This has been heavily discussed on specialty-coffee forum and also barrista guild.
There are several high end systems that will set you back a bunch, Aloha and the like.
For smaller operations, I am down to 4.
Coffee Shop Manager - CSM. Great reviews, most expensive of this group of 4, at about $1400 per license. License provides a back office lic as well. Addl machines are less. CSM offers packages with hardware, and they include programming your menu (if you buy the package). I have found that I can save about 50% off of their lowest package ($4900 w/ hardware), if I am willing to do the programming and buy my hardware. Performancewise, CSM seems to be great and gets great reviews. They also charge $300 for annual service contract that includes technical support and upgrades. Interactive demo availalbe, no download.
NextPOS - closest thing that I have seen to CSM. $750 per copy, addl copies go down in price by $50 each to about $600. Distributed through resellers who want to sell you a terminal system. Packages avaialable. You will need to purchase an extra copy for backoffice if you want a back office computer (I recommend this, as you don't want to be looking at your data while your trying to use the register). NextPOS is feature rich and has a fairly simple interface. You can purchase menu programming services from the resellers. Trial download available
Denver Research - I have heard good and I have heard bad. This software is more of a shareware type product and is marketed through shareware sites. Not as glossy as the first two, but certainly cheaper at $300 per copy. Trial download available.
Business Plus Accounting from Businessoftware. Cheapest of the bunch, sort of. $70 per copy, and it is a sitewide license, unlimited terminals for your location. They do want $30 per month for service adn free upgrades. Based on Foxpro, it seems to have most of the desired features, though somewhat a cumbersome interface from the operations perspective. The register interface is adequate. Trial download available. This software also advertises a full capability accouting program, including payroll. It can export to Quickbooks, but does advertise as an all in one.
CSM and Next POS can control webcams and record shots for refunds, voids, etc.. Don't know about the other two. Export to quicken seems to be better enabled for NextPOS and CSM.
If total ease of use is what you are after, I would go wtih CSM or Next POS. If lowest cost is what you are after and don't mind some work up front, perhaps BPA is the way to go.
Any POS system will require you to keep accurate records and track your waste. They will also require that you program your menu down to the ingredients. This allows them to track stock accurately, and costs. The more tracking your system is capable of, the more rigorous you have to be on documenting your transactions and activities. Knowledge comes at a price.
I'm sold on Aldelo, previously NextPOS. Spoke to Selbysoft and the price was astronomical and they were just plain rude. Since Aldelo bought NextPOS, they now offer 24/7 tech service. Annual is a bit higher at $350, but they have a much larger installed footprint than CSM. It doesn't have the tailored features to the coffee market, like a drink builder, but other than that it is a great system.
I just have a problem with CSM trying to sell the hardware, then if you don't want to purchase it, they warn you about functionality. Either 1) they want to scare you into their high profit hardware, or 2) their system is not robust. Doesn't really matter which to me, both are warnings.
Aldelo does have a recommended list of harware providers and it is multiple. They do not limit it to this list, and the sell their product through reseller integrators, who are just as happy to sell a copy without hardware.
At Coffee Fest DC, I spoke with the rep from TwoTouchPOS. It is a $$$$
POS, but I was treated with courtesy and consideration. So far, there has not been any pressure to buy their POS over any other. It is a strong incentive for me that they are located about 30 miles away (and not 3,000 plus) from where I live. It is an easy system to learn and master. It will be a tough decision when I have to make the final decision to buy a POS. I'm not looking for a cheap POS, I'm looking for a system that will meet my business needs and will be there for me before the sale and after the sale. So far, there has been a couple of well known POS that have not been responsive (how about if I were ready to buy if they had responded to my calls and e-mails). Lip-service does not cut it for me.
I have looked at QB Quicken POS, and it didn't seem menu driven. Best I could do was pick up a box, or look on the web. No where do they mention touch screen. I'll take another look as what you are saying is right, up front integration is a good thing.
I don't believe in cheap for cheaps sake (and I'm not a cheapskate), but I do believe in value. I have heard a lot about Selbysoft but they just really turned me off. CSM has been very responsive, have a great product. Aldelo has been very responsive and also has a good product. So the value is what you require out of your package between service, performance, focus, cost, etc..
If focus and service were the priority, I would go with CSM. Performance, service and cost, Aldelo. Cost alone, Denver Research. Though to be fair to DR, he answers questions on his bulliten board and by mail very quickly.
dell is promoting a touch screen with register hardware that runs quickbooks POS software, I think it is completely customizable and fully intergrated with the quickbooks accounting software. Which means the office staff can work on it not an outside vendor. Still researching.
I spoke w/ quicken. The touch screen does work, but like a mouse. There is still no graphical driven interface. you have to type in the item or scan it. It is a list driven system with few or no programmable buttons.
dinerware - highly versatile, can be run on any pc as opposed to proprietary hardware, reasonably priced, excellent gui and very well thought out. big negative - one of the hands-on owners i dealt with was an unbelievable, and i mean unbelievable, jerk... so much so that i quickly passed on it. but this was a couple of years ago - if things have changed or, better yet, if it was purchased by a more professional outfit i would consider it well worth a serious look.
a fully functional download used to be available upon request, probably still is...
We are using square for iPad in several of our shops. They now have a drawer and receipt printer which are compatible. Additionally, I think there are several companies which make a little better magnetic readers for them than the one which comes standard. They seem to be missing a few things- don't mesh well with accounting software- but they are making a lot of upgrades. What I do like is that they give you the ability to drill down into your sales very easy and see where you are making your money. Most systems which allow you to do this are a lot pricier. I also like the social networking side of it. You can get people with compatible devices to really easily find your location etc.Good luck! Opening a new shop can be a trying time...Phil