Revel Systems Review 2020

Revel POS is a full-service, iPad-based point of sale system well-suited for larger, high-volume businesses—particularly restaurants—who are looking for advanced software with a wide range of capabilities.

Pros of Revel POS

  • Powerful POS software
  • Restaurant-specific features
  • Included payment processing
  • Customizable hardware
  • Open API

Cons of Revel POS

  • Quoted-based processing fees, hardware, and additional services
  • Expensive monthly software price and installation costs
  • iPad only and no smartphone capability
  • Three-year commitment required

As a small business owner, you know that there are a number of processes that lead up to the moment in which a customer makes a purchase—and that’s why choosing the right point of sale system for your business is so important. With your point of sale system, you’ll manage everything that goes on behind-the-scenes, as well as facilitate the customer experience from beginning to end.

Therefore, if you’re looking for a point of sale system, you might consider Revel POS—a well-known option for merchant services, especially amongst retail stores and food-service businesses.

But, with all of the different POS solutions on the market, is the Revel POS system the best one for your business?

We’re here to help you make that decision. In this Revel review, we’ll break down everything you need to know about this POS system—including pricing, features, customer reviews, and more—so you can make the right choice for your business.

What Is Revel POS?

In short, Revel POS is a cloud-based, full-service, point of sale system designed to accommodate a wide variety of businesses. Revel is an iPad-based point of sale system—meaning you’ll need a compatible iPad to use the Revel software and connect and utilize additional hardware. Revel is not compatible with Android devices and cannot be run using an iPhone.

This being said, however, the Revel POS system includes the essential tools that you need to manage your business and customers on a day-to-day basis. All Revel plans offer 24/7 phone and online support, personalized onboarding, free automatic product updates, unlimited users, secure cloud backup, and always-on mode.

Additionally, although you can work with other payment processors, the Revel POS system includes Revel Advantage Payment Processing—which Revel recommends for a streamlined experience.

Overall, Revel advertises their POS system as an ideal solution for retail businesses, quick service businesses (like cafes and pizza shops), as well as restaurants and bars.

Revel POS Pricing

Revel POS Feature Includes Cost
Software
Point of sale software, inventory management, employee management, customer relationship management, reporting and analytics
Starts at $99 per month per terminal (billed annually and three year contract required)
Payment Processing
EMV ready, Apple Pay ready, In-house dedicated support team, all card types included, online statements and reporting
Quote-based; “transparent, flat-fee” according to Revel website
Hardware
iPad required, other hardware including payment devices must be purchased separately
Varies; Revel offers a leasing program, but doesn’t disclose pricing
Installation
System onboarding, management console training, menu consultation, hardware installation, payments set up
Starts at $649
Additional Services
Gift cards and loyalty; dedicated account management; kiosks and mobile order takers; online ordering; multi-location management; inventory app
Quote-based; contact Revel sales team for more information

As you can see based on the chart above, if you’re wondering—”how much does Revel POS cost”—the answer is that the ultimate cost varies.

The Revel POS pricing that you’ll see will be based on a number of factors—including the cost of the Revel POS Software, your payment processing fees, installation costs, and hardware costs.

First and foremost, the cost of Revel’s POS software starts at $99 per month—but you’ll have to pay for this software on an annual basis. Additionally, Revel requires you to commit to a three-year contract for their software. Therefore, the cost of the Revel POS system software will be, at minimum, a total of $1,188 per year, for three years.

This being said, you’ll also need to consider the credit card processing fees you’ll face when you accepting card payments through the Revel POS system. Unfortunately, because Revel prices these fees through a quote-based system, you won’t know what these fees will look like until you talk to a Revel sales representative.

Moreover, although not required, Revel recommends that you opt for installation assistance when using their service. As shown above, your installation will come at a one-time cost of $649.

Finally, you’ll also need to incorporate the cost of hardware to determine how much Revel POS will cost your business. As we mentioned, the Revel POS system requires a compatible iPad—which can range in price from $200 to upwards of $500—depending on the model and storage. In addition, to accept credit card payments, you’ll need to purchase a Revel card reader, which, unfortunately, Revel doesn’t disclose prices for online.

With this in mind, it’s important to remember that any other hardware you require—stands, printers, barcode scanners, cash drawers, etc.—will need to be purchased separately as well. Although Revel advertises a hardware leasing program on their website, they don’t indicate what the prices for this program might look like.

