Ambur POS Review

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Phone Number
888-427-4148
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. Waiters James O’Leary and Ansar Khan (also a son of the restaurant owners) realized that scrawling customer orders on a notepad wasted time and often led to unnecessary errors. In 2009, O’Leary began coding the early versions of Ambur POS, building a custom app designed to work on his iPhone.

Soon after, the pair founded the umbrella company Refulgent Software; they 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 purchased in September 2015 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.

Unfortunately, there are some feature holes that still need to be filled in Ambur’s system and even after nearly two years under ShopKeep’s supervision, not much has been done to fix them.

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: $139/mo ($99/mo billed annually)
  • Unlimited Devices: $199/mo ($149/mo billed annually)

Cloud-Based or Locally-Installed:

Ambur is cloud-based, meaning the software is stored on 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; you’ll have full access to most features, with the exception of credit card processing, email, and Dropbox backups. All devices are connected within Ambur using the wireless local area network.

Specific Industry:

Ambur is specifically designed for businesses in the restaurant industry and can be used for restaurants, bars, cafes, and food trucks.

Specific Size of Business:

Right now, Ambur works best for one-location foodservice businesses that require 1-10 workstations. ShopKeep is currently trying to bulk up Ambur’s feature set to make it suitable for larger multi-location operations, but this goal has not yet been achieved.

Ease of Use:

I found Ambur very easy to use. The interface is clean and well designed, and I would definitely call it intuitive. In December 2016, Ambur released a design update in an effort to make the system look more modern. Once you download the app, entered some personal information, and your passcode you are taken to the floor-plan page. In the top left corner, you have the option to select Home, which will take you to the menu and show you which orders are still open. At the bottom left of the screen, you can select Open and Closed orders, Menu, Reservations, and Managment. The first four options are pretty self-explanatory, but when you select ‘Management’ a list of options pops up. You are able to view a wide selection of back office features where you can configure your hardware, manage your customers, create modifiers and order types, manage employee permissions, etc.. 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 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 Ambur directly or 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:Ambur POS

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).

Ambur POS Review

  • Audit Logs: Audit Logs are 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 printouts 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 platform 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.

Ambur POS Review

  • Employee Management: As a manager, you can generate 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 log into the Ambur app for their shift. You can also set employee schedules for any date or time; 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.
  • Web-based Back Office: I was pretty surprised by how basic the web-based back office is. It does allow you to see your reports “at a glance,” update your personal information, and access the support page, but that is about it. It’s nice to be able to check in on your reports from any device at any time, but honestly, that’s pretty standard in the industry now.

Ambur POS

Integrations and Add-Ons:

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

Compatible Credit Card Processors:

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

Ambur also supports 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 your Ambur system:

  • Email – This is the only form of 24/7 support Ambur currently offers. At one point in time, Ambur seemed to be great at quickly responding to customers, but recently customers complain that it takes several days for a representative to get back to you (if they get back to you at all). I personally tested out their email support and received a friendly helpful response within 11 hours.
  • Phone – Ambur recently added phone support, a much-requested feature. To get in touch with a representative, users must call 866-836-0050 and select option 1 for Ambur Support.
  • Knowledgebase – Like most POS systems, Ambur features a support page which 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 – I was unable to find much of a social media presence for Ambur. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume 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 the company’s Apple app store page where you can download the software for free. The current version of Ambur has a 3/5 rating based on 188 client votes. Quite a few customers feel that the quality of Ambur has gone done since ShopKeep’s take over.

  • Poor Customer Service – Multiple customers cite nonexistent customer service representatives. For those who are able to reach someone, service is extremely slow to respond, is not always helpful, and can be unfriendly.
  • Bugs, Glitches, and Crashes – Another common problem seems to be the fact that Ambur is subject to freezing and frequent crashing. Some customers have had problems with bugs in the system; one person claimed that the system deleted an entire day’s worth of transactions, while another had to deal with the fallout of Ambur charging every one of his customers twice.
  • 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. Some 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; 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 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 – Because it lacks integrations with third-party CRM software, online ordering services, and accounting solutions, Ambur is behind many of its competitors in terms of utility. Really, if Ambur (or, I guess, ShopKeep) hopes to appeal to larger business, these integrations are going to be essential.
  • Logging In – This is a small complaint, but I did find it highly annoying that after one minute and five seconds the Ambur app logs you out. This is great for maintaining security but is pretty frustrating when you are trying to work in the back office, stop to check your phone for a minute, and then have to re-login multiple times.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

I really had to scour the internet to find any recent positive comments regarding Ambur. It seems that since Shopkeep’s take over many customers feel that the quality of Ambur has severely suffered. That being said, here are some of the positive customer comment trends I was able to find.

  • 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.
  • Efficiency – Ambur, like many other POS systems which offer tableside ordering, 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.

