The Best Bakery and Coffee Shop POS Systems: 8 Must-Have Features

Cafe Hero

You opened your coffee shop because you love caffeine and hospitality, not cash registers. We’re here to make sense of which coffee shop POS system is best in 2023.

When it comes to running a coffee shop, your focus is likely on hiring and retaining staff, crafting the best-tasting lattes in town, and discovering new, unique ways to get guests to come back time and time again.

But all of that is made harder by a clunky point of sale (POS) system that can’t keep up and doesn’t offer the features you need. 

Restaurant technology is constantly changing, and nothing has caused a more significant shift in how consumers use technology than the COVID-19 pandemic. With an increased need for contactless options, such as takeout and online ordering, it’s more important than ever to choose a coffee shop POS platform that offers all the bells and whistles while remaining easy to use and affordable. 

Whether you’re just starting your journey as a cafe owner or you’ve been in business for years, let’s determine the best POS system for your coffee shop and which software features you should consider if you want to serve a lot more lattes in 2022.

The best POS systems for coffee shops, cafes, and bakeries in 2022

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.

Toast for coffee shops, cafes, and bakeries

Toast's Starter Kit package is the ideal POS system for cafes or coffee shops with fewer than 10 employees. With the choice between a countertop or handheld kit, Toast’s Starter Kit helps you get up and running fast with intuitive tools that help your staff focus on food and hospitality, not complicated software. 

The Toast Pay as You Go plan keeps startup costs low by including Starter Kit Hardware for $0* (just pay shipping and taxes), and eliminating monthly POS software subscription fees. The payment processing fee covers all costs, meaning Toast only gets paid when you do. One flat rate applies for all credit card transactions, regardless of card type and entry method.

(Have more than 10 employees? Schedule a quick demo today with a Toast specialist to discuss which Toast products and packages would be best for you.)

With Toast, you can serve up coffees or pastries fast with easy and efficient tools, all at your fingertips. From 24/7 reliability to flexible options for every budget, here's to finally getting that me time back.

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.

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The top 8 features of a coffee shop POS system

When it comes to running your coffee shop, you have enough on your plate. From deciding on your menu and hiring employees to providing great hospitality and managing inventory, being a cafe owner is no piece of cake. But choosing the right coffee shop POS technology will make a lot of these tasks easier and more efficient.

Here are the top eight features to consider when choosing a coffee shop POS. 

1. A reliable and modern cloud-based POS terminal

When it comes down to it, everything in the front of house revolves around one thing: the register.

Without a POS system, you wouldn’t be able to process orders or collect payments. So while you may have the friendliest baristas in town or espresso strong enough to wake up the whole city, the POS hardware you install helps keep track of cash and, in effect, keeps the doors open for more customers.

Finding a terminal that’s easy to use and train employees on—as well as one that can manage all on-prem and off-prem order sources in one system—can help integrate FOH and BOH to reduce ticket times and improve customer service. A cloud-based POS terminal helps link the various technologies you’re using, such as handhelds, a kitchen display system or KDS, a payroll system, and more.

Toast Point of Sale
Learn how a better point of sale system can help you run your restaurant.

2. Guest-facing POS screen

This is how it’s always been: your customer says their order, the server or cashier repeats the order back to confirm, they swipe their card, a receipt prints, and they sign with a pen.

Rinse and repeat. 

But what if your customers could see their order in real-time on a guest-facing screen, sign with the swipe of a finger, and cut down on wait times?

Guest-facing POS displays do just that, improving order accuracy and giving guests the transparency they want. 

3. Integrated kitchen display system

When it comes to early-morning rush hour, staff shouldn’t have to fumble with paper receipts to keep up.

A kitchen display system (KDS) is a digital screen used to view orders at a glance. A KDS replaces printers and physical tickets. Some kitchen display systems can even automatically fire orders based on prep time, ensuring that one item doesn’t get cold while another is still being prepped. Plus, having a KDS allows your staff to be both efficient and sustainable by cutting down on paper use.

Hardware Built for Restaurants
Power your restaurant with hardware that won't let you down.

4. Self-ordering kiosks

Convenient and contactless, self-ordering kiosks simplify the guest experience in quick service environments, like most cafes or coffee shops.

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. Out of vanilla syrup? Need to add a daily special on the fly? No worries. 

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 for your cafe or bakery.

5. Handheld POS technology

If you own a full-service cafe, handheld POS technology is a great option for you. Your servers can take orders directly from the table—no more running back and forth from customer to terminal. They’re an amazing tool to have on hand for line busting during your busiest times and, overall, drive a better experience for guests. 

Toast Go® 2
The Next Generation of Handheld POS

6. Contactless and mobile payment options

The pandemic expedited what’s been a long-simmering push toward contactless POS hardware. Offering contactless payment options, whether via a tap reader at the terminal or with an option to order and pay at the table, allows customers to maintain distance from staff and makes it easier to pay quickly and safely.

Plus, mobile dining solutions such as Toast Mobile Order & Pay™ can be a huge delighter for guests; this technology means that your regular who works remotely from your cafe can order a second coffee without having to get up! 

7. Cafe loyalty program

Offering a rewards and loyalty program for your regulars will keep them coming back time and time again. Gone are the days of punch cards to keep track of coffee orders; in 2022, it’s all about digital loyalty programs.

Designed to attract and retain guests, loyalty programs allow guests to rack up points-based rewards that can be customized by you. From setting up sign-up bonuses and accrual and redemption rates, or even special rewards for birthdays or anniversaries, loyalty programs reward your frequent supporters and gamify the experience of visiting your cafe. 

“The Toast POS has been a great asset in building our customer loyalty and communication, through marketing and rewards add-ons and seamless integration with the customer displays in-store. Customer retention/loyalty can be a bit of a moving target, but the tools Toast equips us with are perfect for navigating the customer's needs and response.” - Christian J, coffee shop owner

(Read the full review on G2)

Toast Loyalty
Toast Loyalty is a simple, integrated rewards program that restaurant owners can use to increase guest frequency.

Other things to keep in mind when choosing coffee shop POS technology

  • No use crying over spilled oat milk! Whichever POS hardware you choose, make sure it can withstand the wear and tear of accidental drops and spills.
  • Your POS technology should be versatile enough to process different payment options and support both online and offline orders. 
  • User-friendly POS hardware is a must, whether your staff is taking orders or customers are using self-service kiosks. With relatively high employee turnover in cafes, implementing a POS system that’s easy to use will make a huge impact when onboarding new baristas.

Deliver a better experience with POS technology that is built for your coffee shop or bakery

Whether your cafe is a quick grab-and-go spot or a place for students to spend hours in with their laptops, it’s important to find the right coffee shop POS technology for your needs.

Trusted by thousands of coffee shops and restaurants of all sizes, Toast is built for you.

Set your cafe 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 lead to happier staff and customers.

Related coffee shop, cafe, and bakery resources

*Pricing applies to new customers and single locations only.

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.