Ambur POS Review

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Phone Number
888-268-0122
Date Established
2011
Location
East Amherst, NY

Overview:

The Ambur restaurant point of sale system was born in Kabab and Curry, a family restaurant in Williamsville, NY. Ansar Khan, waiter and son of the restaurant owners, and James O’Leary, a fellow waiter, realized that scrawling customer orders on a notepad wasted time and often led to errors. In 2009, O’Leary began coding the early versions of Ambur, building a custom app designed to work on his iPhone.

Soon after, the pair founded the umbrella company Refulgent Software and officially released Ambur to the Apple app store in April 2011. Since then, Ambur has expanded to 1,500 clients in 29 countries. It was recently purchased by the industry-leading iPad POS vendor, ShopKeep, in an effort to expand the startup’s reach into full-service restaurants. Khan has stayed on as a part of ShopKeep’s business development team, and the acquisition has already led to the development of new features like a web-based back office and multi-location capabilities.

Though these newer features are in the infantile stage (just launched at the beginning of April), they are sure to advance quickly with ShopKeep backing development. The fact that ShopKeep would even chose Ambur as the basis for its expansion into full-service restaurant software speaks to the overall quality and functionality that Ambur already had. Of course, there are still some holes that need to be filled, but they should be addressed pretty quickly.

Read through the rest of this review to get a better idea of how Ambur works and whether it’s a good match for your restaurant.

Pricing:

You can test Ambur by downloading the app from the Apple store. Access to the system is free for the first 30 days. After that, you’ll need to upgrade to one of Ambur’s subscription plans:

  • One Device, $69/mo ($59/mo billed annually)
  • 2-3 Devices, $119/mo ($99/mo billed annually)
  • Unlimited Devices, $179/mo ($149/mo billed annually)

Cloud-Based or Locally-Installed:

Ambur is cloud-based, meaning the software is stored in a remote server and wirelessly transmitted to all of your Ambur-compatible Apple devices. All of your restaurant’s data is also stored in the cloud through Dropbox’s free storage service.

In the case of an Internet outage, Ambur can remain fully functional with full access to all of your features except for processing credit cards, emailing, and backing up the database to Dropbox. All devices are connected within Ambur using the wireless local area network. This is a signal that is broadcasted from a Wi-Fi router, and it allows Ambur to communicate between devices, print receipts/orders, and open cash drawers without an Internet connection.

Specific Industry:

Ambur is specifically designed for all businesses that fall under the restaurant industry category. Ambur can be used for restaurants, bars, cafes, and food trucks.

Specific Size of Business:

Right now, Ambur works best for one-location restaurant industry businesses that require 1-10 workstations. However, ShopKeep is currently trying to bulk up Ambur’s feature set to make it suitable for larger multi-location operations.

Ease of Use:

I found Ambur very easy to use. The interface is clean and well designed, and I would definitely call it intuitive. Once you download the app and enter your passcode you can view the home page, which can be toggled between six different screens: open orders, closed orders, menu items, reservations, management, and the table layout (if you chose to enable it). From the open orders screen, you can add menu items to an order, designate any discounts or fees (a tip, for example) applicable to the order, and assign a customer(s) to the ticket. The management screen takes you to the back office features where you can configure your hardware, mange your customers, create modifiers and order types, manage employee permissions, etc. The settings options are the only part of the interface I needed much help with, but the corresponding help page was very enlightening.

Hardware and Operating System Requirements:

Ambur is compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad operating systems that use iOS 8.3 or later. As for peripherals, you can source the hardware from ShopKeep (another benefit of the acquisition), but not all of the devices offered by ShopKeep will work with Ambur (the bluetooth printers and readers, for example). You need to verify that the equipment you’re purchasing is compatible with Ambur’s system, and you can do this by contacting Ambur directly or going through POSPortal.

Product Features:

If you’re interested you can check out a full breakdown of Ambur features here, but I’ll highlight some of the main players.

