This article is part of a larger series on POS Systems.
Revel Systems is the most robust iPad POS system available for restaurants and retail operations. It is a hybrid system that is cloud-based and backed by excellent local networking to support massive offline functionality. This all-in-one software includes tools for employee management, scheduling, and inventory tracking.
Restaurant-specific tools include kitchen display system (KDS) screens, self-service kiosks, and delivery driver dispatch. Retail operations get multichannel sales support via a Kosmos integration, along with scale and scanner support. Reporting and analytics are best in class, and third-party integrations expand the customizability of this incredibly functional system.
When To Use Revel Systems
This system has more bells and whistles than any other iPad POS in a single, customizable package. The incredible number of features makes Revel an obvious choice for restaurants with several revenue centers like catering, delivery, takeout, special events, and drive-thrus. Its inventory tools also make Revel a great fit for high-volume food retailers.
In particular, we recommend Revel Systems for:
- Independent groceries and markets: Integrated scanners and scales, affordable self-checkout kiosks, bottle deposits, and age verification tools earned Revel a spot on our best grocery store POS ranking.
- Multichannel restaurants and retailers: Built-in online ordering platforms, along with integrated connections to Shopify, BigCommerce, Amazon, and social media sales channels, landed Revel on our list of best multichannel POS systems.
- Pizzerias: Streamlined modifiers with split functions and built-in delivery management with driver dispatching tools make Revel an ideal fit for a pizza POS.
- Quick service restaurants (QSRs): Revel offers the most comprehensive drive-thru management tools of any cloud POS. It also includes excellent KDS screens, self-service kiosks, and digital menu boards that you can manage from your back-office dashboard.
- Full-service restaurants with delivery: Revel’s insightful delivery management tools make it one of our favorite POS systems for in-house restaurant delivery.
When Revel Is Not the Best Fit
As we’ve mentioned, Revel Systems POS has an enormous footprint. This system contains a ton of tools that some small businesses may never use, as well as a three-year minimum contract. So, we tend not to recommend Revel for microbusinesses, high-risk businesses, or those on a budget.
These businesses in particular will be better supported by other systems:
- High-risk retailers: Revel systems currently does not integrate with high-risk merchant services providers. So, it is not a fit for vape shops or cannabis dispensaries. For high-risk retailers, we prefer Lightspeed Retail or Vend by Lightspeed.
- Food trucks: If you’re managing a whole fleet of trucks, Revel might come in handy, but individual truck operations can find less-expensive POS tools from Square for Restaurants or TouchBistro. You can also check out our food truck POS ranking for more options.
- Bakeries: There are many specialized POS options for bakeries of all types, but for most independent bakeries, we prefer KORONA. Explore our favorite bakery POS to get an idea of what else is available.
- Businesses on a budget: Revel is one of the most expensive cloud POS systems on the market and requires a three-year service contract. If you need a free POS for your retail or restaurant business, Square (for restaurants or retail) or Toast (for restaurants) are better options.
Revel Systems Video Review
Revel Systems Pricing
- Baseline price: $99 per terminal, per month
- Terminal minimum: Two terminals
- One-time implementation fee: Starts at $674
- Contract length: Three years
- Custom quotes: Revel sales representatives will build a custom quote to fit your business needs
Revel Systems POS starts at $99 per terminal, per month, with a required two-terminal minimum. Users typically get a per-terminal price break after more than two terminals, so you’ll want to contact Revel for a custom quote. Revel currently does not offer a free trial of their software, but you can contact Revel for a free demo of the system.
While Revel can accurately be described as 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.
This hybrid installation is also what leads to Revel’s one-time implementation fee, which starts at $674. More complex installations involving multiple checkout stands or terminals across multiple floors will incur higher implementation costs. Revel has options for both in-person and virtual implementation and training. If you are located in or near a major United States metropolitan area you can get in-person training and installation.
