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Updated Jul 11, 2024

Toast Review

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Jamie Johnson, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
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This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

Table of Contents

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Editors Score:9.3/10
Toast is our choice for the best POS system for restaurants that need durable, attractive and usable hardware. This comprehensive restaurant POS system also offers robust online ordering, inventory management, employee management and marketing features.
Plus Sign Pros
  • Toast's durable, restaurant-grade hardware options and accessories will streamline your operations.
  • Toast's cloud-based software is easy to use and implement.
  • Toast has numerous restaurant-specific features, including tableside service, online ordering, reporting and menu management.
Minus Sign Cons
  • If you run a larger restaurant, you'll have to contact Toast for a custom price quote — and things could get expensive.
  • You must use Toast's payment processing services.
toast company logo
Editor's Rating9.3/10

If you’re looking for a point-of-sale (POS) system with spill-proof hardware options that blend in seamlessly with your restaurant’s decor, Toast is a great choice. It’s an excellent option for restaurants of all sizes that provides a wide range of hardware and software. The company’s pricing plans are fairly straightforward, and single-location restaurants can take advantage of its free plan. Additionally, Toast is easy to set up and implement — providing a central platform for restaurant owners to manage their establishments.

Toast Editor's Rating:

9.3 / 10

Pricing
10/10
Free trial
8/10
Integrations
10/10
Invoicing and bill pay
7.5/10
Mobile app
9/10

Why Toast Is Best for Hardware

We selected Toast as the best POS system for hardware because the vendor’s offerings are durable and will easily blend in at any restaurant. Restaurant owners and managers can choose from various options, including handheld devices, counter displays and self-service POS kiosks.

We like that Toast’s hardware is spill-proof and can withstand high temperatures so it will hold up well in fast-paced restaurant environments. The displays can be mounted anywhere in the kitchen so employees don’t lose visibility — helping them provide guests with seamless, excellent service.

Toast’s hardware customizability impressed us. You can purchase the devices that best suit your restaurant’s size and type; plus, you can further customize your POS system with accessories like flip stands, wall mounts and printers. We also appreciate that all Toast POS devices let customers make contactless payments, including NFC mobile payments — a convenience for all parties.

Toast’s software is also incredibly customizable. This allows you to manage the entire restaurant, including the kitchen, and customize and refine menus with numerous modifier options.

TipTip
If you're starting a restaurant or are interested in switching to Toast, contact the company to schedule a free demo. You can see how the system works and determine which plan best suits your eatery.
Toast POS mounted display

Toast displays can be mounted anywhere in the kitchen so employees don’t lose visibility. Source: Toast

Usability

We like that Toast is a highly user-friendly POS system with various hardware and software options that will suit restaurants of all sizes. Its restaurant-grade hardware includes POS terminals, kiosks, handheld devices, guest-facing monitors and kitchen display screens.

Toast initially launched as a consumer app to help restaurants process mobile payments and integrate with existing POS systems. Today, its comprehensive features allow customers to book online reservations, order takeout, purchase gift cards and much more.

We appreciate that Toast’s hardware options make managing various aspects of your business easier. For example, the Toast Go mobile handheld POS device can accept contactless, swipe, and dip payments, and boasts a battery that lasts twice as long as iPad POS systems. This device ensures seamless dining experiences and simplifies front-of-the-house operations.

Toast’s software has everything you need to manage the front and back of the house. Its order management feature notifies servers when a customer’s order is ready, providing a better guest experience. It also breaks down everything on your menu at the ingredient level and ensures you have enough inventory. We also like that you can use Toast’s menu management feature to update your menu from any device and manage your menu availability with item countdowns.

Toast hardware

Toast’s hardware devices give restaurant owners and managers all the tools they need to operate their establishments. Source: Toast

Toast Features

All-in-one POS system

Toast’s POS system comes with restaurant-grade hardware, cloud-based software and payment processing features.

Digital ordering

Toast offers online ordering, delivery and takeout options.

Order and pay

Toast Mobile Order & Pay allows guests to look through the menu on their devices and order right from the table.

Inventory management

xtraCHEF, Toast’s inventory management system, lets you break down items at the ingredient level and monitor costs across all recipes.

All-in-One POS System

We were impressed that Toast’s all-in-one POS system includes restaurant-grade hardware, cloud-based software and payment processing features. We like that its hardware is designed to support a fast-paced restaurant environment and can fit in with any restaurant theme or decor.

Because Toast has its own payment processing features, you don’t have to look to outside vendors for credit card processing or other services. Toast’s cloud-based software includes the following features:

  • Tableside service: Your staff can use handheld devices to take tableside orders, get notified when an order is ready and collect payments.
  • Menu management: Toast allows you to manage and update your online menu from anywhere. You can edit an item’s availability, add countdowns for upcoming menu items and include promotions.
  • Analytics and reporting: Toast’s POS reports let you monitor sales over time and identify areas for improvement in your restaurant.
Toast POS reporting

Toast’s comprehensive POS reports include detailed sales summaries and real-time data. Source: Toast

Digital Ordering

Digital solutions are one way POS systems are changing and evolving. We love that Toast is at the forefront of restaurant POS technology with a full suite of digital restaurant-specific features, including online ordering, contactless delivery and takeout.

These services can improve the customer experience, boost your profit margins and increase your restaurant’s revenue.

Here are some of Toast’s digital ordering features that stood out the most to us:

  • Online ordering: With Toast’s online ordering system, you’ll set up a website landing page that customers can access on any device. They can use this page to browse your menu, pre-order meals and purchase gift cards. The tool is fully integrated, so if you make changes to your menu in the POS system, they’ll appear when customers place an order online.
  • Toast TakeOut: The Toast TakeOut mobile app allows customers to place an order and select pickup and delivery options. We really like that, unlike most third-party takeout apps, Toast TakeOut is a commission-free service.
  • Delivery: Toast partners with DoorDash to provide Toast Delivery Services, so you don’t need your own fleet of drivers. This feature works seamlessly with Toast TakeOut.
  • Email marketing: Toast Now’s fully integrated email marketing software lets you build your email list, create automated campaigns and send weekly email newsletters.
Did You Know?Did you know
Toast's robust features provide numerous POS system benefits, including essential functions every restaurant needs and add-on services to fill in the gaps as your business grows.
Toast POS TakeOut app

The Toast TakeOut app helps restaurants reach new guests and makes ordering easier for regulars. Source: Toast

Order and Pay

We were impressed by Toast Mobile Order & Pay, a mobile ordering feature that lets customers browse your menu, place an order and pay for it right from their table. This feature is convenient for guests and offers greater flexibility for servers.

Waitstaff can focus on upselling customers and providing a higher quality of service instead of dealing with repetitive tasks like processing payments and closing out checks. You can also use Order & Pay to gain valuable customer data.

Toast mobile order

Toast’s Mobile Order & Pay feature allows customers to place and pay for orders at their table. Source: Toast

Inventory Management

Restaurants tend to have low profit margins. However, POS inventory management functions can help minimize waste and ensure the correct amount of ingredients are on hand. For this reason, xtraCHEF, Toast’s inventory management system, impressed us. It breaks down everything on your menu at the ingredient level and lets you track how different items’ pricing has changed.

After you place an initial inventory order, Toast will create an order guide based on what’s on hand and your restaurant’s needs. You can set up recurring inventory orders and send them directly to your suppliers.

Toast POS xtrachef

xtraChef allows restaurant owners to monitor costs across menu items and recipes. Source: Toast

Toast Costs

We were pleased that Toast offers competitive and straightforward pricing while providing an easy-to-use system to run your entire restaurant. The platform has all the features you’d expect from one of the best restaurant POS systems, including taking orders, managing your menu and monitoring your restaurant’s performance.

Here’s a breakdown of Toast’s pricing plans:

  • Starter Kit (free): The Starter Kit is designed for single-location restaurants that only need one or two terminals. This plan is free, though you may have to pay for add-on features. It includes cloud-based POS software, a terminal or handheld kit, table and order management tools, digital menus, and mobile payments.
  • Point of Sale (starts at $69 per month): The Point of Sale plan is designed for restaurants looking to streamline their operations. It comes with many of the same features as the Starter Kit, but you can choose your own hardware and a custom configuration.
  • Build Your Own (custom pricing): The Build Your Own plan is best for larger restaurants that want to optimize their operations. It includes everything in the first three packages, as well as gift cards, loyalty programs and email marketing tools. You must contact a Toast sales rep for a custom quote.
Did You Know?Did you know
Clover is another POS system with robust features for restaurants. Check out our Toast vs. Clover comparison to see which is best for your business.

