TouchBistro VS Toast
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|✓||Hardware and Software Compatibility||✓|
|Customer Service and Technical Support||✓|
|✓||Reviews and Complaints||✓|
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For any type of eatery, be it a quick service smoothie shop or a fine dining restaurant, a good POS system is a necessity. In addition to taking payments, restaurant POS software assists with many aspects of managing your business, from raw ingredient tracking to cultivating a loyal customer base. Furthermore, a modern, tablet-based POS allows you to do some pretty cutting-edge things at your restaurant, like have guests pay, sign, and tip right from their table on a mobile device.
iPad-based TouchBistro (above) and Android-based Toast (below) are two of the most popular tablet point of sale systems for restaurants, food trucks, cafes, fro-yo shops, pizza parlors, breweries, and many other businesses that sell items to eat or drink. But which is the better POS system?
I’ll compare TouchBistro and Toast in all the important areas as far as restaurant POS is concerned, and we’ll see which of these innovative POS’s is the best choice for your food or drink business.
TouchBistro is the more affordable system in most cases. Subscriptions are $69/month for one register, $129/month for two registers, $249/month for three to five, or $399/month for unlimited registers. Subscriptions include all features and 24/7 customer support.
Toast starts at $100/month and is $50 for each additional device. This base price includes most features and 24/7 customer support, but some features cost extra. Add-ons are priced as follows:
- $25/month for the Loyalty Program
- $50/month for Physical and Digital Gift Cards
- $50/month for Online Ordering
Toast offers custom pricing for larger organizations so you can request a quote if you operate more than six terminals.
Although TouchBistro offers the less expensive service, one thing to note is that an Android-based hardware setup like Toast’s might be a little less expensive than TouchBistro’s Apple hardware configuration, particularly for businesses that have more registers. Toast also offers financing on their hardware packages so you don’t have to pay your entire hardware cost upfront.
Ease of Use
Both TouchBistro and Toast are remarkably simple to learn and use, with intuitive touchscreen interfaces. Toast is a more complex system so training employees might be a little more time-intensive; however, Toast installs your POS and trains your employees for you, easing this process considerably. One negative for TouchBistro’s ease of use is that you have to add each menu item and image by hand on your iPad, with no option to upload this information via CSV file.
Hardware and Software Compatibility
TouchBistro and Toast have different hardware/software requirements, but one isn’t inherently better than the other.
TouchBistro is an iPad POS so it uses Apple hardware and runs on the iOS operating system. It will work with iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 1-4, and iPad Pro. Also, TouchBistro is a locally-installed system, meaning you’ll need a Mac Mini or iMac computer to act as the server if you use two or more iPads. This type of setup also means that the software doesn’t rely on an internet connection to function (except to process credit card payments); an Apple Airport Extreme acts as a local router to wirelessly connect your devices.
Toast, on the other hand, uses Samsung tablets and runs on Google’s Android operating system. Toast also differentiates itself from TouchBistro by being entirely cloud-based so all your restaurant data is stored in “the cloud” (i.e., online, rather than on your devices), and you don’t need a local server for multi-tablet setups.
Whether an Apple or Android hardware setup is better largely depends on who you ask. iPads tend to have a more seamless hardware/software integration, but some people prefer the flexibility and lower cost of an Android setup.
Though TouchBistro’s features are sufficient for a lot of small and even mid-sized businesses, Toast has more features and more advanced functionality overall. Toast’s cloud-based design makes it more functional in certain ways—for example, with Toast you can quickly edit your menu from anywhere with an internet connection (see screenshot below); with TouchBistro, you have to make menu changes from your dedicated TouchBistro iPad.
However, even though TouchBistro POS isn’t fully integrated with the cloud, managers can log into an online reporting suite to access some cloud-based POS reports on their establishment’s metrics.
Also, while Toast has a more robust feature set overall, one function TouchBistro has that Toast doesn’t is reservation management. TouchBistro also has a neat integration with PayPal that allows guests to check out with their PayPal account.
Let’s take a closer look at the essential features each POS offers.
