5 Best Toast POS Alternatives & Competitors

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Toast is a big name in restaurant tech, but it’s not the only game in town. Want to explore options that might better suit your needs?

In this blog post, I will review 5 top Toast alternatives: TouchBistro, Lightspeed Restaurant, Square for Restaurants, GoTab, and SpotOn.

I’ll provide an in-depth look at each platform, including key features, pricing, hardware, pros and cons, and an overall assessment of how they compare to Toast.

With this guide, you’ll be equipped to evaluate the POS system that aligns best with your restaurant’s goals and requirements.

graphic showing 2 chefs holding mobile POS devices

Reasons to Explore Competitors to Toast

Toast has become one of the most widely used point-of-sale systems for restaurants. Offering a robust feature set for order management, payment processing, staff management, and reporting, it’s easy to see why Toast is a favorite among many eateries.

However, Toast may not be the ideal fit for every restaurant. From contract constraints to rising costs, and payment processing limitations to customer service challenges, there are compelling reasons why you may want to explore some alternatives to Toast for your restaurant’s POS needs.

Read on to help inform your search for the right POS system beyond the default Toast option.

My Top 5 Toast Alternatives

  • 4.5
  • Description:

    Designed by restaurant industry veterans

    Best for independent full-service restaurants looking for a well designed, feature-rich and secure cloud/server-based POS system.

  • 4.5
  • Description:

    Cleverly crafted POS with exceptional design

    Best for upscale eateries seeking powerful data insights, retail features, and extensive integration possibilities.

  • 4.2
  • Description:

    Best for small restaurants and coffee shops

    A small business POS for establishments that need a subscription-free plan, smooth transactions and easy-to-operate retail features.

  • 4.0
  • Description:

    Excellent hardware options and no long term contracts

    All-in-one POS solution with modern restaurant-specific features for fine-dining, QSRs, bars, and food trucks.

  • 4.0
  • Description:

    Easy-to-use mobile POS with a focus on eCommerce and contactless ordering and payment features. Card present processing fees: 2.40% + $0.15.

4.5
Description:

Designed by restaurant industry veterans

Best for independent full-service restaurants looking for a well designed, feature-rich and secure cloud/server-based POS system.

4.5
Description:

Cleverly crafted POS with exceptional design

Best for upscale eateries seeking powerful data insights, retail features, and extensive integration possibilities.

4.2
Description:

Best for small restaurants and coffee shops

A small business POS for establishments that need a subscription-free plan, smooth transactions and easy-to-operate retail features.

4.0
Description:

Excellent hardware options and no long term contracts

All-in-one POS solution with modern restaurant-specific features for fine-dining, QSRs, bars, and food trucks.

4.0
Description:

Easy-to-use mobile POS with a focus on eCommerce and contactless ordering and payment features. Card present processing fees: 2.40% + $0.15.

Now, I will review some of the top competitors to Toast that are worth considering for your business. We’ll look at POS systems like Square, TouchBistro, Lightspeed, GoTab, and SpotOn, examining their standout features, hardware, pricing, integrations, and potential benefits compared to Toast.

If you’re feeling limited by Toast’s capabilities or find its contract terms and payment processing too restrictive, one of these alternatives could be a better match for your restaurant.


TouchBistro

TouchBistro dashboard on iPad
  • 4.5
  • Description:

    Designed by restaurant industry veterans

    Best for independent full-service restaurants looking for a well designed, feature-rich and secure cloud/server-based POS system.

  • Pros:
    • Speedy & easy to use
    • Commission-free reservations
    • Excellent offline functionality
  • Cons:
    • Fewer integrations than competition
    • Somewhat limited reporting features
  • Price starts at $69/month
4.5
Description:

Designed by restaurant industry veterans

Best for independent full-service restaurants looking for a well designed, feature-rich and secure cloud/server-based POS system.

Pros:
  • Speedy & easy to use
  • Commission-free reservations
  • Excellent offline functionality
Cons:
  • Fewer integrations than competition
  • Somewhat limited reporting features
Price starts at $69/month

TouchBistro is an excellent choice for independent, full-service restaurants, but also useful in managing operations for a variety of dining establishments.

Not only does it offer a visually appealing and intuitive design, but it also has an abundance of rich features. It further offers the convenience of a hybrid cloud/server system, which means your data remains secure and readily accessible.

Ease of Use: TouchBistro is among the easiest POS systems to navigate. Its user-friendly design allows for quick learning and mastery, making it perfect for restaurants seeking a hassle-free system.

TouchBistro is a versatile solution for small to medium-sized full-service restaurants, quick-serve locations, bars, and cafes that benefit from a robust Kitchen Display System (KDS).

However, larger chains, hotels, or other extensive businesses with complex multi-location needs may find it less suitable.

Why TouchBistro is an Alternative to Toast

Third-Party Payment Processing: Unlike Toast, which requires users to use its proprietary payment processing system, TouchBistro allows for integration with various third-party payment processors like Square. This aspect provides restaurant operators with a greater degree of flexibility and potential cost savings.

