Targeted squarely at the restaurant industry, TouchBistro is a ready-made iPad-based Point of Sale for restaurants of all shapes and sizes – from quick food to full-service restaurants, bars, breweries, and food trucks.
Founded in 2010, it supports tableside ordering, custom restaurant layouts, custom menus, bill splitting, sales reports, and an unlimited number of order and cash register printers.
Along the way, TouchBistro has picked up a host of awards including best-rated restaurant POS of 2019, so let’s take a deep dive into how it works and features and tools it offers.
TouchBistro is designed for restaurants, bars, quick-service food outlets, food trucks and cafés. It has an inherent hospitality focus dedicated to simplifying order taking, while improving and speeding up customer service.
The software allows restaurants to quickly design and input menu items, show the layout of the establishment and then use these features for quick transactions at the POS, or for tableside order taking.
In addition, the software is designed to make running a restaurant simple and transparent. It can account for the cost of inventory, drill down into ingredient amounts required to create each food type and then show profit margin of each menu item.
It also features low stock alerts, and has inbuilt staff management tools to track hours, staff performance and staff costs.
Quite simply, TouchBistro is software that can be accessed via the Cloud and iPads.
It’s currently is available in more than 100 countries and as at the end of 2018, was deployed in over 15,000 venues. However, using it is not as simple as downloading an app and subscribing online. Instead, restaurateurs need to contact TouchBistro to work through which licence option is best suited to them and the hardware that might be involved.
TouchBistro then works with the venue to set-up and roll out the software.
The software offers different levels of licensing depending on the size and type of venue in question. These venue types are broadly broken into the following categories.
The number of licenses can range from sole operators right through to multi-outlet restaurants with numerous POS and ordering stations.
The features of the software can then be configured to a venue’s needs such as mobile order taking, tableside ordering, menu planning and customer relationship management.
The TouchBistro POS software is compatible with all iPad models, with the exception of the first-generation iPad, iPad 2, and the iPad 3rd and 4th generations.
If a restaurant is using multiple iPads for POS and order taking, an Apple Mac Mini Computer or iMac is also required. This acts as the server or “the brain” of the system, storing all a restaurant’s TouchBistro data while syncing with all iPads, so changes on one iPad are made to all the others.
In addition, restaurants will also require compatible hardware like cash drawers, docket and receipt printers, payment processing card readers, and iPad enclosures and stands. They may also wish to utilise digital menu displays, kitchen display systems and customer facing displays.
TouchBistro offers hardware bundles that can be added to the software costs monthly. Alternatively, restaurateurs can source their own hardware but will need to ensure it is compatible with their iPads and the software.
A guide to hardware options is available here.
At the heart of the TouchBistro POS software is a truly intuitive menu management feature. This is where restaurateurs add the meals and items of their menu and change them when required.
The system allows menu items to be quickly added, cloned, and organised using a touch interface on the iPad. Images can also be added so servers can show pictures and descriptions of the menu item to customers, or patrons can see what they’re ordering when placing that order via self-service menu.
The software also facilitates modifiers prompting servers to ask what sauce a customer wants or how they would like their steak cooked.
In addition, staff can add custom modifiers to the order if a patron has specific dietary requirements or food requests.
If there’s a special on the menu or a promotion, these can quickly be added. Information about special items can also be incorporated, so staff have ready information about what the special is, how it’s cooked, the ingredients etc.
Meanwhile, cooking instructions and images for each menu item can also be included so new kitchen staff have immediate access to how something is made, and what it should look like.
In addition to being managed on-site, the menu can also be handled remotely. This means managers can quickly react to out of stocks, and specials even if they are not in the venue or are elsewhere in the restaurant.
Importantly, the system will automatically alert servers and managers when stock is running low or a menu item has run out.
These items can then be hidden from the menu so they cannot be ordered.
The menu management feature is also where managers can set protocols for what type of item routes to what area in the restaurant and which printer. This allows food items to be routed to the kitchen printer or display, bar items to go to the bar, and dessert items to go to the dessert section etc.
Working alongside the menu building feature is inventory management. This feature allows restaurant management to track their item costs, profit and stock levels.
Each menu item can be broken into ingredients, right down to the volume involved and its cost per meal. When an item is running low, servers can immediately be alerted to low stock, and when a meal item is out of stock, that meal can be hidden from the menu.