The other part of your Revel cost to consider is the length of the contract. Currently, Revel requires a three-year commitment from new customers. This is longer than nearly every other cloud POS on the market. The lengthy contract can make new businesses hesitant to commit to Revel systems. This is understandable considering a competitor like Toast draws its contract limits at two years while Square and KORONA are completely month-to-month with zero long-term commitments.
Revel’s high cost and on-site installation make it look like an outlier in the cloud POS universe. It is helpful to remember that Revel was the first point of sale built for iPads. Launched in 2010, it was designed originally to support restaurant businesses. So, it was designed to compete directly with legacy restaurant POS systems like Micros and Aloha, both of which are completely locally installed and come with high upfront costs ranging from $10,000 to $15,000. Revel is more flexible and affordable than those systems.
But it’s been a long time since 2010, and the POS market has changed dramatically. We would love to see a Revel software package designed to compete pricewise with all the great, less expensive cloud POS systems that are now available.
Revel Systems Hardware
- iPad POS: Operates on iPad, iPad Pro, and iPad mini devices.
- Industry-standard hardware: Integrates with Epson, Star Micronics, Zebra, and Dymo printers; Ingenico card readers; CipherLab and Honeywell barcode scanners; Brecknell scales.
- Available screen configurations: Self-service kiosks, customer-facing displays, menu display screens, KDS screens.
- Available peripherals: Barcode scanners, integrated scales, dual cash drawer tills, handheld card readers.
- Custom quote: Pricing for hardware is custom-quoted by Revel Systems.
Revel’s POS terminals are iOS-based, and the system includes configurations for KDS screens, 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 instore 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 POS 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 POS by leasing hardware or applying for a payment plan. Revel offers hardware leases and flexible payment plans via Apple Financial Services for qualifying customers.
Revel Systems Payments
- 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 Features
Revel Systems’ restaurant POS has more available features than a single review can rightly express. 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 Systems is a constantly evolving POS system. Its team is adding large and small innovations constantly to ensure its client business always has the latest tools. For example, since our last update Revel has 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.
In addition to the standout retail and restaurant tools we explore below, Revel offers excellent baseline functions:
- 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. Product Mix Reports and Hourly Sales Reports show your bestselling products. 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 timeclock. 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 Systems Standout Retail Features
- Complex matrix inventory: Manage product lists of items with various size and color options, both in-store and online.
- Integrated sales channels: Add sales on Facebook, Instagram, Shopify, WooCommerce, and more.
- Shipping integrations: Revel integrates directly with UPS and FedEx.
- Bottle deposit processing: Groceries and beverage businesses can process bottle deposits and redemptions directly in the POS.
- Age verification tools: Supports sales of age-restricted products like tobacco and alcohol.
- Flexible hardware: Supports integrated scales and scanners, self-service kiosks, and digital displays.
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 the software tools to manage complex transactions and inventory. Integrated barcode scanners and scales can sell goods by barcodes or weight. You can print custom barcode labels from the POS dashboard.
Revel Systems Retail Hardware
Countersunk integrated barcode scanner/scale combo
Bluetooth-enabled wireless barcode scanner
Compact barcode label printer
Revel’s built-in inventory tools are some of the most robust available in a retail POS. Only Lightspeed Retail includes more functions. Revel users can create complex inventories with various size and color options for each item. You can set par levels, receive low stock alerts, and build POs directly in your Revel back-office dashboard. With vendor management, you can email those orders directly to your suppliers and receive the orders in the POS to update your stock levels immediately.
Retailers can easily ship goods via direct integrations with UPS and FedEx. Revel’s Online Ordering XT module also includes an integrated online ordering site. But if you want more expansive ecommerce tools, Revel integrates with ecommerce plug-in Kosmos, which connects your POS to Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, X-Cart, Amazon, and eBay. Social media sales on Facebook and Instagram are available via a JoyApp integration.
Tools for Food Retailers
Food retailers like independent grocers can build full-scale checkout lanes using Revel’s integrated, countersunk barcode scanners and scales. You can also convert iPads to self-checkout kiosks. Revel’s detailed inventory management tools will have almost every feature you need, but if you want expiration date tracking, you’ll need to add the YellowDog inventory integration.