Lower Monthly Pricing: While both Toast and TouchBistro start pricing at $69 per month, TouchBistro could prove less costly in the long run when considering Toast’s reputation for increasing monthly pricing and payment processing costs.

More Features: TouchBistro offers several robust features that might not be available in Toast. For example, it features a new capable Kitchen Display System, convenient and enhanced tableside ordering, effective reservations management, online ordering without third-party commissions, and profit management in collaboration with MarginEdge.

System Compatibility: TouchBistro is designed explicitly for Apple devices, making it an excellent choice if your establishment already uses or plans to use iPads for its operations. Using iPads can offer a more user-friendly and visually appealing interface which can improve overall staff efficiency and guest satisfaction.

I like the modularity of the TouchBistro pricing structure. You get a good deal at a low price and can choose from the selection of add-on options as your business grows.

Here is the pricing plan for TouchBistro and its add-ons:

Monthly subscription fee: Starts at $69/month for up to two setups

Add-on pricing (starting at):

  • Online ordering: $50/month
  • Reservations: $229/month
  • Gift cards: $25/month
  • Marketing: $99/month
  • Loyalty: $99/month

TouchBistro Payments (US only)is powered by Chase and provides pricing through an innovative cost plus pricing model. The solution supports all major credit and debit cards, as well as swipe, dip, tap, and digital wallet payments from Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

TouchBistro Payments also offers an offline payments mode, allowing you to continue taking payments even when their internet is down.

Payment processing fees depend on if you use TouchBistro Payments (US only) or one of the available payment processing partners like Square. You’ll be able to use different payment processors depending on which one offers the lowest rate.

For example, Square charges the following: 2.6% +10¢ per transaction.

Please note that hardware and additional fees may apply to these prices. It’s recommended to contact TouchBistro directly for a custom quote.

TouchBistro is available in the US, Canada, the UK, Mexico, and over 100 other countries. (TouchBistro Payments is only available in the US).

TouchBistro supports iPads, iPad Pro, or the iPad Mini and runs best on devices from 2018 or later. These tablets are used to take orders and process payments table-side.

A TouchBistro setup can include an iPad stand, receipt printer, card reader, router, and modem.

TouchBistro also sells accessories, such as a Self-Service Kiosk, customer-facing display, KDS, and Digital Menu Boards. TouchBistro may also make use of third-party hardware such as cash drawers, card readers, and receipt printers.

TouchBistro hardware devices

Customizable Additional Hardware: Depending on the unique needs of your restaurant, you can mix and match different POS equipment such as cash drawers and receipt printers.

Hardware Setups for Different Venue Sizes: TouchBistro offers tailored hardware configurations based on the venue size and type of your restaurant. Whether you have a small or large venue, they have hardware solutions designed to fit your specific needs.

Integrated Hardware Support: TouchBistro also offers dedicated implementation specialists to provide round-the-clock support for your hardware.

TouchBistro suggests always purchasing the latest iPad models for the best experience and longevity of support. While they provide iPad stands, they also offer the flexibility for you to use your own. Their iPads are compatible with any iPad stands, allowing you to choose a stand style that aligns best with your restaurant’s look and feel.

TouchBistro screenshot of sales dashboard

Innovative Features of TouchBistro

With TouchBistro’s online ordering feature, you can accept orders directly from your website, TouchBistro Dine, social media, and other platforms. Customers can opt for pickup, delivery, or schedule orders at their convenience. One major advantage is you retain 100% of profits without paying third-party commissions.

However, you’re limited to using your own drivers or DoorDash Drive; to use other delivery platforms like UberEats or GrubHub, you’ll need to employ Deliverect and pay associated fees. This feature increases revenue through multi-touchpoint ordering, integrates with TouchBistro Marketing for targeted promotions, and streamlines delivery operations with automatic driver dispatching.

With TouchBistro’s menu management, you can smoothly add, clone, and organize menu items, saving you time by automatically syncing changes to in-venue and online ordering menus. The feature includes upselling tools, with color-coded menus and high-quality images to assist in promoting items.

TouchBistro’s menu management also separates takeout and delivery orders from dine-in orders. Additionally, it includes personalization features for enhancing guest experiences and handling unique order requests.

The tableside ordering feature allows for orders to be taken directly at tables using handheld devices like iPads. This minimizes back-and-forth to the POS system and allows servers more guest interaction. The easy bill-splitting function enhances the checkout speed and customer satisfaction. Pop-up upselling prompts aid in boosting per-cover revenue.

Additional payment functions include dividing payments among different clients, processing various types of payments, sending digital bills and receipts, and adding personalized messages or tip guides to bills.

By offering TouchBistro Gift Cards, you can amplify your marketing efforts and sales. You can personalize gift cards for occasions like birthdays and holidays, and customers can make online purchases or opt for digital gift cards for added convenience. Customers’ gift card redemption via smartphones simplifies the dining process even further.

TouchBistro loyalty marketing screen
TouchBistro loyalty marketing screen

In partnership with MarginEdge, TouchBistro presents profit management features that enhance visibility over your restaurant’s finances. It provides real-time inventory tracking and cost management while automatically updating ingredient costs and quantities in your recipes.

This enables you to accurately calculate plate costs and adjust menu pricing based on profitability data. It also integrates budget tracking tools, allowing you to set targets and watch your spending across all business areas. By syncing with your POS, the profit management module bridges the gap between the front-of-house and back-of-house operations, simplifying strategy decisions and workflow.

More information on TouchBistro:

My detailed TouchBistro Review provides an even more in-depth look into this restaurant POS system.

And finally, to try TouchBistro out, head over to touchbistro.com


Lightspeed Restaurant

Lightspeed restaurant POS graphic
  • Description:

    Cleverly crafted POS with exceptional design

    Best for food service businesses seeking powerful inventory, data insights, and retail features.

  • Starts at $69/month
  • Pros:
    • Ease of use & interface design
    • Reporting & analytics
    • E-commerce capabilities
  • Cons:
    • Limited offline functionality
    • Not the cheapest option
Description:

Cleverly crafted POS with exceptional design

Best for food service businesses seeking powerful inventory, data insights, and retail features.

Starts at $69/month
Pros:
  • Ease of use & interface design
  • Reporting & analytics
  • E-commerce capabilities
Cons:
  • Limited offline functionality
  • Not the cheapest option

If advanced analytics and retail capabilities are important, Lightspeed is a robust restaurant POS choice. It provides easy-to-use tools to manage operations through actionable data insights that uncover menu performance, sales, staffing, and more.

With 200+ integrations, Lightspeed enables adding features as your business grows. The system also facilitates retail sales like merchandise, cooking classes, and other revenue streams, allowing multifaceted expansion.

For restaurants needing strong reporting and retail possibilities, Lightspeed delivers the information and flexibility to boost your business.

Why Lightspeed is an Alternative to Toast

Third-Party Payment Processing: Lightspeed supports integrated payment processing with competitive rates and notably, it allows the support for third-party processors. This is in contrast to Toast, which only allows its own payment processing system.

More Features: Lightspeed offers powerful tools for reporting and extra retail capabilities. It provides a user-friendly dashboard that displays real-time transaction data and an organized menu layout, which speeds up navigation, reduces wait times, and improves service quality. Furthermore, it provides advanced analytics to help business owners better manage their restaurants and understand their performance.

Retail Capabilities: Lightspeed offers an additional advantage for restaurants that also have retail operations, like company merchandise or packaged food sales, as the platform has substantial retail-oriented features. Depending on the nature of the business, this can prove to be a significant advantage compared to Toast, which primarily focuses on food service.

Better Customer Support: Restaurants should look into Lightspeed’s reputation for customer support. Given Toast’s reportedly largely overseas-based support, Lightspeed could provide stronger support, especially if it’s primarily US-based.

Lightspeed Restaurant Essentials: $90/month (annual plan $69/month)

Features include: Menu manager, Mobile access, Takeout and delivery orders, Integrated payment processing, Reporting and analytics, Inventory, 24/7 support, Dedicated account management, Table Mode. 1 register.

Lightspeed Restaurant Plus: $246/month (annual plan $189/month)

All Essentials features, Loyalty program, Gift cards

Lightspeed Restaurant Pro: $516/month (annual plan $399/month)

All Plus features and Advanced insights, Advanced inventory. 1 register.

Additional registers +$34/mo
Add-on pricing starting at $12/month
Premium add-ons starting at $39/month

Transaction fees: 2.6% plus 10 cents per card-present transaction with Lightspeed Payments. Third-party payment processors are also available.

*Pricing at the time of publishing this guide. For the most current pricing, contact Lightspeed.

Lightspeed Restaurant POS is currently available in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and Australia.

Lightspeed hardware

There are several hardware options available for restaurants. These include an iPad hardware kit that includes a receipt printer, cash drawer, and kitchen printer but does not include an iPad or payment terminal.

There is also a Lightspeed iPad Stand by Vault, which is a restaurant-grade stand designed to mount an iPad securely.

Lightspeed restaurant examples of handheld hardware

In addition, there are several payment terminals available, including the Verifone e285, Verifone P400, and Verifone 400m, which all support tap, swipe, and dip payments and the e285 also supports tip entry and signature capture.

For a full list of supported hardware options, Lightspeed provides more information.

Lightspeed menu management

Noteworthy Features of Lightspeed

Benefit from Lightspeed’s advanced insights and analytics features to make informed decisions for your business. Customizable reports, dashboard overviews, and sales analysis help you identify trends, top-selling items, and areas needing improvement.

Speed up order entries and modifications with Lightspeed’s Order Management. Its table management tools keep track of occupied, reserved, and ready-to-reset tables. The feature also supports takeout and delivery options, offering your customers more convenient ways to order.

Lightspeed’s payment processing platform integrates AI and blockchain technology for a single, universal sign-on at any point of purchase globally. Each transaction is recorded on a private blockchain, potentially enhancing security and traceability.

