Revel Review

Revel has engineered a POS system that’s awesome for restaurants. The system uses iPads for tableside ordering, inventory management and staff communication, and it has a beautifully designed, intuitive interface that focuses on those applications that hospitality companies most need. Revel’s engineers have even segmented the system into amazingly accurate applications for specific restaurant types, such as pizzerias, coffee shops, kiosks, fast food places, full-service restaurants, grocers, concessions and food trucks.

Background

Revel Systems started in 2010 and has already jumped ahead of established companies to lead the iPad-based POS-system industry for the last two years,as of 2015. Receiving $3.7 million in Series A funding in 2012, Revel took just one year to reach profitable status. Revel won the iPad Business App of the Year Award at the Macworld/iWorld event in January of 2012 over Square’s POS system. The company now has about 200 employees and a client list that includes Smoothie King, Goodwill, Dairy Queen and Popeye’s Chicken.

Latest Developments

The future is bright for companies that stay lean and creative. Industry leaders like NCR and Micros often focus too much on their existing business instead of new technologies like tablet-based POS systems, yet both companies have developed them. Revel cofounder and CEO Lisa Falzone feels that Apple is superior for POS platforms because Windows gets hacked every day, and iOS applications provide rich resources for intuitive restaurant management.

The sources of capital seem to agree and readily agreed to finance Revel’s expansion plans in Asia and Europe. Revel Systems is teaming with Intuit to design a QuickBooks POS system. People shouldn’t be surprised to find Revel entering other areas, such as retail sales, Internet marketing, credit card processing, daily deals and restaurant reviews.

How It Works

Revel works with Apple Pay, which enables iPhone 6 users to make payments from their phones. Your customers won’t have to share their credit information, which is a big attraction in today’s security-conscious society. Other proprietary benefits of the iPad-flagship point-of-sale service include syncing all data in the cloud so that your POS system is always up and running and will function when the Internet connection is interrupted.

The system offers all the traditional features of modern POS systems and advanced extras including:

  • Customer relationship management
  • Inventory control
  • Cash management
  • Payment processing
  • Mobile ordering
  • Tablet ordering
  • Back-end accounting and management tools
  • Web, remote and mobile support
  • Revel University for training staff

Effectiveness

Mobile and tableside ordering strengthen restaurant operations in so many ways that Revel’s advanced system of iPad ordering is, quite simply, da bomb. Like all proprietary technology, it’s a bit expensive — especially buying the hardware for large operations and paying software fees based on each iPad — but restaurants can expect solid cost-value benefits from the efficiencies and benefits of using the system.

Operational Efficiencies

Revel software includes applications for customer loyalty programs, inventory control, real-time reporting, payment processing, mobile and tableside ordering, employee scheduling and analytics. The software delivers iOS efficiencies to point-of-sale customers.

Revel POS systems partner with Priority Payments, Mercury Payments and QuickBooks, but Revel explains that the software can process payments from 95 percent of U.S. credit card processors. Revel Systems has adapted to use Honeywell’s barcode scanners, so restaurants can use their old hardware for various inventory and management tasks.

Customer Benefits

Customers can order and pay for their meals when making reservations, ordering from their smartphone or using iPads at the table. Customers can confirm their orders, avoid cooking errors and hail servers for refills or service.

Merchant Benefits of Expedited Ordering

Revel’s iPad ordering brings Apple’s intuitive operational simplicity to restaurant service. Your servers won’t need long training times, and mobile and tableside ordering reduces your staffing needs. The inventory-monitoring efficiencies of managing stock on an iPad save time and money while preventing costly ordering mistakes. Using a turnkey solution that connects all your technology and digital marketing platforms offers enough cost savings and boosts in revenue to justify the costs of the Revel system.

QuickBooks Integration

Restaurants that use QuickBooks will appreciate how seamlessly Revel integrates with QuickBooks to improve accounting operations, restaurant performance and business efficiency. Data is synced between the software each day, which saves time and effort while enabling managers to access up-to-to-date management reports instantly.

Comparison to Competitors & Marketplace

In some cases, comparing Revel to other systems is like comparing apples to fruit salad. Depending on your preferences and existing hardware, choosing Revel makes sense if you prefer the ease and simplicity of working with Apple technology. Even if you have an Android system in place, it might be time to upgrade your restaurant’s technology and point-of-sale vendor to keep pace with rapidly evolving digital marketing and mobile ordering while reducing the risks of security breaches.