If you sell alcohol or tobacco products, your Revel POS can prompt your cashiers to verify customers’ age. You can also easily process bottle deposits and redemptions if local laws require it.
Revel Systems Standout Restaurant Features
- Ingredient-level inventory: Track ingredients as items sell and count stock with a built-in smartphone app.
- Combo-building and modifiers: Build complex combos and set up complex modifiers for heavily customized dishes like build-your-own pizzas.
- Online ordering and delivery: Built-in online ordering and delivery tools include detailed driver management.
- Built-in KDS: Color-coded KDS screens keep your kitchen on the same page and track productivity.
- Drive-thru management: Manage drive-thru orders seamlessly with vehicle descriptions and dedicated drive-thru order stream.
- Waitlist and reservations: Built-in waitlist and reservation management tracks customer wait times and includes SMS text integration.
Since Revel originated as a restaurant POS, it should be no surprise that its restaurant management tools are staggering. All the basic bases are covered, from complex menu building―including time-restricted promotional menus like Happy Hour―to custom user permissions, tip tracking, seat and course management, and easy check splitting. We’re here to talk about standout features and, frankly, Revel has a lot of them. Let’s start with the foundations first: inventory.
Revel’s Inventory tracks your restaurant supplies to the ingredient level. You can bulk import ingredient and recipe information from Excel and comma-separated values (CSV) files. Centralized inventory updates as orders come in, and you can customize how you treat comps and void (either waste product or return to your inventory). POs are created in the Inventory module and sent directly to your vendors. POs are then approved, received, and stocked in your virtual inventory. Accounting integrations can then process your vendor payments.
Revel also includes a physical count module that it calls Stocktake. This dynamic counting system categorizes your inventory into specific sections like bar and kitchen. You can assign employees access to individual inventory lists for physical counting, then either allow your counting employees to see what the expected count should be, or you block the expected number. You can also require that items be scanned with a barcode scanner to be counted. These measures are great if your restaurant struggles with shrinkage issues, or you suspect employee theft.
Combos and Modifiers
Revel is built to handle an unlimited number of complex combos and modifiers. You can create combos of multiple items easily for a discounted price or create nested modifiers to manage complex orders like build-your-own pizzas, omelets, or burritos. Modifiers can have additional prices, or you can set individual modifiers without prices. These complex menus and modifiers can be offered only in-house or you can also offer them on your online ordering site.
Online Ordering and Delivery
Revel’s online ordering and delivery management tools—Online Ordering XT and Delivery XT—require additional monthly fees on top of the baseline Revel POS system. You’ll need to contact a Revel sales representative for a full quote. The cost will probably be well worth it as Revel offers the most comprehensive delivery features of any iPad POS. Whether you want to manage a roster of in-house drivers, rely on third-party delivery drivers, or use a combination, Revel has the tools you need.
Once enrolled in online ordering, Revel will post your online menu to a custom URL that is tied to your management console. You can create a custom online menu of dishes that travel well, add modifiers, and set custom hours for online orders. You can display menu items only when they’re available or spotlight new dishes for holidays or special events. Optional Facebook login for your customers streamlines the customer experience.
You can accept online orders for pick up only or add delivery management. If you are experiencing a high volume of delivery orders, an integration with third-party delivery platforms allows you to route deliveries to third-party drivers on-demand and pass the fees onto customers. You can also manage a fleet of in-house drivers using Revel’s comprehensive driver management tools.
You can assign tills to drivers so that they can accept cash payments at delivery. The Delivery XT dashboard selects the most efficient routes for your drivers and validates delivery addresses, so you avoid downtime. Drivers receive directions in the attached smartphone driver app. The Delivery XT console estimates prep and delivery times and logs driver delivery histories, so you have a slew of accurate reports to assess delivery costs and profit margins. You can even track if a driver was in the correct location when an order was marked as delivered in case there is a customer dispute.
