9 Popular Toast Alternatives According to Customers [2024]

Toast alternatives like Square, Lightspeed and Clover offer different specialties depending on your goals. Owner.com, although not a POS, is a great alternative for Toast’s online ordering features.

15 min read
March 25, 2024

Key takeaways

  • In addition to Toast, there are alternative POS systems to choose from depending on your goals. 
  • Other options include more customization features, onboarding support, increasing online order sales and more. 
  • Consider ease of use, how well software pairs with current tools and feedback from customer reviews when picking your POS.

If you're in the market for a new POS system, you've probably heard about Toast. Toast is one of the leading restaurant point-of-sale (POS) systems — think of it as your one-stop shop for all things restaurant-related. It's got guest management, POS, and online ordering all rolled into one neat package.

But here's the scoop: Every restaurant is unique, and there’s no one “best” POS system. If you want a POS that will help boost online sales, streamline your operations or help with guest management, there are alternatives that can fit your goals. 

In this post, I’ll cover the nine most popular Toast alternatives according to customers to consider for a wide variety of goals and needs.

1. Square 

Best for: New restaurants  

How it measures against Toast: Toast also has a free version, but Square’s free version has more features like free online ordering and team management tools.     

Where Square stands out: 

  • Robust integrations like payment processing and menu management 
  • Useful online ordering features like personalized recommendations for repeat orders
  • Personalized mobile app
  • Free online ordering platform 

Who is Square best for?: 

  • New restaurants that are still building their cash flow or are on a budget
  • Restaurants that also have a retail store 
  • Owners who want to test-drive the tool before committing
Image of Square POS tool

Key features: 

  • Payment processing  
  • Table and inventory management 
  • Menu management 

What customers are saying:

Square currently has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 on G2. Customers like how well Square keeps track of inventory and sales, as well as how easy it is to use. On the other hand, reviews have commented that Square doesn’t offer customizability and has difficulty showing customer reviews.

  1. Pro: “Square POS’s best attribute is its ease of use. The learning curve is minimal when compared to the competition.”
  2. Mix: "There isn’t much to dislike about Square POS. If I had to pinpoint one thing, though, it would be the lack of ability to create a customer portal.” 
  3. Con: “The only notable drawback I've encountered is the challenge in viewing customer reviews if any are left.”

Trustpilot Score: 4.0, Great (4,432 reviews) 

  1. Pro: “Square has enabled our business to grow by leaps and bounds. We’ve been with them over 10 years and it has been an absolute joy working with them problem-free.”
  2. Con: “The fees are higher than other payment systems.”

2. Lightspeed 

Best for: Onboarding support

How it measures vs. Toast: Lightspeed provides more in-depth insights, free 1:1 onboarding and has an offline mode so you can still operate it if your internet goes down. 

Where Lightspeed stands out: 

  • Feature-rich, cloud-based POS system 
  • Provides inventory management, online ordering and tableside ordering capabilities 
  • Customizable menu features to add and remove items, add modifiers and more 
  • End-of-day reports with in-depth insights

Who is Lightspeed best for: 

  • Restaurants seeking more in-depth onboarding
  • Those looking to use the hardware of their choice 
Image of Lightspped POS and tool highlights

Key features: 

  • Customizable menu and adjustable floor plan  
  • Takeout and delivery options
  • Tableside ordering and mobile payment option 

What customers are saying:

With a 4.5 out of 5 rating on G2, Lightspeed excels at providing additional services within its integrations and has a strong online ordering system. Its loyalty system also gets a lot of love. On the other hand, customers report that adding menu items quickly can be challenging, and there’s a learning curve — luckily, the team at Lightspeed provides helpful onboarding materials. 

  1. Pro: “Not only does Lightspeed Restaurant fully integrate with all of the delivery platforms, but Lightspeed's online ordering system, Order Ahead, is super easy to set up and manage as well. With the ability of a rewards program, a newly added inventory program, and a wonderful support team, you can't go wrong with this proven POS.”
  2. Con: “You can't enter new products on the fly, to do this you need to sign into the back end and sometimes there's a lag before it appears in the menu. Also, since it's a bit more complex than other POS systems the learning curve is a bit high for some users. So it requires a little more training than the average POS system.” 

Trustpilot Score: 4.5, Excellent (1,966 reviews)

  1. Pro: “Lightspeed is a very easy system to use and has a great support system should you need it.” 
  2. Con: “The subscription fees have continued to go up without much improvement on the product itself. Most recently they've started charging a penalty for not using their processing services.”

