in quick service environments.
Kiosks create a quick-and-easy ordering experience, allowing guests to customize their order with available add-ons and modifiers. They also streamline your front-of-house operations by freeing up your staff to handle important tasks elsewhere — an important benefit during a time of staffing challenges.
And, when you go with a cloud-based POS system like Toast, your kiosks are fully integrated with your POS. This means each order is sent directly from the kiosk to the line and allows for your staff to 86 an item or add daily specials from the POS terminal and have it reflected on the kiosks.
If you’re looking for a way to reduce wait times, put guests in control of their experience, and free up staff to handle other duties, look no further than self-ordering kiosks.
4. QSR Kitchen Display System (KDS)
A kitchen display system, also known as a KDS, helps to seamlessly connect your front-of-house and kitchen staff so they can work more efficiently and deliver orders to happy guests.
When choosing a KDS system for your QSR, be sure to look for restaurant-grade hardware that can handle the heat of a kitchen. You’re looking for something durable: an iPad screen probably won’t cut it. A KDS that directly integrates with your QSR POS also ensures that orders will be fired quickly and correctly to the kitchen as soon as the guest orders.
Toast KDS offers all of this and more:
- Digital ordering and Toast Go® 2 integrations
- All-day display and production item counts
- Multiple language support
- Advance prep station routing
- Kitchen productivity reporting
- SMS & in-app alerts for guests
- Color-coded modifiers for allergens and guest-requested mods
5. Mobile dining solutions and QR code capabilities
Without table service, waiting feels, well, worse.
While a full-service restaurant, or FSR, has the benefit of added guest patience, folks who come to a QSR are looking for their food fast. A study released in 2021 showed that wait times for drive-thru orders increased by more than 25 seconds that year, bringing the wait to an average wait of six minutes, 22 seconds. Inaccurate orders were also on the rise, increasing from 13% in 2020 to 15% in 2021.
Mobile dining solutions, such as Toast Mobile Order and Pay™, allow guests to take control of their ordering experience by browsing the menu, ordering, and closing their check with contactless payment options. By allowing your guests to place their own orders, you can decrease inaccuracies and even take advantage of upsell opportunities.
With Toast, you can implement a custom QR code to scan to order, allowing guests to effectively serve themselves and keep staff focused on meal prep. Rather than standing at the counter, guests have the freedom to take a short walk, wait in their car, or head back to the office until they receive a text — automatically sent by the Toast KDS — that their order is ready.
Plus, restaurants using Toast Mobile Order and Pay™ typically see an average 10% increase in revenue.1
6. Inventory management
Having a handle on your inventory is important no matter what type of restaurant you’re operating. But when it comes to quick service restaurants, the speed of business and perishable nature of the ingredients makes having a clear understanding of inventory even more important.
For example, the more fresh, perishable ingredients you use (looking at you, fast casual health concepts!) the higher your turnover should be to help prevent food waste. However, if your inventory turnover ratio is too high, it may mean you aren’t keeping enough stock on your shelves or maintaining par (periodic automatic replacement) levels.
These days, the pen and paper method of inventory management and even the slightly more technical Excel inventory strategy are not enough. Choosing a QSR POS platform that has an integrated food inventory management tool can reduce the margin of error and give you time back to focus on serving food, not crunching numbers.
xtraCHEF by Toast allows restaurant owners, like you, to perfect menu prices with precise product mixes, balance instincts with insights for more prescriptive costing, and most importantly, reduce costs.
7. Customer engagement, marketing, and loyalty programs
Customer engagement and loyalty programs tap into your regulars by giving them rewards for coming back again and again.
But when it comes to rewarding returning guests, gone are the days of punch cards and stamps. Toast Loyalty is a credit card-linked program that allows guests to accrue points with each swipe of their card. With an integrated loyalty program like Toast Loyalty, you can easily allow new customers to sign up with opt-in prompts on the checkout screen or self-ordering kiosks, helping you build your customer base without breaking a sweat. Plus, you can customize your sign-up bonuses, set accrual and redemption rates, and offer birthday rewards to tailor the experience to fit your brand and your budget.
