Revel’s point of sale system was birthed in 2010 by CEO Lisa Falzone and CTO Chris Ciabarra. The result of their efforts was a groundbreaking Apple iPad POS. In the fall of 2011, Revel began beta testing with several Bay Area businesses and was successful enough to capture the attention of early-stage venture capital fund DCM, which offered $3.7 million in Series A funding. By October of 2012, Revel announced it had reached profitability in just one short year. Since then, Revel POS has garnered support from investors such as Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, received a whopping $100 million in Series C funding. In January 2012 Revel was announced as the winner of the Best iPad Business App of the Year Award at the Macworld/iWorld event, beating out the popular Square mobile POS system. More recently, the system received SFBT Tech Awards’ “Best Enterprise Technology” and Business News Daily’s “Gold Award for Top iPad POS Systems.”
Revel currently has over 400 employees and international offices in Australia, Italy, Lithuania, and London. The company has over 20,000 terminals in active use and a solid reputation as a reliable POS provider. Some of Revel’s clients include Belkin, Goodwill, Smoothie King, and most recently, Cinnabon. What has set Revel apart and made the system so appealing to these big-name franchises are its ever-expanding features, services, and integrations. Some highlights include: “Always On” mode (for offline functionality), a partnership and integration with QuickBooks Integration, remote support, and an intelligent reporting suite.
Revel offers industry-specific software packages for a monthly subscription fee. The software license, which used to be an upfront cost, is now built into the subscription. Industries range from restaurants and retail to smaller scale food trucks and yogurt shops. Pricing is flexible (depending on your industry and set-up) and is broken down per terminal. Each subscription includes 24/7 live support, unlimited data storage and security, unlimited software updates, and QuickBooks integration.
Revel doesn’t require a contract or charge cancellation fees. To discontinue you service, you’ll need to give them a 30-day advance notice to avoid being charged your monthly subscription.
Web-Based or Locally-Installed:
Hybrid. The Revel POS is run locally through the Apple iPad and syncs all data to the cloud. “Always On” mode ensures that your POS will continue to function if your internet connection is lost or experiencing a slowdown. Payment authorization for credit cards may not occur while the Internet is down so while accepting cards without an Internet connection is an option, it’s also a risk. You can read more about the “Always On” mode on the Revel website.
The Revel software works well with Restaurant and Quick Service businesses, with many of their add-on products targeting these two industries. The software has expanded considerably to also serve as a viable option for retail businesses along with other industries such as grocery stores, pizza and coffee shops, salons, niche shops, and food trucks or mobile businesses. Revel has adapted its software to fit almost any type of sales environment out there, but adapting that software to your business’s specific needs will take some work.
Specific Size of Business:
Revel Systems is accessible to large businesses since it can manage multiple locations and up to 500,000 SKUs. We’d also say that it is optimized for mid-sized businesses, especially those trying to keep up with their larger competitors, since it offers a plethora of applications and modular software that allows you to customize the system to your needs.
On the other hand, though it might work for some small businesses, We wouldn’t recommend it to your average mom and pop shop. Because it is so robust and customizable, it also takes a considerable amount of time and energy to set up. Most many small businesses will never have a use for most of the advanced features they’re paying for. If you are a small business owner, we recommend you take a look at Revel, but make sure you explore your other options as well.
Ease of Use:
Once set-up, the software is relatively easy to use. The front end is especially intuitive and easy to navigate, and the back end is set up with training videos in the case of a problem. To see the Revel POS in multiple environments (restaurant, quick service, retail, etc.) check out some of their training videos.
Front End. Revel requires staff to login with a pin number to access their unique settings and permissions. A touch screen displays a product matrix (with optional descriptions) on one side with order tallies on the opposite side. Quantities and modifiers are easy to add, as are additional payment and discount options. The Revel POS can also be used as a kiosk, or customer-facing display.
Back End Management. The Revel system is designed for easy navigation through everything from inventory to employee management, but it’s user-friendliness is not apparent until you get the hang of their system. Performing advanced functions and just getting used to how the system works will take some serious dedication, time, and training. The “so easy a child could do it” motto often advertised by cloud-based POS systems does not apply to Revel, nor should it. Owning and operating a business is not child’s play and so you shouldn’t go in expecting to be able to set up this very robust business tool in a day. That said, most of the basic functions are pretty easy to navigate and use. Exporting data is simple, adding, modifying or removing items can be accomplished directly from your dashboard, and employee permissions are easily managed.
Hardware and Operating System Requirements:
Revel currently works exclusively with Apple iOS devices including the iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, and iPad 4. Revel offers complete hardware bundles, but you can always purchase your hardware elsewhere. In addition to their pre-configured hardware list, Revel offers additional options for hardware integration and will read any standard barcode scanner. Note that Revel no longer uses the Magtek card reader, integrating instead with the EMV and NFC-enabled Ingenico iPP350 and Verifone VX805.
