You don't need us to tell you that the catering and retail industries are incredibly competitive. Consumers want quick service, fast ordering, and equally speedy delivery. For a restaurant, bar, or a store to keep its customers happy, they need to fulfill orders, deliver on time, have their customer's choices in stock. There's nothing worse than running out of something that's on your menu or inside your product catalog. They also need to offer customers loyalty programs and discounts to keep those same consumers even happier. This is where Revel Systems POS comes into its own.
There are plenty of software platforms on the market that promise the earth. But do they work? We're going to take a look at one such software here and run through who they are, what they do, and how much it’s going to cost you.
So let’s get going and dive into our Revel Systems POS review.
Who's Revel POS?
Revel Systems POS is a cloud-based iOS point-of-sale platform. From the convenience of one dashboard, it integrates point-of-sale (POS) functionality with customer channels and operations. Its website describes itself as:
“An intuitive point of sale for your staff. Powerful technology for your business.”
Revel states that it can bring:
“Added value to your business, from generating more revenue, to improving efficiencies, to delighting your customers.”
The software is used to help you manage inventory, customers, and social media by using data analytics and insights to fuel your business decisions.
Revel tracks your order history, customer lists, payment summaries, hourly sales figures, sales summaries, and product levels (all in real-time).
All of this data is then published in easy-to-read graphs and reports.
A Brief Background
Founded back in 2010, this US operation is based in San Francisco. They also have offices in London, Lithuania, Singapore, and Australia. They employ more than 700 people, and more than 25,000 terminals are in active use.
Who are Revel's Customers?
It’s aimed at restaurants, bars, pizza places, and retail establishments alike. Examples of more famous clients include Cake Supplies, Cinnabon, CurryUp Now, Fired Pie, Smoothie King, Ginger Elizabeth, and Proposition Chicken.
What Does the Revel POS System Do?
Its offer is split into four areas:
- Quick Service
- Restaurant & Bar
1. Quick Service
Revel's Quick Service mode basically aims to provide a top-notch customer experience for catering businesses where fast service is essential. For example, coffee shops, fast food joints, frozen yogurt bars, bakeries, and delis.
For the front of house, you can use Revel's Customer Display System for transactions. Within seconds customers can pay, add a tip and, even provide their signature.
There’s also the ‘Always-on Mode.' This option allows a business to continue functioning even when they're offline. For example, this would come in really handy if there’s a power outage or your internet goes down. You can still process card payments, including when the internet is running slowly.
There’s also a Menu Building option so you can personalize your menu exactly how you want it. This makes it a breeze for shoppers to see what you're selling. You can upload images, descriptions, customize individual items, etc. It has the lot!
For the back of house, you can manage your entire inventory, including ingredients in real-time. This makes it so much easier for you and your team to forecast how much to restock and when. So, you'll never run out of anything while you’re prepping food and drinks to sell.
The back of house function also allows you to manage your employees, their schedules, how many hours they’ve worked, as well as their payroll.
Last but not least, you get what Revel calls “intelligent reporting.” This functionality gives you information on which items sell best, when you're at your busiest, hour-by-hour sales, and your business progress per month. It’s a means of accessing real-time and historical data to make informed decisions about your business and the direction it’s going in.
One exciting part of Quick Service is it's ‘On the Go' facility. This allows customers to place their order in advance via a self-service kiosk. The order is sent directly to the kitchen, thereby potentially removing waiting times and waste.
Another On the Go option is delivery management. This enables you to accept orders and track and handle them in real-time. There’s also the option to keep an eye on delivery time estimates, meaning you can also manage your food deliveries from door to door.
Lastly, if you're using ‘On the Go,' you'll get Revel's Insights App. This app is easy to access and use, and it allows you to manage your employee schedules and reports from the convenience of your smartphone.
2. Restaurant and Bar
The restaurant and bar option is a full-service POS solution, designed explicitly for busy restaurants and bars.
So what does it do?
Put simply, you can keep control of what you're sold out of, what you're currently selling, and at what stage your customer's orders are at.
Unsurprisingly, Revel's restaurant and bar option is aimed at restaurants and bars, but also, breweries, pizza outlets, wine bars, and nightclubs. In other words, anywhere with a high volume of stock and customer turnover.
In terms of features for your front of house staff, your team gets a handheld POS device, which they need to log in with a PIN to access. This provides them with a touchscreen where they can view your entire product list, including product descriptions. This empowers them to take down orders that go straight to the kitchen. In theory, it should speed service up and limit discrepancies.
There’s also an option to create loyalty programs for your customers. This is just one of many ways of enhancing and engaging customer retention and loyalty. Customers can get points or discounts depending on how much they spend with your brand.
You'll also see order tallies. You can add product quantities, discount options, and additional payments to the software. It can be used as a customer-facing display or a kiosk, whichever you prefer.
The Back of House option allows you to manage your stock levels in real-time. It gives you the info you need to keep a tight rein on ingredients. You can use these insights to judge when to reorder your stock without ordering too much.
As with the Quick Service facility, you'll also get access to reporting tools that analyze both real-time and historical data. This works wonders for eliminating the guesswork when making important decisions for your business.
Again, for Revel's ‘On the Go' customers, there’s a delivery management facility that allows business owners to accept orders, track them, and know where the delivery driver is at any given point. This, again, is all in real-time. The Insights app we’ve already referred to is also on offer here too. Again, this provides you with access to data from your cell phone while you're in the run.
The retail option is another POS service Revel offers. It promises to:
“alleviate stress and streamlines business operations.”
At first glance on the Revel website, it appears to be targeting catering related retail outlets such as wineries, bakeries, and other businesses that sell their products at events and breweries.
Their ‘Show Floor' mode is pretty much the same as the ‘Always-on' mode we covered in the Quick Service section.
You also get to keep a record of who your customers are, how often they come in, what they order, and how they place their orders.
Yes, you heard correctly.
Revel has built an entire POS system specifically with pizzerias in mind. And given the fast track nature of such establishments, they've certainly catered to a niche in need.
You can accept secure forms of payment, including Apple Pay and chip and pin credit and debit cards. Again, you can also manage your inventory, thereby avoiding running out of any ingredients. You're also given plenty of tools to help you keep track of your customers. Namely, by keeping an eye on their visits, what they order, and how often.
Revel Systems POS: Its Pricing and What’s Included
There are three pricing structures available:
This is as low as $99 per month per terminal (billed annually). But, there’s also a 3-year contract option, which works out cheaper.
For this, you'll get:
- Customer relationship management tools
- Employee management tools
- An intuitive POS
- Inventory management tools
- Reporting and analytics
Let's circle back to Revel's CRM tools for a sec. These make it incredibly simple for you to grow your customer database. You can add new customers inside of the Management Console or directly to your POS when customers make a purchase. You can also update these customer profiles on the fly. For instance, you can include details about birthdays, loyalty programs, or whatever else you want to keep track of.
Not only that, when you set up customer profiles, Revel can then track their purchases and consumer behavior to provide you with a more accurate insight into the buying habits of your consumers. With this info at your fingertips, you can then customize specific discounts and other marketing materials to better engage with your loyal shoppers. Handy, right?
The ‘Processing' plan refers to paying a flat fee when you process your payments (but this fee isn't specified on their website). For more information on this, we suggest contacting them directly.
For this, you'll get:
- The ability to process all card types
- Apple Pay readiness
- Access to Revel's in-house support team
- Online reporting and statements
From a one-off payment of $649, you'll get access to Revel's ‘Installation' package. Its key selling point is that you're assigned a Revel expert to work with you side-by-side to get the entire system up and running.
You'll also get:
- Help with hardware installation
- Management Console training
- A menu consultation
- Help with setting up your payments
- System onboarding
All three plans include the following:
- 24/7 support via live web chat or over the phone.
- ‘Always On' mode
- Automatic product updates (for free)
- Personalized onboarding
- A secure cloud backup
Revel Systems POS: Its Key Features
Although we’ve covered pretty much everything that Revel offers in terms of its features, it's worth mentioning that Revel's website categorizes its functions under headings we think are easy to understand.
They use less jargon than their competitors, which makes it simpler for those who aren’t prepared to wade through a sea of impenetrable “software speak.”
To show you what we mean, we've listed some of the features for you to see for yourself:
Customer Experience: Including discounts, gift cards, customer display systems, and online ordering
Management Solutions: Including kitchen, employee, and inventory management, menu building, and reporting and analytics
Point of Sale Processes: Including cash, table and delivery management, security, open API and ‘Always On' mode
Hardware Features: Including customer display systems, mobile order takers, and self-service kiosks.
Financial Tools: Including payment flexibility and its integration with QuickBooks.
Revel Systems POS: Its Key Pros and Cons
At first glance, Revel looks expensive compared to some of its competitors. Given it’s aimed at smaller businesses, some may feel the expense surpasses their budget. This is why weighing up its pros and cons is so vital for making an informed purchasing decision.
Revel's most notable perks:
- Its modern and sophisticated-looking display
- Access to a kiosk
- You're provided with easy to follow guides
- Excellent customer support
- Robust integrations
- Useful analytics and reporting tools
- Available in several languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish, and Thai
- Access to ‘Always On' mode
- Real-time inventory management
But, like most POS software, Revel isn't without its drawbacks, namely:
- It's complex to set up in comparison to plug and play solutions
- It's expensive
- There isn't a free option
- There's no free trial that we could find on its website
What Support Does Revel Systems POS Offer?
We've mentioned Revel's customer support a few times in this review, so we thought it best to delve into it in great detail.
At first glance, their support section (which is easily found on Revel's website), looks good.
Revel gives customers 24/7 support in a variety of ways.
There’s phone access where you can call up and ask your questions and queries, including issues to do with sales and billing. You can also email their customer care team directly or submit a request for help via a ticketing system.
