By Lori Fairbanks, business.com Writer | Updated Feb 06, 2020
Toast, a Boston-based POS company, offers an all-in-one restaurant point-of-sale system that has a variety of features and services to help you run your restaurant smoothly. It can be used by all restaurant types, including full- and quick-service, bars, pizzerias and food trucks. Restaurants of all sizes, with one or multiple locations, can use Toast. This restaurant POS system is Android-based, giving restauranteurs who prefer this platform a solid alternative to iPad-based POS systems.
Visit our best picks page to see all of our recommendations for iPad restaurant POS systems.
Toast Pricing and Terms
Toast posts starting rates for its software subscription, hardware bundle and installation packages, giving you a ballpark idea of whether the system is in your budget. You'll need to contact the company for a price quote specific to your business.
Toast requires you to sign a contract to use its POS software. Contract lengths vary between one and three years, and after the initial term, the contract automatically renews for additional one-year terms, unless you submit a cancellation request within 30 days of the term's expiration date. The company posts its merchant agreement on its website, and you should read it before signing up, as you would with any POS provider.
Toast requires that you use its in-house credit card processing service, Toast Payments. The website says it has flat-rate pricing and no hidden fees, but its rate isn't posted online so you'll need to contact the company for pricing info.
- The cost for a Toast POS software subscription is as low as $79 each month per terminal.
- For an additional cost, you can add modules to the system. Prices for these add-ons are no longer listed on the company's website, but when we previously reviewed this system, the inventory management module cost $75 per month, online ordering and gift card modules cost $50 each per month, and the loyalty programs module cost $25 per month. A payroll module is also available.
Implementation comes at an additional cost as part of the installation process. Toast sets up your menu for you, which can be a timesaver. If you subscribe to the Toast online ordering module, Toast creates a customizable webpage for you.
- Remote installation starts at $499.
Toast works on Android devices running Android 7.1 or later; however, only certain tablets are compatible with Toast's card readers, which is something to consider if you want to accept payments tableside. In addition to using tablets as handheld devices that your servers use to take orders and payments, you can pair them with peripherals to create a checkout station, a guest-facing display, a kitchen display system and set them up as self-service kiosks that your guests can use to order and pay.
You'll need to purchase POS hardware from Toast. It discourages purchasing equipment from a third party or using the equipment you already own and only provides support for the hardware it sells you.
- Toast's most popular POS hardware bundle starts at $899 and includes a 10-inch terminal, flip stand and magnetic card reader.
- If you prefer a larger terminal, 15-inch and 22-inch screens are available.
- In addition to magnetic readers, it offers Toast Tap, an EMV- and NFC-enabled credit card reader.
- ToastGo is a proprietary handheld mobile device that you use for tableside ordering. It's lightweight, spill proof and drop resistant, and has a built-in EMV card reader.
- Peripheral options include cash drawers, receipt printers, a barcode scanner and a scale.
Toast's restaurant POS system has a strong selection of features. Its table management screen shows you which tables are occupied and which are free so you can seat customers efficiently. It has a real-time menu countdown feature so your servers know how many orders of a limited menu item are available.
Using its coursing tools, your servers can pace meals. After orders are placed, Toast tracks how long it takes until the meal is served, as well as how long it takes for tables to turn over, helping you gauge the efficiency of your restaurant. It also has order ready notifications that alert servers when dishes are ready to serve.
If your servers assign customers a seat number when taking orders, splitting checks is simple, even for large groups. You can also split checks by item. If you offer takeout, delivery and catering, it can help you run this side of your business.
With this restaurant POS system, you can offer customers discounts for timed events, such as happy hour, BOGO promotions and item-specific discounts. You can preauthorize bar tabs with the swipe of a credit card, and if you use Toast's loyalty program, it's linked to customer credit cards and automatically accumulates points when they pay.
If you need the system to track inventory, you can add Toast's inventory module to your system. It tracks stock at the ingredient level in real time. Although it doesn't create purchase orders, it gives you reorder suggestions for your vendors when your supplies run low.
Toast's reports are cloud-based, so you can access real-time data remotely from any device. It shows your sales and labor costs, and you can drill down on the information that's most useful to you, such as sales per hour or day of the week. It has a product report that can help you identify which items are selling well and which need improvement.
It also has a built-in CRM so you can capture customer details and identify your regulars. Its guest feedback tool gives you the opportunity to improve customer service by responding to guests who may have had a negative experience at your restaurant. It also has a feedback report to help you identify trends for customer experience.
Although several restaurant POS systems integrate with payroll, Toast offers it as an add-on. Using Toast's payroll and team management module, managers can approve timesheets, shift swaps and PTO requests directly from the POS.
More than 70 third-party integrations are available with Toast, and you can use them to customize your restaurant POS system with additional functionality or connect to business applications you already use.
Toast isn't compatible with other payment processors, meaning you must use Toast as your credit card processor. This may be inconvenient if you're currently under contract with another processor.
If you need customer support, you can contact the company 24/7 by phone, email and live chat. The company also offers several online resources, including a searchable knowledgebase, blog, guides and tools. You can see release notes on its support page or set up the system to email them to you.
Toast's terms are more restrictive than many of its competitors' – the company requires you to sign a contract and use its payment processing services. It also discourages you from using POS hardware you already own.
It isn't as transparent with its pricing as its competitors, showing only starting rates rather than a full menu of subscription options and add-ons. It also omits its payment processing rates, which is curious since it offers flat rates, most processors with similar pricing are open with this information.
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