Point of Sale systems are often crucial to making sure that your business runs smoothly. The right POS not only allows you to process crucial transactions, it also gives you access to everything from inventory management, to customer support, and online ordering.
There are dozens of POS solutions on the market, and they’re all built to offer unique benefits to specific people. While some of the software you’ll find today is intended for the average retail store owner, other tools are created for everything from pop-up shops, to cafes.
The Toast POS, a brainchild of coworkers Aman Narang, Steve Fredette, and Jonathan Grimm, is a tool specifically created for restaurant owners.
We’ve examined countless Toast POS reviews, and conducted our own research, to bring you this amazing guide to the Toast experience.
What is Toast POS?
Toast POS first started life in 2012. Offering sensational support for restaurant and business owners in the form of everything from credit card processing, to loyalty program tools, the service quickly captured attention. In 2016, this user-friendly system won the 2016 NEVY award for hottest startup.
Packed full of exciting features to make running your restaurant cheaper and more efficient, Toast is all about giving food service companies the boost that they need. Essentially, you use Toast as your payment portal, with access to things like a card reader, restaurant manager, and tableside ordering. What’s more, the whole service operates on the Android system – making it even more versatile.
This all-in-one restaurant POS helps you to streamline and improve your operations, build more revenue, and keep track of your menu items.
- Ordering: Staff can take orders either with handheld tablets at the tableside, or with countertop terminals that swivel to face customers. Toast’s handheld tablets can also access the whole application instantly and send instructions straight to the kitchen display.
- Tips and gratuity: The Toast POS system gives you complete control over your tip percentages. When a guest checks out, the tool nudges them and asks them to tip with a selection of flat rate options, including 10% and 20%.
- Menu creation: The Toast POS menu corresponds to any physical menus that you use in your restaurant. You can divide items just like your normal menu, into things like dinner, lunch, cocktails, and dessert. Every menu in the system can also be broken down even further. The modifier system on the backend of Toast central is very comprehensive, even for fine dining websites.
- Pricing menu items: The toast system ensures that you can use whatever strategy you see fit when pricing your menu items. You can even set pricing rules that apply to entire groups of products at once. Group pricing means that you can run offers on things like appetizers, desserts, and drinks.
- Restaurant reporting: Sales reports for restaurant owners is one of the most compelling features available from Toast. There are a huge selection of reports available, from labor reports, to product and tip reports. Reports update in real-time, and you can even access scannable overviews of the sales metrics that matter most to you.
- Customer data collection: The best point of sale system needs to come with more than just credit card processing and restaurant management tools. You also need services that allow you to manage customer relationships. You can use the Toast system to track everything from repeat customers, to how frequently loyalty program points and gift cards are used.
- Toast Go/ Kiosk mode: The Kiosk mode means that you can show information to customers on a forward-facing android tablet. (not apple iPad) The Toast Go solution, on the other hand, is created for optimized handheld tablets intended for tableside ordering and payment processing.
Toast POS Reviews: Management Features
Many of the features of the Toast POS system are created to offer more control over how your business operates. For instance:
- Labor management: Thanks to user-based, permissions, restaurant management can ensure that they’re aware of which employees have access to what kind of information. The function allows you to micromanage staff in the most positive way. There’s even customizable tools that allow you to see the efficiency of your kitchen and server sales. There’s also a time-tracking function available that allows employees to keep an eye on how long they’ve been working each week.
- Inventory management: Toast has a comprehensive inventory management system that includes everything from inventory reporting, to recipe cost tools, and inventory variance reports.
- Digital receipts: Provided as part of the Toast Go system, this feature allows customers to provide an experience rating after receiving their digital receipts while they’re still in your restaurant. If your customer has a bad experience, you can then rectify it immediately.
- Kitchen display systems: The Toast KDS system is very intuitive and easy to use. With color coded functionality, you can ensure that everyone in your kitchen is working according to the most efficient schedule.
Toast POS Reviews: Who is Toast for?
When choosing the best POS system for your needs, it’s important to look beyond things like checkout tools and credit card processing fees. Finding a restaurant POS system that’s custom-built for you is crucial to getting the most out of your business.
Toast is a web-based tool created to give you easy access to all of your must-have restaurant tools in one place. If the internet goes down at any point, you can still process payments offline, through offline mode.
As an all-in-one restaurant system, Toast is specifically built for members of the food service environment. Whatever kind of food company you’re running, you can accomplish anything with Toast. Whether you’re a fine dining establishment, bakery, or pizzeria, you can use Toast to access menu management, digital gift cards, and so much more.
