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2021 POS Software Trends Report: Accelerating Innovation


If you’re looking for an extremely efficient way of describing the rapid evolution of restaurant technology in recent years, we suggest starting with three words: “point-of-sale.”

There was a time not too long ago when point-of-sale meant, quite literally, a place at which customers made a purchase. Fast forward to 2021, and that place can now be found in the cloud, on mobile devices, browser-based applications, voice-activated platforms—and whatever may be right around the corner (and you know it's coming).

A year ago, when HT published its 2020 POS Software Trends Report: Unlocking Agility, restaurant operators and solution providers were pushing POS software toward digital and online like never before, seeking to deliver convenience and efficiency to customers whether in the dining room or off-premises. The pandemic and economic downturn of the past year only accelerated that trend, of course, as restaurants scrambled to pivot to off-prem and meet customer demand for contactless transactions and efficiency, while ensuring as much ROI as possible.

Over the past few weeks, we polled restaurant operators to learn their top priorities for POS software investments and implementations in 2021, and we solicited new product information from top restaurant tech vendors. Bearing in mind that budgets and margins are tighter than ever, the results are enlightening, and even inspiring.

Read on for Hospitality Technology’s 2021 POS Software Trends Report: Accelerating Innovation.

Restaurant Purchasing Plans for 2021

Not surprisingly after a year that saw unprecedented challenges to restaurants’ business models, operators are especially interested in leveraging their current POS software for all it is worth: Adding new functionality/features/modules to current POS software was a priority for 65% of operators who responded. But we must note that 25% of respondents plan to install POS software from a new vendor in 2021, up from 12% a year ago.

Leveraging customers’ mobile devices also ranks high on operators’ purchasing lists, with 50% of respondents planning to develop and/or deploy POS for use on a mobile device. More than one solution provider has noted recently that customers' mobile devices remain one of the most underutilized tech assets for operators. (For the full ranking of restaurant POS purchasing plans, see Fig. 1, below.)

Fig. 1
  1. Add new functionality/features/modules to current POS software (65%)
  2. Develop and/or deploy POS for use on a mobile device (50%)
  3. Test & research new POS solutions for possible implementation after 2021 (40%)
  4. Install POS from a new vendor (25%)
  5. Expand installation base of POS software from current vendor (10%)


"Contactless transactions can deliver speed, safety, and security for restaurants and customers." SEE THE INFOGRAPHIC!

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Business Drivers Impacting Restaurants’ POS Upgrades

Enabling new payment options, such as e-wallet, was the top business driver impacting POS upgrades for 68% of respondents this year, We consider that interested in new payment options a resounding endorsement of the notion that accelerating innovation will be the name of the game for restaurant tech in 2021.

Other top business drivers included enabling self-service options (58%) and adding mobile POS (53%). We noted that only 32% of respondents considered moving to the cloud a top business driver, but we believe that is an indication that many brands have already made that move, and that the cloud is no longer considered a feature but a necessity. (For the full ranking of business drivers impacting restaurants' POS upgrades, see Fig. 2, below.)

Fig. 2
  1. Enabling new payment options (e-wallet, etc.) (68%)
  2. Enabling self-service options (58%)
  3. Adding Mobile POS (53%)
  4. Tighter integration with other operating systems (47%)
  5. Making systems PCI compliant (42%)
  6. Integration with a third-party delivery system (37%)
  7. Using data to understand guest preferences and behavior (32%)
  8. Moving systems to the cloud (32%)
  9. Tighter integration with an e-commerce platform (26%)
  10. Addressing EMV (21%)
  11. Building a robust POS platform (21%)
  12. Enabling multi-channel selling in locations (16%)
graphical user interface, application


"Mobility and BYOD will continue as themes into the future. And, like kiosk adoption just a few years ago, omni-channel ordering, delivery, and ghost kitchens are having their breakout moment." —Michael Schubach, Chief of Staff & Industry Strategy, Infor Hospitality  READ MORE!

