Skip to main content

In this review, I’m going to share my analysis and evaluation from my hands-on experience with Toast. But first, if you’re just beginning your search for the best Point of Sale systems, check out my picks for the best POS systems. You probably already know that Toast is among the most popular POS tools out there, but you need to better understand what’s good (and not so good) about it.

This in-depth Toast review will walk you through the tool's pros and cons, features and functionality, and more to help guide you to better understand its capabilities and its suitability for your needs.

Toast review - POS systems for restaurant
I like how Toast, as a singular point-of-sale platform, can help you efficiently manage, operate, and scale your restaurant.

Toast POS Product Overview

Toast is a comprehensive restaurant POS and management system tailored to streamline operations. This system primarily targets restaurant owners, managers, and staff, aiming to elevate the dining experience for guests. One of its chief benefits is its ability to integrate multiple facets of restaurant operations, from order-taking to inventory management. By addressing challenges like order accuracy, wait times, and inventory tracking, Toast ensures smoother operations. Notably, features like real-time reporting, tableside ordering, and robust CRM tools make it stand out.

Pros

  • Real-time Reporting: Toast offers instantaneous sales, menu, and performance reports, ensuring managers have their finger on the pulse of their operations.
  • Tableside Ordering: Staff can take orders right at the table, minimizing errors and expediting service.
  • Robust CRM: Toast provides in-depth customer insights, which means restaurants can better tailor their offerings and promotions to their clientele.

Cons

  • Learning Curve: Some users find Toast's array of features overwhelming initially.
  • Hardware Dependency: The software works optimally with Toast's own hardware, potentially limiting flexibility for some establishments.
  • Offline Limitations: While it functions offline, certain features might be restricted without an active internet connection.

Expert Opinion

In my years of reviewing restaurant tech, Toast has certainly made an impression. Its array of features speaks to the demands of modern restaurant operations, but it's not without its hurdles. In comparison to other point-of-sale system, Toast's strengths lie in its CRM tools and real-time reporting. Its interface is intuitive, and its integrations are comprehensive, covering most of the tools restaurants today rely on.

Onboarding is relatively straightforward, but the initial learning curve, especially for those new to digital POS systems, can be steep. While it excels in functionality, Toast's dependency on its own hardware can be seen as a limitation by some. Ultimately, Toast seems best suited for medium to large restaurants or chains that aim to blend efficiency with customer-centric insights.

Toast: The Bottom Line

Toast differentiates itself with its commitment to an all-encompassing restaurant experience. Not many platforms out there offer such a harmonious blend of front-of-house and back-of-house features while also diving deep into customer relationship management. Its tableside ordering system, in particular, shows a keen understanding of the need for accuracy and speed in the restaurant industry. All in all, while no system is without its challenges, Toast brings a lot to the table for restaurants keen on modernizing and streamlining their operations.

Toast Deep Dive

Dive into an in-depth exploration of Toast, the restaurant POS & management system that's reshaping the dining industry landscape.

POS devices used for Toast
I also like how Toast, as an advanced POS system tailored for restaurants, facilitates efficient order management, payment processing, and real-time inventory tracking.

Product Specifications

  1. Order Management - Yes
  2. Inventory Control - Yes
  3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) - Yes
  4. Employee Scheduling - Yes
  5. Real-time Reporting - Yes
  6. Tableside Ordering - Yes
  7. Loyalty Programs - Yes
  8. Gift Cards Management - Yes
  9. Reservations Management - No
  10. Mobile POS - Yes
  11. Digital Receipts - Yes
  12. Payment Processing - Yes
  13. Split Bills - Yes
  14. Multi-location Support - Yes
  15. Kitchen Display System - Yes
  16. Offline Mode - Yes
  17. Sales Analytics - Yes
  18. Menu Customization - Yes
  19. Tips Management - Yes
  20. Online Ordering Integration - Yes
  21. Delivery Service Management - No
  22. Self-service Kiosk - Yes
  23. Third-party Integrations - Yes
  24. Contactless Payments - Yes
  25. Customizable UI - Yes

Feature Overview

  1. Order Management: Toast's order management seamlessly captures, tracks, and manages orders, ensuring operational efficiency.
  2. Inventory Control: Toast enables restaurants to maintain optimal inventory levels and reduce wastage, which is vital for profitability.
  3. CRM Tools: With Toast’s CRM, restaurants can gather insights into customer preferences and buying patterns, personalizing the dining experience.
  4. Real-time Reporting: Toast offers instantaneous reporting, keeping managers informed and facilitating better decision-making.
  5. Tableside Ordering: Minimizing human error and enhancing the diner experience, Toast lets staff take orders directly at the table.
  6. Loyalty Programs: Toast's integrated loyalty program is designed to boost repeat business and enhance customer care and retention.
  7. Mobile POS: On-the-go order taking becomes possible with Toast’s mobile POS with a handheld device, proving invaluable during peak hours.
  8. Kitchen Display System: Streamlining kitchen operations, Toast’s KDS ensures that meals are prepared timely and accurately.
  9. Offline Mode: Even without an active internet connection, Toast continues to function, safeguarding against potential downtimes.
  10. Sales Analytics: Detailed insights on sales, dish popularity, and peak hours assist in menu management, planning, and staff scheduling.

