September 18, 2023
Devn Ratz

Clover vs. Aloha vs. Heartland Restaurant POS Systems: What You Should Know

Every contender‒Clover, Aloha, or Heartland restaurant POS systems‒enables helpful features, at a uniquely challenging cost. One offers more flexibility than the others. Another brings a focus on restaurants, and the last has its sights set on ease-of-use. But, which is right for your restaurant?

Comparing all three restaurant POS systems is a tall order. Here we offer a shortcut to the in-depth analysis and careful review it takes to choose the most feature-rich software, with the best support, at a transparent price.

In the end, you'll see each player falter as they strive to serve restaurants with cloud-ready payment processing alongside advanced reporting and analytics:

  • Clover has low pricing (but it depends on using proprietary hardware).
  • Aloha operates simply (until you start puzzling over the unclear fee schedule).
  • Heartland is a snappy processor (with mixed reviews over transparency and security)

Gaps in your existing or future restaurant POS system may cause frustration. So, know this: most issues stem from choosing the wrong system, not from your restaurant. We can help most businesses fix these disconnects through restaurant technology integrations.

You'll find an easy way to make improvements to your current platform near after reviews for Aloha, Clover, and Heartland restaurant POS systems. So, let's dig in.

Key Takeaway: There is not a single, ideal POS platform for all restaurants. Instead, restaurant owners can fix gaps in their POS system's most painful attributes by boosting features through third-party restaurant tech.
Discover restaurant pos systems through the lens of advanced menu design for restaurants that want to enhance online ordering metrics.

Aloha POS: Inflexible, Yet Focused

The Aloha POS platform promises to be nothing except comprehensive as a point-of-sale for restaurants and bars. It offers the essential menu of features specific to our industry which includes menu design, online ordering, and connection to delivery apps.

Many restaurant owners have praised their systems for offering real-time alerts which help make food data analytics actionable. At the same time, it's much like other restaurant software for managing payments, advanced reporting, inventory control, and labor saving.

In other words, the system strives to glide smoothly as it directs online customers, upselling servers, and managing owners through to accomplishing their unique goals. In truth, it is one of the more focused POS and restaurant management solutions available. So, what's the catch?

While held up for restaurant feature-friendliness, appearances can be deceiving, especially when you're looking at an invoice. Even as owners successfully drive growth, create better experiences, and gain higher averages by improving customer satisfaction with the platform‒they won't get much transparency or flexibility from Aloha, it seems.

It’s unclear what Aloha costs business owners who rely on systems that actively "game their growth" by pitting progress against an unknown cost system. The ecosystem benefits from many, but the relationship may only be right for a few–those who don't mind a little ambiguity.

What alternative is there? Read on.

Clover POS Systems: More Customization, Less Cloud-Ready

The Clover POS system designed itself for retail as well as restaurant and hospitality businesses. As a result, it tries to maintain a range of more customizable features than others on this list. (Its profit-centric addition of loyalty programs is of special note, and it's become a staple among restaurants.)

Because it allows more customization, it's able to meet most business needs as they become more scaled and specific‒with one significant exception. While you can enhance Clover with a large app market, Clover software can only be used on its proprietary and locked-down hardware.

Even with 24/7 support and integrations, this remains a heavy load for enterprise restaurants increasingly seeking more future-proof, cost-effective tech solutions to payment processing and improved restaurant operations. Clover is‒for advanced restaurant concerns‒simply not cloud-based.

Not surprisingly, there are mixed attitudes towards Clover POS's approach to added flexibility in contrast to Aloha. For some, this comes in the form of difficult and defunct hardware, but for the most, it means Clover buckles down where it doesn't advertise customization.

Users report a plethora of "account-level issues" while carefully welded to Clover's hardware. The most negative experiences include restaurant revenue being held, indefinitely, as well as banking paperwork being incorrectly forwarded. Such experiences aren't well-tolerated by the well-established, multi-location restaurants they aim to support.