Features & Functionalities Driving POS Purchases

Top-ranked features and functionalities further reinforce our belief that operators remain focused on innovation that enhances ROI, including integration with other systems (65%), cloud-based POS (60%), and online POS for ordering/payment (55%). 

Operators also showed a strong interest in POS software that can integrate loyalty tools, delivery, and mobile wallet. And we couldn’t help but note that artificial intelligence was of interest to only 5% of respondents, suggesting that the perception of “innovation for Innovation’s sake” is, at least in this challenging time, a red flag for cost-conscious buyers. (For the full ranking of features and functionalities that are driving restaurants' POS purchases, see Fig. 3, below.)

Fig. 3
  1. Integration with other systems (65%)
  2. Cloud-based POS (60%)
  3. Online POS for ordering/payment (55%)
  4. Loyalty tools (45%)
  5. Delivery integrations/functionality (40%)
  6. Mobile wallet (40%)
  7. Tablet-based POS software (40%)
  8. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) (35%)
  9. In-house or native delivery (30%)
  10. Inventory management (20%)
  11. Kiosks (20%)
  12. Chatbot (20%)
  13. Enterprise wide/centralized POS (20%)
  14. Social media integration (15%)
  15. Curbside integrations/functionality (15%)
  16. Artificial intelligence (voice control/recognition) (5%)

POS INSIGHTS FROM APPETIZE: Location-Aware Mobile Ordering, Enhanced Menus, and Scan-and-Go

"“We see many things impacting POS software trends in the near future. For one, we believe there will be increased emphasis on data and optimization, especially between sales channels, including automated rules to throttle orders from less profitable channels as kitchens reach capacity.” —Robbie Knutso-Ratto, SVP Product, Appetize READ MORE!


Compiled by Michal Escobar, Senior Editor - Hotels & Anna Wolfe, Senior Editor - Restaurants

Agilysys (agilysys.com) expanded and enhanced its suite of cloud-native self-service applications to enable contactless guest interactions. These include: IG OnDemand, IG OnDemand Full Service, and IG Quick Pay that allow guests to use their own devices to order and pay by scanning a QR code. IG OnDemand Full Service supports ordering for multiple guests at a table using their own devices. With IG Smart Menu, guests scan a QR code to access a venue menu that is linked directly to the actual items available in the OnDemand system, not a pdf or a website link. New POS capabilities include: more conversational ordering, multinational and regional capabilities, and APIs to support third-party integrations. Innovative features: Omnichannel ordering solutions that include online ordering for take-out, delivery and room service as well as, kiosk-based quick-service ordering, and app-based ordering and payment. Agilysys Seat mobile table reservation and seating solution eliminates wait lines around the host station, while enforcing safe table assignment with social distancing. POS platform provides a single source of truth for menu, price and order management. In 2021: Agilysys POS will be device agnostic, providing operators more flexibility to run their POS on the hardware device of their choice – be that Android, iOS or Windows based devices. Operators can use even consumer-grade hardware including their own phones, for example, to run a full-fledged enterprise grade POS solution.

Appetize POS (appetize.com) has added integrated Location Aware QR codes in its Interact Web platform. The unique location information – table number, parking number or stadium seat number – is provided with the scan. This lets the wait staff know where to deliver a customer's order and allows operators to track where orders are placed to analyze traffic flow. Thanks to enhanced support for complex menus and modifiers, it easier to manage combos, prefix meals, and conversational ordering. By supporting Apple Vas, Apple's automated, NFC-powered loyalty program, and Apple Pay, contactless payment and loyalty information through Appetize products can be processed together, eliminating steps and making the checkout process quicker. Innovative features: The ability to switch devices between vendors and software modes, and the ability for operators to monitor and report on all locations in real-time through the Connect Management Portal. Promotions Engine for scheduling and managing offers and offers across a large organization. When network connectivity is lost, orders can still be processed and payments can be taken in Automatic Offline Mode. In 2021: exploring biometric integration (fingerprints, eye scan, voice or facial recognition) with its self-service kiosks. Voice-ordering and other contactless means of interacting are priorities in the current climate. Gesture controls for contactless kiosk operation that will allow a user to make selections and operate a kiosk without touching the screen through hand gestures. 

