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Top 3 Restaurant Management Software: Comparison of Toast POS, TouchBistro, and Upserve

Category: B2B News
What is the best restaurant management software?
The best restaurant management software is Toast POS. Toast POS offers robust inventory control capabilities and flexible, secure payment processing, along with powerful features for staff management. The software also makes multi-location management easier by organizing multiple restaurants’ data from a single platform.

With all the different software you have to update every day, you spend more time in the back office when you’d rather be in the kitchen or out on the floor or planning your next business move. All it takes to change that is investing in the right all-in-one restaurant management software.

Our top 3 restaurant management software—Toast POS, TouchBistro, and Upserve—centralize back-office and back-of-house processes from a single platform. This way, you can focus on developing the best menu and delivering excellent customer service.

But which among Toast POS, TouchBistro, and Upserve is the best choice for your restaurant? This article will compare the most important features of these three leading restaurant management software to help you make that decision.

best restaurant management software apps

Top 3 Restaurant Management Software Table of Contents

The use of restaurant technology continues to increase every day, with research saying that 80% of restaurants use technology for smoother, more efficient operations. Restaurant tech not only helps with back-office processes like payroll and labor but also supports front-of-house functions.

Most Important Technologies in Restaurants

Most Important Technologies in Restaurants
Point of Sale System: 84

Point of Sale System

%
Most Important Technologies in Restaurants
Credit Card Processor: 78

Credit Card Processor

%
Most Important Technologies in Restaurants
Accounting Software: 52

Accounting Software

%
Most Important Technologies in Restaurants
Business Intelligence/Reporting and Analytics Software: 50

Business Intelligence/Reporting and Analytics Software

%
Most Important Technologies in Restaurants
Inventory Management Software: 45

Inventory Management Software

%

Source: Toast POS

Designed by

Though restaurateurs use an average of three technology vendors for their operations, many have expressed the desire to use an all-in-one restaurant management software. Our top 3 restaurant management software can provide just that. By offering essential restaurant technology functions, any of these three apps can help restaurateurs save time and money. Let’s find out more about our top restaurant management software picks.

Toast POS Overview

Toast POS dashboard

Toast POS helps restaurateurs organize their business by combining POS functions, reporting, CRM, employee management, and inventory management tools into a single platform. By providing all these functions, Toast POS allows for improved visibility and seamless control of your restaurant’s operations.

The platform is designed to support almost every process in your restaurant. Toast POS offers features for menu engineering, order tracking, managing inventory, and scheduling employees, so everything you need to manage your restaurant is in one place. The platform also comes with features for creating gift cards and loyalty programs to support CRM for your restaurant.

Should you want to investigate the platform firsthand, you can easily do so when you sign up for Toast POS free demo here.

Toast POS

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Try out Toast POS with their free demo

Moreover, Toast POS makes multiple location management a breeze. The platform can sync data across multiple restaurant locations, reducing the need for manual updates of separate systems. The software also gives you the option to create tailored menus, implement specific pricing, and set kitchen workflows for each location.

To improve business visibility, the platform offers an Android app. Using the app, you can check sales, menus, and employee schedules whenever you want. Robust analytics and reporting capabilities provide insights into your restaurant’s performance and your customers. This helps boost marketing strategies and revenue.

Key features of Toast POS:

  • Toast POS centralizes various back-office and guest-facing processes in a single platform.
  • The solution eases multi-location management and lets you tailor menus and pricing to a specific location.
  • Additionally, Toast POS has robust reporting capabilities to give you insights on your restaurant’s performance.

TouchBistro Overview

TouchBistro Dashboard

Created by restaurant service professionals, TouchBistro integrates customer-facing and back-office functions in one easy-to-use platform. The software’s main advantage is that it has an intuitive interface for easier management of food establishments of all sizes. Additionally, the user-friendly interface also reduces the need for extensive staff training.

Built for use with iPads, TouchBistro can help you increase sales by speeding up table turnover rates and helping your staff maximize upselling opportunities. The platform’s built-in coursing tools ensure that your kitchen remains organized and efficient. Plus, staff management features allow you to easily monitor employee activity and administer payroll with minimum effort.

