Revel Systems offers retail and restaurant point-of-sale (POS) systems and serves both business types well. This robust, cloud-based POS scores 4.24 out of 5 on our restaurant POS rankings and 3.74 out of 5 on our overall small business POS rankings. Revel has a bit of a learning curve and can be pricey for single-unit shops, so we find it to be the best fit for multilocation businesses.
Revel POS Overview
Revel is great for high-volume, multilocation restaurants and retailers that want loyalty and inventory included at no additional cost. It is a strong option for businesses that want a cloud-based POS system, and those wanting the ease of an iPad POS system without shortchanging functionality. Multilocation businesses that combine restaurant and retail operations, such as a grocery store with a cafe, are a terrific fit for Revel.
This POS is not the best system for micro-operations like food trucks or small boutiques. It is also not a fit for solopreneurs needing mobile tools. If your business is on a budget or operates seasonally, Revel is not the best option. Also, if you only have a single location and only need one or two POS stations, you can find more cost-effective systems from competitors like Square, Toast, or Lightspeed.
While Revel is frequently called a cloud POS, it’s most accurate to think of it as a hybrid POS system. In a hybrid configuration, your POS hardware is networked together on location, which is what gives Revel its excellent offline functionality.
Hybrid POS: A POS system that combines locally networked hardware with cloud-based software. Hybrid POS systems can operate with or without an internet connection.
Revel Systems Video Review
Revel Deciding Factors
Supported Business Types
Multilocation retail, restaurants, grocers, liquor stores, and other food and beverage businesses
Monthly Software Fees
$99 per terminal (two terminals minimum)
Setup and Installation Fees
Payment Processing Options
Revel Advantage, triPOS, FreedomPay, First Data, Heartland, TSYS, Worldpay, Chase Paymentech, and Elavon
Payment Processing Fees
Varies by processor
Revel POS Alternatives
Monthly Software Fees
In-person Processing Fees
Short-term contracts and using existing hardware
$0 to $60+
2.6% + 10 cents
A user-friendly iPad POS for retail or restaurants
$69 to $399+
Lightspeed Payments 2.6% + 10 cents; other payment processors available
Restaurants that want a low-cost, user-friendly POS
$0 to $165+
From 2.49% + 15 cents
Multichannel retail and online-first businesses
$29 to $89+
Varies; use Shopify Payments or third-party*
*Shopify adds a service fee of 0.5% to 2.0% when using a third-party processor.
Revel POS costs start at $99 per terminal monthly with a required two-terminal minimum. Users typically get a per-terminal price break after more than two terminals, but you’ll need to contact Revel for a custom quote. Revel currently does not offer a free trial of the software, but you can contact Revel for a free demo of the system and a custom price quote based on your needs.
Baseline POS Price
$99 per terminal monthly
One-time Implementation Fee
Custom Price Quote
Revel lost some points in this category. Three-year contracts are standard with this system, which is longer than most cloud-based competitors. The overall price—including a two-terminal minimum software fee and required “implementation fee”—is also high compared to other iPad-based POS systems.
Revel’s implementation fee, which starts at $674, is a result of its hybrid installation. More complex installations involving multiple checkout stands or terminals across multiple floors will incur higher implementation costs.
Revel’s POS terminals are iOS-based, and the system includes configurations for kitchen display screens (KDS), digital display boards, self-service kiosks, and customer-facing displays. The system also relies on industry-standard cash drawers, barcode scanners, scales, and receipt, barcode label, and kitchen printers.
Apple iPad mini
10.2-inch to 12.9-inch display for POS, KDS, and self-service kiosk screens
8.3-inch display, ideal for in-store and tableside orders and payments or customer-facing displays
Low-profile iPad stand for POS terminals or self-service kiosks
iPad terminal stand with customer-facing display
Revel sells all compatible hardware directly. You must purchase your iPads from Revel, as these arrive preconfigured with the Revel point- software. But you may be able to use some preexisting hardware like Epson and Star Micronics printers or cash drawers if you have them. However, you’ll want to check with a Revel representative to ensure compatibility.
You can reduce the upfront cost of your Revel point of sale by leasing hardware or applying for a payment plan. Revel offers hardware leases and flexible payment plans via Apple Financial Services for qualifying customers.
- Built-in payment processor: Revel Advantage is the system’s native payment processor.
- Third-party processors: US users have the option for payments from First Data, Heartland, TSYS, Worldpay, Chase Paymentech, and Elavon.