Clearview by Panasonic (panasonic.com) added contactless payments, online ordering, focusing on drive-thru features with tablets for line busting, and also tablets for curbside. Most innovative features: 2020 integrations included contactless and delivery. In 2021: delivery aggregator integrations to allow for multiple delivery partners, web couponing and complete data redundancy with POS health data (asset management) to maximize uptime. Future trends: Additional advancements in ordering and payment whether it be gesturing with a kiosk, voice recognition in drive-thru, or customer identification with beaconing or facial recognition. Mobile first strategy where customers can get the order taken or pay for an order with multiple options based on the customer preference. The continuing trend to have more compute in the cloud with thinner, multi-purpose devices in the restaurant.

Clover (clover.com) launched Clover Online Ordering to receive and process orders for pickup from wherever customers are searching for dining options – through an online search, the restaurant’s website, or via the Clover mobile app. No extra subscription is required and there are no order fees. Scan to Order & Scan to Pay allows consumers to scan Clover-generated QR codes with their mobile phones for more touchless dine-in service. Innovative features: Rapid Deposit provides Clover users instant access to their own receivables generated from sales transactions, rather than waiting for their bank account to be funded. Also Clover Capital can provide businesses an advance of working capital based on future credit card sales. In 2021: Clover Customer Engagement helps merchants stay connected with their customers with a suite of four apps: Rewards, Promos, Feedback and Customers. Clover will also continue to focus on digital enablement to support touchless payments.

Givex (givex.com) released the updated Givex Customer WebSuite (CWS) Application, an online ordering mobile application and a web application, where customers can place immediate and timed orders for pickup and delivery. Can also be used for dine-in orders to enable contactless ordering and payment at restaurants. The Givex CWS Application supports loyalty programs and gift card use. Innovative features: Givex POS’s analytics reporting feature continues to be comprehensive and expansive. With the Givex online ordering application, businesses can now get a better idea of where their customers are coming from, as well as gain insight into customer interests and favorites that they could not get previously through third-party applications. In 2021: Givex is integrating with companies, like Olo, that will empower clients. Developing new methods to support contactless ordering and contactless back-of-house operations.

GK Software (gk-software.com/us/) launched Omnichannel Point of Sale (OmniPOS) for the hospitality industry. The module, which sits on top of its overall omnichannel platform, supports QSRs (quick-service restaurants) and fine dining.From convenience stores or supermarkets with a “grocerant” concepts, all retailers who operate some aspect of hospitality can now have one POS solution for all of their outlets. This ensures loyalty programs and promotions can be available in a consistent way everywhere, which dramatically reduces total cost of ownership for the retailer. Innovative features: The ability to start a transaction from any place or any device, and continue it on the POS system. For example, a shopper can preorder on a mobile device or Apple CarPlay, and the order automatically replicates into the POS solution so that when they’re ready to pick it up, it’s available. Contactless payments. Mobile POS solutions enable restaurants to provide payment options from anywhere. Whether a shopper wants to pay as soon as they place their order online, or swipe a card once they’re in the physical store, restaurants can now accommodate their needs. App-Enablement, which allows retailers to integrate external applications directly into the POS interface and incorporate them into a transaction. For example, delivery services have their own applications that need to communicate with the restaurant POS system. GK opens the interface to do so. There can now be true integration, ensuring all home orders go through the same channel and a uniform process. In 2021: continuing to further app-less technology features that makes it easier for customers to interact with a brand. All customers need to do is take a picture of a QR code, which brings up self-scanning or a pre-order application. 

HungerRush (hungerrush.com) underwent several major transformations: mergers and acquisitions, a new name, and commitment to evolve from a POS and POS reseller to a fully integrated Restaurant Management System. HungerRush introduced a new set of order management integrations for customers to connect third-party delivery orders directly to the POS. HungerRush Drive is a delivery management module that allows operators to keep more money in their pocket by owning their customers’ data while gaining deeper insights into their drivers’ routes and order delivery time. Other 2020 advancements include group online ordering, curbside vehicle tracking and customer arrival notifications for both the web and mobile app experience, and an updated handheld ordering tablet. In 2021: HungerRush is working to improve its core platform to focus on interoperability, strengthen it’s menu management modules and pay extra attention to digital modules that enhance the guest experience and allow easier ways to receive revenue.

