Toast is a well-respected, restaurant-specific POS system with a great breadth of useful business features. It's used by thousands of businesses and is valued at a whopping $1.4 billion as of a late-2018 funding round. While it’s currently only compatible with Android devices, provided you have the right hardware, its diverse and expansive suite of business features can help you with far more than taking orders and processing payments.
In this 2022 Toast POS review, we cover its key features, different hardware packages, price points, and other promising alternatives.
- 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
- Doesn't work with iOS devices
- No integrated payment processing
- Lacks support options
- No barcode setup
In this review:
Toast POS Review
According to our independent research, Toast comes out top when it comes to business and stock management, and the POS also offers better till features than our POS leader, Square. Toast's plans are also great value for money, too – allowing restaurants to benefit from its products without digging too deep into their pockets.
However, while Toast performs well with its admirable till, stock management, and marketing tools, its help and customer support options don't quite cut the mustard. They vary by price – something we've never been a fan of – and Toast doesn't offer email or live chat support at all. For hospitality businesses that require real-time help and don't have the time to wait for onsite support teams to arrive, this can be a dealbreaker. What's more, Toast's POS doesn't automatically backup your data, which means that users are required to update important information manually.
Before committing to Toast, we'd recommend you take a look at some other providers on the market. The easiest way to do so is by using our quick price comparison tool, which thousands of other businesses have used to figure out their pricing options. You'll receive obligation-free quotes tailored to your business's needs within minutes.
Toast POS Pricing
Note: Prices updated June 2022
Toast Starter Plan
The Toast software service starts with the aptly titled Starter plan – but pricing gets complicated immediately, because you'll have two different options for how you pay with Starter.
You can pick the popular Pay-as-you-go Starter plan, which costs nothing upfront but charges 2.99% + 15¢ for all transactions — you'll get both a software subscription and a Toast Starter Kit Hardware Bundle for free, though you'll still pay the taxes and shipping for the hardware.
You can also get the Standard Starter Plan. This drops the transaction fees down to 2.49% + 15¢ per transaction, but you'll pay $799 upfront followed by $69 per month in order to pay for the Starter Kit, which includes software, a POS hardware terminal, Tap payment device, router, and support.
Toast Essentials Plan
The Essentials plan starts at $165 per month for a subscription that includes one hardware terminal, and brings some pretty important features. For example, online ordering and delivery are included, rather than being an optional add-on. The Toast takeout app is also included to help manage your takeout sales.
Toast New Restaurant Basics Plan
The New Restaurant Basics plan was designed for new restaurants looking to save money by combining the costs of POS and payroll. The package includes cloud-based point-of-sale features, and payroll, scheduling, and employee management tools. Users of the plan will also benefit from flat-rate payment processing and 24/7 customer care. Currently, the New Restaurant Basic plan is available for a limited time for $110 per month, down from its regular price of $140.
Toast Custom Plan
Finally, the Custom plan is available to restaurants looking to access Toast's full suite of features. On top of all the tools included in the previous plans, Toast Custom offers valuable CRM and omnichannel ordering features, as well as over 100 integrations with popular restaurant software. As its name suggests, the price of the Custom plan will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Toast also charges payment processing fees, although it doesn't clarify what they are for the Essentials or Growth plans. In early 2021, Toast's fees were 2.49% + 15 cents for card-present transactions and 3.5% + 15 cents for card-not-present transactions — fairly pricey for the POS industry. It has since lowered its fees for the Starter plan, and likely for the other plans as well. The fees are comparable to Square‘s 2.6% + 10¢ or 3.5% + 15¢ fees, although Square has a bonus of not including any monthly subscription fees at all.
Toast doesn't disclose its hardware prices for users, saying instead that it has “flexible payment options available, including payment as a percentage of your sales or fixed monthly payment.” Nor does it disclose the prices for hardware products sold separately. This might sound fishy but, perhaps regrettably, it's becoming increasingly standard practice throughout the POS industry.
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 joining the thousands of businesses that have used our quick price comparison tool to get the same quotes from other leading POS vendors available today.
