If you’re in need of a reliable restaurant POS system, TouchBistro should certainly be on your shortlist. It offers an excellent range of POS features — from sales reporting and analytics tools to more advanced tableside ordering and loyalty features — and it’s the most scalable solution we’ve reviewed at Tech.co.
With an overall score of 4.2/5, our research suggests TouchBistro is solid in most areas, and the 12,000 venues that rely on the software would probably agree. However, TouchBistro does lack some business development features and requires vendors to provide their own hardware. This prevents the tool from edging out POS heavyweights like Square and Clover.
TouchBistro's pricing plan is pretty unorthodox for a POS system, too. But we’ll explain all of this and more throughout this guide, to help you determine if it's a good fit for your business.
- Supports in-person and online ordering
- Strong table and order management
- In-depth inventory and cost calculation
- Automatic daily backups
- Pricing based on the number of users, which could add up
- Only works with Apple iPads and computers
- No training mode (but 24/7 support and videos available)
Of course, TouchBistro isn't the only POS provider on the market, and it can be difficult to find the best system for your restaurant. That's why we've created a tailored questionnaire that can find you the perfect POS system for your business in a matter of minutes.
TouchBistro Cost: Pricing Plans
TouchBistro has a unique pricing system. Instead of pricing its services on a per user per month basis, TouchBistro’s plans offer a cap on the number of monthly users.
- TouchBistro’s Solo plan costs $69 per month for one license
- The Dual plan costs $129 per month for two licenses
- The Team plan costs $249 per month and gives you five licenses
- The Unlimited plan costs $399 per month for unlimited users
As a result, it might be cheaper for some businesses to opt for the Unlimited plan, as they will pay less over time. TouchBistro’s prices are competitive with the rest of the POS industry, regardless of which plan you use. However, the size of your business will determine just how good a deal you’ll get.
TouchBistro also has a range of add-ons which bring extra features to your POS system. Its Reservations add-on, for example, costs $229 per month, while the Online Ordering add-on costs $50 per month. This can make TouchBistro slightly more expensive than some restaurant-only POS services.
While TouchBistro's entry price isn't too steep, the provider's plans cost more than similar POS systems of its kind. What's more, businesses are required to pay extra for lots of features which bumps up its price tag even more. Because of this, our team of experts gave the provider a price score of 2.8/5, suggesting that the solution may be less suited to smaller or budget-conscious food vendors.
Prices are correct as of January 2023
TouchBistro POS Review: Core Features
While this review focuses on TouchBistro's full-service restaurant POS app, the vendor offers four more POS apps aimed at more specific niches within the food industry. The Quick Service, Bars and Clubs*, Food Truck, and Brewery POS apps all offer their own venue-specific features and benefits. (*TouchBistro is one of our top picks for a POS for Bars.)
All things considered, TouchBistro's toolkit is very competitive. Our insights team has awarded the POS system an impressive score of 4.8/5 for restaurant features, placing it above its rivals Clover and Zettle. TouchBistro even brands itself as “The Restaurant POS System.” So if your business sells any kind of food or drink, TouchBistro will likely be a great choice, as it's almost exclusively dedicated to restaurants of any size or function.
Here are the core features to know:
Tableside Order Management
TouchBistro makes tableside ordering simple. A server can place an order and send it directly to the kitchen, while still standing in front of the table they're serving.
You can create a bespoke table plan for your restaurant and use it to identify slow-turning or high-value tables, as well as add or remove seats, change parties, and more. Servers can access the table plans on their iPads and carry them around the restaurant as they're serving.
Managers can create, edit, and upload customized menus to TouchBistro’s app, adding and subtracting menu items as needed.
Low inventory alerts can help managers know which items to remove before a customer orders something that isn't available. In addition, data reports help managers know which menus and items sell the best, allowing them to create even better menus in the future.
Servers can route orders to different kitchen printers or displays – useful if you need to send different orders to the bar or the kitchen. You can also add modifiers on-the-spot so that servers can react to customer needs.
TouchBistro’s customer relationship management (CRM) features allow servers to reward repeat visitors.
Once an account is set up for a regular customer, favorite items can be suggested to servers whose memories might not supply “the usual” quite as quickly as TouchBistro's software can. These customers' favorite orders can also help guide managers as they build new menus or consider special promotions.
TouchBistro's CRM software can also help your restaurant communicate with customers about loyalty programs and discounts through SMS, push notifications, or email.
Floor Plan & Table Management
TouchBistro also offers table management options, a staple feature of restaurant POS services. A customizable floor plan allows you to layout your entire operation, even down to the table size. Servers can then move parties around as needed. The result? Portable maps that update in real-time, putting everyone on the same page and speeding up service.
With TouchBistro POS, staff can clock in and out, and managers can easily track their hours.
Each employee can get an individual account, allowing managers to keep staff-specific details in mind, as well as ensure everyone gets paid.
Comprehensive security controls and access rights keep everything safe, while in-app messaging allows staff members to contact each other throughout a shift.
Seamless staff management pays off. TouchBistro has already helped restaurateurs save up to 4% on labor.
TouchBistro supports a host of mobile payment processors, including Square, iZettle, Chase Paymentech, Moneris, Worldpay, and PayPal. Servers will be able to take cash, card, and debit.
TouchBistro has fantastic inventory management.
It allows restaurateurs to track items sold, and the ingredients which make up each dish. Alerts let managers and staff know when an item needs to be restocked. In addition, profit margins for each item can be tracked, letting managers know which items offer the worst return on investment.
However, unlike competitors like LightSpeed, TouchBistro doesn't let users add product variants. This makes the software less suitable for vendors that regularly create unique dishes or deal with ingredient substitutions.
