Toast POS Review - Free POS for Restaurants

Toast POS Review

Introduction - Toast POS Review

Looking for a Toast POS review?  Toast is a modern and flexible POS system that can accommodate restaurants, bakeries, and cafes of various sizes and types, ranging casual quick serve restaurants or to sit down dining restaurants. It can also be used to manage bars. Toast does a good job managing both the front- and back-of-house operations.  Toast Payments, included with Toast, allows you to use Toast to accept on-premises payments as well as online payments on orders from your customers.  Toast offers a wide selection of proprietary restaurant-specific hardware as well as a add-ons apps and services - such as loyalty programs and delivery services.

Toast’s online ordering system is fully integrated with the POS screens and allows restaurants to manage or throttle orders if needed based on kitchen capacity.

Toast offers a free Starter Package for small restaurants needing only one or two stations and a basic set of features.  There are paid subscriptions for larger users or users that need more features.

Toast is our top free restaurant POS recommendation.

Ratings by Feature

Below are our ratings for Toast POS by feature:

Value: 8 of 10

Functionality: 9 of 10

Add-ons and integrations: 10 of 10

Ease-of-use: 10 of 10

Customer support: 8 of 10

OVERALL:  9 of 10


  • Flexible set-up with all the required functionality of typical restaurant businesses.
  • The Toast platform provides access to real-time customer, menu and staffing data.
  • Toast’s offers an integrated online ordering system allowing guests to order and schedule. meals online, and even better Toast does not charge a commission for this service.
  • For restaurants offering deliveries, Toast offers access to a fleet of on-demand delivery drivers through its Toast Delivery Services.
  • Toast POS offers the ability to dynamically throttle the order flow during peak times to better manage orders.
  • With Toast Order & Pay, guests can order online while seated in your restaurant.


  • Toast does not integrate with third-party payment processors, forcing you to use its Toast Payments.
  • Toast offers proprietary POS hardware, which cannot be used with other POS vendors if you decide to switch off of Toast POS.
  • Some add-on charge an additional fee. For example, Toast charges a flat monthly fee for its Loyalty program.
  • Online reviews on support from customers has been mixed.


Toast offers flexible, customizable POS packages.  These plans and prices continually change, so be sure to check Toast’s website for any updates.

Starter Kit – Free

For small retailers, Toast offers a free Starter Kit.   This is limited to small restaurants with less than 2 terminals.  This also includes a POS hardware lease program with no upfront costs for a terminal or handheld kit.  This free plan excludes many popular add-on and features, such as online ordering, which are available for additional fees.  The Starter Kit is a great option if you’re just starting a restaurant.

Point of Sale - $69/month

For larger restaurants, Toast offers a standard Point of Sale plan.  This offers restaurants the ability to use a variety of Toast hardware options.  This excludes many popular add-on and features, such as online ordering, which are available for additional fees.

Build Your Own – Custom pricing

For restaurants, with complex needs, Toast offers custom price for customized system designs.

While these prices look attractive, they exclude many features that are included for free in other restaurant POS systems.  The following features and services cost extra in Toast:

  • Order & Pay
  • Online ordering
  • TakeOut
  • Loyalty
  • Gift Cards
  • Email Marketing
  • Payroll and team management
  • Scheduling and team communication
  • Delivery services
  • Tips manager
  • Inventory management
  • Food cost/recipe management
  • 3rd Party integrations

Please note that Toast does not allow outside processors, so these prices are predicated on using Toast Payments.  Based on the pricing of Toast Payments vs. other payment alternatives, the potentially higher cost of Toast Payments could add to the overall cost of Toast POS.  This was viewed as negative in our Toast POS review.

Toast POS Features

Toast’s offers an all-in-one POS system, providing all the software, hardware and services needed to run A customer’s restaurant businesses. This includes modern software, proprietary POS hardware designed to be used with Toast, and integrated payments.

