Reading about restaurants over the past few years has felt like the street preacher waving his “The End is Near” sign in everyone’s face. But—won’t you know it—an industry predicated on long workdays, heated (literally) working conditions, and unpredictable clientele is resilient as hell. Sure enough, restaurants are bouncing back post-pandemic, and one of the leading causes: innovations, like Slam personal favorite, Toast POS.
More than a quarter of all restaurants are adapting—and thriving—in our current climate, implementing QR code menus, contactless delivery, and point-of-sale (POS) systems to reach and accommodate their customers. Of course, with innovation comes dizzying amounts of choices, so we’re here to cover all the ins-and-outs of our preferred POS system, Toast POS, that can land you 5-star ratings all over the web.
We here at Slam are dedicated to boosting restaurants to new heights through slam dunk restaurant website design. As an award-winning restaurant marketing agency, we’ve worked tirelessly cooking up resources, templates, guides, and tips geared toward improving your workflows, reaching more customers, and providing cutting-edge website UX to your visitors.
We’ve explored the art of designing a restaurant website, SEO’s impact on restaurant websites, and Toast website design, so today we’re sharing another crucial aspect of successful restaurant web design: choosing the right point-of-sale system. We’ll compare our favorite POS, Toast, with other worthy contenders, as we cover all the POS bases, such as:
- Why Toast is the preferred POS of Slam Media Lab
- What other restaurant POS platforms like Square offer that Toast doesn’t
- How and where Toast outranks other restaurant POS
- What Slam provides for your restaurant website design
Join us in our research, and discover the right POS system to boost your customer base and give them the dining experience they deserve.
Slam Media Lab’s Preferred POS: Toast
With all the valid POS options out there, why do we prefer Toast? Let’s take a look.
Toast, G2’s #1 ranked POS system, actually offers more than point-of-sale: it’s an entire restaurant management system that also provides point-of-sale system capabilities, enhancing restaurants’ operations, boosting your sales, and providing an all-around great customer experience.
Where Toast really shines for restaurant management is with their tools—both hardware and software—that seamlessly integrate its POS system with your restaurant's website. These tools and resources include:
- Online Ordering
- Application Programming Interface
- Third-party Integration
- Hardware, such as Toast Go and Self-ordering Kiosks
- Toast Webhooks
Let’s dive a little deeper into what puts Toast at the top of the POS game.
Toast POS Optimizes Online Ordering
Online ordering is an absolute must in today’s service economy, with over 60% of diners expected to increase the online restaurant orders over the next year. Having a built-in tool through Toast that allows you to customize your online ordering page will not only please your diners, it will keep you at the front of upcoming trends in restaurant ecommerce. With Toast Online Ordering, customers have the options of:
- browsing and interacting more easily with your menu
- customizing their orders without missing an ingredient
- paying you directly through your website
Toast POS Offers a Comprehensive API
Toast’s application programming interface, or API, enables the more tech savvy users to build custom integrations between Toast POS and your website. Access and manipulate data from your Toast POS including menu items, orders, and customer information. Streamline everything from back-of-house operations to contactless ordering through Toast’s API Program.
Ready to kickstart your restaurant website build? Purchase our restaurant website template today!
Third-party Integrations Made Easy With Toast POS
A comprehensive API would only be half-appealing if it only offered good service but lackluster integrations. Don’t worry, Toast isn’t slacking. In fact, we did a deep dive into all the Toast POS integrations that elevate your restaurant website, including:
- Delivery Management Integrations, such as Postmates and Dispatch
- Loyalty Program Integrations, like Paytronix, LoyalTree, and Punchh
- Inventory Management Integrations, including BlueCart and BevSpot
- Accounting Software Integrations, such as Quickbooks
- CRM Integrations, like Mailchimp, HubSpot, and Constant Contact
Toast also offers integrations with unique third-party software and services, like eco-friendly programs such as DeliverZero and MarketMan. These integrations can open new revenue paths, manage all of your online orders in one place, and streamline your operations (even with a little help from AI).
Toast POS Knows Its Hardware
Some POS systems start and stop at the software, providing enough cloud-based operations to get you started, but leaving you to your own devices (😉) for hardware. Toast doesn’t just offer the software to get your POS on point (okay, no more puns), it provides the hardware to make your job easy (last one, we promise).