The vendor offers a comprehensive free trial to get you up to speed with the features. You can sign up for TouchBistro free trial here.

Aside from these capabilities, TouchBistro also offers a wide variety of security and permission controls. These security features ensure reliable protection for your restaurant and its profits. Should you run into problems with the platform, TouchBistro offers 24/7 support, even on holidays.

Thanks to its user-friendly interface and robust capabilities, TouchBistro is the restaurant management software of choice for over 16,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries all over the world.

Key features of TouchBistro:

  • TouchBistro offers an intuitive iPad-based user interface.
  • The platform can help increase sales by boosting table turnover rates.
  • TouchBistro also provides comprehensive security controls for your restaurant and its profits.

Upserve Overview

Upserve dashboard

Upserve is a full-featured restaurant management suite that can help restaurateurs streamline their business operations and boost overall efficiency. The platform covers an extensive range of functions, including order management, inventory tracking, employee management, POS, and reporting and analytics.

One of Upserve’s strengths lies in its ability to provide data-driven insights to help boost your restaurant’s performance. A Daily Digest feature gives you a quick overview of the previous day’s numbers right in your inbox. You’ll also get qualitative insights from your staff, so you get more context behind the numbers you get.

The vendor has an appealing free trial where you can tinker with the features at no cost. You can sign up for Upserve free demo here.

Aside from these features, Upserve also comes with built-in capabilities for menu management, inventory tracking, online and tableside ordering, and payment processing. Additionally, Upserve’s Workforce module reduces the hassles of creating schedules and assigning shifts while helping you optimize labor costs.

All these features can be customized according to the food establishment you have, whether it’s a full-service restaurant, a bar, a brewery, or a pizzeria.

Key features of Upserve:

  • Upserve sends a Daily Digest to your email so you can quickly review your restaurant’s daily performance.
  • The software’s Workforce module helps you optimize labor costs.
  • Upserve allows you to customize settings to specific food establishments.

Comparison of Top 3 Restaurant Management Software

Inventory Control

The best restaurant POS systems like Toast POS, TouchBistro, and Upserve have powerful capabilities for inventory management.

For instance, Toast POS comes with a built-in inventory tool that helps you keep better track of inventory by mapping inventory count to your actual kitchen shelves. The system also tracks wasted ingredients to help you avoid over-portioning and over-buying of stocks. In addition to these features, the inventory tool highlights low-performing ingredients so you can build menu items around these and improve their profitability.

On the other hand, TouchBistro lets you create a limitless number of ingredients and add details such as unit measure, retail price, and wholesale cost. You’ll get inventory countdown warning prompts for low-stock items, and servers will get notifications for out-of-stock menu items as well. Additionally, TouchBistro’s real-time inventory tracking will ensure that you avoid over-buying of stocks.

Meanwhile, Upserve comes with a barcode scanner that makes it easier to add items to your inventory and count stocks when needed. The system adjusts inventory levels as each menu item is sold, so you can be sure that your data is updated. Another convenient feature is that Upserve centralizes management for suppliers and inventory tracking for multi-location restaurants.

One feature that these three systems have in common is that they offer inventory reporting features. Through these reports, you can get a better understanding of your inventory levels and optimize your procurement and ordering strategies.

Verdict: While the top 3 restaurant management software each have their strengths in inventory management, Toast POS has a slight advantage over TouchBistro and Upserve. The system’s ability to map inventory to your actual kitchen setup can come in handy for inventory reconciliation.

Toast POS third-party integrations

Toast POS can be integrated with third-party software to help you keep better track of inventory.

Order Management

Our top 3 restaurant management software solutions offer similar features for tableside order management. The systems seamlessly work with handheld devices for tableside ordering, allowing servers to efficiently take orders from anywhere in the restaurant.

However, these apps have different capabilities when it comes to online ordering and self-service kiosks. For instance, Toast POS and Upserve offer built-in capabilities in handling online orders. Having a restaurant management system that has built-in features for online ordering can make your restaurant more profitable, especially since online delivery is projected to grow to $200 billion by 2025.

