Toast POS System Review for 2022

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Toast POS is best suited for hospitality businesses because it has been created exclusively for this industry. Its restaurant-grade hardware protects your system and its software has open integrations, allowing you to integrate apps with ease.

Our research team extensively compared 12 POS providers, focusing on several different areas that include: hardware, price, usability, and help and support.

Overall, Toast POS scores a 3.7/5 in our research, with the highest scores in business management, stock management, usability, and price areas.

It offers some great features for the hospitality industry, however it doesn't perform strongly all around. It scores very low in the help and support area with a 1/5, and in the business development area, with a 2.5/5.

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0 out of 0
4.0
Price
  • Starter – $0
  • Restaurants Basics – $110/month
  • Essentials – $165/month
  • Custom – bespoke
Key Features
  • Caters to quick & full service
  • Contactless ordering
  • Marketing
  • Payroll & team management

How Much Does Toast Cost?

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Package
Package
Package
Package
Cost

$0/month

Cost

$110/month

Cost

$165/month

Cost

Custom

Key Features
  • Order & Table Management
  • Reporting & Analytics
  • Menu Management
  • Simple payment processing
  • Real-time fraud monitoring
  • 24/7/365 Availability
Key Features

Everything in the Starter Kit, plus:

  • Payroll & Team Management Lite
  • Scheduling Lite
  • Business Insurance
  • Vestwell 401k
  • Toast Pay Card and PayOut
Key Features

Everything in the Starter Kit, plus:

  • Toast Online Ordering
  • Toast Delivery Services
  • Toast TakeOut App
Key Features

Everything in the Starter Kit, plus any add-ons you want

Toast's free plan is a good option for start-ups and small businesses. Other POS providers, such as Square, also have a free POS app but, in comparison, Toast offers restaurant-specific features. If your business is not in the hospitality industry, Square may be a better option. Zettle by PayPal also offers a free POS app designed for hospitality, however Zettle offers less features and is more suitable for food trucks and small cafes.

The Restaurants Basics package offers a fairly affordable plan for businesses looking for restaurant features and payroll software. Splitting the two can often be costly and, with it all on one system, you get the advantage of your POS system speaking to your payroll software, ensuring it's accurate and up to date.

The Essentials package is $165 a month, and is suitable for larger businesses who want to use the online ordering and delivery options. For the number and extent of the features offered, this is a fair price. There are other POS systems that charge a lot less. However, they don't include these specialized features.

The Pros and Cons of Toast

Pros

  • Designed for the hospitality industry
  • Solid stock management tools
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • CRM functionalities only available via a third party app
  • Poor customer support

Pro: Designed for the hospitality industry

As Toast has been designed for the hospitality industry, it has numerous specialized features. The software offers tableside service, menu engineering, detailed reports, as well as online ordering and delivery.

Toast hardware has been built to withstand heat, grease, and spills. As well as being durable, the hardware is sleek and modern, an aesthetically pleasing addition to your business.

Toast Go is a handheld POS system that allows you to take orders and process payments anywhere in your restaurant.

You can also opt for a customer-facing screen for your till system for greater transparency. Other hardware options include self-ordering kiosks, and a kitchen display. Toast Flex for Kitchen has been built to withstand the heat and grease of kitchens to avoid your hardware being destroyed.

The kitchen display has one screen to ensure orders are accurate and on time, plus, you can set up the system to suit your kitchen's workflow.

Pro: Solid stock management tools

Stock management scores a perfect five in our research because it has numerous tools for managing your inventory. This comes in the form of xtraCHEF by Toast, an integrated solution for automating accounting and inventory management.

Count lists can be carried out on a phone or mobile device, even without a connection to Wi-Fi. Inventory counts can be assigned to specific staff members, so it can't be skipped or forgotten.

This platform centralizes all your orders, vendors, and product catalog. Once you've taken an initial inventory, it creates an order guide for you so that you can stay on top of what needs to be reordered and when. You can then choose to schedule recurring orders for your most popular items.

