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TouchBistro vs SpotOn: 2024 Restaurant POS Review

By Katherine Pendrill

TouchBistro vs SpotOn: Restaurant POS Review
Don’t have time to read the full TouchBistro vs SpotOn POS review? Here are the highlights:
TouchBistro:
– Runs on iOS and Apple iPad tablets
A hybrid cloud-based system that keeps working even without an internet connection
– Integrated payments with competitive pricing and the backing of a trusted institution
– Extensive in-house solutions, including integrated reservations and online ordering
– Best for single and multi-location restaurants that are growing and scaling

SpotOn:
– Not a restaurant-specific solution
– Runs on a Windows operating system and proprietary Windows hardware
– A strictly cloud-based POS system that relies on a stable Internet connection to operate
– Offers a large suite of in-house value-added services
– Best for restaurants with a retail component to their business

If you’re a restaurateur in the market for a brand-new POS, you’ve probably compared TouchBistro vs SpotOn. 

That’s because both these POS providers offer an impressive list of in-house features along with some of the most competitive payment processing rates out there.

But while TouchBistro and SpotOn are both popular options among restaurants, there are some very important differences between the two POS systems. While TouchBisto was originally built as a POS for restaurants, SpotOn started as a marketing and loyalty platform that has since transformed into a a POS provider and payment processor. As a result, the two companies have taken very different approaches to their products and how they serve their customers.

Of course, spotting all these differences can be tricky, which is why we’ve broken everything down for you. In our complete TouchBistro vs SpotOn POS review, we’ll cover:

  • The foundations of each system
  • Core POS features
  • Hardware
  • Payments
  • Other add-on solutions
  • Pricing
  • Integration partners
  • Customer support

With the help of this in-depth review, you’ll be able to see how TouchBistro vs SpotOn compare, so you can make the best decision for your restaurant. You can even compare TouchBistro to other top restaurant POS providers with our Ultimate Guide to the Best Restaurant POS Systems.

The information contained on this site is accurate as of the time of publication.

photograph of the Ultimate Guide to the Best Restaurant POS Systems booklet
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TouchBistro vs SpotOn: An Overview

Upon first glance, TouchBistro and SpotOn may seem like very similar solutions. Both are modern POS systems that run on the cloud and allow restaurants to take orders tableside with wireless, handheld tablets.

However, this is where most of the similarities end. Below, we’ll provide an overview of TouchBistro vs SpotOn and highlight some of the key differences between the two systems.

TouchBistroSpotOn
POS SystemHybrid cloud-basedCloud-based
Operating SystemiOSWindows
Regional AvailabilityCAD, U.S., and moreU.S.
Hardware (Tablets)iPadsWindows hardware

1. POS System

As mentioned above, both TouchBistro and SpotOn are modern POS systems that run on the cloud. A cloud-based POS system means that all the data is stored in the cloud on remote servers that can be accessed at any time, from any Internet-connected device.

However, in the case of SpotOn, the system is strictly cloud-based, which means that if the internet goes down, the POS system goes down with it. Though this isn’t likely to be a day-to-day problem for many restaurants, it can spell disaster when the internet does go out.

In contrast, TouchBistro is a hybrid cloud-based POS system. TouchBistro offers all the freedom and flexibility of a wireless, cloud-based POS, but with the added safeguard of a hardwired, local connection. This means that if the internet drops, the local connection can act as a backup to keep your POS up and running. 

2. Operating System

The difference between a hybrid cloud-based and a strictly cloud-based POS may be subtle, but the difference between operating systems is not.

SpotOn is a bit of an outlier in the restaurant POS space because it runs on a Windows operating system. In turn, this means you can only run the software on the company’s own proprietary Window’s devices. While the company’s software is known for its intuitive user interface, it may come with a bit of a learning curve for employees who are used to Apple or Android systems (which is what most restaurants use).

Unlike SpotOn POS, TouchBistro runs on an iOS operating system and uses Apple hardware. iOS is largely considered the gold standard for restaurant POS software because of its user-friendly design. Not to mention, there is a direct integration between Apple’s hardware (the iPad) and the software (iOS), which means seamless security updates and a lower risk of viruses.

