Toast POS System: Reviews, Features, Pricing, and More

Running a restaurant or food business is a massive undertaking that requires a high level of coordination between your storefront, staffing management, payment processing, and back-end kitchen activities. If just one of these areas is out of balance with the rest of your operation, it would seriously impact profitability and the customer experience. This is why a full-fledged point-of-sale (POS) and restaurant management system is one of the most important technology investments a restaurant owner can make.

Toast POS is a powerful all-in-one restaurant management system that offers a robust plan for every type of food business. In this blog, we’re going to explore the features of Toast POS system—its pricing system, hardware options, and integrations. No matter whether you’re a new restaurant owner looking for the right POS or simply considering a switch to a more high-powered system, this guide covers everything you need to know.

TL;DR

  • Toast POS is an all-in-one restaurant management system designed for food outlets, offering menu management, order tracking, staff management, customer relationship management, analytics, and reporting features.
  • Toast’s purpose-built hardware is designed specifically for kitchen environments, and their pricing plans offer comprehensive solutions to every type of food business, from new restaurant openings to fast food outlets.
  • Toast integrates with a variety of third-party apps and software within the restaurant industry and beyond, and offers a range of online resources for training and troubleshooting, as well as 24/7 technical support via phone, email, and web messaging for every service plan.

Toast POS System Overview

The Toast POS system is a cloud-based restaurant point of sale and online ordering system designed for food outlets such as eateries, cafes, and food trucks. Toast offers large and small businesses a range of functionalities to streamline restaurant management. This includes POS hardware options, menu management, payment processing, and advanced reporting features.

One of the biggest benefits of Toast’s restaurant POS system is that it’s purpose-built exclusively for restaurant operations. This differs from more well-known POS systems that market certain POS software plans as being suitable for restaurants.

For example, Toast hardware is designed specifically for kitchen environments, with spill-resistant surfaces and a hardwired connection. Multiple payment plans offer a comprehensive solution to every type of food business, from new restaurant openings to fast food outlets.

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Features and Benefits of the Toast POS System

The Toast platform offers businesses a range of restaurant-specific and general retail management features. These include:

Customizable menu management

Toast’s cloud-based POS system allows restaurant owners to easily update and customize their menus across locations in real-time. This includes adding/removing menu items, adjusting pricing, and modifying descriptions. The scheduling tool also allows restaurants to set up multiple separate menus for different days or different times of day, such as weekdays/weekends or breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This flexibility makes on-the-spot changes or promotions easy to action from a single device.

Order management and tracking

The Toast POS system offers a robust order management system so that kitchen staff can accept orders and notify serving staff when meals are ready to be delivered tableside. Orders can be accepted via multiple channels, including self-service kiosks, online ordering, and the Toast Takeout app (their version of Doordash).

Staff management and scheduling

Toast has an integrated system for payroll, scheduling, and staff onboarding as an optional add-on. This is a good option for large restaurant businesses with multiple locations, as features include access management (for reporting or updating orders) shift monitoring, and cost management.

Customer relationship management

Toast’s CRM database feature allows restaurants to collect and store customer information in one convenient place. Toast also offers email and loyalty program management, both within plans and as separate add-ons:

Loyalty program management: Set up custom rewards programs with a simple, point-based structure for activities like sign-up bonuses, birthday rewards, and more. Loyalty members can link their profile with their credit card for swipe-based earning and redemption.

Email marketing: Use Toast’s CRM to build custom mailing lists for different customer profiles, such as loyalty members or inactive customers. The tool is fully integrated into the Toast system, meaning there’s no need for a third-party email management platform.

Analytics and reporting

Reporting features are included within every Toast plan and allow real-time access to data across multiple locations. The Location Overview feature makes it easy to monitor and compare net sales, sales growth, and labor cost at different outlets both on Android and iOS. Toast will also automate sending over key metrics daily via email so businesses can keep track of daily fluctuations.

Pricing and Plans

Toast’s pricing can be divided into three main costs: The software plan, hardware, and payment processing fees.