3. Clover 

Best for: Customizable accessories and features 

How it measures vs. Toast: Clover accepts more payment options than Toast and has more customizable features. 

Where Clover stands out: 

  • Sleek design and versatile functionality
  • Ease of use and customizable plan features, type of device, accessories and more  
  • Send and receive orders from anywhere
  • Accepts many payment methods, plus unique options like PayPal, EBT and Alipay. 

Who is Clover best for?

  • Restaurant owners looking for a POS that supports various payment methods
  • Those seeking advanced reporting tools
Image of Clover POS and tool highlights

Key features: 

  • Inventory management 
  • Accepts a wide variety of payment methods
  • Advanced reporting tools 

What customers are saying:

Clover has a 3.8 out of 5 rating on G2. Customers appreciate the versatility of the app, but the customer service support is lacking: 

  1. Pro: “I appreciate the versatility that Clover provides for my clients. If you are a restaurant, retail store, or service industry it's great for you. If you need to manage customers or clients or employees, there are tools for all!”
  2. Con: “Horrible customer service, very unprofessional security team.”

Trustpilot Score: 3.7, Average (1,378 reviews) 

  1. Pro: “I've been using Clover for 5 years now and, I have had nothing but Great customer service, easy to set up and navigate the equipment. I didn't need IT to help set me up.” 
  2. Con: “They change extra fees for so many different things that you would think would be a part of a POS system. They also are very M-F so anything after hours that may happen don’t expect any support.”

4. Aloha Cloud 

Best for: Streamlining operations

How it measures vs. Toast: Aloha Cloud has a larger variety of online ordering features. 

Where Aloha Cloud stands out: 

  • Works online, making it reliable and easy to connect with other restaurant tools
  • Receive instant data from any device that receives an internet connection 
  • Online ordering system lets customers order and pay using their own devices using QR codes 
  • Craft tailored menus for different dining experiences, whether it's for dine-in, pickup or delivery  

Who is Aloha Cloud best for?:

  • Restaurant owners who are always on the move and want to monitor the day-to-day operations of the restaurant remotely
  • Those looking for a wide range of online ordering features 
Image of Aloha Cloud POS and highlights of tool

Key features: 

  • Payment processing and online ordering   
  • Built-in loyalty program and email marketing tools 
  • 24/7 support team that can help with setup and your menu 

What customers are saying:

Aloha Cloud can be a good solution for streamlining your restaurant tools and improving efficiency, but getting personalized reports can be difficult, and it can crash or be slow to use. Here’s what customers are saying according to G2: 

  1. Pro: “Has a ton of capabilities, I haven't worked with many POS systems on the back end but Aloha is pretty versatile…[however] getting a custom report is difficult. Despite the extensive options.”
  2. Con: “I’ve noticed that Aloha crashes more often than it should… I’ve seen it go down several times.” 

Trustpilot Score: 4.7, Excellent (525 reviews)

  1. Pro: “Extremely pleased with both the competence in troubleshooting and fast response times. Aloha POS has its troublesome quirks but with a support department like this it makes those manageable.”
  2. Con: “The Aloha product is clunky, out of date, and not stable.”

5. Lavu 

Best for: Customer support

How it measures vs. Toast: Lavu outshines Toast when it comes to customer service support. 

Where Lavu stands out: 

  • iPad POS that can integrate with other third-party apps like accounting tools and food delivery services to help grow your customer base 
  • Ability to customize how you keep track of ingredients and control specific parts of your reports
  • Commission-free delivery capabilities you can set up through your website 

Who is Lavu best for?: 

  • Restaurants looking for tableside ordering and self-service kiosks 
  • Those looking to reduce delivery costs 
Screenshot of Lavu POS and highlights of the tool

Key features: 

  • Self-ordering kiosk so customers can order by themselves  
  • Commission-free delivery capabilities
  • Invoice management that allows you to turn paper receipts into digital records

What customers are saying:

Reviewers on Capterra love Lavu for its customer support, ease of use on iOS devices and real-time reporting. However, some have said that the automating billing process can be inaccurate at times with software shutdowns. 

  1. Pro: “We can't say enough wonderful things about our experience with Lavu and their incredible support staff…the hardware and network are state of the art. Everything works seamlessly without a glitch. Lavu is extremely efficient.”
  2. Con: “Billing is constantly inaccurate and the system shuts down during service because of this.”