  • Orders: New orders are easy to create, either by selecting a table, tapping the sign, tapping a menu item, or even just swiping a credit card. Orders are detailed and include the name of the user who created the order, the type of order made, the date/time the order was created, the date/time the order was closed, the total of the order, and the tip amount added. Orders may be merged or split (into even portions or item by item).
  • Audit Logs: Audit Logs are a recently added feature, and quite useful if you’re looking to catch small mistakes, increase efficiency, or manage wayward employees. These logs show you virtually every action in your system, including who was logged in at any given point, as well as when print outs were made, orders were created/deleted/opened/closed, payments were created/deleted, edits were made, or someone authenticated a permissions override. Audit Logs are kept for 30 days and can be emailed to partners/employees or sent to Ambur for support inquiries.
  • Database Backups: One of Ambur’s most popular features is the ability to back up your database (hourly) to Dropbox. You can even email your database (as long as your emails allows for attachments of around 10MB). If you email your database, it is copied as an attachment so it can be easily downloaded and/or viewed elsewhere.
  • Table Layouts: In Ambur, you can customize your table layouts and create new ones by dragging and dropping tables (represented by circles and squares). The layouts are not exactly to scale, which is a bummer, but the concept works well nevertheless. Each table can be given its own name/number, and you can also designate the number of guests and display the running check total on the table’s icon.
  • Employee Management: As a manager you can create profiles for each employee and create employee groups like servers, waitstaff, assistant managers, and managers with customizable permissions. You can set hourly wages and taxes in user groups and also indicate whether you would like employees to be prompted to clock in when they login to the Ambur app for their shift. You can also set employee schedules for any date or time, and employees with the Ambur app will be able to check their schedule remotely. Conveniently, Ambur can examine employee clock-in/clock-out data and calculate payroll for you.
  • Reservations: You can add as many reservations as you’d like by recording the party name, number of people, date and time, and any notes. The reservation feature allows you to draw from the customer database too, so if you have a regular customer you can directly create a reservation under that customer’s profile. Even better, once the reservation is made you can email or iMessage it right to the customer as a form of confirmation.
  • New Features: Since the ShopKeep acquisition last year, Ambur has added a web-based back office and multi-location capabilities. However, these features are both very new and aren’t fully functional yet. Both of them are going to need to see a lot of growth before they’re usable.

Integrations and Add-Ons:

At this point, Ambur has no integrations or add-ons.

Compatible Credit Card Processors:

Ambur can be integrated with most of the major credit card processors like HeartlandFirst DataTSYSElavonVantiv, etc. Basically, any processor that offers the BridgePay payment gateway will work.

The latest version of Ambur includes support for accepting EMV and NFC transactions.

Customer Service and Technical Support:

Many Ambur client reviews mention how positive their interactions with Ambur support have been. Below is a list of ways you can get support for Ambur.

  • Email – This is the only form of 24/7 live support Ambur currently offers, but they seem pretty good about answering emails quickly so I’m not too worried about this.
  • Knowledgebase – Like most POS systems, Ambur features a support page that you can use to troubleshoot on your own. I found the articles very helpful and comprehensive. Plus, the entire knowledgebase is searchable, which just makes the whole process easier.
  • YouTube – Browse Ambur’s YouTube channel for videos on everything from setting up your menu to configuring your hardware.
  • Social Media – The Ambur Facebook and Twitter have been inactive since 2015, which is strange considering they were pretty active up until then. I’m assuming this has something to do with the acquisition by ShopKeep?

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

Most of the online reviews for Ambur can be found in the comments and review section of their Apple app store page where you can download the software for free. Ambur has a 3.5 out of 5 rating based on 175 client votes, which is actually pretty good considering how overwhelmingly negative comments tend to be on the Apple store. Comment trends and my own experiences generally yielded problems in the following areas:

  • Missing Features – Ambur is missing a few features that a lot of other cloud-based POS systems offer. For example, customers can’t sign for their credit card purchase directly onto the iPad/iPhone/iPod. A few customers have requested the addition of sub-categories to make sorting through menu items more simple. There is also a request for register payout. And while flexible overall, Ambur also has a tendency to keep things too basic in certain areas. The table grid, for example, does not allow for different (visually) sized tables—thereby making the scale somewhat inaccurate; and what tables are available must snap to a predetermined grid. In this sense, the grid is more of a rough guideline than an accurate representation of an actual floor plan.
  • Weak Inventory and Reporting – Though there are enough reports to access most of the information you need, the reporting suite just isn’t robust or customizable enough to appeal to mid-sized or larger businesses. This was fine when Ambur was exclusively aimed at small businesses, but now that it’s looking for bigger clients, the reports just aren’t going to cut it. In the same vein, without raw ingredient tracking, you’ll probably need some sort of outside inventory software to supplement your business. The inventory system also lacks the ability to create product orders by vendor. It would also be nice to be able to upload photos of menu items.
  • No Integrations – Without any integrations with third-party CRM software or even an online ordering service, Ambur is left behind many of its competitors in terms of utility. I’m sure more than a couple customers aren’t super happy with the fact there aren’t any accounting integrations either. Really, if Ambur (or, I guess, ShopKeep) hopes to appeal to larger business, these integrations are going to be essential.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

Positive Ambur reviews generally outnumber any complaints or concerns. See below for trends in positive customer reviews and testimonials.