Toast POS and TouchBistro offer more sales channels through self-service kiosks. These kiosks not only provide an enhanced customer experience but also improve your staff’s productivity. Moreover, self-service kiosks can help boost sales through built-in upsell prompts, which can increase average check size. Toast POS’ self-service kiosk also comes with a scanner that customers can use to add grab ‘n go items to their orders.

Furthermore, these ordering systems seamlessly integrate with kitchen display systems (KDS). This integration automatically routes orders from handheld POS devices, online ordering systems, and self-service kiosks to the kitchen via KDS hardware. This ensures clear communication between the kitchen and front-of-house staff.

Aside from ensuring prompt order preparation, KDS hardware offers advanced features like notification alerts, productivity reporting, and color coding for improved ticket organization.

Verdict: If you’re looking for a restaurant management system that can accommodate more sales channels, Toast POS is the clear winner. This restaurant management system can be used for tableside and online ordering, plus it comes with a self-service kiosk that’s fully integrated into its system.

Upserve tableside orders

Upserve makes it easy for servers to take tableside orders.

As the top 3 restaurant management software today, Toast POS, TouchBistro, and Upserve all offer capabilities that make it easier for restaurateurs to manage their ever-evolving menus.

These restaurant management solutions have similar features that you can use for keeping track of menu items and editing the menu when needed. For instance, Toast POS displays real-time menu item countdowns not just on your dashboard but also on devices connected to the system. This way, your servers can let guests know of unavailable menu items. Toast POS also ensures that your in-house and online menus are always synced.

TouchBistro, on the other hand, has some additional features for helping your staff master your menus. The software also allows you to manage non-food items alongside menu items.

Upserve provides similar capabilities as Toast POS and TouchBistro, with the addition of reports that are specific to menu performance. On the Upserve dashboard, the system can organize menu items into categories such as “Greatest Hits,” “Underperformers,” and “Hidden Gems.” The system can also provide insights into the connections between server and menu performance.

Verdict: While Toast POS and TouchBistro have powerful features for menu management, Upserve’s menu intelligence capabilities give the system an edge. The tool’s capabilities for menu analytics can help you create the perfect menu to boost your bottom line.

Upserve menu analytics

Upserve comes with powerful menu analytics.

Payment Processing

Payment processing is another area where there are few differences between Toast POS, TouchBistro, and Upserve. As POS software, these restaurant management systems allow you to quickly and securely process payments from customers. Toast POS and TouchBistro even enable offline payment processing so that you can accept credit cards even without an Internet connection.

Likewise, these leading restaurant management software solutions also have built-in features for creating tabs, splitting bills, and taking multiple forms of payment for a single bill. However, unlike TouchBistro, Toast POS and Upserve offer hardware that’s equipped with EMV credit card readers. These EMV card readers can protect your business from fraudulent charges and help you avoid liability for chargebacks.

More importantly, these solutions offer competitive rates for your transactions and don’t have any hidden fees so that you can control costs. Toast POS can also give you custom-built rates depending on the payment gateways you plan to accept.

Verdict: Toast POS is the best choice when it comes to payment processing features. Aside from being able to work with mobile payment systems and EMV cards, the platform can also give you custom rates for transaction processing.

TouchBistro payments

TouchBistro lets you accept payments through various methods.

Employee Management

With experts predicting that restaurants will generate up to 16.9 million jobs by 2029, proper staff management becomes even more crucial for restaurant owners. Toast POS, TouchBistro, and Upserve offer plenty of features for managing staffs of all sizes.

These restaurant management systems have robust capabilities for employee scheduling, helping you avoid staffing errors that can leave your front-of-house staff short-handed.

For instance, Upserve provides a streamlined calendar view for creating and assigning shifts. Moreover, Upserve lets you announce shifts through text or email.

With these restaurant management systems, employees can easily clock in and out so the system can track their working hours, including overtime. The data is directly synced to payroll functions to reduce manual errors. These advanced systems can also automatically calculate wages according to staff type. All these features eliminate the need to use separate payroll software.

