Lavu POS Review
This robust and customizeable POS solution works well with niche foodservice businesses, like pizzarias, cafes, and food trucks.
- Highly niche food industry features
- Competitive monthly pricing
- Numerous integrations
- Open API access
- Costs extra to use a third-party payment processor
- Can be glitchy for users
Lavu POS Overview
Lavu POS has carved out its niche by specializing in helping small to mid-sized fast-casual and full restaurant businesses. Some Lavu features are specifically tailored to pizzerias, breweries, ice cream shops, cafeterias, delis, concession stands, restaurants, and cafes.
Table of Contents
What Is Lavu POS?
Lavu is a restaurant POS system offering an á la carte mix-and-match POS solution so that restaurant owners of all sizes can get only the features they need. However, some add-on features can turn an affordable monthly plan into an expensive subscription.
Lavu does not offer an extensive number of pre-built third-party integrations, but Lavu does offer open API access. With an open API and a little bit of developer knowledge, you can connect Lavu to a number of third-party apps and add all kinds of custom functionalities to your POS.
Lavu POS is an impressive product overall, but is this POS system right for your niche restaurant business? Read on to learn more.
Lavu POS Pricing
|Lavu POS Plans||Price||When To Use|
|Lavu POS Starter Plan||$59/month||If you have a small fast casual eatery and don't want to take online orders|
|Lavu POS Growth Plan||$129/month||If you want to take online orders and offer delivery services|
|Lavu POS Optimize Plan||$279/month||If you have a full-service establishment or very busy fast casual food service|
Lavu offers three pricing plans, with the ability to add on specific options.
All plans come with one register. Extra registers cost $50/register/month.
Note: The prices listed below are for month-to-month plans. If you pay for a year upfront, you get a 10% discount on your subscription.
Lavu POS Starter Plan
The Lavu POS Starter plan costs $59/month and includes:
- One register
- Inventory management system
- Team management
- Real-time reporting app (Lavu Pilot)
- Gift card program (included for a limited time only)
- Loyalty program (included for a limited time only)
- Bluetooth scale plug-in
- Cash discount program
- 24/7 customer support
Lavu POS Growth Plan
The Lavu POS Growth plan costs $129/month and includes everything in the Starter plan, plus:
- MenuDrive online ordering system
- DoorDash delivery integration
- QR code ordering
- Open API access (so you can connect any third-party software to your POS)
Lavu POS Optimize Plan
The Lavu POS Optimize plan costs $279/month and includes everything in the Growth plan, plus:
- Tableside ordering
- Kitchen display system (KDS)
- Accounts payable automation software (up to 100 automations/month)
- Quickbooks/Xero integration
Extra Lavu POS Costs & Fees
|Lavu POS Extra Costs||Price|
|Third-Party Payment Processing||$25/month|
|Kitchen Display Systems||$30/month|
Lavu is a highly customizable solution, with a la carte add-ons. The idea is for you to tailor your solution to your needs.
Note: Some features are included for free on higher-level plans.
That being said, the pricing of certain add-ons, such as online ordering ($99/month), is expensive enough that you should just move up to the next pricing tier, which already includes online ordering. Do the math to decide when it’s worth it to move up a subscription level.
|Lavu POS Features||Availability|
Lavu caters to a number of restaurant niches, which is why Lavu’s software offers the following features:
- Easy Order Taking: Alternate between Table (for restaurants), Tab (for bars), and Quick Serve (for fast food and cafes) layouts, depending on your service needs. Assign customer receipts and kitchen orders to specific printers. Combine multiple orders while maintaining separate checks.
- Customizable Table Layout & Menus: Create specific multiroom table layouts with the ability to assign seats and course numbers, making it look like your restaurant. When ordering, a customer is walked through multiple modifiers that can all be created easily.
- Advanced Menu Management: Create custom discounts for specific tabs or items. Utilize optional modifiers, such as “add onions.” Add secondary detours that are activated when a customer selects a forced modifier option (e.g., Salad > Salad dressing). Selecting “pizza” as an item opens the creator, where you can choose crust type, size, and toppings on one screen.
- Convenient Employee Management: Employees can clock in and out from the iPad app with unique ID numbers. Calculate employee overtime or double time based on daily, weekly, and holiday hours. Specify the minimum access level for each discount type.
- Complete Inventory Management: Until recently, Lavu’s inventory system set it back a bit. But with the roll-out of its Inventory 2.0, you can create purchase orders and mass import inventory — a considerable time saver. You can also track inventory by individual ingredients or complete dishes. Plus, you can manage inventory levels from the remote back office or front-end register. Create low inventory alerts when supplies reach predetermined levels. Transfer inventory quickly from one location to another. Analyze what items are selling and which aren’t profitable.
- Pre-Ordering: A nice feature that is exceptionally easy to use to send an order directly to the POS and provide customers with a countdown counter that also syncs to Lavu Loyalty.
- Tableside Functionality: The POS can sync wirelessly to the kitchen and allows for mobility around the bar or restaurant.