Finally, if you want to utilize any of the additional products or services Revel offers for their point of sale system, including—gift cards and loyalty, dedicated account management, kiosks and mobile order takers, online ordering, multi-location management, and an inventory app—you’ll need to work with your Revel sales representative to determine how much those add-ons will cost.

All in all, it’s difficult to say exactly what the price of Revel POS will look like for your business—not only because the final cost will vary based on the factors we’ve discussed, but also because, unfortunately, Revel is less than transparent with their pricing. Therefore, you’ll have to work with Revel directly to learn more about pricing.

Revel POS Software Features

Now that we’ve discussed Revel POS pricing, let’s explore exactly what Revel can offer your business. This being said, although Revel doesn’t include much pricing information on their website, they do provide a lot of information about the features included with their software.

Customer Experience Features

First and foremost, the Revel POS software offers a handful of features that are designed to improve your customers’ checkout experiences.

  • Customer discounts: To offer simple, on-the-spot savings and happy hours
  • Gift card program: To boost gifted referrals
  • Customer-facing display system: To speed up transactions even more
  • Online ordering: To seriously increase your customer base and revenue
  • Customer loyalty programs: Allows you to implement a rewards structure and develop a customized loyalty program
  • Customer relationship management systems: To gain customer insights
  • Revel assistant: To receive real-time support within your software for setup, troubleshooting, and more
revel pos

Here, you can see the customer relationship management dashboard within the Revel POS software. Image source: Revel Systems

Financial Features

With the Revel POS system, you can accept payment securely and in the way that works best for your customers.

  • Payment flexibility: Allows you to split bills, offer bar tabs, create store credit, and more
  • EMV compliance: Revel’s payment processing is EMV compliant—protecting you and your customers’ data
  • QuickBooks Integration: Revel integrates with QuickBooks to allow you to manage your finances and accounting in one place

Management Features

As a full-service POS system, Revel includes a variety of tools and features to help you manage your daily operations.

  • Revel Insights: Provides data and visualizations on-the-go
  • Product management and menu building: In-app product list and menu building customized for your business
  • Kitchen management: For communication between front- and back-of-house
  • Employee management: For roles, permissions, time tracking, overtime, and administrative paperwork
  • Ingredient-level inventory: For tracking and low-stock alerts
  • Reporting and analytics: To help identify best-selling products and business trends
  • Enterprise management: For businesses with multiple locations

Point of Sale Processes

On top of some of these more detailed capabilities, the Revel POS system also offers the essentials.

  • Cash payment tracking: To make sure all your payments are accounted for
  • Table management: To organize your tables from making a reservation to accepting payment for a bill
  • Delivery management tools: To expand your customer-base with delivery orders
  • Always On Mode: Enables your Revel POS to function through power outages and service disconnects
  • Open API: Allows you to integrate with other solutions and build a truly customized POS for your needs
  • Security: Includes PCI-compliant cloud technology, point-to-point encrypted payments, and user access controls
revel pos

Overview of the Revel POS dashboard. Image source: Revel Systems

Revel POS Hardware Options

Although many other POS providers will offer complete, all-in-one POS systems, your Revel POS hardware options will be more mix-and-match.

As we discussed briefly above, this means that you’ll have the option to purchase—a cash drawer, scale, printer, barcode scanner, or any other peripheral accessories, for your business’s POS system.

This being said, however, to use the Revel POS System you will always need a compatible iPad, as the Revel software only runs on iPad devices. Unfortunately, Revel is not compatible with non-Apple tablets. Additionally, as we’ve mentioned, you’ll also need to purchase a Revel payment device to accept non-cash payments from your customers. According to the Revel website, their system is compatible with: 

  • Ingengico iSMP4
  • ID Tech SecureMag (IDRE Series)
  • Infinea Tab M
  • Ingenico iPP350

Revel does not, however, disclose prices for these POS hardware devices.

With this in mind, though, by using any combination of Revel’s POS hardware, you’ll not only be able to run their software, but also use a customer display system, take mobile orders, and implement a self-service kiosk.

Revel POS Customer Reviews

At this point in our Revel POS review, we’ve explored pricing, software features, and hardware. If you’re still unsure whether or not the Revel POS system can meet your business’s needs, you might take a look at what Revel customers have to say about the product.