And while restaurants may look to a third party for email marketing software, having one that is directly integrated with your POS means no more exporting your email addresses from one tool to another.
If your quick service restaurant is located near an office park, college campus, or other high-trafficked area, loyalty programs can provide that extra incentive to keep guests coming back.
8. Detailed customer and sales reporting
One of the biggest challenges for any restaurant type is determining when, and how, to pivot your offerings — especially in the face of historic inflation. But it becomes a lot easier with the right QSR POS software.
Choosing a POS platform that offers integrated reporting and analytics lets you keep pace with performance in real-time. Plus, cloud-based POS platforms like Toast allow you to access this data from anywhere, at any time. No more waiting days or weeks to review results. With Toast, you get automatic nightly business metrics straight to your inbox. What more could a QSR ask for?!
Curious how that new menu item is doing? A product mix report lets you track sales of a menu item across all your menus. Or maybe you want to reduce your business days due to the ongoing worker shortage? View performance on specific days of the week to identify which days are the slowest.
Integrated sales reporting helps you work smarter, not harder, and keep your quick service restaurant serving meals with speed and ease.
9. Integrations with all of your favorite restaurant tools
When looking for a QSR POS system for your restaurant, it’s important to choose a platform that offers integrations with the most widely used restaurant software. This way, you can easily connect your favorite tools, such as online ordering platforms, delivery services, reservation apps, team management software, digital signage, and more.
Toast’s Partner Integrations can help you drive an efficient process in every area of your restaurant. Plus, Toast is the only POS platform with direct integrations with Doordash, Grubhub, UberEats, Caviar, and Postmates.
You can view all of our integrations here to help seamlessly integrate your current tools with Toast POS for your quick-service restaurant.
10. Streamlined payroll and team management processes
As a restaurant owner, you have a lot on your plate. From hiring and menu management to marketing and invoicing, you likely don’t have a lot of downtime.
So, when looking for a POS platform for your QSR, find one that makes your processes easier — including payroll.
Abdul Hugais is the co-owner and founder of Classic Burgers, a quick-service restaurant specializing in made-to-order burgers in California. Abdul was no stranger to the burden of administrative tasks. His old payroll process is probably familiar to many of you reading this: “We would have to count the hours at the end of the week and I would either fax or email [the timesheets] to the bookkeeper,” he began. “A few days later, she would fax or email me back and I would go into work, write checks, and hand them to the employees. A lot of steps, a lot of processes, a lot of time,” said Abdul.
But once Classic Burgers made the switch to Toast Payroll & Team Management, everything changed.
“It takes me a few minutes a week. Everything goes directly to my employees’ bank accounts so it’s just very simple and very easy,” says Abdul.
You have the drive, grit, and determination it takes to be a restaurant owner… but you can’t do it all. Choose a QSR POS that gives you time back to focus on what matters.
Your QSR deserves the best restaurant technology.
Trusted by quick-service restaurants of all sizes, Toast is built for you.
Set your restaurant up for success by opting for a cloud-based POS system, like Toast, that will grow with you and allow you to drive great hospitality — even without the table service.
At the end of the day, reliable POS hardware and software will both improve your business's bottom line and help your establishment become one of the hottest joints in town.
Find the right POS for your restaurant's unique needs
We’ll handle your info according to our privacy statement.
Related quick service restaurant resources
- Mei Mei Restaurant Grows With Quick Service Software
- Drive Repeat Visits to Your Quick Service Concept with Restaurant Loyalty Program Software
- Benefits of Operating a Fast Casual Restaurant
- The Most Important Types of Restaurant Technology and Hardware
- DK Sushi Uses Toast Kiosks to Deliver a Seamless Quick Service Guest Experience
- What is Tip Pooling and How Does Your Staff Really Feel About It?
- How to Combat the Restaurant Worker Shortage with Technology
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.