Reporting & Analytics
TouchBistro can deliver daily reports to senior staff members. In fact, with over 50 reports available to users, the POS system has the most reporting features of any other provider we've researched.
Managers can use the data collected from each of the platform's features in order to determine future plans. Which tables are most popular? Which menu items should be promoted? Which servers work the fastest, and at which times? Since inventory and sales are tracked to the last detail, theft can also be noted and deterred.
TouchBistro runs on all iPads after the first four generations. You’ll need a wireless router, which allows the TouchBistro POS to run on a secured local network. If you're a small operation, one iPad and a router should be all the hardware you need.
If you're using multiple iPads, you'll need a central hub to serve as the ‘brain' of your POS software. If you use five or fewer iPads, an Apple Mac Mini Computer is best. If you use six or more iPads, try an iMac Computer, whereas if you have fifteen or more, TouchBistro recommends a Mac Pro.
However, unlike POS providers like Square — which has its own line of dedicated POS hardware including scanners and registers — TouchBistro won't sell you the hardware your business needs. Instead, you'll have to source the hardware yourself.
That needn't be too much of a pain, however, because iPads (as you'd expect) are pretty easy to acquire, as are cash tills and card readers. But we'd still prefer it if TouchBistro would sell compatible hardware directly.
Setup and Customer Support
TouchBistro's online help portal offers as much customer support as you can expect to get through a computer screen, including setup guides, training videos, and user guides for staff, managers, and administrators. In fact, with a respectable help and support score of 4/5, our research suggests TouchBistro's options are neck and neck with industry leaders Square and Zettle.
Users signed up to any of the four service plans will have access to 24/7 phone & email app support. All restaurant data is backed up on the cloud daily, so if the app crashes, you won't lose your sales and inventory history. Hardware installation and troubleshooting are available for an additional fee.
TouchBistro offers live chat, but only for sales, and not for any account services or technical support. It also offers automatic daily backups of all your data, which is helpful.
Support & Training
- Phone: 888-342-0131 (U.S.)
- Phone support 24/7
- Email: email@example.com
- Email support 24/7
- Help portal
- User guides
- Online videos
TouchBistro POS Mobile App
TouchBistro's mobile app is one of its most important draws, as being able to operate a POS through your phone or tablet can be a lifesaver for a small business. However, TouchBistro isn't the only POS to offer an app, so how does their app stack up against other POS apps like Square?
TouchBistro is split into five apps on the app stores:
- Reports to Go
All of these apps would serve the functions that were listed in their respective sections above.
Unfortunately, it's a bit tricky to gauge the comparisons on a large scale. Square's various apps typically score very well, but it's harder to get a grip on TouchBistro, as most of their apps haven't been reviewed enough to generate a conglomerate score on either the Apple or Android store.
However, on all other third-party sites, like GetApp, TouchBistro scores just as well as Square, landing between 4 and 5 stars.
Tech.co rating for restaurants
Score out of 5 for general restaurant suitability, 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
Epos Now Hospitality POS System
Best overall for restaurants
Great customer loyalty app
Best for food trucks
Best help and support
Retail and hospitality businesses
Best small business growth features
Best for ecommerce
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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.
Sold separately but works with lots of third-party devices
Offers a wide selection of hardware from handheld tablets to industry-specific terminals
Offers lots of compatible hardware including a tablet, cash drawer, receipt printer, and kitchen printer
Offers kits for iPads, MacOS devices, Windows PCs but all are $POA.
Sells a range of third-party hardware options from card readers to barcode scanners and hardware bundles.
TouchBistro is a reliable POS system, but this isn’t to say it's guaranteed to be the best fit for your business.
With a higher customer score (4.3 vs 3.3) and more affordable packages, our research suggests Square is stronger than TouchBistro in most respects. Square offers a generous free plan too, which is great for food businesses just getting started. For a granular breakdown of how the providers compare check out our TouchBistro vs Square review here.
Clover is another affordable restaurant POS system with its own proprietary hardware and more sophisticated business development tools than TouchBistro. Alternatively, if you’re running a food truck or market stall, our research on the best POS for food trucks suggests Zettle is your best pick, thanks to its transaction-based payment system and shallow learning curve.
TouchBistro does offer stronger restaurant features than Clover and Zettle however, and equally as comprehensive support options, so it's still a very safe bet for food businesses after a versatile solution.
Research and Methodology
We know how hard it is to settle on the perfect POS solution. This is why we pour hours of our time into product research — so you don’t have to.
After shortlisting the most competitive restaurant-specific solutions, we analyze them against the following metrics:
- Restaurant features – What restaurant-specific features does the POS offer?
- Price – Does the POS system offer affordable plans? Are free tiers or trials available?
- Help and support options – How robust are the solution's help and support tools? Is help available around the clock?
- Customer score – What do customers think of the product? Are they happy with their overall experience?
After our desk-based research is over, our insights team award the providers a score out of five in each of these categories, as well as a general score. These scores then help us compare POS systems against each other and determine which solutions are stronger overall.
TouchBistro's many features cover all the basics of restaurant operations, as well as a few bells and whistles – and they're highly configurable to boot. Both pricing and support meet or exceed industry standards. With an overall research score of 4.2/5, TouchBistro is a solid choice for most restaurant businesses, and a particularly great option for a restaurant with iPad-powered tableside service.
Before you start rushing off to sign-up for TouchBistro, though, it's worth taking a look at the competition. There are loads of great restaurant POS systems out there, and the easiest way to compare the different providers is by filling in our quick and easy form. You'll get tailor-made quotes for your business in minutes, with no obligations.
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