Are you looking for a reliable solution for running your restaurant business? While there are plenty of solutions available, it’s best to start narrowing down your choices from the top 3 restaurant management software systems.
Our team of experts did a thorough analysis of the most popular solutions available on the market and we’ve selected what we think are the best options available for you. These are:
We zero in on three solutions that continue to make their name in the restaurant management industry. Toast POS which had its roots as a startup in Boston is leading among the fast-growing restaurant tech startups. In fact, the company is now worth $1.4 billion according to the Boston Business Journal.
Meanwhile, as more restaurateurs are looking for software solutions to streamline their restaurant operations, other products are also paving their own path to popularity with its functionality. TouchBistro was introduced as “one of the most sophisticated POS systems on the planet” in a popular restaurant makeover show 24 Hours to Hell and Back.
Others are making their name by continuously improving and updating their offerings like Lavu’s recent introduction of new innovative solutions: Lavu 4.0, Lavu Special Edition (SE), Self-Ordering Restaurant Kiosk and Lavu To Go 2.0 as reported by Business Wire.
In the restaurant management software category, these three names are among the leading options. They are leveraging the latest software, and even hardware, technology for restaurants of any size and type to work with. To start, let’s get to know each product individually first.
Toast POS is a popular restaurant management system created for US-based businesses. Equipped with a point of sale functionality for restaurants, it centralizes your crucial restaurant operations in a single platform such as POS, a front of the house, back of the house, and guest-facing technology, among others. Additionally, it helps you oversee your store’s sales, food expenses, and labor costs in real-time whether you’re in the office or on the go.
If you want to learn more about the software and see if it matches your requirements, you can sign up for Toast POS free demo here. The vendor gives you a custom walkthrough that’s specifically catered to your restaurant’s unique needs.
This tool also offers a variety of creative ways for businesses to drive revenue. For instance, it integrates online ordering to give customers a convenient way of ordering. You can also create loyalty and gift card programs to build your customer relationship. For your in-store transactions, its handheld POS systems expedite order processing and enable your customers to pay, sign, and tip all at their table.
It suits a wide range of restaurant types from full-service restaurants to quick-service ones and everything in between as an industry-specific solution. Aside from its cloud-based solution, TouchBistro POS also offers a custom-built hardware system including a terminal, built-in card reader, receipt printer, port switch and cash drawer. This ensures you an end-to-end solution to your restaurant management needs.
If you prefer to use an iPad POS for your restaurant operations, TouchBistro is a good solution to consider. TouchBistro is built by restaurant people for restaurant people. As a tool developed with a restaurateur’s needs in mind, you get your hands on features that help you drive sales, improve the quality of your service, and enhance your decision-making process. At its core, this tool empowers you to take orders more efficiently through an iPad tableside that expedites turning tables.
It’s essential to test-drive the software beforehand to determine if its features work for you. You can sign up for TouchBistro free trial here to use the software at no cost according to your restaurant type whether it’s table service, counter service, table and counter service, or takeout only.
This tool supports your staff to work smarter. It keeps the back of your house organized with the Kitchen Display System while it manages your orders smoothly with coursing tools. Order management is easy to learn which shortens training time. Meanwhile, customers can confirm their orders independently with the Customer-Facing Display to reduce errors.
When making important decisions, you’ll be at ease by having access to useful information at the tip of your fingers. Using any POS station, you can check important reports anytime even when you’re offline. When you’re out of the restaurant, you can use any device to access data in real-time. This empowers you to make informed critical business decisions quickly.
Lavu is another robust restaurant management system for bars and restaurants that need a mobile POS. This solution offers mobility by taking tableside orders using an iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch or at a standing terminal. Not only does it simplify order-taking, but it also expedites the process by enabling you to add items to an order, remove items when an order changes, and forward tickets to the kitchen directly all at a press of a button.
Once the order process is completed, the app also takes care of customer payments. Customers can pay in any option they want—from cash to credit cards, chip cards, and contactless payments. They can also split bills, choose between electronic or handwritten signatures, and pick between emailed or printed receipts in the tableside.
As long as there’s internet connection, you can easily manage your restaurant from table layout to menu items. You can also monitor inventory levels and oversee your employees including scheduling shifts and setting job roles, among others. Furthermore, the tool also gives you full-range reports that are highly comprehensive and customizable that you can access anywhere, even in your mobile app.
How does Toast POS, TouchBistro, and Lavu compare to each other? We’ll take a look at the key features and functionality of a restaurant management software below.
Toast POS, TouchBistro, and Lavu help you take orders efficiently. All three can be used as a tablet for tableside orders or as a countertop terminal for countertop orders. You can access the entire application to process orders, forward instructions to the kitchen and handle your customer tabs and payments. The layout, menu, and orders are highly customizable. TouchBistro even lets you customize the tablet setup for your right- or left-handed staff for an easier navigation.
Customers can easily separate items and split the bills through all these systems. In this case, Toast POS offers a more intuitive approach through its easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface. Additionally, Toast POS and Lavu offers a robust online food ordering system if you want to boost your sales. This enables customers to order off your menu online to offer a modern food service and convenience. Both offer real-time menu updates to ensure accuracy and timeliness.
The three restaurant management solutions offer full menu customization. TouchBistro enables you to merchandise high-profit menus, highlight promotions and share detailed information about your servings’ nutritional information and ingredients.
Lavu shows forced and optional modifiers so your staff won’t forget to ask the right questions accordingly. For instance, when a customer orders a steak, the staff will get a prompt to ask the customer how he or she wants it to be cooked.