Incorporated with its POS system, the eCom feature lets you streamline online orders and inventory management. Display menus online and let your customers place orders for delivery or pick-up. The integrated reservation system simplifies the table booking process, while options like in-store pickup and curbside services enhance the convenience for your consumers. You can lure customers with special promotions via discount codes and manage digital gift cards effectively.

The inventory synchronizations ensure a balance between your online and in-store inventories, preventing overstocking or understocking. With the platform’s seamless integration with delivery platforms like UberEats, Doordash, and a reservation platform, OpenTable, you can effectively widen your customer reach.

Lightspeed KDS is a software solution that displaces the traditional kitchen printer and positions orders on an iPad for your kitchen staff. It helps you to keep track of preparation time, lets your staff interact with orders, and sends automated alerts to the front-of-house on order completion. You can personalize display options according to different restaurant and kitchen necessities.

More information on Lightspeed:

My detailed Lightspeed Review provides an even more in-depth look into this restaurant POS system.

And finally, to try Lightspeed for free, head over to lightspeedhq.com


Square for Restaurants

  • Description:

    The fast and easy-to-use system

    Best for new or smaller food service businesses that want to start on a free plan and want to sell products online.

  • Includes free plan. Plus plan starts at $60/month
  • Pros:
    • Subscription free plan
    • No long term contracts
    • Integrates with the Square ecosystem
  • Cons:
    • Lacks some advanced features
    • No on-site support
Description:

The fast and easy-to-use system

Best for new or smaller food service businesses that want to start on a free plan and want to sell products online.

Includes free plan. Plus plan starts at $60/month
Pros:
  • Subscription free plan
  • No long term contracts
  • Integrates with the Square ecosystem
Cons:
  • Lacks some advanced features
  • No on-site support

Square has evolved from a generic POS into a robust platform tailored for restaurants with Square for Restaurants. Its modern, user-friendly interface is apt for diverse food service businesses. Key perks include a free basic plan and powerful marketing tools.

The best restaurant types for Square include smaller venues like quick-service, cafes, food trucks, fast-casual, bars, and ghost kitchens. The intuitive interface, complimentary base plan, and built-in marketing capabilities make Square an accessible option for these streamlined operations.

However, full-service restaurants with complex workflows may desire more advanced features and customization. While not suited for every restaurant, Square offers a scalable POS solution for small to mid-sized ventures focused on simplicity and seamless customer engagement.

Why Square is an Alternative to Toast

Shorter Contracts and No Early Termination Fees: Unlike Toast, which requires a 1-year contract, Square offers more flexibility with a subscription-free plan and no long-term contracts. This allows restaurant owners to have greater control over their POS commitments without being locked into a long-term contract.

Lower Monthly Pricing: Square offers a free basic plan, and paid plans start at $60 per month, providing more accessible pricing options for small business owners. Toast, on the other hand, has a reputation for high monthly software fees and has been known to increase monthly pricing and payment processing costs over time.

More Features: Square provides several robust features that may not be present in Toast, easy-to-operate retail features, an integrated OpenTable solution, and a commission-free online ordering system. Square also has a strong focus on marketing, customer engagement, and loyalty programs.

Suitable for a Wide Range of Establishments: Square might be especially appealing for smaller restaurants, cafes, food trucks, bars and breweries, and ghost kitchens due to its versatility, retail capabilities, and free plan option.

Free plan: There’s no monthly fee, but there is a transaction fee for each in-person sale. 2.6% + 10¢ for swiped or tapped card transactions. 3.5% + 15¢ when the card number is keyed in. Online payment: 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction.

Plus: Includes more advanced features designed specifically for restaurants. $60/month for one device per location. +$40/month per added countertop POS device. (+ processing fees).

Premium subscribers get everything in the Plus subscription and custom pricing for add-ons like Square Payroll, Square Marketing, and Square Loyalty.

Example pricing of some add-ons:

Square Payroll +$35/mo then $5/mo per employee
Square Loyalty From $45/mo per location
Square Marketing From $15/mo per location

(Hardware is not included in the subscription. See hardware costs in the section below).

Contract length

A key advantage of Square’s payment processing is the absence of long-term subscriptions, providing flexibility in the usage of its services. You can opt for month-to-month payments and easily cancel your subscription anytime without penalties.

As a result, you can experiment with different business strategies while staying agile and adaptable to changing market conditions.

The Square app is available worldwide. Card payment acceptance is available in the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, France and Spain (Source).

Square terminal

The Square Terminal can read all types of cards. You can use it for everything from taking payments to accessing your Square POS system to printing receipts to using all the features of Square’s app. The price for the terminal is $299.

Square contactless card reader

Square Reader for Contactless and Chip: Restaurants can now process payments more easily with the new Square Reader, which has improved Bluetooth connectivity, enhanced security, and longer battery life.

Square Stand Restaurant Station with cash drawer, receipt printer, and kitchen printer.

