POS Lavu Review

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Date Established
2010
Location
Albuquerque, NM

Overview:

Imagine you’ve started a new company. You’ve created what you think is a killer product, and you’re ready to launch, but you haven’t yet settled on a name. There are all kinds of things to consider; it should sound pleasant and be easy to remember; if it’s a recognizable word, it needs to evoke the right imagery; in all cases, it should speak somehow to the product’s selling point. Branding is important–your product’s unique identity in the marketplace is at stake, and you’ll probably build up a whole strategy around that identity. You only get one chance for a first impression, they say, so you’ll want to decide this one with care. Or, you just toss all that nonsense aside and hand the responsibility over to a barely verbal toddler and call it a day.

Such is the curious etymology of POS Lavu, which (according to a moderator on the company’s community forums) is derived from one of the founders’ children adorably mispronouncing “I love you.” And in what is either the result of comically bad marketing, or the most ingenious meta-representation of brand identity I’ve ever witnessed, there seems to be no consensus on how to actually pronounce the product’s name, or even what it is, officially.  The website alternately refers to it as Lavu, POS Lavu, Lavu POS, and Lavu iPad POS, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.  There’s a picture of the whole team on the website, all wearing branded t-shirts, some which say Lavu, some say POS Lavu, and 2 have an image of what looks like a hybrid of the Android logo and Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc.  In video tutorials, it’s alternately pronounced “po-SLAH-vu” or the french sounding “poze la-VU.” When the product was featured on Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares (as a solution, not a nightmare), he had yet another pronunciation. The first half gives away its Point-of-Sale-edness, which is helpful, but even knowing where ‘Lavu’ comes from doesn’t crystallize the brand identity. Does the POS love me? How would I know that it was designed for a niche, specifically for foodservice operations?  Moreover, even the names of their pricing plans make little sense. You’ve got numbers, metallurgy, and skill levels: Lavu 88, Lavu Silver, Lavu Gold, and Lavu Pro.

Yet POS Lavu is downright thoughtful in its design, packed with so many industry-specific features which are essential to food trucks and large restaurants alike, that I was surprised to see that no member of the primary Lavu team had foodservice experience. To a normal person, none of this should matter in the least when evaluating software. But I’m not a normal person: I’m a writer, which means I am ready to go full kabob and skewer the software if I let my predispositions get the best of me. But while there are a few minor kinks here and there, POS Lavu is another impressive product, one that does what it aims to do and does it well, silly name and all.

The software was conceived as a wireless experience, and jives with the user friendly interface of the iPads, -Phones, and -Pods it runs on. Judging by the app’s success, Lavu founders Andy Lim and Corey Fiala hit their mark: they opened up shop in 2010, and by the spring of 2012, the company had an estimated worth of $25 million, without a single cent coming from outside sources like venture capitalists. By the end of 2013, POS Lavu could be found in over 3000 restaurants across 82 countries and it shows no signs of slowing down. The development team continues to create new features and add-ons, and Florida International University just spent half a million dollars on a “restaurant management lab” for its School of Hospitality, which uses POS Lavu as a learning tool for its students–quite the impressive string of accomplishments for the startup with the questionable name. Oh, iPad POS, how the world does lavu.

Price:

All Lavu plans are sans contract and include unlimited users and free software updates. The POS Lavu Client App is downloadable for free and can be simultaneously used on as many iPods/iPhones as each plan supports. Lavu offers a free* 14-day trial on all accounts, though you need to provide a credit card to set up your account.

  • Lavu 88 – License is free, service fee of $88/month, up to 1 terminal, and 1 mobile device.
  • Lavu Silver – License is $895, service fee of $39/month, up to 1 terminal, and 1 mobile device.
  • Lavu Gold – License is $1495, service fee of $79/month, up to 2 terminals, and 10 mobile devices. Option to add the Lavu Local server for an adjusted monthly service fee of $149/mo.
  • Lavu Pro – License is $2495, hosting fees are $149/month, up to 3 terminals and 15 mobile devices. Option to add additional terminals at $20/mo. Lavu local server is included at no extra charge.

There are some other minor differences in features between the four levels of service. The list of all features is large, so it’s best to look here and see the differences for yourself.

*Here the term “free” is used a bit loosely. You will be charged a “pre-authorization fee” for whatever plan you choose, equal to your first month’s payment. That fee will be dropped from your bank account if you cancel your membership within the 14 day trial period.

Web-Based or Locally-Installed:

POS Lavu is cloud-based, and requires an internet connection to operate. The minimum internet speeds suggested are 6Mbps Download, 2Mbps Upload, but bigger is better in this case. As I noted above, there is a Local Server option, which runs on a dedicated Mac Mini installed at the customer’s location. The iPads, etc. need only connect with the Mini to operate, adding a layer of protection against an internet outage. The Local Server syncs with the cloud whenever the internet connection is active.

Hardware/Software Required:

The POS Lavu website is very consistent in its message that they are exclusively a software company. They instead refer you to their partner, Zephyr Hardware, for any iPads and peripherals you may need to buy.

The company is also very openly and exclusively Apple-centric. While you can use any kind of PC for web access to the backend, the frontend is iPad and iPhone only, and it’s highly recommended to use one of Apple’s wireless routers to set up your POS network.

As for supported hardware, they specifically list APG Cash Drawer, Epson Printers, and device enclosures from Vault, although I doubt that these are the only options. Lavu connects to a suite of receipt printers, stands, card readers, cash drawers, and even portion scales.

Specific Industry:

POS Lavu is designed for the food service industry, and can fill most niches within that industry. They also offer some customization to meet the “special needs” of any establishment. From food trucks to 5-stars, and cafes to pizza joints, Lavu is already there in 86 countries. The Lavu ToGo app offers Gold and Platinum level users an additional interface for online ordering and takeout options.

Specific Size of Business:

The Lavu software features are extensive, intended to support everything from small coffee shops to large dining establishments. Their massive list of features may cause them to be overkill for the smaller food service entities, but that is for them to decide. Lavu’s price and Ease of Use are not terribly prohibitive for the little guy, but medium to large places would certainly benefit from all that it can do.  The system can be scaled according to the size and needs of the business.

Ease of Use:

The Lavu POS has a sleek, attractive interface that’s largely user-friendly. The backend is accessible via any web browser, but it came as a surprise that I didn’t see any sort of tutorial, onboarding wizard, Getting Started checklist, or training videos. A “Guided Setup” was not far away (a tiered menu option from the toolbar,) but I think a little basic setup help should have been at least offered at the first sign-in. This backend was laid out fairly well, with persistent menus across the top of the window. I first tried this out from the iPad, but found that the full (non-mobile) web browser experience was much better.

One of POS Lavu’s greatest strengths–its extensive and highly customizable support for both forced and optional modifiers–is also its most complicated, though not prohibitively so. Forced modifiers are those things that the POS interface will force you to select at the time of order–you select “French Fries” and the app prompts you to select Small or Large–and the optional ones are, well, optional. The way POS Lavu handles this is to create groups of these things, so you might set up a group of forced modifiers that are applicable only to burgers and optional ones that might apply to burgers and nachos. The advantage of this is that you only need to select modifiers by the group to apply to each menu item, rather than having to add several individual add-ons over multiple dishes, all of which might be the same. It does, in fact, make perfect logical sense, though it might take some getting used to by a proprietor used to sending their menus to the printer. Again, this is not overly complex, but it is definitely something that requires a little knowledge beforehand; POS Lavu’s Guided Setup presents you with a step-by-step guide and a practice exercise to get you up to speed instead of leaving this info buried in their support microsite for you to find. New users will definitely appreciate the setup assistance they get from their new software.

The frontend POS has all the shiny appeal of a well made iOS app: it’s modern looking, responsive, and fluid in its execution. There are, however, a host of inconsistencies in its interface that make navigating around cumbersome. They’re the kinds of things that a user can learn to work around, and ultimately won’t detract from Lavu’s usefulness, but they’re annoying and there are far too many of them. It didn’t take long for me to notice that certain menus (app menus, not your restaurant’s) and buttons don’t consistently appear from screen to screen. Lavu considers this a feature, saying right in the onboarding orientation that “control buttons differ from screen to screen.” But whether this is an asset or a liability may depend on each user’s unique needs.

When the POS Lavu app is set up as a terminal, you may choose Table Layout (for restaurants,) Tab Layout (for bars,) or Quick Orders (for fast food and cafes.) Switching between these screens changes the app’s behavior. At the top left of the interface is a LAVU button, which should provide the same menu of choices no matter where you are. That’s just UI design 101. But, if you’re in the order screen, and haven’t tied the order you’re taking to a specific table, pressing the LAVU button shows a “Control Menu” which can be used to take you back to the table layout view, or to the management screen, or to the printer setup screen–those types of things. If you use that button to go out to the table layout view, and then select a table for a new order, you’ll be taken back to the order screen, where the very same LAVU button then only has two options–Change Table or Change Guest Count–neither of which appeared the last time we hit that button. There’s another button up top, that changes between “Dining Room” (which brings you back to the table view) and “Clock In/Out” (for employee timekeeping), and I can’t really discern a pattern as to why one would appear instead of the other. Sometimes you can see a list of Open Orders by pressing the button in the order screen. Sometimes that button isn’t in the order screen, and you have to go back to the table view to access it. The table layout also can’t be used for just seating people, as one would intuitively think. You’ve got to add an item and save the order before the app will mark a table as occupied. As for order taking, adding an optional modifier is an irreversible act, short of deleting the whole item and re-adding it. And there’s a function for creating notes or custom modifiers for items, but there’s no way to add a price to it. Some day, someone’s going to walk into your place and ask for vanilla ice cream topped with bacon; if you didn’t see that coming when you set your menu up, you’d have no way of charging the extra dollar or so that all additions of bacon at least deserve.

Now, I realize reading all that in one string of sentences can seem like the overall experience of using the iPad terminal is a negative one. I don’t want to give that impression; again, these are annoyances, not hindrances. Using an iPhone on the other hand is a wholly frustrating experience. The screen is simply too small to usefully accommodate anything but the most limited of menus. To keep things organized, POS Lavu splits the menu into a hierarchy of Groups (something like Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner), and then Categories in each group (Apps, Entrees, Sides), and then the items underneath that. On the iPad, it’s all well and good: there’s plenty of visual real estate, even on an iPad Mini, for all the buttons of these groups and subgroups to exist on the same screen. Not so on the iPhone, which requires a constant back and forth, clicking your way down into a menu to get to an appetizer, then a couple clicks back to the top level, and then a couple further in to get to entrees, then all that again for sides, then all that again for drinks. This would need to be repeated for each customer, unless you go around the table asking for appetizer orders first, then entrees, then drinks, etc.

Cashing a customer out on the smaller device is also not as easy, especially if you’re splitting a check. You tap on Split, highlight the portion of the check you’re trying to apply payment to, and select New Check. Items can also be split across several checks, which is handy (as in the case of shared appetizers.) The problem is that once you start accepting each check, there is no way to see each specific subtotal. Only the whole order total is visible at the top of the screen. Even after applying the first payment, this doesn’t decrease to the amount now owed. It’s a weird personality tic of POS Lavu, that it can at once be so thoughtful in its details and thoughtless in the execution.

One final note/warning: The Exit Server button (prominently available from most screens) is ambiguously named, much like the rest of Lavu. Tapping the Exit Server button yielded a keypad for clocking in/out by employee ID. I was completely unable to do anything- even return to the previous screen, until I supplied an employee number, which I had yet to create. Thankfully, my shot-in-the-dark guess of Employee Number 1234 was correct. This effectively shut down the entire terminal until I came up with the magic number.

Features:

Normally, this is where I’d say something like “Rather than go over all the features, I’m going to focus on what makes Blah Blah Blah unique.” However, it’s the sheer number–and specificity–of features here that makes POS Lavu unique, so buckle up, folks. We’re in this one for the long haul.