To see an exhaustive list of the Revel features, check out their website or some of their training videos. They’ve got some pretty cool industry-specific features. For a shorter list, just keep scrolling.
Fully Functional POS – The Revel POS works in a hotkey fashion, in which cashiers can tap on menu categories with drop-downs of items and modifiers to select. Or, if you prefer, barcode numbers can be entered into the system for scanning items. Multiple tax rates, discounts, service fees, and surcharges can be set to automatically add or manually add at the time of sale. All payment tenders are acceptable: cash, check, gift certificate, credit card, debit card, and even customer rewards points. Manual credit card entry is also a payment option. Once an item is added to a transaction, it can be easily removed or deleted simply by tapping on it and hitting “delete.” If an item has modifiers attached to it, the option for modifiers will automatically pop up when the item is selected. In the “edit item” screen, cashiers can set orders to-go, for delivery, repeat items, remove items, enter discounts, enter special requests, and add quantities. Editing modifiers is as easy as deselecting what you’ve selected and re-selecting whatever you want. When completing an order, cashiers can also add the customer’s name to the order (for quick service environments). Of course the POS can also void payments, allow for tips, split bills, email receipts, print/reprint guest receipts, and enter rewards card numbers. Certain functions, like discounting an order, opening the cash drawer, or voiding payments can have manager password requirements if you prefer. If an order has already been sent to the kitchen you have the option of going back to it and adding additional items, sending only the newly added items to the kitchen. Obviously, items already sent cannot be edited or deleted, but they can be repeated, discounted, increased in quantity, or voided off the bill.
Management Tools – Revel offers a host of management tools to keep you up to date on the lifeblood of your business.
- Real-Time Inventory – Adding and managing inventory with Revel is simple, requiring only an item and price (though other fields, such as cost and SKU, are also available). A style matrix is available for easy mass entry of inventory items that are similar but differ by color, size, or style. Additionally, inventory can be imported using a template such as the one listed on their support page. Multiple file formats are supported for import and export, including csv, xls, and others. Revel can also enter your menu for you for an additional fee. Revel is capable of tracking inventory per ingredient as you sell items from your menu, giving you additional tools to maintain stock. Food cost reports are also available on the ingredient level. PO limits can be set in the inventory section. Low stock items are listed in red on your inventory page with nifty reorder buttons. In addition to creating POs and associating inventory with vendors, Revel helps you manage when stock items arrive and are added to your inventory. You can notate partial orders when vendors only send you a portion of your stock and finalize orders once the order is complete.
- QuickBooks Integration – The Revel QuickBooks Integrationautomatically syncs data from your POS to your QuickBooks accounts to streamline the bookkeeping process. Revel’s QuickBooks integration automatically syncs sales, inventory, purchase order and accounting data into QuickBooks Online. Sales summary information is pushed into QuickBooks each day, allowing users the ability to view total sales, discounts, and refunds created on the Revel POS. The integration also sends employee schedule and payroll information to QuickBooks, as well as purchase order and inventory adjustments. Any updates in Revel are synced automatically. For the initial setup, Revel will need to do some mapping to synchronize your data. Some users have complained about issues with the integration, but more on that later.
- Till Management– All cash management functions are located under the manager selection of the settings tab: batch processing, over/under till, and printable quick-view reports like total cash/credit/check/gift certificate for the night, items sold, and time management.
- Customer Management – Revel tracks customer purchases as well as all necessary customer information such as name, address, phone number, and email. This information can be exported and used to create mass marketing campaigns (whether through email or direct), or used to cross-sell other items.
- Employee Management – Each employee can have their own unique and secure PIN-activated login or swipe card in order to track time, employee performance, and employee activity within the system. Employee reports can be created based on number of voids, number of discounts, sales volume, and productivity. Access parameters can be customized per employee responsibilities. The system can also handle employee time scheduling.
Flexible Ordering – Revel systems has designed creative ways to make ordering easier, such as Tableside ordering, mobile and online ordering, and customer facing displays.
Kiosk POS – Using the iPad POS as a kiosk, customers can place their order and pay all on their own. They can browse menus, select or edit items and quantities, and place orders with their name. Orders can be completed by paying with credit, debit, or gift card, or cash.
