Point of Sale
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By Katherine Pendrill
If you’re in the process of shopping for a new POS system for your restaurant, you’ll definitely want to compare TouchBistro vs Upserve POS.
Both TouchBistro and Upserve are popular POS systems and integrated payment processing solutions designed specifically for restaurants. Equipped with everything from in-depth menu management features to online ordering systems, both providers are well equipped to handle the changing needs of today’s restaurateurs.
Of course, every restaurant has unique needs and it’s important to dig into the differences between these two systems in order to find out which one is right for your specific venue. To help you make that decision, we’ve put together an in-depth comparison of TouchBistro vs Upserve POS.
In this head-to-head review, we’ll cover:
Whether you’re in the early days of shopping for a new POS or ready to pull the trigger, this in-depth review of TouchBistro vs Upserve will help you decide between two of the top restaurant POS systems on the market.
To go even deeper and see how TouchBistro stacks up to other top restaurant POS systems, check out our Ultimate Guide to the Best Restaurant POS Systems.
NOTE: Upserve was acquired by Lightspeed on December 1, 2020. Our review of TouchBistro vs Lightspeed can be found here.
The information contained on this site is accurate as of the time of publication.
Compare the top restaurant POS systems on features, pricing, payments, and more.
Both TouchBistro and Upserve are bound to come up in any search for a new restaurant POS system. Both are similar products created specifically for restaurants, bars, and other food service establishments.
Of course, just because TouchBistro and Upserve share similar features, does not mean the two systems are interchangeable. Below, we’ll provide a basic overview of each system, noting how the two are similar and the important ways in which they differ.
When you compare TouchBistro vs Upserve, one of the biggest differences between the two is the type of POS system that each offers.
Like many modern restaurant POS systems, Upserve is strictly cloud-based. With a cloud-based system, your data is stored securely in the cloud on Upserve’s remote servers. This means that you can access your information remotely anytime, from anywhere, as long as you have access to the Internet.
Cloud-based POS systems have a major advantage over hardwired legacy systems, because the wireless POS terminals can be moved freely around the restaurant and all the information can be accessed remotely, even when you’re off-site.
Of course, cloud-based systems are not without their own drawbacks. Strictly cloud-based POS systems like Upserve’s are completely reliant on the Internet, which means that if your WiFi connection is lost, your POS terminals are unable to talk to one another and you won’t be able to carry out vital functions, such as sending orders to the kitchen. While this may not be an issue for some restaurants, for venues with spotty or unreliable WiFi, using a strictly cloud-based system comes with the risk of a lot of downtime.
TouchBistro has addressed this risk of downtime by offering customers a hybrid setup, instead of a strictly cloud-based one. With a hybrid POS, you enjoy the flexibility and remote capabilities of a cloud-based system, but you also have a hardwired, local connection that can act as a backup if you lose your Internet connection.
In other words, a hybrid system offers the best of both worlds because you can run your restaurant without worrying that slow WiFi will bring service to a standstill. This is especially important for restaurants that process a high volume of orders and can’t afford any downtime.
TouchBistro and Upserve also differ when it comes to the operating systems each POS software runs on.
Upserve is unique in that it offers a POS app for both iOS and Android. This flexibility means that restaurateurs can choose the operating system and hardware that works best for their particular restaurant. Generally, Android systems are better for enterprise-level restaurants that demand a more flexible and customizable system. On the other hand, iOS is largely considered the better all-around option for small to medium-sized restaurants because it is reliable and user-friendly.
In contrast, TouchBistro only runs on an iOS operating system. While iOS offers fewer opportunities for customization than an Android system, this is actually a good thing for most restaurants. Less customization means more consistency, resulting in a user-friendly system that’s easy for staff to pick up – especially if they’re already familiar with Apple products. Not to mention, a major benefit of iOS is that it’s a closed platform, meaning it’s less virus-prone than Android systems and updates are rolled out seamlessly across devices.
Another key difference between TouchBistro vs Upserve POS is the regions in which they are available.
Upserve primarily serves the U.S. market, with offices in both Rhode Island and Colorado. If your restaurant is located in the U.S. this shouldn’t be an issue. However, Upserve’s limited availability may be an important consideration if you plan to scale and expand beyond the U.S. at some point in the future.