This being said, when we sorted through Revel reviews posted online, it seems that overall, Revel POS receives average reviews. On most online review sites, Revel is rated around three to four stars—with individual user reviews falling on either end of the spectrum.

In terms of positive customer reviews, users write that Revel POS is easy to set up, is user-friendly, and has an intuitive interface. Additionally, many customers comment on the overall functionality of the system—mentioning helpful features like inventory, CRM, and more.

On the other hand, however, there are a handful of negative Revel reviews as well. These reviews often site technical issues associated with the Revel POS system, as well as the lack of support from the Revel customer service team. Some reviewers write that customer service is difficult to get ahold of and that the representatives are not helpful.

Additionally, although some users like the fact that Revel is an iPad POS system, others dislike that it’s exclusive to iOS. Plus, some reviewers comment that the system, on the whole, is expensive.

Pros of Revel POS System

With all of this information in mind, let’s break down both the possible benefits and drawbacks of using the Revel POS system for your business.

First, here are a few of the advantages of this system:

Powerful Software

As you can see from the list of features that the Revel POS software offers, this is an all-inclusive, fully-functional point of sale technology.

Plus, the list of features Revel includes out-of-the-box is much more extensive than many competitors—capabilities like ingredient-level inventory tracking and Always On Mode are tough to find elsewhere.

Restaurant-Specific Features

In addition to the overall impressive functionality of the Revel system, this POS offers particularly noteworthy features for restaurant businesses.

With capabilities for online and mobile ordering, customer display systems, kitchen management, ingredient-level inventory, table management, and more—Revel places a large focus on helping restaurants and other food-service businessess make the most of their system.

Included Payment Processing

Although Revel isn’t transparent about their payment processing costs, it is a benefit that they include their own processing service with their system.

Therefore, if you sign up with Revel, you don’t have to worry about acquiring payment processing from another provider. Additionally, their service accommodates all card types, as well as Apple Pay, and includes an in-house dedicated support team.

Plus, Revel’s payment processing includes EMV and PCI-compliance, point-to-point encrypted payments, and other integrated security measures.

Customizable Hardware

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for Revel POS system hardware—you can pick and choose which pieces your business needs, without worrying about investing in one single piece of hardware that automatically comes with features—like a printer or a scale—that aren’t useful for your business.

Open API

If you want to take your POS system to the next-level, Revel allows you to do so with their Open API. Revel’s Open API allows you to integrate a range of additional software tools through their partner network, as well as allows you to build your own.

You can connect your Revel POS system with ecommerce platforms, accounting tools, workforce management software, and more.

Cons of Revel POS System

On the other hand, there are also a number of drawbacks to using the Revel POS system.

Overall, most of these downsides are related to the way the Revel POS pricing works. In short, Revel POS pricing is far from ideal and is actually pretty expensive—especially compared to other POS systems on the market.

This being said, here are some cons to consider when it comes to this POS solution:

Quote-Based Costs

All in all, you’ll have to contact the Revel sales team directly to get any idea of how much their payment processing fees and hardware options will cost your business. As we’ve discussed, you won’t be able to find pricing information for these POS costs on their website.

This is a huge downside—not only because getting a quote requires time and energy—but also because it will be tough to stop receiving calls and emails once you’ve given a sales representative your contact information.

In addition, quote-based systems make it difficult to know whether or not you’re receiving a good deal. Because Revel doesn’t provide a range of payment processing fees and hardware costs on their website, it will be difficult to know whether or not the quote you receive is a fair one.

Moreover, although Revel does indicate that their software starts at $99 per month, this is an expensive price for POS software. As an example, even if you opt for the restaurant or retail-specific version of Square, these software solutions will only cost $0, $60, or $299+ per month depending on your plan.

Along these lines, not only does Revel have an expensive monthly fee, but you also will have to pay for your software annually, instead of on an actual month-to-month basis.

Installation Costs

Similarly, one of the costs that Revel does disclose on their website—installation—is expensive as well. Revel charges $649 for customized setup, whereas many POS competitors will help you set up your system at no additional cost.

Therefore, if you want to have assistance in setting up your system, you’ll need to consider this sizable cost into the overall price of Revel for your business as well.

iPad Only and No Smart Phone Capability

As we mentioned in our discussion of Revel customer reviews, this POS is iPad only—which makes it a difficult choice for businesses who already own or prefer Android or other tablet devices.

