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.
- 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)
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 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.
Prices are correct as of March 2022
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.
TouchBistro even brands itself as “The Restaurant POS System.” If your business sells any kind of food or drink, TouchBistro is 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.
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.
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.
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 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 based on Tech.co's independent market research.
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 overall for small businesses
Best for expanding businesses
Helpful features for kitchen and serving staff
Best for CRM tools
Best for small restaurants
Best dedicated POS hardware for those without existing iPads
Best for small restaurants taking online orders
Best for inventory management
Restaurants that need to onboard new staff quickly
Businesses without existing software or hardware.
Free (but transaction fees apply)
$39 per month
$99 per month
$59 per month
$4.95 per month
$69 per month
$138 per month
Restaurant POS package costs $999 or $72 per month. Also works with a variety of third-party peripherals.
Sold separately but works with lots of third-party devices
Sells a range of third-party hardware devices from payment terminals to barcode scanners and cash drawers.
Sells a range of proprietary hardware including tableside ordering tablets.
Offers a full hardware suite for $799 but custom pricing is available on more expensive software tiers
Sells a range of proprietary hardware devices from handheld tableside tablets to full POS terminals.
Offers kits for iPads, MacOS devices, Windows PCs but all are $POA.
Sells $899 starter kit that includes iPad, cash drawer, printer, portable card reader.
Leases you a printer, terminal, card reader, and cash drawer on two or three year contract.
Square is one of, if not the most popular POS on the market. An advantage it has over almost any POS is that fact that it charges no monthly cost. It will take a small percentage of your transactions, but otherwise is completely free.
That's not the only benefit, however. Unlike TouchBistro, Square has its own line of dedicated POS hardware, like scanners and registers, which means you won't have to go looking for other products if you settle on TouchBistro.
- Free to get started
- Slick and stylish hardware
- Serves businesses of all sizes and in all sectors
- Strong analytics, inventory, and third-party integrations
- Some necessary features for mid-sized businesses cost more
- 2.75% charge on non-card transactions
- Support options vary by plan
Epos Now is another one of the top POS providers. Epos Now charges $39 a month, which, while not being free, is extremely low when compared to most competitors. You can also buy an Epos package for $999 that comes with various POS hardware.
It's also one of the fastest POS systems to set up, meaning that if you're starting a business and juggling a lot of set up when it comes to various apps and systems, it will be a nice, basic start for any fledgling business.
- Quick and easy set up
- Simple interface makes it easy to train staff
- Widely compatible with barcode scanners and receipt printers
- Lacks complexity in reporting
- Paid customer support and no knowledgebase
- No kiosk option
Revel is best known for its CRM options. Any chain restaurant, or a restaurant looking to expand, will want to consider CRM options that help them build a loyal and committed customer base.
Revel will help you build customer profiles, which can further help you construct entire marketing campaigns based around things like limited-time offers or coupons. As far as cost, Revel is a tad pricier, costing $99 per month, as well as a $674 onboarding fee.
- Intuitive user interface
- Good range of customer relationship tools
- Insights app for dedicated reporting
- Can be complicated to set up
- Prices start at $99 per month
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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