Restaurant Tech Upstart Toast Puts Hotels on the Menu

Skift grip

Hotels are looking to improve the technology customers use to order and pay for food. Toast’s entry into the market is benefiting from an increase in hotel spending on cloud-based systems, a key ingredient for upselling travelers.

Sean O’Neill

Toastwhich offers restaurant-focused technology, said on Tuesday it has begun targeting hotel restaurants.

The move comes as many hotels play a catch-up game in technology. Hoteliers are finally embracing mobile and cloud-based systems that have revolutionized other industries such as sports and concert ticketing.

Many hotels are facing pandemic-accelerated changes in guest habits and preferences, including more convenience thanks to digital menus. Hoteliers are looking to upgrade their technology to improve upselling and cross-selling to guests of food and beverages, as well as other products and services, regardless of where guests are in a facility.

Toast’s entry into the hotel catering market is significant because the company, which went public last year, could be a fast-growing disruptor. It expects its first-quarter revenue to be at least $469 million, serving more than 7% of U.S. restaurants.

Toast started with point-of-sale hardware, but has grown to offer digital marketing solutions for QR codes-based menus, tools to pay and manage staff, and automation of many processes.

Toast joins other leading cloud-based providers, such as Amedee, Oracle’s new cloud-based mics Symphony product, HarborTouch by Shift4and Squareby having the critical firepower to push the latest hardware and software to hotel restaurants.

Synchronization with hotel operating systems

What’s new is that Toast has started using tools to integrate with some of the most widely used operational software in hotels, called property management systems. Toast now syncs with Opera systems from Oracle and Fidelio from Micros, Alley, Clockand MCR Hotels-supported Stay N Touch. Toast also integrates with software used by hostel and vacation rental managers, such as Guest and Barefoot.

Prior to this launch, the majority of hotel restaurants could not use Toast without integration with a property management system due to the tedious workarounds required to manually reconcile room charges. With the new sync, hotels can now do just that by promising to avoid messy on-site installations.

Toast’s integration with hotel systems means that staff can process room charges directly from the hardware, by looking up a guest’s name or room number on the point-of-sale device. It also means that limited-service hotels that offer prepared meals from in-room minibars or lobby kiosks can sell items through QR codes. For hotels with on-site restaurants, the software helps kitchens track in-room operations.

“Toast has done a great job quickly introducing its first product, a point-of-sale system, to many, many restaurants,” said Gaurav Tuli, a partner in Fidelity’s F-Prime venture capital fund. “Then they said, ‘Hey, we can do more to help your restaurant run more efficiently, like our inventory management software or our scheduling software or our payroll software.’ The development sequence is so admirable.

“When hotel restaurants leverage our platform, they will see faster table turns, larger check sizes, and higher customer satisfaction,” said Aman Narang, co-founder, president and director of Toast operation. “Operational efficiency will also reduce hotel labor costs.”

Perhaps. But Toast will face stiff competition from many other players adopting cloud-based technology. Other popular hotel catering technology providers include NCR Aloha, heartland, Touch Bistroand Information.

The ultimate winners could be hotel guests, as better technology permeates all aspects of hotel operations.

“If you look at what Toast has done on the restaurant side, they’re trying to create a restaurant operating system,” Kayak CEO Steve Hafner said in a statement. recent Skift interviewAdding that platform technology companies will be the big winners as hotels will also seek to upgrade their technology.