The most commonly sought-after features are available on all plans- features such as:

  • Terminal and Tableside options
  • Split checks
  • Happy hour discounts
  • Multiple payment options
  • Order transfer
  • Menu item modifiers
  • Photos & descriptions

For a wider perspective, here’s a categorized (yet far from exhaustive) breakdown:

Taking Orders:

  • Choose between Table, Tab and Quick Serve layouts depending on your service needs.
  • Use the app to assign customer receipts and kitchen orders to a specific printer.
  • Add notes to every order.
  • Combine multiple orders while maintaining separate checks.
  • Advanced print queue feature that monitors kitchen print jobs and creates printer alerts for increased reliability.
  • Browse through voided orders from the front end.

Table Management:

  • Specific multi-room table layout.
  • Assign both seat and course numbers.

Course/Menu Management:

  • Create custom discounts for specific tabs or items.
  • Enable forced modifiers that prompt the customer to choose a pre-defined menu option (i.e. Rare, Medium, Well-done).
  • Utilize optional modifiers such as “add onions.”
  • Add secondary detours that are activated when a customer selects a forced modifier option (i.e. Salad > Salad dressing).
  • Divide your menu into multiple groups (i.e. Sides, Entrees, Desserts).
  • Specify minimum access level for each discount type.
  • Create forced modifiers for specific quantities (i.e. 60 tamales).
  • Pizza Creator: selecting Pizza as an item opens the creator, where you can select crust type, size, and toppings in one screen.

Reporting:

  • Customer email tracking.
  • Standardized, exportable reports.
  • Track number of guests for any selected time periods.
  • Filter front-end open/closed orders by server.

Employee Management:

  • Track employee hours with the time card feature.
  • Employees can clock in and out from the iPad app.
  • Calculate employee overtime or double time based on tracked daily, weekly, holiday hours.
  • No limit on number of staff.
  • Every staff member has his or her own unique login information.

Inventory Management:

  • Inventory can be managed from the remote back end office.
  • Menu items can be linked to ingredients and changes are reflected in the inventory when a menu item is ordered.
  • Track inventory stock and costs.

Taking Payment:

  • Easily create split checks for divided payments.
  • Enter tip amounts before settling a credit card batch.
  • Create custom payment types and assign payment type to individual orders.
  • Calculate both gratuity and tax on order subtotal without stacking.

Cash Management:

  • Track incoming and outgoing cash flow for non-sale items, such as petty cash, paying the band, etc.

Integrations/Add-Ons:

Lavu has developed several add-on apps that have different capabilities, and more are reportedly in the works.

  • Lavu Pilot is a free iPhone app that allows you to view and monitor POS data in real-time. View reports from today, yesterday, 7 days, and 30 days ago. Reports range from average revenue per guest to order counts.
  • Lavu Local Server protects against internet outages by installing the Local Server: the iPads/Phones/Pods connect to your in-house server, and your server syncs with the cloud.
  • KDS Lavu is a kitchen display system designed to completely eliminate printed kitchen tickets. The interactive iPad displays are connected to the POS Lavu system and can be further displayed on wireless TV monitors. KDS features include closed order tracking, real time communication, and late order notifications, among others.
  • Lavu ToGo is an add-on interface designed to allow customers to browse your online menu and place to-go orders for pickup. Once a customer has placed an order it is sent to the kitchen and completed. The customer email is kept on file for promotional purposes, and customer order data is tracked.

Additionally, POS Lavu also integrates with several 3rd Party apps and services:

  • LoyalTree is a mobile customer loyalty app, allowing frequent customers to earn rewards based on point accumulations.
  • The Drink Exchange is something I’ve never heard of till writing this review, and damn, it sounds like fun. Essentially, you create a “stock market” for drinks, and the Exchange adjusts pricing on drinks according to demand. Whisky in high demand? The price goes up. Nobody drinking vodka? The price goes down. People in your bar can watch a TV that shows real time values of each drink, and the integration with Lavu means your POS is sending sales data to the Drink Exchange, and adjusting the prices in accordance with the fluctuating market.
  • Digital Pour is a drink management system that offers detailed analytics into your alcohol sales, as well as digital dashboards for displaying current drink specials, what’s on tap, and what’s next in the tap rotation.

Compatible Credit Card Processors:

POS Lavu is one of the more flexible products I’ve come across when it comes to credit card integration, especially in the U.S. The preferred processors are BridgePay, Heartland, and Mercury Payments. Setting up credit card payments in Lavu doesn’t require you to configure it with your merchant account information; you only need to point it to the right gateway.

Internationally, Lavu also supports integration with iZettle (in Europe) and Tyro (in Australia). Searching through the POS Lavu website, and its support microsite, yields a lot of information about integrations and partnerships with many different gateways and processors. And a lot of the information is old and possibly out of date, so the best bet for exploring your options is to actually call a Lavu sales rep and find out what those options are. There’s no doubt you’ll have many questions, since navigating the various rates and fees from different providers can be difficult.

Customer Service/Technical Support:

POS Lavu has been making the wise move of investing back in their company and expanding the level of support they offer. There’s no separate plan to purchase; it’s included in the monthly subscription. A post on the Lavu blog mentions their expanded support, including a help desk that is available 24 hours a day, available by phone, email, or a web interface. My own interactions with support were very positive; in one day of testing I inundated them with questions, all of which were answered within a few hours. The web interface also has a pretty cool feature: as you type the subject of your request in the “Subject” field, a linked list of related and possibly helpful articles populates itself right below.

Additionally, there is a Lavu “community forum” website where users and support folks hash things out in the open, which is good for a newbie looking for answers that may not be addressed elsewhere. Their Youtube channel is well developed, with nearly 50 comprehensive videos on everything from basic settings to printer setups, as well as a few clips of Gordon Ramsey teetering on the brink of violent insanity before being soothed back into a state of dreamy calm as he extolls his love of POS Lavu. Lavu’s blog is updated frequently, and not just with nonsense chatter: there are legitimate things happening with the company, and its growth is being well documented there. Of course, there’s the requisite Facebook and Twitter presences, just because.

As for my own experience with their customer service, I was promptly contacted by an agent to assist me with any introductory questions I might have. I noted that this agent was from a company very near me, so I presume they are able to assist with on-site implementation. The drawback to this is that the agent is not a Lavu employee: Lavu outsources their Customer Service, at least in the initial on boarding process. The agent I spoke too was very friendly, timely, and helpful, though I didn’t grill her too hard on the finer technical points of the software.

Negative Reviews/Complaints:

Looking for negative reviews for Lavu on the internet is interesting, in that the content and timing of them contributes to the narrative of a company and software that continues to improve–though not quickly enough for some people. In 2011 and 2012, complaints about instability, unpredictable behavior, and terrible support abounded. Frustrations over frequent crashes and the behavioral tics of the app (the kind of tics I experienced and described above) are not hard to find. Phrases like “absolutely horrendous,” “your POS is a P.O.S.,” and–one of my favorites–“buggy like an August night in Atlanta” can be found all over the place. Look through the comments at CNET’s review, the iTunes app store, or even the bottom of this page (from the first time we reviewed Lavu). The people who dislike the system really dislike it, by which I mean, they hate it, by which I mean they seem to wish they could somehow bring the software into a living, breathing state just so they can murder it in cold blood and laugh like Vincent Price at the end of Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

These types of reviews are becoming less and less frequent, and as the version numbers climb higher, so does the general attitude of Lavu’s customers. As I noted in the Ease of Use section, though, there are still kinks to work out. And if you’re not so technologically inclined, your response to the app’s inconsistent behavior could result in orders going missing, printers not printing, and other service-disrupting scenarios. That said, you shouldn’t have to be techno-savvy to avoid these pitfalls–when a company describes its product as “Apple-centric,” the general public assumes that that means easy or foolproof or accessible to everyone. That’s Apple’s whole deal. People who want a challenge buy Windows.

Positive Reviews/Testimonials:

I’ve never been a big fan of the whole “50 million Elvis fans can’t be wrong” argument. Maybe it was true for Elvis, maybe not, but substitute his name with Justin Bieber and you begin to see where the logic falls apart. But with software, that line of thinking holds more water. People aren’t going to entrusted their business to software they don’t love, and overwhelmingly, customers love Lavu. The Lavu website and the app store are awash with glowing testimonials. Its ease of use and “cool” factor are often cited. A cloud-based way to manage a restaurant is a feature often praised by restaurant managers and owners who are finally enjoying getting to spend time away from their operation. Its low cost when compared with traditional POS systems for food service is also a common point of praise.

“Even without the price being so low,” wrote one user on the app store, “it’s still a great system.” Another reviewer stated he had it “installed in 15 minutes and had [a] complete system within 1 hour.” Still another commented that “We have a 70 seat restaurant and this works great…I fully expect this system to pay for itself by making up for missed charges alone.”

Finally, many users have specifically called out their support team as deserving of praise, citing friendly, quick, and accurate responses.

Security:

All payment gateways are fully PCI compliant and secure.

No handling of sensitive, unencrypted data.

Final Verdict:

All told, POS Lavu is an impressive product with near-comprehensive usefulness. It’s not merely a cash manager- it manages your employees, your reports, your tables, and more. If you’re a smaller, quick-serve establishment, there many other POS options out there, which may be easier on the bottom line. Yet Lavu claims to be scalable to every niche within food service.

But medium to large restaurants will no doubt benefit all the more from Lavu’s many features, which can help improve table turnaround and customer satisfaction. Its granular inventory control coupled with employee timekeeping means owners need only look in one place for a true understanding of their costs, and make more intelligent decisions about how they spend their money. And while iPads represent a luxury in the consumer market, they’re an inexpensive commodity when compared with legacy POS hardware. Plus, as the savvy business operator knows, this hardware is almost always eligible as a tax write off anyway.

POS Lavu still has some kinks to work out, but from my experience these aren’t deal breakers. And given the company’s track record thus far on improving their software, these little details will likely get worked out over time. If you’re a restaurant owner who’s looking for more than just a flashy front-end register–if you’re actually struggling with understanding where all the money is going, and what is bringing more in–POS Lavu may just be what you’re looking for. If you think you’re ready to take a tour for yourself, you may start here.

Erik Robie

Erik Robie

Erik is a writer, small business developer, and photographer, making his home in Northern Colorado. He has been publishing his writing for 15 years, and occasionally sells his photos when he can pull himself away from the keyboard. When he's not writing the CRM, HelpDesk, and Shopping Cart categories for Merchant Maverick, he can usually be found on his mountain bike, playing volleyball, hiking with his camera, or keeping the local coffee shops in business.
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41 Comments

    Michael Lazar

    Every night I want to take a hammer and smash the iPad running LAVU behind our bar. I’m writing this review just to vent some of my frustration. I find myself holding my breath every time I have to interact with it, esp. running CCs. Oh, and then it’s even more fun when it stops printing tickets. On a busy night I am sure I’m burning 10% of my work hours exiting and restarting it. That’s 10% more sales I could be making for my place of work. Soon we’ll be switching to Micros, which is certainly far from perfect but leaps and bounds more stable that this POS.

    And I MUST ASK: did the people who wrote this spend ANY TIME looking at the competition (Micros, Aloha, etc) and did they spend ANY TIME studying industry needs? For example, you do realize that splitting checks evenly across multiple CCs happens ALL THE TIME in food service? Hardly an advanced feature.

    OK…you get the point.

    Rating11111

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

    Amad Ebrahimi

    Michael,

    Thanks for the heads up. In response to your question of whether we spent any time studying the competition or studying the industry. We have not looked at Micros, Aloha, or any of the legacy systems mainly because our focus is on iPad based systems. As for industry research, our goal is to consistently become better, so yes, we do spend a lot of time trying to understand the industry. I would say we have a ways to go, and it’s input like yours that will help us get there.

    Best,
    Amad

    RatingNot Rated

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

    Michael Lazar

    Your statement about (willfully) not bothering to look at legacy POS systems followed by your assertion you spend time trying to understand the industry those same systems are built to address simply boggles the mind! Who would possibly try to build a solution that meets the needs of it’s target customers w/o also looking at the existing market leading products? It’s either, bulls**t, hubris, or stupidity. Not sure. Possibly a combination of all three.

    P.S. If I read a review like the one I wrote here by a customer of a product I made, I’d be doing my utmost to contact that customer personally and find out what I could do to make them happy.

    Rating11111

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

    Amad Ebrahimi

    I wouldn’t say that it’s bulls**t, hubris, or stupidity. We prefer to focus on iPad based solutions because that’s what we’re good at. It’s difficult to test a legacy system without actually buying all the software/hardware, so our evaluations wouldn’t be very thorough.

    Best,
    Amad

    RatingNot Rated

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

    Michael Lazar

    We’ll just agree to disagree and end things here. Best of luck to you in the iPad market.

    RatingNot Rated

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

    Amad Ebrahimi

    Thank you Michael. Take care!

    RatingNot Rated

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

    Hannah D.

    Hi Michael,

    We are sorry for all of the trouble that you have been having with your system. If you can provide us with your location name, we would love to have a Lavu Certified Specialists and the Lavu Support team reach out to you to assist you with resolving issues with your system.

    In the mean time, here is a video on how to split checks evenly across all credit cards:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aCHMVk3gRs
    You can split checks evenly across all cards. This has been a feature for 2+ years.

    If you are uncomfortable providing us with you location name, please send us a direct email at Specialists@poslavu.com. We would love to help you get your issues resolved ASAP.

    Thank you,

    Hannah D.
    Lavu Inc.

    RatingNot Rated

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

    MRB

    We installed Lavu in Sept of 2014. We had been using Ambur but got frustrated with Ambur when the “upgraded” and fell flat our their faces. Our experience with Lavu has been very positive. We did install the server addition due to the unreliability of our ISP (Comcast) in our city. We do about 400 or so covers in a week (lunch and dinner). We did opt for a “specialist” to help install and it was inexpensive and money well spent. I do have a local guy that is tech savvy to help when needed but, all in all, we would recommend Lavu to people who use someone to help set it up.

    Rating44444

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

    Patrick

    Cherin: It sounds like you updated to iOS 8 without uninstalling Lavu first. Uninstall Lavu. Update iOS8 and then reinstall the app.

    Rating55555

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

    Patrick

    I notice there are a lot of negative comments about connectivity/server issues. It sounds like people don’t know how to properly set up the networks and think just because its an iPad they don’t need to have any technical skill to set up a Point of Sale system. As a Lavu Certified Specialist I can tell you that there are many many more satisfied customers due to the fact that they got their system installed and setup by a professional and not by their bus boy who said he’s a whiz with computers.

    Also the monthly fees are extremely cheap compared to long term costs. Lavu systems can be 70% cheaper over 5 years versus legacy systems like Micros. Monthly costs included. Also companies like Breadcrumb consistently charged $300-$400 per month for the length of your stay with them adding up to double/triple 5 year costs.

    Some of the information in this article isn’t even up to date but that’s another post entirely. Lavu will be releasing version 3.0 in the very near future so please check it out and if you have any questions I’ll definitely try and get them answered.

    RatingNot Rated

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

    Cherin

    Where does one start? I have encountered all the above issues but having to reboot every half hour is a JOKE! Stops working right when you need it the most and is so embarrassing. I will be insisting on a full refund as the product is not fit for use.

    Rating11111

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

    Nancy G

    There is a lot of good ~ and bad with Lavu.

    If you are strictly a restauranteur with little to no tech savvy, this system is going to be frustrating and time consuming.

    If you have someone on staff that has some tech prowess, then it is not horrible.

    The biggest issue we have is instability. It seems the servers go down when we have a full house. And when I say go down, I mean down… not able to enter orders, print to the kitchen, print out a check for a table. Fortunately for us, we use Square as a back up for payment or we’d be screwed.

    The other issue we have are what you’d think would be easy fixes:

    Reporting is cumbersome and not relevant. Inventory reporting is non existent. If you wanted to run an inventory report that includes starting inventory, sales for a specific date(s), and current inventory ~ it does not exist.

    Also, you can not import large volumes of data via .csv ~ meaning you need to manually type each ingredient, unit of measure, cost, etc.

    Taxable v non-taxable sales. When you run your end of day, there is not sales totals by tax. Gift Cards are not taxed when they are sold, only when they are redeemed. It makes for an accounting nightmare.

    We are a 45 seat restaurant with a limited menu and drink options (beer, wine) so it works for us. However, we are opening a new restaurant with full liquor (and all the options that entails!) and are not sure if we will be using it again.

    Just my two cents.

    Rating33333

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    Juan Morales

    At first glance, Lavu POS seems very impressive, however, that is where it stops.
    Lavu has no field support so everything has to be done over the phone. Most of the time, you have to wait for them to get back to you. Once they call you back, they talk about 50 levels above your knowledge of the POS. By the time you hang up, you’re so frustrated that you just want to burn the system down!
    Now, lets talk about the reports. Many of them tell you the same thing in a different format. However, important statistical reports, like how much sales do you have on certain days of the week, is nowhere to be found.
    When you try to train someone on Lavu, there is no way to do it except by entering actual sales into the system and then deleting them later. God forbid you get audited by the government, the auditors think you’re trying to pull a fast one on them with all the sales being deleted.
    Our staff is very disappointed in this system, and as an accountant, I would not recommend it. Unfortunately, we paid so much money for it, we HAVE TO keep it.

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    A. Boone

    Terrible company. I was mistakenly charged over $1000 and they wouldn’t refund the charges. Had to turn it over to my bank’s fraud department.

    Rating11111

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    m0dE

    I would like to share my story of wasting $2000 on POS Lavu…
    http://bboym0de.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/how-i-wasted-2000-on-lavu-pos/

    Rating11111

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    Dennis

    It seems somewhat delusional to claim there is “no contract” but you have to pay $895 up front for a license, which is about a year of some other product. The first sign of deception is always a red flag for other things to come.

    RatingNot Rated

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    Dave Eagle

    It might just be a matter of semantics, Dennis, but the license fee is for the software itself, while the monthly charge covers hosting and support, for which there is no contract. You can cancel anytime. Whether or not the software justifies the upfront price is open for discussion, considering there are other POS solutions that don’t charge license fees.

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    Joanne Wooldridge

    I cannot stress enough how untrue the merchant maverick rating and statements are. This will cause problems and cost you way more money than you think! It does not work at all and the constant issues that you are told to keep track of and report to the tech team so they can release a new update that never fixes ANYTHING!!! This is beta software from a credit card processing company who has the money to screw people across the country. DO NOT PURCHASE THIS!!!!

    RatingNot Rated

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    Jon Robin

    This is the worst investment we have made. We bought into the story of how great it works.
    This system is a complete waste of money.
    I do not believe the bugs will ever go away…..to many to fix.

    Rating11111

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    John P. Kelly

    Worst POS system ever. Full of promises but no results… Worst purchase ever

    RatingNot Rated

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    Ben Eckenroed

    We installed this system in Utah’s biggest and busiest night clubs in August of 2012. We learned quickly you get what you pay for. I am not going to say we didn’t have a lot of bugs to deal with, or that there are limitations in various areas because there are. However, after researching several POS systems over the past 15 month’s, and watching other restaurants and their POS system, I am convinced that we made a good choice to stick with Lavu.

    Speed – Speed is ultra important to a night club. Our first major problem was that our network wasn’t setup properly. While we purchased all the expensive Apple Hardware we were told would work, we didn’t take into account the fact that thousands of orders in only a few hours were going to be placed on the weekends. As good as Apple Hardware is, it just wasn’t cut out for the job. We replaced our network hardware with different hardware (that turned out to be not as expensive, but required some technical knowhow) and our network efficiency and speed increased greatly.

    Interface – The interface is easy to use on the front end. I’m not going to lie, the back end menu setup while great for smaller locations with limited options, does not work very well for large menus or nightclubs with hundreds of cocktails and drinks. However, we make due. One of my favorite things about Lavu is that I can get on their Lavu Community forums and talk with other Lavu users and see what solutions they have come up with. Every single POS on the market will have limitations in your business…something you don’t like. Users often find clever ways to get around limitations and Lavu allows the users to communicate and work together. This may sound like they are putting tech support on the users, but in fact it’s the opposite. Lavu is very active in the community as well and I have seen dozens of User conversations about features or work arounds turned into new features over the past year. Lavu is the core of the user community and they are very active in it, which is very nice.

    Overall I would recommend Lavu to non-nightclub owners. There are a few limitations that we as a night club must deal with, but I know from the Lavu community, tech support, and personal conversations with the developers that they are working to fix my problems as well as other great features I had not even thought of.

    The fact is, iPads are only 5-7 years old. In POS terms, that’s very young. POS systems are 40+ years old, and many of them have had a decades head start.

    If you want to use Lavu, it’s because you want a CLOUD based system with automatic data backup, easy of use, ease of expandability, and a good amount of non-propriety hardware (meaning as new hardware comes out, you can upgrade and easily sell your older iPads and iPod touches).

    At this point, I can’t see a reason I would leave Lavu. They are a fantastic POS system.

    Rating55555

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    shane

    i give it 2.5 stars

    Rating22222

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    shane

    We unfortunately bought into the hype of the POSLavu system and have had nothing but issues with it. We did not go the cheap route as an earlier poster suggested some people do, we have new ipads and the newest router. Our biggest issue is that you can not split an item on a check (let me rephrase) you can split an item but it splits the whole check so if you have 3 people at a table but 2 of them split an item the system only allows you to split it 3 ways so the third person has to pay. the reporting is ok not great but suffice and the only other issue we have is checks disappearing and items disappearing of checks we have contacted lavu and we get the same auto response that the issues are high on their list. DO NOT buy this system until it has all the bugs worked out

    RatingNot Rated

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    Donald Swansen

    I have Lavu as well and am wondering if you ever got your issue worked out with disappearing items? We seem to have the same issue although everything else is fine

    RatingNot Rated

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    shane

    I did receive a call from lavu within a few days of posting my comments and the system has been updated and does run rather smoothly, however the original complaint has still not been fixed as we still can not split an item. It is rather frustrating as he said he would “talk” with the CEO about this issue but it has been almost 3 months and still no resolve. This system is great for a QSR type set up but for a large restaurant i would still not recommend it

    RatingNot Rated

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    Jim Williamson

    With one week until opening we installed Lavu when we found out that the old POS system left behind by the previous owner was boot legged and installed on hardware that was not working ( blown mother board in main PC)

    As mentioned in this article, the system has a slick easy to use look on the front end and I was attracted to the fact that a server could take an order anywhere that the wifi reached ( I’ve taken orders at the bar next door and in the parking lot!…pretty neat trick)

    However, that “neat trick” is not nearly worth the hours of agravation I’ve experienced with this system…so much so that I’ve contacted an atty.

    Everything mentioned in this article has happened to me, my staff and my customers: missing information on tickets, printer failures ( the register printer will start printing receipts that are completely black for no discerable reason, for example), kitch printer will suddenly disconnect from the wifi. Issues with the handhelds loosing contact with the wifi. Recently the one handheld we have has decided to soom print to billboard size and being an apple, it is not an easy matter to pull the battery ( the swipe to the right to turn off is…bill board sized)

    We have a full service restaurant with delivery and getting the ticket assigned to the driver ( who gets the tip ) is very cumbersome since the kitchen takes the order.