Trustpilot Score: 4.8, Excellent (417 reviews)

  1. Pro: “We transitioned over our POS system from Toast over to Lavu. The process was simple and very empowering! They we saved about $1,200 a month is fees by making the switch.” 
  2. Con: “The onboarding process has been very difficult. equipment has been on site for several weeks and it is still not functioning.”

6. SpotOn 

Best for: Easy payments

How it measures vs. Toast: SpotOn offers real-time analytics and guest data collection — features Toast lacks.  

Where SpotOn stands out: 

  • Customizable cloud-based POS system with strengths in functionality, speedy payment processing, 24/7 customer support and integration capabilities
  • Tip management software that lets you easily manage and tip out your staff quickly
  • Robust loyalty program integration that helps customers earn and redeem points when they order online

Who is SpotOn best for? 

  • Restaurants looking for real-time analytics and guest data
  • Restaurants seeking a loyalty program system
Image of SpotOn POS and highlights of tool

Key features: 

  • Advanced reporting to streamline costs 
  • Real-time guest data collection 
  • Commission-free online ordering 

What customers are saying:

SpotOn’s G2 reviews showcase a 4.4 out of 5 rating, with many positive sentiments around the simple interface and ability to set up customer payments. However, some report that the hardware itself can be hard to use and that it could use better onboarding. 

  1. Pro: “I love how easy it is to reconcile my fees, batch amount, and deposits. Super simple interface, and I don't feel like I am pulling my hair out to get the information I am looking for. I love the recurring payment option on their website too. So easy to set up payments for customers, along with manually running a card if we need to.”
  2. Con: “One thing that I did not like about Spot On is the actual hardware that I received at first, but that was because I didn't understand it. I'm looking to upgrade sometime soon and when I do, my business will be unstoppable.”

Trustpilot Score: 4.2, Great (402 reviews)

  1. Pro: “There are many benefits of using SpotOn for your business but perhaps one of the greatest benefits is their customer service.”
  2. Con: “We were promised low fees and great savings which never materialized. After we had switched to another firm, they reached out and offered lower rates.”

7. TouchBistro 

Best for: Multi-location restaurants

How it measures against Toast: Toast relies more heavily on third-party integrations, so if you want all your tools under one roof, TouchBistro is for you. 

Where TouchBistro stands out: 

  • Intuitive interface, tableside ordering capabilities, reservation management and online ordering
  • Geared toward boosting your sales with handy tools that help you sell more expensive items, serve customers faster and advertise your most profitable dishes
  • Offers in-house solutions so you don’t have to integrate third-party apps (like payroll and vendor management) 

Who is TouchBistro best for?:

  • Restaurants with multiple locations since it offers a multi-location management tool
  • Those looking to easily create, modify and personalize menus
Image of TouchBistro POS and highlights of tool

Key features: 

  • Multi-location management software  
  • Reporting and analytics 
  • Menu and staff management 

What customers are saying:

Customers love how easy TouchBistro is to use and how simple it is to swap menu items and prices. It does have several poor customer service reviews, though. Here’s what customers are saying about TouchBistro, which has a rating of 4.3 out of 5 on G2:  

  1. Pro: “The ease of use. Very easy and quick to change products and prices. Very user-friendly screen.”
  2. Con: “Terrible terrible customer service. I asked my rep questions like how to add/delete items, access multiple tables and pre-authorization, he recommended that I just Google it.”

Trustpilot Score: 3.8, Great (290 reviews)

  1. Pro: “I've installed many POS systems from TouchBistro, I must say that their POS systems are very reliable and customer care reps. are always great to deal with.”
  2. Con:“I have found it very difficult to get issues resolved. I email the support email and do not always get an answer.”

8. CAKE by Mad Mobile 

Best for: Guest management

How it measures vs. Toast: CAKE offers better guest management features than Toast, like reservations and waitlists. 

Where CAKE by Mad Mobile stands out: 

  • Boasts a user-friendly interface and powerful features like online ordering, sales, payment processing, inventory management and restaurant analytics
  • Specializes in guest management features like accepting reservations online or by phone and shortening guest wait times with a real-time floor map view
  • Offers smooth self-checkout choices, online ordering, reservations through the internet, mobile ordering and additional features that will attract customers.

