Toast is a cloud-based point of sale system that has increasingly become one of the most popular POS systems for restaurants and bars. Let’s take a look and find out why 74,000 restaurants have chosen Toast as their POS partner.
Easy to Use
Toast is user-friendly and intuitive, making it easy to implement. Users are able to quickly train and hit the ground running. The interface is clean and simple without excess options that could cause confusion. New restaurant installations are a breeze with Toast, but sometimes switching a POS system at an existing restaurant can prove difficult as staff may resist the change. However, restaurateurs and managers have reported very smooth transitions when switching from another POS to Toast because staff can almost automatically start taking orders on the system. It is just so easy to use!
Toasts uses the Android platform, which is secure and relatively inexpensive. They offer touchscreen terminals for servers and cashiers, handheld devices for tableside or cocktail service, and self-checkout kiosks for guests to use. You can use traditional printers or Toast’s kitchen display system, which can be customized to show certain items at certain kitchen stations making it quicker and easier to prepare each order.
Toast is marketed as an “All-In-1 Restaurant POS, ” and it is easy to see why. Toast has several extra services and features that tie directly into the POS, and since they are Toast products, they are seamless and work very well. Online ordering, for example, is simply an extension of the POS rather than an integration between two separate systems, so it is always up to date and ready to go. Toast also offers their own customer loyalty program, scheduling, credit card processing, and reporting, inventory, payroll, and marketing. We like the fact there is only “one throat to choke” if you have any issues with any of their services, making it quicker and easier to troubleshoot and get resolutions. If you still want to use third party scheduling, payroll, or reporting software, Toast integrates with most of the major players in those areas.
You can easily manage multiple locations with Toast. It is cloud-based, so all of the locations are tied together and you can pull reports and view data about any or all of your restaurants from any computer or phone anywhere in the world through the Toast portal.
Redundancy is one of the most important features of a POS that is often overlooked, and this is a point you will rarely find in other reviews, if ever. You will eventually have hardware failure. It is inevitable that you will lose internet access. It is a fact that you will encounter network issues. A lot of these things are preventable to an extent, but, as we all know, you will run into issues and you don’t want to be down. It is imperative you have a functioning POS at all times, even if it has limited capabilities.
Toast does not have an onsite server, so you never have to worry about the server going down like you do in legacy POS systems, but it does depend on the magic of the internet to properly function as it sends information back and forth from each terminal to that mysterious place called the cloud. If you lose internet, you lose your connection to the cloud, but as long as your network switch is still going and your terminals are connected, you can still take orders. You can also go into store-and-forward mode where you are able to accept offline credit card payments. The cards will automatically process when internet is restored. You may have a few declined cards, but trust us…this is way better than not accepting cards at all.
If you have a network switch failure and your terminals cannot communicate with each other, you can still take orders on individual terminals, but you cannot see the orders on other terminals and can only add to orders or take payment for those orders on whichever terminal they originated. Since connection would be lost to kitchen printers and/or the KDS, your servers would have to print tickets and walk them to the kitchen. Although this is not ideal, you can still operate.
We have always said a company is only as good as their support. Toast offers 24/7/365 support, so you can get service any time. We have seen some issues, though, where we had to wait for a return call or could not get an issue immediately resolved, but the software and hardware are both solid enough that you rarely have to call, and if it is a system down emergency, they will jump right on it. Just don’t expect to get the answer right away if you have questions about how to do something in the system.
By now you are probably asking yourself “how much will this cost me?” Well, that can be little tricky because Toast will offer custom quotes based on a variety of factors, especially if you have multiple locations, but they do have several relatively straightforward options if you go with one of their package deals. Here is what you can expect to pay for
Although you may have the option to do so with a custom quote, you won’t have to purchase the hardware upfront like restaurateurs had to do in the old days (this is still the case with a lot of legacy systems). Gone are the days of dropping $30K all at once for a POS system with SaaS plans. Here are the options with Toast:
- $609 for Handheld Starter Kit
- $799 for Countertop Starter Kit
- $999 for Guest Self-Service Starter Kit
There is one caveat: you can pay $0 for any of these plans if you pay a higher credit card processing fee, but we will get into that in a moment.
As we just mentioned, Toast is a Software as a Service (Saas) platform, so you will pay as you go. Here are their SaaS plans:
- $0 for Starter Kit
- $69 for Point of Sale
- $140 for Restaurant Basics
- $165 for Essentials
Credit Card Processing
We aren’t going to say Toast is just a credit card processing company disguised as a POS company because they do offer a superb range of solutions that could be extremely valuable to your operation. However, they require you to use their processing services and they make the bulk of their money this way. Their processing fees are higher than average and they get a small cut of every credit card transaction you run. However, they will negotiate fees with you if you get a custom plan. Here are the fees:
- 2.99% plus 15 cents per transaction
- 2.49% plus 15 cents for card-present transactions
- 3.50% plus 15 cents for card-not-present transactions
You will pay even more if you choose to not pay for hardware upfront. However, you can get a lower processing fee should you wish to work with a Toast consultant to customize a plan and negotiate a lower rate.
Toast is one of the top POS systems in 2023 and is great for restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and bars of any size. It is a great solution for mom and pop shops and large enterprises with multiple locations. They offer a wide variety of services to compliment the POS that are all hosted by Toast. They also integrate well with third party software, so you can keep your existing platforms if you wish. If you don’t want to fork out a large amount of money up front, Toast is particularly attractive.
Click here if you would like to set up a free Toast demo: