Finding the right POS is one of the most important aspects of managing any business. With so many options available on the market, the task can be overwhelming.
This is why we present an-depth review of the Revel POS system. After all, it is not practical to sign up for demos of dozens of potential systems, and we believe this system is a great choice for nearly any restaurant or retail operation.
Use our detailed guide to understand the strengths and weaknesses of this POS provider, and see if it is the right choice for your business.
Revel Systems POS Review 2019 – Company Overview
Revel Systems was founded in 2010 by Lisa Falzone and Chris Ciabarra in San Francisco. Now headquartered in Atlanta, the company has seen three successful rounds of venture capital funding. The private company is currently majority-owned by private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe.
There are four different versions of the Revel Systems POS based on the business type. Three of them are for restaurants, including quick service, restaurants/bars, and pizza joints. The fourth version is for retail businesses. The POS is designed to handle multiple locations and many thousands of SKUs. Because of this, it’s considered best for medium-sized and larger businesses.
Revel Systems won a few awards in its early years for what was then seen as a ground-breaking iPad POS. It has not won any significant awards in recent years.
Revel Systems POS Solutions Have Many Features
Below is just a quick summary of the main features. Later in this review, we’ll take a deeper dive into the same list to provide greater detail.
The Revel Assistant feature is for support and troubleshooting. The Discounts feature has options to create discounts to reward loyal customers or draw in new ones. The Gift Cards feature lets you set up and process gift cards for customer retention and new customer acquisition.
Other customer experience features include a Customer Display System option for increased transparency and a branding touchpoint). The Online Ordering feature allows for more orders and increased revenue.
The Loyalty Programs feature is for creating the right program for your business and customers. The Customer Relationship Management feature is for engagement strategies and customer information.
The Revel Insights feature is for managing a single location or multiple locations with real-time reporting. The Product Management & Menu Building feature customizes menus via spreadsheet upload or manually through the Management Console.
The Kitchen Management feature has tools to streamline kitchen processes). The Employee Management feature manages labor operations and streamlines HR paperwork.
The Inventory Management feature includes real-time tracking from any device for retail. The Ingredient-Level Inventory is for real-time tracking of restaurant ingredients.
The Reporting & Analytics feature is a reporting suite that gathers data from all transactions, organizing it into reports for performance analysis. The Enterprise Management option standardizes operations across locations.
Point of Sale Processes
The Cash Management feature tracks cash flow. The Table Management feature allows for better service from making a reservation all the way to paying the bill. The Delivery Management feature can accept, manage, and track delivery orders.
Security features include PCI-compliant cloud technology, Point-to-Point Encrypted (P2PE) payments, and user access controls. The Open API allows for customized integrations. The Always On Mode means the POS continues to operate undisturbed offline or on a local network.
Options include the Customer Display System (as previously mentioned), Mobile Order Takers for taking orders and processing sales from anywhere in your location, and Self-Service Kiosks to increase speed of service (more details on hardware options appear later in this review).
Payment Flexibility means you can split bills any way you want, open bar tabs, apply store credit and more. EMV Compliance give you peace of mind that data is secure.
The QuickBooks Integration facilitates your accounting needs (although for some reason QuickBooks is not listed as an integration partner on that section of the company website. Be sure to ask about it if you’re considering Revel Systems).
Revel Systems POS Benefits
Some of the companies that currently use a Revel Systems POS solution include Cinnabon (quick service chain, although only 98 installations have occurred so far), Fired Pie (pizza), Goodwill (retail, but only the 41 locations in northern Florida). Others include Edwin Mills (restaurant), the Lyric Opera of Chicago (arts venue), and many more.
Some of the main benefits these companies enjoy through the Revel Systems solution include the following:
- Lots of integrations with other systems (a full listing is provided later in this review).
- Kiosk capabilities (for more efficient customer-controlled self-service).
- Diverse hardware offerings (although Apple iPads are the only tablets available).
- Ease of use (post-installation; installation itself is not fast or easy).
- The company continuously improves its POS features and functionalities.
Revel Systems POS Drawbacks
When Revel Systems POS works for a business, customers are generally quite satisfied and give the POS positive reviews.
But if the system doesn’t work right or the business needs assistance, this is what seems to generate many complaints. Below you’ll find the drawbacks of Revel Systems POS from both satisfied and dissatisfied customers.
Among generally satisfied customers, the most common complaint is that reporting capabilities lack depth.
Customers across the board (both satisfied and dissatisfied) note that the company-provided onboarding and training is simply not robust enough to get a business up-to-speed on how to properly use the system, meaning customers have a lot to figure out on their own without robust support.