Square restaurant POS mobile kit device

Restaurant Mobile POS Kit for Square for Restaurants. Includes a Square Reader for contactless and chip (2nd generation), a phone case, and a Samsung Galaxy A32.

The Square Register is a countertop setup and a fully integrated point-of-sale system. No extra tablets or apps are required. Includes a touchscreen card terminal facing the customer and a built-in card reader. Costs $799.

Square mobile POS kit

Noteworthy Features of Square

Square allows payments through Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Wallet, and all major credit and debit cards. Payments can be processed even in offline mode and also tableside via the Square Terminal. The platform is compliant with the Payment Card Industry standards.

  • User-friendly Interface: Easy to navigate
  • Affordable Payment Processing: Flat rate of 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction
  • Strong Omnichannel Support: In-person, online, and mobile payments
  • Device Compatibility: Supports both Android and iOS devices

Square employee management feature offers scheduling, handling time-off or shift requests, access customization, and real-time reports of staff sales and costs. This feature is integrated with Square Payroll, offering automatic payroll, multiple pay rates, online accounts, and accounting integration with QuickBooks.

Square Online offers businesses a free platform to create their own mobile-friendly websites for online ordering. This can be a full website or a sales page integrated with your existing site. Orders are synced with your Square POS and kitchen equipment.

Square online website builder

The platform eliminates commission costs by offering options like curbside pickup, staff delivery, or courier delivery. For deliveries, couriers from DoorDash or Uber can be dispatched automatically. Your staff can also handle deliveries, with options for pickup also available.

Additional features include multi-location support, order tipping, multiple payment options, and connection to social media.

Order with Google

Restaurants can increase online orders with Order with Google. Customers can find the restaurant’s Square Online page using Google Search or Maps. They can order directly from the restaurant’s website, saving commission fees and improving profit margins. This also enables restaurants to collect useful customer data.

Square Marketing is an affordable, user-friendly tool designed for restaurants to manage their marketing, sales, and customer service. It offers benefits such as increased customer engagement, more repeat business, and improved brand awareness.

Square marketing assistant dashboard

Benefits

  • Increased Customer Engagement: Personalized email/text campaigns targeted to specific customer segments, along with social media integration, encourage interaction and relationship building.
  • More Repeat Business: Automated campaigns and loyalty program help retain customers by offering personalized discounts or promoting new menu items.
  • Improved Brand Awareness: Collecting customer reviews and sharing promotional content on social media enhance brand visibility and awareness.

Square Loyalty

Reward regular customers with Square Loyalty through rewards or gift cards. Enroll customers at checkout with their phone numbers and send automated text messages on points or rewards. Customize reward levels and promote the program via automated text campaigns.

Square KDS streamlines back-of-house workflows for restaurants by offering features such as:

  • Real-time order synchronization between front and back of house.
  • Customizable ticket layouts, timers, and alerts.
  • Insights on prep times to identify and resolve bottlenecks.
  • Consolidated order views for organized fulfillment.
  • Prep station routing and expeditor mode to enhance order accuracy and speed.
  • Adaptable configurations for various kitchen setups and ordering channels.

More information on Square:

My detailed Square for Restaurants Review provides an even more in-depth look into this restaurant POS system.

And finally, to try Square out, head over to squareup.com


SpotOn

new SpotOn hardware
SpotOn Restaurant
4.0

Excellent hardware options and no long term contracts

All-in-one POS solution with modern restaurant-specific features for fine-dining, QSRs, cloud kitchens, bars, and food trucks.

Pros:
  • Very feature rich
  • Robust hardware devices
  • Low credit-card processing fees*
Cons:
  • Requires SpotOn devices
  • *Requires SpotOn Payment for low fees
Try Now Our Review

SpotOn stands out as a leading cloud-based POS system for restaurants looking to modernize. This contemporary platform competes against top rivals like Toast, TouchBistro, Lightspeed, and Square that are replacing antiquated legacy systems.

Despite only being founded in 2017, SpotOn punches above its weight class by delivering robust features and add-ons comparable to far longer-standing competitors. Ideal for varied restaurant types including full-service, quick-service, bars, and food trucks, SpotOn provides all essential POS functionality plus advanced capabilities through its cloud-based solution.

Headquartered in San Francisco, SpotOn first tackled restaurants, retail, sports, and entertainment. But restaurants are now the primary focus. For restaurant owners seeking an intuitive and feature-rich modern POS system, SpotOn deserves consideration alongside its more established competitors. Its combination of next-gen platform, versatile functionality, and restaurant-centric focus make it a top contender for upgrading your POS operations.

Why SpotOn is an Alternative to Toast

Cross-platform Hardware: SpotOn is a Windows-based system, that provides its own excellent hardware devices as well as support for Android and iOS devices.

Shorter Contracts and No Early Termination Fees: Unlike Toast, which requires a 1-year contract, SpotOn’s POS system for restaurants is offered on a month-to-month basis, with no long-term contracts required. This gives restaurants the flexibility to cancel if they are not satisfied without incurring early termination fees.