Alternatively, there’s remote support. This is where one of the Revel tech team members accesses your device remotely for troubleshooting. This works wonders if you have a tech-y problem you need help with!
There’s also a blog with a wide range of articles. Over there, you'll find titles like: “Maximizing Your Point of Sale During the Holiday Season,” “Understanding the Digital Customer Journey,” and Tips for Business Owners on Managing an Omni-Channel Multi-Location Operation.”
The Resource Center contains guides on subjects such as “Intro to Reporting and Analytics,” “How to Run a Successful Coffee Shop,” and “5 Ways to Leverage Data to Increase Revenue.” Both Revel's blog and its Resource Center contain information that’s current and relevant to both users and potential customers.
Some of Revel's educational materials fall under the “Revel University” banner. This is where most of the videos and training sit.
For day to day issues, there’s also live chat and an FAQ section. This includes an area on the website where you can type in your question to find a hopeful solution.
Their FAQ's are helpfully divided into the following areas:
- Products FAQ
- Account FAQ
- iPad POS FAQ
- Add-ons FAQ
- Hardware FAQ
- Reports FAQ
- Payments FAQ
Some sections are more thorough than others. The Hardware section seems pretty thin, but the Payments FAQs are lengthier, answering queries like“How do I accept tips on Retail EMV Transactions,” “How is tax printed on receipts” and Can I charge service fees with Revel?” and so on, and so forth.
Lastly, Revel also has a social media presence, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. So, be sure to follow them there to stay informed of all their latest company updates!
Who Does Revel Integrate with?
Revel has an open API and lots of third-party integration partners. Revel categorizes its integration partners into 13 categories, including marketing, payment gateways, CRM services, eCommerce, accounting, and data aggregators.
You can choose which features are best for your business.
Here some of the more popular integrations they have to offer:
- Payments: Zapier, Apple Pay, Bitcoin, PayPal, Braintree
- Accounting: QuickBooks, Xero
- Add-Ons: customer-facing display, digital menu board, and kitchen display system
- Employee management: Homebase, DTT, Deputy,
- e-Commerce/mobile ordering: Shopify, Chowly, Zuppler, Open DIning
What About Payments?
Revel has its own payment processing system called Revel Advantage. It takes $0.15 per transaction and offers a rate of 2.49%. However, customers can choose other payment processors, including Adyen and Tyro. But, If we’re talking about payment gateways, then Revel also works with FreedomPay and USAePay.
What Kind of Hardware Does Revel Offer?
Revel works with Apple devices only. This includes iPad Air, Air 2, Mini 3, and 4, and iPad Pro. You can buy all the hardware you want through Revel or use your own existing equipment, although it may be worth talking to Revel's tech support first to ensure that whatever Apple hardware you have is compatible with Revel's POS.
Here’s what you can buy from Revel:
- Barcode Scanners
- Cash Drawer and till
- iPad stands
- Payment Devices
- Self-Service Kiosk
What Do Other Revel Reviews Have to Say?
Revel boasts an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, but at the time of writing, it isn't BBB accredited. The BBB site shows 15 customer reviews with an average one-star rating. Some complaints include reports of hard sales tactics, lack of transparency from the sales team, and billing issues.
Elsewhere, Revel users post their dissatisfaction concerning billing, installation, and fees. But, it's worth noting, most of Revel's negative feedback dates between 2017 and 2018.
Fast forward to 2019, and things seem to have stepped up a gear. There are lots more positive reviews scattered across the internet, with users commenting on Revel's ease of use, its simple learning curve, good value for money, and excellent customer service.
Star ratings are mostly in the 5-star category, but complaints linger about the steep learning curve, and some people still complain about the cost. Some reviewers felt Revel works best for those with more straightforward POS needs.
Revel’s own website has positive 5-star reviews, and these then link to external review sites where the comments are mostly positive. Again, these reviewers like the easy-to-use interface, reporting options, Revel's responsive customer service, and versatility.
Potential customers can do their own research before signing up. Revel’s reviews are more current; the most recent at the time of writing was December 2, 2019.
All in All
So now, you have all the details you need to make sense of whether or not Revel is the right POS solution for your business. It’s clearly an advanced piece of software that provides an impressive suite of tools for catering and retail establishments of all different sizes.
Some reviews say it’s better for smaller businesses, others for larger. The Revel website appears to be targeting pretty much all establishments, so go figure.
Revel isn’t the cheapest outfit on offer, but its wide-ranging and a generous list of third party integrations may convince even budding and forward-thinking start-ups that it’s worth the money. However, it may still be expensive for smaller businesses who are still working to boost their profits.
Despite its negative reviews from a few years ago, things appear to have improved, and Revel seems like a favorable catch-all option for a business looking for a cloud-based POS system. Not to mention, it also consolidates your management tools and saves on the paperwork. However, we always recommend shopping around before deciding.
Have you ever used Revel Systems POS before? Did they live up to the hype, or were they a flop? Or, are you thinking of purchasing this software? Either way, we would love to hear your opinions in the comments box below. We can't wait to kick start the conversation with you all!