Toast is perfectly suitable for small establishments that need to keep food cost and checkout fees low. However, it can also be excellent for larger businesses too. Full-service restaurants will love the wide range of features that they get up front with Toast, including the ability to take a range of payment swipe options, map tables, and create menus.
Toast POS Reviews: Pricing
Clearly, the Toast POS software is packed full of useful features. However, despite all of the ease of use and feature-rich functionality you get, this tool is still relatively cost-effective. Subscriptions for the core POS software start at a price of around $79 per month.
For that price, you get all of the POS features, including full-view reporting, back office management, quick service tools, customer data tracking, take-out and so much more. You also get access to the Toast support team if you need any extra help.
If you need more than 6 terminals for your restaurant, however, you’ll need to upgrade top Enterprise pricing, which requires you to contact a Toast representative for custom pricing.
Beyond the standard pricing, there are also add-ons that cost extra, such as:
- $50 per month for digital or physical gift cards: Because your gift cards are directly linked to your POS system, it’s much easier to track and complete transactions with them. What’s more, if you decide to use physical gift cards, Toast customizes and prints the cards for you.
- $50 per month for online ordering services: With Toast, you can totally customize your online ordering and delivery system. For ordering, the whole system is integrated into your POS, so you get online and offline ordering in one place. For delivery, you’ve also got plenty of customization options. You can set specific delivery zones, customize fees according to distance travel, and even choose specific items that aren’t available for delivery.
- $25 per month for loyalty program tools: The loyalty program options from Toast are pretty comprehensive. All your customers need to do is check a box on a tablet when closing a tab to sign up. As a restaurant owner, you get to choose how you customize your loyalty program and incentivize your customers. You can also use the CRM data that the Toast POS collects to improve your loyalty system.
If you’re interested in adding various Toast features to your small business up front, then Toast can also provide you with a custom quote. There’s also the option to eliminate some hidden fees by taking the Toast financing options. This basically means that you pay for your software and hardware like receipt printers and other devices in a monthly subscription cost.
The more add-ons that you implement with Toast POS, the more it’s going to cost you. However, for most companies, Toast will still be quite affordable.
Toast POS Reviews: Hardware
Although a lot of the Toast experience is centered heavily around software, that doesn’t mean that you can’t build a fantastic hardware experience too.
Toast offers a range of mobile point of sale tablets, as well as card readers, kitchen display screens, bar printers, and terminals. It’s up to you to decide how much hardware you want. To help you save some much-needed cash, Toast offers hardware in bundles. For instance, you can get the Toast Terminal bundle, which includes card readers, cash drawers, receipt printers, and so on:
The terminal bundle starts at a price of $1,350.
If you need something a little smaller, then you can try the handheld tablet bundle, which allows you to manage tableside ordering with tablets.
You can also purchase individual hardware products from Toast. For instance, you can buy a single Toast Terminal for your entire restaurant, or a number of Toast Go custom-built handheld POS systems. There’s also offers for Toast Kiosks, Guest-facing displays, and kitchen display systems.
If you need accessories for running your restaurant, then Toast POS can help with that too. For instance, you can buy:
- Barcode scanners and scales
- Receipt printers that work in 5 languages
- Mounting hardware tools
- Enterprise-class wireless access points
- Cloud-enabled routers for wireless coverage
- Cash drawers
- Thermal and impact printers
The more you buy, the more you’ll spend. However, the good news is that because all of the hardware comes integrated with the Toast POS already, it’s much easier to get your business up and running quickly.
Toast POS Reviews: Card Processors
The Toast package that you get when you first sign up for the POS system will include a secure credit card processing environment. This means that you don’t necessarily need to look for an external payment processing solution.
Some people won’t like the fact that if they want to use Toast as their solution for POS, they have to use it as a payment processor too. It’s nice to have the option to put a best-in-class selection of tools together in your own way. However, it helps to know that with Toast, you’re going to get an excellent experience from start to finish.
There are very few customer complaints in Toast POS reviews online when it comes to the processing and payment system. The Toast service provides speed and efficiency when you need it most. What’s more, you have the option to accept gift cards, cash, checks, and so much more. Toast works with most credit and debit cards on the market.
Another major perk of the Toast payment processing solution is that you can set your credit card authorization strategy to process always as if its working offline. This means that the payments will come with a receipt, even without authorization.
Toast POS Reviews: Ease of Use
Whatever your plans are for building a business as a restaurant owner, you need to know you’re getting an easy-to-use software solution. Everything from Square restaurants to Aloha restaurant POS tools come with the promise that you can set your business up and start selling quickly.
So, how does Toasttab.com compare?
