Revel Systems Review
- Robust integrations
- Excellent reporting
- Kiosk functionality
- A modern kitchen display system
- Complex set up
- Occasional glitches
In an industry with an incredible amount of competition, you need to stand out to get ahead. And, in the point of sale world, Revel manages to do just that. Revel currently has more than 700 employees and international offices in Australia, Lithuania, Singapore, and London. The company has more than 25,000 terminals in active use and a solid reputation as a reliable POS provider. Some of Revel’s clients include Goodwill, Smoothie King, and Cinnabon.
Revel boasts one of the most advanced features sets on the market with a full reporting suite, advanced inventory management, a built-in credit card processor, and nearly any integration you can think of. It’s so extensive, in fact, that it occasionally gets in its own way in the form of a system that’s not extremely intuitive when compared to its competitors. But Revel is also continually updating and expanding and has made strides to ease that stress on its customers.
Revel is one of the more advanced and loaded POS systems available to merchants of all sizes. While geared toward larger businesses with multiple locations, a smaller retailer/restauranteur with a savvy owner may find Revel to be an ideal fit. It’s certainly not the cheapest system on the market. However, given its robust integrations and advanced back end, it’s hard to imagine that any business owner (particularly in the foodservice industry) would find Revel lacking. It thoroughly deserves to be one of our five-star systems.
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Revel has tinkered with its pricing structure, and it now offers packages starting as low as $99 a month per terminal. Note that, to get their best rate, you are billed annually and need to sign a three-year contract. You’ll also probably want to talk to a representative to get an official quote and to make sure that your system has everything you need for your specific business before pulling the trigger.
But every package comes with a strong set of basic features, including:
- Customer management
- Inventory management
- Employee management
- 24/7 customer support
- Automatic updates
- Unlimited users
- Cloud backup
- “Always On” mode
While Revel is a very robust product, it has tended to skew on the slightly pricier side for small businesses, especially ones who may not need everything that the POS has to offer. However, with some of its biggest competitors recently changing their pricing structures, Revel is more affordable by comparison. It’s a strong option for customers who want to make sure they’re not missing out on any possible features.
Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed
Hybrid. The Revel POS is run locally through your Apple iPad and syncs all data to the cloud. “Always On” mode ensures that your POS will continue to function if your internet connection is lost or experiencing a slowdown. Payment authorization for credit cards may not occur while the internet is down, so while accepting cards without an internet connection is an option, it’s also a risk. You can read more about the “Always On” mode on the Revel website.
Revel works well with restaurants and quick-service businesses, and many of its add-on products target these two industries. The software has expanded considerably and is now a viable option for retail businesses, grocery stores, pizza and coffee shops, salons, niche shops, and food trucks or mobile businesses. Revel has adapted its software to fit almost any type of sales environment out there, but adapting that software to your business’s specific needs will take some work.
Specific Size Of Business
Revel Systems is suited to mid-sized and large businesses since it can manage multiple locations and up to 500,000 SKUs. It offers a plethora of applications and modular software that allows you to customize the system to your needs.
On the other hand, though it might work for some small businesses, I wouldn’t recommend it to your average mom-and-pop shop. Because it is so robust and customizable, it also takes a considerable amount of time and energy to set up. I have a sneaking suspicion that most small businesses would never have a use for most of the advanced features. Revel is undoubtedly worth a look if you are operating a relatively small business, but make sure you explore your other options as well.
Ease Of Use
Once set up, the software is fairly easy to use. The front end is especially intuitive and easy to navigate, and the back end is set up with training videos. To see Revel in multiple environments (restaurant, quick service, retail, etc.) check out some of its training videos on YouTube.
- Front End: Revel requires staff to log in with a PIN to access unique settings and permissions. A touchscreen displays a product matrix (with optional descriptions) on one side with order tallies on the opposite side. Quantities and modifiers are easy to add, as are additional payment and discount options. The Revel POS can also be used as a kiosk or customer-facing display. It’s an aesthetically pleasing display, and the layouts are intuitive, so even as a novice, you’re not spending a lot of time searching for the right button.
- Back-End Management: Revel is designed for easy navigation through everything from inventory to employee management, but its user-friendliness is not apparent until you get the hang of the system. Performing advanced functions (or even achieving basic familiarity with how the system works) takes serious dedication, time, and training. Revel is designed with the assumption that a business owner is familiar with POS systems and advanced features. If you’re expecting to simply pull it out of the box and quickly get the hang of it, which is the case for some other systems, you’ll almost certainly find yourself frustrated. That said, most of the basic functions are pretty easy to navigate and use. Exporting data is simple, employee permissions are easily managed, and adding, modifying, or removing items can be accomplished directly from your dashboard. Revel also has made it easy to turn off any features that you aren’t using, so they don’t clog up the interface.
