Top 3 Most Popular POS Software Solutions: Comparison of Toast, TouchBistro and Square

Toast: No. 1 POS Solution


Generating sales to drive revenue has to be addressed, first and foremost, by the actual processes that make a sales transaction happen before delving into other operations. This can be achieved by choosing the right POS software to deploy.

To streamline your search among the many solutions available today, you may take a look at the top 3 most popular POS systems in the niche. These POS software products are equipped with unparalleled tools and solutions for conducting sales.

What are the top 3 most popular POS systems?

POS systems provide you with hard data that helps you spot issues in sales processes, identify areas to increase revenues, and develop future sales strategies. The absence of data-driven processes accounted for 46% of business failures of startups in the U.S. due to the incompetence of emotional pricing and no knowledge of pricing, among others as per Statistic Brain. However, businesses are quickly catching up with the realization of how a POS solution can elevate their bottom line. According to Groovv, 57% of restaurant businesses would like to use POS systems to increase their customer’s brand loyalty. Meanwhile, 56% are planning to use it in order to offer mobile wallet payment services. Both of these can be achieved with the features of a good POS system.

This article focuses on comparing the top three players in the POS field today. These include matching up their core POS features, reporting, customer management and inventory management. If you want to learn first the fundamentals of POS you may read this in-depth article on what is POS software and what its key features and benefits are, among others.

The highly-desired features of POS systems.

Without further ado, let’s proceed to the 3 most popular POS systems and their comparisons:

Introduction to Toast POS

toast dashboard example

Toast POS leads our top 3 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. If you want to explore its features you can easily sign up for a Toast POS free demo here.

Its hardware restaurant POS system is built to keep up with your restaurant’s fast-paced environment and you are assured 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 simplifies and empowers the way you run your business.

An award given to products our B2B experts find especially valuable for companies
Toast POS won our Expert's Choice Award for 2018

Another factor that makes Toast unique from others is it’s more versatile. While other systems are solely iOS-based, the software supports Android devices. This makes it accessible to more users with preference to either operating system.

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 a guest database, checkout experience, reporting and CRM, online ordering (including takeout and delivery), integrations, and loyalty programs.

Toast suits various restaurant types in various scales. It’s equipped with a full-service restaurant POS 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 within the United States.

Introduction to TouchBistro

touchbistro dashboard example

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 system 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.

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.

Introduction to Square

square dashboard example

At the third spot of our top 3 most popular POS solutions is Square. While it’s not as robust as the first two systems, Square made it to the list because it packs the necessary features for point-of-sale for free. There are no monthly costs for the app which can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play. It only charges low fees per transaction or swipe, dip, and tap.

Square POS is designed to run on-the-go, on your counter, on your smartphone, or on your tablet. It’s built for small coffee shops and corner bakeries, and it even caters to retail businesses. However, it’s not a suitable choice for high-volume transactions. But if you have a micro-business or small business with a lower volume of transactions, then this system is good for you.

The app has a flat fee structure for all merchants which make it easy for bookkeepers to reconcile transactions at the end of the day. Meanwhile, a custom pricing is available upon request for businesses that pull in over $250,000 in a year. Square already handles digital receipts, sales reports, inventories, analytics, and feedbacks for a robust POS solution that works with your hardware and software accessories.

Comparison of Point of Sale Features

At its core, Toast is, without a doubt, a top-notch POS solution in its niche. It 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 house is in-sync using its 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.

Meanwhile, TouchBistro is also a 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.

As for Square, it lives up to its reputation of being built for simplicity. Even when it comes to categorizing items, customizing grids, and showcasing popular items, it can all be done with a simple drag-and-drop method. Receipts may be printed or digital (via email or SMS) depending on the customer’s preference. Payments are collected in various ways. Furthermore, your customers can choose when to pay as the tabs are kept open. Splitting tabs is also streamlined for your customers in groups.

Comparison of Reporting and Analytics

What really sets a POS system from manual processes is its analytics and reporting capabilities. Counting handwritten checks and inventories won’t give you an in-depth insight of your revenue drivers. Hence, adopting this solution helps owners manage their business more effectively.

Toast, also leading in this feature, 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 gives 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 up is TouchBistro which offers data access anywhere on its new app on iOS and Android 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.

Square also has detailed reports of your employees, locations, and items that are downloadable for bookkeeping. It also provides you customer insights including information such as how much they spend and how frequently they return. The real-time data can be viewed on your Square account or free Dashboard app for iOS devices to know which items sell best, the time when funds are deposited, and a good view of your bottom line.

Comparison of Customer Management

Customers are the heart of your business, especially your regulars. Having a customer database lets you store and keep their contact information and purchase histories. This is an important feature of a POS system as it can be used for loyalty programs, rewards, discounts and promotions to proactively increase your high-quality customers.

This is an area where Toast really shines. The 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.

Understanding your customer’s preferences using 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.

When it comes to creating customer profiles, Square isn’t left behind. Through Customer Engagement, you can see your customer’s contact information, sales history and spending habits in your store. Like Toast, it has in-store and online gift cards for sale for boosting sales and inviting new customers. Additionally, it lets your customers’ voice be heard through collecting feedback and communication.

Comparison of Inventory Management

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 a successful management of 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, Square also has an inventory management solution that can be accessed anywhere. It updates the quantities in the inventory in bulk and lets you download reports on current inventories. Additionally, you’ll receive a daily stock email alert on items that are running low or out of stock.

Final Verdict

From our experts’ careful evaluation, we list Toast POS as the leader because of its overall unparalleled solutions. It’s heavily packed with all the necessary tools to manage your sales transactions effectively and takes a further step in providing more features to leverage each process. Closely coming next is TouchBistro which has already proved its name in the market as a reliable POS solution. Both are specifically geared towards restaurants.

Meanwhile, even though Square isn’t as powerful as the two as it can only handle transactions in low volumes, it’s still generously featured—for free. In addition to restaurants, it also provides solutions for other industries such as retail, apparel, and salons, among others.

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 with Toast you can easily sign up for a Toast POS free demo here.

Category: B2B News

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