The best POS software solution is Toast POS. This widely used, Android-based POS platform is proven to help businesses to enhance their efficiencies, achieve considerable time and resource savings, offer lower upfront cost, and consistently provide quality service to their customers. TouchBistro and Vend follow closely in terms of overall functionalities, benefits, and cost-efficiencies.
With the global retail sales predicted to reach USD 28 trillion by 2020, businesses should be more than prepared to address the changing needs of their customers. As a retailer or business owner, you must have the necessary technological tools and make sure that you’re selling your products or services according to what and how your customers want them to be sold. To effectively boost sales by driving revenues, a business must prioritize first that the actual processes that push a sales transaction occurs, more than any other operational concern. One of such core processes that drive real sales is by selecting the correct POS software to use.
To simplify your search among the numerous solutions available in the market today, we’ve prepared this review and comparison of 3 of the POS solution based on expert testing and user reviews. Aspects that will be compared include their core POS features, reporting, customer management, and inventory management.
POS software applications provide you with hard data that helps you spot issues in sales processes, identify areas to increase revenues, and develop future sales strategies. For 2019, an industry study found that the highest POS priorities of retailers include omnichannel integration, compliance and security, and increasing capabilities of their existing POS systems. In the wider scheme of things, these industry trends mean that businesses are further expanding their reliance on how POS and related technologies can improve their bottom line.
Retailers are also cashing in on the continuing expansion of mobile payment use. By 2020, mobile payments will be the second most common payment method, next to debit cards. It will also be the top POS payment method. Another emerging POS trend is the expanding practice among small businesses in using big data to generate reports and analytics to provide powerful insights for business planning and decisions. As retail undergoes a multitouch and omnichannel transformation, small businesses must be able to comprehend and adjust to the evolving shopping norms and consumer behavior.
So as to gain or maintain your competitive edge, you should keep in mind all current software trends when making POS investment decisions, either to purchase a new one or make an upgrade to your existing system. And to simplify things for you, we’re prepared individual reviews and in-depth comparison of today’s top 3 POS systems, all of which are in line with current and upcoming trends, so selecting from these platforms will help ensure that you’ll be on top of what’s hot and what’s not with POS software.
Toast POS leads our top three most popular POS systems because it’s an all-in-one solution for streamlining your restaurant operations. Made for US-based businesses, this single platform efficiently combines your POS, guest-facing technology, front-of-the-house, and back-of-the-house processes.
Its hardware restaurant POS system is built to keep up with your restaurant’s fast-paced environment and you are assured that the system is never down as it even works offline. This ensures all transactions are accurately recorded in your system. Built for restaurants with great customizability, the software’s built-in tools, digital and physical cards, online ordering features simplify and empower the way you run your business.
If you want to explore its features you can easily sign up for Toast POS free demo here.
Another factor that makes Toast unique from others is it’s more versatile. While other systems are solely iOS-based, Toast POS is Toast is built on Android operating system, making it compatible with Android tablet and terminal hardware.
Using this cloud-based solution, you also get remote access to real-time reports which optimize monitoring your business anywhere you are and making necessary changes—for example, modifying your menu—that’s reflected across your devices. Your data is also secure with its end-to-end encryption and enhanced security. Its other key features include an efficient CRM tool, guest database, checkout experience, reporting, online ordering (including takeout and delivery), integrations, and loyalty programs.
Toast suits various restaurant types in various scales. It’s equipped with one of the best restaurant POS systems for any size and concept, both with hardware and software options. For a faster-paced environment, you can use its quick-service restaurant POS system. The solutions are tailored for delis, food trucks, pizzerias, cafes, and bakeries, among others. Furthermore, its flexibility extends towards handling enterprises for restaurant groups and franchises. However, the vendor only caters to companies operating within the United States.
TouchBistro, strongly placing second on our list, is a go-to iPad POS system for running a restaurant. It provides tools and insights you need for increasing sales, enhancing service, and making informed decisions. It runs solely on iPads that sync through your local network for a streamlined POS solution.
