When it comes to restaurant point-of-sale (POS) systems, TouchBistro is our No. 1 choice. It serves restaurants of all sizes, whether you have a single store or multiple locations. It is affordable, suitable for most restaurant types, and provides a ton of features specifically for food-service purveyors. We like that TouchBistro makes it easy to offer customers tableside ordering and payment processing, something that is especially important during the coronavirus pandemic. Not only does that speed up the order-taking process, but it creates a safer environment, putting customers and staff at ease.
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TouchBistro Pricing and Terms
TouchBistro is transparent with its pricing, listing the cost for its POS plans and add-on services on its website. It doesn't require long-term contracts, and it comes with a 28-day free trial for businesses to test it out risk-free. (The free trial is limited to seven days if you do not register your name, company, phone number, and email address.)
TouchBistro's pricing is as follows:
- POS license: Starting at $69 per month
- Reservations: Starting at $229 per month
- Online ordering: Starting at $50 per month
- Gift cards: Starting at $25 per month
You can choose from a list of payment processors, including TouchBistro Payments (powered by Chase), its in-house service. TouchBistro also supports partnerships with Worldpay (formerly Vantiv), TSYS, Square and Moneris (by Payment Ready).
Hardware is made easy with TouchBistro; the software supports iPad, iPad Pro or the iPad Mini. These iPads can be used as mobile devices to take orders and process payments tableside or as self-serve ordering kiosks to limit contact between staff and customers.
TouchBistro also supports third-party POS hardware, such as cash drawers, receipt printers, payment processing devices or barcode scanners. Touch Bistro is a hybrid POS system, with the software residing locally on a server and data stored in the cloud. That enables you to access data and run reports from any browser. It does require extra outlays for hardware, however. You will need a AmpliFi HD Mesh Router, and if you use more than one iPad with the system, you'll need a Mac computer (the Mac Mini, iMac or Mac Pro) to use as a server.
TouchBistro is a leader in the restaurant POS market for good reason: It has a lot of features to support this industry. TouchBistro updates its software often, regularly adding new features and enhancements to the system.
TouchBistro makes it easy to manage the floor during a busy night. Its drag-and-drop table-management tools make it easy to create a floor plan that mimics the layout of your restaurant, which helps you more efficiently manage tables and seats, maximizing occupancy. Its robust tracking tools record how frequently tables turn over, which helps you evaluate the efficiency of your staff.
TouchBistro also enables online ordering features, allowing restaurant owners to take orders on their website and moving them right into the TouchBistro POS. Tableside order and checkout is another example of advanced TouchBistro capabilities. With its mobile POS, wait staff can bring the menu and checkout to the customer. Servers can also view helpful information tableside, like ingredient lists, allergy information and menu item images.
The inventory management system in this POS system is top-notch, enabling customers to manage inventory all the way down to the ingredients you use in your dishes. It can flag items that you are running low on and automatically remove items from the menu when you are out of that particular ingredient or item. You can add inventory using a barcode scanner or enter it manually. We like the ability to see how much each menu item costs based on its ingredients. That can help you decide which menu items stay and which need to go.
Customer Management and Loyalty Programs
Managing customers is an important aspect of running a restaurant if you want them to keep coming back. TouchBistro allows you to do that by creating customer accounts. You can use the "Notes" field to record customer preferences, view purchase histories and manage balances that customers may have.
Loyalty programs are made easy through TouchBistro's loyalty feature. It lets you collect data on customers and use that to offer branded loyalty and gift cards, and other rewards.
TouchBistro Loyalty costs $99 a month. With it, you get the following:
- A customer relationship management (CRM) platform
- Digital loyalty accounts for all customers
- Customer web app with restaurant branding
- Marketing tools to design and distribute targeted promotions via email
- Multiple reward options
- Detailed marketing and rewards reporting
Coming soon is TouchBistro Loyalty Premium. For a monthly fee that's yet to be disclosed, you get everything that comes with the basic loyalty package plus the following:
- Mobile payments
- Customer feedback
- Marketing automation
- In-app messaging
One of the reasons TouchBistro is our best pick for restaurants is the unlimited number of users you can add to your TouchBistro account. You can create user profiles for each employee and assign them to staff roles. You're in total control of what information and features they have access to. You may only want hosts to make reservations, or you might allow the entire staff to record a reservation. You can also run reports on your employees to see who the best performers are based on sales. The POS also has a built-in time clock and in-app messaging to help you communicate with your employees, and TouchBistro integrates with 7shifts to help with scheduling.
TouchBistro makes it easy to access reporting data, since all of it is stored in the cloud. TouchBistro has more than 50 detailed reports, including the following:
- Total sales
- Menu items, categories, and promotion sales
- Statistical summaries
- Payments and payment types
- Shifts, staff tips and activity
- Discounts, deletions and voids
- Taxes and accounting
- Inventory tracking (by ingredient)
You can print, email and export reports to CSV files. With the Shogo integration, you can also export data to your QuickBooks, Xero and Sage accounting software.
TouchBistro also has its Reports-To-Go app, which is compatible with both Android and Apple devices. From the app, you can view daily sales data and run dozens of reports. This means employers and managers can access important reports wherever they are, regardless of mobile device type.
TouchBistro doesn't have as many integrations as some of its competitors, but it has a few options for accounting, analytics, bar inventory, loyalty programs, online ordering and scheduling. The software has an open API for custom integrations, but it's only available to select TouchBistro partners.
TouchBistro is a cloud-based mobile software that is easy to use. Businesses can easily scale the product and add new hardware features as needed, which is great for restaurant expansion. It is focused specifically on POS for restaurants (e.g., full service, quick service, bars, clubs, food truck, brewery), so you can rest assured knowing that its features are geared toward your food-service needs.
TouchBistro is a hybrid system, which means it runs from a locally based server. If you experience frequent internet outages (or you're worried about internet outages), using a local network may offer some stability. However, there is some extra expense and setup involved with establishing your network. If you prefer a fully cloud-based POS system, you may want to look at other options.
At the time of this review, TouchBistro currently has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and it is not accredited with the agency. It has 11 BBB complaints closed over the past three years. While the customer reviews posted on the BBB's website may not be an accurate representation of the type of service you will get from TouchBistro, we thought it was worth noting.