Indra (indracompany.com/en/) focused on improving the user experience of the POS. The new user interface is providing easy-to-use access to the POS software, and allows staff to work faster. Innovative features: a centralized system allows users to easily update every single POS terminal’s menus, prices, promotions. The POS system is device agnostic and offer real-time data for a better decision making. POS is fully integrated with purchasing, inventory control and sales system in real-time. POS system will allow the restaurant staff to inform the kitchen in real-time when a menu item is selected, and also inform the restaurant staff as soon as the meal is ready to pick-up, thanks to an integration with any KDS. The system provides a standard bi-directional API to facilitate this real-time integration. In 2021: R&D efforts will pivot around the need for contactless solutions to reduce COVID-19 risks.

Infor (infor.com) introduced Infor Table Reservation System, allowing merchants to take reservations from their own websites, with complete integration to Infor POS. Developed a new web-based mobile ordering platform called Infor OrderNow that supports Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) ordering, scheduled ordering, room service and more. Developed features to support new service models for the Senior Living industry, and enhanced Infor Kiosk to support flexible deployment models. Innovative features: Infor’s Item Harmony combines centralized item maintenance with a requisition and approval workflow that enables the most complex organizations to control their POS data throughout the enterprise. Advanced Smart Combo feature combines conversational ordering, automatic meal recognition with flexible business rules and upcharge models that allow the POS to match the way operators sell and market their products. Dual mode POS and kiosk deployments enable users to reduce labor costs in lower volume day parts by offering a flexible solution that can be operated as a self-service terminal or switched to be staff-operated. Station-specific ordering kiosks and pay later features enable creative user experience in foodservice environments. In 2021: more integrations to support omni-channel ordering along with new features to help users respond and adapt to the disruptions of 2020. Resilience and recovery will remain top of mind. Mobility and BYOD will continue as themes into the future. And, like kiosk adoption just a few years ago, omni-channel ordering, delivery, and ghost kitchens are having their breakout moment. Supporting and integrating these innovations while preserving mission critical production and management features is a primary mission for Infor POS.

Infrasys Cloud POS, a Shiji Group Brand (infrasys.shijigroup.com) created a contactless payment system through Shiji Payment Solutions, which allows guests to pay for their orders via QR code. Connected Infrasys to a few Shiji products: MyCheck mobile order and pay, Concept Spa, Golf and Activities, and Shiji Enterprise Platform Hotel Solution. Enhancements to Infrasys Cloud POS’ UX and self-ordering kiosk and Infrasys’ iOS and Android Apps. Innovative features: Contactless ordering and payment. Seamless integration between Infrasys and Shiji’s MyCheck and Shiji Payment Solutions products, creating a robust contactless solution. In 2021: our focus will be on deepening our API platform through our frictionless partner-ready program, enhancing the openness and flexibility within Infrasys. Key areas of partnership include inventory, labor, gaming, and kitchen technology. Not only will be looking at open integration with partners but continue to build integrations within the rest of Shiji’s product portfolio including the newly announced Shiji Enterprise Platform. Further, expect us to dive deeper into data via advanced analytics solutions.

