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Toast Review

Jamie Johnson
Jamie Johnson
  • Toast is our best pick for POS systems for restaurants of all sizes because it offers a wide range of features, including new tools to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Toast has three pricing plans with tiers suitable for businesses of varying needs and budgets.
  • Toast's all-in-one POS system is easy to implement and onboard.
  • This article is for restaurant owners who want to find the best restaurant POS system that can scale with their business.

Toast was founded in 2011 as a consumer payments app for restaurants that were tired of outdated POS systems. The company first launched its cloud-based POS system on Android in 2013, and it continues to serve restaurants of all types and sizes.

Toast

Toast

Best POS Systems for 2021

The Verdict

Toast works equally well for a small restaurant that's just getting started and a large chain looking to service multiple sites. It has also done a great job of pivoting in the midst of the pandemic, earning our best pick for restaurants of all sizes.

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Toast's software is intuitive and can give you unparalleled insight into and control over your restaurant's operations. The all-in-one POS system provides features for managing both the front and back end of your restaurant, including delivery management, customized tipping, and tableside ordering. This makes Toast a great option for restaurants that offer both in-person and takeout dining.

These are just some of the reasons why we've chosen Toast as the best POS system for restaurants of all sizes. Another big reason is the relatively new features it offers to help your guests stay socially distanced and safe.

Toast Pricing and Terms

One of the advantages of using Toast is its competitive and straightforward pricing. To get started, you'll choose either an all-in-one POS system or a digital ordering solution. Let's look at what you get from both in more detail.

POS Software

If you choose to use Toast's POS system, you'll get one straightforward system to run your entire restaurant. It has all of the features you'd expect in a restaurant POS system, including the abilities to take orders, manage your menu, and monitor your restaurant's performance.

New customers can choose from three different POS packages. Every plan includes a cloud-based POS system, payment processing and 24/7 customer support.

Here is what you can expect to receive from and pay for each plan:

  • Starter Kit: According to Toast's website, the Starter Kit is free to begin with, though you may need to pay for add-on features. This plan is ideal for single-location restaurants like bakeries, food trucks and cafes. It provides the basic hardware small restaurants need to take orders, accept payments and run operations in general.
  • Essentials: This plan starts at $165 per month, though you have to contact the company for a quote to get started. The Essentials plan is ideal for businesses that are looking to branch out into e-commerce or digital marketing. When you sign up for this plan, you'll receive three free months of digital ordering, which includes curbside pickup and contactless delivery options.
  • Growth: At the time of this review, the Growth plan starts at $272 per month, which is a break from its original pricing of $340 per month. With this plan, restaurants can use their data to attract new customers and increase customer loyalty. It includes everything in the first two packages as well as gift cards, loyalty programs, and email marketing

Toast POS Digital Ordering

Toast offers digital ordering packages that you can purchase even if you're not a Toast POS user. This means that if you prefer another POS system, you can still use Toast for online ordering. Here are the three digital ordering packages you can choose from:

  • Toast Now: This plan starts at $75 per month and includes online ordering, takeout, and contactless delivery.
  • Toast Now Plus: This plan starts at $100 per month and includes everything you'd receive in the first plan plus the option to offer online gift cards.
  • Toast Now Premium: This plan costs $175 per month and offers everything you'd receive in the previous two packages as well as email marketing software. 

If you're interested in getting started with Toast, your best bet is to contact the company about scheduling a free demo. This will allow you to see how the system works and get a customized plan for how Toast can help your business, and you'll receive a price quote based on the hardware and software you want. 

Did you KnowDid You Know:Toast offers both full POS systems, ranging from free to $340 per month, and stand-alone digital ordering packages, ranging from $75 to $175 per month.

Toast Features

Toast offers all of the basic features you need in the beginning and plenty of add-on services to fill in the gaps as your restaurant grows. Let's look at some of the main features you can take advantage of when you implement Toast's POS system.

All-in-One POS System

Toast's POS system comprises restaurant-grade hardware, cloud-based software and payment processing features. The hardware is robust enough to keep up with a fast-paced restaurant environment and can blend in effortlessly, regardless of your restaurant's theme or decor.

The software is cloud-based, so you can access your data at any time. It includes the following features:

  • Tableside service: Your staff can use handheld devices such as tablets to take tableside orders and collect payments. They'll receive a notification when an order is ready. This helps the entire restaurant operate more efficiently and improves the customer experience.
  • Menu management: Toast allows you to manage and update your menu from anywhere. You can edit an item's availability, add countdowns for upcoming menu items, and include promotions.
  • Analytics and reporting: One of the most important aspects of a POS system is its reporting features. With the Toast POS, you can monitor your sales over time and identify areas where your restaurant could improve.

Toast Now

When you sign up for Toast Now, you receive a full suite of digital restaurant solutions, including online ordering, contactless delivery and takeout. These are services that every restaurant needs to thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic and even in the post-pandemic world, most likely.

If you sign up for Toast Now, you'll receive your first three months of service for free. Here is an overview of exactly what you'll get:

  • Online ordering: Toast's online ordering provides a seamless mobile experience for guests. With this feature, you'll set up a webpage that customers can access on any device to browse your menu, preorder meals and purchase gift cards. The system is fully integrated, so if you make changes to your menu in the POS system, those changes are reflected when customers go to place an order online.
  • Toast TakeOut: With the Toast TakeOut app, customers can place an order and schedule either curbside pickup or contactless delivery. Unlike most third-party takeout apps, Toast TakeOut doesn't charge any commission fees.
  • Contactless delivery: Have you been thinking about offering contactless delivery but don't want to dispatch your own drivers? If so, you may want to upgrade with Toast delivery services. With this service, you can dispatch local delivery drivers through an on-demand fleet network. This service works seamlessly with Toast TakeOut.
  • Email marketing: Toast Now includes a fully integrated email marketing solution. It's more important than ever to stay connected to your customers, and email is one of the best ways to do it. The software allows you to grow your email list, create automated campaigns, and send weekly newsletters.

Order and Pay

Order and Pay is a new feature Toast is offering in response to the pandemic. It allows guests to order their meals from their table using their own mobile devices. They can browse your menu, place an order, and pay for it right from their table.

Not only does this feature help guests socially distance and reduce unnecessary contact, but it's also more convenient for everyone. Guests can order and pay on their own terms, and it cuts down on the back-and-forth between guests and restaurant staff.

Since your staff won't have to spend their time processing payments and closing out checks, this feature frees them up to focus on more important activities. You can also use the Order and Pay feature to gain valuable data about every customer.

Key takeawayKey takeaway:Toast offers online ordering capabilities, takeout support and contactless delivery drivers. It also includes tools to support your marketing campaigns and to streamline your dine-in service.

Drawbacks

The biggest drawback we encountered with Toast is that you are required to use its payment processing services; you cannot use a third party. This means Toast users have to accept whatever fees Toast charges for payment processing, which might be significantly higher than other payment processing services you could find.

Ready to choose a POS system? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

Image Credit: DERO2084n / Getty Images
Toast

Toast

Best POS Systems for 2021

The Verdict

Toast works equally well for a small restaurant that's just getting started and a large chain looking to service multiple sites. It has also done a great job of pivoting in the midst of the pandemic, earning our best pick for restaurants of all sizes.

Visit Site
Jamie Johnson
Jamie Johnson
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
Jamie Johnson is a Kansas City-based freelance writer who writes about finance and business. She has also written for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Fox Business and Business Insider. Jamie has written about a variety of B2B topics like finance, business funding options and accounting. She also writes about how businesses can grow through effective social media and email marketing strategies.