What’s the best takeaway EPOS?
This page is going to explain which EPOS system is best for your takeaway restaurant; how you can get everything to fit together; and which system will enable your takeaway service to run the most smoothly. If you would simply like to buy a till, you can use our quick software comparison tool or you can build your till here.
This is a difficult question, because typically software-based ordering systems aren’t integrated with EPOS systems. “Integrated” is when two softwares are glued together. So for example, the levels of stock in your inventory will fall at the same pace when two systems are integrated. Or, you can see all your orders on one screen at the same time.
What EPOS system you need depends on what kind of takeaway you are. Whether you use a platform, an online ordering system, book phone orders via your EPOS, or some mix of all three, ultimately affects which EPOS you should choose.
A) You’re taking orders via a platform like Deliveroo, Just Eat, or Uber Eats
This is called a “delivery” platform. In contrast with an “online ordering system”, you don’t have to fulfil the order yourself; but they charge you around 30% of the value of the order; and you also get less data about your customers. If you have a thriving restaurant as well, we’d recommend you choose a direct integration or integration via middleware with your takeaway EPOS; and we can recommend one or two.
B) You’re taking orders directly via your website or app
This is going to be via a piece of software called an “online ordering system”, which will start at around £25 per month. This can be tricky! The software is often parallel and there’s a bit of overlap between your online ordering system and your EPOS. Also, there’s not that many integrations around. Which means that, frankly, if you’re mostly or wholly online, consider choosing freepos for your store and mainly using the online ordering software.
C) You’re taking phone orders and accepting payment by phone
This can be inputted into a regular EPOS system! It’s called a “card not present” transaction, and some processors may charge a little more than a regular transaction because of the higher fraud risk. But it’s easy enough to do, and you only need an EPOS system. We’ll suggest some below.
This will take you blow-by-blow for the best EPOS in each of these circumstances. Which is the best EPOS for your takeaway restaurant in each set of circumstances?
A) Your delivery business operates via Deliveroo, Just Eat, or Uber Eats
Deliveroo, Just Eat, and Uber Eats, own the UK market around delivery. This is a fast-growing industry that is constantly evolving.
We’ve published advice on which of these to go for, but remember, they can charge up to 40% of the cost of a single order. So it’s not like setting up a Facebook account – this is a serious business decision which can affect your unit economics. To recap, we recommended that choose your platform by assessing these factors: their rates; the size of the customer base they unlock for you; the situation in your area around their availability and your target market.
We also recommended that you consider putting up your prices to reflect the extra cost on your side. 40% is more than the profit than most restaurateurs make per order; so you could be selling at a loss.
Integrating with your EPOS
But how does this affect your EPOS? The most important consideration when choosing an EPOS for takeaway restaurants is whether you’re able to integrate it with your delivery platform.
If you don’t have an integrated EPOS, then it works as follows:
If you have a restaurant, your orders from your restaurant EPOS and delivery platform will come through on separate dashboard. Unless you manually enter each order into your EPOS dashboard, your inventory management, and your reporting, will begin to mis-represent the number of orders coming in and your inventory levels as they don’t pull data from the app orders.
Inputting data can be a full time job! If you hired someone to do this, at £6 per hour, for the three hours a day, five days per week, that would cost you £90 per week, or around £450 per month.
An integrated EPOS will amalgamate your in-store orders and your delivery orders into one shiny beautiful screen, automatically. If you only do delivery orders, it will do all the EPOS functions automatically. If you do delivery orders via multiple apps, it should integrate those as well.
This is great news. There’s two ways that EPOS systems integrate with delivery platforms. The first is directly and the second is via middleware.
What is middleware?
Middleware is software which sits between (hence, the “middle” of) two different softwares, and glues them together. In this case, we’re talking about EPOS and delivery platforms.Two well-regarded brands of middleware are Chowly and Deliverect. If you review our table of which EPOS integrates with which EPOS, you’ll see that a lot more of them integrate with Deliverect and Chowly than integrate directly between EPOS and platform.
If you’re looking at this and it’s given you no further clue which is best for your restaurant, take a look at our recommendations for restaurant-based EPOS – or give us a ring!
|StoreKit systems integrated||Deliveroo||Uber Eats||Just Eat|
|Revel Systems||via Chowly||via Chowly||No|
|Square||via Chowly||via Chowly||No|
|Touchbistro||via Chowly||via Chowly||No|
|iKentoo||via Deliverect||via Deliverect||via Deliverect|
|Lightspeed Restaurant||Direct integration available||Direct integration available||Via Deliverect|
The direct integration is free; Chowly and Deliverect pricing will grow as you scale, but budget around £60 per month. (Find Deliverect’s pricing here).
Which is the best of the softwares you can integrate?