Ingencio (ingenico.com) added additional support for new customer loyalty solutions, more specifically Apple Pay Support for Loyalty Programs and Google Smart Tap. These value-added service (VAS) programs allow merchants to directly integrate their loyalty programs with the mobile wallets to streamline sign up and workflows between the merchant’s mobile app and the mobile wallet for things like pushing coupons from the app to the wallet. Adding additional levels of encryption at the POS that goes beyond card holder information. This includes loyalty data and personal identifiable information (PII). Upgraded our UI components to provide a superior UI integration for merchants to provide a more streamlined customer experience using HTML5, CSS and JavaScript applications. This allows merchants to better align their in-store look and feel with their online presence for a more consistent customer experience across all channels. Innovative features: The ability to write NFC-based key cards. For front desks, this allows them to streamline the technology being used which in turn reduces overhead associated with repair and upkeep for the technology needed. In 2021: Focusing on strong encryption methodologies, such as AES, to better set customers up for the future. More contactless features to drive a more frictionless experience. This includes QR code scanning from an Ingenico device (think loyalty or room information), NFC tap capabilities to exchange non-payment information like room key cards loyalty, as well as Bluetooth beacon technology, which can be used to identify a customer via a mobile device for example. Working on making kiosks more innovative and forward thinking with the same technologies, which for hotels could enable self-service check-in or checkout.

Lavu (lavu.com) updated and modernized its infrastructure and re-launched its e-commerce offering MenuDrive with commission free delivery with national delivery partnerships.  Innovative features: A full suite of restaurant management solutions to enable a 360 degree view of the restaurant as well as DIY menu management, configuration, and design with loyalty, offers, and CRM tools seamlessly integrated. 

Lightspeed (lightspeedhq.com) launched Lightspeed Payments which eliminates the need for a separate payments provider, launched Lightspeed eCom for Restaurant  which helps users seamlessly transition their businesses online and integrate new revenue streams; and launched Lightspeed Order Ahead which lets customers order ahead for takeout or curbside pickup with no contact and no third-party commission fees. Innovative features: Lightspeed Loyalty lets restaurants create highly targeted rewards programs with a branded customer-facing web-app to track points. It can also be used as a marketing tool with automated campaigns via SMS, push notifications and a drag-and-drop email builder. And businesses can track customer spending habits and results of promotional efforts all from one dashboard. Lightspeed Delivery consolidates online orders onto one single screen and orders from UberEats, Skip The Dishes or DoorDash are sent directly to the POS. 

NMI (nmi.com) released ChipDNA Cloud, a cloud POS solution, as well as a QR code generator and accelerated its support for new payment terminals that enabled contactless payments. Innovative features: ChipDNA Cloud features: single API, developer-friendly API, supports a wide range of chip and contactless EMV devices and seamlessly integrates with Virtual Terminal for an instant cloud POS. In 2021 NMI is looking to upgrade payment devices into data capturing devices including phone numbers, answers to simple (yes/no etc) questions, signatures or agreements to terms of service.

Omnico Group (omnicogroup.com) remains focused on helping casinos deliver innovative POS software to connect the customer experience,  partnering with Gaming Hospitality Solutions (GHS) to create a fully integrated casino transaction and engagement platform to interface with the gaming systems and marketing automation.  Launched a new convenience-store configuration for casinos – enabling guests to earn and redeem rewards, loyalty points, and promotions at the bar, the general store, in the restaurant, or on the casino floor. Innovative features:  Omnico Commerce unites retail and food and beverage POS into a single transaction and engagement platform. Through multiple consumer-facing touchpoints – such as self-service kiosks, mobile apps, and fixed-point tills – Omnico’s software unifies the guest experience and systems. This enables hospitality companies to make informed, data-led decisions that drive loyalty, repeat visits, and increase customer spending, either across multiple POS touchpoints in a single venue, or across multiple venues. In 2021: through its partnership with GHS is planning a number of developments in the casino world, designed to support casino bars and improve the experience for non-players.

Oracle (oracle.com/food-beverage) introduced Oracle Linux for MICROS which eliminates additional O/S licensing requirements and associated costs, requires less operating system computing power and reduces installation times and opens up opportunities associated with point-of-sale as a service (POSaaS). Oracle also made focused investments in upgrading its reporting and analytics module. The company also now has 80 validated integrations to Oracle MICROS Simphony. Innovative features: Oracle’s open API architecture gives brands virtually unlimited choices for sales and delivery channels, and built-in reporting and analytics ensure companies have the ability to measure and manage top- and bottom-line business performance.  Inventory Cloud Service has been instrumental in helping restaurants drive down cost and waste. In 2021: Oracle will offer accelerated adoption of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) which allows for faster app development, increased security and resilience for customers; provide business to consumer applications including mobile order and pay, location-awareness, and simplified payment option; offer continued investment in operational efficiency and real-time data exchange with third-party delivery operators and other consumer ordering options (i.e. UberEats, GrubHub, etc.), and real-time analytics leveraging reporting and analytics 20.1, Business Intelligence API and Oracle Analytics Cloud. 

