Toast vs. Aloha: Which Restaurant POS System Is Best? (2024)

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(Last Updated On: July 13, 2023)

Toast vs. Aloha: Which Restaurant POS System Is Best? (1)In order to succeed in today’s competitive restaurant environment, businesses must use the right technology to cut down the time it takes to process orders at the table, manage inventory, re-order stock, and manage employees.

Among the many restaurant POS systems on the market, Toast and Aloha are two of the most popular solutions. Toast, built specifically for restaurants, has all the point-of-sale, delivery, online ordering, and marketing features you need. Unlike NCR, Toast allows guests to order directly from your restaurant with no fees. The Toast Now™ module allows for contactless delivery and is a one of a kind, on-demand delivery solution.

Aloha by NCR is no stranger to the restaurant industry either. With the most durable and stable hardware units (made by NCR themselves), you’ll never lose a transaction. NCR is a robust, end-to-end restaurant management platform. With mobile order ahead, third-party delivery, chatbots, kiosks, and tableside ordering features, the POS system is adaptable and customer-focused.

In our research for this comparison of Toast vs. Aloha, we found that while Toast offers better technology and more detailed reports and features, Aloha is easier to train on. Since NCR offers a suite of other restaurant software like NCR Silver, more than 100,000 restaurants use their products. This means lots of restaurant employees know their system. Lowering the cost to train can mean more time catering to your customers.

For integrations, Aloha’s POS can integrate with more than 200 third-party partners, while Toast lists less than 80 integrations, but cover anything from delivery, to timecards, to inventory or reporting apps. Unless you’re looking for a specific integration, both are satisfactory in this category.

For pricing, Toast charges $69/month for its initial ‘Starter’ Plan for the software but does not mention its processing fees. On the other end, NCR does not list a monthly software cost but charges 2.6% per swipe + $0.10 per transaction.

While both systems aren’t ideal for the smallest of operations, mid-sized businesses should opt for Toast. Based on our research, NCR Aloha is used by larger restaurants with a high monthly turnover. Let’s take a deeper look at each provider’s features, pricing plans, and hardware components.

Toast vs. Aloha: Side-by-Side Comparison Summary

Toast vs. Aloha: Which Restaurant POS System Is Best? (2)
Toast vs. Aloha: Which Restaurant POS System Is Best? (3)
POS Software Starting Price
$90 per month
Quote-based
Free Trial
Free Demo
Cloud-Based
System Accessibility
iOS and Android
Windows installed & web-based app
Customer Support
24/7 Live Support
24/7 Live Support

Toast vs. Aloha: POS System Comparison

Because Toast and Aloha are both restaurant POS systems, they include many features that other systems do not. Below, we cover those as well as general POS features required by all types of businesses.

We provide side-by-side comparisons of various system attributes. We then let you determine which system would be best for you, based on your unique business requirements.

Food Ordering Capabilities

One of the most important variables to look for in restaurant POS systems is ordering capability. Does the system support online ordering? What about takeout and delivery orders?

Toast Ordering Capabilities

Toast vs. Aloha: Which Restaurant POS System Is Best? (4)Toast offers standard ordering capabilities. With Toast, you can allow patrons to order online. You can also offer takeout order services as well as order delivery.

Toast’s ordering functionality is not included in its core POS software. Instead, you must pay extra for these features, which are included as an add-on module.

This is a point of contention for many of Toast’s customers. We understand why this would cause friction. Toast is considered to be one of the best restaurant POS systems on the market. One would expect these features to be included out of the box.

However, Toast’s tableside ordering feature is strong, and the vast majority of users are overly satisfied with it.

Toast offers a variety of hardware options and tools that can help restaurants streamline operations and increase revenue. Its online ordering capabilities provide a convenient, contactless way for customers to order from your restaurant with delivery service or pickup. It also helps restaurant staff focus on customer service rather than administrative tasks like processing payments and closing out checks. Its new Tableside Payment feature also allows guests to pay directly from their tables using a handheld device.

Toast POS features an intuitive design that’s easy for your restaurant to navigate on both its web interface and the POS hardware. It also includes a number of tools that can be used to customize menu options and manage food and beverage costs. For example, you can control ordering flow during peak times with dynamic order throttling. And you can use Wisk’s inventory system to compare purchase data with sales and revenue information to quickly identify profit margins.