- Lavu KDS: The POS can include a fully-integrated KDS system that is customizable and features real-time updates and provide accurate order times.
- Full Cash Management Functions: Track incoming and outgoing cash flow for non-sale items, such as petty cash, paying the band, etc. Credit card tips are automatically tracked and subtracted from the till count for end-of-day.
- Multilocation Management: Maintain multiple tax profiles, inventories, menus, discounts, reporting groups, manager groups, user groups, and restrictions per location.
- Integrated Scale: Lavu’s integrated scale makes it easy for ice cream shop and deli owners to charge by weight.
- Lavu Pilot: A free iPhone dashboard app that allows you to monitor basic POS data, including labor reports, in real-time. View reports from today, yesterday, last month, or even last year. The Pilot app can also compare how you are doing now to how you were doing at the same time the year before.
- Lavu Local Server: This is an in-house backup if you lose your wireless connection to the cloud. Because the LLS connects to your router with an Ethernet cable, you can still operate the POS during an internet outage. However, you cannot process credit cards, and the system is not designed to handle prolonged usage without a wireless connection. That said, Lavu’s cloud version also offers an offline mode.
- Lavu ToGo: 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.
- Routing & Delivery: Lavu helps you make deliveries with an add-on that allows you to create orders, assign drivers, mark a delivery as completed, and track your customer’s information. Routing features will group two or more orders and determine the most efficient route to take with turn-by-turn directions.
- Accounting: This is Lavu’s in-house accounting app, which integrates with QuickBooks and Xero.
- Loyalty App: Lavu Loyalty is a mobile customer loyalty app that allows frequent customers to earn rewards based on the accumulation of points. This point-based loyalty program can be added to your monthly Lavu subscription for $25 per month.
- Gift Cards: Lavu has a gift card program, which can be used with or without a credit card integration.
- Hold & Fire: Servers may now set unique hold times on an item-by-item basis from the Order Screen or flag items for immediate firing to the kitchen.
- Digital Menu Boards: A digital menu board lets you set up an eye-catching and easy-to-change menu that’s ideal for setups where customers order at the counter, such as quick-service restaurants and breweries.
- Pizza Creator: This app lets you build virtual pizzas on your Lavu POS device for easy cooking, pricing, and delivery.
- Customer-Facing Display: Let customers see orders as they are rung up and sign a digital receipt without you having to flip the screen around.
- Kiosk: This add-on lets you set up iPad kiosks for self-service. Note that the Lavu Kiosk setup requires that you use the PayPal payment gateway and the PayPal Here Chip and Tap Reader for payment processing.
- Sourcery Integration: Sourcery is an accounts payable automation software acquired by Lavu. You may use it to automate and monitor vendor billing.
Is Lavu POS User Friendly?
Lavu has a sleek, attractive interface that’s largely user-friendly. The front end has all the shiny appeal of a well-made iOS app: modern-looking, responsive, and fluid in its execution. The learning curve is a little steeper than that of some other iPad restaurant POS systems, but generally, you should be able to learn all the features in a day or two.
The back end is accessible via any web browser and is laid out well with persistent menus across the side of the window. Upon first logging into the back office, Lavu’s Guided Setup presents you with an extensive step-by-step guide to get you up to speed quickly. It’s a nice feature, as your first time through may take some time and concentration; Lavu is not quite as intuitive as some other systems. However, once the Guided Setup has held your hand through the process, it makes perfect sense.
Lavu POS Customer Service & Support
|Lavu POS Support||Availability|
|Dedicated Support Representative||Dedicated onboarding support|
|Knowledge Base or Help Center|
|Videos & Tutorials|
Lavu offers a wide variety of support options for Lavu users, including:
- Phone Support: Phone support is available 24/7 for all Lavu users.
- Email Support: Another form of 24/7 support, you can email a representative at the support email address.
- Live Chat: Live chat is accessible from anywhere on the Lavu site. Like most live chats, you’re unlikely to get in touch with someone right away, but you can close out of the chat window, and your question will automatically become a support ticket, which will get answered over email.
- Knowledgebase: The Lavu support page consists of FAQs, articles on new features, and various troubleshooting and how-to articles. You also have the option to submit a specific request for support from Lavu’s customer service team.
- Community Forum: Lavu provides a forum on which users and support folks can hash things out in the open. Based on the response rate, this is not a good place to go looking for immediate answers to your questions, but it is a great place to get multiple opinions on an issue.
- YouTube: The company’s well-developed YouTube channel has a multitude of comprehensive videos on everything from basic settings to printer setups.
- Blog: Lavu’s blog is updated frequently and not just with nonsense chatter: Legitimate things are happening with the company, and its growth is being well documented there.
- Onboarding Help: You can receive direct onboarding assistance through Lavu as well as help with installation. They can help with hardware setup, staff training, and menu building.
- Social Media: Of course, there are obligatory Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn presences.
Payment Processing With Lavu POS
Lavu offers its own in-house payment processing solution, LavuPay. You must request a rate quote to get an idea of your payment processing fees.