Partech (partech.com) introduced new capabilities focused on its open platform, introduced new features associated with our integration partners; extended additional payment features, including integrating an additional payment gateway; and improved the kitchen operations and introduced new table service capabilities. Innovative features: Its open API supports integration between Brink POS and our integration partners as well as between Brink POS and customers that want to perform custom work themselves.  As a cloud-based POS, Brink POS provides the ability to seamlessly update customer software without the need for intervention, aggregate information and deliver insights across the enterprise, and allow restaurants to make and deploy changes quickly and with limited effort. 

Payfacto (payfacto.com) combined its POS software and payment processing software within the same handheld mobile device called VelPAY. Innovative features: With tableside service, contactless payments, digital receipts, and online ordering, the new VelPAY POS and payment terminal creates additional efficiency for the restaurant and a better service experience for the customer. In 2021: Payfacto will be launching a new POS in 2021, that combines the best of our two full-feature POSs, Maitre’D and Veloce, and combines they with all the latest advances in POS technology to create a best in breed fully mobile, fully cloud based and fully e-commerce enabled POS. 

Poster (joinposter.com) launched a new service that allows restaurateurs to organize their own delivery: accept and process orders for delivery pick-up from their tablet, monitor their couriers and analyze revenue. The company also upgraded its inventory management tool so that restaurants can do partial inventory checks. Innovative features: Courier app and delivery module allow users to place orders online and receive the order from one of the restaurant’s couriers. Kitchen Kit app empowers owners to replace ticket printers in the kitchen with a KDS. In 2021:  upgrades to online-ordering, develop the logistics module and improve the system for chains and franchise management

Qu (qubeyond.com) released a voice-activated mobile reporting app, Notify that enables store managers and franchise owners to engage with their stores' data. It’s a real-time alerting and analytics product powered by machine learning and AI. Added  several new features including: Donation feature to support various donation types including roundup; additional kitchen integrations for QSR operations; permissions on cash management, biometric capabilities for login enforcement; and improved digital ordering with customizable guest flow. Most innovative features: omni-channel menu management from one configuration back end, Dynamic Stores feature, a virtual representation of the store, which in turn allows the user to create as many hierarchies as needed. (A store can be in different hierarchies for ownership, menus, pricing, promotions, etc.), Single Source of Truth; Qu uses an API-First approach to product development. Each of Qu’s front-end interfaces including POS, Reporting, EI (enterprise management tool), and Online Ordering are built with pre-designed APIs. This enables customers to build the best-in-class solutions for their company. Qu’s teams are heavily involved in achieving the industry’s first API Standards and are driving that initiative with the Restaurant Technology Network (RTN). In 2021: KitchenUP brings innovation to the KDS products that haven’t changed for decades. In addition to bringing a fresh new interface and capabilities to traditional KDS products, KitchenUP also adds a dashboard to give corporate, and store owners/managers, a complete view into all digital orders, irrespective of where those orders originate. This combination of capabilities will, for the first time, provide a real-time view into kitchen operations, food production capacity, and optimization options, to better utilize available resources. Moreover, it immediately addresses the needs of Cloud-Kitchen operators and brands looking to offer that service to their franchisees. DriveUP is a significantly enhanced drive-thru capability that consists of the dashboard view of all digital orders as well as capabilities to receive or push information to the guest facing OrderUP, such as getting status of guests arriving or status of orders to be sent to guests. It also works with KitchenUP to get updates regarding status of orders in the kitchen. Most importantly, it provides a brand new way of viewing and managing orders at Curbside, including orders that were placed digitally but will be picked up at Curbside.

