Toast Review

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  • author: Daniel Ndukwu
  • 28.02.19
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Rating

  • "Price"
    8 /10
  • "Features"
    8 /10
  • "Ease of USe"
    9 /10
  • "Help and Support"
    8 /10

Overview

Toast POS is a specialty system founded in 2012 by Steve Fredette, Aman Narang, and Jonathan Grimm. Since inception, Toast has grown to tens of thousands of customers across the United States. The Toast POS system was built from the ground up as an all-encompassing solution to serve different restaurant types. Toast has also launched a new product called Toast Hardware, which is a point of sale tools designed especially for the restaurant community. Toast Hardware was created specifically for Toast Point of Sale and includes four new devices: the Toast Flex, Toast Tap, Toast Printer, and Toast Hub.

Plans & Pricing

Toast is free to sign up for, but you won’t be able to do much with the account unless you get set up with the software and hardware. They charge their customers in multiple ways based on transactions, software, and hardware used.

Credit card processing

They process payments on your behalf with flat rate pricing, but it’s not readily available. In order to find the pricing, you’ll have to register for a free account and request a quote. You can also request a quote directly from the website. The more volume you do, the better your credit card processing rate will be.

Software

Toast software starts at $79/m for the main terminal. It’s installed on individual terminals, and each one comes with an additional fee. Discounts are available for merchants that have more than six terminals in use.

Hardware

Hardware starts at $899 for the starter bundle which includes a 10” monitor, flip stand, and magnetic card reader. Additional hardware can be purchased for a one-off fee. If you’d like them to set up everything, they offer installation services which start at $499.

The core pricing is in line with other POS solutions. The add-ons you can purchase may drive your costs up considerably. One difference is that Toast offers 0% financing on their hardware.

Features and Functionality

Toast POS has a number of features which make it one of the fastest growing restaurant POS solutions in the United States. You’re able to manage multiple stores, access best in class reports from anywhere using your customer login, integrate your kitchen display system, and set up online ordering.

In addition to the core features, they have a number of add-ons available for a fixed monthly fee. These add-ons allow you to extend the functionality of Toast to make running your business even easier.

Payroll & team management

Integrate payroll with your POS to save time and streamline your operations procedures. This helpful add-on allows you to make the hiring process smoother, speeds up timesheet approval, and syncs between hours and payroll. This add-on acts as a fantastic HR tool that also gives you meaningful workforce insight. Additionally, it will also help simplify taxes, time-tracking, benefits administration, and more. When selecting to add this product alongside Toast POS, you get a strong program that covers more aspects of your business from one clear and accessible point.

Ecommerce functionality

With Toast, you can build customized and responsive websites to facilitate online ordering. Your customer can navigate to your website, place an order, and pay for it online. The menu online is automatically synced with the menu in your restaurant so you won’t get orders for items no longer in stock.

You can set the open time for your online portal and add modifiers, special requests, and automatic prompts to increase your average order value. Finally, completed orders are sent directly to your kitchen which cuts down on lost orders and speeds up order completion times.

Gift cards

The ability to create digital or physical gift cards which can be used in your restaurant is available as an add-on. Gift cards can be bought online or in your store and easily redeemed by scanning the card or keying in the code. The only drawback is that they can’t be used through your online portal.

Loyalty program

Toast offers a point-based loyalty program for your diners. They can opt-in during the checkout process and every time they come back their entire purchase history is available. The loyalty program reporting lets you know how it’s affecting your revenue.

Hardware Requirements

Toast has multiple hardware options to choose from but not all of them are necessary to get up and running with the system. The most important are the monitor and magnetic card reader which are available in the starter package.

You’re able to include additional hardware such as a terminal, cash drawer, receipt printer, kitchen monitor, and more. These items can be bought separately or in bundles depending on your needs.

The Toast system is built on Android because, as they say, the devices are more durable and easier to upgrade.

Integrations & Add-ons

The Toast POS system has a wide range of add-ons and integrations with over 60 partners to extend its functionality. We’ve discussed some of the add-ons such as gift cards, online ordering, and the loyalty program. A few of these others include:

  • Financing – Get approved for a line of credit within 24 hours. The repayments increase or decrease based business cash flow.
  • 7Shifts – Toast integrates directly with 7Shifts to handle your employee scheduling, labor management, and payroll.
  • Grubhub – Push your menus directly to the Grubhub marketplace and allow people to order online. The orders come directly to your restaurant and remove the need for extra hardware.

Ease of Use

The software itself is easy to understand and use. It’s similar to other POS software systems so if you’re migrating from another solution you can learn the basics quickly. If it’s your first time using a system like this then it may take a little time to get used to it.

The hardware is a different story. Customer reviews have mentioned the need for specialized technical help to get everything working properly. There are two options available.

You can choose a remote setup option where you communicate with technicians over the phone. There’s also an option for onsite installation where a Toast team member or contractor will work with you to properly set up the system.

Pros & Cons

  • Integrate front of house and back of house operations
  • Ability to use gift cards
  • Deeply integrated loyalty program
  • Insightful reporting to help you understand profit and loss centers in your business
  • Carefully selected integration partners
  • Add-ons can get pricey
  • Credit card processing fees not readily available
  • Inventory search function is lacking

Customer Support

Toast offers multiple support options for their customers and many of them are available at all times of the day. When compared to other POS solutions, they have more support availability. Most of the customer reviews online are positive but some have complained of unresponsive or poorly trained support staff.

  • 24/7 Help & Support
    Toast offers 24/7 help and support across multiple channels for their current customers.
  • Phone Support
    Phone support is available 24/7 for all technical issues customers may run into.
  • Live Online Chat
    Live chat is available 24/7 through the customer portal.
  • Email
    Email support is available to customers as well as potential customers 24/7.
  • Video Tutorials
    Toast has a large collection of videos available through their official support website and YouTube.
  • FAQ
    While they don’t have a dedicated FAQ page, they do have an extensive knowledgebase where most questions are answered.
  • Blog
    Toast maintains a blog that focuses on product updates, features, and helping restaurants grow.

Final Word

Toast POS is a complete solution for payment processing, back of house, and front of house operations. If that was all then it’d be a strong choice but it does a lot more. In addition to the core features, you can extend the functionality with add-ons and integrations. You’re able to create loyalty programs, issue physical or electronic gift cards, manage inventory, and even create a deeply integrated online store. There are some things to keep in mind. Toast quotes every merchant a custom price for payment processing fees which is determined by volume. Also, equipment can be a major outlay in the beginning (they do offer financing).

They took their time to create one of the most important features – reporting. The end result is a deep understanding of how every part of your business functions and where you can save money or increase revenue. If you’re looking for a total solution to manage your restaurant then Toast POS, which serves tens of thousands of customers, is a great choice.

Daniel Ndukwu>
Daniel Ndukwu
author

Daniel is a small business owner at large helping his peers navigate the challenges they experience on a day to day basis. His philosophy is simple, if it isn’t broken you can still make it better.

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