Your Restaurant’s Software

Revel integrates well with QuickBooks, and most restaurants can use Revel’s turnkey, tablet-based solutions for managing their operations. The software comes with an extraordinary array of management, inventory, payroll and accounting systems. “Many restaurateurs expressed their preferences in the 2014 BuyerView Report that was published by Software Advice, a place where buyers compare iPad POS systems:

  • Many restaurants — about 55 percent — are still using manual methods of finalizing sales.
  • Restaurants with POS systems are looking to upgrade their systems.
  • Most restaurant owners want tablet-ordering abilities.
  • iPads are the most requested hardware for tablet-ordering systems.

Major Competitors

POS systems are highly competitive and constantly evolving. The general consensus is that no current vendor meets or surpasses what Revel offers for iPads, but restaurants can choose other systems and vendors, based on startup costs, integration challenges with existing hardware or using systems that run Android technology. Some of Revel’s major competitors include:

  • Square
    Square is the choice of more than 100,000 restaurants, and the system offers more basic point-of-sale features than Revel. However, Revel ranks higher in enabling better customer interactions, managing business operations, integrating with social media and providing peripherals and support.
  • Vend
    Vend offers plug-and-play support for barcode scanners, LAN printers and payment processing, but you’ll need add-ons like Shopify for eCommerce. You’ll also need accounting and payroll systems.
  • NCR Silver
    NCR Silver works with iPhones and iPads, but the system is just as expensive as Revel without some of the restaurant-focused features and applications that Revel includes. The system would be fine for quick serve restaurants that have fewer management needs than full-service operations.
  • ShopKeep
    ShopKeep also has high entry costs, and the POS system has no way to process credit card orders if the Internet connection is broken, a feature that Square and Revel both offer.
  • Shopify
    Ottawa-based Shopify, which supplies online storefronts to 65,000 retailers, is introducing a POS system that uses iPads and will enable online companies to unify their digital and brick-and-mortar sales platforms. Customers also get in-house payment processing but can use their existing providers. Shopify can provide an end-to-end solution for website sales, eCommerce and restaurant operations, but the benefits for restaurants might be less focused than Revel. The pricing structure includes three packages, but you’d have to spend the maximum of $159 per month, which costs more than Revel, to get the suite of comprehensive tools that Revel supplies.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

We recommend that restaurants do a long-term cost-benefit analysis before choosing any POS system. Upgrading your digital and processing capabilities is essential in today’s quickly evolving marketplace, and restaurants with older POS systems need to replace them to keep up with marketing and customer service trends. So your cost-benefit analysis should focus on long-term gains and maybe exclude integrating old hardware and software into your operating system, especially if the hardware and software are obsolete.

We believe that the costs of Revel, while high, pay for themselves with increased operational efficiency, broader access to payment options and easier ordering. You can manage digital signage, menu boards and other advertising tools to generate more in-house business. Tableside ordering reduces your staffing needs and frees your servers to interact with customers, offer dining suggestions and generally provide better service while increasing sales.

Concluding Thoughts

Revel quickly entered the highly competitive POS market and made its name known throughout the industry, a difficult feat for a startup company. The Revel POS system developed a proprietary way of handling iPad integrations and quickly gained customers and market share as a result. We like technology-based success stories when companies come up with innovative products that are designed specifically for the restaurant industry, so we recommend Revel’s POS system for restaurants that want the advantages of tablet ordering.

What We Like

We like Revel’s clean interface, ease of operation, intuitive controls and ability to control multiple stores from a central monitoring station. We think tablet ordering is mandatory for the future — especially in urban environments — and we think using iPads is turnkey solution to many of the issues that plague traditional Android-based POS systems.

What We Don’t Like

The system, which is robust in so many ways, doesn’t adequately support liquor-control devices, which bars and nightclubs need to prevent theft and overpouring. Also, the software licensing fees are assessed by the number of iPads, which we find a bit burdensome for restaurants that need multiple tablets for their systems.

Final Assessment

Revel offers a free trial of its revolutionary POS systems, so interested restaurateurs can assess the product for themselves. We think that Revel hits the mark for simplifying and supporting modern restaurant operations.