Toast Expert Reviews, Pricing, Alternatives - 2022

4.2
(229)
Rodrigo Vázquez Mellado
HR and B2B software analyst & advisor, tech writer, musician
November 12, 2022

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Toast Versus the Competition

Toast is one of the few vendors in the HR tools for restaurants category that provide customer loyalty programs for restaurateurs to use to their advantage.

If you're ready to get a Toast demo, we suggest getting in touch for a look at the product and quote. Otherwise, read on!

Pros
  • Toast provides a lot of resources you can consult to train employees on how to use the software. It also provides general restaurant operation training.
  • The platform offers loyalty programs, gift cards, and other incentives to help drive  customer satisfaction.
  • Toast allows you to access valuable metrics like average check amount, total orders, total sales, guest amount per time, and more.
Cons
  • Customer service is like a box of chocolates — you’ll never know what you’ll get. Some users complain about the long wait times they encounter before they can speak to a customer support representative, while others experience fast responses.
  • Some users complain about the system’s high credit card processing fees.
  • You have to get into a 2-year contract upfront before you can use this software.

Toast Review

Toast leads the pack in many ways for the restaurant-tech category. They have raised almost $1 billion in funding, which you don’t commonly find in restaurant-niched tools, and they stand out as the only service provider in this category that offers hardware together with their software services. 

As a point of sale (POS) platform, you should expect handheld gear for recording sales and streamlining orders, which they have with the Toast GO(TM)mobile handheld POS. But one piece of hardware we really like from this company is their Toast Tap(TM). This hardware is a contactless payment system that allows guests to pay via NFC tags and digital wallets. Additionally, they have 10+ hardware and accessories designed to make your business work. 

Toast’s software is a bundle of POS and payment processing. While several of these kinds of tools are in the market, Toast stands head and shoulder above all in customer support and customization. The platform features the most comprehensive support resources we have come across. An exemplification of this point is the Toast Classroom feature you can find on their website.

Another one of their programs is the “refer a restaurant” initiative. This program was recently rolled out, and it essentially rewards referrals — through the online referral form or in writing, including by email — to a Toast Account Executive. With this initiative, you can get up to $1,000 per referral. There are some terms and conditions that apply, of course, so it is recommended to look them up to confirm your eligibility.

Lastly, Toast has had significant success since they launched in 2011. They have received prestigious awards and have appeared in several well-known publications, including Forbes. Their customers are equally eager to share their stories about how the system has helped them save money and time and improve their services. One Virginia-based restaurant — HOUSEpitality — shared how Toast improved their profit margin by 10% when they implemented the Toast Mobile Order and Pay(TM)system. Another pizza restaurant in Texas increased its revenue by implementing the Toast POS system, allowing them to run two extra turns per night per location. In essence, though the system can be a little on the high end, price-wise, it has incredible ROI and pays for itself in the long run.

Who shouldn't buy Toast

Toast will not be a good fit if you are a seasonal restaurant because to be a Toast user, you need to commit to a 2-year contract. And in the case of premature termination, you will be met with a fine. Having a two-year lock-in period for a restaurant that operates only for a few months in a year is not the best idea. Toast might also not be a good fit if you use devices other than Android (e.g., iPad) for your POS operation because their hardware uses the Android operating system.

Toast Customers

Via 33 Pizzeria, HOUSEpitality, Sepia, O’Maddy’s

Toast: Integrated restaurant tech ecosystem

Toast Stats

  • Toast was the 2018 winner of the prestigious Stevie awards for customer service department of the year.
  • Toast was named on the Forbes cloud 100 list in 2021 — the definitive list of the world's top 100 private cloud companies.

Toast Key Features

  • Hardware: This feature makes Toast stand out. They provide over ten system accessories, from high-end tech hardware like the EMV credit card reader to simple restaurant accessories like cash drawers. Besides this, the company also has five proprietary hardware systems built for every restaurant operation. 
  • Online ordering: All Toast users are entitled to a custom website for their restaurants. Your customers can then place orders through this website from their mobile or computer devices. Once orders are placed, they will be automatically sent to the appropriate prep station in your restaurant. Interestingly, the integrated website syncs with the Toast ecosystem, so when you make changes, like ticking an item as “out of stock”, the website will automatically update to reflect this change.  
  • Delivery services: Not only does Toast allow your customers to place orders, but they also help manage your delivery. If you have in-house delivery, you can manage them via the delivery module in your Toast back office dashboard. Toast also integrates with third-party delivery services like Doordash, UberEats, etc., which you can manage from your delivery module. 
  • Reports and analytics: Toast collects real-time data from a bunch of systems in its integrated network for your analysis. The most interesting of all the system’s reports is the one from your online store.
  • Gift cards: Another noteworthy feature Toast offers is gift cards. From your custom-made Toast website, customers can get virtual gift cards delivered to their loved ones via email or text. They can also personalize the gift card with messages and schedule it to send at a specified date.
  • Workforce management: In mid-2022, Toast acquired an employee scheduling, communication, and management solution — Sling — to further expand their team management suite. This integrated solution allows Toast administrators to manage employee schedules on a simple drag-and-drop dashboard. 
  • Toast classroom: Toast classroom is a one-stop shop for all training programs relating to the software and general restaurant management basics. The mode of knowledge transmission includes live demos, online classes, on-demand training videos, webinars, and quizzes — all of which you get for free whether or not you are a Toast software user.