Both TouchBistro and Toast have the following features:
- Floor planner
- Menu management
- Employee management
- Inventory management
- Tableside payments
- Onscreen tipping
- Customer-facing display
- Kitchen display system
- Ability to split bills by seat
- Gift cards
- Offline functionality (queue credit card payments without internet)
- POS reports (see TouchBistro reports example below)
- Multi-location support
- Customer contact database
Features TouchBistro has that Toast doesn’t:
- Reservation management
- Self-checkout with PayPal
- Apple Pay acceptance (with certain payment processors)
Features Toast has that TouchBistro doesn’t:
- Integrated loyalty program
- Integrated online ordering system
- In-house payment processing
- Delivery management
- Self-serve kiosks
- Customer Relationship Management system
- Online menu management
- Enterprise restaurant management
As mentioned, some of Toast’s features cost extra—specifically the loyalty program, online ordering, and gift cards—whereas gift cards, for example, are included in TouchBistro’s base price.
Toast offers a lot of “all-in-one” functionality, such as in-house loyalty cards and online ordering, and this negates the need for many integrations with other software services. But TouchBistro has a few more third-party software integrations, and integrates with more payment processing companies, if that’s important to you. Notably, Toast doesn’t integrate with any outside payment processors; the POS only works with Toast’s in-house payment processing service.
TouchBistro currently integrates with the employee scheduling software 7shifts, as well as Shogo, a service that lets you integrate your QuickBooks account, and it has a direct Xero integration. TouchBistro is also partnered with business management software Avero and Sculpture Hospitality, as well as Just Eat, a food delivery service. SmoothPay and PayPal are both mobile payment options with TouchBistro, and it can be used with credit card processors Vantiv, Moneris, Cayan, and multiple other payment processors (see the full list in our TouchBistro review).
Toast’s list of integrations includes PayTronix, 7shifts, Incentivio, Restauraunt365, Peachworks, CTUIT, CrunchTime, and Compeat. Toast also has an open API, which means you can develop your own integrations. So, even though TouchBistro technically “wins” in integrations, I wouldn’t consider Toast vastly behind in this area—that is, unless you want to use an outside payment processor.
Customer Service and Technical Support
While Toast and TouchBistro both offer 24/7 customer support (via phone and email), Toast sets itself apart with its truly exceptional customer service and technical support. Toast’s support team is highly knowledgable and responsive, and has the benefit of being 100% US-based.
TouchBistro has decent customer service, but they also have a lot of complaints about long wait times on the phone and long response times over email, with customer service representatives sometimes taking a couple days to respond.
Reviews and Complaints
Overall, the public reactions to TouchBistro and Toast have been largely positive. Users love these systems’ ease of use and their great functionality, all for a relatively low price. There are some negative user reviews of both services, with some TouchBistro users complaining about slow customer support and overly basic functionality. Some users from both systems say they would like better inventory management features.
Toast, Inc. is accredited with the BBB as of 7/2016 and has an A+ rating with no complaints; TouchBistro is not BBB-accredited and has a B- rating with 2 closed customer complaints.
TouchBistro has been around a little longer than Toast and has more users overall so it has a lot more positive and negative reviews than Toast does. But again, both vendors have mostly favorable reviews.
TouchBistro is a high-quality, affordable iPad POS for all types of small food and drink businesses, from food carts to full-service restaurants. After all, it is iTunes’ top-grossing food and beverage app in 33 countries.
TouchBistro is also a very capable POS for most restaurants, bars, or quick service businesses. However, Toast offers more advanced features—delivery management, online ordering, CRM, and loyalty program functionality—making it a powerful enough POS solution for larger enterprises and franchises. Most importantly, Toast offers superior customer service.
Besides being the more robust and customer service-oriented restaurant POS, Toast also offers superior hardware flexibility given its unique Android setup. It’s one of the few Android POS systems out there since most tablet POS’s are iPad-based. In addition to minimizing your initial hardware investment, an Android POS allows you to replace lost, stolen, or broken devices at a cheaper cost (vs. an iPad POS) and gives you more form factor choices.
Though Toast comes out ahead of TouchBistro in the most important areas, Toast might not be the best choice for your particular establishment. For example, if you just need a fairly basic restaurant POS for your two-register bakery, TouchBistro might make more sense for you. Or, if you have an external merchant account you want to use with your POS, you will not be able to use Toast.
Maybe neither of these systems are right for you. To look beyond TouchBistro vs Toast and check out even more restaurant POS software, explore our restaurant POS software reviews section or email us with any questions you might have.