Affordable Pricing: SpotOn offers budget-friendly pricing, with plans beginning at $25 per month when using their payment processing services. Even without using their payment processing services, the software is available at $195 per month – providing a potential lower-cost alternative to TouchBistro. Additionally, SpotOn offers low credit card processing fees, often lower than other POS systems, making it a potential cost saver.

Payment Processing: SpotOn offers competitive credit card processing fees when using their own payment processing with rates as low as 1.99% + $0.25 per transaction. However, if you choose not to use SpotOn’s payment processing services, your monthly cost increases from $25 to $195, making it less cost-effective for those who prefer an alternative payment processor.

Advanced Features: SpotOn is feature-rich with many modern restaurant-specific features such as online ordering, integration with Google for ordering, digital waitlisting and reservations, labor management, and reporting. The system’s design also allows it to integrate with the existing technology within a restaurant.

The system’s price starts at $25 per month, but there are some conditions to consider. To take advantage of this low rate, customers must sign up for SpotOn’s payment processing services. If you do not use their payment processing services then you will be charged $195 per month for access to the software.

SpotOn charges a commission of 1.99% + $0.25 for regular transactions, which is quite low, but 2.99% + $0.25 for reward, corporate, international, and keyed-in card transactions.

The pricing for SpotOn’s POS system varies depending on the package and hardware and can include:

  • $25/month for the software (including payment processing)
  • $195/month for the software alone (without payment processing)
  • $65/month for SpotOn’s restaurant-specific features

Some examples of add-on pricing:

  • $65/month for a customer loyalty add-on
  • $65/month for a website add-on

Other notable add-ons include marketing, payroll

Please note that the specific pricing for SpotOn can vary depending on the package and hardware. It’s recommended to contact SpotOn directly for a custom quote based on your business’s unique needs.

Hardware pricing varies by device and promotions may apply. Other prices may depend on what agreement you can reach with SpotOn depending on your requirements. Although SpotOn charges a setup fee, they do not openly display the cost on their website.

Considering all of the features offered by SpotOn POS, the price may still be worth it. SpotOn Payments has very low commission rates, so for some types of restaurants, this can be a good deal.

At the moment SpotOn is only available in the US.

Your restaurant’s success is deeply intertwined with your choice of hardware. I believe that SpotOn’s hardware, a cornerstone of the complete solution it provides, could be a transformative asset to your operations.

Handhelds: Experience the advantage of speed and simplicity with SpotOn’s handheld point-of-sale (POS) systems. Compatible with your iOS and Android devices, these handheld systems also support peripherals like barcode scanners, cases, and Bluetooth printers.

SpotOn handheld POS devices

These handheld devices come with two functionalities – order only or full payment, enabling your staff to process orders or payments swiftly, from any location within your establishment. Tailored for ease of use, they are available in various sizes, and include cases, belt hooks, and hand straps.

Kiosks: Invest in enhancing customer experience with SpotOn’s self-service kiosks. These tools are engineered to eliminate long queues and serve more customers, offering personalized interactions. Quick add buttons, favorites, add-to-cart button scrolls are only some of the features that expedite the ordering process.

There is an added benefit: the kiosks suggest combos, add-ons, and upsell items, stimulating revenue increment. You can select from different models – countertop, freestanding, and outdoor – with screen sizes of 15″ and 22″.

SpotOn KDS

Kitchen Displays: SpotOn’s Kitchen Display System (KDS) augments your operations, presenting real-time order tracking. As soon as an order is placed, it heads directly to the kitchen, paving the way for customization. Your orders or individual items are also efficiently routed to dedicated stations.

Payment Devices and Accessories: SpotOn offers a variety of accessories like cash drawers, payment devices, barcode scanners, scales, and customer-facing displays. What makes it better is the ability to integrate them easily with leading payment providers, without overhauling your existing workflows.

To sum up, SpotOn’s arsenal of hardware devices offers an all-encompassing suite to meet any restaurant’s requirements. If you’re considering a POS solution tailored precisely for the food and beverage sector, SpotOn can become your ideal partner.

New SpotOn Hardware Devices for 2023

new SpotOn hardware

Announced in May 2023, SpotOn’s latest line of restaurant POS hardware includes devices such as the 15.6” Station, the 10” Counter, and the 6.5” Handheld.

User-friendliness is built into these devices: the updated software and larger screens on the Station and Handheld simplify menu and modifier navigation. For easy navigation, the Handheld’s user interface now clusters menu items, enables search, illustrates floor plans, and provides table status updates.

The new lineup of SpotOn’s hardware devices, set to launch later this year, promises to boost SpotOn’s standing in the restaurant POS market. Here’s a sneak peek into why:

Customization and Flexibility: The new devices offer multiple configurations, adjusting to the evolving needs of your restaurant. Choose the Station with an option of an attached or detached guest-facing display, a base payment reader, or a side-mounted payment reader. This customization ensures you select a setup that ensures streamlined operations.

