Toast, the Boston-based technology developer for the restaurant industry, has launched a new handheld point-of-sale device and a kitchen display system to integrate the front and back of any restaurant.

Using the devices any waiter can become an expert on menu offerings at the touch of a button. The new device lets waitstaff know when items are in or out of stock, what ingredients are in which dishes, and can find potential drink pairings for meals, the company said.

The integration with the back-of-the-house kitchen management system means that waiters also get a notification when food is ready without having to constantly check in with the kitchen. The company’s new software has other perks for waitstaff and kitchen alike — by prioritizing orders automatically based on prep time. If one menu item takes longer to prepare than another, the ordering system will place the dish with the higher cooking time ahead of other menu items in the queue for each order.

Allergy information can also be communicated via the app so waiters don’t have to go back and forth with the kitchen.

As for the devices, they’re wifi enabled and have a battery that lasts over 14 hours on a single charge.

One restaurant that beta-tested the new technology said that turnover increased dramatically with the new device. At Austin’s Odd Duck, turnover increased by 45 minutes and a Friday night crowd went from 250 guests to 400 guests served thanks to the software.

“That equates to an extra half million dollars in annual sales,” said the restaurant’s general manager, Corey Neel in a statement. “And with more tables come more tips: servers each take home about $7,000 in additional gratuities per year.”

Backed with well over $100 million in venture financing from Generation Investment Management and Bessemer Venture Partners, the new hardware offering from Toast is the latest foray in its quest to dominate a market that also includes vendors like TouchBistro, Revel and Upserve — all of whom are vying for a slice of the restaurant industry pie.


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