Final Verdict:

Overall, I give Ambur a 3 out of 5 rating. Three or four 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 their priority list. The fact that ShopKeep is nearly two years into the Ambur acquisition and still hasn’t addressed these issues is part of the reason I’m dropping Ambur’s rating for now. Perhaps more importantly, since ShopKeep took Ambur over, many customers feel that Ambur’s quality has actually gone downhill.

In its conception, Ambur was one of the better-functioning restaurant POS systems. It still has an intuitive design, general ease of use, and basic functionality, but it just isn’t keeping up with the demands of the iPad-based Point of Sale market. ShopKeep shouldn’t (key word here being shouldn’t) being having this much trouble helping this product become a truly great point of sale system. But if they continue as they have been, making only minor, more aesthetically pleasing updates, releasing buggy features, and neglecting to make customer service a priority, I don’t see much hope for Ambur’s future.

That said, Ambur is still a practical and respectable solution for small businesses in the foodservice industry, and I sincerely hope that ShopKeep will invest more energy in this POS very soon. Go ahead and get started with Ambur by signing up for their free, 30-day trial when you download the app or opting for a free ten-minute demo.

Elizabeth Cranston

Elizabeth Cranston

Writer and Reviewer of Point of Sale Software at Merchant Maverick
Elizabeth Cranston is a writer and native Oregonian who lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She enjoys researching and getting to the bottom of questions relating to the Point of Sale industry.When not writing about and researching Point of Sale software, she can usually be found overindulging in Dutch Bro's coffee, making others laugh, or listening to music.
Elizabeth Cranston
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20 Comments

    John Mueller

    We have been using Ambur since it came out and have been very pleased with the system. I appreciate the one time fee and not having to pay a monthy service fee. Going from a traditional till to Ambur was like going from a Volkswagen to a Ferrari. The wait staff can go to the tables in the lounge and bowling center and input the orders and they are sent instantly to the kitchen. Also, with the table numbers on all the slips, it eliminates errors when delivering the food.

    I like the reporting features also, because you can see what items you are selling and also see when your peak hours and days are during the month.

    I would recommend Ambur to anyone looking for a quality POS system and a reasonable price.

    John Mueller
    Paragon Bowl
    Dickinson ND

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

    Brenda Tokash

    All the issues that everyone else has had are issues I have had with Ambur from day one. I have had entire days worth of transactions totally disappear and even ones currently opened in the pos. Payroll is a mess, does not accept the clock outs of employees and never has. I used Shopkeep for 2 years and was happy somewhat with them but I wanted a few more features that Ambur offered that Shopkeep did not. Big mistake as there is absolutely zero customer service. I never had the ability to use the 2-3 devices at a time that I was paying for so I made a change to go to just one effective on the next billing date until I could get things worked out with them. The plan changed but I was immediately charged another $58 within 2 weeks of paying $128 for the 2-3 device plan. I have emailed them and called numerous times for an explanation but they have yet to answer and this has been going on for 3 weeks now. (And did I mention that I had 14 days free trial and yet was charged for Ambur immediately!I have also questioned them about that but no answer, surprise, surprise!) Just don’t do it, don’t use Ambur. It is just not worth the chaos it creates. There are options out there that are better I am sure.

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

    Trae Stewart

    We started using Ambur after using ShopKeep for almost a year because we needed a system that would work for full service restaurants. Since then it has been nothing but problems! Tickets will just disappear after they've been closed and the customer has gone so capturing the sale has been very difficult. Some of our employees would just not show up on the payroll reports so we had to move payroll to a manual system. The summary reports do not reflect the information on the item detail reports which makes acurate sales tax filings impossible as well as accurate P&L reports. Customer service is pretty much non existent. Sure, someone will reply to to your initial email that they have opened a case, but after that, the information is contrite and incorrect most of the time. You can NEVER get anyone to call you back for real time solutions. It has really damaged our business! I would never recommend this to anyone trying to actually make money at a business.

    1

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

    Stella

    Ambur has gone rapidly downhill since Shopkeep took over. We are losing money due to glitches in the software and their customer support refuses to speak with us by phone. Every update has a new glitch. One of them resulted in all servers being able to delete sent orders, providing an easy way for employees to steal. Currently, we have orders closing themselves without payment and so waiters don’t realize customers haven’t yet paid. I don’t recommend it for anyone.

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

    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.

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

    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!!

    1

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

    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.

    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

    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!

    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,

    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.

    1

    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.

    1

    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.

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

    JOHN AXTELL

    Amad, your updated review is quite accurate, congratulations.

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

    Nabil Basta

    Happy User Since 2011 .. Ansar YOU are the bestSnappersgrill.com

    5

    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

    2

    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.

    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.

    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.

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

    Jelle

    Good Features. Good service. Excellent! nice post!

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

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