Toast Software for Restaurants 2024 [How to Use + Reviews + Examples]

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On summer weekends when I was in high school, I worked at my uncle’s restaurant as a busser and server. I still remember what it was like on our busiest days, when we’d have a two hour wait on food, every table was full, and suddenly our computers would crash. It was a nightmare, but we came to expect it on the busiest days with our seemingly ancient restaurant point of sale (POS) system. I told this story to one of my server friends recently, and they laughed and said those kinds of things don’t happen at their restaurant. They said their POS system, which ran on Toast software, was one of the most reliable things in their restaurant.

As we continue to help more small businesses like restaurants at Slam, Toast has come up a lot. Restaurant owners tell us it’s a core part of how their business operates. In fact, over 21% of restaurants on the market use Toast as their preferred restaurant POS.

As a restaurant owner, making a choice with which POS system to rely on can be daunting. With tons of new and legacy solutions on the market today, where do you start? We’ll dive deep into how Toast’s software and hardware offering can help you take control of your restaurant and grow your business.

Server at Toast POS system
Photo courtesy of Toast

How Does the Toast POS Software Work?

Toast is a feature-packed restaurant point-of-sale (POS) system that has grown quickly over the past several years. Over 85,000 restaurants today use the platform, and it’s a versatile solution that works for full service, quick service, food trucks, nightlife, coffee shops, etc.

The goal of the Toast software is to stremaline restaurant operaitons, improve efficiency, enhance customer experience, and give restaurant owners insights to help make informed decisions.

Think about it this way — twenty years ago, restaurants ran on pen and paper, and would run a system that though “worked,” it didn’t give them the information they needed to improve their operations. Companies like Toast are changing the game.

Toast POS Features and Integrations

What makes Toast a unique player on the market is the features that go beyond standard restaurant management. Similar to other POS systems like Clover, Toast is both a hardware and software company. By integrating both into their offering, they’re able to create a cohesive platform that touches every aspect of your restaurant business.

Some Toast features include:

  • An easy to use POS system available in both a countertop and handheld kit, all with built-in payment processing
  • A kitchen display system that allows for your back of house to keep track of orders
  • Ability to manage inventory, multiple locations, scheduling, and payroll all in one
  • Digital services, including online ordering, reservations, delivery, loyalty programs, gift cards, and email marketing

Let’s dive in and explore some of the biggest areas that matter most to your restaurant!

Toast POS App and Hardware

When was the last time you ate at a full-service restaurant and the server took your order or processed your payment on a small, handheld tablet? For me, it was yesterday (and several times out to eat before then, too). These handheld devices have boomed after the pandemic, and are useful for both servers and customers alike. Toast has been at the forefront of making this transition happen.

Toast’s POS app runs on their proprietary hardware, which runs Android. Toast offers a variety of hardware options, including:

  • Toast Flex — countertop 14” tablet station for servers to enter orders and take payments, with an optional 8” guest-facing screen option.
  • Toast Go — handheld POS for entering orders and taking payments at tables.
  • Toast Flex for Kitchen — a kitchen optimized version of the Flex designed to be wall/counter mounted, and can also withstand high temperatures and grease.
  • Kiosk — for guests at quick service restaurants to enter their own orders.

Servers and restaurant owners alike love Toast because it feels like it was designed by, with, and for the service industry. Tasks that once were complicated – like splitting tabs, holding several courses, and handling communication between the front and back of house – become easy with Toast.

One other restaurant trend that emerged out of the pandemic was QR code menus and digital ordering at tables. We continue to see this grow as restaurants face labor shortages but want to keep a good guest experience.

Toast’s Mobile Order & Pay, an add on to existing Toast service plans, allows guests to see your menu, keep a tab, and order on their phones. This goes beyond just having a digital menu, and creates a nice quick-service experience. Restaurants that have implemented this find they can increase their check size and reduce comps and voids due to confusion. Plus, it’s an easy way to capture feedback, drive marketing sign-ups, and get customers to join loyalty programs.

Is Toast PS Cloud Based?

Toast POS is a fully-featured, cloud-based POS system. With Toast, you can manage your restaurant’s menu, analytics, and more online.

In addition, there’s a ton of Toast POS integrations to streamline your workflow and help you work smarter. Some integrations you can add on include:

  • Inventory management
  • Vendor integration
  • Accounting software
  • CRMs and engagement platforms

Toast Restaurant Management

A few years ago, restaurant owners had to use several tools to accomplish basic operations of their businesses— Aloha for their POS; Homebase to manage schedules and HR; Gusto for payroll. It quickly gets out of hand.

One of the biggest benefits of Toast’s Software offering is keeping a lot of tools in one place. With Toast, you can easily manage many places of your restaurant on their platform, and integrate it with other pieces, too!

xtraCHEF is a tool from Toast to help control expenses and understand costs. The tool allows you to understand where your money and product is going, and uses data from your Toast POS orders to help create a fuller picture. Some of xtraCHEF’s features include:

  • Invoice processing
  • Sync expenses to your menu
  • Track inventory
  • Understand cost per item
  • Integrate with tools like Quickboox and Xero for accounting

Toast also includes features like email marketing to keep engaged with your guests after they leave. Thanks to its digital tools—like handheld devices, online ordering, and more—that capture email, you can keep in touch with them all in one place.

You can also use Toast to handle a lot of the HR side of running your restaurant. This includes things like scheduling, managing tips, payroll, on-boarding, and paperwork.

It’s no secret that online ordering and food delivery has been on the rise over the last few years. Almost 40% of total restaurant sales today are online orders, which means as a restaurant you need to make sure this is a priority. Many restaurants choose to get on platforms like DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates, and Grubhub for their large user base and great delivery network. However, restaurants are usually left with a big cut out of the revenue due to the platform fees.

