Toast POS System Review

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By Julia Watts | Content Manager

Toast, Inc. provides hardware and software POS solutions to restaurants and bars of all shapes and sizes. Like some of your diners, Toast POS, their signature system, is young and hungry. Unlike your diners, Toast is here to earn its keep. From small-scale single terminal coffee shops to enterprise-scale installs for takeout chains, does Toast’s service stack up?

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Features
Ease of Use
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Summary
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Getting Started

During setup, Toast asks users a series of questions about the function of each POS terminal being installed. This helps streamline the remainder of the install process. You can designate a quick service order terminal, connect it to a receipt printer and start serving in minutes.

One drawback is that there’s no training module within the software itself. This means that if you’re training an employee, they’ll be processing live transactions which will need voiding. Toast’s relative newness to the restaurant POS space partially excuses them on this front. Still, it’s an odd omission, especially since many of Toast’s rivals have included training modules for years. This is certainly a feature to look out for in future software updates.

Features

Toast is deployed in the cloud, giving you instant access to key business metrics no matter where you are, and giving staff the essentials no matter where they are in your establishment. Among the key features are:

  • FOH suite that includes tableside ordering and payments, mobile POS, touchscreen register, kiosks, and hardware
  • Streamlined BOH hardware and communications
  • Powerful admin utilities for inventory management, labor management, menu customization, and analytics
  • Online ordering
  • Guest database with customer reporting, gift cards, and loyalty program
  • On-site installations and robust support options

With excellent server uptime, Toast’s cloud-based architecture is a definite strong point – except when it’s not. A dual install (local and cloud) such as Aloha tends to work better if internet issues arise.

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Toast Ease of Use

Training isn’t the only time that a POS system can pose challenges. A sudden rush – especially when you’re understaffed and your servers are working double shifts -can lead to frustration.

Toast’s excellent user interface does a lot to minimize pain points during peak hours. The initial learning curve with is, however, a mixed bag. Some features – especially the ones that are customer-facing – are very easy to understand and learn. Reporting, likewise, is comprehensive but comprehensible. Where users tend to run into issues is with things like menu updates, which could stand to be streamlined.

Toast Support

Toast provides such thorough support that even users who find the system isn’t the best fit still love the support they receive. And no wonder. Before your installation, a Toast representative will conduct a site survey to look for potential issues. Installs are fast and efficient, and training takes place on-site. For any issues after installation, you’ll have phone and email support, and an extensive knowledge base, close at hand.

Plans and Pricing

There are two sets of expenses: hardware and service. Hardware costs start at just over $600 for a single-terminal setup (suitable for a shop that would only run one register).

The service is billed on one of three tiers:

Pricing PlanMonthly feeBest suited for
ExpressStarts at $79Quick-service restaurants needing only a limited number of terminals.
ProfessionalStarts at $99Restaurants needing an on-site install. Comes with more features, including API integrations and food and liquor reporting.
EnterprisePricing is by quote onlyChains, large franchises, and other multiple-location restaurants.

As is common with POS systems, costs depend on the size of an install and any additional products or features. We recommend shopping for quotes among system providers to get the best deals.

Case Study: O’Maddy’s Bar and Grille

Until recently, O’Maddy’s Bar and Grille in Gulfport only had a single POS terminal for their popular outdoor patio area. This meant that staff had to walk the distance from their tables to the terminal for orders, changes, and cashing out.

Switching to the tablet-based Toast sped up these processes. It made work easier on staff’s feet, and reassured customers (their credit cards never left their sight). O’Maddy’s sales rose by 20% – $1 million more per year.

Toast POS: The Verdict

Would we recommend Toast? Yes. It’s intuitive, reasonably powerful, and has plenty of integrations, so anything that isn’t native to the software can generally be tacked on as needed.

Whether it’s right for your business is something else. Some competitors – most notably, Breadcrumb – go far deeper on reports and analytics. This is the kind of feature you don’t always realize you need until you have it. However, even customers who are lukewarm on the system overall find it easy to use, and the company’s customer service earns plaudits all around.

Toast’s Competitors


Aloha Restaurant POS

Aloha Restaurant POS

Aloha POS is as reliable as it is versatile. It can shrug off internet outages more easily than Toast, thanks to dual-mode installation.

Product Rating:
Read Review


Breadcrumb POS

Breadcrumb POS

Upserve’s Breadcrumb POS boasts similar features and ease of use, but offers more robust reporting and analytics.

Product Rating:


Revel POS

Revel POS

Revel works across a wider range of operating systems than Toast. That comes in handy if you’d like to incorporate older hardware.

Product Rating:
Read Review

Julia Watts Content Manager
Specializing in business energy, fleet management and fuel cards, Julia’s here to help your company power up and get on the move. Having spent years working in the dynamic world of startup entrepreneurship, she loves creating content that might help exciting ventures, big or small, to flourish.
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