Hardware & Operating System Requirements
Revel works exclusively with Apple iOS devices (including the iPad Air and iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 and 4, and the iPad Pro). Revel offers complete hardware bundles and will work with any standard barcode scanner. You can purchase hardware elsewhere. Before doing so, you’ll want to double-check with Revel’s preconfigured hardware list to ensure you’re investing in system-compatible peripherals. You can purchase a package on its site that comes with an iPad, payment device, POS stand, router, printer, and a cash drawer, or you can purchase items individually. It has a large number of niche items as well, including caller ID boxes and scales.
To see an exhaustive list of Revel features, check out its website or some of its training videos. Its got some pretty cool industry-specific features. For a shorter list, just keep scrolling.
- Fully Functional POS: Revel POS works in a hotkey fashion; cashiers can tap on menu categories with drop-downs of items and modifiers to select. Or, if you prefer, barcode numbers can be entered into the system for scanning items. Multiple tax rates, discounts, service fees, and surcharges can be set to add on automatically or manually at the time of sale. In the “edit item” screen, cashiers can place orders to-go, for delivery, repeat items, remove items, enter discounts, enter special requests, and add quantities. And of course, the POS can also void payments, allow for tips, split bills, email receipts, print/reprint guest receipts, and enter rewards card numbers. If an order has already been sent to the kitchen, you have the option of going back and adding additional items, sending only the newly added items to the kitchen. Items already sent cannot be edited or deleted, but they can be repeated, discounted, increased in quantity, or voided off the bill.
- Real-Time Inventory: Adding and managing inventory with Revel is simple, requiring only an item and price (though other fields, such as cost and SKU, are also available). A style matrix is available for easy mass entry of inventory items that are similar but differ by color, size, or style. Additionally, inventory can be imported using a template (such as the one listed on its support page). Revel is capable of tracking inventory per ingredient, and food cost reports are also available on the ingredient level. Low stock items are listed in red on your inventory page with nifty reorder buttons. Revel can even handle retail fuel sales with wet stock management.
- Purchase Order Management: In addition to creating POS and associating inventory with vendors, Revel helps you manage when stock items arrive and are added to your inventory. You can notate partial orders when vendors only send you a portion of your stock and finalize orders once the order is complete.
- Till Management: All cash management functions are located under the manager selection of the settings tab: batch processing, over/under tills, and printable quick-view reports, such as total cash/credit/check/gift certificates for the night, items sold, and time management.
- Customer Management: Revel tracks customer purchases as well as all necessary customer information, such as name, address, phone number, and email. This information can be exported and used to create mass marketing campaigns or used to cross-sell other items. You can even customize table reservations by adding customer preferences and send text notifications when the customer’s table is ready.
- Employee Management: Each employee can have their own unique and secure PIN-activated login or swipe card to track time, employee performance, and employee activity within the system. Employee reports can be created based on the number of voids, the number of discounts, sales volume, and productivity. Access parameters are customizable per employee responsibilities. The system can also handle scheduling employee time.
- Flexible Ordering: Revel systems has designed creative ways to make ordering easier, including features such as tableside ordering, mobile and online ordering, and customer-facing displays. Revel has also added the ability to play a video on the customer-facing display whenever it is idle.
- Kiosk POS: Using the iPad POS as a kiosk, customers can place their order and pay all on their own. They can browse menus, select or edit items and quantities, and place orders with their name. Orders can be completed by paying with credit, debit, gift card, or cash.
- Kitchen Display System: In kitchen view, sending an order or entering payment over an iPad sends the information to the kitchen display system. The expedite view allows servers to see if an order is in progress or completed. The kitchen view (a.k.a. cook view) will display the order, plus any modifiers, the time the order came in, the server name, the customer name, and of course, the status of the order (completed or not). Once the food is taken out, the server touches “completed” in the expedite view and clears the order off the screen.
- Digital Menu Board: Revel is integrated with digital menu boards, so the Revel system and your menu displays can talk to each other and exchange data. Whenever you update your menu in the Revel POS, your digital display will update as well.
- Intelligent Reporting Suite: Revel reports are pretty extensive, and they’re easy to read. Some of the dozens of reports available include transaction details, sales summaries, ingredients sold, PLU report, available/used gift cards, total voids, total credit transactions, refunded/exchanged items, percentage of labor against sales, and employee check-out reports. Real-time tracking provides instant visibility to sales, staff, and location data. You can export data as you need.
- Safe & Secure Servers: Revel’s hardware, software, and network are PCI-DSS compliant. Sensitive credit card information is encrypted and never stored. Revel’s data centers are PCI compliant and SAS 70 Type II certified. All data is encrypted and backed up regularly, and single location businesses operate on their own database.
- Loyalty & Gift Cards: Revel integrates with several gift card companies to give you options, and its loyalty functions continue to expand. You can customize in whatever way you want to reward your customers, and the system can track and store data for research. Revel also offers a completely card-free loyalty program, tracking points and purchases entirely online.
- Product Management & Menu Building: Revel allows you to customize your menus with a wide variety of categories and sub-categories to choose from. Modifiers are easy to navigate, and you can automatically push changes into the system instead of inputting them manually.