Report function on Toast platform

Toast Key Integrations

Toast integrates with third-party delivery services like UberEats, Doordash, and ItsaCheckmate, as well as several customer loyalty solutions including Thanx, eCard systems, incentivio, and LevelUp, to improve relationships with your customers.

Toast Pricing

Buying Toast’s HR and POS systems together can save many restaurants quite a bit of money. Their pricing starts off with a free version and increases depending on what modules you want. There are also several add-ons you can include to make your package more comprehensive. You will have to speak to their sales representative to get a quote for these additional features. 

Besides their free plan, they have two other paid plans, a custom plan, and a special offer for new restaurants. They are priced at: 

  • Point of sale: $69 per month
  • Essentials: $165 per month
  • Custom: Custom pricing
  • New restaurant basics: $110 per month. It features the lite version of scheduling and team management.

There are tons of add-ons to customize your plan to your specific business needs, and it can be overwhelming and a bit tricky if you do not have a full understanding of how these configurations work. Besides complementary add-ons, you can as well customize features within each basic plan. Each plan, for example, comes with Toast hardware, and you have the option to choose which hardware you want installed as part of your plan. This is why we recommend you get a demo and reach out to their sales team before you commit to the software.

Motivosity Recognize
Motivosity Recognize
Motivosity Lead
Motivosity Listen
Free
$5 per person per month
$6.50 per person per month
$2 per person per month

Toast is Best For

Toast is a great option for restaurants of all types, especially those offering delivery services — you stand to benefit from their delivery management module and third-party delivery service integration.

Motivosity Recognize
Motivosity Recognize
Motivosity Lead
Motivosity Listen
Free
$5 per person per month
$6.50 per person per month
$2 per person per month

Toast Implementation

Toast Customer Success

Toast offers 24/7 expert support and on-site support for complex hardware installations for all customers. They also provide tons of educational materials including video clips, eBooks, and templates curated to help you better run your restaurant business. Apart from this, they have a Toast Classroom, which is a training center that contains expert-led classes by Toast officials and training sessions on popular topics in the restaurant industry. These materials are available in English and Spanish.

About Toast

This Boston-based restaurant technology company was founded by three individuals with an incredible track record. Steve Fredette, Aman Narang, and Jonathan Grimm are all graduates of MIT and worked in Endeca before Oracle bought them out for $1 billion in 2011.

Toast has grown significantly since its launch in 2011. The company was declared a unicorn in 2018 and is currently valued at over $33 billion.

As a next step you can visit the Toast website or read our research on the Top Restaurant Software.

As a next step you can visit the Toast website or read our research on the Top Restaurant Software.

Toast Alternatives

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Workstream’s text-based system makes it easier and faster for managers to recruit qualified candidates. You can also extend its capabilities as it connects to over 25,000 job boards.
Unlike most recruitment platforms in this category, TalentReef provides performance-based evaluation tools to foster employee development within their roles. The software also uses a conversational AI chatbot that automates replies.
7Shifts combines an array of functionalities such as their innovative AI-powered auto-scheduler, in-app messaging, applicant tracking, and time tracking all in one restaurant tech platform. This is not the case with the majority of systems in this category.
Unlike other tools in this category, CareerPlug uses job description templates to help build postings. Other aspects of their hiring process are also template-based.
Fountain uses advanced data tracking and analytics to launch targeted hiring campaigns. Their geolocation radius feature also restricts job postings to a specified area.
Brandished by companies like Tim Hortons, Dunkin Donuts, and IHOP, HigherMe is a collection of recruitment tools for the restaurant and service industry. Their platform includes an ATS, a job board, and noteworthy features like text-to-apply and paperless onboarding.

FAQs

Company HQ
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Number of Employees
3170+
Year Founded
2011
Amount Raised
$902 million
Listed in our research about HR Tools for Restaurants
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