The bottom line:
Pros & Cons
- 24/7 phone, chat and email support.
- Built specifically for restaurants.
- Greater offline mode capabilities than many competitors.
- Contracts are automatically renewed and can't be terminated early.
TouchBistro is best for businesses that:
- Want a provider that can grow with them. TouchBistro’s system can scale as your business grows with a variety of optional add-on features and third-party software integrations.
- Are prepared to make a longer-term contract commitment. TouchBistro contracts automatically renew, and early termination may be difficult or costly.
- Bank with Chase. If you use TouchBistro for payment processing and you have a Chase account, you can receive your funds by the next business day. Otherwise, it could take several days to see your funds deposited.
Payment processing model
Payment processing fees
Quote-based if you use TouchBistro Payments; can also choose from third-party payment processors.
Not disclosed. An iPad is necessary to run TouchBistro software. IPads, cash drawers, routers, printers, mini servers, keyboards and other accessories are available by quote only. You may also have the option to use your existing equipment.
The contract length is specified in the quote and is automatically renewed unless 30 days' prior notice of cancellation is given. In most cases, you can’t terminate the contract early.
Customer service and technical support are available 24/7 by phone, chat and email. Additional resources include a support center with articles and videos, live workshops and a VIP community.
Where TouchBistro stands out
- Table management. TouchBistro’s floor plan and table management software lets you lay out your restaurant floor plan, assign staff to sections and view availability in your dining room with ease. It also offers easy table transfers if diners want to change tables.
- Tableside ordering. For tableside ordering, the system allows servers to browse the menu, punch in items and modifiers, and send the entire ticket to the kitchen when the order is complete. It includes a feature to prompt servers to mention other items and allows them to split or join bills at a customer's request. You can also enter “card not present” transactions and set gratuity to automatically calculate at checkout.
- Menu management. You can build and adjust your menu directly through the POS system. Menus can be customized with detailed descriptions of items that can help servers answer questions and create special orders. You can also schedule specials or seasonal changes by cloning your existing menu.
- Staff management. The software features a clock-in/clock-out function that allows you to track employee hours. You can assign staff members their own accounts and adjust their permissions based on their roles. Employee payroll details are stored to help you calculate wages, and reports with data on overtime hours and labor costs are available.
- Inventory management. The inventory management software lets you create a record of the quantity and cost of ingredients used in your recipes so you can determine menu item profit margins and make the call on whether an item stays or goes. Stock level reports help you determine when to order. When inventory is running low on a specific dish, servers are notified so they can withdraw it from the menu.
- Reports and analytics. The software comes with over 50 reports that provide valuable insight into your restaurant’s performance. For example, you can learn about customer behavior and identify spending patterns. These reports are useful when making decisions about your menu, promotions and the service you provide. Detailed reports are also available on staff performance.
Scalability through add-ons
- Reservations. This booking system can be used by restaurants of any size. TouchBistro charges an additional flat monthly fee for this feature; there aren’t any other booking-related fees. You control the availability of online reservations by blocking out dates. Guests receive email confirmations of their reservations and have the opportunity to go back and make changes through the system. It may be possible to transfer reservations from an old system with the assistance of a TouchBistro team member.
- Online ordering. This online system allows customers to place orders on your website, through social media and through TouchBistro Dine, a reservation platform. Customers can order in advance and pay online, plus you’ll receive notification through the POS system. This feature is available in the U.S. and Canada, excluding Quebec.
- Gift cards. This feature offers physical and digital gift cards for your restaurant that can be bought at your location, on your website or through a personalized customer web app. It takes three to five days to receive generic, physical cards and close to two weeks for custom cards.
- Loyalty. This customer relationship management feature offers multiple reward options for customers. You can design personalized promotions to be sent to customers by email. You can also set criteria for customers to automatically receive rewards based on the amount they spend or specific items they purchase. Your loyal diners can redeem and monitor their loyalty points in TouchBistro’s Customer Web App.
- Kitchen display system. Another type of software available to run on your iPad is a kitchen display system, which provides a consolidated view of orders along with a loud chime announcing a new order. Servers have the option to prioritize tickets with color-coding.
- Customer-facing display. This allows customers to review items ordered, prices and modifications as they place their order. The display can also be customized with the branding of your restaurant and be used for advertising.
Where TouchBistro falls short
Alternatives to TouchBistro
- $0 for Quick Start Bundle.
- $69 for Core plan.
- $110 plus $4 per employee for Restaurant Basics plan.
- $165 for Growth plan.
- Custom plans available.
- 2.99% plus 15 cents per transaction, if you choose pay-as-you-go option on hardware.
- 2.49% plus 15 cents for card-present transactions, if you pay for hardware upfront.
- 3.50% plus 15 cents for card-not-present transactions, if you pay for hardware upfront.
- $627 for Handheld Starter Kit (but $0 if you agree to a higher processing fee).
- $875 for Countertop Starter Kit (but $0 if you agree to a higher processing fee).
- $1,009 for Guest Self-Service Starter Kit (but $0 if you agree to a higher processing fee).
Square for Restaurants
- $0 for Square POS, Restaurant, Retail and Appointments Free plans.
- $29 for Square Appointments Plus plan.
- $60 for Square Restaurant and Retail Plus plans.
- $69 for Square Appointments Premium plan.
- 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions.
- 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions.
- 3.5% plus 15 cents for manually keyed transactions.
- $0 for Square magstripe-only card reader ($10 for each additional reader) or if using Tap to Pay for iPhone (iPhone not included).
- $49 and up for Square Reader contactless and chip card reader.
- $149 for Square Stand iPad POS or Square Stand Mount (iPad not included).
- $299 for Square Terminal mobile card reader with built-in printer.
- $799 for Square Register two-screen system.