Like Toast POS, it has a full-service restaurant POS that enables your staff to serve tables and turn more tables efficiently. Additionally, TouchBistro supports the needs of a quick service restaurant (QSR) or fast casual restaurant to keep up with the speed in this type of food-service environment. Taking orders and increasing average check size are streamlined to expedite the process. Self-ordering is available with its Kiosk product. The app also has POS solutions for bars and nightclubs, food trucks, and breweries. The vendor offers a free trial plan that you can use to try out all the key features first.
You can easily sign up for TouchBistro free trial here.
Being one of the best mobile POS systems, TouchBistro is generously packed with features that simplify your restaurant processes. Its tableside order management facilitates managing orders, customizing them, and managing your bar. Meanwhile, the floor plan and table management administer the easy creation of floor plans and monitoring of sections and parties. Some more of its key features include mobile payment and processing, menu management, staff management, and scheduling, customer relationship management, restaurant inventory management, and reporting and analytics.
At the third spot of our top three most popular POS solutions is Vend. This cloud-based POS suite helps businesses simplify their sales, management, reporting, and operational tasks using a wide array of robust features, including tools for inventory management, multi-outlet retail system, analytics, integrated payments, eCommerce, and customer loyalty. Whether you operate one store or several dozen branches, you can access everything you need via the cloud, from the office or while on the go, anytime. Since it runs on a Mac, PC or iPad, you can use it either online or offline.
Trusted by more than 20,000 retailers across the world, Vend is an efficient POS platform that enables retailers to be in the driver’s seat in terms of having better control of their products and sales. Designed to be more than your average POS, this platform is very customizable to enable quick access and automation of repetitive processes.
Vend is flexible, user-friendly, and can be used in a wide range of business types. It can also help enhance how you monitor, gather, and process customer data to allow in-depth reporting and analytics. It also supports a wide range of integration as it runs with most existing POS hardware–including cash drawers, receipt printers, barcode scanners, etc.–and popular accounting and business software.
At its core, Toast is, without a doubt, one of the best POS sales solutions in the market today. This Android-based platform has a customizable POS experience that you can personalize through its buttons, reports, and menus. It even works offline to allow your staff to serve more customers without worrying about experiencing a downtime. It ensures the back and front of your store is in-sync with Android mobile POS tablets that directly forwards orders to your kitchen’s display system. Meanwhile, fast-casual restaurants are given the tools to expedite their processes whether that’s color-coding menus for customers to locate their orders faster or its fast credit card processing for lessening waiting times. Toast’s built-in online ordering system enables customers to order through their desktop, tablet, or phone. Since it includes a menu management software, you can also easily push updates on your online menu. Because it uses Android for both software and hardware, users will benefit from the significant price difference, wider gadget option, cheaper upfront cost, and lower risk.
On the other hand, TouchBistro is an iPad POS system with solutions for restaurateurs. The tableside order management lets you take orders quickly with automatic prompts for smart upsells. When it comes to payments, you can join seats with a simple swipe or split bills with a tap. The system also accepts mobile EMV payments using credit or debit cards. For a better view and management of your floor plan, you can create your own in the system that follows your restaurant’s layout by using its intuitive controls to add walls, sections, floors, and tables. This promotes easy monitoring and arranging seats, especially for reservations and transfers.
Vend also offers its own version of user-friendliness and efficiency in a POS system, which helps retailers to sell more products/services, to achieve cost savings, and to improve their overall operational productivity. It doesn’t matter if you’re only starting with your retail business or is planning to add more stores to your multi-branch operations, this POS platform can help ensure that your existing and future operations are well-supported with all the necessary online and traditional shopping tools that you need. What’s more, Vend provides users with considerable flexibility in expanding the use of this robust, highly customizable POS solution. You can select from a wide range of intensive integrations and preferred technology partners, which include most of the favorite apps that you already use, including Deputy, Apple, Shopify, and Xero, plus a host of payment gateways to ensure that your business needs are well covered.
