This article is part of a larger series on POS Systems.
TouchBistro is a cloud-based iPad POS system designed for food and beverage operations like food trucks, coffee shops, and restaurants. It offers easy check and menu management, ingredient-level inventory tracking, table management, customizable staff permissions, and reporting and analytics in its entry-level software plans.
It gives you the option to choose from built-in and popular third-party payment processors. Subscriptions start at $69 a month—a mid-range price point for iPad POS systems—making it an excellent option for small, fast-paced operations, like bakeries and wine bars, that want inventory tracking in an affordable package.
When to Use TouchBistro
TouchBistro is an incredibly streamlined restaurant POS at a competitive price point and regularly ranks as one of our top-recommended POS systems. It supports multiple payment processors so you can shop around for the best rates.
In particular, we recommend TouchBistro for:
- Food trucks: TouchBistro is a great food truck POS for busy operations needing strong connectivity. The system networks your iPads to one another or through an on-truck Wi-Fi or cellular-enabled router, so you never lose an order or the ability to process payments.
- Brick-and-mortar bakeries: TouchBistro is one of our best bakery POS systems for its detailed recipe and cost management features.
- High-volume, quick-service restaurants (QSRs): Barbecues, burger joints, taquerias, and other counter-service operations requiring a strong Kitchen Display System (KDS) will love TouchBistro. It is even one of our favorite QSR POS systems.
- Breweries, wine bars, and pubs: TouchBistro is one of our leading bar and nightclub POS systems. It’s optimal for those wanting a user-friendly solution with multiple payment processing options and simple inventory tracking.
- Restaurants needing simple delivery tools: TouchBistro includes basic delivery supporting tools, like the ability to integrate with third-party order aggregators or manage your own drivers with standard, local delivery directions. It is a solid delivery POS for small restaurants that don’t need a lot of bells and whistles.
When to use an Alternative
- High-volume, full-service restaurants: If your restaurant is both high volume and full service, you’ll be happier with a system that automates some of the work for you, like Toast and Revel.
- Farm-to-table restaurants wanting inventory management: Restaurants with extensive menus that change frequently will find TouchBistro’s inventory interface time-consuming. Our guide to the best restaurant inventory management software can show you better options.
- Retail businesses: TouchBistro only supports food and beverage businesses. If you need a user-friendly POS to support your retail shop, see our top picks for retail POS systems.
Since our last update:
TouchBistro discontinued its self-service kiosk software. Users wanting integrated self-service kiosks should see our top-recommended restaurant self-service kiosks for options.
TouchBistro Video Review
TouchBistro has simple and straightforward pricing—you’ll pay $69 per month for software for a single POS terminal with baseline functions. It also offers tiered pricing, however, so the more terminals you add, the lower your per-terminal cost will be. (You’ll need to contact the provider directly to discuss tiered pricing options.) With your terminals, you can add advanced features like online ordering and reservations management for a la carte prices.
Software and add-ons
Monthly fee starts at
Software for a single terminal
Kitchen display system
TouchBistro runs on iPads, iPad Pros, and iPad Minis that can be configured as POS terminals, kitchen display screens, or tableside order and payment devices. You can bring compatible iPads if you already have them or purchase iPads from TouchBistro from custom-quoted prices.
Generally, you’ll need hardware that runs iOS 12 or later: 6th generation or later iPads, 2nd generation and later iPad Pros, and 4th generation and later iPad Minis. You can get the complete list of compatible iPad devices by contacting TouchBistro directly.
Whichever iPad devices you choose, you’ll need to make sure they have the necessary ports to connect compatible printers. The system works with popular industry standard printers like the Star Micronics TSP100, mC-Print3, and TSP650II and Epson TM-88VI and TM-m30. For payment processing, the system supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled card readers from TouchBistro Payments, TSYS, Worldpay, and Square.
Depending on your configuration, you may also need routers to boost your Wi-Fi connectivity. The system works well with Ubiquiti Amplifi and Cisco Meraki Z3 routers. You will need to purchase the Cisco Meraki Z3 directly from TouchBistro, however, as it will need to be configured and managed by TouchBistro. Food trucks can use an LTE-enabled router if they need to boost cellular signals to multiple iPads.
The baseline TouchBistro POS includes the following:
- Menu management
- Ingredient-level inventory
- Tableside ordering
- Custom floor plan
- Table management
- Reporting and analytics
- Customizable user roles and permissions
TouchBistro lets you customize the information that prints on your guest checks and kitchen tickets. If you offer local delivery with an in-house team of drivers, you can set delivery tickets to automatically print with customer name, address, and phone number.
Your staff can attach credit card information to bar tabs and quickly transfer tabs to tables. They can also transfer checks to new servers or split checks by seat number, number of guests, or payment method. Once payment is processed, you can print or email digital receipts or choose no receipt if the guest chooses. Restaurants that offer customer accounts can easily print account signature slips and track account balances.
TouchBistro has a specific POS setting that turns an iPad into a tableside ordering device. With a card reader-enabled iPad case, the tableside ordering device can quickly become a tableside order and payment device. Because the tableside ordering function is on an iPad rather than a pocket-sized device (a la Toast and Upserve by Lightspeed), your servers get a large order screen with full-size buttons. So, it is easy to navigate between menu screens and edit the active order without lots of backtracking.
The Tableside Ordering function organizes orders by seat number, so it is impossible for a server to order an item without attaching the seat number. This makes it easy for other team members to help run drinks or dishes as they are ready, since it is clear exactly where they should be placed.
The only drawback to iPads as tableside devices is that they don’t easily fit in a pocket, so it’s hard for servers to place an order then clear empty glasses or plates if needed. It’s also likely that a server will set the tablet down on a nearby table or countertop and forget where they left it—though you could solve this slight problem by outfitting your servers with apron pockets large enough to hold an iPad.
You get unlimited user logins with custom permissions, so you can create as many user roles as you need with corresponding access levels and set user permissions by staff type. For example, you’ll decide what tasks a server needs access to versus a line cook, then all staff with that staff type will have the same permissions. If you have a staff member that slides between roles, say a bartender and a server, you’ll need to assign that staff member to both staff types so that they have the necessary access.
TouchBistro also acts as a timeclock and can track the hours your team works. It does not, however, include built-in scheduling and payroll tools. If you would like to add integrated employee scheduling, payroll processing, and onboarding tools, you’ll need a third-party integration with 7shifts or Push Operations.
Scheduling and team management integrations
Schedule building, team communication, digital shift swapping tools, labor forecasting, and cost reporting
$0–$69.99; offers free trial
Employee scheduling, payroll processing with direct deposit, HR and onboarding (including I-9 management, time tracking, labor forecasting and cost reporting)
$5–$10 per employee
TouchBistro includes ingredient-level inventory tracking in the baseline POS. To use it, you’ll need to add all of your bulk ingredients and recipes and tie these to specific menu items. Once this bit of administrative work is done, your TouchBistro POS will update your stock levels in real time as items sell. It will also alert you when stock is running low, so you never forget to reorder. You can export the low stock report as a CSV file and use it to generate purchase orders.
TouchBistro’s inventory management is ingredient-level, and the food cost and usage reports can help you control costs. However, the platform’s inventory tools require manual updates to stay current.
You’ll need to enter each ingredient from a POS terminal manually; you can’t currently add ingredients in the cloud dashboard or bulk upload them from a spreadsheet. You’ll also need to adjust quantities as new stock arrives manually; you can’t scan invoices to update quantities as with a system like Revel. And you can’t generate purchase orders in the POS as you can with Toast.
That doesn’t mean that these tools are unavailable to TouchBistro users—all you need is a third-party integration. The platform integrates with several third-party inventory tools for all types of food and beverage businesses. There are even specialized options for bars that need to track draft beer programs and keg levels.