Toast is a good choice for restaurants with multiple locations because it can track all orders from different revenue centers—in-house, catering, drive-thru, takeout, and delivery—from one dashboard. You can also use the system to run analytics reports to monitor important stats like net sales, sales growth, labor cost, and more. With these reports, you can make smart decisions about how to improve your business’s performance. The software also supports tableside ordering and payments and enables you to collect customer information and run loyalty programs.

Toast vs. Aloha: Which Restaurant POS System Is Best? (5)Aloha Ordering Capabilities

Aloha also offers many ways for patrons to order their meals. But, like Toast, Aloha charges users an extra fee to add online ordering capabilities.

Also, like Toast, Aloha’s customers feel these features should be included as table stakes in a restaurant POS system.

Aloha does include in-house ordering features that users rave about. They report these features to be very user friendly. From tableside ordering to fast communication of orders to kitchen staff, Aloha has all the bases covered.

WINNER:We call this comparison a draw.

Add-On Features Not Included in Base Package

As mentioned above in our comparison of each system’s ordering capabilities, both systems have feature gaps. They fill those gaps with add-ons, some of which cost extra to use, while others just need to be turned on.

Some of the fee-based add-on features seem like they should be included in a restaurant POS system at no extra charge. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for either of the systems we’re comparing. Both charge extra for multiple features.

This appears to be more of a problem with Toast users because many of them run smaller businesses with tighter budgets.

To illustrate the extent of the additional features not included in each system’s base package, we’ve compiled a list below. It’s not comprehensive, but rather intended to provide deeper insight into functionality gaps.

Toast’s Optional Add-On Features

Here, we provide a rundown of the functionality you must pay to use—on top of your monthly subscription fee.

  • Toast vs. Aloha: Which Restaurant POS System Is Best? (6)Online ordering capabilities
  • Integrated marketing functionality
  • Customer relationship management
  • Customer loyalty programs
  • Gift cards
  • Advanced inventory management – You can run inventory reports with the basic package, but advanced inventory features come at an extra cost.
  • Kitchen operation functionality
  • Payroll automation
  • The ability to integrate with third-party apps

Aloha’s Optional Add-On Features

Toast vs. Aloha: Which Restaurant POS System Is Best? (7)Aloha has fewer add-on features. The challenge with Aloha is that there is virtually zero pricing information on the company’s website.

Aloha’s parent company—NCR—sells various solutions, Aloha being just one of them.

As we understand it, you must purchase these additional systems and integrate them in order to use the functionality they offer.

Aloha is a standalone solution with a static feature set. We were able to dig up a list of features from a press release put out by NCR.

What Aloha Does Include

According to that press release and a few concrete bits information from its website, Aloha includes the features listed below.

  • Toast vs. Aloha: Which Restaurant POS System Is Best? (8)Fixed and mobile restaurant POS capabilities
  • Payment processing
  • Mobile alerts
  • Training order mode for new employees
  • “Advanced” reporting
  • Takeout functionality (the ability for an employee to manually enter an order and mark it as “for takeout” rather than for a table in the restaurant)
  • Centralized site management (this is too vague to understand what it refers to)
  • Menu management
  • Automated kitchen scheduling
  • Customer profiling
What Aloha Potentially Does Not Include

Looking at NCR’s other offerings, we can presume that Aloha does not include the features below, out of the box.

  • Marketing capabilities
  • Inventory management features
  • Loyalty programs
  • Toast vs. Aloha: Which Restaurant POS System Is Best? (9)Multi-store management
  • Employee management
  • Split checks for dine-in customers
  • Automated payroll functionality
  • Even more advanced reporting
  • Customer rewards and gift cards
  • Complaint resolution features
  • Mobile and online ordering
  • Advanced order routing
  • Multi-language settings

WINNER

We call it a draw. Both systems lack certain basic features and deliver a poor user experience on their respective websites. They neither list pricing nor full feature sets, which could dissuade many potential customers from investigating their respective systems.

NOTE: The lack of transparent pricing is why you won’t see a “Pricing” section in this article.

Customer Support

When a restaurant’s POS system crashes or starts to malfunction, the entire operation is affected. That’s why it’s so important to deliver reliable POS customer support—especially for eating establishments.

Poor customer support leaves a lasting mark on the customer who had a poor experience. Subpar customer support can easily ruin a brand’s reputation.

Toast’s Customer Support

Toast vs. Aloha: Which Restaurant POS System Is Best? (10)Toast receives mostly positive feedback from users. According to satisfied customers, Toast’s support team is very professional.

