Unrecorded sales, inaccurate inventory logs, human errors, and poor service delivery can take a toll on your business. These kinds of issues may cause your sales to plummet, profits to nosedive, and bottom line to dwindle. So, to keep these problems at bay and put your business back on track, you will need a robust point-of-sale (POS) system.
A good POS software automates manual tasks, provides real-time reporting and helps you manage employees, customers, and inventory. This is all so you, the retailer, or restaurant owner, can track your performance as well as make smart, data-driven decisions to continually improve your business.
In this post, we’ll compare the top 3 POS software — Toast POS, Vend, and TouchBistro — based on user reviews and expert testing. We’ll dissect critical features like POS tools, customer management, inventory management, and reporting. Moreover, we’ll discuss the pricing plans that each vendor has to offer. This way, you can zero in on which solution can streamline your operations, grow sales, and increase profits.
According to Statista, global retail sales will reach $28 trillion by 2020. This may look like a lot, but claiming a share of this value isn’t a cakewalk. Remember, retailing is a complex process — one that’s shrouded in plenty of challenges. These include increasing multichannel shopping, inventory management, and the fickle nature of modern consumers.
Fortunately, even in this cutthroat industry landscape, there lies success for retailers who equip themselves right for unforeseen circumstances. Realistically, it’s not easy to prepare for the curveballs that the volatile world of business throws at you. However, using the best POS solution gives your business a better chance of thriving amid industry changes. This fact has dawned on many retailers. In fact, in 2019, 53% of retailers said that enhancing the capability of current POS is their top priority.
To be on the safe side, you need to act now and install a reliable solution to streamline your retail operations and deliver the experience your customers crave. So, to help you abridge your buying process, we’ll give you a detailed review of each of the top 3 POS software.
But before you start your search, we highly suggest you gather more in-depth information about the usefulness of POS software. This way, you can understand what you should be looking for in this type of technology.
Taking the first spot in our list of top 3 POS software is Toast POS, an all-in-one POS solution designed primarily for restaurants and other food service businesses in the US. This easy-to-use solution combines hardware, payment processing, and cloud-based software to streamline your restaurant operations.
With Toast POS, you can rest assured that your front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house processes will work in sync. The tableside ordering feature gives your customers a fast and convenient way to enter orders, which are instantly sent to the kitchen for processing. Moreover, customers can place orders while on-the-go via the online ordering feature and pay online with ease as if they were ordering in person.
The vendor offers a comprehensive demo to get you up to speed with the features. You can sign up for Toast POS free demo here.
What’s intriguing is that Toast POS hardware offers an offline mode perfect for the fast-paced restaurant environment. This means, even when the internet connection is out, you can still accept orders from the tableside without a struggle. All transactions performed in the offline mode are recorded and synced to your system once internet connection resumes, so no data is lost.
Most importantly, Toast POS Android-based system works seamlessly with the handheld and terminal hardware. On the other hand, the Toast POS cloud-based software provides real-time reporting from any device. With the reports, you get insights that help you pinpoint opportunities for cost savings, modifying the menu, and more.
Vend is a powerful platform designed specifically for retailers. It provides an array of nifty features to empower retail businesses to streamline payments, reporting, customer experience, inventory management, and other operational tasks. Vend provides the perfect combination of multioutlet retail, POS, and inventory management systems to help you sell, manage, report, and expand your retail business with ease.
The platform works entirely in the cloud, so you don’t have to purchase cutting-edge hardware. Also, it runs smoothly on any device —be it Mac, iPad, or PC — and comes with a dedicated iPad app. Most importantly, the software functions nicely with the existing POS hardware like receipt printers, cash drawers, and barcode scanners.
You can use all the features for free for a period of time to see if the software matches your needs. Simply sign up for Vend free trial here.
Whether you run one store or multiple branches, this cloud-based solution will help you remain in the loop on every operation anytime, anywhere. Besides, Vend offers an offline mode to help you continue your operations even when the internet connection is temporarily unavailable. Once internet access is restored, all data are automatically synced to your system. Hence, no information is lost.