Efficiency and Speed: Sporting an 18% larger touchscreen display and an easy-to-hold leather strap, the Handheld empowers seamless tableside payment. The Counter, specifically designed for quick-service restaurants and cafes, accommodates contactless and dip payments and includes an optional guest-facing display for enhanced speed and precision.

Durability and Reliability: Equipped with high-definition touch screens, these are IP54-rated devices, ensuring protection against dust and drink spills, making them reliable and durable.

Enhanced Customer Experience: These devices are primed to augment customer satisfaction. To illustrate, the Handheld’s screen rotates to face the customer during payment, whilst the Station and Counter’s customer-facing displays boost order accuracy and speed up checkout.

Future-Proofing: SpotOn has collaborated with FIS to evolve into a payment facilitator for its customers, offering improved control over payment processing. Furthermore, this partnership enables tokenization, facilitating SpotOn customers to understand their patrons’ preferences and buying habits for highly personalized experiences.

In conclusion, these new additions promise to strengthen SpotOn’s hardware portfolio with their superior customization, efficiency, durability, and user experience. Backed by robust support and service, the new devices are future-proof, making SpotOn an even more competitive player in the restaurant POS market.

Noteworthy Features of SpotOn

The key advantages of SpotOn for restaurants include the integrated suite of features, user-friendly interface, robust hardware options, competitive payment processing rates, and advanced capabilities like online ordering and marketing tools. Its emphasis on customization also allows it to adapt to specific restaurant needs.

  • A customizable interface allows for menu customization and table layouts
  • Integrated features like online ordering, reservations, loyalty programs, etc.
  • Handheld devices for taking orders and payments at the table
  • Robust order management system with modifiers and special requests
  • Integrated payment processing with competitive rates
  • Inventory management with low stock alerts and automatic reordering
  • Employee management for scheduling, time tracking, and payroll
  • Detailed sales and analytics reporting
  • Table management with layouts and table status indicators
  • Easy-to-use menu management with drag-and-drop and search functions
  • Advanced features like marketing, reservations, online ordering, e-commerce
  • Integrations with accounting, inventory, and delivery partners
  • Offline mode allows limited functionality without internet

More information on SpotOn:

My detailed SpotOn Review provides an even more in-depth look into this restaurant POS system.

And finally, to try SpotOn out, head over to spoton.com


GoTab

GoTab POS website
GoTab Restaurant POS

Easy-to-use mobile POS with a focus on eCommerce and contactless ordering and payment features. Card present processing fees: 2.40% + $0.15.

Pros:
  • Use your iPad or GoTab-branded hardware
  • Excellent mobile order & payment solutions
  • Free starting plan & no long-term contracts
Cons:
  • Complex Reporting Functionality
  • Only available in the US & Canada
Try Now Our Review

GoTab stands out as an innovative, forward-thinking POS system tailored to help restaurants navigate the digital-first hospitality landscape. Founded in 2016, GoTab focuses on contactless service, online ordering, mobile payments, and efficient staff communication to modernize restaurant operations.

With its intuitive interface optimized for web-enabled devices, GoTab makes it easy for restaurants to leverage their existing hardware without added costs. Robust capabilities like mobile ordering, integrated payments, real-time analytics, and streamlined staff collaboration provide restaurants with the tools to boost efficiency, better serve guests, and drive revenue.

As a POS platform built for the digital age, GoTab allows restaurants to deliver the convenient, connected experiences that today’s diners expect. By combining broad hardware support, user-friendly design, and features that bridge in-person and online operations, GoTab empowers restaurants to adapt and succeed in an increasingly competitive market.

Why Gotab is an Alternative to Toast

Advanced features: GoTab provides multiple sophisticated features such as contactless ordering, flexible menu & pricing setups, and auto-batching & tipping that Toast might lack. Its marketing features include tools for customer segmentation, dynamic pricing, auto-gratuity, and promotions management, providing increased functionality.

Lower Monthly Pricing: GoTab is often recognized for its cost-effectiveness. With its transaction-based pricing model, costs are directly tied to the volume of use, which can be more affordable for some establishments, especially when compared to Toast’s higher monthly software fees.

Customization: GoTab’s hospitality-focused platform offers a high level of customization. This includes tailored workflows and customer communication, enabling operators to mold the system to their unique need.

Reliability: GoTab’s dedicated support and multiple happy customer testimonials suggest that it’s a reliable solution.

GoTab stands out with potentially significant cost savings and flexibility through its transaction-based pricing model.

  • No additional charges for essential products or support.
  • Option to buy your own hardware or opt for GoTab-branded hardware.
  • Feature-rich offerings catered to diverse business needs without additional costs.
  • Savings on processing fees through the “Open Tabs” feature.
  • Customized enterprise pricing available.

Processing Fees:

  • 2.25% + $0.15 for Card Present Transactions. (When a card is tapped, dipped or swiped in person).
  • 2.5% + $0.25 for Card Not Present Transactions. (When an order is placed through mobile ordering, card on file or manual entry).

Contact GoTab for a pricing quote for the Quickstart, Premium and Enterprise pla

GoTab is only available in the US.