Dissatisfied customers report that customer support can be difficult to reach.

However, all in all, Toast’s customer support presence appears to be solid and reliable.

We compiled user ratings from reputable user review sites to understand customer sentiment around customer support and other system variables. Our research revealed that Toast has an aggregate user rating of 8.3 out of 10 in the customer support category.

Aloha’s Customer Support

Toast vs. Aloha: Which Restaurant POS System Is Best? (11)Aloha system users say the quality of customer support has dropped significantly in recent years.

According to users, Aloha’s support team is not educated on all system features and can’t solve many user-reported issues. Some users report having to wait up to a week for a resolution to their problem.

Our compiled user ratings revealed that Aloha has an aggregate user rating of 6.7 out of 10 for customer support.

WINNER:Toast

Ease of Use

Here, again, we compiled user ratings and calculated an aggregate score across three top user review sites. Here is what we found:

Toast Ease of Use Rating: 8.9 out of 10

Aloha Ease of Use Rating: 8.2 out of 10

WINNER: Toast

All Features and Functionality

Toast vs. Aloha: Which Restaurant POS System Is Best? (12)This is also an aggregate user rating. It takes into account the entire system’s feature set and rates it on how robust it is as a whole.

Toast Features and Functionality Rating: 8.1 out of 10

Aloha Features and Functionality Rating: 7.4 out of 10

WINNER: Toast

Value for the Money

Another aggregate user score.

Toast Value for the Money Rating: 8 out of 10

Aloha Value for the Money Rating: 6.6 out of 10

WINNER: Toast

Overall System Rating

Toast vs. Aloha: Which Restaurant POS System Is Best? (13)Users also provide their rating for the system as a whole. This includes every facet of the solution and users’ overall experience using it.

Overall system rating is a numeric representation of the quality of software. It is based on several criteria that are used to determine the value of software. Embold rating is calculated on every level: for a function (or method), a component, a package and the whole software. This allow us to compare the quality of our software with other software in a quick way.

Customers also provide rating for the solution. This include every segment like price, features, product & services, customer service etc. Each of these segment has its own set of criteria and a unique rating methodology. In order to get a good overall rating, the software/service must have met and exceeded all of the criteria in all segments.

St. Luke's 'A+' long-term rating reflects its robust operating metrics, solid financial profile and market position as a leading acute care provider with significant local patient market share in Boise, Idaho. Fitch expects St. Luke's cash flow margins to remain healthy in the near term, allowing it to maintain unrestricted liquidity through the Outlook period when capital spending will be elevated due to the multi-year DCIP project.

Toast Overall Rating: 8.7 out of 10

Aloha Overall Rating: 7.7 out of 10

WINNER: Toast

Toast vs. Aloha: POS Hardware

Every POS software system needs POS hardware components to carry out the commands the software sends.

Toast POS Hardware

The POS hardware Toast sells can be purchased as pre-set bundles or individual components.

Toast vs. Aloha: Which Restaurant POS System Is Best? (14)

Aside from its Starter Kit, which starts at $999, pricing is not listed on the website. For all other hardware, you must contact sales for a quote. However, their selection is vast, giving users many options.

Aloha POS Hardware

Aloha sells a surprisingly sparse selection of POS hardware, all manufactured by NCR. The only components they sell are:

Toast vs. Aloha: Which Restaurant POS System Is Best? (15)

  • POS terminals
  • Handheld devices for front-of-house staff
  • Kitchen bump bars
  • Kitchen touchscreen monitors
  • Data servers
  • Thermal printers
  • Self-serve kiosks

Not surprisingly, none of their hardware has listed pricing associated with it. There are no hardware bundles to choose from.

WINNER:Toast wins for providing more options as well as bundles.

Is Toast or Aloha Your Better Bet?

Toast outscored Aloha in six of eight comparisons above. The other two resulted in a draw.

That doesn’t mean Aloha is a poor system. Large restaurant chains with many locations can add extra NCR modules and manage their entire restaurant empire from one system.

Toast is better suited for smaller restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, bars, and bakeries. From what we read, it’s significantly cheaper. Plus, it beat Aloha in our comparisons. It would be a better fit for these types of establishments.

Continue researching and evaluating systems before rushing into a decision. Read user reviews. Be sure to ask for a trial or a demo before committing to any system.

If you want to investigate other restaurant POS systems, we recommend you take a look at our TouchBistro POS review. You should also check out our Upserve POS review. These are two more industry-leading restaurant POS systems.

0/5 (0 Reviews)

As an expert in the field of restaurant point-of-sale (POS) systems, I bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the discussion of Toast and Aloha, two prominent solutions in the competitive restaurant technology landscape. My expertise is grounded in hands-on experience, extensive research, and a deep understanding of the features, functionalities, and nuances that make a POS system effective for different types of businesses.

Firstly, let's establish the importance of selecting the right POS system for success in the competitive restaurant environment. A well-chosen system should streamline order processing, inventory management, stock reordering, and employee management. The article introduces Toast and Aloha as two popular solutions, emphasizing their unique features, pricing structures, and customer support.

Now, let's delve into the concepts and information presented in the article:

  1. Toast Overview:

    • Features: Toast is designed specifically for restaurants, offering point-of-sale, delivery, online ordering, and marketing features. The Toast Now™ module enables contactless delivery.
    • Pricing: The article mentions Toast's starting price of $69 per month for the 'Starter' Plan, but processing fees are not disclosed.
  2. Aloha Overview:

    • Features: Aloha by NCR is highlighted for its durable and stable hardware, with features such as mobile order ahead, third-party delivery, chatbots, kiosks, and tableside ordering.
    • Pricing: NCR Aloha doesn't list a monthly software cost but charges 2.6% per swipe + $0.10 per transaction.
  3. Comparison Criteria:

    • Technology and Reports: Toast is noted for offering better technology and more detailed reports, while Aloha is mentioned as easier to train on.
    • Integrations: Aloha's POS can integrate with over 200 third-party partners, while Toast lists fewer than 80 integrations.
    • Pricing and Target Audience: Toast is suggested for mid-sized businesses, while NCR Aloha is used by larger restaurants with high monthly turnover.
  4. Side-by-Side Comparison:

    • POS Software Starting Price: Toast starts at $90 per month, while Aloha's pricing is quote-based.
    • Free Trial and Demo: Toast offers a free demo, while Aloha doesn't mention a free trial or demo.
    • System Accessibility: Toast is available on iOS and Android, while Aloha is Windows-installed and has a web-based app.
    • Customer Support: Both systems provide 24/7 live support.
  5. Ordering Capabilities:

    • Toast: Standard ordering capabilities, with additional features available as add-ons.
    • Aloha: Charges extra for online ordering capabilities, praised for user-friendly in-house ordering.
  6. Add-On Features Not Included:

    • Both systems have feature gaps filled with add-ons, some requiring additional fees.
    • Toast's add-ons include online ordering, marketing, CRM, loyalty programs, and more.
    • Aloha's features are less transparent, with potential gaps in marketing, inventory, loyalty programs, and advanced reporting.
  7. Customer Support and Ease of Use:

    • Toast: Generally positive feedback for professional support, with an aggregate user rating of 8.3 out of 10.
    • Aloha: Reported decline in customer support quality, with an aggregate user rating of 6.7 out of 10.
    • Ease of Use: Toast leads with a rating of 8.9 out of 10 compared to Aloha's 8.2 out of 10.
  8. Value for the Money and Overall System Rating:

    • Toast: Scores 8 out of 10 for value for the money and an overall rating of 8.7 out of 10.
    • Aloha: Lower scores with 6.6 out of 10 for value and an overall rating of 7.7 out of 10.
  9. POS Hardware Comparison:

    • Toast: Offers a variety of POS hardware options with pricing available upon inquiry.
    • Aloha: Sells a limited selection of POS hardware, all manufactured by NCR, with no listed pricing.
  10. Conclusion:

    • Toast emerges as the preferred choice in most comparisons, excelling in features, ease of use, value for money, and overall system rating.
    • Aloha is noted for its suitability for larger restaurant chains but lacks transparency in pricing and features.

In conclusion, the article provides a comprehensive analysis of Toast and Aloha, aiding businesses in making informed decisions based on their specific needs and preferences in the realm of restaurant POS systems.

Toast vs. Aloha: Which Restaurant POS System Is Best? (2024)

FAQs

Why Toast is better than Aloha? ›

Toast overall I think functions better and quicker than Aloha. Toast is less elementary than Aloha and Focus which are very simple and old school. Toast is pretty on par with Square POS as far as function, however, Square is more aesthetically pleasing than Toast is.

What is the best POS software for restaurant? ›

  • Square POS. Best restaurant POS system for small businesses. ...
  • eHopper. Best for businesses wanting to pass processing fees to customers. ...
  • Lightspeed. Best for advanced reporting. ...
  • Clover. Best for quick-service restaurants. ...
  • Toast. Best restaurant-specific POS. ...
  • Heartland. Best for delivery service options. ...
  • Epos Now. ...
  • TouchBistro.
Mar 12, 2024

Is Toast good for restaurants? ›

Toast software includes multiple-location support and strong reporting features. If you're in the food and beverage business, Toast is worth a look. It also earned the top spot in NerdWallet's list of best restaurant POS systems.

Is Toast POS user friendly? ›

Users laud Toast POS for its simple, user-friendly platform, real-time inventory editing, sharp and clean visual design, making it intuitive to use. Toast POS is rated highly for its solid reporting features and the efficiency of its order management system.

Why is toast so much better? ›

Toasting bread is a chemical reaction, meaning that some of the molecules (carbohydrates) break apart and the water content is reduced. Due to this chemical reaction, toasting bread might be associated with potential health benefits and could also make bread more easily digestible.

What is better than toast? ›

Try having oatmeal with fruit as an alternative. Or stick with toast but choose wholemeal bread and top with avocado, mushrooms, tofu scramble or chickpeas to make it healthier!

Which POS brand is the best? ›

Best POS Systems of 2024
  • Square POS: Best for businesses on a budget.
  • Clover: Best for advanced capabilities.
  • Shopify POS: Best for retail businesses.
  • Lightspeed POS: Best for customer loyalty.
  • eHopper POS: Best free POS.
  • NCR Aloha POS: Best for restaurants.
  • Erply: Best for inventory management.
Apr 15, 2024

What POS system does restaurants use? ›

Square POS is the best POS system for restaurants, thanks to its dedicated solutions for table service, coffee shops, bakeries, food trucks, and bars. The system provides powerful restaurant-specific features to track inventory, sales, and produce reports, with slick hardware, at a remarkably low price point.

What POS software does Starbucks use? ›

What Is Oracle Simphony? Oracle's POS system is more than just a means for customers to pay for their coffee. It's a data collection center, providing Starbucks with all the information it needs to make intelligent business decisions.

Why is Toast POS so popular? ›

Toast provides a comprehensive platform of software as a service (SaaS) products and financial technology solutions that give restaurants everything they need to run their business across point of sale, payments, operations, digital ordering and delivery, marketing and loyalty, and team management.

Who is Toast biggest competitor? ›

The top three of Toast's competitors in the POS Systems category are Square with 27.94%, Lightspeed with 8.00%, Clover with 6.77% market share.

How much does Toast POS charge per transaction? ›

You can pay Toast 2.99% and 15 cents per transaction and pay nothing upfront or per month. Alternatively, you can pay Toast 2.49% plus 15 cents for standard in-person transactions and 3.5% + 15 cents where the card isn't present, plus $799 for the hardware and $69 per month for the software.

What are the disadvantages of Toast? ›

However, there are some serious cons to Toast as well, due to their hardware-exclusivity, the inconsistency of service, and, most importantly, their forced payment processing and marked-up fees.

Why is Toast better than competitors? ›

Does Toast have an edge? Toast has momentum, but there's industry-wide momentum as restaurants see the benefits of moving toward automated processes. Toast says it has an edge over competitors because it has wider capabilities to handle various kinds of digital orders as well as 24/7 customer service for all packages.

Why do restaurants use Toast? ›

That's because the Toast platform consolidates all your restaurant's data sources and works together in ways that individual software solutions cannot. For example, Toast can pull timecard records from the point of sale directly into a payroll system to reduce time spent on payroll each week.

Why does hotel toast taste better? ›

likely a better bread than Wonder is used, then it is brushed with melted butter before it is pulled through a chain-drive toaster. Better ingredients, better tools, better technique.

What is better than Aloha? ›

Private and secure mobile browser with free unlimited VPN

The best alternatives to Aloha Browser for Android are Opera, Firefox Preview, and Space.

What is so special about Texas toast? ›

About twice as thick as standard bread, ranging from three-quarters to one inch, Texas toast cooks up crispy on the outside, but extra soft on the inside. It's typically slathered with a hearty serving of butter (or margarine) before getting seared on a flat top grill until golden brown.

What is unique about toast? ›

Toast offers a suite of resources you can access anytime, anywhere. With 24/7 access to on-demand trainings, a robust learning library, and more, Toast On Your Time tools empower you to build your business how you want, when you want.

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