Toast point of sale (POS) is a system designed for the food-service industry. It was launched in 2013 by a Boston based company, which has seen tremendous growth over the years. Toast is an all-in-one solution for the food business based on its array of features that help business owners run their operations smoothly. It is one of the most preferred Android-based POS by restaurants due to the satisfying features needed to make restaurant operations flawless.
Toast is built on the Android operating system making it cheaper and versatile. The POS works best with devices running Android 4.0 or higher. Toast is a web-based software. However, the company creates a local-area network (LAN) for its customers where all the POS data is downloaded and cached on the connected devices. That way, if the internet goes down, all the connected devices will still function in an offline mode. All the sales data and credit payments are captured and restored once the internet reconnection is up and stable.
Toast POS Hardware
Toast offers several hardware equipment to support the POS. Toast hardware is in four; core software, add-on features, Integrations, and volume/annual discounts. The core package comprises terminals, kiosks, handheld, a kitchen display screen, a guest-faced system, among other assorted accessories. For the smaller businesses which might not need or afford all the hardware at once, the company offers a toast terminal bundle that comprises a credit card reader, receipt printer, cash drawer, terminals, stands, and 5-port switch cables. Typically, this is all a business needs to start using Toast. The system is compatible with the specific hardware to support updates and maintenance, which can otherwise be cumbersome.
The Toast hardware can withstand extreme conditions such as high temperatures in the kitchens and water spillage or falls. The Toast equipment is PCI compliant and has certified by security bodies such as PA-DSS. Key benefits of Toast’s hardware include hardwired connections with an offline mode, multiple screens that offer different color and font options, a state of- the- art memory and processor, and waterproof equipment that can withstand high pressure, heat, and spills.
Toast software is one of the best systems in managing restaurant operations. Toast works through integrating software, hardware, and POS to create a system that helps businesses grow their revenue, manage their staff, and engage with their customer needs and wants. The software has several benefits; it is easy and affordable to install, incorporates apps from an array of experts, has cloud-based access that can view 86 items from anywhere, and provides useful analytical reports. The software eliminates a lot of paperwork and time wastage, allowing employees and management to focus on what matters.
The installation of the software is done by the company staff directly. There is, however, an option of remote installation with phone support from Toast experts. The installation charges are in two; self-install, which costs $250 and the premium package, which costs $499. The premium package costs are higher because of the additional self-guidance required. It is best for businesses that have no prior experience with any cloud-based POS systems, while self-install is best for companies that have previous interactions with POS systems.
Toast POS Pricing
Toast POS offers a competitive yet straightforward price format. The POS can either be purchased individually or as a bundle. The price for a package ranges between $450 for a handheld tablet to $1350 for a terminal. The non-bundled hardware sale is in the form of quote-based pricing. The installation of the system costs $499, once installed, a Toast employee provides the buyer with in-depth training for one to learn how to use the POS. Documentation in the form of training manuals, knowledge base, and blogs provided to support learning. Any additional terminals cost $50 each per month. If a single restaurant is using more than six terminals, a quote-based price is provided directly to the restaurant.
Once installed, Toast charges a monthly subscription fee of $79 per month per terminal. The subscription usually covers several POS features, including 24/7 support, full-view reporting, customer data tracking, and unlimited software updates. The POS has a reasonably flexible quote system and only charges the customers for features they are using. Any additional features are costed separately; Toast Inventory at $75, Online ordering $50, Gift card program $50, and Loyalty program at $25. These costs are monthly.
Toast POS Features
Toast POS is highly user-friendly and comprises of impressive features that make it ideal for any restaurant. The POS easily integrates with other popular apps such as Bevspot, LevelUp, GrubHub, and TableHub. Below is a detailed discussion of the Toast features.
Managing customer orders in a restaurant are crucial in ensuring customer satisfaction. Toast system readily accepts and tracks requests from kitchen workers and customers. Once a customer has placed an order, the server is immediately notified and can track the order and inform the seller once it’s ready. Toast can follow how long it takes to serve a meal and for tables to turn over, helping the owner gauge the efficiency of its services. Customers get discounts during timed events such as a happy hour. The tracking of inventory is also done quickly by adding the inventory module to the Toast system. The system tracks the ingredients level and gives re-order suggestions for different vendors.