The system assumes the main user(s) have strong general knowledge of POS systems. Some customers don’t like being limited to Apple iPads.
Also, many small businesses find the pricing is high for them. Some of the retail POS customers note that it feels like a POS geared more towards restaurants and not retail establishments.
More Potential Drawbacks to Revel’s POS System
- Revel updates tend to be glitch-heavy, as if the updates weren’t adequately tested.
- Even satisfied customers note that the scheduling function is too simplistic to be useful and lacks flexibility. Workers cannot change their own availability or put in time-off requests.
- Some customers feel the salespeople made promises about various features that would be available after installation even though they aren’t available in the demo, but found those features were still not available after installation.
- Nearly every negative customer review has a common complaint: Post-installation customer service and technical support is not good. This leaves many customers feeling the company cares most about getting their payments up-front and then leaves customers feeling neglected when they need support and help after installation.
Revel Systems POS Pricing
- Software: As low as $99/month per terminal.
- Flat Fee Payment Processing: But the fees are not spelled out on the website. Be sure to ask! Processing is provided through Revel Advantage.
- On-Boarding: Starting at $649 (help to get the system up and running).
Note that those are lower-end prices. And the hardware is not included in the above pricing figures. Equipment is leased through Apple Financial Services, and no hardware pricing information is shared on the company website.
According to the website, all plans include the following:
- 24/7 Phone & Online Support
- Free Automatic Product Updates
- Secure Cloud Backup
- Personalized Onboarding
- Unlimited Users
- Always On Mode
Not all the features mentioned earlier in this review are included in the above pricing information. You will pay extra for the following:
- Gift Card and Loyalty programs.
- Dedicated Account Management.
- Mobile Order Takers.
- Online Ordering.
- Multilocation Management (Enterprise Management).
- Inventory App (using phone as handheld barcode scanner and inventory management device).
Hardware Options from Revel Systems
Revel Systems makes a range of different hardware and devices available to customers, including the following:
- Apple iPads: The Revel Systems POS is delivered via iPads. The iPads that can be leased through Revel Systems include iPad 2018, iPad Pro and iPad Mini 4.
- Barcode Scanners: Available models include Honeywell Orbit 7190g, Honeywell Xenon 1902, Honeywell Stratos 2753, Honeywell Voyager 1400, and the Zebra Symbol Bluetooth Scanner.
- Caller ID Device: This allows of auto-creation of orders when customers call in, increasing efficiency. The model is Whozz Caller ID for Revel POS.
- Cash Drawer and Till: The model available is the APG M-S 16” Drawer.
- iPad Stands: Two different models are available, including the Revel L Stand (Night) and Revel C Stand.
- Kiosks: To facilitate self-service, the company offers the Revel Stand Alone Kiosk.
- Networking: For fast and secure WiFi, Revel offers the Meraki MR33 Access Point, the Meraki MR74 Access Point, and the Linksys E1200.
- Payment Devices: For flexibility, available models include the Ingenico iSMP4, the ID Tech SecureMag (IDRE Series), the Infinea Tab M, the Ingenico iPP350, the Portable Ordering Device, and the iSMP4 Mobile iPad Case.
- Printing Devices: Fast, reliable printing is provided through a range of models, including the Epson TM-m30, the Epson TM-T88VI, the Epson TM-P60II, the Epson TM-U220, the Dymo LabelWriter450, the Star TSP650II, and the Zebra ZD410.
- Scales: For businesses that need to weigh things, three different scales are available, including the Brecknell 6702U Scale, the Honeywell Stratos 2753, and the Brecknell 6720U Scale.
- Additional Peripherals: Other devices available include a Viewsonic Android Display (The ViewSonic® VSD242 24” smart display) and RevelGuard (a hardware device that monitors network health).
Revel Systems Features and Capabilities
Create the discounts that make sense for your business (happy hour discounts, percentage discounts, special group discounts, dollar off discounts, coupons), including creating and applying discounts during a transaction.
Studies have shown that 70% of shoppers spend more than the gift card amount.
Customer Display System
With this system, customers can choose paperless email receipts, make their tip, check order accuracy, and engage with your loyalty program on the screen. The display can be customized to show branded messaging between sales, such as advertising specials.
In the 21st century, customers expect to be able to place orders online. Yours can be branded for your business. Your online ordering platform can be integrated with the POS, as well as synched with your CRM, gift card and loyalty programs. Research has shown that customers who have placed orders online are also more likely to visit in-person.