- Custom quote: Revel Advantage customizes your rate based on card mix and sales volume.
- Multiple payment types: Supports all card types, gift cards, and mobile wallets; near-field communication (NFC)-enabled and EMV-compliant.
Like competitors Toast, Square, and Upserve by Lightspeed, Revel Systems offers a built-in payment processor, Revel Advantage, as part of the POS. Unlike those other systems, however, Revel integrates with several third-party processors so that users can shop for the lowest processing rates. However, you typically get the best monthly software subscription rates with Revel Systems when you enroll in Revel Advantage along with the POS.
Transaction rates for Revel Advantage are custom-quoted and based on your card mix and business type. It also supports online and in-person payments, unlike some cloud competitors that require a separate processor for online payments. Revel Advantage customers benefit from only having one support team to call for both POS and payment issues.
Unlike with third-party processors, the Revel support team is available to help troubleshoot any payment processing issues 24/7, which can be helpful for bars and restaurants that are busiest during nights and weekends.
Revel Systems is an evolving POS system. Its team is adding large and small innovations constantly to ensure its client business always has the latest tools. For example, Revel recently added the ability to accept split payments in their online ordering system, allowing customers to split checks or pay with a gift card and a credit card.
This insightful innovation isn’t compelling in a press release. But if you’re a small business owner with custom gift cards, you get requests for this sort of update from your customers all the time.
You can customize every aspect of your staff and customer experience with tools for reservations, online ordering, driver dispatch, ingredient-level inventory, and customer rewards. The Revel POS acts as your employee time clock and employee scheduler. The system also has an open application programming interface (API) so that you can build custom integrations.
Revel offers excellent baseline functions, including:
- Reporting: Revel Systems tracks everything from your incoming inventory to employee hours and sales. Detailed cost of goods sold (COGS) and labor reports help you keep your costs in line and prepare more accurate sales forecasts. You can also build custom reports in the back-office dashboard, a feature that some cloud POS systems either lack or charge extra for. You can track reports in real time using the Revel Insights smartphone reporting app.
- Marketing and loyalty: Revel includes loyalty tools in the baseline POS. You can randomly generate loyalty numbers or use customer phone numbers. You can choose to reward dollars spent, number of visits, or the purchase of a specific item. Rewards can be dollar or percentage discounts or a complimentary item.
- Workforce management: The baseline Revel POS includes custom user permissions for unlimited employees and acts as your time clock. You can also build schedules in your Revel back-office dashboard and even track tips and commissions. Revel also includes a training mode so training new employees won’t interfere with normal business operations.
- Customer management: Create customer profiles from sales and include contact information, loyalty number, house account information, and detailed notes. You can also add special discount codes for specific customer categories like students, veterans, or regulars.
- SmartPay: Revel’s built-in SmartPay system enables short message service (SMS) text-to-pay and quick response (QR) code scan-to-pay for purchases made in-store or over the phone. You enter a cellphone number in the POS to send the payment link, or customers can scan a QR code from a printed receipt. All receipts are sent via email for a completely contactless interaction.
Revel has excellent tools for multilocation independent retailers and restaurants. This system outscored all the other systems in our POS ranking for management tools. There is virtually nothing Revel can’t do.
Revel includes tools to support all types of retailers, from those that sell a variety of soft and hard-line goods to those that sell perishable food items. You’ll have the hardware and software tools to manage complex transactions and inventory. Integrated barcode scanners and scales can sell goods by barcodes or weight. You can also print custom barcode labels from the POS dashboard.
Revel POS features for retail include:
Revel’s built-in inventory tools are some of the most robust available in a cloud POS. You can manage multiple sizes and variations of the same product, add products to your inventory via bulk import or barcode scan, and even generate purchase orders for new merchandise directly from the POS or the back office dashboard.
Via Revel’s integration with Kosmos Central, you can add sales on Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, X-Cart, Amazon, and eBay. Pricing for Kosmos ranges from $39 to more than $135 monthly, and you can test drive the integration free for 14 days.
Revel integrates directly with UPS and FedEx. You can add shipping addresses directly in the POS to begin the shipping process.
Groceries and beverage businesses can process bottle deposits and redemptions directly in the POS. This is enabled through the “California Redemption Value” (CRV) setting in the back office dashboard.
You can set your Revel POS to prompt ID scans for age-restricted products like tobacco and alcohol.
Revel includes options for integrated scales and scanners, self-service kiosks, digital displays, customer-facing displays, and countersunk scales and scanners for full checkout lanes.
Revel originated as a restaurant POS, so it’s no surprise that its restaurant features are comprehensive. All the bases are covered, from complex menu-building to custom user permissions, tip tracking, seat and course management, and easy check splitting.
Revel has a ton of standout restaurant features, including:
Revel can track ingredients as items sell, count stock with a built-in smartphone app, and let you generate vendor orders from your back-office dashboard. You can add inventory items via bulk upload of comma-separated values (CSV) spreadsheet files, which speeds data entry.
If you use the smartphone app for stock counts, you can set custom user permissions so stock counting staff only see options for inputting new stock without seeing the expected on-hand quantity. This is a nice feature if your bar or restaurant struggles with employee theft.
With Revel, you can build complex combos and set up complex modifiers for heavily customized dishes like build-your-own pizzas. You have multiple options for creating combo and modifier order screens; you can rely on pop-up modification option screens or configure all options on a single screen to reduce button presses and speed orders. This function is especially useful in quick service settings where you need to keep lines moving.
Built-in online ordering and delivery tools include detailed, maps-based driver management. This lets you dispatch an in-house delivery team with Uber-like efficiency. You can track drivers’ locations live from the driver management dashboard, and send automated delivery alerts to customers via an optional Twilio integration. The online ordering suite includes an integrated ecommerce site that supports detailed menus with modifiers for complex order types like pizza and sandwiches.
Color-coded KDS screens keep your kitchen on the same page and track productivity. You can use iPads as touch-screen KDS screens or opt for industry-grade monitors with bump bar navigation if your kitchen needs more robust hardware. You can customize virtually every color on the screen to highlight different order types or order statuses.
Revel has the most comprehensive drive-thru management tools available in an iPad POS. Your team can track vehicle descriptions to keep orders organized and keep the drive-thru running smoothly with a dedicated drive-thru order screen. No other cloud POS comes close to this level of functionality.
Revel’s built-in waitlist and reservation management can track customer wait times and includes an optional SMS text integration with Twilio so you can notify customers when their table is ready or quote an estimated wait time. You can add reservations directly from the POS; there is no need to use a third-party reservation platform. There are, however, extra costs to add reservation and waitlist functions to your Revel POS. Prices are custom-quoted; you’ll need to contact Revel for pricing.
- 24/7 customer support: Via phone, email, and chat
- One-on-one training: Implementation includes one-on-one guided installation either virtually or in person.
- Digital resources: Revel Support and Revel University websites contain a wealth of information you can access anytime.
- Bulk import data: Large menus or product lists, vendor invoices, and staff schedules can be bulk imported into Revel from Excel or CSV files.
Revel includes comprehensive one-on-one support for new and existing customers. Only competitor Toast offers a similar level of customer service. The Revel team will help you import your menu and business information into the POS software, send your hardware pre-configured with the POS software, and send on-site technicians to install your system. Once your system is up and running, you can contact Revel support 24/7 via phone, email, or web chat. Revel also maintains a searchable online knowledge base full of detailed articles and videos to help you learn at your own pace.
That said, this system does have a learning curve. So, you’ll likely need to use the customer support services, especially when you are getting started. Revel lost a few points on user-friendliness because its back-office dashboard takes some time to learn. But the available training resources still make this system easy to use.
Revel is a powerhouse POS in a convenient iPad package. The baseline POS includes a lot of features, such as loyalty, employee scheduling, and inventory, which others charge extra for. But it is one of the most expensive cloud POS systems on the market and best for multilocation businesses. Smaller single-location businesses can simply find less expensive tools.
Revel launched in 2010 to be a cloud-based alternative to legacy systems like MICROS and Aloha, both of which can cost $10,000 to $15,000 upfront. But it has been a long time since 2010, and the POS market has changed dramatically. We’d love to see a Revel subscription at a lower cost or with a shorter contract term.
What Users Say in Revel POS Reviews
Revel users and industry experts give this POS high marks for flexibility and high-volume functionality. Revel reviews are mostly positive.
- Capterra: Revel currently has a rating of 3.7 out of 5 based on about 300 user reviews.
- G2: Revel is listed as a Leader system for Winter 2022, earning a ranking of 4.2 out of 5 stars based on 130+ user reviews.