Are your servers getting their steps in before the lunch rush even hits? Toast Go 2 is your new best friend. Does your kitchen resemble a pyrotechnics show? Toast Flex for Kitchen can handle the heat (can’t stop, won’t stop). Match the best-in-the-biz POS software with optimized hardware like:
- Toast Go 2: Handheld ordering, with 2x longer battery life than iPads, IP54-rated spill and dust resistance, and contactless payment options
- Toast Flex: POS hardware adaptable to all styles of restaurant, with Toast Tap contactless payment, IP54-rated spill and water resistance, and 2x the RAM of regular tablets
- Toast Flex for Kitchen: Touchscreen displays to connect front to back-of-house operations, with screens built to withstand higher temperature, and wall or counter mount options
- Toast Flex for Guest: Guest-facing touchscreen displays checkout, attachable to all Toast Flex devices
- Toast Tap: On-counter or device attachment contactless payment, supporting Apple Pay, digital wallets, and more
Further streamline your restaurant’s operations with Toast POS and Toast Webhooks. Webhooks allow you to receive real-time notifications when webhook events occur in your Toast POS system. You can use these notifications to trigger actions on your website, such as updating order status or sending automated emails to customers.
Test Drive Toast POS With Slam Media Lab
Top-of-the-line hardware, convenient webhooks, optimized online ordering, comprehensive API, and game-changing third-party integrations aside—why does Slam really choose Toast as their go-to POS solution for restaurant websites? Easy: it makes for damn good web design.
When hungry web surfers are googling their lunch or dinner spots for the day, they’re typically doing so through local SEO. This means restaurant websites optimized for search engines are going to show up at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). How does Toast’s online POS system help make sure your restaurant is one of those top hits? A few ways, really, including:
- User Experience (UX) influences SEO. Maybe not directly, but positive UX translates to good reviews and word of mouth, meaning more searchers will visit your website, increasing hits and conversions, and digitally spreading the word about your restaurant.
- Dwell Time shows your website is legit. Navigable and easy-to-use online ordering will likely have users not just returning to your website, but spending more time (known as “Dwell Time”) exploring your design and options, proving to search engines that your site is a worthwhile search result.
- Online presence showcases your in-store experience. One goal of a restaurant website is to convert to in-store traffic, of course; if your online store through Toast POS is bringing in the orders, it showcases your UX-oriented in-store atmosphere, and vice versa.
We here at Slam swear by Toast POS so much that we offer FREE 30-minute sessions for Toast customers ready to design their next award-winning website. Book time with our marketing experts below:
Maybe we’ve sold you on Toast POS already (we’ve sold ourselves all over again). Maybe you need a little more convincing. So, rather than take only our word, let’s see how Toast stacks up against another major POS contender, Square.
Best in Show: Toast POS vs. Square
If you’ve used any POS software in a small business or restaurant lately, there’s a good chance it was Square. With almost 45% of the POS system market share, Square has become a sales management solution for millions of companies large and small, with major names like Tumblr and TaskRabbit among them. So, why don’t we integrate Square POS into our website builds? Good question. Let’s take a closer look at Square to find the answer.
What is Square?
Square started out as a simple mobile-payment platform in 2009, founded by a pair of unknown up-and-comers in the tech industry…no, wait, we mean billionaires. Jim McKelvey and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey saw the potential in POS systems, investing in Square to be the future of business management and transaction processing. (Editor note: Square, Inc. rebranded in 2021 as Block, with the Square POS still operating under the Block flagship, along with Cash App, Spiral, Tidal, and TBD.
Since its inception as a mobile-payment system, Square evolved into full-scale commerce and ecommerce operations, allowing anyone from small businesses to food trucks to use their software to increase revenue and streamline transactions.
We don’t have to tell you that Square has been a huge success in POS systems; that small swipe-payment block attached to cell phones everywhere is proof enough. Still, Square does lay claim to some truly impressive feats for POS systems, including:
- The first company to own both a food delivery business and POS system at the same time
- A 2,844% stock price growth in first six years of going public
- Nearly $2 billion revenue from Bitcoin transactions in a single quarter
- A board of directors featuring fellow up-and-comer (billionaire) Jay-Z
Hard to argue with those stats. But, before you run off and join the Block/Square faithful, we have a hot take to defend: Toast is better. Are we crazy? Only sometimes.
Let’s take a look at how Toast stacks up to Square, and you decide.
What Features Do Toast and Square Share?
First, we’ll take a look at where these two POS systems align. While there are key differences in their functionality, Toast and Square share a ton of great features. These include:
- Top-notch hardware selection: You can’t go wrong with either Toast or Square for hardware; both offer a variety of useful devices and setups, including small attachments to kiosks and printers.
- Free entry-level version: If you’re a larger or growing company, the free version might not be for you, but, if you’re looking for a trial run of new POS systems, Square and Toast enable you to give each a go, free of charge.