The POS menu management feature allows restaurants to manage and update menus based on the availability of the food items. The list gets updated from any device; the cloud-based solution always displays the updated menu, which makes sure that whatever is on display is available to customers.
Most customers find it convenient to place their orders online. Toast POS allows customers to place their orders online and maintains a purchase history and profile of the customer. Once the order is received, the restaurant can instantly plan for delivery, which made the process flawless. Loyalty points and gift cards get support by Toast enabling the restaurants to reward their customers.
Reporting And Analytics
The POS offers a detailed analysis of the daily net sales over any period as per the requirement. It breaks costs down individually to give a more unobstructed view of each section, whether it’s inventory or labor. Areas that require improvement are identified, reviewed, and easily tracked over time.
Toast POS allows the restaurant owners to give restricted rights and accessibility to the system based on their roles and responsibilities. For example, the chef can be able to update the inventory list; the waiter can update and manage the menus while the restaurant manager can access the daily sales reports.
Toast’s payroll and team management function is an additional plus for restaurant owners. It allows for a seamless process in preparing payrolls, approvals, and overall management of HR functions. The POS is a versatile system that is safe and secure and accessible from anywhere on any mobile device.
Managing restaurant costs is crucial as it determines the profits level of the business. The toast system generates reports and analyses of labor cost percentage of the sales. The management uses this information for internal control, cost-cutting purposes, and forecasting. Appropriate cost control measures are hence put in place to increase sales and reduce costs.
Toast has an excellent customer management feature. Any time a customer pays, the POS generates and prints receipts, including tips when a customer pays. The customer has the option of selecting the tip percentage. The tips are then added at the end of the day and share amongst all the staff. Toast POS is a smart system; it allows the customer to have the option of going paperless, the customer can receive the receipts on their smartphone or email. Customers’ contacts can be saved into the system to allow for quick service whenever a customer comes back.
Staff in restaurants often work in shifts, which can be hard to manage and monitor. Toast POS, however, makes it easier to manage the changes by using the time tracking function to give an overview of all shifts. The system allows employees to enter a PIN when login in and logging out. Data giving an overview of the shift breakdown for every employee is then available at the end of the shift. The function also allows the manager to view a close-out day tab that reminds them of all duties supposed to be carried out before the end of the shift.
Using the Toast POS allows business owners to monitor their businesses for any voids or growth easily. Customers reported that the daily alerts and emails sent to managers give a summary of the day’s sales and costs. A manager is, therefore, able to track the restaurant operations and management processes easily.
The company has built a handheld POS system named Toast Go. The feature allows the attendants to receive and send orders from any place in the restaurant without necessarily going to the kitchen. It’s an instant process which makes it efficient and customer friendly. The handheld allows the attendants to spend more time with the guests and less time moving around to place orders. The handheld has a 14-hour battery life, slim so that it weighs less and resistant to drops and spills common in the food-service.
New Solutions Offered By Toast POS
Technology partners; Toast POS offers its customers an array of technology partners that are certified to work with the company. The portfolio is secure for customers to access based on the clientele needs. The experts have a wide range of specialty areas ranging from accounting to online ordering.
Access to Capital: Running a restaurant requires ready capital to meet the high costs of operating the food business. Access to capital from financial institutions for restaurant owners has become a significant challenge due to the perceived risks associated with the company. Based on this, Toast is looking into supporting restaurateurs by providing its customers with fast and flexible capital loans at a fixed cost tailored to the restaurant.
Improved HR solution: Toast has recently introduced an HR solution designed to manage Payrolls and HR functions specific to restaurants. The solution automates all the HR functions and simplifies administration functions.
What Do Toast POS Users Like About The System?
Easy to Install/Learn: One of the most liked features about Toast is the ease of installation. Most customers praised the system as it is easy to install, learn, and manage. New staff members can easily be trained on the POS and learn on all the functionalities. The needs of a restaurant are easily customized by the technical experts to fit the clients’ needs.
User-friendly: Toast users were impressed by the fact that the system is easy to use due to its friendly interface. Customers are able to delete, edit or add items using the software quickly. Toast generates detailed and analytical reports which are easy to interpret and use for decision making. The availability of a knowledge base that contains searchable content also highlighted as one of the great features. It is easy for users to find content and learn more or seek any clarifications through online video training sessions.