    My experience with tech support has not been very good….I’ve called them twice during the east coast dinner rush only to be put on hold for over 50 minutes ( Yes, I timed it). As anyone in the resturant industry knows, when you have a tech issue with your POS you’ll have customers waiting, servers waiting, kitchen waiting….you need need support NOW…even 5 minutes seems like a life time.

    The system seems simplistic…perfectly fine if you have a coffee shop; but a full service resturant, with delivery, take out, on-line ordering, the need to have “1/2 items” ( Like “1/2 pepperoni, 1/2 mushroom” on a pizza)…just not the right thing. I’m sorry I purchased it.

    Lavu states that they will have a “Pizza shop module” rolled out soon ( for extra $$…like pizza shops are some exotic creature) …but the beta is far from complete ( would charge full price for 1/2 items. we’ve all ordered a pizza with 1/2 something on it…I doubt any reader would tollerate being charged full topping price for 1/2 the amount. Oddly, this never occured to Lavu when they were rolling this out)

    Backend…easy to understand and do a bit of programming; but again Lavu failed to build in any security that would prevent two users from being in the back end at once. I had the menu function open one day while a hired programmer was making some changes…the result? A totally scrambled menue! We are still working it out. We both later learned that only one person can be in the menue at a time. The ability to block multiple users from being in a menue or document at the same time has been around for years now…MS Access and MS Excel are examples; but again, Lavu IT apparently did not plan for this common issue.

    The whole software has been around now for 3 years and still has the feel that it was cobbled together and rushed to market by a couple of smart computer guys who’s experience in the resturant industry consisted of ordering lattes at a coffee shop while typing the code for Lavu.

    I really regret purchasing it almost every day. My staff is frustrated with it and me, I’m frustrated, and customers really do not want to hear, “I’ll have your credit card receipt in just a minute…problems with the POS system.”

    Rating22222

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    Steve Anderson

    I gave Poslavu 4 Stars so as to leave room for an extra star when the team over there gets it to where they want it….without doubt it will be a 5 star product at some point in the near future.

    We’ve been using Poslavu in our restaurant for a little over 1 year and our overall experience has been fantastic. When we initially set up the system the support staff were excellent and really helpful. Anytime we’ve had an issue I’ve been able to get it resolved through the forums very quickly.

    We have a 70 seat restaurant and have a high volume of take-away orders. We have just been through our peak season (we are a gateway town for the snow fields) and over that 3 month period Poslavu worked like charm. It’s not uncommon to turn the tables 3 times a night and the phone seems like it will never stop ringing. On weekends we literally have to close the doors when we run out of food. Here and there we had the odd issue as described above but with a little understanding of how the system works these can easily be resolved.

    We have been extremely happy with our choice to use Poslavu, the support staff are excellent, the dev team are constantly working to make the system better and better and most importantly our restaurant workflow is so much better and that means quicker and more efficient service so our customers are thrilled too.

    I would say that the system is very stable, those having problems may need to look at how they have everything set up.

    Rating44444

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    Jackson Staack

    I am user of POS Lavu since september 2012, for me it always worked fine , I have never a single issue, i think most people who had issue with it need to fix the IF to fix so that will protect eventual auto IP setting, POS lavu is appreciated by our employees and clients, the system offers several features, so take your time to setup for your restaurant, the system also works in cloud so internet speed is important,

    Rating55555

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    Hollis Hunt

    This is a review from an actual restaurant (mine) Lighthouse Cafe in Berthoud CO and the person (me), Hollis Hunt who actually purchased POS LAVU, set up and manages the entire system.

    It started out a bit rocky, like all technology it takes some getting use to. When I first bought Lavu back in February 2013 the customer service was terrible, over 24 hours for call backs and responses. It was very frustrating. I did not feel like a valued customer at all.

    Beginning in September 2013 customer service has increased significantly. I would even go as far to say that customer service is excellent based on my recent experience. As of today I feel valued as a customer, which is a relief.

    I had considered switching numerous times between February and August and am very glad I didn’t. In my restaurant I use the KDS (Kitchen Display System) which is awesome! The KDS has paid for itself a couple times over in the saving’s on paper alone, my expedite and line cook love it! We also have One iPad, one iPad mini, and one iPhone 5, we have recently launched LAVU online (1st ones to do that) and love it, more importantly our customers love it! feel free to check it out on my website http://www.lighthousecafe-gp.com

    I highly recommend skipping silver and going straight to Gold, which we just upgraded to in September 2013. Especially if you track time and wages through the iPad. The reports you need and the flexibility you’ll want is there and worth it.

    Last, do use Zephyr Hardware, they are amazing! When I wasn’t able to get support through Lavu these guys saved me as a customer. They are extremely helpful, knowledgeable and have always answered the phone.

    In Summation: If you are looking for a dynamic iPad based POS for your restaurant this is the one. Some quirks? Yes. But they are constantly updating, and open to your input. The features you get are just not found anywhere else, for the price and ease of set up. I set up both my breakfast and lunch menu (a lot of items), with modifiers in less than a day. Had the system up and operational in my establishment in less than an hour. Trained my employees in 30 minutes. I went live to online ordering in less than 30 minutes. Things are very easy to change even when I am on vacation, Service has only continued to improve in my experience and needed features continue to be added. Be patient, it will take some getting used to and there is a short learning curve, I have never lost money, or business, Maybe some hair but thats it. I purchased all of the equipment and set up everything myself, I am not an expert by any means but do have a little knowledge, between the online support videos and Zephyr Hardware it was easy. I know now that the support from LAVU is much better and would expect that they would be the go to if you were to begin now,

    I have demo’d pretty much every solution out there and none of them do what POS LAVU does for the price.