Customers love loyalty programs. Yours can be customized to give reward points for each transaction, based on purchase amount, and/or specific points per product. Use insights from the Management Console to create special offers and promotions. An integrated loyalty program increases revenues.
Customer Relationship Management
Capture information from your POS and use it to enhance contact with customers. For example, customers that enter their email address for paperless receipts on a customer display system.
Add details to customer profiles over time, such as birthdays, loyalty program data, and even photos. Analyze customer buying habits to offer targeted promotions and discounts. Segment customers into groups that make sense to further target special messaging and offers.
Manage your business on-the-go through your mobile device utilizing real-time data. Data can be visualized graphically or in tables. Actionable insights and informed decisions are the goals of this tool. Receive notifications about labor activity to control costs. See trends that allow you to forecast future demand.
Product Management & Menu Building
Customize your menu as needed. Create menus manually through the POS Management Console or by importing a spreadsheet. Levels include categories, subcategories, and products. Allow customers to customize orders with easy-to-navigate modifiers. Allow discounts on specific combinations of items. Automatically push menu updates out where and when needed.
Use a Kitchen Display System to ditch paper orders automatically synched to the POS. Heat-tolerant kitchen printers may also be used. Utilize inventory and sales reports so the kitchen knows what can still be provided or where to make menu changes on the fly. The goal is seamless communication between front of house, kitchen, and back of house.
All labor operations can be managed from a single console. Onboarding, productivity tracking, and streamlined paperwork and administration are the result. Create and modify employee schedules, then email them directly to employees. Set up user controls so employees only access what they need. Export data to your accounting system.
In a retail environment, the POS automatically synchs sales to inventory so you’ll know what to order more of and when. Get automatic low-stock alerts and generate purchase orders to auto-send to vendors for restocking.
Track and display thousands of items by category, size, color, etc. With the Inventory App, use your phone as a barcode scanner to update inventory counts and synch with the Management Console.
In a restaurant environment, track inventory down to the ingredient level in real-time. Get low-stock alerts and automatically generate purchase orders to restock. Use reporting data to identify items that go to waste for more accurate ingredient ordering.
Reporting & Analytics
Enhance your big-picture view of your business with real-time data for inventory, customer tracking, and sales data for better-informed business decisions. Manage overhead costs with COGS and labor reports. Use Product Mix Reports and Hourly Sales Reports to identify your winners and losers in terms of product sales.
Manage any number of locations from one central Management Console for better employee management, consistent menus, and more.
Point of Sale Processes
Make sure all your cash is exactly where it should be with rich permission settings and a log that tracks all activity. Set prompts so employees will be reminded to set a starting till amount. Receive notifications when a till is getting low. Instead of linking tills to cash drawers, link a virtual till to an employee. This allows for accurate attribution of daily totals to the correct employee. Track cash flows with real-time reporting on daily sources of cash.
In the restaurant setting, create a visual layout of your tables and seats. This facilitates easy assignment of orders to seats, increasing efficiency of meal distribution. Multiple payments per group is simple.
Split a bill evenly, by item, or manually input bill amounts for each card. Tableside mobile ordering is also possible, increasing order accuracy and customer satisfaction. Enjoy better waitlist and reservation management. Keep the flow of service just right with color-coded timers showing what stage of service each table is at.
Delivery operations require special attention for accepting, managing, and tracking delivery orders through your POS, all of which happens in real-time. Customize delivery regions and auto-optimize delivery routes for realistic delivery time estimates.
Track drivers in real-time on a virtual map, monitor their check-ins and check-outs, cash on hand, and mapped delivery routes. Delivery is a booming area for restaurants.
Revel offers the highest level of PCI-compliant cloud technology and Point-to-Point Encrypted (P2PE) payments. It also has robust user access controls so each employee can only access what they need to access via PIN numbers and/or personal swipe cards.
Payment solutions are EMV-compliant. Several payment gateways are available for credit card authorizations. Revel Advantage accepts a wide range of payment types, including credit, debit, mobile, ApplePay, and gift cards.
In addition to Revel’s extensive list of integration partners, its Open REST API allows companies to create their own integrations.
Always On Mode
Revel’s hybrid architecture means your POS will run even when offline due to Internet connectivity issues. It can also run on a local network. Offline swiped payments are automatically processed in order when your connection is restored.
Customer Display System
Boost customer engagement with a display system where they can see their order as they create it for better accuracy. They can also enter their email address for paperless receipts. They can also sign and tip on the screen. Branded messaging and offers are also possible. All of this boosts customer satisfaction.
Mobile Order Takers
Retailers can engage with customers and sell from anywhere in the store or on the go. Check customers out and take payments on the spot to reduce “second thought” syndrome. Restaurants can do tableside ordering for faster and more accurate service.