Square – The Budget Choice
Square is a two-in-one EPOS, or “free POS” software. That means it includes basic EPOS software, and payment processing which starts at 1.75%. You can read more in our FreePOS article. (Unfortunately, the other FreePOS providers do not integrate with any of the big platforms). Learn about Square.
Touchbistro – The all-rounder
Touchbistro is a great choice because it’s cheaper than iKentoo or Lightspeed, but provides (nearly) as many functions and features. It’s capable of things like table management, and has complexer front-of-house suites of features, but is a little easier to use than some of the other software. Learn about Touchbistro.
iKentoo – the Just Eater
Deliverect is probably preferable to Chowly, because Chowly is a US software brand aimed primarily at customers over the pond. That means you might well find that iKentoo is the best choice; if you’re a Just Eat merchant. iKentoo is primarily aimed at larger customers, and you can ignore some parts of the software – just grab the features you need. Learn about iKentoo.
Lightspeed Restaurant – the deluxe choice
Lightspeed Restaurant is the deluxe choice of restaurant EPOS systems. It’s the most expensive, but that’s offset by the fact it offers direct integrations with Uber Eats and Deliveroo. This is a great choice for your business if you have a complex restaurant back at home and you want to nail your service. Learn about Lightspeed.
B) You’re using an online ordering system
What’s an online ordering system?
An online ordering system is a parallel bit of software – like an EPOS – which is designed for, well, online ordering. If you’ve come here and you’re setting up from scratch, looking for “an EPOS, but online” – an online ordering system is what you’re searching for.
An online ordering system comes with its own set of decisions. It will attach itself to your website; so there’s questions around the design and UX, including looking at things like abandonment rates at the checkout. Just like when you buy a full EPOS system, you also have decisions to make around your payment processing; including the kind of simplified payment processor which offers a flat rate, versus more complicated processors working in “interchange plus” formats. (What am I talking about?)
Then, there’s how you fulfil your orders. You may choose to use a platform like Slerp which comes with white-labelled delivery included, or you may wish to go DIY, and have someone in-house ready to head out on a motorbike should a customer request your Vindaloo. You may wish to solely use the back-end, with a provider like Stuart.
(If this is all too complex, you may wish to call StoreKit, and ask for our recommendation.)
Some of the features that come with an online ordering system are the same as what you’d get from an EPOS. For example, online ordering systems are likely to feature inventory management. Others are different; there are much more complex technical requirements for online stores. Therefore, it may make more sense to use your online ordering system as the most important pillar of your software.
Perhaps because of this semi-overlap, or perhaps because it’s such a new industry, there’s very few integrations. Therefore, what we’d recommend depends on whether you’re mostly restaurant, online, or an even split.
This blog isn’t the place to compare and contrast different online ordering systems, but if you book a call we’d be happy to talk.
“90% of my orders are online”
If you’re a kitchen with a smaller adjunct stand or mini-restaurant attached, your online ordering system will be more important to your business than your restaurant.
In these instances, consider forgoing a complicated EPOS system, and doing most of your management work through your online ordering system. Simple EPOS systems which work well and could complement your online ordering system include free ones such as iZettle, which include payment processing.
Or, the Good Till and Nobly are both cheap systems which will do everything you need. More complicated systems such as Lightspeed are probably a cut above what you need – especially as a lot of the complicated front-end you’re paying for is organised around table service.
You might want to consider investing in aggregated analytics which could pull data from both when you come to e.g. look at your reports, and you want everything in one place. Call us and ask about your options here.
“10% of my orders are online”
Conversely, if 10% of your orders are online, consider ignoring the “takeaway” aspect and choosing your EPOS based on what EPOS you’d like – (check out our restaurant post for a full breakdown)
“It’s 50/50 split”
In these instances, it might be useful to consider an integration. Some integrations which we know about:
- Nobly and Pepper
- Touchbistro and Checkmate
- Revel Systems and Mobi2, Pepper, or the Open Dining Network
3) You’re accepting payments by phone
If people are calling and ordering, and you’re just accepting phone payments, that’s called a “card not present” transaction, and can be easily and simply entered into most EPOS systems. All of what’s written above doesn’t count – and your decision around what EPOS system to get is rather simpler.
This is the ultimate low-fi delivery decision, and very retro.
It also might mean that takeaway is a smaller part of your business – taking orders is much easier and quicker to administer online via a website, and if you’re inundated with phone orders, consider getting an online ordering system.
Check out our bigger article on the best EPOS for restaurants here. All of them will be able to handle phone orders, so think about other facets which might be important to your business! Do you need table service? For accepting phone payments, here’s our hot tip: “card not present” transactions often see providers put their prices up despite having similar base costs. You may end up paying around 2.5% per transaction; apparently to underwrite a risk of fraud.
If you do like using the phone, you should call us and book a free conversation – we can get you set up with the right EPOS system at a low cost.