Standout Functionality

  1. Tableside Ordering: While other POS software may offer mobile ordering, Toast’s tableside ordering is particularly streamlined and efficient.
  2. Kitchen Display System: While many systems feature KDS, Toast’s integration and user-friendly interface set it apart.
  3. In-depth CRM: Toast dives deeper into customer data than most, offering actionable insights that can tangibly improve restaurant operations.

Integrations

Toast offers native integrations with various tools, including accounting software, payment gateways (for credit card processing, debit cards, and cash), and reservation platforms. They provide an API, enabling custom integrations for unique restaurant needs. Numerous add-ons exist to amplify its capabilities, from advanced inventory management to enhanced CRM tools.

Pricing

Toast’s pricing structure varies, adjusting for the restaurant's size and needs.

  • Quick Start Bundle - $0/month, best for food trucks or single-location cafes. This shop-and-go option includes initial hardware and basic POS software.
  • Core tier - $69/user/month, ideal for smaller establishments with its standard features.
  • Growth tier - $165/user/month, including advanced integrations and reporting.
  • Enterprise plan - Designed for large chains, this tier has pricing upon request. Some plans may also have additional costs, such as a +$49 base fee per month.

Ease of Use

Toast’s interface is intuitive, designed keeping restaurant staff in mind. Navigating through its many features feels natural after a brief onboarding. However, like any comprehensive software, initial adaptation might be challenging for some, especially if transitioning from traditional systems.

Customer Support

Toast’s support is responsive and available across multiple channels, including live chat. They have a wealth of documentation and tutorials. Yet, during peak times, some users have reported slight delays in response.

Toast Use Case

Who would be a good fit for Toast?

Restaurants, from small business eateries to large chains, find value in Toast. Its most avid users, including business owners, appreciate the blend of front and back-end functionalities. Medium to large establishments, or those with multiple branches, especially benefit from its robust features.

Who would be a bad fit for Toast?

Smaller eateries or those not keen on adopting a digital approach might find Toast overwhelming. Restaurants that only require basic POS functionalities might feel that Toast offers more than they need.

Toast FAQs

Can Toast operate without an internet connection?

Yes, Toast has an offline mode that keeps the operations running even without the internet.

Does Toast offer mobile POS solutions?

Yes, Toast provides mobile restaurant pos systems for on-the-go order taking.

Is there a loyalty program integrated into Toast?

Yes, Toast offers an integrated loyalty program to enhance customer retention.

Can Toast manage multiple restaurant locations?

Yes, Toast can seamlessly manage operations across multiple locations.

Are there any training resources for Toast?

Yes, Toast provides extensive documentation, tutorials, and webinars.

Does Toast support third-party integrations?

Yes, Toast can be integrated with various third-party tools and also offers an API for custom integrations.

Can customers pay via contactless payments using Toast?

Yes, Toast supports contactless payments for added convenience.

Is there a self-service kiosk option in Toast?

Yes, Toast offers a self-service kiosk feature.

Alternatives to Toast

  • Square for Restaurants: Better suited for quick-service restaurants, it simplifies order management.
  • Lightspeed Restaurant: Known for its deep customization features, allowing restaurants to tailor it according to their needs.
  • Clover Dining: A flexible POS solution designed specifically for the food industry, boasting customizable table layouts and a rich inventory management system.

Toast Company Overview & History

Toast Inc. streamlines restaurant operations through its POS and management system. Numerous restaurants, ranging from local diners to national chains, utilize it. A private company headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, Toast is known for its robust tech-driven approach to the restaurant industry.

Notable figures like Chris Comparato (CEO) and Aman Narang (President) drive its vision. The company's mission revolves around empowering restaurants of all sizes with technology. Since its inception in 2012, Toast has seen rapid growth, expanded its feature set, and secured significant funding.

Summary

Having delved into Toast's offerings, it's evident that it's a robust cloud-based tool tailored for the modern restaurant. It weaves together various operations, from ordering to CRM. If you're in the market for an all-encompassing solution, Toast warrants consideration. As always, your feedback and experiences are invaluable – do share your thoughts below.

Simon Litt
By Simon Litt

Simon Litt is the Editor of The CFO Club, where he shares his passion for all things money-related. Performing research, talking to experts, and calling on his own professional background, he'll be working hard to ensure that The CFO Club is an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to stay informed on the latest financial trends and topics in the world of tech.

Prior to editing this publication, Simon spent years working in, and running his own, investor relations agency, servicing public companies that wanted to reach and connect deeper with their shareholder base. Simon's experience includes constructing comprehensive budgets for IR activities, consulting CEOs & executive teams on best practices for the public markets, and facilitating compliant communications training.