Toast offers three monthly plans:

  • Quick Start Bundle ($0)
  • Core ($65)
  • Growth ($165)

Toast also offers a custom pricing option for larger businesses. The paid plans progressively offer additional value-added services and functionalities. Businesses can also elect to add individual services for an additional monthly fee. Toast has tailored plans for specific restaurant types, such as their Restaurant Basics plan, which starts at $110 and bundles together POS and payroll services.

Restaurants using Toast have a variety of hardware options available, from card readers and POS handheld devices to its Toast Flex checkout terminal, as well as self-service kiosks. Toast hardware can either be purchased upfront when a business subscribes, or included within the monthly fee if they opt for the Starter Kit plan with pay-as-you-go pricing.

Restaurants using Toast must also pay a fee per transaction they process. One of the drawbacks of Toast’s pricing is that it doesn’t publicly disclose its card-present (CP) and card-not-present (CNP) payment processing fees online, other than to say that rates are custom calculated for each business. Navigating deeper into the website and its bundled software/hardware plans reveals different per-transaction rates depending on the type of hardware selected. For example, their Toast Go starter plan offers a rate of 2.49% + 15c when the hardware is purchased upfront, and 2.99% + 15c for the pay-as-you-go plan.

Toast Pos System In A Restaurant

Comparison with competitors

Square – Square’s all-in-one POS system offers five different plans for restaurant settings, from quick service to ghost kitchens. Plans start at $60 per month with processing fees of 2.6% + 10¢ per transaction, though custom pricing applies for businesses processing more than $250,000 per year.

Clover – Clover offers both a full-service dining and quick-service dining plan to restaurant businesses. Their pricing model is slightly different than Toast, as all plans bundle software and hardware together. Hardware is more expensive, starting at $799 for a mini touchscreen POS. However, their transaction fees are lower, at 2.3% + 10¢ for in-person transactions.

Lightspeed – Lightspeed’s restaurant POS system starts at $79 per month and includes one register in each of their plans. Processing fees are competitive at 2.6% plus 10 cents per in-person transaction. However, services such as online ordering, inventory management, and accepting gift cards do come at an extra cost.

Touchbistro – Touchbistro is an all-in-one restaurant management system with menu management and online order management that closely competes with Toast. Starting at $69 per month with a variety of add-on services. Payment processing is managed by one of Touchbistro’s partners, which includes Square and Chase, so processing fees will vary.

A note about payment processing

While some POS systems (like Square) have their own built-in payment processing solutions, other platforms provide the flexibility to integrate with different payment vendors. This option is ideal for most merchants as it allows you to choose a payments partner that aligns with your specific needs and budget. 

One example is the integration between Clover and Stax. Clover POS can be seamlessly integrated with Stax, enabling merchants to leverage the capabilities of Clover’s POS system while benefiting from Stax’s cost-effective payment structure.  

In the realm of payment processing for multi-faceted businesses, Stax emerges as a reliable and versatile option that caters to various industries, including retail, restaurants, ecommerce, or a combination of these. With its comprehensive range of features and competitive pricing, Stax offers a seamless payment processing experience that benefits businesses of all types.  

So whether your business operates online, offline, or a combination of both, Stax has you covered. I 

Integrations and Add-ons

Integrations are an important feature in POS software because the point of sale goes hand in hand with parts of business management such as accounting, inventory management, loyalty, marketing, and more. Instead of maintaining all of these platforms separately, open API integrations enable businesses to share data effectively and view the same information across interfaces.

Toast integrates with a variety of third-party apps and software within the restaurant industry and beyond, including but not limited to Grubhub, Doordash, OpenTable, LevelUp, Lunchbox, and more. Toast also boasts a selection of add-on services which are available for an extra fee, including takeout and delivery services, inventory and supplier management, and invoicing.

Customer Support and Training

One of Toast’s biggest strengths is the number of online resources it offers for training staff or troubleshooting issues, which helps businesses to take a self-service approach:

Knowledge Base. The Toast knowledge base is a comprehensive platform with articles, videos, ebooks, and templates that address FAQs on how to use the system and run a successful restaurant. Categories covered include Marketing, Technology, Management, Staffing, and more.