Here are some notable features that Toast POS offers:

  • POS and Tipping – While not unique, Toast provides customized tipping options. Tips can be automatically calculated and distributed across restaurant staff.
  • Menu Management - Make menu updates from any terminal at your restaurant or anywhere else on your smartphone. Given the integration with online ordering, menu changes or updates are automatically reflected in available online ordering options.
  • Tableside Payments - Take payments (EMV or Card) tableside, collect and respond to guest feedback immediately. Toast’s Order & Pay helps restaurants operate more efficiently by minimizing the back-and-forth between guests and staff. Order & Pay also speeds table turnover, as guests do not have to wait for a server to deliver their menu or the check.
  • Take Out - Guests can order ahead across iOS and Android devices. Allows guests to schedule an order for a future time or from a menu available in the future as well.
  • Gift Cards - Sell gift cards online by adding a button to your website or your online ordering site.
  • Online Ordering - Commission-free ordering channels for takeout and delivery. Customers can place a new order on a restaurant’s website or mobile app with the order going directly to the kitchen, eliminating the risk of errors or double entries. Customers can also preorder meals, which allows better manage orders during peak dining hours.
  • Delivery Services - Toast Delivery Services allows restaurants to dispatch local drivers through an on-demand network to service any delivery order. Customers can schedule their orders and track deliveries in real time. While many other POS systems integrate with third-party delivery services such as DoorDash, Toast is unique as it manages its own fleet of delivery drivers.
  • Payroll - Employee punches sync directly to payroll, saving you time each pay period.
  • Kitchen Display - Fire orders directly to your kitchen without double entry with Toast Kitchen Display System.
  • Loyalty - Restaurants can customize how customers earn and redeem their points. Guests seamlessly accrue points with each swipe of their credit card. No need for customers to carry a loyalty card or sign-in on every visit. Customers can also use the ToastApp (Android and iOS) to track their progress toward rewards.  No additional hardware is needed.
  • Email Marketing - Simple email marketing tool to help you connect with guests and increase repeat visits.
  • Analytics - Toast has a wide variety of POS reports that provide insights into restaurant sales and costs.

Ease of Use

Toast’s POS system is one of the most easy-to-use restaurant POS systems tested.  The screens are modern and well thought out.

Toast also offers various hardware options to offer flexibility adapting Toast to the customers server and customer experience. For example, Toast’s offers in-restaurant tablets that servers can uses to take orders, collect payments, and request guest feedback using.

The management tools to customize options for the needs and requirements of a restaurant are straightforward.   There is also lots of online help resources available.

Customer Toast POS reviews generally noted the ease of use of Toast software and its functions.

Toast Hardware Free POS

Payment Processing

Toast’s POS only works with its internal payment processor – Toast Payments.  You cannot bring your own third-party payment processor.

Toast claims to offer transparent and uncomplicated payment processing pricing plans.

Instead of publishing a fixed rate on its website, Toast offers to work with you on a custom-built rate plan based on the volume and types of cards processed at your business. Toast claims that it will work with your restaurant to establish a payment processing rate that fits your needs.

Toast claims that there are no hidden fees in Toast Payments.

Integrated payments offer many benefits, such a streamlining the check-out process.  Toast Payments also support an offline mode for payment processing.

Toast Payments support multiple payment platforms.  Terminals tend to change so please see Toast’s website for the latest terminals supported.

  • Mobile Order & Pay – provide guest with a QR code that guests that scan to order and pay on their own phone.
  • Toast Go – Handheld computer that manages orders and payments at the table.
  • Toast Tap – Small wireless terminal that allows guests to swipe, dip, or tap to pay for their order with their preferred contactless payment option.
  • Toast Flex – Tablet like devise with touch screen and integrated payment terminal.

Overall, we feel that the integration of a transparent processing plan and integrated POS terminals is a plus in our Toast POS review.  Integrated payment offerings help streamline operations and provide a superior customer experience.

Hardware Requirements

Toast uses proprietary POS hardware. While Toast is compatible with select third-party hardware, the company strongly recommends using its hardware.

We feel that the breadth of Toast’s hardware line is impressive.  The devices also appeared well designed.  We did not note a significant number of reviews commenting on unacceptable quality and reliability of Toast hardware.

  • Toast Flex – Tablet like devise with touch screen and integrated payment terminal.
  • Toast Flex for Kitchens – Tablet like device used to display orders in the kitchen
  • Toast Flex for Guests – Tablet attachment used to collect payments and customer data
  • Toast Go – Handheld computer that manages orders and payments at the table.
  • Toast Kiosk – Tablet used for customer self ordering and payments

Toast also offers a variety of system accessories, such as restaurant-grade card readers, networking devices, and peripherals.

Toast hardware has a proprietary design and is only compatible with Android devices.  The proprietary design of the hardware means that your existing POS hardware will need to be replaced.  Further, if you every think about switching from Toast, the proprietary Toast hardware cannot be used with other vendors.  This increases the switching costs if you do not like something about Toast.  This was considered negative in our Toast free POS review.