Waitress serving a group while holding a POS.

3. Regional Availability

Regional availability is another important comparison point when looking at TouchBistro vs SpotOn.

SpotOn’s headquarters are located in San Francisco, California, and the company operates exclusively in the U.S. 

In contrast, TouchBistro has a much bigger global footprint than SpotOn. TouchBistro is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, and the company has a strong presence across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Outside of North America, TouchBistro is used in more than 100 countries worldwide.

Core POS Features

Core POS FeaturesTouchBistroSpotOn
Menu Management
Staff Management
Floor Plan Management
Tableside Ordering
Reporting
1:1 Onboarding
Customer Support24/7/36524/7/365

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty and compare TouchBistro vs SpotOn’s main features.

When it comes to basic restaurant POS features, both SpotOn POS and TouchBistro are equipped with the following:

  • Menu Management: Build, manage, and customize multiple menus and menu categories.
  • Staff Management: Manage front of house and back of house staff with employee-specific access permissions.
  • Floor Plan Management: Design and customize your table layout, take orders by table, move parties around, split checks, and more.
  • Tableside Ordering: Mobile POS tablets can be taken tableside for faster and more accurate order taking.
  • Reporting: Real-time and end-of-day reporting on everything from employee sales to product mix.

While it may look like SpotOn has all its bases covered, it’s worth noting that SpotOn was not originally created to be a restaurant POS. SpotOn was actually founded as a loyalty and marketing company called SpotOn Transact. Then in 2018, the company purchased a POS company (EmaginePOS) and pivoted to become a full-service small business management company.

This history is important because it demonstrates that SpotOn is actually relatively new to the restaurant POS space. As a result, the company’s core POS product is not quite as advanced as some of the other POS systems on the market. Not to mention, SpotOn’s POS is also marketed to a wide range of industries, demonstrating a lack of focus on building restaurant-specific features. In fact, a recent TechCrunch report stated that 60% of SpotOn’s customers are actually in the retail space.

On the other hand, TouchBistro has always built POS systems specifically for restaurants. Since the company was founded 2011, TouchBistro has been developing industry-leading POS products and services. From menu management to reporting, all of TouchBistro’s POS features have been built in-house and specifically designed to support the unique challenges of restaurant management. Consequently, this laser focus on the needs of restaurants means that TouchBistro’s core features only continue to improve.

photograph of the Ultimate Guide to the Best Restaurant POS Systems booklet
Get the Ultimate Guide to the Best Restaurant POS Systems

Compare the top restaurant POS systems on features, pricing, payments, and more.

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Hardware

The different approaches that SpotOn and TouchBistro have taken to building a restaurant POS system are also clear when you examine the POS hardware that each system requires.

SpotOn Hardware

Unlike many of the best restaurant POS systems on the market, SpotOn runs on a Windows operating system and uses proprietary Windows hardware. This proprietary hardware encompasses everything from payment terminals, to touchscreen monitors and handheld tablet devices. The specific type of hardware each you receive will depend on which subscription plan you choose and the features you need.

While some restaurateurs may appreciate the option to purchase a hardware bundle with everything they need, there are some big drawbacks to using proprietary hardware. On the one hand, investing in proprietary hardware can be very expensive. Though SpotOn does not list hardware pricing on its website, you can expect to shell out at least a few thousand dollars just to get up and running. And if any of those items break, you’ll have to purchase replacements directly through SpotOn, and you won’t have the option to shop around.

Another drawback to investing in proprietary hardware is that you have to be prepared to commit to one specific POS provider for the long haul. Most of the top restaurant POS systems rely on Apple iPads and iOS software, so if you invest in SpotOn’s proprietary Windows devices, you won’t be able to use the devices with another system if you switch POS providers down the line.

TouchBistro POS open to the floorplan screen in an empty restaurany.

TouchBistro iPads

Unlike SpotOn, TouchBistro does not require you to invest in proprietary hardware to use its POS software. Instead, TouchBistro relies on Apple’s iPad tablets, alongside other industry-leading hardware. This hardware setup means you have a lot more flexibility because you have the option to use any existing iPads you might have from a previous POS system, as long as they’re compatible models. 