Unlike Upserve, TouchBistro is used in more than 100 different countries, primarily serving the U.S., Canadian, Mexico, and U.K, markets. TouchBistro not only has offices in all of its primary markets, but its system is also customized to meet the unique needs of each of these regions. For instance, TouchBistro systems in the U.K. integrate with one of Britain’s leading payment providers, Barclaycard. So if you plan to expand your restaurant beyond your current country, TouchBistro’s global footprint may be a significant advantage.
No matter what kind of restaurant you run, there are some core POS features you need to manage day-to-day operations. These features include everything from menu management and inventory tools, to floor plan management and tableside ordering.
A quick comparison of TouchBistro vs Upserve reveals that both platforms are equipped with the following core POS features:
While both TouchBistro and Upserve offer a similar set of core POS features, each company has its own unique strengths. For instance, Upserve is well known for its robust reporting features. This is because Upserve offers some unique reports and menu intelligence tools, such as the “magic quadrant” report, which reveals how successful different items are at drawing customers back. Upserve also offers custom reporting, which may be useful to larger restaurants that want to drill down on specific data.
But while it’s reporting features are excellent, Upserve’s inventory management feature is one of its weaker points. The feature only allows restaurateurs to carry out basic inventory tasks such as setting up an item count to keep track of stock. Not to mention, Upserve’s inventory feature is not even included with its Core plan – only with its Pro and Pro Plus Plans.
Like Upserve, TouchBistro also has certain strengths when it comes to its core POS features. For instance, TouchBistro’s Floor Plan Management feature is especially strong. With this feature, users can design a custom floor plan in their POS, take orders by table, move parties around, and easily manage multiple sections of the restaurant. Though Upserve’s Floor Plan Management feature also allows you to add and change tables, you can’t customize your floor plan.
Where TouchBisto’s features fall a bit short of Upserve is when it comes to reporting. While TouchBistro offers more than 50 different detailed reports, it does not offer the same menu intelligence tools that Upserve does. Of course, with detailed reports on everything from sales to staff activity, TouchBistro’s reporting and analytics feature is more than sufficient for most restaurants.
With a better understanding of what each POS system offers, it’s important to address the issue of hardware. POS hardware encompasses everything from the cash drawer to the receipt printer, but it’s the tablets that run your POS software that are the most important piece.
As mentioned above, Upserve is a bit of an anomaly in that it offers both an iOS and an Android app for its POS software. This means that you technically have a choice of Apple or Android hardware, thought Upserve largely recommends using its own Android hardware.
If you do opt for an Android set up, Upserve offers its own terminals made with industrial-grade Android Elo hardware and are equipped with built-in EMV payment functionality. While these tablets are well designed for the restaurant environment, it’s worth noting that investing in Android hardware is a bit of a commitment. Most of the top restaurant POS systems rely on Apple iPads and iOS software, so if you invest in Upserve’s proprietary Android hardware you won’t be able to use those devices with another system if you switch POS providers down the line.
Beyond the technical considerations, it’s also important to consider the Android user experience. If you are already familiar with Android devices, Upserve’s hardware will likely be fairly intuitive. However, if you (or your staff) generally use Apple devices like the iPhone, Upserve’s Android tablets will come with a steeper learning curve, which could ultimately slow down the training process.
On the other hand, you can also use the Upserve POS with Apple iPads, which is the only hardware option that can be used with the TouchBistro system.
One of the biggest benefits of Apple hardware is that iPads are generally the tablet of choice for most of the top restaurant POS systems. This means that if you’re switching from one iPad-based POS to another, you can reuse your existing iPads to save money on hardware costs (as long as the iPads are a compatible generation).
Another reason why iPads are the top choice for most restaurant POS systems is because of the seamless integration between Apple’s iPads and the iOS operating system. This integration ensures that security updates roll out automatically across all Apple devices, so you never have to worry about your operating system being out of date.
Finally, and perhaps most important, Apple iPads make for great restaurant POS terminals because the devices are extremely user-friendly. Whether you’ve used Apple devices before or not, an iPad is so intuitive that it’s easy to learn right out of the box.
While the core POS features may be enough for some restaurants, other venues will require additional functions to fulfill their needs. These additional features can include everything from online ordering tools to integrated payment processing.
Integrated payment processing is one of the most common POS add-ons, and both TouchBistro and Upserve each offer their own integrated payments solution.
Upserve’s integrated payment processing solution is called Upserve Payments. Upserve Payments is structured according to a fixed rate pricing model, which means that you pay a fixed rate for each transaction, regardless of card type, processing volume, and other factors. In other words, even if your customers are using low-cost cards like debit cards (versus premium credit cards), you pay the same fee per transaction.
