Toast POS excels in all the areas that make a restaurant POS great. It offers comprehensive software and hardware solutions with plenty of useful features, 24/7 customer service, and reasonable prices. It stands out for championing its own (impressive) tech instead of being made for iPad, in an iOS-centric industry.
- Free Trial
- 24/7 Support
- Serves all business sizes
Toast POS: Summary
Toast is a well-respected US-based restaurant POS startup. It's used by thousands of businesses, and valued at a whopping $1.4 billion as of a late-2018 funding round.
Toast POS operates on the Android operating system, and isn't available on iOS. It offers a satisfying array of features, giving it the functionality and flexibility needed to make it a top restaurant POS pick.
Toast goes toe-to-toe with TouchBistro, another industry-leading iPad-based restaurant POS. While TouchBistro offers a few more features and starts at a lower (but comparable) price point, Toast matches it for customer service and ease of use, while constantly updating and adding new functionality. In addition to serving all sorts of outlets – from bars and bakeries to casual, fast casual, and fine dining – Toast POS also supports delivery services and online ordering.
Toast “strongly advises” users to avoid using any existing hardware they may already have, claiming that its software is optimized with its hardware in mind. As a result, restaurant owners making the switch to Toast from a previous POS vendor will need to consider the additional upfront cost of purchasing replacement hardware packages.
Alternatively, you could opt for Toast Now – new for 2020, this entirely virtual package requires no hardware. You'll be able to set up online ordering, a mobile ordering app, contactless delivery, and e-gift cards, with the first three months free (besides payment processing fees).
While Toast POS does offer reasonable prices, it's always worth taking a look at how it compares to the rest of the market – particularly if you'll need to buy separate Android hardware. The easiest way to compare prices with other POS suppliers is by filling out our quick and easy quotes form. You'll receive obligation-free quotes tailored to your businesses needs within minutes.
This review takes a look at the core features and abilities that Toast POS offers its users, the support and training options it provides, and the prices that it brings with it.
Toast POS Pros
The service offers plenty of meaningful benefits that make it appealing:
- Extremely easy to use
- Build custom menus with categories and different features
- Dedicated restaurant-specific hardware
- Niche specifications for certain types of restaurants
- Strong data reporting features
- Strong customer support team
Toast POS Cons
However, it comes with a few downsides to consider as well:
- Not built for iOS
- Limited payment processing flexibility
- Add-ons cost extra, which adds up quickly
Tableside Order Management
Toast enables servers to accept orders from customers and relay them to kitchen workers, all while still at the table. Once the meal is ready in the kitchen, the server will receive a notification on their tablet, increasing efficiency. When customers are ready to pay, the server can then take tableside payments, with EMV card processing supported, as well as Samsung Pay.
Toast also includes a “Guest Feedback” feature, which lets the software collect customer feedback.
Toast also supports an online ordering option, a public-facing website that guests can use to place their orders using a menu updated in real time.
Users can save their profiles and credit card information, while the interface connects to Toast's delivery dispatch feature, letting your employees deliver the order if needed. The online site can be tailored to your restaurant's branding, too.
Gift card features and loyalty programs are supported as well, whether the user is present in person or online.
Menus can be updated from any device logged into the Toast POS software, including terminals and smartphones. The cloud-based software will be constantly updated in real-time, making sure that servers and kitchen workers remain in sync regardless of which deals might be starting or what ingredients might be temporarily out.
Toast POS also offers essential inventory features, providing centralized data to help you understand the value of each ingredient and product on your shelves. You can easily drop low-performing items, and increase your stock of popular ones. The result? Reduced food waste, alongside faster, more accurate restocking.
Toast offers a suite of team management features, allowing businesses to create one profile for each employee. Employees can clock in and clock out through the POS software, and payroll will automatically log their hours worked, saving managers the manual labor. Cash and credit card tips earnings are factored in as well.
Since employees clock in and out, their hours are tracked automatically, including both regular and overtime pay. However, there's another added benefit to logging this data: Weekly, monthly or even annual reports can be compiled automatically, offering insights into employee life-cycles and performance.
Toast's management software lets managers easily parse the costs for labor and product costs, factoring in fixed overhead costs as well for a unified view of total revenue. Meals and ingredient costs can also be separated, for an inside look at which types of sales offer the best cost-benefit.
Toast offers email marketing abilities, integrated directly into its POS systems. Customers can enter their email for a virtual receipt when checking out, building an email list that can be used for automated campaigns centered on the guests' history.