Meanwhile, the detailed inventory tracking allows management to understand the profit margins of each meal, and whether that item is worth keeping or should go from the menu.
The inventory management feature also allows for:
A key feature of TouchBistro is that allows for easy table management, no matter the size of the restaurant in question. Managers simply design a floor plan complete with walls and sections to represent their venue.
They can change this layout for special events or occasions where the restaurant might be configured differently.
Servers and waitstaff can then allocate parties to a table with ease when patrons make a booking or arrive at the venue. Parties can be moved quickly if necessary while managers can watch over sections to see where each table within a section is up to within the service period.
Meanwhile, staff can be allocated sections and tables for service periods, which are theirs to look after. TouchBistro has also incorporated section assignment and table transfer approval to reduce confusion mid-service.
Throughout service, the table management feature records how long the table has been seated, how much has been spent, and how many people are on it.
TouchBistro offers restaurateurs and hospitality venues the opportunity to choose their payment processing partner.
They feature a range of suggested partner options which can then integrate with the POS for faster payment processing.
This eliminates double entry of payment amounts and allows for features like tableside payments and split billing. Because restaurateurs can choose their own suggested partner, they can also cater to the payment types that suit their customers like swipe, dip or tap payments along with Google and Apple Pay.
The list of TouchBistro’s current integrated payment solution providers is here
The system allows for bill splitting so patrons at a table can pay for their meals or orders separately. They can do this at the counter or tableside.
Again, the interface makes this simple. Servers can swipe across seated position numbers to incorporate them into the same bill, or tap the table position number so patrons can pay for their own food.
If a bill is to be split evenly by all people who shared a meal, TouchBistro offers a ‘Split by #’ option that calculates the entire bill for the table then divides it evenly by the number of people dining.
TouchBistro offers employee management as part of the POS software but also integrates with other partners like 7Shifts to improve staff scheduling and reduce labor costs.
Included in the built-in employee management features are employee clocks which allow staff to punch in and out; PIN codes and permissions, which allow specific staff members access to the POS and the ability to change features depending on their role and responsibility; and wage tracking which shows the cost of labor and staff shifts with customizable staff types.
Meanwhile, management can also track overtime costs and staff performance.
Further staff management features include:
Adjust valid clock-in and clock-out times for staff shifts
A solid feature of this software is its ability to cater to customer relationship management. The system allows staff to add customer details directly to the POS on an iPad and each customer can be assigned an account number.
Notes can then be made on each account, indicating the customer’s preferences including their usual order.
In addition, the system then allows for billing that can add items directly to a regular patron’s account, illustrate balances outstanding or accept advance payments for events, groups or individuals.
Loyal customers can then be recognized for their patronage with special offers and incentives, while patrons’ order histories can be viewed to better understand how effective the menu is.
TouchBistro also has a loyalty and gift card feature so customer can collect and redeem points. Restaurateurs can also use the customer information to communicate with their patrons via SMS, push notifications and email marketing campaigns.
The system offers a wealth of reports to make the day-to-day running of a restaurant or café easier. These include staff reports, sales reports and more detailed analytics that look at all the areas where a restaurant might be costing more money than it should.
In total more than 50 reports are offered by TouchBistro, including:
These reports can then be exported to CSV, printed, and emailed for accounting purposes or to keep key staff in the loop about daily operations.
TouchBistro prides itself on its customer support. Perhaps more importantly, these support staff also come from restaurant backgrounds so have a greater understanding of what’s required and what’s involved in running a hospitality venue.
This also means TouchBistro staff are available to assist at key hospitality times including New Years, Christmas, nights, weekends etc.
TouchBistro is a cutting edge Point-of-Sale software that can really help your business out. It’s packed with features like inventory management, customer tracking, and real-time reporting that can help you optimize your operations and increase efficiency. Plus, it can integrate with different payment processors, making transactions a breeze.
But it’s not just all work and no play. You can access your sales data from anywhere, thanks to its cloud-based access. And, the interface is super user-friendly, so your staff will be up and running in no time, saving you time and money on training. Overall, TouchBistro is a total game-changer for businesses looking to grow and thrive. Don’t just take my word for it, contact TouchBistro today to request a demo and see for yourself!