Toast POS also comes with more advanced payroll features, including an integrated dashboard for managing staff across multiple locations. Additionally, the software offers built-in system tools for ensuring compliance with state and federal labor requirements.

Verdict: Toast POS comes out on top again with its robust features for streamlining staff management for multiple locations and built-in tools for compliance with labor requirements.

Upserve user roles

Upserve lets you set user roles and access levels for your employees.

CRM Features

Customer relationship management (CRM) is crucial to restaurants. This is why Toast POS, TouchBistro, and Upserve all come with a built-in CRM tool: the customer loyalty program.

These leading restaurant management systems make it easier for you to launch a loyalty program, but they have different methods in place. For instance, Toast POS and Upserve allow you to link your restaurant’s loyalty program to customers’ credit cards. This way, your customers won’t have to use a separate loyalty card to collect points. You’ll also be able to make customized offers to make your loyalty program more appealing to customers.

In addition to loyalty programs, these restaurant management platforms also allow you to create a gift card program. Through this program, you can offer customers digital or physical gift cards that are customized according to your restaurant’s brand.

Moreover, TouchBistro’s POS system offers some additional features that will help improve CRM for your restaurant. Through TouchBistro, you can create customer accounts where you can keep notes on customer preferences. These accounts also allow customers to make advance payments.

Verdict: For its extra CRM features like customer accounts and advance payments, TouchBistro outmatches Toast POS and Upserve in CRM.

TouchBistro CRM customer accounts

TouchBistro lets you create customer accounts, where you can add notes about the customer.

Hardware Requirements

These restaurant management systems are designed to be compatible with a wide variety of devices. More specifically, Toast POS and Upserve both offer compatibility with iOS and Android, while TouchBistro can be used only with iOS devices. Toast POS can also be used with devices on the Windows platform.

Additionally, Toast POS and Upserve are completely cloud-hosted, so every bit of information on your restaurant’s operations is always accessible. Meanwhile, a multi-iPad set up with TouchBistro requires the use of an Apple Mac Mini or iMac with PCIe-based flash storage to function as a data server.

Verdict: Based on the number of operating systems supported, Toast POS wins this round with its support for Windows, Android, and iOS devices.

Upserve on any iOS device

Upserve can be used on iOS devices like the iPad.

Pricing

Restaurant management programs usually offer pricing plans on a per-terminal basis. Toast POS costs $79 per terminal. The cost goes up as you purchase add-ons and integrations to extend the software’s capabilities.

On the other hand, TouchBistro and Upserve offer their own pricing plans with varying features and number of licenses. TouchBistro’s base plan for 1 license starts at $69 per month, with prices going up to $399 per month for the Unlimited plan (more than 6 licenses).

Meanwhile, Upserve offers three subscription plans: Core ($59), Pro ($199), and Pro Plus ($359). Each subscription plan comes with additional costs per terminal for Upserve POS software.

Verdict: Toast POS may appear to be more expensive, but the price is worth the extensive selection of features you’ll get with the software. The platform’s straightforward pricing plan also makes cost planning easier.

Save Time with the Right Restaurant Management Software

Running a restaurant is difficult enough without dealing with different types of software to keep every process running smoothly. Our top 3 restaurant management software combine the essential functions of restaurant technology into one easy-to-use platform. This way, you can spend less time behind the desk and focus on perfecting your menu and providing the best customer service.

Aside from cutting down time spent on administrative processes, Toast POS, TouchBistro, and Upserve can support inventory control, menu management, and CRM. By adding automation to these processes, you can avoid the costs and hassle caused by manual errors. As restaurant trends predict the deeper involvement of technology in the industry, restaurant management software is a good place to start in modernizing your business.

Toast POS edges out the competition for top restaurant management software because of the platform’s powerful capabilities. The software is particularly useful in multi-location restaurant and staff management, EMV payment processing, and flexible compatibility with hardware.

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 Toast POS free demo here.

By Nestor Gilbert

Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.

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