What Hardware Do I Need For My POS System?

The type of POS hardware you need for your restaurant POS system will depend greatly on the the type of establishment you run.

For example, are you a coffee shop or cafe? Are you a full service or fine dining restaurant? Are you a bar, club, lounge? Hotel, pizza place or a quick service restaurant? The types of bars and restaurants out there are eclectic and wide-ranging, so the type of POS hardware you need depends.

Restaurant POS systems have become an essential tool for restaurants looking to streamline their operations and improve the customer experience. With a wide range of POS systems available in the market, it is crucial to select the right hardware to meet the unique needs of your restaurant.

pos hardware

In this article, we will discuss the essential and optional POS hardware components required for a restaurant POS system and provide tips for making an informed decision.

POS System Overview

Before diving into the specific hardware components, it is essential to understand what a Point of Sale system is and its benefits. Restaurant POS systems are computer-based software that allows businesses to manage and process customer transactions. It typically includes hardware, such as a touch screen, scanner, and printer, and software that manages inventory, sales, and customer data.

Our #1 Pick For Best Restaurant POS System

lightspeed pos

The benefits of having the right POS system in a restaurant setting are numerous. It can help restaurants improve efficiency, reduce wait times, enhance the overall customer experience and it can actually increase your ROI (Return on Investment). A well-designed POS system can also help restaurants manage inventory and track sales data, providing valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences.

What Exactly is “POS Hardware” For Restaurant POS Systems

A restaurant POS system typically consists of several hardware components that work together to provide a seamless customer experience. Depending on your existing hardware (assuming you already have a POS system), you’ll want to sift through and see exactly what you need. Here are the essential and optional POS hardware components that every restaurant owner should consider when selecting their POS system.

What is the Difference Between POS Hardware and POS Software?

POS hardware is the actual physical pieces that you can touch, such as the POS monitor, cash drawer, printers, kitchen display system, etc.

POS software allows the system to run as any computer software does. It takes in the orders, processes them, runs them to the kitchen, and processes payments, to name a few. Your POS software should also have great analytics and reporting features to help you boost your profits and increase your efficiency.

Essential POS Hardware Components You Need

Whether for fine dining restaurants or quick service restaurants, these POS hardware components are considered imperative to have for restaurant POS systems if you want to run your business as efficiently as possible.

Touchscreen Display

POS Touchscreen Display

Touchscreen displays are nothing new, but they are a vital component of any restaurant POS system. It allows staff to input orders, access menus, and process payments quickly and accurately. Touchscreens can be standalone devices or integrated into the POS system’s terminal, allowing staff to move around the restaurant with ease.

When selecting a touchscreen display, it is essential to consider factors such as screen size, resolution, and durability. A larger screen size and higher resolution can help staff see order details and menu items more clearly, while a durable touchscreen can withstand the daily wear and tear of a busy restaurant.

POS Terminal

POS hardware

A point of sale terminal is the central hub of a restaurant’s POS system. This POS hardware typically includes a computer, cash drawer, and receipt printer. The terminal connects all of the components of the POS system, allowing staff to process orders and payments quickly and accurately.

When selecting a POS terminal, it is essential to consider factors such as processing speed, compatibility with other hardware components, and ease of use. A faster processing speed can help staff complete transactions more quickly, while compatibility with other hardware components can ensure a seamless integration of the Point of Sale system.

Payment Processing Terminal (Credit Card Reader)

POS credit card reader

A payment processing terminal is a fundamental component of restaurant POS systems, allowing the staff to process debit and credit card payments quickly and securely. Payment processing terminals can be standalone devices or integrated into the POS terminal, allowing for a streamlined checkout process.

When selecting a payment processing terminal, it is essential to consider factors such as compatibility with the POS system, processing speed, and security features. A payment processing terminal should be easy to use and secure to protect customer data.

Kitchen Display Systems

Lightspeed kitchen display system

A Kitchen Display System (KDS) used to be considered an optional component for POS hardware, but it’s becoming less optional by the day. The best restaurant POS systems today carry kitchen display systems to improve their daily operations. The old school receipt printers do nothing to aid the kitchen staff and they leave a mess of paper everywhere.

Kitchen Display Systems help improve efficiency in the kitchen by a large margin. A kitchen display system hangs behind the line and shows the order details to the cooks, including: what time the orders came in, cooking times, and other important information directly in the kitchen. When the order is ready, the cooks can also remove the order from the kitchen display system so they know the order is complete.

Looking at a point of sale system like GoTab, any kitchen display system you choose will have the ability to actually communicate with the guests via text message.

gotab kds

For example, if an order comes in on the KDS, and the cook notices that the dish is out of an ingredient, like onion rings, he/she can text the guest directly.