Inventory Management Integrations
Business insight and inventory management tool with automated price and item updates
$300 per location
Inventory management for all types of food and beverage businesses
Inventory management with electronic invoicing
Scale-integrated Inventory management for beverage businesses
Inventory and stock projection app
Cloud-based inventory management for all types of food and beverage businesses
Inventory built for draft beverage programs
$59–$149 + $5 per tap
Reporting & Analytics
TouchBistro includes over 50 built-in reports that track sales, labor, customer behavior, payments, and accounting. You can schedule specific reports to be automatically emailed to you and your management team at the end of a day, week, or month. TouchBistro’s reports are all available on the cloud and update in real time, so you can keep track of your business even when you are out of the restaurant.
You can customize each report’s view by filtering the report by date, payment type, sales type, or menu category. All reports can be downloaded as CSV and XLSX files, so you can filter the data or create combined reports for deeper analysis. You can further streamline your operation by connecting your POS to accounting software to save administrative time and reduce human error. However, with TouchBistro, you’ll need to do a little jury-rigging.
You can also get your TouchBistro system to communicate with popular accounting tools Xero, Sage Intacct, and QuickBooks via intermediary plug-ins Shogo or MarginEdge. A Shogo account runs $30 per month for a single location, though the price decreases for additional locations. MarginEdge, on the other hand, runs $300 per month but also includes robust inventory tools.
These fees are in addition to whatever you pay for the accounting software itself. These costs can add up, but if you are running a restaurant with few managers or support staff, it may be money worth spending.
Customer Management & Loyalty
TouchBistro’s Loyalty and Rewards modules are streamlined and dynamic, so customers can enroll easily at checkout. Loyalty profiles are tracked by phone number or email address, so you don’t have to track special loyalty numbers or distribute cards. TouchBistro Loyalty is an add-on to the baseline POS, offered at $99 per month. This module integrates with other POS functions, like online ordering, to reward your loyal customers wherever they order. Multilocation restaurants can decide to apply rewards at all locations or only specific ones.
You can customize reward settings in the POS cloud dashboard. Choose whether to reward customers for each dollar spent, offer a specific item as a reward, or apply a dollar or percentage discount. Customer accounts are tracked by phone number or email, so customers never have to remember a loyalty card or special number. You can create categories for regulars, recent visitors, or guests who like beer. Then create custom email promotions to those groups or by customers’ birthday month, number of visits, or average spend.
For an additional $50 per month, TouchBistro users can add the integrated online ordering module. This built-in module allows customers to place orders via an “order now” widget on your website that redirects them to your online menu on TBDine.com. You can also send this link to customers via email and link it on your social media accounts. You have the option to accept orders for delivery or pick up, with online payments or payment at pick-up, and to be ready as soon as possible. You can also schedule future orders.
TouchBistro Online ordering syncs directly with TouchBistro’s Loyalty module, so you can reward your regular customers even online. For orders that are placed in advance (for pick-up the next day, for example), you can set your POS to only print the kitchen ticket in time to prepare the order rather than at the time the order is placed. You can also choose to accept or decline online orders as they show up in your POS and send cancellation messages if your kitchen is backed up or you have run out of stock.
In addition to TouchBistro’s built-in online ordering tools, the system integrates with aggregating apps to feed third-party platform orders directly into your POS. However, TouchBistro does not integrate directly with popular third-party ordering and delivery platforms like GrubHub and UberEats.
If you use those platforms and want those online orders to appear directly in your TouchBistro orderstream, you’ll need to use an ordering aggregator. These have their own monthly fees, alongside any commissions or fees you’ll pay for using the third-party platforms themselves.
Online Ordering Integrations
$99 per month + a one-time setup fee
(average set up fee is $149 but varies based on your POS)
TouchBistro is one of the only cloud POS systems that supports a built-in reservations module. This tool is priced at $229 per month—and it sounds steep, but it is in line with what systems like Resy ($249–$899), OpenTable ($249–$449), and Yelp Guest Manager ($249–$299) cost. You can accept reservations over the phone, in person, or online.
You can also require a credit card to secure reservations and send custom email messages to reserved guests to alert them to cancellation fees or parking instructions. To process no-show or cancellation fees, you’ll need a Stripe account (in addition to whatever processor you use for your POS).
The reservations module contains a two-way text messaging feature, so you can send reminder messages to customers or they can text you if their plans change. The reservations system syncs with your POS, so your front desk staff can easily identify which tables have paid their checks and are likely to clear soon. You can log detailed customer notes so that you never forget a customer’s preferred table or food allergies.