Pro: Easy to use

Toast scored a 5/5 in this area as its interface is sleek and designed to be a modern addition to your eatery. The system is intuitive and easy to use, with users reporting that they had little trouble figuring out how the system works.

It's important for POS systems in the hospitality industry to be easy to use, as a slow system can reduce service speed and can cause major issues. Toast's handheld system, Toast Go, has a 24 hour battery and the Toast Go 2 is said to have up to 3x faster processing speed than Toast Go.

Con: CRM functionalities only available via a third-party app

Toast doesn't have an in-built CRM (customer relationship management) system, so you'll need to use a third-party provider to access one.

The issue with this is that using a third party means there's more of a chance that things will go wrong as it hasn't necessarily been built to work with Toast. Plus, when things do go wrong, you'll need to contact the third party to deal with it, and if there's an issue on both sides, fixing it could be a struggle.

Con: Poor customer support

The customer support area has been scored a 1/5 in our research. While Toast offers customer support through call, email, and live chat, many users have reported that its customer support is not very quick or reliable. It can often take customers a while to receive a response to their issue or query, or to get a call back from customer service.

Toast does offer in-person training, so you can customize the system to suit your business. On the day you go live, it offers support so you can overcome any immediate hurdles.

For further support as you use the system, you can access ‘Toast University' online, which includes training videos and tutorials.

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Toast's Key Features Explained

Let's explore some of Toast's top features:

✓ Multi-Location Management

With Toast, you can manage multiple locations at once, and standardize your operations to provide a consistent experience for your customers and staff.

You can opt for one menu across all locations, or set different prices across each location.

✓ Payroll and Team Management

Toast offers payroll solutions suitable for all 50 states. Toast can remit and file federal, state, and local payroll taxes.

Team management tools include timesheet integration that directly syncs to payroll, employee scheduling, and an integrated tip pool.

Some users have found that the payroll integration does not work well and is not easy to use. For businesses with more complex payroll needs, Toast's payroll solution may not be a good fit. You can still choose to use Toast, but opt for different payroll software.

The payroll software does not come with the free plan, and if you want to use it, prices start from $110 per month for the Restaurants Basics package.

✓ Free Plan

Toast offers a free plan, suitable for single-location businesses with one or two terminals. This version does not include a loyalty program, gift cards, or email marketing. It does not include the payroll and team management solutions. However, it does include core features necessary to run a hospitality business.

For businesses on a tight budget, this is a great option, although you will need to fork out for Toast hardware.  You can use your own hardware, but it will need to be Android-operated. If you go for this option, Toast is unable to provide complete support.

✓ Online Ordering and Delivery

Your customers can order online with online ordering that's integrated with Toast Marketing and Toast Loyalty. The online ordering functionality is integrated with the POS system to ensure orders are carried out on time. You can also set windows for accepting orders to prevent your staff from being overwhelmed during busy periods.

✓ Integrations

Toast offers integrations with a range of third-party providers. These include OpenTable, Craver, and Uber Eats. These integrations help expand the system and give your business the ability to scale and grow at a steady pace.

Users have reported that the integrations work fairly well. However, with almost all third-party integrations, there's always a chance that functionalities may not work as smoothly compared to integrated features. Plus, if something goes wrong, you'll need to deal directly with the third party, which can be frustrating.

✓ Order and Pay at Table

Customers can both order and pay at their table by scanning a QR code. They can even choose to pay via Apple Pay, for a quick and convenient process. This option reduces the stress on your staff, and gives your customers more options when it comes to reading the menu and ordering.

What kind of business is Toast best for?

Toast is best for businesses in the hospitality industry, specifically, restaurants and bars.

Restaurants

Toast is one of the best POS systems for restaurants as it has been designed with this industry in mind. It features specific tools and solutions such as menu engineering, tableside service, and online ordering and delivery.