  • Easy Setup – Many Ambur clients mentioned how easy it was to set up their restaurant menu, even for people who wouldn’t define themselves as tech savvy. It’s easy to update and revise menu items and assemble the wireless network between mobile devices and printers. Several clients reported a smooth transition as they went live with Ambur. It only requires one shift to teach a new employee how to use the software.
  • High Efficiency – Ambur has saved many business owners time and money. The ability to process orders digitally helps avoid errors and makes checkout quick and easy. You can click three buttons to process a payment rather than manually entering handwritten menu items into a cash register, kitchen staff doesn’t have to worry about translating messy handwriting, and servers can focus more of their energy tableside because they don’t have to run back and forth to the kitchen or the cash register.
  • Great Support – Ambur wins points for good support. One client described the Ambur team as “very responsive” and “eager to help and take the time to listen.” Multiple reviews mentioned that when a problem did arise Ambur was quick to resolve it. Another Ambur user said, “I think the customer service is the best I have received in any type of industry.”

Final Verdict:

Overall, I give Ambur a 4 out of 5 rating. Two or three years ago, they probably could have gotten away with limited cash management features, no raw ingredient tracking, a basic reporting suite, and a complete lack of third-party integrations, but even small businesses are realizing how necessary those features are. Now that ShopKeep (via Ambur) is trying to expand their reach into larger, high-volume businesses with multiple locations, these developments better be at the top of the priority list.

That said, since its conception, Ambur has been one of the better-functioning restaurant POS systems. Really, the intuitive design, general ease of use, and basic functionality are already there. ShopKeep shouldn’t have much trouble helping this product become a truly great point of sale system in no time.

Once again, if you need assistance sorting through POS options for your restaurant or if you are unsure of how to go about negotiating the best credit card processing rate, please let us know because that’s what we’re good at. Otherwise, go ahead and get started with Ambur.

Jordan Nelson

Jordan Nelson

Jordan is a writer and editor from a quaint little town just south of Portland, Oregon. She has been publishing her works for just over two years and is constantly expanding her portfolio. When not writing the next great American novel, Jordan can be found lusting after a condo on the East coast, spinning in her swivel chair, and downloading movie soundtracks on iTunes.
Jordan Nelson
Jordan Nelson

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16 Comments

    JOHN AXTELL

    Jordan, This updated review seems very well done. Congratulations!

    I will let you know how my experience with Ambur goes as I am just beginning to implement it in a small restaurant in Oregon.

    RatingNot Rated
    craig trent

    We purchased this for a full service restaurant with 2 bars, one server station, and one kitchen. first off, the sales department is eager, oh so very eager to sign you up and your brain thinks “wow, these folks are great, everyone must work like this”! WRONG!!! once they book that sale, they are DONE with you and could care less about anything! The sales rep would not return our emails or calls for 5 days, and he knew very well there were critical issues with the hardware being shipped to us! as for customer support, they offer ZERO! sure you can email them, and they might get back to you within a day or three, no good when youre trying to open and your left high and dry with an issue that is not addressed in the web based help support! Overall this was a horrible experience and for the life of me i cannot understand how any company can even operate like this. Save your money, but more importantly your time and look elsewhere. We have since switched to Lavu, and while it is lacking is some way, at least you can get customer support. Time will only tell if it will work out. Overall, there is a reason why no major chain, or nationwide uses these Pad based POS systems, and its because they are simply not proven yet, they are unreliable, and they just do not make the cut! Back to Micros, PosiTouch, or Aloha!!

    Rating11111
    Shawna

    It looks like Ambur’s pricing plan has changed from a one time license purchase to a monthly fee determined by the number of registers. http://www.amburapp.com/pricing/ Just thought you’d like to know, since your review factors that in quite strongly.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jordan Nelson

    Hi Shawna,

    Thank you for letting us know. The pricing information has been updated, and a comprehensive update to the entire review has been scheduled for next week.