TouchBistro includes built-in payment processing via TouchBistro Payments. But the system also integrates with several other payment processors, so you can shop for the lowest processing rates. The providers in the table below are available in the US. Outside the US, TouchBistro also integrates with Chase Merchant Services, Moneris (Canada), Barclaycard (UK), and EVO (Mexico).
Payments Integrations (US-only)
Custom-quoted based on sales volume and card types accepted
Custom-quoted based on sales volume and card types accepted
Ease of Use
- iOS configuration: The POS interface is as familiar as an iPhone.
- Uncluttered order screen: The minimal design makes it easy to find what you are looking for and cuts down on errors.
- 24/7 customer support: Customer support is available via phone, email, and online chat.
- Online resources: Comprehensive online database of video tutorials walk you through everything from inputting an employee to configuring a new terminal.
- Personalized implementation support: A dedicated account manager supports you in setting up your initial POS system.
- Remote access: Support technicians can remotely access your POS to help troubleshoot problems.
TouchBistro is built on iOS on iPads, so it looks, feels, and operates just like a smartphone. Staff tend to pick up the system almost immediately, cutting down on training time. Additionally, KDS screens are intuitive with tap and swipe navigation.
This same navigational mode can make administrative tasks a little tedious, though. Many manager functions need to be performed directly in a TouchBistro terminal. The administrative settings and reports are accessible via nested drop-down menus that look and function exactly like iPhone menus. This means you won’t have to run to the manager’s office to make a quick change to update a menu item or adjust the floorplan. It also means that editing a single inventory item can take several taps using a touch-screen keyboard.
TouchBistro is an economical iPad POS that works great for small operations. If you have a complicated menu with several modifiers or multiple revenue streams like catering, private events, delivery, and online ordering, you might prefer a more robust system.
Best for: Restaurants that need flexible ecommerce and tools and easy menu management
Best for: Small to midsize restaurants that need integrated online ordering
Best for: High-volume restaurants with multiple revenue streams
Monthly fee from: $39
Monthly fee from: $0
Monthly fee from: $99
Lightspeed Restaurant is probably TouchBistro’s biggest competitor. The two systems have similar costs and core functions, and both operate on iPads. TouchBistro offers a fully integrated reservations module, which Lightspeed does not, but Lightspeed offers stronger ecommerce integrations and allows you to bulk upload menu updates from CSV files.
To see how the two systems compare, you should read our full Lightspeed Restaurant review. If you’re unsure TouchBistro is right for you, see how it compares with our top-recommended restaurant POS systems.
What Users Think
Users love TouchBistro. The most frequently cited benefit in user reviews is that servers and cashiers learn the system easily. If cutting down staff training time is important to you, then TouchBistro can really help your operation.
Here’s a snapshot of how actual users rank TouchBistro:
- Finances Online: TouchBistro earns a rare rating of 5 out of 5 based on about 20 user reviews and a 95% User Satisfaction rating.
- G2: It is listed as a 2022 Winter Leader, earning a rating of 4.5 of 5 from around 90 user reviews.
- Capterra: TouchBistro scores a 4.1 out of 5 based on roughly 350 reviews. It ranks as a Noteworthy Product on Capterra’s 2021 shortlist of food delivery software and an Established Product on Capterra’s shortlists of Restaurant POS Software and Restaurant Management Software.
Users Don’t Like
Ease of use for customers and staff
Long waits for customer service response
Flexible payment processing
Nested menu modifiers do not automatically pull from the POS to online ordering tools.
Bar tabs do not retain credit card information
TouchBistro is an easy-to-use and easy-to-install iPad POS that is perfect for food trucks, pubs, QSRs, and full-service restaurants. The system is easy to learn and the hybrid configuration keeps your business running even when your internet glitches. The ingredient-level inventory is good for small businesses whose menus don’t change often, but if you need automation or vendor management, you’ll need to add one of TouchBistro’s third-party inventory partners. To schedule a demo and get a full price quote, contact TouchBistro.