Excellent Customer Service: Toast users were impressed by the customer service experience, which they described as professional, helpful, patient, and friendly. If a customer needs any support, they can contact the company directly as the support is 24/7. The support options include 24/7 email support, phone, and online support. A unique component of customer service is the return-a-call feature. Whenever a customer calls the customer service number and finds it busy, they can leave their name and receive a call back from one of the agents instead of waiting on the line. Customers found this to be responsive and time-saving as it’s not a common practice in other industries. The company won the 2019 G2 crowd for the best support of the year.
Diverse features and functions: Toast POS has various options that most restaurant owners enjoyed. It has a vibrant platform that offers several features that are relevant to the industry. Some of the unique features are customer loyalty, kiosk, gift cards, online ordering, among others. The features easily synchronize to the system without any trouble.
Reduces Workload: Customers were delighted with the features such as the inventory module, which keeps track of all the inventory reports and the costs. The feature has significantly helped reduce workload as the inventory tracking is not manual any more.
Efficient: Toast has been described as significantly useful. It allows users to set it up in a way that best suits their businesses. The users can log into more than one device at the same time allowing for multiple uses without any bugs. The managers can make any necessary changes without necessarily being on site. Troubleshooting can quickly happen through Toast central before calling the support center for help.
Toast POS Drawbacks
The company requires its customers to use Toast specific hardware, which can be an additional cost, especially for already existing businesses. If a business previously used a different POS, they would need to purchase new hardware equipment that is specific to Toast for the software to operate.
Some customers have reported to experience hitches with online ordering. Sometimes the kitchen staff has to keep scrolling to see orders and prepare. There are generally multiple orders of the same thing, which can create confusion and take up a lot of space unnecessarily.
The cost of buying, installing, and using Toast is perceived to be quite high. However, based on the diverse programs and features exposed to customers exposed, most have found it to be worthwhile. Smaller restaurants with tight budgets can focus on purchasing the basic package and diversify when the need arises.
Toast POS has several features and products which can be overwhelming to a user. A first-time user can easily get lost and confused as they’re trying to learn how to use the software. The learning process might be time-consuming and tedious to new users, especially if support is minimal.
Comparing Toast To Other Competitors
Toast Versus Square
Over time, Restaurants grow and diversify their services, and so should the software in use. Many restaurants that used Square in the past have outgrown the POS. Unlike Toast, Square is not able to support the scaling due to its limited functionalities. Toast has features such as modifier options, splitting checks, and other software modules that comfortably help to scale restaurants.
Toast is excellent in online orders and deliveries, which gives it an upper hand to Square. Most customers prefer to place their orders online and receive shipments at their door-step. Toast allows for this function without charging any commission fees, making it more convenient for customers.
Synchrony- Whenever there is internet downtime, Toast POS can easily synchronize all the data without any losses until internet connection improves. Square is not able to offer the same functionality.
Self Service Kiosks
Toast has an efficient self-service kiosk that customers like due to its flexibility. The function allows customers to place orders using a friendly interface and receive notifications when the order is ready for pick-up. Square does not have this function.
Toast Versus Clover
When compared to Clover, Toast has an excellent customer care team that is 24/7, responsive, and helpful. Many customers preferred Toast due to their customer service experience when seeking clarifications and any form of support.
The restaurants that shifted to Toast from Clover found the latter less ideal for the big restaurants that deal with many processes. Clover didn’t keep pace with the more significant firms, and Toast got high preference due to its array of features.
Toast’s custom-built handheld device is a significant plus to the POS. The handheld is easy to use and carry around. It simplifies operations and reduces time wastage. Clover does not have a similar product.
Toast Versus Micros
Free software updates: All new updates introduced by Toast easily sync into the device without any additional costs. Micros, on the other hand, has additional charges that meant for hosting and support.
Ease of use: Most customers found it easier to use Toast compared to Micros. It is mainly due to the simple design that makes it easy to edit and update menus or reports.
Prompt Customer Support: Customers who have used Micros in the past reported inconveniences in getting support from Micros’ customer care. It can take more than four hours to receive help from a customer care agent while with Toast, relief is instant, and follow-up is timely.
Toast is an all-in-one solution for both upcoming and already existing restaurants. It describes as user-friendly, efficient, time-saving, and innovative. Through its various features, Toast provides its users with relevant and easy to use products, which makes it most preferred to other software.