Menus are updated automatically. Orders are sent directly to the kitchen. In the quick-service environment, use mobile order takers for line-busting when things are busy to reduce wait-times.
Offer customers a self-service ordering kiosk for those who want it, allowing them to skip the line. Use kiosks to create a “grab-and-go” area in your restaurant. Integrate the kiosk with loyalty and CRM systems so customers see their own activity and rewards.
- Payment Flexibility: Split bills however needed. Open bar tabs without a held card via credit card preauthorization. Keep house accounts open for regulars. In retail, provide store credit for returns. Offer layaway and invoicing options.
- EMV Compliance: All payment solutions are EMV-compliant, which is the global standard for secure processing of credit cards with chips.
- QuickBooks Integration: Automatically transfer POS data into Intuit QuickBooks for accounting purposes. This includes inventory adjustments, payroll based on POS clock-ins and clock-outs, and purchase orders synched to vendor accounts for bill payment and budgeting.
Service and Support
As previously mentioned, 24/7 support is offered to all customers. There is a wide range of ways to get support, including the following:
- Revel Assistant: Accessed directly through the POS Management Console, it contains step-by-step setup guides, troubleshooting, feature set-up support, and helpful support videos.
- Technician with remote access to your POS.
- Submit a support ticket online through the Revel website.
- Onsite support (for an additional fee, and it has been described as slow to happen).
- Revel University: A large collection of video tutorials on many topics.
- Product Guides: An extensive, searchable online collection of documentation.
Revel Systems Integrations
Below you’ll find all the different integrations offered in various categories. The company is always on the lookout to sign up more integration partners. For this reason, be sure to visit the Revel Systems website for up-to-date information on integrations.
- Reporting: 9 (Como, MarketMan, Pepper, Avero, Ctuit, Davo, BeerSaver, DigitalPour, and QSR Online).
- Accounting: 6 (55 Degrees, Amaka, Gratuity Solutions, Expensify, MarketMan, and Davo). Although QuickBooks is not listed in this section of their website, it has been one of their main selling points.
- Delivery Management: 2 (Checkmate and Chowly).
- Online Ordering: 10 (Checkmate, Loyaltyplant, Como, Revel Online Ordering, Mobi2Go, Chowly, Pepper, Open Dining Network, Bar Pass, and Zuppler).
- Mobile Ordering: 10 (Redshift, Loyaltyplant, Como, Revel Online Ordering, Mobi2Go, LevelUp, Pepper, Open Dining Network, Bar Pass, and Zuppler).
- eCommerce: 5 (Revel Online Ordering, Kosomos Central, Magento, BigCommerce, and Vines OS).
- Marketing: 3 (Checkmate, Como, and Pepper).
- Data Aggregators: 2 (Pepper and Como).
Even More Integrations for Revel’s POS
- Restaurant Management: 2 (Yellow Dog and PeachWorks).
- Loyalty Programs: 11 (Plastic Printers, Checkmate, Loyaltyplant, Como, Revel Systems, Spendgo, LevelUp, Pepper, Synergy Loyalty Solutions, LoyalTree, and Repeat Returns).
- Gift Cards: 10 (Plastic Printers, Checkmate, Loyaltyplant, Como, Revel Systems, Vantiv, Givex, ValuTec, Synergy Loyalty Solutions, and Repeat Returns).
- Employee Management and Payroll: 6 (HotSchedules, Deputy, Dolce, Gratuity Solutions, Zuus Workforce, and Homebase).
- Customer Relationship Management: 4 (Como, MailSync, Vines OS, and Repeat Returns).
- Payment Processors: 4 (Revel Advantage, Moneris Solutions, Adyen, and Tyro).
- Mobile Payment Processors: 5 (Checkmate, LevelUp, Apple Pay, Pepper, and Zapper).
- Payment Gateways: 2 (USAePay and FreedomPay).
- Security Services: 2 (eConnect and DTT).
Our Final Verdict
The Revel Systems POS is a leading offering on the market today. However, it’s not right for everyone. Small businesses should make sure they’re going to use enough of its features to justify what will probably be a big price tag for them.
They must also be prepared for a long and painful set-up process if they aren’t going to pay for extra technical support to get everything up and running.
It’s clearly a solid product for larger businesses such as Cinnabon with many locations (although of its 1,500+ locations, only 98 have installed it according to the Revel website).
Larger enterprise operations that have the resources available to get additional dedicated help around installation, configuration, onboarding and training are the likeliest to have a great experience with the Revel Systems POS.