POS Comparison Guide: Compare POS System Features

Simple POS comparison guides (including reviews) to help you make the right choice.


Toast vs. iPad POS   Toast vs. Legacy POS   Toast vs. Cash Registers

If you’re thinking about improving your restaurant operations, you’ve probably seen a lot of restaurant technology options.

From familiar yet clunky legacy systems to the fancier iPad POS systems, there are dozens of alternatives out there that promise they’ll help you deliver the best back of house and front of house experience.

We want to help make your decision as easy as possible, so we’ve put together some info that’ll help you decide which option is best for you.

Below, you’ll find guides comparing the different POS system features of Toast, legacy systems, and other point of sale systems such as Revel Systems and TouchBistro. The comparisons include benefits, pricing, customer experience and thoughts from current Toast customers who have made the switch.

If you're hungry for more, read The Definitive Guide to Restaurant POS Systems for resources and strategies when buying a point of sale. 

BONUS: Download our Interactive POS Comparison Tool to research and compare point of sale systems for your restaurant.

1) Built for Restaurants 

On one end of the spectrum, legacy POS systems, also known as “traditional” or “on-premise” POS systems, are familiar; you’ve been using them for years, and you know them best.

The problem is that legacy POS systems have become too outdated for the demands of modern restaurants. 

Without cloud-based restaurant software, it’s hard to keep track of your restaurant sales, labor reporting, and inventory management in real-time. There's a limited amount of storage in these legacy systems, which results in you having to delete old data to make room for new data. Finally, you can't make modifications remotely to your menu or anything else; everything has to be done in the back office. 

Eventually, things start to slip through the cracks.

On the other end, iPad POS systems offer tons of features.

While that may make them feature-rich, it certainly doesn’t make them simple or easy to use.

In fact, we started Toast because we wanted to create a restaurant POS system that's simply an extension of your operations. Restaurant owners don’t want one more thing to juggle; they don’t have time to learn a new system, and they don’t want to have to interrupt service to update their restaurant software. Restaurant owners need a seamless solution that isn't clunky or worse yet, obsolete. 


“It was clear to us that, in order to make an impact on the restaurant industry, we would need to build a new system from the ground up. We sought to simplify the lives of restaurant owners who had to deal with multiple integrations and pieces of technology and pay an arm and a leg for each them. We sought to build a platform to manage all of their operations - a platform that allowed for mobility, easy access to data and updates, and an improved consumer experience."  - Steve Fredette, Co-Founder


We built Toast to look and feel like your restaurant. When a server logs in, they see a simple menu and can pick and choose items quickly and easily.

But on top of that, we added core features like quick menu modifications, tableside ordering and payments, real-time sales and labor reporting,  and a powerful restaurant customer database -- all accessible online, and in real-time.

And if you ever want to enhance Toast beyond the core restaurant POS system, you can do so with any of our revenue-driving modules:

Online Ordering  |  Loyalty Program  |  Gift Cards  |  Menu Software

"The Toast system is very intuitive to what we need. It was able to reduce the number of inputs that a cashier had to put in, adding up to a quicker dining experience within the restaurant. It was also very fast for training. Because it’s simpler and quicker, our employees were able to pick it up in less time than they were for our previous system."

- Jeff Jacobson, Costa Vida COO

2) Customer SupportPOS support

Have you ever called into a support line and had to wait 3 hours on hold for someone to answer… only to realize the person who does isn’t even in your timezone?

There’s nothing worse than companies who guarantee free U.S.-based support, but can’t follow up on that promise.

What’s worse, some companies promise free services and support, but then bury hidden charges and fees deep into the contract, so unless you’re a legal professional, it’s near impossible to dissect. Legacy POS systems like Aloha and Micros are at least forthright: they charge a yearly fee for support contracts.

A large part of our mission here at Toast is transparency and doing right by our customers; their success is our success. That’s why we believe it’s our responsibility to go above and beyond when it comes to POS services and support. Our U.S.-based POS Support are proactive day and night, answering email and phone queries and tapping into the exact issues customers are experiencing.

Contacting support is easy: just call the support line or email support@toasttab.com. Toast’s Customer Hub also makes it easy for your team to train on Toast in their own time.



Toast’s commitment to user satisfaction and
practical customer service is unmatched in the industry.
- Merchant Maverick

Read the full review >


3) Durable, Reliable Hardware

When you're evaluating restaurant POS systems, you'll most likely have three choices in terms of hardware: 

  1. Windows Computer
  2. iPad POS System
  3. Android POS System 

A Windows computer may "last forever," but it will last forever as an outdated system. Much like a car, it loses its value the moment after it's bought. After a few years, it won't even be able to accept software upgrades when they're available, and you'll need a tech specialist to physically install new versions every year or so, interrupting service as a result. 

Apple hardware may be great for personal and office use but can't handle the stress of a restaurant environment. Apple products present issues when used as kitchen display systems in places that give off extreme heat and when employees spill drinks or drop their tablets on the floor. The normal daily demand on these devices in restaurants is very different from what Apple products were designed to do.