You may choose not to use LavuPay, but you will pay an extra $25/month to do so. Shop around and get some other quotes before approaching Lavu. You may find that the difference in payment processing fees is worth paying the extra $25/month.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fees
If your account has no activity for 180 days, Lavu reserves the right to suspend or deactivate your account without notice. Lavu offers no refunds for software subscriptions. Unless you call a customer support representative, you will be automatically charged for another subscription period. If Lavu increases pricing during your subscription period, you will be automatically charged a higher subscription price upon account renewal.
You may request a refund for the purchase of any Lavu hardware for up to 30 days after receiving the product.
If you do not report a discretion or unusual activity within seven days of the date of the discrepancy, Lavu is not liable for the activity.
If Lavu cannot process your subscription payment, the company may suspend or terminate your account.
Lavu POS Integrations & Add-Ons
Lavu currently has 23 third-party app integrations available, including the following popular restaurant apps:
- Accounting: QuickBooks, Xero, Restaurant 365, Shogo
- Online Ordering: MenuDrive, Chowly, Mobi2Go, Open Dining
- Liquor & Beer Control Systems: BeerSaver, Bar-i Liquid Accounting, BarVision, Digital Pour
- Employee Management: Dolce
- Inventory Management: MarketMan, Sourcery
- Kitchen Display System: Epson KDS is an option if you don’t want to use Lavu’s in-house KDS system
- Web Design: Bentobox
Lavu also offers open API access (an additional $30/month on Starter plan, included in higher pricing plans) so you can integrate any third-party app you’d like into your POS.
Lavu POS Reviews
Historically Lavu has had a mixed bag of positive and negative reviews, but the more recent reviews are more positive, and representatives from the company are taking the time to address all feedback.
Here is what Lavu users have to say about the product.
Negative Lavu POS Reviews & Complaints
- Shutdowns During Peak Times: Multiple customers complained of occasional system outages/shutdowns, which interrupted their business and cost them money. To be fair to Lavu, all internet-based POS systems are prone to occasional shutdowns. You can usually avoid losing sales during these times by either having a backup server or an alternate way to take credit card payments.
- Costly Glitches & Accounting Errors: Some glitches and errors commonly mentioned in relation to Lavu include: incorrect overtime calculation, items dropped from tickets, customers over or under-billed, issues with tips (such as gratuities being added twice), and discrepancies between the credit card report from Lavu and the credit card batch report from the credit card company. Some unhappy customers also said that Lavu’s end-of-day batching process doesn’t always take place.
- Tedious Processes: Some Lavu users report that inventorying and other back-office functionalities are tedious or clunky.
Positive Lavu POS Reviews & Testimonials
- Great For Line Busting: Gone are the days when you have a line of people at the register waiting to pay and leave. Because everything is totaled up in the system and the POS is entirely mobile, business owners say that service runs much faster and more smoothly.
- Ease Of Use: Many reviewers note how easy Lavu is to use and how this has allowed for greater accuracy, faster service, enhanced customer satisfaction, and a better overall experience. While several reviewers note that Lavu has a somewhat moderate learning curve, they say it is easy to work with once you learn the features.
- Good Customer Service: Though some reviewers complain about the level of customer support, others praise it, describing the support staff as friendly, knowledgeable, and patient.
- Frequent Updates: Many issues that customers have reported in the past, such as inadequate inventory features and lack of an offline mode, have been addressed with software updates. It’s always a good sign when companies truly support their product and work hard to fix, add, and improve features.
- Global Reach: Lavu has a total of 26 language packs available, and a dedicated Spanish version of the POS. Lavu also has built-in currency conversion and international offices in Mexico and India.
Final Verdict Of Lavu POS
|Lavu POS Review Summary|
|Equipment Cost||$55 - $2,500|
|Pricing||$59/month - $279/month|
|Choose If You Need|| |
Both small and mid-sized restaurants can benefit from Lavu’s numerous features, many of which cater to niche restaurants such as frozen yogurt shops and cafeteria restaurants. If there’s something more you’re looking for from Lavu, chances are they’re actively working on it. Plus, with open API access, innovative business owners can create what they need themselves.
Lavu POS makes our list of best quick-serve POS systems because of the customizable fast-casual user interface, designed so that employees can take orders very quickly. Also, Lavu offers numerous customer-centric add-ons, such as self-serve kiosks and the Lavu ToGo takeout app to get people in and out of the door as fast as possible.
However, Lavu POS does not have a strong offline mode, which is why Lavu is not on our list of the best POS systems for food trucks.
Lavu POS is competitively priced depending on the number of add-ons you purchase. However, if you need something cheaper than the $59/month Starter plan, read our post on the best free POS systems.
If you’re not completely sure you want to work with Lavu, check out our list of the best restaurant POS systems for more restaurant POS options.
Lavu POS FAQs
We've done in-depth testing of each and confidently recommend them.
We've done in-depth testing of each and confidently recommend them.