Toast is a software company that provides restaurants with point-of-sale systems, as well as a host of other products covering ordering, management, and payment solutions. Toast’s flagship product is its Android-based cloud POS, which offers restauranteurs an easy-to-use, efficient software suite and simple, modular hardware. The success of that POS drove Toast’s value to over $1 billion in 2018, and at its peak, the company employed over 2,000 people. But despite all that success, the platform has some significant drawbacks which have only been compounded by the tough economic times the restaurant industry has faced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Weighing those pros and cons is key to determining if Toast is the right POS for your restaurant, and we’ll take a look at both sides of the issue below.
Toast POS is Feature Rich:
The biggest strength of Toast is its full suite of easy-to-use features. The POS offers essentially everything you could possibly need it to, including tableside ordering, online ordering, easily customizable menus, inventory management, employee management, advanced analytics, and more. The features included in Toast POS are more than enough to take care of the operational needs of the vast majority of restaurants. The various systems are also fairly straightforward to learn for both management and the front-line staff using them, minimizing errors and training time.
Toast Offers Multiple Hardware Options:
Toast offers a variety of hardware choices that give restaurants the flexibility to take orders and checkout guests in whatever way they need. Both the tablet-based front desk and kitchen-side systems and the handheld tableside system are well built, attractive, and easy to setup. Toast also offers cash drawers, receipt printers, contactless payment hardware, and more.
It Offers a Wide Variety of Complementary Products:
Outside of the POS, Toast offers additional services covering everything from payroll management to marketing, to delivery services and beyond. That means if you decide to sign on with Toast, once you’re part of the ecosystem, it’s easy to expand your service options as your restaurant grows and needs change.
Comes with Hardware Limitations (and Costs):
Toast is an Android-based system, which means if your restaurant’s existing POS is based on Apple devices, PCs, or anything other than Android hardware, you won’t be able to use Toast on the equipment you already have. And even if you do already have Android hardware, Toast advises against using anything but their proprietary Toast-branded equipment, meaning that regardless of what you’re currently working with, switching to Toast will almost certainly require a full hardware overhaul. With Toast hardware prices starting at $899, that represents a major expense.
Customer Service is Hit or Miss at Best:
One of the most common complaints that Toast users have is inconsistent or outright bad customer service. While some users have great experiences, there are numerous reviews detailing customers who haven’t been able to get timely responses or feel like they’ve been left completely on their own. That’s unacceptable with any SaaS because regardless of how reliable a platform may be, there will always be hiccups and problems, especially during initial adoption and training. Toast’s hit or miss customer service could mean you find yourself stuck without help at the worst possible time.
The Potentially Ugly:
In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Toast was forced to layoff or furlough roughly 50% of its employees. That means a company that already struggled to deliver adequate customer service to its users now has roughly 50% of the manpower available to do the job. The struggles faced by Toast are shared across the entire restaurant industry, but it’s worth asking if the financial and time investments required to switch to a POS provider in such dire financial straits are worth the risk.
Fees Can be Extremely Damaging to Your Bottom Line:
Without question, the biggest downside of Toast is that you can’t use your own third-party merchant account, and must process all credit and debit card transactions through Toast’s native payment processing service. Toast doesn’t publish their fees on their website, but because they’re acting as a third-party processor, it’s certain that they’re charging a significant markup on processing fees, much like PayPal does. The only rate Toast does publish on their site, in the fine print of their Toast Now product, quotes a rate of “3.5% + $0.15 for Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and 3.89% + $0.15 for AmEx.” Those are absolutely exorbitant processing fees. For all the benefits Toast offers in feature-set and ease-of-use, the fact they lock you into their own expensive payment processing is a deal-killer for many restauranteurs.
Toast’s feature-rich POS software and stylish, well-made modular hardware make the company an attractive choice for many restauranteurs. However, there are some serious cons to Toast as well, due to their hardware-exclusivity, the inconsistency of service, and, most importantly, their forced payment processing and marked-up fees. If your priority is ease-of-use, Toast is likely a great choice. But if rapid support, long-term health, or the amount on your monthly merchant statements are of concern, Toast probably isn’t the POS for you.
BAMS, on the other hand, offers guaranteed low pricing thanks to our industry-leading interchange-plus pricing model. That means your restaurant will always enjoy the lowest possible payment processing fees on all of your card transactions, as well as industry-best transparency. BAMS merchant services are fully compatible with all of the most popular POS systems on the market, and our restaurant partners can also access a wide variety of other value-added services, like next-day funding, fraud protection, and more.
To find out more about how BAMS can help you get set up with the right POS system and the lowest possible fees on your card transactions, reach out to a member of the BAMS team and get started on your custom five-point price comparison today!