Not to mention, iPads are already widely used by consumers – unlike proprietary tablets. This means that staff who are already familiar with iPads will find it quick and easy to start using an iPad POS. And even if staff haven’t used an iPad before, Apple devices are incredibly user-friendly, which can make the initial learning process a whole lot smoother and ultimately speed up the training process.

Add-On Solutions

While both TouchBistro and SpotOn have a very similar set of core POS features, they differ a bit when it comes to the add-on solutions they offer.

Payments

Of all the add-on solutions you can choose for your POS, restaurant payment processing is one of the most important ones. Though some restaurants still use unintegrated payment processing solutions, more venues now opt for integrated payment solutions through their POS provider.

PaymentsTouchBistroSpotOn
Payments Pricing ModelCost plus (interchange plus) pricingFixed rate pricing
Payment Processing FeesTouchBistro Payments (U.S. only):Interchange + processing fee
Integrated Payments for Online Ordering:2.9% + $0.30 / transaction (CAD)
Competitive card-not-present processing fees (U.S.)
Most cards:1.99% + $0.20 / transaction
​​For corporate, international, AMEX, or keyed cards:2.99% + $0.20 / transaction
 Custom rates also available for high-volume businesses

When it comes to payment processing, SpotOn has restaurants covered. The company offers POS-integrated payments through a plan called SpotOn with Payments, which offers competitive payment processing rates and promises transparent terms with no junk fees.

Similarly, TouchBistro also offers integrated payment processing through a solution called TouchBistro Payments Powered by Chase. While TouchBistro also promises transparent terms and competitive rates, you get the added benefit of the backing of a trusted institution, JPMorgan Chase Bank. This means you enjoy a fully integrated payment processing solution for your restaurant, backed by Chase’s best-in-class payment processing technology, advanced security, and the support of dedicated payments experts.

photograph of the Ultimate Guide to the Best Restaurant POS Systems booklet
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Compare the top restaurant POS systems on features, pricing, payments, and more.

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Other Add-On Solutions

Beyond integrated payment processing, POS providers like TouchBistro and SpotOn also offer additional add-on solutions.

Add-On SolutionsTouchBistroSpotOn
Integrated Payments
Online Ordering
Delivery
Reservations
Gift Cards✔ (digital only)
Loyalty and Customer Relationship Management
Marketing
Inventory & Back Office Management
Self-Serve Kiosks
Kitchen Display System
Customer Facing Display
Digital Menu Board

When you compare TouchBistro vs SpotOn side-by-side, it’s clear that they both offer many of the same add-on solutions:

  • Payments: Integrated payment processing services.
  • Online Ordering: Customers can order directly from a restaurant’s website and the order is processed through the POS in real-time.
  • Delivery: Restaurants can access a local network of on-demand drivers to quickly get delivery orders from door to door.
  • Reservations: An integrated reservation management solution that allows diners to make bookings through multiple online touchpoints, while giving staff the tools to track table status and manage capacity with ease.
  • Loyalty and CRM: An integrated CRM and rewards program that helps drive repeat visits.
  • Marketing: A marketing solution that helps restaurants create and automate custom marketing campaigns.
  • Profit and Back Office Management: A back office solution that helps operators streamline, and more.
  • Kitchen Display System (KDS): A digital system that displays orders for the back-of-house staff.
  • Customer Facing Display: A counter-service system that faces the customer so they can visually confirm their order.

In addition to the products listed above, SpotOn also offers some additional add-ons that may be valuable to restaurants. For instance, SpotOn has a website-building tool that helps restaurants set up a custom website, complete with their own branding and domain name.

Of course, keep in mind that all these kinds of additional services come at an added cost, which will raise the total monthly cost of using SpotOn. It’s also worth noting that not all of these add-ons were specifically designed with restaurants in mind. For instance, SpotOn also markets the same website builder and ecommerce solution to retail businesses like nail salons and barbershops – businesses that have very different website needs than restaurants. 

