- 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)
If you run a restaurant in the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, or Australia, TouchBistro should certainly be on your shortlist of POS providers. It has a range of excellent server-and-kitchen-specific features, as well as a unique pricing structure. It's certainly popular in the industry: Over 12,000 venues run TouchBistro worldwide, and over $6 billion in payments has been processed through the software.
TouchBistro has an excellent range of POS features. Some are typical of most POS services, such as sales reporting and analytics, while others are more specialist, such as tableside ordering and loyalty programs. Plus, TouchBistro offers a full online ordering service, which can work through your restaurant's website – something especially important given the current coronavirus situation.
TouchBistro's pricing plan is pretty unorthodox for a POS system. Instead of charging based on the number of features you need, TouchBistro gives them to you all upfront, and you pay according to the number of user licenses you need. Confused? We'll explain more below.
In terms of drawbacks, TouchBistro does lack some business development tools – and, since it's a software-only provider, you'll need to provide your own hardware.
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 bespoke questionnaire which can find you the perfect POS system for your business in a matter of minutes.
TouchBistro POS 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, while the Team plan costs $249 per month and gives you five licenses. Finally, 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 services.
Prices are correct as of 01/29/2021
TouchBistro POS: 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.
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.
Servers can select the quantity and type of menu item, sorting by both seats and courses in order to get everything right. Automatic prompts can remind servers what potential upsells could be suggested with each item. Then, when the meal's over, servers can separate or join seats with a simple swipe, or tap in orders to split the bill with minimal effort.
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.
Reporting & Analytics
TouchBistro can deliver daily reports to senior staff members.
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 lots of other POS providers, 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 – 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.
Hardware Highlight: TouchBistro Kiosk
TouchBistro's hardware product line isn't as extensive as those of many other POS vendors.
However, one hardware item stands out: a kiosk that lets customers tap product buttons to compose and pay for their unique order.
If you manage a cafe, or a quick service or fast-casual restaurant, a self-service kiosk might be the hardware investment you need to fill orders faster – and save money in the process.
The TouchBistro Kiosk works with an iPad, but lets customers place their own orders instead of doing it through your staff. That might sound impersonal, but it can often lead to customers placing more expensive orders, with access to combos and options at their fingertips. It also leads to fewer mistakes from your staff, as well as increased productivity.
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.
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.
A 28-day free trial of the POS is available to anyone who signs up for an account on the website.
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
- Help portal
- User guides
- Online videos
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. 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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