Who is CAKE by Mad Mobile best for?:

  • Restaurants seeking access to marketing tools, like gift cards, email marketing 
  • Owners looking for a loyalty program to keep customers coming back through your doors
Image of CAKE POS and highlights of tool

Key features: 

  • Order online with contactless curbside pickup and delivery
  • Access real-time reports from anywhere
  • Secure payment processing that meets PCI compliance with transparent, straightforward pricing

What customers are saying:

Customers praise CAKE’s user-friendly options, solid customer service and helpful reporting — it currently has a 4.8 out of 5 rating on G2. However, it may not be the best option if you want detailed reports. See what people are saying:  

  1. Pro: “CAKE has well-trained help desk technicians, who understand the system, service issues, and the need to resolve them in a speedy manner. They listen, and are willing to help to get the issue resolved quickly.”
  2. Con: “I wish the reports would be able to tell me exactly what my alcohol sales were without me having to add each individual item up and I wish the monthly sales report would show me how much my tax-exempt sales are.”

Trustpilot Score: No reviews

9. Owner.com

Best for: Supplementing your POS with better online ordering

Although Owner.com is not a POS system, we wanted to feature it because it's a great alternative to Toast's online ordering. If you're happy with Toast POS, but not happy with their online ordering features, consider Owner.com to help in that department.

Where Owner.com stands out: 

  • Increases direct online orders for your restaurant with a commission-free online ordering system  
  • Creates sales-focused websites for restaurants
  • Utilizes automated marketing to keep current customers and attract new ones
  • Custom mobile apps 

Who is Owner.com best for?:

  • Restaurant owners looking to boost their online ordering efforts 
  • Restaurants that are already established but want to drive more sales 
  • Those who want to pair their current POS, like Toast, with a new online ordering system
Screenshot of Owner.com online ordering system

Key features: 

  • Calls to action (CTAs) that encourage customers to order online and make it easier for them 
  • Zero-commission delivery so you can cut costs from using third-party delivery apps  
  • Mobile app and loyalty program features that transform customers into loyal visitors through enticing promotions and incentives

What customers are saying:

We have helped many restaurant owners level up their sales and success — see for yourself with our 4.8 out of 5 rating on G2, like this one from Phillip Hang, owner of Sushi Me Rollin:

  1. Pro: “Now that we’ve used Owner for 1 year, I can say confidently that it is the best technology in our restaurant. We’ve increased direct online sales by over $77,000 in the past 10 months alone.”
  2. Con: "The merchant account (aka credit card) fees are steeper than our in-house provider. The savings and ROI owner.com provides, however, more than makes up for it."

Capterra Score: 5.0 (44 reviews)

  1. Pro: "They are easy to talk to and I sense they really care about their clients success. I also like how fast they launched the website, online ordering, and mobile app."
  2. Con: "I would appreciate more customization options for the marketing tools, such as unique one-time use coupons that can be loaded directly to a customer's loyalty account."

Things To Consider When Looking at Toast Competitors

When looking at Toast competitors to determine the best fit for your restaurant, there are several features I recommend you consider before choosing one: 

  • Customization and ease of use: Look for a system that offers the features you need to efficiently run your restaurant, such as order management, table management, restaurant marketing, menu customization and reporting tools.
  • Integration with third-party apps: If you're already rocking some tools you love, make sure the POS can easily sync up with them. We're talking about tools like your accounting software, online ordering platforms and loyalty programs that keep things running like a well-oiled machine and boost those sales.
  • Feedback and reviews: Don't forget to check out what fellow restaurant owners are saying. Dive into those customer reviews and ask around for recommendations to get the scoop on how reliable, speedy and satisfying a system is. 
  • Online ordering features: An online ordering system helps you reach a wider customer base and makes it easy for customers to place orders anywhere, anytime.

Find Software To Support Your Sales 

Picking the perfect POS system for your restaurant isn't just about following the crowd or choosing the flashiest features. It's about finding a tool that fits your unique goals and needs while increasing sales and success stories. 

Think about how easy it is to use, if it works nicely with your other tools and if it can grow with your restaurant. Picking the best tools for your restaurant might seem like a lot, so I suggest trying out free trials first.

Toast is a strong tool that can help with a variety of needs, but there are still other options to consider. If you’re looking to boost direct online ordering, try out a demo of Owner.com to see how we help restaurants increase their sales and grow.

Frequently asked questions

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Adam Guild is the CEO of Owner, a restaurant marketing platform that makes online growth easy for restaurants.


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