Verdict: Retail stores and restaurants depend heavily on their POS system to ensure their entire operations run smoothly. In times of system breakdowns or malfunctions, business operations are adversely affected, while in some cases even experience total shutdown. Without doubt, the above POS features of TouchBistro make it a good choice, but being solely an iPad POS gives it some limitations in the real world. Vend has some advantage in this aspect being a cloud-based, OS agnostic POS system. Busy stores and restaurants require POS systems that are not only easy to use and with the needed tools and features but also are sturdy enough to handle even the heaviest of workloads and the recurring spill or drop, just like Toast POS, which makes it a top choice in this regard.
Also a leader in this feature, Toast manages all your data in a single place to unify reporting and analytics. This gives you a high-level view of all transactions during a specific time period based on your selection. Your sales metrics are designed to give you a scannable overview of a summary of your total guests, net sales, gratuity, table turn time, tips, payment methods, and broken-down service types. The report provides you an unparalleled view of your team’s efficiency as well. You can see more than just the total number of voids, discounts, and refunds but the servers and managers who gave and approved those sales exceptions as well. Additionally, since product mix reports provide you data of all your sales, you can easily identify the top menu groups, modifiers, and items that are contributing the most to your sales (and those that are unprofitable) to make adjustments as needed.
Next in line is TouchBistro which offers data access anywhere on its new app on iOS mobile devices called “Report To Go” in addition to viewing it on your iPad or desktop in the office. It gives you reports of total sales, menu item, category, promotion sales, statistical summaries, payment methods, discounts, voids, and deletions, among others. It also has automatically-generated comprehensive end-of-day summary reports and personalized in-shift snapshot reports for each staff. This can be exported to CSV, printed, and emailed or brought to Xero and QuickBooks.
Being the third among the best POS solutions doesn’t mean Vend’s analytics and reporting features are also third in features and capabilities. In fact, this top-notch POS system for small business also provides users with proactive and accurate analytics, empowering them with similar capacities that large-scale retailers have. Its efficient data management functionalities make Vend to be at par with the industry’s best, simply because it helps business users save money, resources, and time aside from providing the needed access to important business and market insights to support sound business decisions.
Verdict: What truly sets a modern POS system from legal, traditional processes is its enterprise analytics and reporting capabilities. Counting handwritten checks and inventories won’t give you an in-depth insight into your revenue drivers. Hence, adopting this solution helps owners manage their business more effectively. Again, Toast POS offers the best among the three systems as it provides businesses an integrated view of every aspect of your business, including detailed sales performance metrics, your team’s accomplished and productivity, product movement, etc., all in real time. Both TouchBistro and Vend also provide good analytics and reporting features, but not as robust as Toast POS.
Customers are the primary reason why your business exists. Having a customer database lets you store and keep their contact information and purchase histories. The Toast POS system is packed with features that elevate customer management. Its integrated CRM software collects your customer’s contact information and order history. It then creates a detailed profile of customers to be used when they order online, opt to receive digital receipts, or register for loyalty programs. Knowing your customer’s preferences using the information of their visit frequency, frequently ordered items, and average check size lets you create effective marketing campaigns and even send promotions to regular guests who haven’t visited in a while. In fact, gift cards (both online and digital) and loyalty programs are some of Toast’s top features.
TouchBistro also has a CRM solution for providing incentives to your customers using their loyalty program. Signing up for it enables customers to collect and redeem points. Communication is also optimized via email, SMS, or push notifications. Vend also offers some useful features. This is because it offers customer management and loyalty tools that help ensure your top clients keep coming back to your stores. Vend enables businesses to create a functional customer database that you can greatly utilize to your advantage, boost repeat business capability, and enhance buyer spend using a robust customer loyalty program. Some of its features include easy import of customer list from your favorite third-party app into Vend and directly adding new customers into its POS system. Its RESTful API ensures that you can seamlessly link your existing customer data into the Vend system, which helps prevent any downtime in your operations, but only continuous productivity and growth.