Loyalty programs can also be created through Toast, with customizable rewards offered using a points-based system. Gift cards can also be supported with the right add-on, whether physical, branded gift cards, or a digital version.
Reporting & Analytics
Spot trends and track the most vital stats through Toast's POS reporting abilities. A Location Overview offers a birds-eye view of net sales or total employee costs, and can be viewed across all locations or broken down individually. Sales summaries can be produced across any time period, and areas for improvement can be identified across a location's product mix.
Toast has also stepped up to address the biggest challenge facing its customers in 2020: The novel coronavirus pandemic. In addition to a new coronvirus resource center, Toast has announced support for Rally for Restaurants, a grassroots initiative to encourage more takeout orders through social media posts tagged with #RallyforRestaurants. For each post, Toast will donate one dollar to organizations supporting the restaurant community, up to maximum of $250,000.
Toast has also debuted Toast Now, an entirely virtual service with no upfront costs that supports online ordering, takeout, gift cards, and contactless delivery – all functions that restaurants are eager to adapt in the wake of coronavirus lockdowns. The service is free for the first three months, though virtual payment processing fees continue to apply: 3.5% + $0.15 for Visa, Mastercard, and Discover, and 3.89% + $0.15 for AmEx. Businesses can easily try it out, even if they aren't Toast POS customers. After the first three months, the digital ordering feature will cost $50/month, while the gift card feature will cost $25/month.
Case Study: Odd Duck and Toast Go
Just how useful is the Toast POS? Odd Duck, an Austin, TX-based food-truck-turned-restaurant, offers a great example. In this four minute video, they explain how adapting to use Toast Go handheld devices directly helped them make an extra $500,000 in annual sales.
Toast offers a hardware range that includes terminals, kiosks, the Toast Go handheld tablet, a guest-faced display, a kitchen display screen to help kitchen employees, and assorted accessories. The displays can be swiveled and bent, while the card readers accept tapped cards as well as inserted or swiped ones. In other words, Toast takes its hardware seriously.
Toast's supported operating systems include Windows 8 and the Android OS, although the software can also be operated through a web browser, which is OS-agnostic.
For those with smaller companies, these hardware options may seem a little overwhelming or unnecessary, and the Toast Terminal bundle may be more appealing. It's a hardware package that includes a terminal, terminal stand, credit card reader, cash drawer, receipt printer, 5-port switch, and cables – which should be all you need to get off the ground.
While it may seem inflexible that you can't use the Toast POS on iPad – it's designed with specific hardware in mind – this is also a strength of the POS system. Toast continuously updates and maintains its software for its range of splash-proof and dust-proof hardware, meaning it can personally ensure a reliable and smooth service for you and your customers.
Toast supports a wide range of third-party integrations, in order to make the Toast POS a one-stop-shop for all of a manager's needs.
If your restaurant already relies on KitchenSync for online bookkeeping services, for instance, or handles local deliveries through GrubHub, employees and managers can download an additional integration in order to continue benefiting from these tried-and-true services while upgrading to Toast.
You can find the full list of integrations online, but here are a few examples of popular options:
- Compeat — Gain business insights without leaving the Toast POS interface
- PeachWorks — This suite of apps streamlines back-office features like inventory and scheduling
- CrunchTime — Manage labor, inventory, and menus while finding new ways to cut food costs
- PayTronix — Simplify the customers' ordering process
- Craftable — Streamline ordering, automate inventory, and cut down on manual checks
- GrubHub — Fulfill GrubHub orders from within the Toast POS
- Kitchensync — Manage your bookkeeping and payroll services within the Toast POS
Toast also offers add-ons beyond its basic POS software. Consider which ones will be essential for your business – each add-on is an additional monthly charge, so make sure you need it before you sign up.
- Online Ordering — An easy way to let customers order online for in-person pickup
- Delivery Services — Accept online or phone orders, with delivery fulfillment through an on-demand network of local drivers
- Loyalty Programs — Operate an integrated rewards program to encourage repeat visits
- Gift Cards — Sell, track, and manage both physical and digital gift cards
Toast POS support is available 24/7 in the US through phone, email, and an online portal that can connect users with live representatives.
Toast offers an online knowledge database that's free for all, and also provides paying users with a series of online learning courses it has dubbed “Toast University.” Its website also has a “status” section which users can refer to if they need to confirm a bug or temporary lack of function in services, including the website, order processing, support line, and more.
