Steve Fredette, Aman Narang and Jonathan Grimm’s venture into entrepreneurship first began while waiting for their drinks in their favorite after-work bar. The wait seemed never-ending and the three engineers decided among themselves that there had to a be a way to improve the customer experience in bars and restaurants. MIT graduates and naturally gifted tinkerers, they began to imagine all the ways they could potentially improve the dining out experience by removing common pain points, like splitting checks or updating menus. From there, Toast was born.
Toast is a full-service, cloud-based, point-of-sale system created for the restaurant industry. It streamlines every element of running a successful restaurant – front-of-house, back-of-house, online orders, loyalty programs – and syncs them for easy access and quick changes. Toast provides real-time data, across multiple locations, to zero in on what’s working and what’s not, so owners can pivot when needed. In addition to their platform, Toast offers hardware that easily integrates their solution into a variety of terminals or tablets.
“In a world where consumers expect on-demand everything – television, meal delivery, car rides – businesses cannot afford to be slow,” says co-founder and president, Steve Fredette. “Toast brings efficiency, convenience and an exceptional customer experience to the restaurant industry at a time when the demands are higher than ever.”
Addressing the unique challenges only found in the restaurant industry is part of Toast’s service model. “Every member of the Toast team, no matter what their area of focus, has some level of restaurant experience on their resume. Toast is designed for restaurants, by people who know, love and have worked in restaurants,” says Steve. This attention to detail is found in every aspect of the platform’s user experience – from their customizable POS interfaces that include table setup, menu setup and kitchen workflow, to real-time POS customization like adding tickets directly to a kitchen’s display screen to reduce back and forth time from servers, to post-service reporting that dial down on every aspect of the restaurant’s sales and efficiencies. Toast brings the power of data analytics and insights to restaurant ownership and management to allow for more streamlined operations and better customer experiences.
When restaurant patrons can air their grievances as they wait for the check via Yelp or Facebook, a positive experience is more necessary than ever before. By simplifying and optimizing all operations, owners can transform their teams into nimble guest experience gurus. This allows the focus to transfer back to the diner, resulting in a more attentive server, shorter wait times and splitting checks with ease.
“Restaurants tend to function in a state of organized chaos,” says Steve. “From front-of-house to back-of-house, dining in to take out, and customer service to the customer experience, every interaction is interconnected. With Toast, we want to build on that by tapping into the restaurant supply chain with real-time, data-driven insights to reduce inefficiencies, improve interactions and elevate the guest experience.”
So what’s next for Toast? The company has already raised $101M in Series C funding, with plans to hire 1,000 employees by 2018 and were just named one of the world’s top cloud companies in the Forbes Cloud 100. The Toast leadership team is also looking beyond their current model for ways to further customize and curate the restaurant going experience.
“Toast is thinking bigger (and more conveniently) when it comes to food, and is already playing with ideas that will generate more speed and personalization from consumers’ favorite restaurants, bars and food trucks,” Steve adds. “Toast knows what is possible and is building a platform that can get there.”
At Smart Kitchen Summit, Steve Fredette will speak on how restaurants can leverage technology in the front and back of house along with other industry leaders in the Day 1 breakout session Tech Please: How Restaurants Can Leverage Technology In Front & Back Of House. Don’t miss Steve and check out the full list of speakers and register for the Summit, using code TOAST to get 25% off ticket prices.
The Smart Kitchen Summit is the first event to tackle the future of food, cooking and the kitchen with leaders across food, tech, commerce, design, delivery and appliances. This series will highlight panelists and partners for the 2017 event, being held on October 10-11 at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.