Verdict: Customer profile creation and management are other key aspects of a POS where Toast POS also excels in. With an integrated CRM tool, Toast POS offers an efficient customer management system that includes a wider array of useful tools and features compared to TouchBistro and Vend. Aside from the common CRM functions like customer history and online habits, Toast POS also offers features like loyalty programs, rewards, discounts and promotions to proactively increase your high-quality customers. In fact, gift cards (both online and digital) and loyalty programs are some of Toast’s top features.
Inventory management is vital to your business, but it’s time-consuming and inefficient to do manually. Staying on top of your stocks and knowing which items are on-demand is crucial to successfully manage your business so you can always refill stocks and ensure it won’t run out.
Toast’s restaurant inventory management is available in real-time inventory updates. The shelf-to-sheet inventory software efficiently eliminates the hassle of spreadsheets by letting you keep track of prices, units, suppliers, and food inventory. Beyond keeping an inventory of your items, this solution helps you make better sense of this data. It generates automatic reports on menu engineering, inventory variance, and food cost so you’ll no longer have to spend time on crunching numbers.
TouchBistro, meanwhile, has menu and ingredient item inventory reports with information on costing and unit measure. The inventory countdown is customizable and you can add warning prompts. It ensures you have an overview of your stocks to easily identify which are low in stock or out-of-stock and mark them. This streamlines purchase ordering as you can easily report them on inventory levels.
Lastly, Vend offers one of the best inventory management software that can be deployed on-premise and via the cloud, making easily accessible using either PC, Mac, and iPad. This free inventory tool helps you to effortlessly manage and scale your operations, whether you operate one, two or numerous stores because it is designed to significantly streamline your entire supply chain system. What’s more, having a POS platform equipped with a real-time inventory management system allows businesses considerably cut-down, if not totally eliminate, over-selling and maintaining excessive inventory levels across your company and store outlets. Vend’s automated reordering feature ensures you only have enough stocks to address your current sales levels, which automatically adjusts based on historical and predictive customer data.
Verdict: Toast POS’ inventory management system exceeds those of Vend and TouchBistro. While the three offer fast access to real-time inventory updates and other features, Toast POS automatically generates important inventory-related reports to provide you with powerful insights for better inventory management efficiency and overall business productivity.
Based on our users’ reviews and our experts’ in-depth evaluation, we’ve ranked Toast POS at the top because of its wide array of benefits, particularly for the advantages that an Android-based system offers for small businesses. Aside from being more cost-effective and inexpensive, Toast POS is the leading POS solution for Android tablets and mobile phones because of its better durability and the increased form factor options it offers. Retail businesses and restaurants will also appreciate Toasts POS’ better customization because its design is based on the notion that no two stores are the same, thus the need for extensive flexibility to personalize a POS system, both software and hardware.
Closely coming next is TouchBistro which has already proved its name in the market as a useful POS solution. Not far behind is Vend, which offers almost the same number of features and capabilities, although in relatively lesser volumes. Still, it is packed with a wide range of powerful features to make it close a hand with the top two POS solutions. Vend is designed to be used for a broad range of business types, making it a favorite in many industries and businesses.
Ultimately, the 3 POS systems mentioned made it to the top because of their top-notch features and tools. We highly recommend you check out all three and pick the one that works best for your company. If you want to start off on the right foot you can easily sign up for Toast POS free demo here.
FinancesOnline is available for free for all business professionals interested in an efficient way to find top-notch SaaS solutions. We are able to keep our service free of charge thanks to cooperation with some of the vendors, who are willing to pay us for traffic and sales opportunities provided by our website. Please note, that FinancesOnline lists all vendors, we’re not limited only to the ones that pay us, and all software providers have an equal opportunity to get featured in our rankings and comparisons, win awards, gather user reviews, all in our effort to give you reliable advice that will enable you to make well-informed purchase decisions.