Toast can integrate with about 120+ third-party applications across multiple functional areas (labor, reservations, inventory, accounting, security, analytics, marketing, digital signage, etc).  The third-party apps are managed through an integration platform.  We were impressed at the breadth of the integrations available.  While we could not test all these integrations, they do include the most widely used restaurant software applications. This integration marketplace is larger than any of the other restaurant POS systems evaluated.

Based on online customer Toast POS reviews, so customers found some features integrated has limitations.  Other customers felt ‘nickelled and dimed’ by the fees for integrations and add on applications.  Be sure to read the documentation on the limitations of apps before your purchase of the app/integration.


There are some limitations of Toast POS that should be considered.

  • Toast cannot be used with third-party payment processors. This eliminates the option of using your existing processor, which may offer great rates or excellent local support. You cannot shop around to find a credit card processor that best fits your needs. If you ever have issues with Toast Payments or the payment integration, you will not be able to switch to a different processor without switching from of Toast POS.  If Toast Payments raises rates in the future, your only option will be to switch from of Toast POS, as Toast may not be motivated to negotiate given the cost of switching POS systems. This is a material limitation.
  • Toast uses proprietary POS hardware. While Toast is compatible with select third-party hardware, the company strongly recommends using its hardware. Toast hardware has a proprietary design and is only compatible with Android devices. The proprietary design of the hardware means that your existing POS hardware will need to be replaced.  Further, if you every think about switching from Toast, the proprietary Toast hardware cannot be used with other vendors.  This increases the switching costs if you do not like something about Toast.

Set Up and Implementation

Toast offers multiple plans and add-on features so restaurants can configure Toast to fits their needs, albeit at a cost for the add-one.  This was viewed as positive in our Toast POS review.  Set up can range from being super easy to super complex, based on the needs of the restaurant.  Toast provides tools to make the set up easier.  For example, you can update and edit your menu from your smartphone.  We also like that each plan comes with installations and network configurations, as well as automatic software and feature upgrades.

You can begin with the Quick Start Bundle plan, expand with the Growth plan, or create a completely customized plan. Toast also offers a more basic version of its Growth plan with the New Restaurant Basics package, which can be a great option if you’re just starting a restaurant.

Toast provides a significant amount of online training materials to help new users to start using the software.  There is also an extensive online database of help articles and troubleshooting tips.  The articles are well written, up to date and easy to follow.

We liked how you could use the various add-ons to customize Toast’s POS plans for your needs. It may take a while to select and implement the various option to your business, but Toast gives you more flexibility than other restaurant software reviewed.


Toast plans include 24/7 phone, email and chat customer support.  This is a requirement in the restaurant industry, where many restaurants stay open late and are open on weekends.

Toast also provides a robust online resource center with lots of online training and support documentation.

Online reviews of the quality of online support have been mixed.  While there are plenty of positive online reviews on the quality of Toast Support, there are many negative reviews based on a poor experience with Toast support.  Users have flagged issues with the responsiveness and quality of support.  Some users have claimed that Toast support is not knowledgeable and cannot solve basic issues.

Restaurants can very complex with many technology requirements.  Give the complexity of Toast, you would expect some customers to have difficulty setting up a new installation of Toast.  However, we were concerned about claims that support was unresponsive and could not solve issues over long time.

Online Toast POS Reviews

When reviewing reviews on third party review sites, Toast has mixes review.  While overall, Toast received an overall rate of 4 of 5 stars on a review site with about 1000 reviews, some of the reviews were pretty negative.  Reviewers complained about:

  • High expense of add on modules
  • Glitches in payments
  • Complicated set up process
  • Unresponsive customer support
  • Customer support not knowledgeable and unable to fix issues
  • Too many system outages

Recommendations for Restaurants

Toast is recommended for …

  • Restaurants that need a POS system with online ordering and delivery capabilities.
  • Restaurants that want the flexibility to customize their POS system
  • Restaurants that want to integrate with a variety of third-party applications.
  • Restaurants that want to tap into the data and services of a large POS company such as Toast
  • Restaurants that want POS hardware designed for their POS system

Toast is not recommended for …

  • Restaurants that want to have a choice on which payment processor is used at their business.
  • Restaurants that do not want to be locked into proprietary hardware.
  • Restaurants that do not want to pay extra or separately for functions and services bundled for free in other POS options.

For more information on how to select the best free POS system for your store, click here.

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