Revel Systems POS Review: Pros, Cons, Alternatives
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Revel Systems is an iPad-based point-of-sale system with advanced software and a wide range of capabilities. The company launched with its first customers in 2010 and has been building on its cloud-based POS ever since.
As a pioneer in the market, Revel has had a lot of time to establish an expansive set of POS features. It could be a compelling option for similarly well-established businesses that need robust POS systems to cover multiple channels or locations. However, newer or smaller businesses might find other POS alternatives to be a better fit in terms of entry-level pricing, complimentary support and transparency.
Starts at $99 per month per terminal. Requires a three-year contract and minimum purchase of two terminals.
Payment processing cost
Revel offers 24/7 year-round support.
Ease of use
IPads and the iOS interface will be familiar to many users.
Revel offers onboarding and training services, including hardware installation, software and payments setup and consultations starting at $674. Both in-person and virtual service options are available.
How does Revel POS work?
You can access Revel on your mobile device, but its set of features can also scale up to full enterprise deployments. In fact, it may be best suited to larger businesses that need — and can afford — some of its more advanced features.
Revel can be configured to fit a variety of businesses.
Revel provides tools to help quick-service restaurants manage menus, inventory and employees. You can better serve your customers with detailed display screens, loyalty programs and a range of payment options.
The company also offers self-serve kiosks, online ordering and delivery management so you can serve customers who don’t order through a cashier.
For full-service restaurants, you can streamline front-of-house operations with tableside ordering and payment tools, integration with the kitchen, floor and table management, upselling tools and payment options. Revel also offers back-of-house features to help with employee management and scheduling.
Analytics tools for sales, inventory, workflows and employees are also available to keep your business functioning smoothly and efficiently.
Revel’s customer relationship management tools allow you to personalize the shopping experience for retail customers. It also offers flexible payment options, online and in-store integration and analytics tools.
How much does Revel POS cost?
Revel advertises that the system starts at $99 per month per terminal. However, that price comes with some major strings attached: a two-terminal minimum purchase and a three-year contract billed annually. With two terminals, that three-year contract adds up quickly over time:
$198 per month.
$2,376 per year.
$7,128 total over three years.
Essentially, all POS competitors in the space have lower software costs. Some, like Square and Toast, have pay-as-you-go plans with no software subscription. As a result, Revel’s software pricing and contract structure might make it a tough sell for a small business looking to try out a new POS system.
It’s also unclear which features and services are included in the base software subscription and which are add-ons with additional costs. You’ll need to get a quote from Revel sales before you can compare prices with other alternatives.
Revel offers POS hardware packages and “Revel Advantage” payment processing, but the company doesn’t publish prices for either. Again, you’ll need to contact sales for a quote. You also have the option to choose from a selection of compatible payment gateways and processors that integrate with the POS system.
In-person and virtual onboarding services are available starting at $674, but it’s not clear what’s included for that starting price and what might cost extra. Available services include hardware installation, payment setup and training.
Benefits of Revel POS
Revel’s cloud-based platform allows you to standardize and manage your business across multiple locations. For example, some of Revel’s customers support over 1,000 franchise locations. The company integrates with other enterprise systems that provide centralized accounting, analytics, customer relationship management and more on an open application programming interface, or API.
You can build the system to fit your business, no matter the type. For example, Revel has features and configurations for pizza restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, bakeries and more.
With Revel POS, you can extend your business beyond the dining room. Here are a few examples of how the company stands out from some of its competitors:
Drive-thru: Digital outdoor display hardware, order confirmation, time tracking and scheduling to switch menu items.
Delivery: Order and driver tracking tools, text messaging and email updates for customers, and analytics and efficiency tools.
Online ordering: Inventory management to hide out-of-stock items, order tracking and updates for customers and customer relationship management integration to create and track customer profiles.
Drawbacks of Revel POS
Opaque pricing and high costs
Revel publishes only one contract-based starting price for its software and doesn’t publicly disclose any pricing for hardware or payment processing.
The entry-level prices that Revel does publish aren’t very competitive. The starting software subscription costs more than nearly any POS competitor, for example. Similarly, Revel charges roughly $700 for its installation and setup services, while many competitors provide at least basic setup and training services for free.
Bad app reviews
Some negative reviews are to be expected, but the Revel app scores drastically worse than competing iOS POS apps from competitors, such as Square and Shopify. The Revel POS app gets only 3 stars out of 5 on the Apple App Store, and there are more 1-star reviews than any other rating.
Negative reviews say the system crashes and has broken features and spotty connectivity. Some users had bad experiences troubleshooting issues with Revel support.
Alternatives to Revel POS
Square: Transparent pricing and lots of functionality
Square is NerdWallet’s choice for best overall POS system. It’s powerful, user-friendly and makes it easy to get started with a free starter tier, no contract requirements and published prices. If you’re looking for a little more flexibility to use your POS system with a variety of devices, Square supports both iOS and Android phones and tablets and offers a range of terminals, card readers, registers, stands and other accessories.
Clover: Dedicated hardware and inexpensive payment processing
Clover is NerdWallet’s choice for best mobile POS system. It differs from many mobile POS competitors by offering dedicated hardware rather than relying on iPads or other mobile devices. Clover’s software subscription fees are lower than Revel’s, and it also offers payment processing rates as low as 2.3% plus 10 cents per transaction with its register. While there is no free option, the combination of strong hardware and competitive rates make for a compelling option.
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