- FinancesOnline: It gave Revel Systems a 98% user satisfaction rating. Users on the site give the system a 4.6 out of 5, based on about 15 user reviews.
Most negative reviews say Revel takes time to learn―especially the back office―and mention that integration with some third-party apps (especially for payroll) can be glitchy. Revel’s back office definitely has a learning curve. If you don’t have the time to commit to learning it, you’ll likely be happier with a simpler system. And while Revel integrates with several third-party apps, you should check that it integrates with your preferred software stack before committing to a three-year contract.
|Customers Like||Customers Don’t Like|
|Highly customizable software and hardware configurations||Requires managerial attention to keep reporting and inventory accurate|
|24/7 customer support||Some integrations are glitchy|
|Dynamic reporting and analytics||Back-office functions have a steep learning curve|
|Excellent multilocation functions||More machine than single-unit businesses need|
Methodology―How We Evaluated Revel Systems
To evaluate Revel and other POS systems, we consider more than 20 criteria that are important to small, independent businesses. We look for overall value for money. To determine that, we consider cost, functionality, and ease of use. To round out the scores, we also consider our retail and restaurant experts’ evaluations of each software.
Click through the tabs below to see our full criteria:
30% of Overall Score
We prioritized POS systems that include a free plan or free trial, affordable subscriptions, and additional plans so that you won’t grow out of the system. We also awarded points to systems with affordable integrated payment processing, flexible hardware options, and no restrictions on the number of users, inventory, and transactions. Finally, we penalized systems that require long-term contracts and hefty installation fees.
15% of Overall Score
Businesses need speedy and customizable checkout tools, easy customer management, mobility to sell anywhere, a process to track orders, and a way to process online orders. Because the way businesses operate has changed so much in recent years, we also considered contactless payments, integrated online ordering, and online store features.
15% of Overall Score
First, we considered inventory tracking. We also looked for dynamic and user-friendly reporting, as well as what marketing and employee management tools are available.
20% of Overall Score
We awarded the most points to systems with 24/7 live customer support. We also considered help tickets and email or chat support, installation processes, and whether or not the system has an offline mode or hybrid installation so that you can continue operations when you lose internet access. Finally, we considered if the system has an online knowledge base, training videos, or a training mode to help bring new employees up to speed.
20% of Overall Score
We considered the overall quality of each system’s features, along with system stability and security. We evaluated whether it offers a good value for its price and standout features. Finally, we accounted for our experts’ personal experience using each system and interacting with customer service representatives (CSRs). We also looked at the personal experience of other small business owners.
Revel POS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Revel is ideal for high-volume or multilocation retailers and restaurants that want a cloud POS. It is also a good fit for smaller operations that want to shop around for the lowest payment processing rates.
Revel offers a strong level of customer support, with options for email, online chat, and phone support available 24/7. We have always found the Revel customer support team to be knowledgeable and responsive; the longest we waited for an answer was an hour via online chat. Though if you are looking exclusively for US-based support, you should know that Revel’s customer support center is not based in the US.
For installation, you won’t find any better support than Revel. It has installation techs based in most major cities that will travel to your location to ensure your Revel POS is installed correctly. The Revel team also assists with importing your menu information and setting up your integrated payment processing. If one-on-one support is a requirement for you, Revel is an excellent choice.
Revel specializes in multiple-location software, so it is a perfect fit for businesses with five or more locations. The centralized reporting dashboard includes customizable, granular reports that you can view by location or for all locations combined.
Revel operates in iPads and industry-standard peripheral hardware like Epson and StarMicronics printers. If you are switching from another POS system, you may be able to reuse hardware peripherals like kitchen and receipt printers, but if your system experiences errors, Revel won’t be able to help you troubleshoot these items.
As for your iPad POS displays, you’ll need to purchase those through Revel directly. The tablets will come to you pre-programmed with your Revel POS software, and unlike competitors like Square, the Revel POS is not a downloadable app. So, you can’t add the POS to an iPad on your own, you need Revel to install it for you.
Revel is a massively functional iPad POS for multilocation retail and restaurant businesses. Comprehensive customer support can reduce the learning curve required to learn all the system’s functions. This system is on the pricier side for an iPad POS, but it includes a lot of features in the baseline system that competitors charge extra for, like loyalty and detailed inventory management. If you need to manage multiple locations from a central reporting dashboard, Revel is a good fit. Visit Revel for more information and get a custom price quote.