    Rating55555

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    Joanne Wooldridge

    10 months with POSLavu…
    I have almost nothing positive to say regarding Lavu. In January 2013 we were sold the Gold package through a Lavu distributor. Setting up the software was a nightmare and was never completed. The software is FULL of bugs aside from the general difficulties and shortcomings the system has in it. At its most basic function it cannot split a bill down the middle; the closest I’ve seen it come was within 6 cents. Orders are dropped from the system or not sent to the kitchen – this year has been one problem after another with the software. Every time Lavu is contacted, if you can even get someone on the phone, there is an update coming soon to fix the problem or no resolution to the problem no matter how much you stay on top of them.
    Our most recent issue is that we have come to find out that Lavu’s distributor sold us on a package that does not exist. Now we have a terminal shut down as Lavu started tracking devices. We never purchased a single thing – our distributor set us up with all the hardware we would need and now Lavu tells us to take up the matter with their distributor and refused to even contact him on our behalf. If you like to feel swindled, ripped off, and like to deal with a company who could care less about customer service (even if you pay extra for 24/7 customer care) then Lavu is definitely for you.

    RatingNot Rated

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    Donna

    HATE HATE HATE LAVU. Terrible support and continual problems. Save your money. We bought all the newest equipment, upgraded our internet connection, spent hundreds on outside tech support, changed to the recommended credit service, and even paid hundreds for support services from the re-seller and-it still sucks. Wish I would have read the reviews. We ordered Square Reader today.

    RatingNot Rated

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    The Globe

    Dis-agree with all the comments above. I actually program back-offices for a local dealer here in SoCal and own my own gastropub which runs the hardware and software without much of any problem. Most of the issues are that the above owners are cheap and want everything for FREE. Refuse to get a descent internet connection, won’t hard wire the printers, buy first generation iPads, want to hook up printers that they’ve had for 10 years, use an antiquated router, because they bought it 5 years ago.

    As far as the request to their re-seller. They want all their staff trained,(multiple days and travel expense) menu which was only one page and turned out to be a dictionary and which changes daily,or don’t understand modifiers, won’t implement inventory or service plan and want this done for $500 if that, forgot taking pictures of their whole menu. Try the competition, won’t cut it without 20K AND service plan!

    NEVER update to any new software update ( iOS or LAVU) until you have read the forums and now it’s stable for YOUR configuration!

    Rating55555

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    Jeff Patterson

    forgot to rate this product, -5

    Rating11111

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    Jeff Patterson

    poslavu has released their product way before it’s time. Untested in a real scenario, they are using real customers that are stupid enough to buy it as beta testers, and the sales department is pushing this as the next great thing that ISN’T. 24 hour customer service is a joke, “no operators are available, please email your questions” at 10PM when we are the busiest. David Miles keeps promising fixes but they never seem to come. Screw the tutorials too, they are so outdated and not understandable to even a seasoned tech since they constantly chase their butts with updates but don’t change the outdated tutorials. I have not implemented yet and will not. Thumbs down

    RatingNot Rated

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    Estelle Aversa

    Jeff, we were one of the “stupid” people that thought this was gonna be the greatest thing since sliced bread. We were dead wrong. Our system has not worked right since day one. The person that sold it to us is an idiot. He hasn’t helped us at all. We were left to our own devices to troubleshoot this system. Our printers don’t work, the orders don’t send, and the CC swipes have all broken. If any body is considering this system….take out advise….DON”T DO IT! It’s the worse investment…over $6,000 that I have ever made. I am seriously considering taking legal action.

    RatingNot Rated

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    Estelle Aversa

    I also forgot to rate this product. If I could give zero stars I would.

    RatingNot Rated

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    Ken Hill

    We installed POSLavu back in November and have had problems with it constantly. At times, often at the wrong time, it can be extremely slow. Connectivity between the iPad and the receipt printers is frequently an issue, as well as the kitchen printer. One of my biggest frustrations is that when there is a problem, it is very rare that our restaurant staff can work through the fix on their own. It’s almost never as simple as rebooting the iPad or printer.

    The reporting isn’t too bad, though I have a hard time really trusting it. If you operate anywhere that offers tax exemptions, it is hard to track tax exempt sales at the end of the day. I’ve also been having a hard time with the Meal Period function. I built our meal periods and was able to get a report for it that day. Then everything went kaput. I’ve tried deleting the old periods and rebuilding them, but that doesn’t work. Even tech support didn’t have an answer for me.

    Also, our restaurant is attached to our 62 room hotel. This system doesn’t talk to anything! So when we have a room charge in the restaurant, we have to manually walk those tickets over to the front desk to have them entered into our guest’s folio. Hardly efficient.

    In the end, I’m so frustrated with this product that I’m about to rip it out of the wall and throw it in the ocean and start over on paper tickets. The concept is great, but in practice, it just isn’t working.

    Rating11111

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    Bettie Shelby

    here here! I agree. I am so darn frustrated I could SCREAM! In theory its a wonderful system–but each upgrade comes just when you finally feel like it might work right. Split check crashes and printer connectivity issues are making me insane.

    RatingNot Rated

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    PM restaurant

    We tried it. Way too slow! Splitting checks is a nightmare.
    No quickbooks integration.

    Rating11111

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    zeezo

    So I’m looking at Square and Lavu and I’m not getting why Lavu has this $40/month hosting fee. I mean if you look at them both, Square is just much cheaper and has just as easy to use of an interface. Lavu might have some better features with regards to inventory tracking and reporting (though you can only get them if you purchase a license), but how do they justify that extremely high hosting fee? They are still charging you a processing fee correct?

    So the way I see it:
    Square
    -$275/month OR 2.75% per transaction
    -$300 set up minus the ipad and printer

    Lavu
    -$1.95% per transaction and $40/month
    -around $450 set up minues the ipad and printer (since you need a card reader that they don’t provide for free)

    Square seems like the no brainer here, anyone have any input?

    RatingNot Rated

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    Tom

    Zeezo,
    I think you have the wrong idea about your square/Lavu comparison. It’s the classic apples to oranges mismatch. PosLavu is trying to replicate the complete POS solution in the cloud (or on a local server). Square is only offering you Credit Card Proccessing. Compare square to a traditional merchant account from your bank or other MSP like heartland, Mercury or Paymentech. Compare PosLavu to a POS system like Aloha, Micros or even a good Cash Register. Both of these solution don’t stack up in my opinion.

    RatingNot Rated

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

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