Lavu POS Review 2022: Pros, Cons, Alternatives

Lavu's point-of-sale system is good for restaurants that want customizable features, but be aware of hardware limitations and complexity.
Apr 20, 2022

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Lavu is a point-of-sale, or POS, system for restaurants. Its software includes features that cater to food businesses — such as letting you manage meal orders in person and online and tracking menu performance. Lavu also sells hardware and offers payment processing services.

Consider Lavu if you want an all-in-one or customizable restaurant POS system. Its multiple services, add-on integrations and editable API let you build a POS that fits your business. But if you won’t take advantage of this flexibility, other options may be simpler and more cost-effective.

Deciding factors

Software cost

Monthly fee of $59 (Starter plan), $129 (Growth plan) or $279 (Optimize plan).  A variety of add-on options are available:

  • Software for additional terminals: $50/month each.

  • Tableside ordering: $30/month (up to five devices).

  • Kitchen display systems: $30/month.

  • Kiosk software: $50/month.

  • Quickbooks/Xero integration: $30/month.

  • Sourcery AP Automation: $99/month.

  • MenuDrive Online ordering: $99/month.

  • DoorDash Order Sync: $70/month.

  • API access: $30/month.

Hardware cost

Lavu has a shopping hub for iPad-based terminals and tablets and card readers. It also features cash drawers, kitchen display systems, networking hardware and printers from various manufacturers. Prices and availability vary.

Payment processing cost

  • The company offers Lavu Pay, a payment processing service, but it lacks transparency about the pricing.

  • Lavu also works with third-party processors; the cost is $25/month per terminal.

Live support

24/7 phone and email support. Online knowledge base and support ticket system. Lavu also says its team will configure and set up your menu and settings as you desire.

How does Lavu POS work?

With Lavu, you subscribe to a cloud-based software service that works on hardware that you either buy from Lavu or get elsewhere. You pay monthly for the software, and you can add other services to your subscription (as shown in the table above).

Lavu says it is “payment processor agnostic,” meaning you shouldn’t have software compatibility issues with third-party payment processors. If you want to streamline things, you can do your payment processing through Lavu Pay, but you’ll need to contact the company for a pricing quote.

Lavu also operates two other notable platforms:

  • MenuDrive: an online ordering platform that includes a marketing system so that businesses can not only create a website for customer orders but also send emails, create flyers, offer coupons, promote various menu items and perform other activities.

  • Sourcery: a bill-pay and invoicing tool that allows businesses to store invoices, track inventory purchases and pay invoices. It integrates with Xero, Sage, QuickBooks, Netsuite, Sage Intacct and Dynamics GP.

Access to these platforms is included in the Optimize plan but otherwise must be purchased separately.

Hardware

The company sells terminals, kitchen display systems, card readers and cash drawers.

  • Terminals are iPad and iOS based; Android-based terminals are not available.

  • Kitchen display systems and printers are from Epson.

  • Card readers include iDynamo, Vantiv and PayPal.

Integrations

All three Lavu software plans work with Lavu Pay and its real-time reporting app (Lavu Pilot). All three can also handle gift cards, discounts and loyalty programs, and they all offer team management, inventory, and reporting functions. Additional integrations vary by plan:

  • The Growth plan can also include online ordering capabilities, DoorDash Delivery and QR code ordering. In addition, you get API access, which means you can highly customize your POS platform and create your own integrations.

  • The Optimize plan includes everything in the Growth plan, plus capabilities for tableside ordering on up to five devices, integration with kitchen display systems, accounts payable automation and Quickbooks/Xero integration.

  • You can also do a la carte add-ons. For example, $30 a month will get you Quickbooks/Xero integration if your plan doesn’t already include it.

How much does Lavu POS cost?

Software

Plan

Features

Pricing

Starter

Works with Lavu Pay (the company’s payment processing platform, if you want it) and its real-time reporting app (Lavu Pilot). Can handle gift cards, discounts and loyalty programs; also has team management, inventory, and reporting functions. 

$59 per month.

Growth

All of the above plus online ordering capabilities, DoorDash Delivery and QR code ordering. Also comes with API access, which allows for high customization.

$129 per month.

Optimize

Everything in the Growth plan plus capabilities for tableside ordering (up to five devices), integration with kitchen display systems, accounts payable automation and Quickbooks/Xero integration. 

$279 per month.

Payment processing

  • Lavu offers the Lavu Pay payment processing service but lacks transparency concerning pricing.

  • Lavu also works with third-party processors, though the cost is $25/month per terminal.

Lavu POS pros

A la carte integration options

Lavu lets you pick and choose some features, which can help avoid having to pay for things you don’t really need or want — or avoid upgrading to a more expensive package just to get one extra feature.

Highly customizable

You can purchase access to Lavu’s open API if not included in your plan, meaning you can highly customize your POS platform. If you’ve got the programming chops, you can create your own checkout processes, menu customizations, loyalty programs, reservations and much more.

Lavu POS cons

Relatively limited hardware options

Lavu’s hardware is iOS-based, so Android users will probably want to look elsewhere. Also, Lavu does sell terminals, printers, card readers and other hardware, but the number of options within each category is relatively slim.

May require developer experience

Lavu’s open API allows users to create custom integrations and setups, but that work isn’t easy. If you want to take full advantage of these features, you’ll need programming skills or need to hire somebody with those skills.

Alternatives to Lavu POS

Toast: Better for new food businesses

Toast POS is also exclusively for restaurants and may be a better fit for new businesses. Toast’s New Restaurants Basics software package comes with features such as payroll management and business insurance, which may benefit a business that’s just starting. Don’t need those items? Toast also offers a basic software subscription for $0 per month. That may make sense as you figure things out versus using Lavu’s $59 Starter plan or constructing an a la carte POS.

Square: Payment processing is part of the deal — and pricing is transparent

Square POS for Restaurants offers multiple hardware and software options and payment processing. Unlike Lavu, that processing isn’t an add-on; it’s the central part of Square’s business model. But also, unlike Lavu, Square is upfront about its pricing: In-person payments cost 2.6% plus 10 cents per transaction, and online payments are 2.9% plus 30 cents. That may make Square a good fit if you want to project your potential costs easily.

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