Additionally, whereas most mobile POS systems—again, like Square, for example—allow you to run their software on a tablet and smartphone, Revel can only be run on an iPad. In this way, Revel limits how truly mobile your point of sale system can be.

Three-Year Commitment Required

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, to access a Revel POS system, you’ll have to commit to a three-year contract. This means, at a minimum, you’re committing to a minimum of $99 per month—plus undisclosed hardware costs and payment processing fees for three years.

This is a huge financial commitment to make considering you won’t know how well the Revel POS system will work for your business. Plus, the majority of POS providers on the market now do not require any sort of contract—allowing you to use their software on a true month-to-month basis to ensure that it is right for your needs.

Nevertheless, Revel does provide free demos, so you’ll certainly want to sign up for one before agreeing to a three-year contract.

Revel POS System Alternatives

At this point, whether or not you think Revel POS might be right for your business, it’s always worth exploring alternatives to see if you can find a solution that will be a better fit.

In particular, here are three options you might consider:

Square POS

One of the most popular alternatives to Revel is Square. With their remarkably affordable POS innovations, Square has become a forerunner for small business point-of-sale solutions. Square now offers seven hardware options, all with transparent pricing ranging from free with account opening to $799.

Additionally, whereas Revel charges a steep price for their software, the standard Square POS software is completely free. Moreover, Square also includes their own payment processing—with transparent pricing on their website about any and all charges you’ll face. Overall, it will cost you 2.6% plus $0.10 per transaction to accept credit card payments with Square.

Plus, on top of the standard Square POS software, Square also offers Square for Restaurants and Square for Retail. As we mentioned briefly above, these advanced software options will cost you $0, $60, or $299+ per month depending on your plan, compared to the $99 minimum with Revel POS.

TouchBistro

If you’re looking for a restaurant-focused alternative to Revel POS, you might consider TouchBistro.

Like Square for Restaurants, TouchBistro offers advanced functionality specific to restaurant businesses—like inventory tracking, employee management, floor plan management, self-service kiosks, kitchen display, and more.

Although TouchBistro doesn’t offer a free software option, their pricing plans start at $69 per month—making this a more affordable option than Revel POS. Additionally, TouchBistro gives you the option to include the cost of your hardware in your monthly fees—that way, you don’t have to pay for expensive hardware all at once.

Unlike Square and Revel POS, however, TouchBistro doesn’t provide their own payment processing—so you’ll have to choose a third-party provider—and your fees will range depending on the provider you work with.

This being said, however, when it comes to restaurant POS systems, TouchBistro is one of the best options out there.

PayPal Here

Alternatively, if you’re looking for one of the most affordable POS options, then you might look into PayPal Here as your top alternative to the Revel POS system. You’ll simply access PayPal Here through your PayPal login through the free PayPal Here App. PayPal Here offers four payment reader options, ranging in price from $14.99 to $99.99.

Of course, you’ll also need a smart device to use PayPal Here, so if you don’t already have access to one, you’ll want to add that price into your total cost.

This being said, once you’ve covered all of these upfront costs, you’ll simply have to worry about PayPal Here payment processing fees, which are some of the lowest flat-rate fees on the market. For any magstripe, chip, or contactless payment you’ll pay 2.7% of the transaction value.

Is Revel iPad POS System Right for Your Business?

Now that we’ve reached the end of our Revel POS review, the decision is up to you.

At the end of the day, you know your business best—and therefore, only you can determine whether or not the Revel POS system can meet your needs.

This being said, however, based on the information we’ve reviewed, it seems that Revel is well-suited for larger, high-volume businesses—particularly restaurants—who are looking for an advanced system with a wide range of capabilities. In addition, Revel POS is a worthwhile option for businesses who prefer iOS-based systems, as well as those who already own an iPad.

On the other hand, if you’re a smaller business looking for the essentials, as well as transparent pricing, you might instead consider any of the alternatives we’ve listed above.

In any case, before you agree to a three-year contract with Revel Systems, you’ll want to sign up for a free demo to get a better sense of how the software works for yourself.

Maddie Shepherd

Maddie Shepherd is a former Fundera senior staff writer and current contributing writer for Fundera. 

Maddie has an extensive knowledge of business credit cards, accounting tools, and merchant services, but specializes in small business financing advice. She has reviewed and analyzed dozens of financial tools and providers, helping business owners make better financial decisions. 

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