    Best,
    Jordan

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    craig trent

    the entire “sales process” went great, until they finally made the sale and we desperately needed service regarding device delivery, times, etc…….which was two days later ambur initially told us, then ultimately werent delivered forcing us to be a day late in training, setup, as well as left us running to multiple locations to find the ideal ipad. credit card integration was told it takes 2 minutes once the links and proper forms were filled in and sent. 4 days, were still waiting!! Customer service is the absolute worse ever. 2 days for email replies, absolutely no phone support, no dedicated customer service rep. everything is internet based support, then via email, and its a circus, you wind up repeating your issues to three different techs in three different emails because they dont refer to the initial or previous emails sent. Overall buy it for the cheap licensing, which has just changed, so it probably has lost its cost advantage, BUT do not expect any type of real life/ real time customer support!

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Pablo Gomez

    Hi Amad,

    I really like your website and it has been very useful for me during the last months in my quest to find a new POS system for my restaurant, so first of all thank you.

    I have a suggestion though.

    A full-service restaurant POS system which has a weak inventory feature, shouldn’t be granted with a five star rating. Don’t get me wrong, Ambur is a great POS system, but as a restaurant owner I think that inventory tracking is one of the most crucial duties in a restaurant, and therefore this review can be a little bit misleading for non experienced entrepreneurs who are looking for a POS for their restaurants.

    Best regards,

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jo

    The system is ok, besides the promised update to 2.4 being delayed since April now.

    I noticed however customer service lacks of friendlyness. I had to transfer the HUB on Saturday night and the license could not be activated on the new Ipad.

    I called the number on the screen and the CSR was unfriendly and claimed us not being on the “list”. He did not try to resolve the issue. Very unfortunate. Eventually this support team is in the wrong business.

    I am not expecting 24/7 support for my problems. However a license activation issue is clearly not our fault and should be handled with courtesy.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    JOHN AXTELL

    Your updated review is as wrong as your initial review. The “manual” does not exist. The company has very little to offer when compared to competitively priced products. However they say much more is going to be available soon and I believe them and hope to use their product.

    The bottom line is Ambur has potential but your review is simply inaccurate and I believe biased. Telling people Ambur is something it is not certainly can do the company no good at all.

    You would do everyone a favor if you did a professional review!

    Will see if this comment even gets posted.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Amad Ebrahimi

    John,

    We don’t have any issues with posting comments that don’t approve of our reviews. We are always on the lookout for differing opinions and will gladly update the review based on new developments.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    JOHN AXTELL

    Amad, your updated review is quite accurate, congratulations.

    RatingNot Rated
    Nabil Basta

    Happy User Since 2011 .. Ansar YOU are the best
    Snappersgrill.com

    Rating55555

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    kirsten

    My biggest complaint with the using Wells Fargo is that they promise an account manager who is consistently unavailable and unhelpful. The only time I get things changed or updated is after I’ve emailed/called multiple times and threatened to speak to their manager. Customer service – 0/5. Additionally they will send out fee or interchange rate increases that you have to call and ask to be exempted from. Otherwise your rates increase quarterly. Rates- 3/5

    Rating22222

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Manuel

    I just started using Ambur in my restaurant. I have 2 corrections to the review:

    1. It is not cloud based. The data is stored on the HUB the main device (IPad) the other devices (iPhones, I pod touches, etc.) synchronize with the HUB. Dropbox is for backing up your data. It does it automatically every 24 hours or you can manually back it up.

    2. The good news. I spoke to customer service today and they informed me that customer service is now FREE for life (or as long as you use their product).

    As for now, I am happy with Ambur. It is very easy to use, great customer service, and now have tgate/bridge pay who is compatible with my bank.

    My wish list for Ambur (I’ve only been using it for a few days so there will probably be more to come):

    1. Grid layout of items as supposed to the list only view.
    2. Reservation alert. It would be nice if the app notified you of in upcoming reservation.
    3. Faster updates (and tested updates) I updated the app the other day only to get an email the next day NOT to update.

    All in all, I am happy with Ambur and would recommend it others.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Gena

    I really like what you guys are up too. This sort of clever work and coverage!
    Keep up the good works guys I’ve added you guys to our blogroll.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Amad E.

    Thanks Gena. We’ll get to reviewing XenoCart soon. I’ll let you know if we have any questions.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jelle

    Good Features. Good service. Excellent! nice post!

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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