That’s where Toast and their online ordering feature comes in. Available as an add-on (or included with their Growth plan or higher), you get an online portal for guests to order directly from you. The offering includes:

  • Both takeout and delivery options
  • Listing in Toast’s TakeOut App, which sales are commission-free
  • Ability to offer delivery without platform fees, while still getting access to a network of local drivers (this is usually fulfilled by Doordash or other services)
  • Add-on ordering option within your Google My Business listing on search and Google Maps
Screenshot of Sprig & Sprout's homepage, which features prominent call to action buttons to order online
Here's a look at Sprig & Sprout's new website designed to drive online orders via Toast Online Ordering

Restaurants that use Toast’s online ordering services have gotten upwards of 30% of their revenue back on delivery. We helped DC-based Vietnamese restaurant Sprig and Sprout design their new restaurant website around their online ordering CTA. In addition, we revamped their local SEO, including their Google Business Profile listing.

What Platforms Integrate with Toast?

Toast software integrates with many platforms. We’ve compiled them by industry below.

Reservations

  • Yelp for Restaurants
  • Open Table
  • Resy OS
  • Seven Rooms
  • Tock

Marketing & CRM

  • SevenRooms
  • Mailchimp
  • HubSpot
  • Hang
  • Fishbowl
  • Spendgo
  • Appfront
  • MustHaveMenus
  • CityCheers
  • Bloom Intelligence
  • Zuppler
  • ChowNow
  • PeopleVine
  • me&u
  • Mr Yum
  • CustomerX.i
  • Popmenu
  • Como
  • Punchh
  • Repeat Returns
  • Thanx

Accounting

  • Quickbooks
  • Xero
  • Axial Shift
  • Recipe Costing
  • MarginEdge
  • inKind Capital
  • Cohesion
  • Compeat
  • GraTrack
  • Gratuity Solutions
  • Homebase
  • KitchenSync
  • Restaurant 365
  • Shogo
  • xtraChef
  • Sage Intacct
  • Restaurant365

Delivery Management

  • Postmates
  • Chowly
  • Deliverect
  • Onosys

Inventory Management

  • MarketMan
  • BlueCart
  • SimpleOrder
  • BevSpot
  • PeachWorks
  • Craftable
  • Recipe Costing
  • Synergy Suite
  • Backbar
  • BeerBoard
  • WineView
  • MarginEdge
  • BarTrack
  • Compeat
  • CrunchTime
  • KitchenSync
  • PourMyBeer
  • Restaurant365
  • xtraCHEF

Labor

  • CityCheers Media
  • Savi
  • Solink

Analytics

  • Hang
  • Axial Shift
  • Craftable
  • Marketing Vitals
  • Synergy Suite
  • Backbar
  • Bloom intelligence
  • SparkPlug
  • BeerBoard
  • WineView
  • Margin Edge
  • BarTrack
  • Yumpingo
  • Tenzo
  • CusotmerX.i
  • Savi
  • xtraChef

Loyalty

  • Hang
  • Spendgo
  • Appfront
  • MustHaveMenus
  • Peoplevine
  • Lunchbox
  • Valutec
  • inKind Capital
  • eCard Systems
  • Como
  • Incentivio
  • LevelUp
  • PayTronix
  • Punchh
  • Repeat Returns
  • Smart Transaction Systems
  • SwipeIt
  • TapMango
  • Thanx

Payroll

  • Sparkplug
  • Vestwell
  • Cohesion
  • Crunchtime
  • Dolce Software
  • GraTrack
  • Harri
  • Homebase
  • Hotschedules
  • Kitchensync
  • PeachWorks
  • Proliant

Online Ordering

  • Appfront
  • Recipe Costing
  • Zuppler
  • ChowNow
  • BeerBoard
  • DeliverZero
  • Me&u
  • SoundHound
  • Lunchbox
  • Flybuy
  • Craver
  • Fisherman
  • Uber Eats
  • Doordash
  • Popmenu
  • Grubhub
  • Chowly
  • Incentivio
  • Itsa Checkmate
  • Olo
  • Rooam

Delivery

  • Shipday
  • Cartwheel
  • VROMO

Hotel

  • Cloudbeds
  • Mews
  • Stayntouch
  • Omniboost

How Companies are Using Toast Software to Grow

Companies are using software to help them get and retain customers! To do so, they have to design and launch a website that is fully optimized for search engines.

Interested in getting set-up on Toast for your website and have it fully optimized for SEO? Check out our small business SEO & web design packages!

Here’s what they are doing:

  1. Enhancing customer experience by streamlining order taking, reducing wait times, and minimizing errors
  2. Efficient in-person operations. You can use features like tableside ordering and kitchen display systems.
  3. Getting customers to order delivery directly through their website and avoid third party fees from Uber Eats and Doordash
  4. Optimizing their menu based on what are the most popular dishes
  5. Retaining customers through their loyalty prograk
  6. Managing inventory easier to control costs
  7. Using employee management tools to assist in scheduling, time tracking, and payroll

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.

Screenshots of Matteo's website
Matteo's website integrates with Toast and is fully optimized for SEO.

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.

Build a Website that Integrates with Toast Restaurant Platforms

Toast software and hardware can take your restaurant to the next level. It can help streamline your day to day operations, create a great guest experience, and increase your revenue.

If you’re looking for a marketing agency and partner for your restaurant, our team at Slam Media Lab can help! We’re an award-winning restaurant website design company that has assisted dozens of businesses through websites built for Toast that rank on Google and get more online orders.

Interested in hearing how we can help transform your business? Schedule a FREE 30 minute consultation with our team below or contact our team.

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