What’s more, Vend features a robust reporting and analytics module, which helps you derive helpful insights to guide your retail journey. Additionally, the platform is flexible and user-friendly. This makes it ideal for a wide range of retail businesses, including shoe stores, fashion boutiques, jewelry shops, beauty hubs, toy stores, and gift shops.
TouchBistro is a comprehensive mobile system built by restaurant professionals for restaurant professionals. It is trusted by thousands of businesses in over 100 countries for optimizing restaurant operations.
Like Toast POS, TouchBistro provides a wide array of features that are naturally more aligned with the needs of restaurants and other foodservice businesses. Primarily, TouchBistro is built to help servers and bartenders to deliver better services and increase sales, all while making smart decisions.
You can check the solution closely when you sign up for TouchBistro free trial here.
With TouchBistro’s tableside ordering feature, servers and bartenders can browse menus, add menu items to create orders (tickets), and send them to the kitchen with a tap. The best thing is that you can arrange the tickets your way–by name, table, amount, or date. Also, TouchBistro allows you to spend less time creating menus and more time cultivating excellent relationships with your customers.
What’s more, TouchBistro provides the tools you need to manage the schedules of both front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house staff. The solutions allow you to track, manage, and schedule employees in a way that keeps them satisfied. The ripple effect of having happy employees is the delivery of excellent customer experiences, and ultimately, a growing bottom line.
When it comes to payment processing, TouchBistro doesn’t provide in-house payment processing. However, the vendor gives you the freedom to work the payment processor from a host of reliable payment partners.
As you’ll find out, the products on our top 3 POS software have all the major POS features. However, you should look under the hood of these solutions to reveal the nitty-gritty details before making the final decision.
Toast POS is inarguably one of the best restaurant POS solutions on the market today in terms of core features. It provides the tools you need to run a restaurant, including order management, menu management, staff management, and in-house payment processing. Besides, it offers additional software modules, including loyalty program creation, gift card processing, delivery, and online ordering.
The built-in online ordering system is particularly impressive as it enables customers to place orders from any device. Better still, it is compatible with multiple devices. Thus, it requires minimal upfront costs to implement.
Vend, on the other hand, provides features that are perfectly aligned with the needs of businesses in the retail industry. The platform’s online POS tools and traditional POS hardware are geared towards streamlining the retail process from ordering to payments to inventory management. Thus, it can help businesses sell more products/services, achieve cost savings, and better productivity.
Meanwhile, TouchBistro is built with the needs of food service businesses in mind. Generally, the solution offers many of the features you find in Toast POS, including tableside ordering, menu management, and staff management. However, unlike Toast POS, TouchBistro is an iPad-based system and doesn’t provide a full-fledged cloud-based platform.
That said, TouchBistro has unique features you don’t get in Toast POS, including a restaurant floor plan maker, reservation management, and Apple Pay acceptance. The floor maker enables you to change your table arrangement for events or busy seasons.
Verdict: For retail store owners, Vend is, without a doubt, the best solution to manage operations. On the other hand, restaurant owners might find Toast POS and TouchBistro more useful. However, we have to note that Toast POS is a class above TouchBistro because it offers more software modules and an Android setup that adds flexibility.
Great customer service turns impulse buyers into loyal customers and grows sales, ultimately improving your bottom line.
Toast POS features a built-in CRM module that gathers customers’ contact information and order history. This allows you to create and store customer profiles in a central database and help you keep track of their preferences. With this data, you can personalize orders and digital receipts. You can even send personalized marketing messages to customers who haven’t visited your restaurant in a while. Other Toast POS features that work in tandem with the CRM module include the loyalty program support and gift card processing.
On the other hand, Vend has a robust CRM module that collects and stores a complete contact list of customers in the database. The customer sync feature creates profiles for new customers and adds order details to the existing records in the database. Besides, you can leverage Vend’s loyalty program to send emails to new customers once they’re in the database.
Last but not least, TouchBistro’s restaurant CRM module allows you to collect customers’ information as well as create and manage their accounts on the iPad. It helps you track customers who visit your restaurant regularly and know their order preferences. This lets you provide more personalized services and create more targeted marketing campaigns. Besides, you can take advantage of TouchBistro’s Loyalty to incentivize loyal customers so that they keep them coming back.
Verdict: Compared to Vend and TouchBistro, Touch POS provides a wide array of helpful CRM features that facilitate better customer management. Additionally, Touch POS’ guest-facing functionality like gift card processing and loyalty program support play a vital role in incentivizing customers and luring them to come back.
Toast POS consolidates the data you need in one place, in real-time. This makes it easy to dig into performance metrics and gain insights that drive better decision making. The location overview provides instant reports of total guests, net sales, menu, and labor cost metrics per location.
Also, it lets you generate comparative reports to compare sales across different locations or periods. Moreover, the product mix report provides insights into the sale of a single menu item across different menus. With this report, you can identify the menu items, modifiers, or menu groups that are driving sales and make adjustments appropriately. Toast POS offers cloud-enabled reporting, so you can access all reports anytime, anywhere, and on any device.
With Vend basic reporting, you can generate sales reports that give an overview of the store performance. You can also drill down into customer data to know how much customers are spending and even identify the top-selling products. Besides, Vend’s advanced reporting allows you to delve into the nitty-gritty. For example, you can view exclusive sales reports to reveal the performance of product categories, suppliers, and collections. You can also drill down into the data further to unearth details about customers’ shopping behavior and the total discount you’ve given out.
Lastly, TouchBistro provides more than fifty detailed reports. The reports include total sales, payments and payment types, menu items, inventory tracking reports, and more. Moreover, TouchBistro automatically generates comprehensive end-of-the-day reports that give you the details of the day at a glance.
Verdict: Toast POS provides detailed team performance and productivity, sales performance, and product movement reports — all in real-time. However, the Vend and TouchBistro reporting modules aren’t far behind. In fact, Vend offers the best reporting for retail, and TouchBistro isn’t far behind Toast POS.
Accurate inventory management helps achieve productivity and efficiency in operations while maximizing sales and profits. Luckily, all three platforms perform this function seamlessly.
To start, Toast POS offers an integrated inventory management module that gathers real-time inventory data in one place. It enables you to visualize how your supply stock is affected by each order so that you can take appropriate actions. Besides, Toast POS generates reports on inventory variance and COGS, waste tracking, and inventory value. The reports help you analyze food cost percentages, know what and when to buy, and glance the value of goods on your shelves in real-time.
Meanwhile, Vend offers a feature-rich inventory management module built to help retail businesses manage operations effortlessly. It automates all manual tasks, allowing you to gain visibility into the current stock without having to regularly itemize the remaining stock by hand. Overall, the Vend inventory system improves efficiency enabling you to manage product pricing across channels and ensure your bestselling products are always in stock.
Lastly, TouchBistro provides a robust inventory management system for restaurants. Through this system, restaurant managers stay ahead of their stocks and keep shortages out of their businesses’ way. Better still, the menu engineer helps you determine the cost of each menu item in terms of raw ingredients. This way, you can increase items that drive profit and drop those that are underperforming. Most importantly, TouchBistro provides in-service alerts to keep staff informed of inventory levels.
Verdict: Picking the winner in this category is a close call because all the products exhibit powerful inventory management capabilities. However, the Toast POS inventory management system is a cut above the others simply because it provides fast access to real-time updates.
Toast POS relies on the Google Android operating system and uses Samsung tablets. The Toast Go™ works seamlessly with other devices such as printers, barcode scanners, and cash drawers in your restaurants. Besides, with Toast POS, you can use your existing hardware, but the vendor strongly recommends using Toast POS hardware for the best results. In the same sense, the vendor tries to be as flexible as possible, offering multiple POS bundles to suit the needs of different dining options.
Toast POS hardware is restaurant-grade and built to withstand the rigors of the restaurant environment. Most importantly, the software is entirely cloud-based. Meaning, you don’t need a local server to set up a multi-tablet system.
Vend’s Mac and PC hardware, meanwhile, is compatible with other POS standard hardware, including barcode scanners, cash drawers, and printers. Vend uses iPads instead of Samsung tablets. Besides, the platform works flawlessly on any device, provided the device has a web browser and has internet access. As a result, your desktop computer, iPad, or laptop could be enough to get the system up and running.
Lastly, TouchBistro is an iPad-based POS, so it utilizes the Apple hardware and operates on the iOS operating system. Unlike Toast POS, this system is locally installed, so you need a local server to set up a multi-iPad POS system. The nature of the TouchBistro setup means that the software doesn’t require an internet connection to function.
Verdict: Toast POS runs on an Android setup, which makes it cheaper than the others. Besides, Toast POS provides hardware bundles that suit the needs of food businesses of different sizes. The flexibility of the hardware bundles and lower costs Toast POS proves that it is one of the best POS solutions for small businesses.
The cost of POS software solutions can get quite high. If you want to get the most value for your money, you need to research how much you’ll have to pay for both software and hardware, as well as additional fees. To get you started, we have detailed the pricing plans for each of the top POS software.
To start, Toast POS offers a quote-based pricing model to satisfy the unique needs of each restaurant. With the starting Toast pricing bundles, you can get the software at $79/terminal/month. Meanwhile, if you also need hardware, they have a starter bundle that costs $499, which is inclusive of the installation fee.
In addition to the cost of installation, software, and hardware, the vendor charges payment processing fees at a flat rate. However, Toast POS allows you to customize your pricing package. So, you can include only the modules that you will need.
On the other hand, Vend offers three pricing plans. They have a Lite plan that starts at $99/month (billed annually), which is ideal for those who only require basic store management tools. They also offer a Pro plan at $129/month (billed annually) for multi-store retailers that need more advanced features. In addition, for larger businesses, Vend offers a quote-based Enterprise plan.
Lastly, TouchBistro offers flexible hardware/software bundles billed monthly based on the number of licenses. The bundles include Solo (single license) starting at $105/month, Dual (2 licenses) starting at $209/month, Team (up to 5 licenses) starting at $359/month, and Unlimited (6+ licenses) starting at $539/month.
Verdict: The flexibility of Toast POS’ pricing bundles means it can fit into the bills of restaurants of different sizes. On this account, Toast POS takes the accolade in the category.
From the comparison, it’s clear that Toast POS, Vend, and TouchBistro provide powerful POS tools for businesses in the retail and restaurant industries. As such, it can be a daunting task to pick the best POS solution on account of general POS features.
If you have yet to make the final decision, our experts’ choice can be a great solution to get you started. Our experts took a deep dive into the finer details of these solutions to reveal their inherent differences. After rigorous scrutiny, Toast POS emerged as the best software among the three for various reasons.
Firstly, the Toast POS cloud-based platform provides more advanced features, including online delivery management, online ordering, and loyalty program support. Secondly, the solution offers a wide array of CRM features and a gift functionality to incentivize customers.
Additionally, Toast POS collects data in real-time to create accurate and up-to-date reports. It also provides instant inventory alerts to keep you updated on the current stock levels. Better still, the solution exhibits superior hardware flexibility, thanks to its unique Android setup. As a result, you have more form factor choices, plus it’s cheaper to replace damaged or stolen hardware devices. You can read more about the pros and cons of Toast POS here to get in-depth details about the solution.
Above all, with Toast POS flexible pricing, you can customize your package, so you only pay for all the features you need. We highly recommend using Toast POS, especially if you are in the foodservice industry. If you want to get off on the right foot, you can easily sign up for Toast POS free demo here.
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