Lightspeed ($LSPD) vs Toast ($TOST)


Even though LSPD is not limited to restaurants alone, it has acquired Upserve to revolutionize the restaurant industry. And just like many other board members I own LSPD too (15% weight). Also, Toast declares Lightspeed as a direct competitor in their S-1… . For this reason, I wanted to see how the two companies compare — in terms of product offering as well as an investment.

Who is Toast?

Toast ($TOST) is an end-to-end SaaS platform for restaurants that is about to go public on September 22. Toast’s platform provides a comprehensive suite of SaaS products and financial technology solutions including integrated payment processing, restaurant-grade hardware, and a broad ecosystem of third-party partners.

What Toast does

It connects front and back-of-house operations across dine-in, takeout, and delivery channels. As of June 30, 2021, 48,000 restaurant locations (29,000 customers), processed over $38 billion of gross payment volume (TTM) through Toast where customers can optimize operations, increase sales, engage guests, and maintain happy employees.

Lightspeed vs Toast as a product

This is how LSPD defines their superiority over TOST in terms of product offering:…

Toast doesn’t include Lightspeed in their POS comparison found here:

This is the direct comparison on Capterra:…

Here are the Trustpilot reviews for Toast:

And here for Lightspeed:

From what I’ve seen and read LSPD is definitely not a subpar product compared to a restaurant-only competitor TOST. I feel that toast is the one falling behind. And reviews confirm that. However, I take all reviews with a grain of salt and just use the average score to cut through the noise. However, there are some bad reviews that talk about customer support being an issue on both services. I guess when someone is unhappy will most likely express their frustration.

If I was a restaurant owner today I’d choose Lightspeed for their modern approach and better functionality as well as avoiding limitations of a counter. TOST however seems to be increasing their customer base at a rapid clip especially during/after covid.

Lightspeed vs Toast as an investment

Revenue Growth in the last quarter

LSPD 220%
TOST 118%

Gross Margins in the last quarter

LSPD 50%
TOST 22%

Last Twelve Months (LTM) Revenue

LSPD 301 million
TOST 1.18 billion

Customer locations

LSPD 150,000
TOST 48,000

Net Retention Rate

LSPD 100%+ (couldn't find exact number)
TOST 114%

Market Cap

LSPD 17.8 billion
TOST 17-20 billion in IPO

Maybe this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison because LSPD is not only focused on restaurants. However, as an investment, we should take into consideration the entirety of each company.

Concluding Thoughts

I personally think LSPD is the better long-term investment here. Better margins. Better top-line growth. Better product. Better potential because of the ever-expanding TAM. However, I see TOST as a fine investment too. My only concerns are their low margins and if the acceleration in growth is only due to covid tailwinds and an easy to compare against covid quarter. The only certain thing is that such services are needed by restaurant owners. Competition is good, both for clients and investors. I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Pavlos, 2 additional information pieces on this one from me.

  1. Last quarter LSPD retail was 62% of overall business and the rest is restaurant + hospitality businesses. How much restaurants exactly not clear but I guess around 20% or so. So, LSPD definitely has better optionality from this perspective but with stronger focus on retail.

  2. TOST is cash flow positive in 1H 2021 (both OCF and FCF) and LSPD is not (yet, but improving).

I’m long LSPD (around 9%) and continue to remain long as long as the numbers are superb. Gross margin is much higher compared to TOST and they will improve on bottom line profitability as their long-term EBITDA margin target is 20% - so not worried about bottom line as of now. On the “surprise” positive cash flow for TOST (in years before 2021 it was negative) - perhaps they pumped it before IPO (no idea, pure speculation) as they have pretty low gross margin and with negative cash flow IPO sales pitch would have been more complicated?



Thanks Pavlos for the comparative metrics. What jumped out at me is that the 2 entities have similar market cap but LSPD has just a quarter of the revenue of TOST. If I wanted more proof that the market pays up for higher Rev growth and higher gross margin … well this should do!