New Restaurant Basics
2.99% + $0.15
3.5% + $0.15
3.5% + $0.15
3.5% + $0.15
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Toast is a great restaurant POS, but it isn't the only service worth considering. All POS services offer your business something different, so it’s important you identify which ones will cater to your needs, and gather quotes from these providers to compare. We appreciate this can be time-consuming, so we created this easy-to-use custom-built tool to do that hard work for you! Alternatively, you can read on or watch this quick explainer video to hear about other systems that might be right for your business.
Square is our favorite POS provider for restaurants. While it doesn't top Toast's advanced till features, the point of service offers some of the best business and stock management tools on the market, while excelling in customer support.
What's more, Square features in-built payment processing and unlike Toast, it doesn't require users to pay monthly fees – only transaction fees on the stuff they sell. Restauranters using the POS can also choose from a range of stylish hardware options, including contactless card readers, touchscreen payment terminals, and tablet stands.
Clover, on the other hand, isn't quite as well-rounded as Square, but offers some of the best customer loyalty features around. The provider's loyalty program, Clover Rewards, is completely free, and uses a point-based system to let you reward your customers with special perks. Clover also boasts a range of restaurant-focused features, including promising table management tools, customized floor plans, and split bill functions. With prices starting as low as $4.95 per month, the POS is also more affordable than Toast, too.
If value is your business's top concern, Zettle also provides a cheaper POS system than Toast. However, while Zettle's price and help and support service are unmatched, it falls severely short of Toast when it comes to restaurant-specific features.
Here's a comparison table of these three restaurant POS services:
Tech.co rating for restaurants
Score out of 5 based on Tech.co's independent market research.
Best Restaurant POS for:
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.
Is there a version of the software made specifically for iPad use?
Is there a version of the software made specifically for Android tablet use?
BEST FOR RESTAURANTS
BEST VALUE FOR MONEY
Best overall for restaurants
Great customer loyalty app
Great value for money
Free (but transaction fees apply)
$14.95 per month
Free (but transaction fees apply)
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Sells a range of proprietary hardware devices from handheld tableside tablets to full POS terminals.
First carder reader is $29 and the price of ready-made store kits ranges from $249 to $699.
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. These tableside management features are all fairly standard for a POS system, though Samsung Pay isn't always supported.
Toast's affordable POS also features cost software that lets managers keep an eye on their overheads. By using the software, users can easily calculate expenses associated with 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.
Cost management is imperative for any successful business, and if you’re looking to monitor costs through your POS, we’d advise you ensure you’re getting the right POS for your business in the first place. Installing a new system can be costly and time consuming, and getting it wrong can be hectic. That’s why we recommend collecting as many quotes as possible that suit your business needs – and we’ve created this custom-built tool to allow you to do just that. It only takes a minute, but could save your business a lot.
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's reporting features are thorough and on par with the best reporting from other top POS systems, including Shopify, Talech, and Revel.
Toast's dynamic software also supports an online ordering option, in the form of 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 has exceptional inventory management tools. In fact, according to our research, Toast's inventory management makes it truly stand out from its restaurant-specific competitors.
Toast's platform lets restauranteurs track the cost of each ingredient. This means that you can see exactly where your money is going and improve efficiency. It also helps your staff ensure consistent portion size and account for any wastage. This is the kind of feature that you only get with Toast, rather than non-restaurant-specific POS platforms.
Plus, Toast automatically updates your inventory, meaning that there's no data export needed — helping you save money and time instantly.
Toast offers email marketing features 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 guests' histories.
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.
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 Now is an entirely virtual service with no upfront costs. It supports online ordering, takeout, gift cards, and contactless delivery – all functions that restaurants are becoming increasingly eager to adapt.
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.
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. It's a comprehensive range of employee management features that beats some other restaurant POS systems like Shopkeep and Cake, although Shopify and Vend are even better.
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:
- Toast Tap for payments
- Guest-facing displays
- A kitchen display screen
- Hand-held tablets
- Assorted accessories — receipt printers, routers, wireless access points
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 will sell you everything as a bundle, or as separate items. Toast doesn't currently list prices (though its bundles started at $899 as recently as February 2021). You can install the hardware yourself, or have Toast do it for you at a cost of $499.