Some restaurants appreciate a fixed rate pricing model because it means that their payment processing fees are predictable – you always know how much you are going to pay per transaction. However, the drawback is that you end up paying higher rates overall. That’s because fixed rate pricing models are priced higher than that of other payment processors in order to cover the fluctuating interchange fees associated with the type of card and type of payment. Over time, this means you might end up paying more in payment processing fees than necessary.
If this doesn’t sound like the best fit for your restaurant, Upserve does integrate with other payment processors. However, if you want to use a third-party processor you need to pay a gateway fee of $99 per month in addition to the fees your processor charges. So unless you want to pay hefty gateway and processing fees each month, Upsever Payments is virtually the only payment processing solution available with Upserve POS.
On the other hand, TouchBistro offers a lot more flexibility when it comes to payment processing. In the U.S., TouchBistro offers its own integrated TouchBistro Payments solution, which is powered by Chase. Unlike Upserve Payments, TouchBistro Payments is structured according to a cost plus pricing model. This means that you pay the non-negotiable interchange fee (for the type of credit card) and a flat mark-up on interchange.
The benefit to this cost plus pricing is that you pay a custom rate for every transaction, instead of a high flat rate for all transactions. For restaurants that serve customers who use a wide variety of cards, this generally means you’re getting the most equitable rate.
Beyond TouchBistro Payments, TouchBistro customers also have the option to use of one of TouchBistro’s other payment partners:
And unlike Upserve POS, customers do not have to pay a monthly gateway fee in order to use another payment processing partner. This means that you truly do have the freedom to shop around and choose the best payment processing solution for your restaurant.
Beyond integrated payment processing, TouchBistro and Upserve also offer a wide variety of other add-on solutions.
Both TouchBistro and Upserve offer the following add-on features:
Though a comparison of TouchBistro vs Upserve reveals that both providers offer many of the same add-on solutions, TouchBistro offers a few in-house add-ons that Upserve does not.
Most significantly, TouchBistro offers an integrated reservations solution. TouchBistro Reservations is a complete, end-to-end reservation and guest management platform that allows you to accept and manage mobile and web reservations, create digital waitlists, and communicate with guests via SMS and email. The reservations data syncs directly to your POS for a seamless flow of information between the front of house and back of house.
All restaurants that use TouchBistro Reservations are also automatically listed on the TouchBistro Dine platform, providing them with exposure to an existing customer network.
While it may not be the most important factor when choosing a new POS, price is definitely something to consider when comparing TouchBistro vs Upserve POS.
Upserve’s least expensive package, the Core subscription, is in line with the price of most other restaurant POS systems on the market. However, you don’t get to enjoy all of Upserve’s POS features with the Core package. For instance, menu optimization, server performance, inventory management, and online ordering are all unavailable with Upserve’s Core offering.
If you go with the Pro or Pro Plus subscriptions, you get to enjoy a more full range of Upserve’s features. However, the Pro and Pro Plus plans come with steep fees, making Upserve one of the more expensive POS systems on the market. And keep in mind that even with the Pro and Pro Plus plans, you’ll still have to factor in the monthly cost of certain add-on features, such as gift cards. Not to mention, the additional cost of using Upserve Payments as your integrated payment processing solution.
On the other hand, TouchBistro’s software pricing is fairly straightforward and starts at $69 per month for a single license. TouchBistro’s pricing is tiered, which means the cost decreases for each additional license you add. While this monthly fee is slightly higher than Upserve’s Core subscription, you also get a lot more. In addition to 24/7/365 support, all of TouchBistro’s packages include the full set of core POS features – including inventory management, which is an add-on for Upserve’s basic package.
Like Upserve, TouchBistro also charges additional fees for any add-on solutions you need, including integrated payment processing. However, TouchBistro offers more flexibility than Upserve when it comes to its payment processing partners, which could help you save on credit card processing fees and keep your monthly costs lower overall.
Beyond in-house add-ons, many POS providers also offer integrations with third-party providers for niche functions such as accounting, payroll management, email marketing, and more.
Though TouchBistro and Upserve work with a number of different partners, both offer integrations for the following solutions:
If you compare TouchBistro vs Upserve on the sheer number of integrations available, Upserve does come out on top. This is because Upserve sells an enterprise-level solution and needs a wider range of third-party partners in order to support those larger restaurant brands. Additionally, Upserve customers who opt for the Pro Plus plan have access to an open API, which gives you the option to develop your own integrations if you have the time and resources for custom development work.