For hospitality businesses that start out small, the free plan is a good option and, as your business expands and grows, you can opt for the paid plans.

With restaurant-grade hardware and simple kitchen display systems, Toast offers a functional and sleek POS system.

We recommend Toast for restaurants of all types and sizes as it has the functionality and tools to deal with a variety of hospitality businesses.

Bars

Toast's durable POS hardware, and hospitality features such as menu engineering, stock management, and marketing tools make it a great choice for bars. Toast can automatically generate profiles based on credit card payments and it can also collect email addresses for digital receipts. You can use this customer data to send out marketing emails from the Toast dashboard. This feature is helpful if you host events or want to announce special offers.

How does Toast compare to its competitors?

Price

Both Square and Talech offer free POS software, with Square offering more general features, and Talech having some restaurant-specific features. But not as many as Toast.

For the paid plans, Toast is one of the most expensive. Other providers generally offer a starting price of less than $100 per month. Toasts ‘Restaurant Basics' is priced at $110 per month, plus, you'll need to factor in the cost of hardware. Toast only runs on an Android operating system, so you'll need to ensure you have this, or purchase Toasts hardware.

Bear in mind, that if you choose not to go with Toast's own hardware, if something goes wrong, they won't be able to help you fix it. We can't give you exact prices, as you'll need to contact Toast directly to get a quote. But we do know that providers such as Square also offer very affordable hardware, with costs starting at just £16 for a card reader.

Features

As a whole, Square offers some of the highest-rated features. Although Toast wins by some brownie points in the hardware area, scoring a 4.1/5 over Square's 4/5. Toast's toughest competitor might be Lightspeed, as it offers a restaurant-specific system. Lightspeed scores higher than, or the same as, Toast in all areas except price, as Toast offers a free plan whereas Lightspeed doesn't.

Business Development

Toast scored a low 2.5/5 in this area, which includes features such as a CRM system, loyalty programs, ecommerce platform, and brand awareness. Toast scores low in this area, especially as CRM functionalities are only available through a third-party integration.

It does, however, include a loyalty program. This is linked to a customer's credit card, so they don't even need to bring their loyalty card with them. You also get reports on your loyalty program, so you can keep an eye on your regulars, and see how well your program is working out.

None of the other providers score a 5/5, with the highest being a 4/5, so it seems no provider is doing especially well in this area.

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Square

Vend

Talech

Clover

4.0
4.8
4.4
4.3
4.3
4.1
4.0
4.0
Price
  • Starter – $0
  • Restaurants Basics – $110/month
  • Essentials – $165/month
  • Custom – bespoke
Price

$0/month

Plus: $60/month

Price
  • Lean – $69/month
  • Standard – $119/month
  • Advanced – $199/month
Price

$0 – $99/month

Price

From $69/month

Price

$29 – $299/month + subscription fee

Price

From $69/month

Price

Clover Station: $1,199

Clover Mini: $599

Best For

hospitality industry

Best For

Overall

Best For

Scalability

Best For

Mobile Businesses

Best For

Bars

Best For

Online and Retail Stores

Best For

Restaurants

Best For

Medium-sized Businesses

Pros
  • Designed for the hospitality industry
  • Solid stock management tools
  • Easy to use
Pros
  • Free POS app
  • Suited to small businesses
Pros
  • Intuitive and easy to use
  • Affordable
Pros
  • Free mobile app
  • Scalable
  • Wide range of features
Pros
  • In-built CRM system
  • Extensive report templates
  • Advanced inventory management
Pros
  • Powerful platform ideal for any-sized retail store
  • Affordable hardware options
Pros
  • Designed for hospitality
  • Integrated CRM system
  • Add-on features
Pros
  • Handheld POS system
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • CRM functionalities only available via a third party app
  • Poor customer support
Cons
  • Not as comprehensive as other POS systems
Cons
  • Shopify integration does not always work well
Cons
  • Can be glitchy
Cons
  • Costly
Cons
  • Works best when selling through your own Shopify store, not other ecommerce platforms
Cons
  • Difficult to get out of contract
Cons
  • Lack of features
  • Third party apps do not always integrate well

Does Toast have good reviews?