Qu's Marketing suite RevUP will help restaurateurs reach new customers and increase revenue from existing customers. The first capability is an automated A/B testing capability. Using Qu's menu configuration capability, corporate and marketing teams are able to quickly introduce new items and change prices of existing items without needing to make changes in ownership of the menu. The results of these A/B tests, including impact on average check and transaction volume, is then available in a new dashboard component. In addition to automated A/B testing we’re working on personalization of menu item recommendations using machine learning and AI on both instore and online channels. We plan to expand this capability to guest facing displays. The third piece of this integrated marketing suite is the ability to target new customers and retarget existing customers using social and search channels. Expanded use of ML and AI in areas like voice ordering, production optimization, loyalty and cross-channel order management. 

Revel Systems (revelsystems.com) developed new delivery solutions as well as enhanced online ordering and order pick up capabilities.New features and functionalities include direct messaging to consumers and the ability for merchants to customize messages on their online ordering site as well as actively controlling wait times and setting expectations for order completion times directly from the POS. And Revel’s new Order Ready customer-facing screen allows merchants to differentiate between to-go orders, delivery orders, and drive-thru orders. Revel has also completed an integration with Twilio SMS, which enables merchants to send SMS notifications when an order is marked as “done” on the kitchen display system (KDS). Innovative features: Revel’s Always On Mode enables restaurants and retailers to keep their business running, even if the internet connection goes down. 

Salido (salido.com) integrated with Oracle OPERA, added contactless payments, tableside ordering, direct online ordering and online ordering integrations. Innovative features: Salido offers an excellent user experience and design, powerful enterprise reporting and analysis, and direct online ordering.  In 2021 Salido is adding key upgrades and functionality to its payments workflows to make sure safe contactless payments match its product design and payment flows.

Shift4 Payments (shift4.com) debuted SkyTab,a mobile ordering and pay-at-the-table device, SkyTab Online, a free integrated online ordering solution, and QR Order & Pay, a contactless QR code-based ordering and payment solution. Innovative features:  SkyTab was initially designed for tableside ordering and pay-at-the-table transactions but allowed restaurants to transition to a 100% curbside pickup and delivery model, since it was already equipped with Wi-Fi, 4G, and contactless capabilities. SkyTab Online is a free solution that enables restaurants to quickly publish a branded online ordering website.The menu can easily be set up through an intuitive step-by-step online wizard and can be customized with the restaurant’s logo and business information.

Speedline Solutions (speedlinesolutions.com) added dozens of features to its online ordering product, SpeedDine. The company improved the administrative control of the online ordering sites, made the checkout process smoother to reduce abandoned orders, developed automatic upselling capabilities, provided the ability for restaurant owners and managers to turn off online ordering directly from their POS if needed; and restaurants are now able to mark items as out-of-stock online which was really important for restaurants that suffered from supply chain issues and shortages of key ingredients this year. Speedline also added fields to its online ordering product to allow customers to add special delivery instructions, like contactless delivery drop off points.

SpotOn (spoton.com) deployed online ordering software rapidly and made significant advancements with contactless order and pay at the table, as well as QSR contactless payments. Innovative features: SpotOn offers more than 90 types of reports, and operators are able to gain the insight they need to cut labor costs, increase revenue, and dial into the sales and operations of their restaurant on an hourly basis from anywhere due to the cloud based system. In 2021, SpotOn is focused on empowering restaurants with technology to diversify revenue streams and get better insights into their guests’ habits. On the revenue opportunity side, it is developing automated text notification capabilities for curbside delivery, developing a driver management system that’s built into the POS, and improving its reservation and waitlisting platform (SpotOn Reserve, formly Seatninja). On the data insights side, SpotOn is integrating its digital loyalty into its handheld POS devices, online ordering, and QR codes so there are more opportunities to collect guest data. It is also developing a native KDS for its POS with advanced reporting so operators can really dive into how their kitchen is performing. 