Revel includes one of our favorite KDS screens in a cloud POS. The KDS is built into the POS, you only have to reach out to Revel for pricing information and add the KDS app from the Apple App Store. Revel’s KDS tickets are color-coded to indicate their status in the order stream (new, working, or ready) or their revenue center (dine-in, takeout, delivery, drive-thru, catering). Using the KDS helps streamline your kitchen and save on printer paper. But it also tracks your kitchen’s speed and productivity. With the KDS enabled, you can see actual data on how long certain dishes take to prepare and identify cooks who may need more training.
Revel is one of the only cloud POS systems that includes dedicated drive-thru management tools (competitor Toast is another). Revel’s tools, however, are the most robust we have seen in a cloud POS. You can create in-POS prompts to ensure your drive-thru attendants note vehicle types or customer names. Revel also includes a dedicated drive-thru order screen so that your drive-thru attendants don’t have to scroll through all open orders to find the correct receipt. The drive-thru queue includes payment buttons on screen so that your attendants don’t have to switch screens to process payments and close checks.
Waitlist and Reservations
Revel also includes waitlist and reservations tools in the POS. You can add customers to a waitlist as they arrive. If you add an integration with Twilio, you can send SMS text alerts to waiting customers when a table is ready. You can also accept reservations in advance, although the reservation tools are less robust than a full-scale reservation system like OpenTable or Resy. There is limited space to add reservation notes or special requests. But it is nice that the reservations functions are right on the POS screen, which keeps all your customer information in one place.
Revel Systems Ease of Use
- 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’s user interface is designed in calming blues and grays. Visually, the sales and reporting screens are minimal and streamlined. Many Revel users like this crisp look. On the front-of-house side, Revel is pretty intuitive. The back-office management console is trickier. Report and More varied color or font cues would make the back office and reports easier to navigate. If you have experience tinkering with back-office settings in older legacy systems like Micros or POSitouch, you won’t have any trouble learning Revel.
Revel Systems POS Alternatives
Revel Systems can perform any retail or restaurant function you can imagine. But that might be more machine than your business needs or can afford. For more targeted solutions at a lower price point check out the recommendations below.
Best for: Small restaurants and retailers on a budget
Best for: Retailers and restaurants that need an affordable POS with strong reporting and inventory
Best for: Specialty retailers, event venues, and high-risk businesses
Monthly price: $0 to $60+
Monthly price: $39 to $289+
Monthly price: $49 to $79+
What Users Think of Revel Systems POS
Revel users and industry experts give this POS high marks for flexibility and high-volume functionality. Although it is not beloved universally; Revel’s user reviews tend to be more varied than its cloud POS competitors.
- Capterra: Listed as an Established Player software, earning a rating of 3.70 out of 5 based on about 300 user reviews.
- U.S. News 360: Ranked No. 8 best POS for 2022, earning an overall rating of 3.6 out of 5.
- G2: Listed as a Leader system for Spring 2022, earning a ranking of 4.2 out of 5 stars based on 130+ user reviews.
- FinancesOnline’s Customer Satisfaction Algorithm: 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 occasional software glitches. We hear about occasional software glitches in nearly every POS we review. It’s simply part of the technology landscape when you use tools that are constantly developing new solutions. But Revel’s back office does have a learning curve. If you don’t have the time to commit to learning it, you’ll likely be happier with a simpler system.
Highly customizable software and hardware configurations
Requires managerial attention to keep reporting and inventory accurate
24/7 customer support
Can get pricey
Dynamic reporting and analytics
Back-office functions have a steep learning curve
Excellent high-volume functions
Occasional software glitches
Revel Systems POS has every function that a retail or restaurant business could need. It is developing new tools constantly to address the changing business landscape. With one-on-one training and installation, users get a lot of support to set up and learn this robust POS system. Although the higher price point and lengthy three-year contract make Revel the best for established businesses making the switch to a higher functioning POS or multilocation concepts that are built for growth. Get a free demo of this dynamic system by visiting Revel Systems.