Overall, customers like the features and hardware Toast offers, such as payroll integration, self-service kiosk, and extensive reporting. Users also liked how easy it was to use and set up.

Many users reported having a bad experience with customer service, finding it hard to get in contact with a customer service agent and have their queries answered quickly. Some users reported that they felt like they were misled as they needed to purchase add-ons to access features they were initially shown.

Customer Review

Pros

The handhelds were a game-changer. Instead of running to the nearest station and waiting for other co-workers to finish, I was able to take the order at tableside.

They also reduced errors significantly. When inputting orders, all of the prompts for temperature, sides, and modifications came up automatically. This reduced the number of times that orders were inaccurate.

By doing all this in real-time while taking the guest's order, it made it possible to take a higher volume of tables, consequently raising sales and revenue. It also made it impossible to forget to ring in the order.

Cons

I'm not sure if it was software or connectivity issues, but we ended up offline a bit. The program was supposed to still send orders to stations offline, but it printed multiple copies. Although I have been around long enough to know how to take orders by hand and deliver them appropriately to support staff, the majority of our employees were much younger and did not. This caused chaos.
The handhelds needed frequent rebooting.

Melissa,
getapp.co.uk - 09/03/2022
Customer Review

Pros 

The reporting. It updates quickly; it's easy to segment and organize, and it helps me manage the business. I like that I can download so many of the reports into excel so that I can analyze the data easily.

Cons 

The higher charge for manually entering credit cards. We run many events for which we collect the credit cards in writing and have to manually enter them for transactions of 1k or more which kills us in charges.

Monica M,
g2.com - 03/02/2022
Customer Review

Pros 

Relatively easy to use if set up properly. Easy to adjust menu on the fly. Offline CC processing. Payroll is responsive.

Cons 

They do not give you the time of day unless they are trying to sell you something. Waste of money paying them to set it up. We can't even get good support using a free trial of their new service modules. They will just tell you how much this will increase your sales.

Chris,
getapp.co.uk - 21/01/2022
Verdict

Toast is best suited to businesses in the hospitality industry. Designed for the hospitality industry, Toast scores 5/5 in the business management, stock management and usability areas of our research. It also scores a 4.8/5 in the price, thanks to its free plan that gives small businesses access to free POS software.

Whilst its customer score is low at 3/5, it does provide an all-around solid POS system for businesses looking for hospitality-focused features, such as online ordering, delivery, and menu management. It scores a 4.1/5 for hardware, as it offers restaurant-grade, durable hardware, built to withstand the spills and heat of a busy restaurant.

Toast software only operates on Android, so if you don't want to purchase its hardware you'll need to ensure you're using an Android device. However, if you don't purchase its hardware, Toast won't be able to offer you assistance if something goes wrong with the device.

Before making an investment into a POS system, it's a good idea to compare a range of providers. You can use our free quote tool to do this, just give us a few brief details. and we'll do the rest! Trusted POS providers will then contact you with no-obligation quotes.

FAQs

Why is Toast POS so popular?
Toast POS offers restaurant-grade hardware, and restaurant-specific features. It also has a free plan, making it a popular choice for start-ups or small businesses in the hospitality industry.
Does Toast charge a fee?
Yes, although it does offer a free software plan. Its paid software plans are $110 per month, and $165 per month. There's also custom pricing for tailored packages.

Toast hardware is not free, although you can use your own hardware if it's compatible with Toast.

Is Toast POS expensive?
Toast's paid plans may cost more when compared to your average POS software monthly fee, but the free plan does help to offset this cost.
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Zara is a law grad with a penchant for wordsmithing. As Expert Market’s CRM and payroll expert, she relishes researching and writing expert content.