Where else can the successful restaurant owner look for a better relationship with their restaurant POS? Isn't there an option that offers a flexible, future-proof, and custom experience not wedded to the bar top? Let’s see.

Heartland Restaurant POS: Less Transparent

With the Heartland restaurant POS option, you get custom reporting and a closer look at customer data. They also don't neglect those menu management features we touched on or mobile payment options for restaurants.

If you factor in the availability of 24/7 support with many third-party integrations, this cloud technology and POS system doesn't seem so hard on restaurant growth (or reasonable expectations) as the other two. On the surface, ease-of-use and available assistance may seem like enough to the enterprising young eatery. Experience tells otherwise.

There's no shortage of raving reviews on both sides of the Heartland's confused customer experience. On the one hand, users praise almost-seamless online ordering integrations. On the other, many critique it in the basic terms as a credit card and payment processor. They often cite recent security breaches as a prime example of POS systems gone wrong.

As a result, Heartland restaurant POS earns just three-stars overall on G2. Most like the ability to streamline operations and automate restaurant tasks. Others see the problem of securing their restaurant data and the risk of not protecting consumer data looming rather large over their business.

Enhancing Your Existing Restaurant POS Platform

How can restaurants possibly choose between flexibility, customization, and security? They want all three, but picking a new POS system to implement involves the impractical and expensive, to say the least. Instead of taking that road, adding custom functionality and online ordering integrations with Revolution Ordering stays simple.

With innovative technologies catering to enterprise needs, restaurants find an easy answer to downsides of their current POS platform. With a cloud-based system, restaurants can finally combine customization and optimization to power more restaurant returns, more orders, and loyalty–just to get started.

Remember: even the most complicated POS systems are intended to process payment information. So, It's curious why only some POS platforms willingly free up their services, installation, and fees to harness these benefits and restaurant data insights

Within an expanding list of supported POS platforms, Revolution Ordering currently integrates with:

  • NCR Aloha Quick Service
  • NCR Aloha Table Service
  • NCR Cloud Connect
  • Micros Res/3700
  • PAR Brink
  • Positouch
  • Toast
  • Xenial

Even if you don’t see your system, contact us for a custom demo and potential partnership. We believe in a custom experience for clients who want to work with us.

Instead of choosing between POS platforms, look for solutions that offer what you don’t already have in stock: flexibility, customization, transparency, and more. Explore Revolution Ordering to learn more about this opportunity.

Get a free, customized demo of Revolution Ordering, the restaurant pos partner enabling off-site ordering and holistic optimization.

Frequently Asked Questions About Restaurant POS Platforms

Don't limit your ability to navigate the restaurant POS system market. Despite shifting fee structures (and non-negotiable hardware requirements)‒your business can experience new, loyal growth with every transaction.

We're here to give you the simple, honest answers to common questions from other restaurant operators. Go right ahead

How can I choose a POS solution for a restaurant?

Whether you've chosen to enhance or replace your restaurant POS systems, the process is about the same: research all options, compare features, and collect feedback from your staff. Rinse and repeat.

At base, you should be able to easily manage tables, group ordering, split checks, calculate tips, and manage staff optimization. When you've decided between solutions, you can then import (or integrate) your customer data. This will give you the best benefit through improved restaurant data intelligence.

Does Heartland Restaurant POS have contracts?

With Heartland, you have the option of a three-year contract with an early termination fee of $275 (last time we checked)‒or a month-to-month plan.

The first is fairly inflexible, as extended contracts tend to be. The second seems to invite unannounced fees, and price hikes that most restaurants won't want to endure. This is the most common complaint against the popular restaurant POS software options out there.

Are restaurant POS systems hard to implement?

This largely depends on the restaurant POS platform you choose. If you're choosing between the most popular solutions‒like Toast or Square‒you'll likely face a learning curve as you navigate the gaps in service inherent in most restaurant software.

Use our free restaurant resources to position your brand for the latest trends in operations, management, pos systems, and more.