In contrast, TouchBistro’s add-ons are exclusively designed for the restaurant industry. This means that all of TouchBistro’s research and development is dedicated to creating products that will better meet the needs of today’s restaurateurs. And while TouchBistro may offer a slightly smaller suite of add-on solutions, the ones it does offer cover the most pressing needs of restaurant businesses today.

Integration Partners

In the instances where POS providers don’t have in-house add-ons to offer, they often integrate with third-party solutions that can help to extend the functionality of the core POS. 

Integration PartnersTouchBistroSpotOn
Online Ordering and Delivery
Reservations✘ (in-house solution)✘ (in-house solution)
Customer Relationship Management and Loyalty✘ (in-house solution)✘ (in-house solution)
Staff Management, HR, and Payroll
Inventory Management
Accounting
Reporting and Analytics
Ecommerce✘ (in-house solution)

A comparison of TouchBistro vs SpotOn reveals that both POS providers offer third-party integrations for the following kinds of solutions:

  • Online Ordering and Delivery Marketplaces: Online ordering aggregators like that sync multiple different third-party ordering apps with your POS system.
  • Staff Management, HR, and Payroll: Employee scheduling tools, HR solutions, and payroll providers
  • Inventory Management: Restaurant-specific inventory management tools, as well as solutions for draft beverage programs.
  • Accounting: Cloud accounting tools and middleware software.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Advanced reporting and business insights for restaurants.

Unlike some of the other POS providers on the market, both TouchBistro and SpotOn feature a more tightly curated list of industry-leading third-party integrations. That’s because both companies already offer in-house solutions for many different solutions such as reservations and online ordering.

A young man using a digital POS tablet while a customer buys a coffee in a cafe.

Pricing

As important as features are, pricing is one of the biggest factors involved in choosing a new POS system. And when you compare the pricing of TouchBistro vs SpotOn, there are some important differences to note.

PricingTouchBistroSpotOn
Software Pricing
Starting at $69 USD / month for a single license
SpotOn Restaurant (With Payments):$25 USD / month + $65 USD / month
SpotOn Restaurant (Software Only): $195 USD / month + $65 USD / month

When it comes to pricing for POS software, both SpotOn and TouchBistro are similarly priced. SpotOn Restaurant, which is the brand’s restaurant-specific solution, starts at $65 per month, with additional costs depending on whether you use integrated payments and what add-on solutions you need.

Similarly, TouchBistro’s POS software starts at $69 per month and varies based on the specific solutions you need. The benefit to this kind of a la carte pricing is that you can choose the solutions that best fit your business needs. This flexible pricing model helps ensure you end up with all of the tech you need, and nothing you don’t.

However, on the pricing front, it’s also worth noting that software is not the only cost to consider. There’s also the major upfront cost that comes with hardware and installation. Since TouchBistro uses Apple iPads – non-proprietary hardware that can be used with an iOS system – you may be able to save on some hardware costs. However, SpotOn requires you to purchase proprietary Windows hardware, so that’s an added cost to consider.

photograph of the Ultimate Guide to the Best Restaurant POS Systems booklet
Get the Ultimate Guide to the Best Restaurant POS Systems

Compare the top restaurant POS systems on features, pricing, payments, and more.

Download Now

Customer Support: TouchBistro and SpotOn POS Reviews

In addition to pricing, customer support can also be a make-or-break issue when it comes to choosing a new POS provider.

SpotOn prides itself on offering 24/7 U.S.-based support via phone or email. SpotOn also offers in-person hardware installation, face-to-face staff training, and ongoing virtual training for both staff and management. For the most part, the SpotOn POS reviews about the company’s customer support are quite positive. 

TouchBistro also offers free 24/7 customer service and technical support 365 days of the year. TouchBistro’s support team is also largely staffed by former and current restaurant staff and managers, so you can be confident that the person on the other end of the line will understand the issue you’re facing. TouchBistro also has an online resource library, complete with step-by-step guides and videos that can be used to help you and your staff troubleshoot most problems on your own without having to call in.

TouchBistro vs SpotOn POS: The Bottom Line

Based on the above review of TouchBistro vs SpotOn, it’s clear that there are a few key similarities between the two restaurant POS systems. Both are modern restaurant management solutions that allow restaurants to tackle everything from tableside ordering and menu management, to reservations and customer loyalty.

