Boston Toast is an all-in-one device POSSystem with a focus on the needs of restaurants and other catering companies.
The company was founded by three former Endeca employees after Oracle acquired the software company in 2011. Toast’s founders initially wanted to develop a consumer app that focused on mobile payments, customer loyalty and promotions that could be integrated with restaurants’ existing POS systems.
However, they quickly realized that restaurants have needs far greater than just being able to accept mobile payments. The team has gone from being a consumer-centric app to a full restaurant technology platform that includes POS functionality as well as online ordering, gift cards, analytics and more.
Toast sets itself apart from iOS-based competitors by running its platform on Android instead, which makes it both cheaper and more versatile.
So is this system right for your company? Let’s examine how this specially developed POS offering stands out from the competition and whether its founders made the right choice in choosing to focus on a segment of the larger POS market.
In contrast to other POS systems (such as square) the companies provide the hardware free of charge. Toast’s most popular hardware starts at $ 899. For this price, companies receive a 10-inch terminal, a folding stand and a magnetic card reader.
Toast also supports you during the installation process with comprehensive implementation services. Customers can choose to have their devices installed remotely starting at $ 499, and on-site installation is also possible.
The software comes with an additional fee of $ 79 per month per terminal, although the company offers volume and annual discounts to take the pressure off businesses. This additional cost may be too high for smaller businesses just starting out, but established restaurants switching to Toast from another POS system can likely afford the additional fee.
Organizations looking to expand the functionality of Toast can do so through a number of add-ons that add an additional cost. Loyalty programs can be added for $ 25 per month, and physical and digital gift cards can be added for $ 50 per month. Adding the ability to take online orders also comes at an additional cost, and businesses pay an additional $ 50 per month for this feature.
Toast charges a flat processing fee, but you will need to contact the company directly to find out more.
While some POS systems take a plug-and-play approach, Toast’s powerful solution is best installed by the company itself or with the help of its agents.
There is a Instructions for self-installation available online, but in the area of hardware unboxing, the company even recommends “not unpacking the contents until you have called one of the Toast implementers to install it”.
If the unboxing process alone requires the help of Toast itself, then the setup process is certainly not for the inexperienced user. The self-installation guide states that the procedures it contains will take approximately two hours to complete, but we will do our best to give you an idea of what the process involves.
After unpacking the Toast hardware, customers must first set up either a Cisco Meraki Z1 or MX64 router. The device must be connected directly to your cable modem, to which all of the toast hardware is connected.
Next, the 10 inch ELO or Teamsable terminals should be installed and you will need a screwdriver to complete the installation. Both the Epson TM-T20 and Epson TM-U220 printers are compatible with Toast, and after your printer is set up you need to connect it and your terminal to your corporate network.
This is just the beginning of the setup process, to give you a rough idea of how complicated it is. There’s a good reason Toast offers installation services, and companies with enough cash should definitely consider taking this route rather than a DIY approach.
Toast’s POS system has an impressive list of features designed to make things easier for both restaurant staff and management.
Orders can be taken by restaurant staff either via the company’s handheld tablets or via the counter terminals that swivel towards the customers. While other POS systems limit their tablets or tablet apps to orders and payments, Toast’s handheld tablets can access the entire application, including reports. For example, waiters can take orders, send orders to the kitchen and manage their customers’ invoices and payment options from anywhere in the restaurant.
For environmentally conscious companies and restaurants, Toast supports digital receipts via SMS or email. The service stores customer phone numbers and emails, as well as their food and beverage order information, which can be useful for running targeted marketing campaigns or building better relationships with repeat customers.
Tips are processed directly into Toast, and business owners have the option to set custom tip percentages in addition to the 10%, 15%, and 20% that companies use by default. The company’s POS system can also help restaurants save time by having the ability to automatically calculate and distribute tips.
Toast even offers time recording functions and companies can assign each employee a unique four-digit PIN number so that they can clock in and out on the counter on their tablets or POS systems. Executives can use the service to get a quick overview of which employees are currently logged on or stamped in order to better manage their employees during peak times during the day.
Inventory management is also built into Toast as part of a new feature that includes inventory control, inventory reports, a recipe cost tool, a grocery cost calculator, and a menu engineering diagram that provides information on a company’s top selling and most profitable menu items.
Toast: The competition
Toast offers users a highly specialized cash register system for use in the catering industry. For this reason, instead of highlighting other more general POS systems, let’s take a look at a few other companies that offer similar products for restaurants.
TouchBistro is a POS system for restaurants that runs on Apple’s iPad and other iOS devices. The service suggests toast about pricing, as a subscription to a register costs just $ 69 per month. TouchBistro even offers discounts for customers who have more than one tab. Two registries are $ 129 per month, three to five registries are $ 249 per month, and there is even a subscription fee of $ 399 per month for unlimited registries. The service also integrates better with third-party software and has an open API that business owners can use to develop their own integrations.
Lavu is another hospitality-focused POS system that runs on iOS devices as opposed to Android that uses Toast. The company’s pricing starts at $ 69 per month per terminal, with additional terminals costing an additional $ 20 per month. Lavu stands out from the competition by being the first restaurant checkout system available on the iPad, and the Lavu Pilot app allows business owners to review reports on the go.
Toast offers restaurants and other companies in the hospitality industry a special POS system that is completely tailored to their needs. While it could be easier to set up, the company goes way beyond that when it comes to helping new customers familiarize themselves with their systems, and the option to pay for installation is certainly welcomed by restaurant owners who are quick to new Want to set up locations.
If you’re an iOS user or switching from an iPad-based POS system, Toast may not be for you. However, if you appreciate the cost savings of using cheaper Android tablets and are happy with the fact that the company handles all of the credit card processing, this point of sale system is more than ready to meet the needs of any restaurant or grocery business.
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