Square (squareup.com) launched products and services to enable safe, reliable payments with curbside pickup and local delivery, on-demand delivery for Square Online, Square Online Checkout, and QR codes. To help developers build flexible business management software for restaurants, Terminal API enables developers to connect Square Terminal, an all-in-one card payments device, to their POS, ERP, or practice management system, regardless of the platform or operating systems they’re developed on. And Square added a number of partnerships to bring advanced capabilities to restaurants, like BevSpot for restaurant management, Deliverect to connect to online sales channels, and OrderSpoon for online food ordering, among others. Innovative Features: Square for Restaurants is built for front of house, back of house, and speed, with conversational modifiers for fast order entry, menu management, table management, coursing, floor plans, auto-86ing & item counts, close or day procedures, order manager (get orders from DoorDash, Uber Eats - all via Chowly), advanced reports, and more.

Squirrel Systems (squirrelsystems.com) launched new solutions for online ordering, omnichannel order management, virtual kiosks and QR Codes for ordering and payment, and loyalty and gift solutions. In addition, it revised and improved the Squirrel modules that allow for menu management by department (setting up a separate takeout department), and streamlined the process for customers adding tablet based mobile POS. In 2021: Squirrel Systems is currently in a limited beta of its cloud-based Squirrel solution and in 2021 will be developing additional capabilities for above store hosting. Additionally, it intends to continue building on its hub and spoke model to allow customers to extend the guest experience digitally beyond the four walls of the establishment. Squirrel also plans to offer additional remote and self-paced training and support, improvements in interface and ease of use, and increased support for customers operating at scale.

Toast (toasttab.com) made advancements to or debuted Toast Hardware, ToastNow, Toast Delivery Services, Toast Order & Pay, Toast Scan to Pay, and Menu Item Search which allows staff to navigate complex menus with ease by quickly searching keywords to find items. Innovative features: All-in-one platform, cloud-based solution that offers automatic updates and Open API Partner Program with nearly 100 technology providers for restaurants to choose from. In 2021, Toast will offer new products designed to both deepen restaurateurs' connections with guests and increase restaurant revenue; hardware and software investments to increase speed of service, streamline the guest experience, and reduce operational costs; capabilities to improve the restaurant employee experience, reduce employee turnover, and address the industry’s pressing labor challenges; and financial products that provide quick and reliable access to funding to help restaurateurs grow their businesses.

TouchBistro (touchbistro.com) launched TouchBistro Online Ordering to make it easy for a restaurant to accept orders on its own website with zero commission fees. TouchBistro also made free social media templates available to restaurants to drive in customers, and free menu QR codes to make it easier for customers to find the foods they love. Innovative features: The company offers a user-friendly and intuitive interface that mirrors the workflows of a restaurant and its  patented bill-splitting function. TouchBistro offers a full suite of contactless dining solutions. These  include mobile phone ordering both in-venue and online, QR codes, and contactless payments;  integrated loyalty and digital marketing/promotions that invite repeat customers and enhance customer relationship management; integrated reservations that provides customer preference history so service can be customized, simplifies implementing maximum capacity seating with social distancing, maintains records for contact tracing, and enables interactive customer SMS for reservation reminders, confirmation and changes that reduce wait times for customers and lost revenue.

Upserve (upserve.com) updated its tableside device to allow servers to take orders from anywhere as well as collect contactless payments. Upserve enabled machine learning to offer a new feature that highlights the most popular menu items for online customers at each unique venue, making it easier to build menus and decide which dishes to promote. Upserve created a feature that helps its customers to better manage their inventory and supplies as pre-orders come in via online ordering. Debuted tech that allows servers to drop a check with a unique QR code, allowing guests to complete the payment safely and securely via their mobile device, and introduced Guest Connect as a way for restaurants to have an easy, contactless way for diners to provide their contact information. In 2021, Upserve will fine-tune its existing automation and machine learning tools to create more menu recommendations and better highlight guest data, so operators can make decisions faster without having to manually pull reports, and will make guest data more accessible to restaurateurs for marketing and targeting while also improving its integrations to make running a dine-in and robust online ordering business seamless across locations.