“Sorry, but we have recently run out of onion rings. Would you like something else with your burger.”

The guest can then text back something like, “Sure, I’ll have fries.”

Such communication is extremely efficient and provides great customer service to the guests.

Check Out Our GoTab Review Here

Finally, when selecting a kitchen display system, it is essential to consider factors such as compatibility with your POS system, ease of use, and durability. A well-designed kitchen display system can help reduce errors in the kitchen, improve communication between staff members, and increase overall efficiency.

Cash Drawers

POS cash drawer

Despite the ever-growing popularity of credit cards and digital payments, there is still a need for cash drawers until cash becomes obsolete. This means under POS hardware requirements, for now you will still need a cash drawer.

As you most likely know already, when a staff member punches in a sale and cash is used, he/she enters the transaction amount into the POS system, which then sends a signal to the cash drawer to open.

Most cash drawers are designed to hold different denominations of currency, with separate compartments for coins and bills. Some cash drawers also have a slot for storing checks and receipts.

POS system cash drawers come in different sizes and configurations to meet the needs of different types of retail environments. Some cash drawers are small and portable, while others are larger and designed for high-volume transactions.

In addition to managing cash, some point of sale system cash drawers also have additional features, such as the ability to print receipts or provide alerts when the drawer is opened or closed. These features can help retailers better manage their transactions and reduce the risk of theft or errors.

Thermal Receipt Printers

POS receipt printer

Receipt printers may one day become extinct as well when it comes to POS hardware requirements. With the growing popularity of kitchen display systems, the receipt printer may fall to the wayside.

Thermal receipt printers are used for both the restaurant and the guests.

The restaurant uses the receipt printer for orders. When an oder is placed into the restaurant pos system, it is printed up in the kitchen so 1) the cooks know what to make, and 2) so the staff can see what food is ready and needs to be run to the table.

The receipt printer is also used for the guests. When they are ready for the check, a server or bartender prints it out from the POS system and presents it to the guest for payment.

As credit cards, digital payments and kitchen display systems become more and more popular, thermal receipt printers will wane in popularity.

Optional POS Hardware Components

Here we will list POS hardware that we recommend for POS systems if want to up your game even further.

Mobile POS Ordering Devices

Handheld ordering device

Mobile POS ordering devices, such as tablets or smartphones, are optional POS hardware components that can help staff take orders and process payments directly at the table. This can improve the customer experience by reducing wait times and allowing staff to spend more time interacting with customers.

When selecting mobile ordering devices, it is essential to consider factors such as compatibility with the POS system, battery life, and durability. A well-designed mobile ordering device can improve staff efficiency and reduce the risk of errors by allowing orders to be entered directly at the table.

Barcode Scanners

POS barcode scanner

Barcode scanners is another optional POS hardware component that can help restaurants manage inventory more efficiently. They allow staff to scan barcodes on products, reducing the time and effort required to input data manually.

When selecting a barcode scanner, it is essential to consider factors such as compatibility with the POS system, scanning speed, and durability. A well-designed barcode scanner can help restaurants manage inventory more accurately and efficiently, reducing the risk of stockouts and overstocking.

Customer-Facing Display

POS Customer-Facing Display

A customer-facing display is a convenient POS hardware pice for your restaurant POS system (especially Quick Service Restaurants or QSR’s) that can improve the customer experience. It allows customers to see their order details and the total cost of their order, reducing the need for staff to repeat information.

When selecting a customer-facing display, it is essential to consider factors such as compatibility with the POS system, screen size, and durability. A well-designed customer-facing display can improve communication between staff and customers and enhance the overall dining experience.

Customer-facing displays are rare for full service restaurants where the guests sit and eat. But for quick service restaurants they are perfect because the guests are ordering and paying right at the counter.

Choosing the Right Hardware for Your Restaurant POS System

Choosing the right hardware for a restaurant POS system can be challenging, but there are several factors that restaurant owners and managers should consider when making their selection. These include:


The cost of a POS system can vary significantly depending on the hardware components selected. It is essential to consider the overall cost of the system, including any ongoing fees for software updates or maintenance.

If you use the link below to sign-up for a Lightspeed demo and you eventually sign up with them, Lightspeed will give you up to $2,000 off the hardware to get you started. Not a bad way to get started.

Lightspeed is currently ranked as our #1 restaurant POS system on the market.

Sign-Up for a Lightspeed Demo Here

Read our Lightspeed Review Here


It is crucial to ensure that all hardware components are compatible with each other and the POS software being used. This can help avoid compatibility issues and ensure a seamless integration of the POS system. These are questions you need to ask before buying a POS system.