GoTab offers a diverse range of hardware options to suit various business needs. GoTab can run on any Internet-connected Android, iOS, or Windows tablet or phone.

Some key features of their hardware offerings are:

Kitchen Ready: GoTab provides responsive, high-quality touch displays designed to withstand high-volume kitchen environments.
Buy Online: Restaurants can purchase GoTab hardware such as tablets, handhelds, printers, and displays from the GoTab Store.
At Your Service: A dedicated onboarding team is available to help restaurants set up their hardware, whether live and onsite or over the phone.
More Choices: GoTab allows restaurants to use any hardware that works best for their operation, ensuring they are never locked into a specific device.

GoTab KDS

Innovative Features of GoTab

GoTab enables a personalized ordering and payment process for every guest at your restaurant. With features like mobile ordering, diners can enjoy quick, secure service without the need for an app. This versatility allows customers to order and pay in the way that suits them best, either in-person, online, or via mobile.

Dynamic Menu Management

GoTab’s system allows for rapid adjustments to your menu as and when required. This provides you with the ability to respond in real time to changes in inventory availability, reintroduce previously discontinued favourites, or introduce seasonal specials. Such agility assists in maintaining a lively, responsive menu.

Touch-Free Ordering and Payment

GoTab empowers your customers to explore your menu and place orders entirely via their smartphones. This non-contact ordering and payment strategies limit in-person interactions, potentially improving safety and convenience. The system that operates without conventional point-of-sale terminals ensures maximum flexibility for an enhanced customer experience.

Integrated Service

GoTab combines all aspects of the dining experience into a single unified system under your management. This encompasses everything from accessing menus to settling bills. It simplifies the process of ordering meals, beverages, condiments, managing tips, and more, aiming to streamline your operations and boost efficiency.

Future-proof Competitive Advantage

Contact-free and mobile ordering are fast becoming a standard expectation among consumers. GoTab equips your restaurant to proactively meet these emerging trends, offering a competitive advantage. It enables you to rapidly adapt to evolving protocols, safety requirements, and technology advancements.

More information on GoTab:

To learn more and to try GoTab out, head over to gotab.com


5 Things to Watch for in Toast Competitors

When considering alternatives to Toast, check if your chosen option includes the following attributes. Also, consider any unique features or qualities that align with your restaurant’s specific needs.

Shorter Contracts and No Early Termination Fees

Toast requires a 1-year contract, and charges an early termination fee if you cancel before the term is up. Some competitors like Square and GoTab have month-to-month contracts or no contract at all, offering more flexibility.

Third-Party Payment Processing

Toast processes payments through its own Toast Payments. Some alternatives like TouchBistro and Lightspeed let you use external processors like Stripe or Authorize.Net. This provides more choice in payment partners.

Lower Monthly Pricing

Toast has a reputation for high monthly software fees compared to some competitors. Options like Square offer transparent, pay-as-you-go pricing that can cost less per month. Toast has also been known to increase monthly pricing and payment processing costs.

More Features

Certain Toast alternatives excel in areas Toast lacks, like Lightspeed’s advanced analytics or Square’s robust e-commerce capabilities.

Better Customer Support

Some competitors boast stronger customer support reputations and US-based teams, which can be preferable over Toast’s largely overseas support staff.

The combination of lower costs, fewer contracts, more features, and better service is compelling enough for many restaurants to choose a Toast competitor that’s a better match.

Summary: What is The Best Toast Alternative for You

There are several reasons why Toast’s competitors – TouchBistro, Lightspeed, Square, SpotOn, and GoTab – might serve as better POS systems than Toast for certain restaurants. Here’s a summary for each:

TouchBistro: This system is known for its fast and easy-to-use tableside ordering and payment features and its customizable configuration to meet the needs of various types of restaurants. It also accepts multiple payment processors, allowing more flexibility compared to Toast’s own proprietary processing system.

Lightspeed: Known for its strong inventory management, robust reporting, and advanced analytics, Lightspeed also supports third-party payment processing, enabling a wider variety of payment options.

Square: Square’s merits include its flexibility with no long-term contracts, the ability to accept various payment methods, lower monthly costs, and robust features that include online ordering and marketing tools. It is especially applicable to smaller establishments like food trucks and cafes due to its retail capabilities and free plan options.

SpotOn: Notable for its month-to-month flexibility and low processing fees, SpotOn also boasts many advanced features including digital waitlisting, labor management, and reporting. Furthermore, its marketing and loyalty program features, along with its round-the-clock customer support, provide additional value to restaurant owners.

GoTab: This system is cost-effective with its transaction-based pricing model and offers comprehensive contactless ordering features. GoTab’s capability to integrate smoothly with other technological systems, including kitchen display systems and websites, makes it an appealing choice for restaurants seeking a versatile and affordable POS system.

It’s important to note that while these systems could offer potential advantages over Toast, the choice of a POS system largely depends on a restaurant’s specific needs, operations, and budget. Restaurants should evaluate these factors against the features, benefits, and costs of each system before making a decision.

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