Toast also doesn't disclose how much each of the items costs on its own. Ultimately, you'll have to get in touch with its sales team to find out how much this will cost your business.
Restaurant Self-Ordering Kiosk
The Toast Kiosk allows guests to choose exactly what they want to eat on a large touchscreen display.
This means the whole process, from order to collection, is streamlined and completely contactless. Wait times are reduced, and staff productivity goes up. Plus, it's likely that your check size will increase, as customers can be easily enticed into upselling their own orders.
Toast Go 2
The Toast Go 2 is designed to help your staff offer a full POS experience at tableside.
It's easily handheld and offers a full touchscreen interface, with support for swiped, tapped, or keyed-in transactions. Plus, it'll completely integrate with any kitchen display equipment you have, notifying servers when food is ready to roll.
What's more, it's spill and drop-proof, and has a 24-hour battery life – twice as long as an iPad, and three times longer than the Clover Flex.
The Toast Flex is a touchscreen terminal which runs on the Android operating system.
You'll find everything you need to start taking and managing contactless and keyed-in transactions with ease. It has a large interface for you and your servers, as well as a convenient side-mounted card reader. The inconspicuous design also means it shouldn't disrupt your restaurant's decor too much.
The Toast Flex comes with a handy receipt printer, and can swivel and tilt for easy operation. It's also waterproof, and can be set up in less than 30 minutes, according to Toast.
Toast Flex for Kitchen
Toast also makes a Flex screen for use in your kitchen.
The kitchen display instantly shows orders to your kitchen staff the moment they are taken by your servers. This means you can get orders filled quicker and more accurately than using the old-fashioned pen-and-paper setup you might be used to.
The Flex for Kitchen can be mounted on a surface or on a wall in the kitchen, freeing up valuable counter space for your chefs.
Toast Flex for Guest
The Flex for Guest gives your customers an 8-inch screen to show what they've ordered, and what they need to pay.
A big, simple display can help eliminate errors by showing your customers exactly what they've ordered on your system – your customers won't need to fret about whether your servers took down their coffee order with soy milk rather than oat milk, for example.
Integrations & Add-Ons
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 ordering process for customers
- 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 represents 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 fulfilment 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, both over the phone and through 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
Online knowledge center
Online learning courses
Toast POS Drawbacks
All things considered, Toast is a solid option for restaurants. But no point of service is perfect. To help you understand its shortcomings before you make a purchase, we list a few disadvantages of the restaurant POS below.
- No iOS compatibility – As we've established, Toast is only compatible with Android hardware. This excludes most U.S. restaurants from using the point of service.
- Poor help and support options – According to our research, Toast is one of the worst solutions for customer support. This is likely to be a dealbreaker for fast passed businesses looking for quick solutions.
- Functional design – Toast's interface is simple and functional. Therefore, if it's modern design or a slick user experience you're after, this may not be the best POS for you.
- Limited customer loyalty features – Compared to its competitors, Toast's customer loyalty features are pretty basic.
- Transaction fees – No matter which plan you move forwards with, Toast charges a fee per transaction. While this allows the provider to keep its monthly prices low, if your business handles a large number of transactions, these costs are likely to build up over time.
Toast POS Review: The Verdict
Toast is great value for money, and its industry-leading till, business management, and stock management features are second to none. In fact, due to the quality of these tools, the POS is one of the best solutions out there for smaller and growing restaurants.
However, Toast POS won't fit the needs of every business. Its help and support options are basic at best, and while its hardware performs well, it's only available to Android customers.
If you've come this far, we know you're serious about finding the right POS. If you'd like help to pin down an ideal solution, we'd recommend using our quick and easy comparison tool. Fill in the quick form to receive obligation-free quotes from leading POS suppliers, tailored specifically for your needs.
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.
Samsung Pay is supported as well for all Toast POS devices, with no need for any additional integrations.
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.
Are you ready to take the next steps towards a great POS system for your business? To get started collecting custom prices today, take a minute now to fill out Tech.co's quick POS quotes form. Thousands of other businesses used this form last year alone in order to compare providers and save money, and you could too! Just answer a few quick questions, and you can potentially save yourself a lot of stress and frustration.
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