In terms of sheer numbers, TouchBistro offers fewer third-party integrations. However, TouchBistro’s curated list of integration partners consists of industry-leading solutions already used by most restaurateurs. For instance, TouchBistro customers can use 7Shifts for employee scheduling, MarketMan for advanced inventory management, and Avero for advanced reporting. This means that even though there are fewer integration partners to choose from, most TouchBistro customers will be able to use industry-leaving software integrations to extend the functionality of the POS system.
Lastly, but arguably most importantly, there’s the question of what kind of customer support can you expect from your POS provider.
All of Upserve’s POS subscriptions come with 24/7 U.S.-based support. You can reach phone support via Upserve’s technical support line, or get online support via Upserve’s in-app chat function or by email. For less pressing matters, you can access online training videos, a searchable knowledge base, or the Upserve community forum.
Similarly, TouchBistro offers 24/7 support, 365 days of the year (including holidays) – all based here in North America. TouchBistro’s support team can be reached by phone or email, and is largely staffed by former and current restaurant employees. This means that when you call in, you’re speaking with someone who knows the industry inside and out, and has first-hand knowledge of the issues you’re experiencing. For more minor questions, TouchBistro also has an extensive online resource library, complete with step-by-step guides and videos that can be used to troubleshoot most issues on your own.
Based on this head-to-head comparison of TouchBistro vs Upserve, it’s clear that both providers offer best-in-class POS systems that help restaurateurs run better and more efficient businesses.
However, this comparison also reveals that each provider clearly has its own strengths and weaknesses. Overall, Upserve POS is best suited to enterprise-level FSRs in need of a system with robust and customizable reporting functions. These types of businesses will be able to afford Upserve’s high subscription fees, and will appreciate the lengthy list of third-party integration partners and open API.
While TouchBistro may not be equipped to handle the needs of multi-venue FSR chains, TouchBistro is the better all-around POS solution for independent restaurants for the following reasons:
Payment processing fees make up a significant part of any restaurant’s budget, which is why it’s so important to choose the right payment processing partner for your business. With TouchBistro you have more freedom to shop around and find the right payment processing partner because you have the option to use TouchBistro Payments or one of several third-party partners. And if you do use TouchBistro Payments, you get to enjoy the more equitable rates that come with a cost plus pricing model.
While a provider like Upserve may give you the option to use third-party payment processors, hefty gateway fees are a major roadblock. And even if you do use Upserve’s integrated payment processing solution, you’ll have to keep in mind the pricey fixed rate pricing model, which means you’ll be spending a lot in payment processing fees.
A POS system can have all the features in the world, but if it’s not reliable, then it won’t cut it in any restaurant. Thanks to TouchBistro’s unique hybrid architecture, you have a locally installed connection to keep you up and running if the Internet goes down. This means you never have to worry about downtime due to slow or spotty WiFi.
While this might not seem like a must-have feature, just think about how many restaurants struggle with unreliable Internet connections. With a strictly cloud-based system like Upserve, something as simple as bad weather or a slow connection can bring your POS system (and all the features it supports) to a standstill – something that could end up eating into your bottom line if it happens frequently enough.
In addition to a great POS, you also want to make sure that the provider you’re choosing has the right add-ons available to help you grow. TouchBistro has a wide range of add-on solutions for restaurants and each one is available a la carte, so you can pick and choose the products that work for you. So whether you need reservations and online ordering for your bustling FSR, or a loyalty solution for your coffee shop, TouchBistro has you covered.
And while Upserve does offer many of the same add-on solutions, you don’t have quite the same flexibility to pick and choose the add-ons you want. Upserve bundles some of its value-added services, which means you have to go up a whole tier in pricing just to enjoy solutions like Upserve Loyalty – a pricing structure that can break the bank for some operators.
There’s no question that there’s a lot to consider when choosing a new POS system, and what’s important to you may not be important to another restaurateur. With this head-to-head comparison of TouchBistro vs Upserve, you now have more information at your fingertips to hone in on your priorities, and choose the POS system and integrated payment processing solution that’s right for your particular restaurant.
Know someone who needs a new restaurant POS? Refer them to TouchBistro and get rewarded.
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.
By Katie McCann
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