Installations can be remote, with free live phone support, or in-person, with experts available to lead a team through software installation and staff training. In-person guided installation starts at $499.
Support & Training
Phone: (617) 682-0225
Phone support 24/7
Email support 24/7
Online support 24/7
Online learning courses
The Toast software service starts at $79/month/terminal, with an option for remote or in-person installations starting at $499. In addition, Toast's more popular hardware packages start at around $899.
Toast POS also charges a flat fee for payment processing. While the fee is flat across all of a given business's transactions, the value of the fee is initially set based on the industry that the business operates within, and may vary from industry to industry.
Toast's add-ons are available at an additional monthly cost as well:
- Toast Inventory: $75/month
- Online Ordering: $50/month
- Gift Card Program: $50/month
- Loyalty Program: $25/month
For more specifics on the monthly, per-terminal cost of a version of Toast POS that's tailored to you, you'll have to contact Toast for a custom quote. While you're at it, we'd recommend getting the same quotes from other leading POS vendors available today: Just open our quick price comparison form at the bottom of this page.
Toast is a great restaurant POS, but it isn't the only service worth considering.
Touchbistro is one of the best, offering all the restaurant-specific features a business may need, including floor layout, bill splitting, and tableside ordering functionality. Prices start at $69 per month, compared to Toast's $79, and it comes with a 24/7 support team as well.
Still, Toast's own wealth of features comes across looking fairly strongly in comparison, and we can't say Touchbistro is inherently the better POS: It may come down to which add-ons your business needs, and how much they'll cost.
Square is another popular and easy to use POS option, and is commonly used by quick-service restaurants. It's available starting at $60 per month, making it a particularly attractive option for smaller businesses that can't afford a large upfront cost to get started.
Here's a comparison table of these three restaurant POS services:
Tech.co's verdict to help you identify the most suitable choice for your restaurant
The typical lowest starting price. The lowest price available for your business will depend on your needs.
Busy restaurants, willing to invest in dedicated restaurant-proof hardware.
Overall best choice, with its industry-leading features and versatility.
Smaller, quick-service businesses, due to cost-effective pricing, strong brand recognition, and strong support.
Free (but transaction fees apply)
Sells an impressive line of its own products, including kitchen displays, swiveling terminals and robust handheld devices, all splash-proof.
Built for iPad. Also sells a Kitchen Display System and Customer Facing Display or works with most leading brands' hardware for other peripherals.
Sold by Square, available separately or packaged with software. Works with most leading brands and has a great free trial.
While Toast is a good POS solution, we'd recommend taking a look at the rest of the market before making your final decision. By filling in our quick and easy quotes form, you'll receive obligation-free quotes from leading POS suppliers tailored specifically for your business.
Is Toast POS Cloud-Based Or Locally Installed?
Toast POS is a cloud-based mobile POS solution. In other words, the software is hosted on remote servers, ensuring that the data is backed up in the cloud at all times. This is opposed to a locally installed POS systems, which are entirely hosted on the premises.
Toast typically creates a local LAN network for each client. Once set up, devices including terminals, printers, and card readers can all connect to this network, limiting the likelihood of a dropped internet connection.
Is Toast POS easy to use?
Toast's restaurant management software is easy to learn and use, with an intuitive interface that employees and managers alike should pick up quickly. The setup process is also easy, thanks to Toast representatives who are available to help new customers adapt to the system and can answer any questions that may come up during the process.
What Credit Card Processors are Compatible with Toast POS?
Toast POS is compatible with EMV card processing, meaning that all major credit cards are supported, including American Express, Discover, JCB, Mastercard, UnionPay, and Visa.
Samsung Pay is supported as well for all Toast POS devices, with no need for any additional integrations.
Is Toast POS PCI compliant?
The Toast POS is PCI compliant – this stands for “Payment Card Industry”, and refers to the data security standard that all businesses must meet in order to offer credit card processing. Toast collects and stores any sensitive customer data in compliance with PCI-DSS.
However, just because your company uses Toast POS does not automatically make the entire company PCI compliant – it just ensures that the payments processed through the Toast software are in compliance.
Is Toast POS Right for My Business?
The Toast software is a great choice for many restaurants and any company size, particularly a business in a specific niche that demands specific features. However, you'll need to research the add-ons that you might need, and check for a custom quote to ensure that the Toast POS won't charge a higher monthly fee than a comparable top-tier POS service.
To get started collecting custom prices today, take a minute now to fill out Tech.co's quick POS quotes form.
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