As for Toast POS, complete menu customization is available with a quick edit mode, 86 countdown, and happy hour menu items, among others. Their installation process also includes their menu specialists to set up your entire menu.
Toast POS, TouchBistro, and Lavu offer robust payment processing methods to streamline taking payments. The three enables you to split bills with cash, credit card, and check and gift cards. However, there are differences in the offerings of these three products.
Toast POS offers integrations for mobile payments for LevelUp, SpeedETab, Rooam, and Samsung Pay. It has a dedicated custom-built credit card processing solution included in its package. This requires you to use Toast POS’ payment processor if you use its POS solution. It works with MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express online and offline with a competitive flat rate on all transactions.
Lavu offers integrations with 9 payment providers: BridgePay Network Solutions, Evo Snap, Heartland, Moneris, PayPal, Sacoa Debit Card System, Square and Vantiv Integrated Payments. Lavu Integrated Payments also cover contactless payment in addition to credit and debit cards.
TouchBistro, meanwhile, integrates with 11 payment processors: Square, PayPal, iZettle, Tyro Payments, RBC Caribbean, Premier Payments, Vantiv and Vantiv triPOS, Chase Merchant Services, Moneris, and Cayan. You can only choose one payment processor while you can offer multiple digital wallets from OpenTable Payments, Loyalty (ReUp) and SmoothPay.
With inventory as a critical part of your back-of-the-house operations, Toast POS, TouchBistro and Lavu offer inventory management features in their offerings. For instance, TouchBistro lets you track recipes menu items, analyze your menu profitability and determine ingredient-level food costs. Like TouchBistro, Lavu also gives you real-time inventory updates, connects your menu and inventory and streamline vendor relationships.
Toast POS offers a more robust inventory management solution. It’s packed with features such as recipe costing tool, food cost calculator, inventory variance report, shelf-to-sheet inventory tracking and menu engineering chart, among others. However, unlike TouchBistro and Lavu including inventory management in their base packages, Toast POS offers its advanced inventory solution at an additional cost.
Toast POS, TouchBistro and Lavu let you manage your employees and customers with ease. They cover from basic to advanced features according to your needs. In managing employees, the three products offers user-based permissions, tracking of employee logging in and out of shifts, run performance reports. Also, Lavu tracks hours by employees and employee class with labor summaries. Meanwhile, Toast POS takes a step further by customizing different roles and permissions for individual staff for more control.
The three offers a CRM system that personalizes your customer experience. In fact, TouchBistro has TouchBistro Loyalty for loyal customers to earn and redeem points whenever they purchase from your restaurant through a custom-branded mobile app. Lavu has an iPhone app called Lavu Pilot that you can use for monitoring basic POS data and accessing customer sales and reports. Toast POS lets you drill down customer data based on average check size, frequently ordered items and days since they last visited. Like TouchBistro, it has a loyalty program and even offers a print and digital card service for a more advanced offering.
All three products are easy to use and have a short learning curve so your staff won’t have to spend too much time in training and learning how to use the system. These products are cloud-based with the option of setting up a local server so your system continues its operation even during an internet connection downtime.
Meanwhile, there’s a difference between the products’ operating systems. Both TouchBistro and Lavu run on iOS devices such as iPad, iPad Mini, and iPhone. For the local server option, Lavu requires you to have a dedicated Mac Mini installed at your location. For TouchBistro, especially if you have more than one iPad terminal, a local server housed on Apple Mac Mini, iMac, or MacBook Pro is needed.
Unlike TouchBistro and Lavu, Toast POS is designed to work with Android devices. This gives more options to explore in your tablet devices and benefit of less expensive peripherals. The local network and caching on your connected devices ensure you can still use the system offline.
Toast POS, TouchBistro, and Lavu are all priced per terminal. Their pricing all starts at an SMB-friendly priced point. While at a glance Toast POS looks the most expensive, taking a deeper look at its inclusions shows an advanced set of features that can give you a good overall value for your investment.
Like the many similarities of TouchBistro and Lavu, their base plan starts at $69/month billed annually for a single license and terminal, respectively. This already includes all features of the software such as inventory, real-time sales, and labor reporting. TouchBistro has an edge for offering unlimited users, a hybrid networking support, and free product updates. Both already includes 24/7 customer support as well. The price of the subscription decreases as you add more terminals.
Toast POS is a bit more expensive at first look. The software starts at $79 per terminal while remote installation starts at $499. Features such as online ordering, inventory management, gift card and loyalty program are available as add-ons. However, Toast POS’ features are more advanced making it a good value for your investment.
Toast POS, TouchBistro, and Lavu are included in the top 3 restaurant management software solutions due to their overall features, functionality, and value for money. These products deliver an effective industry-specific solution to its users in managing their restaurants.
For iOS users, you have the choice between Lavu and TouchBistro. The two offers various similarities in terms of features, functionality, and pricing. To choose between the two, it’s important to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your business needs. For instance, you have to consider which payment processing provider you’re using as both offer different integrations. For instance, TouchBistro has various options for digital wallets.
For users using Android devices and located in the US, Toast POS is the only software that supports this operating system among the choices. Furthermore, it offers a great value for investment with its advanced set of features that set it apart from others. This is a good option for users looking to grow their business with efficiency and efficacy, especially if you prioritize inventory, customer, and employee management.
If you want to explore more options, you may also check out the list of 20 best POS systems for restaurants. The tools mentioned in the list are equipped with features for an end-to-end restaurant management solution.
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