However, there are also many differences between the two systems as well. SpotOn’s biggest strength is its large suite of in-house value-added services, especially its website builder, ecommerce solution, and marketing services. However, many of these add-ons were designed to complement other industries outside of the hospitality space, such as auto repair shops, salons, barbershops, and other retail businesses. As a result, SpotOn is best suited to restaurants with a retail component to their business – such as breweries with bottle shops or cafes that also sell groceries – than it is to full service restaurant concepts.

In contrast, TouchBistro was specifically designed by restaurant people, for restaurant people. No matter what size of venue you run, there are several reasons why TouchBistro is the better all-around POS and restaurant management solution for all venue types.

photograph of the Ultimate Guide to the Best Restaurant POS Systems booklet
Get the Ultimate Guide to the Best Restaurant POS Systems

Compare the top restaurant POS systems on features, pricing, payments, and more.

Download Now

1. Restaurant-Specific Solution

Since launching the first-ever iPad-based restaurant POS back in 2011, TouchBistro has not strayed from its mission to help restaurateurs run their businesses better. While other POS companies have expanded their portfolios to include other industries, TouchBistro has continued to dedicate all ongoing research and development to making products specifically for restaurants. This means that TouchBistro’s solutions will continue to evolve and improve in lockstep with the restaurant industry.

In contrast, SpotOn creates products for a wide range of industries and business types – from salons to dental offices. As mentioned, more than half (60%) of SpotOn’s customers are in the retail space. This means that the company’s focus is split across many different business needs, with less dedicated time and energy going into the development of restaurant-specific solutions. Over time, this may mean that restaurateurs are not getting access to the most cutting-edge technology or to the upgrades needed to adapt to a changing industry landscape.

A waitress holding a POS tablet in a restaurant.

2. Versatile Hardware

There is also the issue of hardware. TouchBistro uses non-proprietary hardware such as Apple iPads, which can be used with a wide range of POS systems. This gives customers the opportunity to save on hardware costs by “bringing their own” device if they switch to TouchBistro from another iPad POS system. It also means that if they decide to switch POS software in the future, they likely won’t need to purchase all new hardware.

In contrast, POS systems that use proprietary hardware, such as SpotOn, can leave restaurateurs feeling handcuffed to their system. That’s because investing in an entirely new set of proprietary hardware is incredibly expensive, and since that hardware can’t be used with any other POS software, many customers feel disincentivized to make a switch. This lack of flexibility can be frustrating for many restaurateurs, especially if they feel that their POS isn’t meeting their needs.

3. Growth Potential

Lastly, there is the issue of how the system is set up for growth and expansion. TouchBistro was designed to support the needs of growing restaurants, including those with multiple locations. For instance, TouchBistro is equipped with menu management features that let you build, edit, and customize multiple menus at once, central and customized reporting for tracking individual venue performance, and operational controls that let you manage staff permissions across all locations from one account. Not to mention, TouchBistro’s add-on solutions are also equipped with multi-location management features so the entire solution adapts as your business scales. 

While SpotOn is also equipped with some multi-location management features, they are more limited because the platform is primarily designed for single location restaurants. In fact, the majority of the enterprise clients that SpotOn supports are stadiums and sports venues, not restaurants. While this may not be an issue for very small, solo operations, it’s worth taking into consideration if you have any plans to grow or expand your restaurant.


At the end of the day, choosing a new restaurant POS system is a big decision and it’s clear that there are a lot of different factors to consider. With this head-to-head comparison of TouchBistro vs SpotOn, now you have crucial information that can help you make an informed decision about the POS system and integrated payment processing solution that’s right for your restaurant. You can also compare TouchBistro to other leader POS systems with our free Ultimate Guide to the Best Restaurant POS Systems

Photo of Katherine Pendrill
by Katherine Pendrill

Katherine is the Content Marketing Manager at TouchBistro, where she writes about trending topics in food and restaurants. The opposite of a picky eater, she’ll try (almost) anything at least once. Whether it’s chowing down on camel burgers in Morocco or snacking on octopus dumplings in Japan, she’s always up for new food experiences.

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