- Laundry list of third-party integrations: Each POS system offers robust third-party integrations, allowing you to tailor your POS experience to your business’s needs.
Where Does Square Prevail Over Toast?
Like we said, choosing between Toast and Square might be the most difficult decision in our head-to-head of POS systems. Square offers some appealing features that Toast currently doesn’t, such as:
- Pay-as-you-go service: Square allows its users to start and stop the POS service when they need to, whereas Toast requires a contract that may incur penalties if discontinued early.
- More versatile POS system: Simply put, Toast is solely geared towards restaurants, whereas Square provides POS systems that integrate with other businesses across the retail and service industries.
How Does Toast POS Outpace Square?
Square may improve on Toast’s POS system when it comes to adaptability between types of businesses, but there's a clear tradeoff when trying to be all things to all users. Since Toast specializes in restaurants, it has the edge in more features and capabilities, including:
- Toast Hardware is built to withstand the demand of restaurant work. Restaurant work is hard. If you run a knitting shop (no offense to knitting shops; we love a good entrelac), you’re unlikely to need handheld devices and monitors that can withstand high temperatures, water damage, and sudden drops. Toast’s hardware is restaurant-ready, as it is specially prepared to handle serious wear and tear (unlike Square).
- Toast POS is geared towards restaurant ecommerce. No two restaurants are the same, and customers love having the choice to dine in, carry out, chat with their servers, or not see or speak to anyone delivering their food. Toast’s POS system appeals to all of these, with self-serve kiosks, the Toast TakeOut app, integrated online ordering, Mobile Order & Pay—you’ve got options.
- Toast POS is just as versatile as Square…but in its own way. Starting that knitting shop (knittery?) and scoping out POS systems? Square can provide plenty of options to get you going. Starting a restaurant and want to set adjusted pricing for add-ons? Square can’t do that. Toast POS lets restaurants customize their menus to the smallest details, giving you more control over your business model.
- Toast provides around-the-clock customer service. That knitting shop is closing by 6 p.m. (2 p.m. on Sundays), so Square’s six-to-six customer service line is just fine. Is your bar closing at 6 p.m.? We’d question your business acumen if it was. Restaurants don’t often follow normal hours, so they need customer service at the ready 24/7, and Toast knows this, which is why—you guessed it—they provide 24/7 customer service.
- Toast isn’t limited by OS. Toast integrates with any operating system, whereas Square doesn’t run on Windows. That’s weird, right?
Toast POS vs. Square POS Verdict
If you’re in search of a smart, capable POS system, you really can’t go wrong with Square or Toast. But, as we claimed, Toast is better…for restaurants.
Say you want to start eating healthier and getting in shape. Any doctor can put you on the right path, but a nutritionist is going to set you up with a tailored meal plan, manageable exercise schedule, and sound nutrition advice. You’d rather go with the nutritionist, correct? Think of Toast as your restaurant website nutritionist, and trust a POS system built with your goals as its purpose.
Check out Toast POS integration in action with our restaurant website Case Study!
Slam Media Lab and Toast POS Integration: A Perfect Pairing
Choosing the right POS system to integrate with your restaurant website is a step in the right direction—not to shock you, but Slam recommends Toast POS—but there’s more to succeeding in the restaurant industry than a strong POS system.
At Slam, we pair our years of Webflow design expertise with backgrounds in restaurant work, leveraging our own resumes to SLAM your next website design. Like chefs in a Michelin Star kitchen, our marketing experts have tinkered with our templates for years to bring you the perfect resource in our new restaurant website template.
We know what it takes to reach the widest possible customer base while crafting an aesthetic website you’ll be proud of. From brand strategy and identity to search engine optimization (SEO), we cover all the details to bring you a website that ranks for search from launch, boosts conversion and clickthrough rates (CTR), and looks really damn good in the process.
Check out how we set it up for one of our most recent clients in our case studies!
Case Study: Matteo, an Italian Restaurant in Salt Lake City
Matteo, in their aim to pay homage to their roots while giving visitors and diners an up-to-date and easily navigable UX, sought a website design that encapsulated their entire aesthetic. Our approach? Clean, bold colors, a responsive site experience, clear-cut layout, and images that reflect their physical location—inviting, indulgent, and rustic with a modern flair.
Our implementation of OpenTable and Toast, paired with prominent navigation to each, streamlines online ordering and reservations, making authentic Italian dining a couple clicks away.
Contact us today for a FREE consultation, and let’s get moving on your next big restaurant website design!
While you’re at it, check out more of our restaurant website design Blog posts: