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TouchBistro is a POS (point of sale) system that is specifically tailored for restaurants. All the functionality is accessible on an iPad, so there is no need to visit a backend for set up. Internet access is not required, so if the internet is down, orders can still be sent to the kitchen and checks can be printed for customers. Credit cards cannot be processed while the internet is down. TouchBistro can be a challenge to navigate through, as there are a lot of screens and each screen can often have many buttons. The iPad mini’s smaller screen makes table side ordering a challenge. Customizable menus, table layouts, reservations and employee roles make TouchBistro very user friendly and the popular choice to replace expensive legacy systems at large restaurants.
WHO IS TOUCHBISTRO A GOOD FIT FOR?
TouchBistro’s plans are billed annually and require the first year’s payment up front. All plans include access to all the features, free updates, 24/7 support and access to TouchBistro’s VIP Community, which allows users to engage with other like minded restaurateurs. The four pricing plans are based on the number of iPads being used.
FRONT OF THE HOUSE
TouchBistro makes it easy to operate a restaurant by ringing in orders and accepting payments. In addition to the basic features, TouchBistro offers a variety of tools to assist restaurant staff.
Multiple menus can be created with their own categories and items. Menus can also be scheduled (ex. lunch, dinner, happy hour), which prevents servers from sending orders to the kitchen that cannot be prepared. Coursing helps servers keep track of what guests would like to eat first (ex. soup or salad) and also assists in alerting the kitchen when to fire a menu item. Seat number management makes it easy for servers to identify who ordered what, which furthermore makes splitting and merging checks simple.
Menus can be created with pictures, descriptions and notes. This makes it easy for servers to show a guest exactly what they are ordering and also to keep track of dietary needs, wine pairings per menu item.
Orders can easily be tagged as dine in, takeout/delivery and bar tabs for easy lookup. Dine in orders and bar tabs are linked to the floor plan, which is extensively customizable. Different shapes and sizes of tables can be placed, as well as bar stools and other landmark objects in the restaurant, such as cash registers and walls.
Multiple floorplans can be created, which is useful for restaurants with more than one dining area and also handy for temporary event floor plans. Reservations can be linked to tables from the floor plan which helps the host seat tables faster, especially on the busier days. The floor plan also shows the duration of how long a table has been sitting at the restaurant so servers and managers can keep the tables turning.
TouchBistro offers lots of functionality to help owners manage all aspects of their restaurants with little effort. Inventory management is one of the more powerful features. Once inventory for an item hits zero, the item will no longer be available for front staff to order. More specifically, ingredients can be linked to menu items, which allows inventory to be tracked at a more granular level. Costs can be derived from the sum of the ingredients or custom costs can be used.
Menu items can be setup to print on multiple printers or show up on multiple display screens, when an order is placed. This is useful for large kitchens where appetizers and desserts may be prepared in separate areas, etc. Up to three tax rates can be applied to menu items. Many options are available to further tailor the tax, such as applying tax rates on subtotals or totals including other taxes. This functionality is especially helpful for business owners in places with complex tax laws.
A multitude of reports are accessible for all reporting needs. In addition to general sales reporting, item details can also be reported, as well as more unique reports. The Waiter Sale Item Totals report counts sales and total revenue for each menu item sorted by waiter. This can be helpful for owners to determine which staff members are doing a good job of promoting and selling specials. Labor reports are also helpful to determine staff hours and tip totals. Although the reports are difficult to view on the iPad, they can be printed or exported as a CSV (excel) file.
TouchBistro has the ability to control exactly what each staff member can do. Different staff types can be set to group employees and permissions, as well as custom permissions for certain employees. For example, managers can “perform the end of the day”, which includes the end of the day checklist that ensures all tabs and employees are accounted for.
TouchBistro is compatible with a variety of hardware options. Their primary partners are Star Micronics, Socket and Heckler. TouchBistro staff recommends the Star TSP100 (thermal printer) and the SP700 (impact printer) along with Star cash drawers. Payment processors such as Vantiv and Cayan are supported by TouchBistro. These companies offer their own encrypted readers. Socket barcode scanners are the recommended choice of scanner. TouchBistro recommends iPad cases by Heckler, Archelon and Monitors in Motion.
Self guided restaurateurs can use the online support site to get set up on their own. TouchBistro offers step by step setup articles with screenshots that make it easy to get going. One area that is quite difficult to set up is the menus. In addition to the actual menu setup process being a bit confusing, it can be laborious.
Unlike most other point of sale systems, there is no option for importing items via CSV (Excel) file. This can make getting started a tiresome task, especially for restaurants with large and complex menus. TouchBistro staff does offer a premium setup option where they will set up your system for a fee. Local resellers are also available in some cities for personalized setup support.
TouchBistro offers 24/7 phone and email support, which is a must when selling exclusively to restaurants. In addition, they have an extensive support documentation on their website with step by step help and screenshots for all needs.
TouchBistro is a solid system for most full service restaurants. The system was built specifically for this vertical and has a lot of that are needed by most full service restaurants, no matter the size. The add-ons and integrations make it possible to customize the system to your needs.