Toast Community. Toast Community is an online forum and in-person event series where restaurant owners and staff using Toast can connect with other users, join each other on an in-website chat forum, and earn money for referring new users.

Toast Classroom. Toast Classroom offers live and on-demand training for their POS hardware and software, as well as a range of areas related to restaurant management such as team management and customer service.

In addition to the self-service resources, Toast also provides 24/7 technical support via phone, email, and web messaging for every service plan.

Merchant Ratings and Toast POS Reviews

The Toast POS system garners generally positive feedback from merchants, as shown by this roundup from popular review sites:

  • 4.35 out of 5 (g2.com)
  • 4.2 out of 5 (capterra.com)
  • 3.8 out of 5 (trustpilot.com)

The areas where Toast commonly receives high praise include its user-friendly interface, the ability to manage menus and staffing remotely on mobile or iPad, and the variety of third-party integrations available. However, Toast has received repeated criticism from merchants who have experienced difficulty accessing customer service for complex issues, finding they are often referred back to online resources that don’t address their concerns. Several merchants have also noted that Toast hardware breaks down quickly, despite being marketed as restaurant-grade.

Merchant reviews about Toast POS

“I have been using restaurant POS for over 20 years and Toast has shown itself to be one of the best on the market. It is so user-friendly and easy to work in, including the handhelds, that it’s amazing. In training new teams they offer a great program and support team. The layout is ideal for high-volume. Reporting is excellent. I refer Toast to most of our clients.”

“Customer Support is hit or miss. I always get an answer, it’s just a matter of when I get it. After hours and on weekends, I feel like their staffing is very limited which leads to delays in getting immediate help.”

“Toast is by far the best POS and payroll system I have ever worked with. Not having to toggle between and punch system, sales reporting, tip outs and payroll software. Everything is integrated and communicates well. I learn every day the many capabilities Toast offers and very much enjoy working with the system.”

Overall, the Toast point-of-sale system offers a powerful tool to restaurant owners and managers who want an industry-specific solution with flexibility and good ease of use. With its wide range of features and user-friendly interface, it’s a popular choice for many businesses in the hospitality and food service industries. With multiple pricing plans available, restaurant businesses large and small can benefit from Toast and find a combination of services that works for their precise needs. If you’re looking for a streamlined and easy-to-use restaurant management system, Toast POS should be on your list to explore.

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FAQs About Toast POS System

Q: What types of businesses is Toast suitable for?

Toast POS is a versatile and scalable solution for various types of food and hospitality businesses, including restaurants, cafes, bars, food trucks, and catering services. It offers customizable features to cater to different business sizes, types, and needs. 

Whether you are a small business owner or running multiple outlets, Toast POS provides flexible pricing plans and hardware options, including pay-as-you-go, self-service kiosks, and handheld devices.  

Q: Can Toast integrate with third-party apps?

Yes, Toast POS system integrates with a range of third-party apps and software within and beyond the food and hospitality industry, including Grubhub, DoorDash, LevelUp, OpenTable, and more. 

Toast also offers a selection of add-on services, such as takeout and delivery services, inventory and supplier management, and invoicing.   

Q: What level of technical knowledge is required to use the Toast POS system?

The Toast POS system is designed to be user-friendly and accessible to businesses with different levels of technical knowledge. The system uses cloud-based software that enables real-time updates and customizations across multiple locations. 

Toast also provides a range of online resources, such as a knowledge base, community forum, and live and on-demand training, to help businesses train their staff and troubleshoot issues.  

Q: How long does it take to set up the Toast POS system?

The time it takes to set up Toast varies depending on the size and complexity of the business. However, Toast offers a range of resources and support to help businesses get started quickly and efficiently. For instance, businesses can order Toast hardware online and receive it within a few days. 

Once the hardware is installed, businesses can use Toast’s cloud-based software to customize their menus, configure settings, and train their staff.