Restaurant Tech News

Toast Launches AI-Powered Restaurant Marketing Solutions

Managing your restaurant’s digital marketing can feel like a full-time job. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed between building a website, managing online orders, crafting email campaigns, and analyzing customer data.

Toast is now offering restaurants a solution to improve their marketing and online presence with the launch of its new Digital Storefront and Marketing Suites.

Screenshot of Toast AI Marketing Assistant

Imagine having an AI-powered assistant write email campaigns for you or automated tools that send targeted messages to customers based on their ordering habits.

That’s the vision behind Toast’s new offering. Now, let’s look at the new tools.

AI Marketing Assistant

One of the features of Toast’s new Marketing Suite is its AI-powered writing assistant, designed specifically for restaurant email marketing. This tool simplifies and streamlines the process of creating effective promotional emails.

To use the AI assistant, simply input your campaign goal and preferred tone. Whether you aim to drive sales, promote a new menu item, or foster customer loyalty, the AI will generate engaging email content tailored to your objectives. It can also adapt the language and style to match your brand’s unique voice.

If you lack a background in marketing, this tool can be transformative. It enables you to create professional, persuasive email campaigns that resonate with your audience without needing to hire a dedicated marketing specialist or spend hours meticulously crafting every word.

Automated, Data-Driven Campaigns

Toast’s Marketing Suite offers one-click, automated email campaigns with real-time guest data. Restaurants can analyze customer behavior and preferences to send targeted messages quickly.

For example, you can set up automated campaigns to:

  • Welcome new guests and encourage their return
  • Thank loyal customers and offer exclusive perks
  • Promote seasonal specials or limited-time offers to boost sales
  • Win back lapsed customers with enticing incentives

The best part? These campaigns run automatically once set up.

Unifying Online and In-Person Guest Experiences

Toast’s new Digital Storefront and Marketing Suites can integrate a restaurant’s online and in-person guest experiences. By using digital interactions and in-store transactions data, restaurants gain a holistic view of customers’ preferences and behaviors.

Here are some potential use cases:

  • A customer frequently orders a specific dish for delivery through your online storefront. The next time they visit your restaurant in person, your staff can greet them by name and recommend complementary items from your menu, creating a personalized experience that makes the customer feel valued and understood.
  • Every customer interaction contributes to a rich profile for tailored marketing and guest experiences, such as placing an online order, redeeming a loyalty reward, or dining in your restaurant.
  • Use data from your POS system to identify your most loyal in-person customers. Then, use the Marketing Suite’s automated campaigns to send them personalized invitations to try your online ordering platform with a special discount code.
  • Target frequent online customers with exclusive offers to dine in, encouraging them to experience your restaurant in a new way.

Toast’s integrated platform breaks down the barriers between online and offline interactions, allowing restaurants to create cohesive, omnichannel guest experiences that drive loyalty and repeat business.

Toast Websites

Toast Websites helps restaurants build and customize a professional website with drag-and-drop functionality and embedded Toast products. This helps restaurants enhance their online presence, drive traffic via SEO, and make updates quickly.

Key features:

  • SEO: Toast Websites is designed to make online restaurant discovery easy.
  • Toast Websites integrates with its POS systems for real-time updates to digital and online ordering menus when menu item availability or descriptions change.
  • Customization: Toast Websites offers templates and drag-and-drop tools to simplify website-building. Restaurants can bring their in-person dining experience online with custom fonts, colors, and imagery.
  • Toast Websites showcase a restaurant’s full range of Toast products, including Online Ordering, Toast Tables, Loyalty, and more.

Toast vs. SpotOn: Comparing AI-Powered Restaurant Marketing Tools

Toast’s new Digital Storefront and Marketing Suites follow the recent release of SpotOn Marketing Assist, which I covered here. Both platforms aim to save operators time and resources but approach the problem differently and offer unique features for different needs.

The Similarities

Toast and SpotOn understand the challenges independent restaurants face with marketing. Operators often lack the time and expertise to manage it effectively. Both platforms aim to automate the process, freeing up valuable hours for owners and managers to focus on other aspects of their business.

  • AI-Powered Campaigns: Toast’s AI Marketing and SpotOn Marketing Assist use AI to create and send automated campaigns. Toast’s platform generates engaging email marketing materials by providing campaign goals and desired tone. Similarly, SpotOn’s tool prompts operators to answer questions about their business and marketing objectives to create tailored campaigns.
  • Time-Saving Features: Both platforms prioritize ease of use and efficiency. Toast offers drag-and-drop website building and seamless POS integration, while SpotOn simplifies email and social media marketing with customizable campaigns and effortless setup.
  • Data-Driven Insights: Toast and SpotOn collect data from the POS systems to power campaigns and provide customer behavior insights.

The Differences

The core concepts are similar, but there are key differences between Toast’s new offerings and SpotOn Marketing Assistant:

  • Focus on Online Presence: Toast prioritizes improving restaurants’ online presence. Its Digital Storefront and Marketing Suites include a powerful website builder (Toast Websites) for creating professional, SEO-optimized websites. This is crucial for attracting new customers in today’s digital age.
  • All-in-One Solution: Toast aims to be a comprehensive restaurant technology platform with its new suites, which integrate seamlessly with the rest of the Toast platform. This allows restaurants to gather guest data from online and transactions for automated, targeted campaigns, creating a unified digital hospitality experience.
  • Pricing and Availability: SpotOn Marketing Assist is $95/month. Toast has not yet announced pricing details for its new suites.

The Double-Edged Sword of AI Marketing for Restaurants

AI-powered marketing tools like Toast and SpotOn promise to change restaurant marketing. They automate tasks like email creation and campaign segmentation, saving operators valuable time and improving audience reach.

For restaurants, AI marketing offers clear benefits. These tools can level the playing field, enabling independent eateries to create professional, engaging marketing campaigns that rival larger chains.

With AI handling content creation, operators can focus on other aspects of their business. The data-driven insights help restaurants understand their customers and tailor marketing for maximum impact.

However, like any powerful technology, there are potential downsides.

The hospitality industry faces two major concerns: the possibility of decreasing human interaction and personalized service due to automation, and the risk of generating low-quality content.

Striking a Balance

The future of AI marketing for restaurants looks bright despite potential pitfalls. The key will be striking a balance between using AI to streamline processes and gain insights and maintaining the personal touch that defines the hospitality industry.

AI marketing tools will likely become more sophisticated and better at replicating individual brand tones.

Restaurants should embrace the benefits of AI marketing while being mindful of the downsides. With the right approach, these tools can be a powerful weapon in any restaurant’s marketing arsenal.

A recent survey by reveals a growing interest among restaurant professionals in AI as a solution to industry challenges.

Despite less than a third currently using AI, 71.6% plan to adopt it soon, recognizing its necessity for competitiveness. Key findings include:

  • 54% of respondents are optimistic about AI’s positive impact on restaurants.
  • 46% believe AI can improve the overall guest experience.
  • AI is seen as a solution to staffing, service quality, and cost challenges in the post-pandemic era.
  • There’s a need for AI solutions tailored to the unique challenges of the restaurant industry.
  • Industry leaders are optimistic about AI driving a shift towards customer-centricity in hospitality.


Read the full press release from Toast here.

Additional resources

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Jan is a writer and content creator at with a focus on the restaurant and food service industry. Drawing from his background in tech and UX design, Jan breaks down complex systems into digestible, actionable insights.

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