POS System Assesment: Hidden Costs & Considerations

ipos point of sale in Florida

When selecting a POS system for your business, it’s crucial to consider three key factors: functionalities, seamless integration into existing workflows, and budget. A modern and robust POS system should have the necessary capabilities for managing and operating your business. However, the quality and range of services it provides depends on the specific features you choose.

Standard plans usually do not include all the essential tools. Adding features to complete the necessary set eventually will be required. This can impact your budget, so the final cost of your POS solution may differ significantly from the advertised price. Furthermore, these add-ons make the selection process less transparent, potentially causing confusion for future buyers.

Since budget is a major factor in choosing the perfect POS system, this blog post will focus on the hidden costs that are often overlooked but can significantly impact your expenses when the bills arrive. We will examine not only the prices of add-ons but also the expenses you can significantly reduce by using a more comprehensive POS solution. 

Ready to uncover the true costs and find the best POS system for your business? Let’s evaluate four popular POS solutions on the market: Toast, Clover, Square, and iPos.

Standard Plans Features: What Toats, Clover, Square, and iPos include?

Let’s start from the beginning! What do the standard plans from each of these four POS system providers offer? Is that REALLY what your restaurant needs to thrive?  

What can you get from popular cloud-based POS Systems in the Standard Plan?
POS Solutions
Hardware Light Station
(iPad 10.2, Thermal Receipt Printer, Full Payment 3-in-1)
Toast FLEX
(Tablet + Full Payment 3 in 1 + Stand)
Square Stand Kit
(Full Payment 3 in 1) + Ipad
Station Solo
(Full Payment 3 in 1+Table)
Features Included in the Standard Plan (Software)
Online Ordering x Include a Free Tier
Website x
Integrated Delivery System x x x
Loyalty Program x x
Inventory Management x
Kitchen Solution Software x x
Payroll Management x x x
Tips Manager x x x
SMS x x x
Dynamic Pricing Feature x x x

With this information in mind, it is time to discuss deeply about plans, features, and final budget assessment in each of those 4 excellent POS Systems providers.

How Does Pricing for a POS System Work?


POS solutions in today’s market typically offer different plans tailored to businesses of various sizes. These plans may include hardware and software. Hardware often requires either an upfront payment or an installment plan, and software is usually available through monthly fee plans. Additional features often come at an extra cost.

Most standard POS plans for small businesses include digital menus, secure payment processing, and table and order management. However, they may lack essential functionalities such as:

– Online ordering systems

– Integrated delivery systems

– Mobile order and pay software

– Kitchen software solutions for automatic orders

– Payroll, Team, and Tips management

– Dynamic pricing features

But does opting for an affordable standard plan mean you have to forego these functionalities? Absolutely not! However, it DOES mean you might need to PAY EXTRA to customize your plan. 

While modern POS solutions are highly customizable, the initial attractive monthly fee can increase significantly once you add the features necessary to fit your specific needs. 

Features and Seamless Integration with a Budget Perspective When Choosing a POS


Effective integration within a unified POS system can streamline operations by ensuring the smooth flow of orders, payments, and stock information. This leads to faster and more efficient workflows, reducing customer wait times, minimizing errors, and enhancing the customer experience. Overall, it results in increased sales, greater brand awareness, and higher revenues.

Additionally, seamless integration provides valuable sales and customer data. These insights into customer preferences, peak times, and popular payment methods can be leveraged to optimize menu designs, implement strategic pricing, and execute targeted marketing campaigns. Ultimately, these actions can lead to higher profit margins, improved customer retention, and, once again, increased revenues.

How much Does a Toast POS System actually Cost?