The good news is that the Toast system is very easy to learn and use. What’s more, the support team does an excellent job of guiding you through the set-up process. A representative from the Boston based company will walk you through the system one step at a time. This means that you can take the time to get comfortable with everything before you start selling.
You may need to spend some time experimenting and checking out the knowledge based before you feel totally confident, but the software is easy to pick up. Even the credit card readers and touchscreen devices are very easy to use. However, because it’s such a feature rich system, you might not be able to master everything within minutes. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however. The more feature-rich your tools are, the less you will need to upgrade at additional cost when your business grows.
Toast POS makes it simple to manage your business from a range of hardware tools, smartphone apps, and tablet services. You can:
- Split checks: Quickly and easily split checks between multiple customers, dividing items according to seat numbers. You can also transfer checks to different tables with just a swipe.
- Void items and get rid of mistakes: A few clicks is all it takes to get rid of problematic orders on your screen. You can also track all the little details associated with each void and comp. If a guest calls to dispute a charge at any time, you can pull the data from historical transactions to clear the matter.
- Close out days: One of the handiest features available, the Close out day function gives you a quick audit report including information on checks, employee activity, and more.
- Create service areas: Creating custom service areas is easy peasy. You can choose from a variety of different table sizes and shapes, and just drag and drop them to suit the style of your restaurant.
- Mobile ordering: Tableside ordering allows for quicker and more convenient experiences for your audience. Accepting payments at a table with Toast takes a matter of seconds, so you can get through everything as fast as possible.
Toast POS Reviews: Customer Service & Support
Another thing you’ll need to check upfront when you’re investing in the best POS system, is how much customer support you’re going to get. After all, you need to know that if something goes wrong with your restaurant micros or mobile device, you’ve got more than just a knowledge base to help you figure everything out.
Fortunately, when the people behind the Toast POS decided that they were going to design a system for running a restaurant, they decided that customer service was crucial. Unlike many industry competitors, Toast goes above and beyond to ensure you can find everything they need on their webpage, or from a member of their team.
If you need help with your micros and macros when getting started, the Toast team will walk you through everything you need to know. There’s no charge for extra support, and 24/7 technical assistant is all included in your monthly fee. Just some of the tools that you get to improve your Toast experience include:
- Expert platform configuration: After you purchase a subscription from Toast, an expert will begin working with you to customize your platform. They advise you on how to optimize your menu and keep your processes as streamlined as possible.
- Installation: Toast provides excellent on-site POS installation for every customer. Depending on the scale and size of your restaurant, one or more experts can come to your location and get your system established for you. Additionally, you get 24/7 phone support, just in case something goes wrong.
- Staff training: Toast is very easy to use. However, it also comes with a lot of different features that you need to get used to. Because of this, the Toast experts are happy to conduct POS training with your staff to help you out.
- 24/7 support: The monthly fees included also come with 24/7 support from a technical support team. You can usually get help from someone in minutes. What’s more, the support tickets are there if you don’t want to talk on the phone.
- Training materials: If you need help training your staff outside of the support that Toast offers automatically, then there’s plenty of training materials to help you out. There are videos for your staff, training demos, and other innovative tools too.
- Knowledge base: if the training materials aren’t enough for you, then the Toast knowledgebase is sure to give you your information fix. The knowledge base comes packed with troubleshooting tips, FAQs, and other information about everything from close-out training to menu management.
Toast POS Reviews: Integrations and Addons
Lack of integrations used to be a significant problem with Toast. However, as the years have gone on, the company has begun to embrace working with other companies as much as possible. The list of integrations available, from GrubHub to Compeat and CrunchTime, continues to build.
Toast even has an Open API now, which means that you can design the integrations that are best-suited to your own business needs.
Toast POS Reviews: Final Verdict
Ultimately, the Toast POS is one of the best restaurant tools that money can buy. It’s not the least expensive option on the market, or the most streamlined- but it is one of the most comprehensive. While this service is incredibly easy to use, it is also feature-rich enough that it’s going to take some time for anyone to get used to it at first. Make sure that you put some days aside for learning and experimenting.
The good news is that when you learn how to use Toast correctly, you’ll discover that you can accomplish so much more than you ever thought possible with this service. Sure, Toast isn’t the perfect POS, but it’s hard to find much wrong with the service. The company behind this software and hardware solution for restaurant owners set out to create something special, and they did.
As one of the best POS systems on the market, the Toast POS is compelling and intuitive. Most importantly, it comes with customer service that’s absolutely second to none.
- Rich in amazing features
- Android based solution
- Exceptional customer service
- Extensible and scalable
- Takes a while to get used to
- Additional costs for add-ons
- Locked into processing with Toast
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