Toast Setup

We like that setting up your POS system with Toast is straightforward. After signing your contract, a Toast Onboarding Consultant will reach out to schedule a kick-off call. During the 30-minute call, you’ll review the onboarding process and determine a timeline for implementing the POS system. Your Onboarding Consultant will confirm your hardware list, and it typically takes between seven and 14 days to receive your hardware.

Once your hardware arrives, the Toast team will begin building your menu and configuring your software. We also like that the company will train you and your staff to use the software so you feel comfortable managing it on your own.

Toast Customer Service

Toast’s customer service options are on par with many competitors we reviewed. As a Toast customer, you can access 24/7 customer support via phone, email or live chat. We like that service options are available for all customers, regardless of their plan tier. The company also provides training videos, free tools and templates, and troubleshooting support.

Toast Drawbacks

Toast is a great choice for restaurants, but the following considerations may affect your decision:

  • No third-party payment processing: Toast’s biggest drawback is that you must use its payment processing services and can’t opt for a third-party payment processor. This means businesses must accept whatever fees Toast charges, which might be higher than those of other payment processing services. If you prefer a POS that allows third-party payment processing, check out our review of Epos Now.
  • No iOS devices: While Toast’s hardware is excellent, some restaurant owners may prefer an iPad-based POS system. If that’s your preference, read our review of TouchBistro, which operates via iPads.
  • Can’t use existing hardware: Toast is compatible with some third-party hardware, but the system is meant to work with Toast’s proprietary devices. Some business owners may want to save costs and use their existing hardware. If this is your preference, read our review of Lightspeed. This vendor has an extensive list of compatible hardware.

Methodology

When researching the best POS systems for hardware, we looked at hardware durability, accessories, options, and look and feel. Additionally, we evaluated crucial POS features restaurants need, including digital and mobile ordering and stellar customer service. When evaluating Toast, we compared the platform’s offerings and services to more than a dozen other POS systems. Our research helped us determine where Toast stands out among competitors and where improvements are needed.

We also attended an hour-long demo with the Toast team, during which we learned how the software works. We were impressed by how simple the POS system is to use and how the company is constantly improving its software to make it more functional for its customers.

TipTip
Mobile POS systems like Toast are a great option for restaurants of all sizes, from full-service restaurants to food trucks. Check out our restaurant equipment checklist to determine what else you'll need to get started.

Toast FAQs

Payment processing fees typically charge a percentage of volume and a flat per-transaction fee. Toast's payment processing fees vary depending on the size of your restaurant. Contact the company for a quote.
Yes. Toast's software makes it easy to take orders, accept customer payments and manage all aspects of your restaurant. New customers receive an Onboarding Consultant to help them set up the software and train their staff to use it.
According to Toast's terms of service, you can cancel your account at any time, but you must pay any remaining charges and fees.

Overall Value

We recommend Toast for …

  • Restaurants of all sizes looking for an all-in-one POS system.
  • Restaurants that want long-lasting hardware solutions.
  • Restaurants that want to offer online ordering, tableside ordering and delivery.

We don’t recommend Toast for …

  • Restaurants that want to use a third-party payment processor.
  • Businesses that aren’t in the restaurant industry.
author image
Jamie Johnson, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
For more than five years, Jamie Johnson has been guiding business owners on financial matters both big and small. This includes investment advice, insights on business loans and funding options, recommendations on insurance and more. Johnson excels at delivering easy-to-understand direction so entrepreneurs can make the best financial decisions for their businesses and, as a solopreneur herself, she regularly tests business strategies and services. Johnson's expertise can be found in a variety of finance publications, including InvestorPlace, Credit Karma, Insurify and Rocket Mortgage. She has also demonstrated a deep understanding of other B2B topics — including sales, payroll, marketing and social media — for the likes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. News & World Report, CNN, USA Today and Business Insider.
toast company logo
Editor's Rating9.3/10
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