Toast POS costs $0-$165+/month for POS system software, $627-$1,034 for POS hardware, and 2.49%-3.69% in payment processing fees. For small and medium-sized food businesses, Toast provides a standard plan that costs starting at a $69.00 monthly fee over the hardware price. Based on the information available from the Toast POS pricing page, the standard plan includes the following features:

  • Cloud-based point of sale
  • Advanced real-time reporting
  • Order and table management
  • Menu management
  • 24/7 customer care
  • Installation and configuration

While Toast offers a powerful platform, the standard plan lacks some features crucial for comprehensive restaurant management. These features, often considered essential, come as add-ons with additional monthly costs:

  • Digital Ordering: Online ordering and Toast TakeOut app listing for $75/month.
  • Third-Party Delivery: Grubhub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats for $75/month.
  • Loyalty Programs: $50/month, and Gift Cards require another $50/month.
  • Kitchen Automation: Software for automatic order routing costs $25/month.
  • Branded Website: A professional website with your domain costs $75/month.
  • Payroll and Scheduling: Toast Payroll and Toast Scheduling are charged with custom quotes based on the number of employees and locations.
  • Inventory Management: Integrated inventory management software (cost not specified).
  • Email Marketing: for $75/month.

The lack of core functionalities can quickly add costs to the initially appealing price. For example, to run a restaurant successfully in today’s digital world, you will need at least the online ordering feature and an integrated website. This adds $150 per month, turning the initial cost into $219/month.

Additionally, Toast runs exclusively on its Android POS hardware, limiting your choices. To use Toast, you will need to purchase Toast hardware, making migration from other POS solutions a considerable investment. All these additional costs can quickly add up, making Toast an expensive solution.

Square Pos: Features and Affordability Assessment

Square is a versatile Point of Sale (POS) system for businesses of all sizes, including retail stores, restaurants, and appointment-based services. It charges a percentage per transaction of 2.6% + 10¢ for swiped or tapped card transactions.

Square for Restaurants Plus costs $60 per month, per location and $40 per month for each additional POS device. This plan includes features like:

  • Menu and table management
  • Advanced inventory tools with forecasting for reordering items
  • A free tier of online ordering (with a more robust system available in a pricier plan)
  • Delivery integration with DoorDash
  • Cash management

However, some essential features are not included in the Plus plan and require additional costs:

  • Customer loyalty program management: $45/month.
  • Mobile POS software for restaurants: +$50/month per location.
  • Marketing services (SMS and email): starting from $15/month.
  • Kitchen solutions for automatic orders: +$20/month per device.
  • Payroll services: $35/month plus $6 per employee.
  • Advanced e-commerce features: $29/month.
  • Dynamic pricing features: available as an add-on, but specific quotes are not provided on the website.

In terms of affordability, the Plus plan offers a variety of features, making Square POS an attractive option for businesses needing just core functionalities. However, for businesses looking to thrive or manage large volumes and staff, the necessary add-on features can significantly increase the overall cost.

Square POS: Considerations when Choosing the Perfect POS

For instance, if you are running a location with multiple staff, securing effective workflow helps a lot. Employee turnover is a real issue in today’s US restaurant market, so systems for training, communication, staff management, and tips distribution are essential. These will add costs to the initial appealing plan. Additionally, ensuring streamlined order and payment flows from the table to the kitchen is crucial for reducing mistakes and providing faster service. For this, you will need the kitchen solutions software and mobile payment software, turning the initial $60/month  into at least $165/month (just software costs).

Clover POS System: Features and Budget Assessment

Clover POS is popular for food, beverage, and retail businesses. Pricing varies based on hardware, software subscription, and merchant services provider. Clover hardware costs between $1,699 and $1,799 (Clover Station), while software ranges from $0 to $89.95 per month for one register.

For small businesses in the food and beverage industry, the Clover standard plan costs $59.95 per month (excluding hardware) and includes:

  • Online ordering
  • Pickup and delivery ordering types
  • Contactless dining (Scan to Order and Scan to Pay)
  • Grubhub and Order with Google integrations
  • Remote order firing
  • Item and order-level discounts
  • Revenue class reporting (food, wine, etc.)

However, some essential features, such as built-in delivery systems, dynamic pricing solutions, SMS or email marketing software, and payroll and tips management, must be added to the standard plan.

Clover POS System: Hidden Cost Analysis

Additionally, Clover software ONLY WORKS with Clover hardware, requiring the purchase of new hardware if switching from another POS provider or if you don’t already have a POS system. Another key factor to consider is the termination fees; ending a contract with Clover entails a fee equal to the remaining contract duration.

