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Updated Mar 14, 2024

The Benefits of Restaurant iPad POS Systems

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Skye Schooley, Senior Lead Analyst & Expert on Business Operations

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There are many types of point-of-sale (POS) systems for restaurants and some are designed specifically for iPads. These systems let you conduct your sales, track your inventory and accept gift cards directly from the iPad. In addition, restaurant iPad POS systems can be mobile or stationary, allowing you to ring up customer orders from any location. If you’re considering an iPad POS system for your restaurant, learn how it can benefit your business.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right POS system for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

How an iPad POS system can benefit your restaurant

Restaurants have unique POS needs and tablet-based systems are often a great solution. If you are considering a restaurant iPad POS system, here are a few of the features and benefits these types of POS systems offer restaurants.

Tableside payment processing

With iPad POS systems, you have the luxury of being mobile. Some restaurants have started putting iPads at tables so customers can order and pay without talking to a server. When customers’ checks are ready, you can process their payments right at the table. Instead of taking a credit card or gift card to the POS cash register and bringing back a receipt for signature, you can process the payment and accept a signature directly on the iPad. This streamlines the payment process for both customers and your employees.

Did You Know?Did you know

Mobile ordering and payment processing are becoming preferred practices by many customers. A restaurant report by Square found that 23 percent of consumers prefer to pay tableside.

Inventory management

Your iPad POS system helps you track your inventory automatically. It can also provide you with a detailed list of which items need to be restocked as well as send you email notifications. A good iPad POS system can show you which ingredients are popular. This lets you stay on top of your ordering and enables you to see which items are customer favorites. 

Cloud access

The information your iPad POS processes is stored in the cloud. This means that you can access your account from any internet-enabled device. If you need to make changes to your inventory, you can do so easily from your desktop computer. When you make changes from there, the system will update automatically so you can see your changes on the iPad in real time. 

Easy setup

One of the most significant benefits of using an iPad POS system is how easy it is to set up and use its POS features. All that is required to operate an iPad POS system is an iPad, the cloud-based software and a credit card reader, which is often provided by the credit card processor your POS provider partners with. [Read related: The Best Credit Card Processors of 2024]

After setting up your account, employees can use the iPad POS system instantly to assist customers and place orders. The simplicity of an iPad system ensures that nearly everyone can use the program without needing in-depth training. If you need to offer employees training, many POS system providers can help you get started.

FYIDid you know

Using the right restaurant technology, like POS systems and online reservation software, is a great way to increase your profit.

Best iPad POS systems for restaurants

There are several highly rated iPad POS systems on the market, but the best one for your business will depend on your specific needs and your budget. We spent countless hours researching and analyzing various options to help you find the best POS system for your restaurant. Here are a few of our top choices for iPad POS systems.


Lightspeed offers POS systems for the restaurant, retail and golf industries. For those looking for a restaurant POS system, pricing starts at $69 per month. You can also add restaurant-specific features like a customer-facing display system, a kitchen display system (KDS), an order pickup screen, accounting and PMS integrations, gift card capabilities and delivery integrations. Check out our Lightspeed review to learn how it can benefit your business.

Lightspeed tracking customer data

Lightspeed’s platform gives you all the tools to track your customer data. Source: Lightspeed


Another top iPad POS system is CAKE by Mad Mobile. It is especially useful for restaurants needing an efficient POS system. Plans start at $69 per month and include hardware, menu management, payment processing, quick response code payments and 24/7 support. It also offers commission-free online ordering, gift cards, marketing, loyalty programs, kiosks, KDS and a guest manager. Read our review on CAKE to learn more.

Cake iPad POS system

CAKE’s iPad POS system gives the flexibility to take orders tableside and send them straight to the kitchen. Source; CAKE


Square is an excellent POS option for quick-service, fast-service and fast-casual restaurants as well as bars, breweries and ghost kitchens. It is one of the only POS systems we analyzed that offers a free plan. It also offers monthly paid plans starting at $60 per device plus credit card processing fees. It has several restaurant-specific features, such as menu management, table management, floor plan customizations and contactless order and delivery. Read our Square review to learn more.

Square simple interface

Square has a simple interface that makes it easy to navigate. Source: Square


This all-in-one POS system is compatible with iPads, iPad Pros and iPad Minis. Plans start at $69 per month. TouchBistro has more than 200 restaurant-specific features, such as ingredient-level tracking, tableside ordering and payments, drag-and-drop table management tools, customer management and loyalty programs. Check out our TouchBistro review to learn more about how it can benefit your business.

TouchBistro iPad POS

TouchBistro’s iPad POS system gives restaurants complete control over their reservations and table management. Source: TouchBistro

How to turn your iPad into a POS system

There are only a few things that you must have when using your iPad as a POS system. These are the iPad, a card reader and the POS system you choose. You must take steps to set up your iPad as a POS.

1. Set up the iPad.

Since they are generally meant for personal use, the default iPad settings are often geared to this. You’ll want to change them before you use an iPad as a POS. First, create a new Apple ID for business purposes only. If you use your personal ID, your personal information will be available on the device.

Next, you will want to turn off auto updates and disable Siri. You aren’t likely to need her when using your iPad as a POS. Updates are important but you don’t want them occurring during business hours.

You may need to disable the screen lock and turn off the auto-sleep setting, particularly if you use it as a kiosk. You may need to turn off the auto-brightness function as well so you can select the brightness that works best in your environment. If you are concerned about what employees or customers may do on the iPad, you can set up guided access. When the tablet is in guided access mode, it will allow you to access only the apps that you choose for guided access mode.

2. Find and set up a POS.

Once your iPad is ready for business, download a POS app. You can find these in the App Store. To find a POS for your business, browse the App Store or check online reviews for top-rated options.

TipBottom line

Read our guide on how to find the right mobile POS system before making any commitments.

Once you’ve chosen and downloaded a POS app, sign into a merchant verification service to begin processing payments. You’ll also need to add your menu items and the number of tables at your restaurant. You may need to enter your inventory as well so that the POS system can keep track of it for you. The POS system will guide you through this process.

3. Add peripherals.

Many businesses find that they need peripherals for the iPad POS. These include a receipt printer, tablet stand and cash drawer. You can purchase equipment bundles to ensure that everything is compatible. Be sure that they’re also compatible with your POS system and iPad. Once you have connected your peripherals to your iPad, you are ready to use your iPad as a POS.

Whitney Sanchez contributed to this article.

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Skye Schooley, Senior Lead Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
Skye Schooley is a human resources writer at and Business News Daily, where she has researched and written more than 300 articles on HR-focused topics including human resources operations, management leadership, and HR technology. In addition to researching and analyzing products and services that help business owners run a smoother human resources department, such as HR software, PEOs, HROs, employee monitoring software and time and attendance systems, Skye investigates and writes on topics aimed at building better professional culture, like protecting employee privacy, managing human capital, improving communication, and fostering workplace diversity and culture.
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