- Delivery Management: Track your deliveries and orders in real-time all from your POS. The system can store customer information and order history and will automatically optimize delivery routes. A delivery management function is particularly useful for pizza delivery services, as Revel offers driver tracking and integrates with Google Maps.
Integrations & Add-Ons
Revel has an open API and a whole slew of third-party integrations. Having so many available integrations is one of the company’s bigger selling points, as they partner with dozens of companies. You can pick and choose the features that are best for your business. Below is a listing of some of the major integrations, all of which you’ll find in the Revel marketplace:
- Digital menu board
- Kitchen display system
- Customer-facing display
- Kiosk POS
- Kosmos Central
- Open Dining
Mobile Payment Processors/Forms Of Payment
- Apple Pay
- Synergy World, Inc.
- QuickBooks Online
Compatible Credit Card Processors
Like many other POS companies, Revel has introduced its own processing system. Revel Advantage integrates directly with the software and offers a rate of 2.49% plus $0.15 for transactions. What’s nice is that if you like an existing processor or can find a better rate, Revel still integrates with plenty of other companies. The marketplace section of the company website lists third-party integrations for gateway payment processors and payment processors. The list of compatible payment processors includes Moneris, Adyen, and Tyro. For gateways, Revel supports USAePay as well as FreedomPay.
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.
Customer Service & Technical Support
Revel offers 24/7 support to all customers, and the ways it offers support are pretty broad.
- Phone: Revel sales, technical support, and billing staff are available 24/7, which is included in your software package.
- Email: You can email support directly or submit a request with their customer support form.
- Remote Support: A technician can access your POS remotely to diagnose/troubleshoot issues directly without all of the extra confusion (such as describing the thingy that keeps blinking).
- Web Support: You can check out Revel’s support page for commonly reported issues. You can search for what information you’re looking for or submit a request for support.
- Onsite Support: For onsite technical support, you’ll need to contact Revel. There are additional fees involved.
- Revel University: This is Revel’s website for training and videos.
- Social Media: Revel does have a blog; if you’re interested in what they’re working on, it’s worth taking a look. There are also various social media accounts you can take a look at, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Hundreds of merchants have tried Revel POS, and reviews of their experiences can be found right here on the Merchant Maverick site (in the comments section below). Here are some of the more recent issues and complaints with the system.
- Ease Of Use: Many of the complaints revolve around customers struggling to access or use various features, particularly on the back end. As mentioned, this isn’t a plug and play system, and there’s a lot to sift through if you’re a novice in the POS world. For its part, Revel has noted this recurring complaint and has taken steps to make things a little less overwhelming with its inventory management and reporting in particular.
- Glitches: This is a particularly common problem, especially concerning system updates. A couple of people have complained that Revel pushes out updates before they’ve been fully aired out and tested for glitches. I didn’t experience too many problems with the system. It did crash once when I was trying to log out, but it opened back up right away. A window that recognized the system had just crashed popped up and asked me to describe what I was doing when it happened.
- Customer Service: While the company is easy to get in touch with initially, a handful of reviewers thought that Revel had less than helpful technical support. Some customers were bothered by long wait times.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Revel has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is BBB accredited. You can check out some of the testimonials for Revel, but here’s what merchants have to say about Revel.
- “Always On” Mode: Formerly known as offline mode, this feature allows you to continue to do business as usual even if your internet is down (or experiencing a slowdown). This feature is still pretty unique among POS providers and allows you to continue to accept cash and card payments.
- Versatile POS: Revel is thoughtfully designed and works well for many merchants. Its cloud-based functionality is also a huge contrast to the more rigid functionality of computer-based POS systems. It’s therefore versatile and adaptable to fast-paced businesses with ever-changing needs.
- Constant Improvements: Since our initial review of this software, there have been some pretty significant improvements, and Revel shows no sign of stopping. Upfront software license fee? Gone, and in its place is a manageable monthly subscription model with the license costs built in. Inventory options? Expanded and improved with room to grow. Slow-responding technical support? That I’ll leave you to judge.
- Customer Service: Revel reports a Customer Satisfaction Rating of over 93% for software, hardware, and logistical issues. Though it hasn’t always had a great technical support reputation, Revel has recently stepped up its game in this arena. It’s taking steps to improve customer relations, including the recent revamping of its suite of training videos.
If you’re looking for a cloud-based POS for a restaurant or hospitality business, Revel will certainly have you covered. If you need a comprehensive system without any gaps in the software and that’s moderately affordable, this is likely the system for you. For regular retail businesses, Revel has improved its offerings and is a solid option, but I’d shop around before making a decision.
If you’re a small business, Revel is certainly scalable for virtually any size. However, depending on the revenue you generate, the monthly subscription may still be too high. You also may be overwhelmed by the amount of work required to set up a bunch of features and settings you may never use. However, if you’re planning on quick growth, it would be nice not to have to transition from a more basic system.