Beyond the add-on features previously mentioned, there are hidden costs that affect both short-term and long-term operations. Let’s analyze a simple example: third-party delivery apps.

Clover works with DoorDash® or Grubhub. DoorDash® deliveries costs a flat fee of $6.49 in each order plus $1.00 for Clover as a dispatch service fee. For 200 online orders per month, the total monthly cost for deliveries through Clover and DoorDash® would be approximately $1,498.

Grubhub charges both restaurants and customers for their delivery services:

  • Restaurant Fees: Grubhub charges restaurants around 20% of the order value as a marketing fee, and a 10% service fee for delivery services.
  • Customer Fees: Your customers pay Grubhub a processing fee of $0.30 plus 3.05% per order.

In a hypothetical $100 order using Grubhub, restaurants receive only $70, while customers pay approximately $103.35 (plus any tips). For a regular service with Grubhub processing $10,000, using orders of $50 as an example, the restaurant pays Grubhub approximately $3,200 in a month.

However, there is another even more impactful consideration: ownership of YOUR CUSTOMER data. Third-party delivery apps hold your customer data, including contact information, preferences, and order history. This means you cannot reach those who order online or via mobile from your restaurant, missing opportunities for direct promotion through loyalty programs or SMS and email campaigns.

When choosing a POS System with built-in delivery software integrated into your online ordering system, website, and supported by loyalty program features, you can save on third-party fees. But most importantly, you can provide a better customer experience and enhance data-driven marketing efforts to directly engage your customers.

Overall, Clover is a robust POS solution, but it can lack the technological capabilities to fully empower restaurant owners.

iPos POS System: Budget and Capabilities Assessment

iPos is a cloud-based POS system specifically designed to bridge the technological gap in the food and beverage industry. Born from the real needs of restaurateurs seeking streamlined operations, our software was developed to be one of the most complete on the market. 

Comprehensive Integration

 iPos offers built-in operations integration across every process, from team management to inventory, sales, and customer experience. Our robust online ordering system includes an optimized website fully integrated with the POS, inventory manager, and delivery system.

Omnichannel Sales Focus

Our platform supports omnichannel sales, ensuring your business can efficiently handle orders from various channels. Our delivery management system bypasses the 30% fees required by third-party applications, while still leveraging the power of a potent network like Uber—all included in the flat monthly fee.


iPos is designed to save you money in several ways:

  • Labor Cost Reduction: Optimize processes with handheld order-taking software and free kitchen display software.
  • Built-in Website: No need to pay for a separate website design, which could cost up to $5,000.
  • Integrated Delivery System: Avoid third-party delivery system fees (30% per order with Grubhub or Uber Eats).
  • Data Ownership: Empower business owners with online ordering data, loyalty programs, SMS marketing, at no extra cost.
  • Dynamic Pricing: iPos includes features for dual pricing, allowing you to adjust prices based on payment methods. This enhances transparency with customers and reduces card processing fees.

For just $69 per month (excluding hardware), iPos offers unmatched cost-effectiveness in both the short and long term. Our all-in-one solution ensures your restaurant operates smoothly, efficiently, and profitably without the need for costly add-ons.

Additionally, with iPos, you can start working from your own iPad, starting with zero costs on hardware, which makes it a very suitable option for launching a business. But if you need more power for your venture, our hardware based on iOS devices can be paid upfront or in comfortable 36-month installments. No fees for unsubscription are required.

Comprehensiveness equal Budget-friendliness

As we have seen, the real value and true price of a POS system lie in its ability to operate seamlessly and integrate broad operations. By ensuring in-built services that are perfectly integrated with your POS, you can significantly reduce various costs. Ultimately, the most comprehensive solution will be the most budget-friendly in the long run.

Take a look at iPos and discover all that we offer. We are a complete POS system designed with the needs of business owners in mind. Therefore, our goal is to provide top-notch service by bridging technological gaps without breaking the bank.

Secure and expand your business with confidence using a very comprehensive POS system. Why overthink? Just, act! Request a demo today!

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