POS hardware components for restaurant POS systems must be able to withstand the daily wear and tear of a busy restaurant. It is important to select POS hardware components that are durable and can withstand spills, drops, and other common hazards.

Ease of Use

In addition, POS hardware components for a restaurant POS system must be easy to use, even for staff members with limited technical experience. It is important to select hardware components that are intuitive and easy to navigate. There is nothing worse than guests receiving horrible customer service because your staff is hung up trying to figure out how something works.

POS Hardware Most Frequently Asked Questions

What POS hardware is a must for a restaurant pos system?

Depending on the type and size of your restaurant, as well as the needs of your particular restaurant, these are the most indispensable components you should have for your POS system:

  • Touchscreen Display
  • POS Terminal
  • Payment Processing Terminal (Credit Card Reader)
  • Kitchen Display System
  • Cash Drawer
  • Thermal Receipt Printer

Can I use my exiting pos hardware when purchasing a new point of sale system?

This depends on the POS company you choose to go with. Some companies, demand that you use their hardware and only their hardware, but some of the best restaurant pos systems allow you to bring your own.

Systems like Lightspeed POS and Gotab allow you to use your own POS hardware, as long as it is compatible with their POS software. You’ll want to make sure to ask during your demo whatever POS providers you choose to check out.

How much does POS hardware cost?

The cost for POS restaurant hardware varies depending on varying factors, including the type of hardware and the brand of the hardware. Below is a general range of pricing of what each component might cost:

Point of Sale (POS) Terminals

These are the main components of a restaurant POS system, which includes a monitor, cash drawer, and credit card reader. The cost range for a basic POS terminal is typically between $1,000 to $3,000.

Receipt Printers

These are used for receipts for customers, and the cost range for a basic thermal receipt printer is typically between $150 to $300.

Kitchen Printers

These are used to print orders in the kitchen and the cost range for a basic kitchen printer is typically between $300 to $600.

Mobile POS Devices

These are used by servers to take orders and process payments at the table. The cost range for a basic mobile POS device is typically between $400 to $800.

Cash Registers

These are used for businesses that handle cash transactions, and the cost range for a basic cash register is typically between $200 to $500.

Barcode Scanners

These are used to scan items and prices, and the cost range for a basic barcode scanner is typically between $100 to $300.

Touchscreen Displays

On average, a 15-inch touchscreen display can cost between $200 to $500, while a 17-inch display can range from $300 to $700. Displays with larger screen sizes, such as 19-inch or 22-inch, can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000 or more.

Most Frequently Asked Questions About POS Systems

How much does a restaurant pos system cost?

A basic POS system for a small business may cost around $1,000 to $2,000 for hardware, software, and installation. More complex systems with advanced features and capabilities, such as inventory management, customer relationship management, and analytics, can cost significantly more, ranging from $5,000 to $7,000 or more.

However, a good restaurant POS system should be able to produce a high ROI (return on investment) which will increase your profits and should pay for the cost and a whole lot more.

How do I go about selecting the right restaurant pos system?

Selecting the best restaurant pos system for your business can be an overwhelming task. The best thing you can do is schedule demos so you can see how the system works and you can ask all the right questions to find the perfect fit for your restaurant.

What questions should I ask when demoing for different POS systems?

You should definitely be thorough when it comes to looking for the best restaurant pos system. Instead of listing all of the questions right here, you can go here to get a list of all the questions you should be asking before purchasing any of the POS systems out there.

Buying a POS System? [10 Questions You Need to Ask]

What features should a restaurant pos system have?

Most pos systems have similar features. The difference comes in how they charge you. Some include many of the features in their pricing tiers, while others charge for features as POS integrations and add-ons.

With that said, these are the most common POS features you should be looking for:

  • Online Ordering
  • Menu Management
  • Table Management
  • Payment Processing
  • Loyalty Programs
  • Staff Management
  • Reporting and Analytics

Which restaurant POS system is best?

Lightspeed POS

When it comes to finding the perfect restaurant management system, you will find many differing opinions on the matter. The team here at TheRealBarman believe that these are the top 4 best POS systems on the market today. You can click on any of them to schedule a demo.

Best Overall: Lightspeed for Restaurants

Best Runner-Up: GoTab

Best Customer Service: Rezku POS

Honorable Mention: Toast POS

Final Word

Selecting the right hardware components for a restaurant POS system is essential for improving efficiency, reducing wait times, and enhancing the overall customer experience. When selecting restaurant POS hardware components, it is essential to consider factors such as compatibility, cost, durability, and ease of use.

Again, make sure to sign-up for a demo with several POS providers so you can make sure to get the right POS system for you and your business.