Meanwhile, many Android device manufacturers, such as Elo, specialize in developing commercial-grade restaurant POS systems built to handle the rigors of the restaurant environment. Elo devices have a longer lifespan and come with a 2-year manufacturer's guarantee. 

On top of that, Android tablets are more affordable, both upon first installation and when replacing devices that are dropped and broken.

Finally, you may be worried that you’re sacrificing the sleek design of an Apple product for something less than gorgeous for your restaurant. Check out these pictures and see if that’s still the case:

pos hardware comparison

I didn’t think we could afford a complete POS system. I’ve dealt with the big vendors before and there was no way we could pay those fees. Toast fits our budget and offers more than I ever expected from a POS system. Toast has exceeded our expectations and been a lifesaver for our business. We’re so glad we found them before we opened!”

- Jesse Lopez, Daddy O's

4) Completely Customizable

From full service and quick service to cafes and nightclubs, every restaurant is different.

We believe that there is not one end-all be-all solution for every restaurant owner.

That’s why Toast allows customers to customize their setup completely. From the various types of POS hardware to choose from to the exact menu configuration you need, Toast will work with you every step of the way to fully customize your system and setup exactly how you want it.

What’s more, Toast empowers restaurant owners to make changes to their system on the fly:

Easy menu modifications

In the restaurant environment, we know that a situation can change very quickly; your staff needs to be adaptable. Toast's Quick Edit Mode allows staff members with the appropriate permissions to quickly make changes from any tablet that sync across all of them, without having to reboot the system. 

Comment on an order

Toast employees and managers can comment on specific orders or checks, effectively keeping a "log" of all orders. If a server needs to void an item, they can create a comment and share why. 

Automate your restaurant workflows

Have your orders go directly to the kitchen display system, with notifications on the server side when they're ready so your front of house and back of house communicate efficiently. In fact, why even separate them? It’s time for a “one-house” system.


“We needed something we could tailor to our restaurant, versus having a POS system that we needed to build our sales around.”

- Bella Wattles, Paris Creperie

5) Pricing

We believe that restaurant software should be affordable for all restaurants, whether you’re a small brick-and-mortar or a multi-location chain.

And we get it: pen and paper is free. Free is a great price.

But we believe that the value you’ll get from Toast far outweighs the cost.

And thousands of happy restaurateurs agree. If our restaurant POS features can save your team just five hours per month, then Toast will increase your ROI.

When you're evaluating several different restaurant POS quotes, it's hard to stay focused on what matters. That's why we want to share this handy worksheet you can use to evalute POS pricing, including questions you should ask your POS vendor that might make a difference to your bottom line. 

POS Pricing Considerations 


Lease vs. Own

Are you making an investment into something you’ll ultimately own, or simply paying rent?


Over what timeframe
and what kind of damage (defects vs. wear-and-tear vs. accidental damage) does the warranty for your restaurant POS cover?            


What is the cost of a full upgrade? What is involved if there are changes in the industry around payment options or hardware security?



What features do you need? Think through your full technology needs to get a full picture.

Monthly vs. Upfront

Will you be paying a monthly subscription, or paying upfront? Or a combination - paying monthly installments for one cost?


How often are software upgrades available? What cost is associated with taking advantage of those updates?


On-site Installation

Will the POS company set up your network and hardware on-site? Will you need to hire a contractor? 

Menu Setup

Who is setting up your menu and workflows in the POS software? Is this an hourly charge and/or is there a limit to the number of hours allowed?


Will training be provided? Is it on-site or on the phone? Is there a limit to the number of training hours? Is training provided for managers or servers?


Phone Support

Is the support team based in the U.S.? How long, on average, does it take them to respond?

Email Support

What email / web support options are available, and what are the associated costs? Is there a limit to the amount of tickets you can submit?

On-Site Support

What is the cost of on-site support? Per visit? Per hour? How quickly can a technician be sent out? Can support issues be resolved remotely vs. on-site?

Your restaurant technology platform should not only handle the basic functions of operating your restaurant, but also help you grow your business by serving more customers, turning guests into loyal customers, and saving you time managing day-to-day operations.

Here are a few more reasons to switch…

We work hard to get to know all of our customers. One of the things we always ask is:
Why did you choose Toast?

Hundreds of happy customers have switched from pen and paper systems or iPad POS systems. See what they have to say… 

"The Toast system is very intuitive to what we need. It was able to reduce the number of inputs that a cashier had to put in, adding up to a quicker dining experience within the restaurant. It was also very fast for training. Because it’s simpler and quicker, our employees were able to pick it up in less time than they were for our previous system."

- Jeff Jacobson, Costa Vida COO


My advice to anyone opening a restaurant and trying to choose a POS is to make sure the people who work at the company you’re using are people you trust and are communicative. That’s one of the best parts of working with Toast. The customer service is awesome, and we’ve always gotten all the help we need generating reports."

- Irene Li, Mei Mei Restaurant


"Before Toast, I'd never had my expectations completely met when it came to the type of support we received. The level of ownership that Toast has taken over our success is something I've never seen from any other restaurant technology company."  

– Ben Kaplan, Director of Operations