Kitchen Display System – When utilizing an iPad POS in kitchen view, sending an order or entering payment sends the information to the kitchen display system. In this way, with multiple iPad POS systems you can have a KDS for hot orders, one for cold orders, and one used for expediting. The expedite view will allow servers to see if an order is in progress or completed so they’ll know when to take food out to a table or call a customer name. The kitchen view (a.k.a. cook view) will display the order plus any modifiers, the time the order came in, the server name, the customer name, and of course the status of the order (completed or not). When an order is completed the kitchen staff simply touches “completed” on the KDS to change the order status on the expedite view iPad. Once food is taken out the server touches on “completed” in expedite view to make an order “done” and clear it off the screen.
Digital Menu Board – Revel is integrated with Digital Menu Me menu boards. This means the Revel system and Digital Menu Me displays can talk to each other and exchange data. Whenever you update your menu in the Revel POS, your Digital Menu Me display will update as well. That way if you run out of a certain dish early in the night, you can eliminate it right away to prevent disgruntling customers who can’t order what they want. Plus it eliminates the need for messy and unprofessional looking chalk menus. Read more about Menu Boards on their website.
Intelligent Reporting Suite – Revel reports are pretty extensive, and they’re easy to read. Some of the dozens of reports available include transaction details, sales summaries, ingredients sold, PLU report, available/used gift cards, total voids, total credit transactions, refunded/exchanged items, percentage of labor against sales, and employee check out report. Real-time tracking provides instant visibility to sales, staff, and location data. All data can be exported as you need it.
Safe and Secure Servers – Revel’s hardware, software, and network are PCI-DSS compliant. Sensitive credit card information is encrypted and never stored. Revel’s Data centers are PCI compliant and SAS 70 Type II certified. All data is encrypted and backed up on a regular basis, and single location businesses operate on their own database.
Multi-Store Functionality – Revel is built to handle a single store or a chain of stores.
Loyalty Program – The Revel POS offers a cardless loyalty program as well as other third party integrations. They plan on expanding their loyalty offerings in the future.
Integrations and Add-Ons:
Revel has an open API and a whole slew of third party integrations. Below is a listing of some of the major integrations, all of which can be located in their marketplace.
Mobile Payment Processors
- QuickBooks Online
Customer Service and Technical Support:
Revel offers 24/7 support to all customers, and the ways they offer support are pretty broad.
- Phone– Revel sales, technical support, and billing staff are available through their main line at (415) 744-1433.
- Email– You can email support directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or submit a request with their customer support form.
- Remote Support– To troubleshoot issues directly without all the extra confusion (such as describing the thingy that keeps blinking), a technician can access your POS remotely to diagnose issues.
- Web Support– You can check out Revel’s support pagefor commonly reported issues. You can search for what you’re looking for or submit a request for support.
- Onsite Support– For onsite technical support you’ll need to contact Revel. There are additional fees involved, which you can view here.
- Revel University– This is Revel’s website for training and videos.
- Social Media– Revel does have a blog; if you’re interested in what they’re working on, it’s worth taking a look. There are also various social media accounts you can take a look at, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
“Always On” Mode. Formerly known as offline mode, this feature allows you to continue to do business as usual even if your Internet is down (or experiencing a slowdown). This feature is still pretty unique among POS providers, and allows you to continue to accept cash and card payments
Versatile POS. The Revel POS is well designed and works well for many merchants. Its cloud-based functionality is also a huge contrast to the more rigid functionality of computer based POS systems, making it versatile and adaptable to fast-paced businesses with ever-changing needs.
Constant Improvements. Since the initial review of Revel, there have been some pretty significant improvements to the software, and Revel shows no sign of stopping. Upfront software license fee? Gone. In its place is a manageable monthly subscription model with the license costs built in. Inventory options? Expanded and improved with room to grow. Slow-responding technical support? That I’ll leave you to judge.
Customer Service. Revel reports a Customer Satisfaction Rating over 93% for software, hardware, and logistical issues. Though it hasn’t always had a great technical support reputation, Revel has recently stepped up its game in this arena, taking steps to improve customer relations including the recent revamping of their suite of training videos.
If you’re looking for a cloud-based POS for a restaurant or hospitality business then Revel is definitely on par with other systems, systems that provide high functionality without being prohibitive to anyone without a computer engineering degree. No other comparable system has a kiosk mode, kitchen view, expedite view, and table listing functions. For regular retail businesses, Revel has definitely improved its offerings, and is a solid option, but we’d shop around and read more Revel POS reviews and reviews of other POS systems before making a decision.
If you’re a small business, Revel is certainly scalable for virtually any size; however, depending on the revenue you generate, the monthly subscription may still be too high. You also may be a little overwhelmed by the amount of work that will need to go into setting up a bunch of features and settings that you may never use. However, if you’re planning on quick growth, it would be nice to not have to transition from a system to one designed for larger businesses. In the end, if you’ve got the revenue for one of the more expensive cloud-based solutions, Revel should have everything you need to run your business.
~ Merchant Service Savings