Updated as of February, 2020
My Lavu POS review is the internet’s most in-depth assessment of this American-based POS provider. Is this the right iPad point of sale platform for your restaurant or hospitality business? I’ll explore its pricing, hardware requirements, data reporting features, integrations, customer service, and other vital elements.
POSLavu is an iPad point of sale system app for restaurants of all types and sizes. Lavu, Inc. was one of the first iPad POS systems on the market. Lavu POS is cutting edge technology made available for restaurants, pizza shops, bars, coffee shops, quick-serve restaurants (QSR), food trucks, brewpubs, juice bars, delivery, and much more.
The quality of the POS system used in restaurants can make a difference in the amount of monthly profit and loss. You need to have the right POS solution to improve the functionality of the business. Starting from managing your inventory to maintaining the customer care standards, a comprehensive POS system can help your restaurant become successful beyond your expectations. Let’s get started and dive into our review of Lavu POS to see if it’s a good fit for your business.
- Extremely easy to use (frontend and backend)
- Color-coded interface
- iPad based system
- Extensive third-party integrations
- Extensive in-house add-ons
- 24/7 customer service
- A long list of compatible external hardware
- Robust inventory and data reporting system
- Various features for specialist hospitality niches
- Some customers complain of glitches
- Price points are not entirely transparent
- Reports of hidden maintenance costs
Overview of Lavu POS
Introduced in 2010, Lavu (previously known as POSLavu) became an instant success due to its ability to adapt and improvise to various small-scale food businesses like pizzerias, food trucks, cafes, and breweries. The Lavu POS system is dedicated exclusively to the hospitality niche — it’s made with restaurant and bar owners in mind.
The company was initially founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Over the past few years, it’s managed to grow into one of the industry’s most formidable competitors. At present, the system has a presence in over 90 countries. The company has processed over 1.3 billion menu items, which is pretty incredible.
The software’s designers have paid considerable attention to building an intuitive system that can improve efficiency for both small and large hospitality businesses. One of the unique things about this system is that it operates on Apple devices. The Lavu software app is built for iPads and functions using a cloud-based system. Despite its reliance on cloud technology, you can now process offline transactions using its payment processor.
Users can access extensive menu building tools that offer a wide range of modifiers and other customizations. You can also create custom restaurant layouts that allow you to manage reservations and customer flow.
With an intuitive frontend platform and an extremely extensive backend portal, there’s plenty to like about this modern POS provider. But is it the best solution for your food service business? Let’s explore the finer details in this POS review.
Lavu POS pricing starts at $69 per month — this price is for a single terminal, billed on an annual basis. You can access the service on a month-to-month basis, but it will cost a minimum of $79 per month (per terminal). The company also offers custom pricing for restaurants that need multiple terminals or businesses that have multiple locations. The monthly price does not include hardware.
Lavu POS Cost
- $69/month – If paid annually
- $79/month – If paid monthly
While it’s nice that the company offers its entry ‘price points,’ I prefer it when a provider is transparent about its entire pricing scheme. Still, as you can see, the platform is priced well when compared to other major players in the industry.
Lavu Testimonials Video
- A modern interface that offers color-coding and a range of other features that improve ease-of-use
- An advanced menu manager that allows you to add extensive modifiers, customized discounts, and a host of other bespoke features — it’s easy to take your menu to the next level with Lavu POS
- Comprehensive cash tracker to monitor cash flow and prevent theft or irregularities
- Offer custom promotions and discounts
- Create custom restaurant layouts that help your staff manage reservations
- Choose custom layouts for your menu — improve the navigation options for your staff members
- Track extensive inventory components and create purchase orders within your POS system
- Access extensive in-house add-ons that can assist with anything from To-Go orders to loyalty programs
- Integrate with leading third-party applications, including accounting software programs like QuickBooks and Xero
- Form an extensive customer database that allows you to record customer details and track purchases
- Allow staff members to clock in and out of your system directly via your POS terminal
- Offer custom gift cards to those who wish to purchase them
- End-to-end encryption that helps you keep your POS secure
- A cloud-based system that also allows for offline credit card payments
- Access key reporting features remotely, including via a mobile app
- Allow your staff to receive and process orders using tableside ordering capabilities
- Access customer support 24/7, via telephone, chat, and email
- Build a loyalty program to offer loyal customers access to creative rewards and incentives
Kitchen KDS Features
- Eliminate or reduce kitchen chits
- Real-time ordering and communications
- Customizable display options and interface
- Paid and unpaid identifiers
- Visual indicators for updated or deleted items
- Order timer
- Reporting on order and item times
- Create routes for delivery drives based on time and location
- GPS to find the best available routes
Cloud-Based or Locally Installed?
Lavu POS is a cloud-based system that stores most of your information on the ‘cloud.’ While you still need hardware to operate the system, it relies on an internet connection to regularly synchronize and save data. But this also means that you won’t have to worry about losing your reporting information if your hardware malfunctions.
However, the system also works in offline mode when there is an internet outage. You can now process credit card transactions during outages – this is one of the few point-of-sale systems that offer this feature.
Lavu POS has a excellent backend platform that includes restaurant management, data reporting, custom access levels, inventory tracking, and more. You can easily access the core components of your business from an offsite location. You don’t even need a computer — there’s a smartphone app built specifically for managers who want to keep tabs on real-time business performance.
It’s easy to generate reports that give snapshots of your business’s health. You can also export data to QuickBooks and Xero (if you want to streamline your accounting processes).
Tableside Ordering Capabilities
Fortunately, Lavu POS’s position as an iPad-based POS system means that it’s effortless to use this platform for tableside ordering. Your staff members will be able to carry your POS terminal around your restaurant, as well as receive orders and process payments. Lavu shines with the ability for tableside ordering and there are many benefits for using mobile POS devices.
Tableside ordering allows your servers to send requests directly to your kitchen — it can help you speed up processing times and improve your customer satisfaction. Tableside ordering is also an excellent tool if you’re trying to reduce errors in the workplace.
Industries Served & Business Size
The scope of Lavu POS is pervasive — it can be used for anything related to selling food and even some retail items. Since the system has flexible inventory, customizable layouts, and robust menu building features, any restaurant will be able to use it. The company has specific features for various niche hospitality categories:
- Restaurant POS
- Bar POS
- Ice Cream Shop POS
- Coffee Shop POS
- Pizza POS
- Brewery POS
- Winery POS
- Food Truck POS
In terms of size, POS Lavu claims to be suitable for both small and large businesses. While the platform has plenty of features that help it adapt to various business sizes, I would primarily recommend this to small and mid-sized business owners. Large restaurants or establishments may find it hard to use an entirely iPad-based system.
Ease of Use
There are a variety of POSLavu components that help make this platform easy to use. If you’re looking for a system that can help you improve efficiency and reduce training timelines for new staff. There are very few systems we’ve reviewed and personally worked with that is this easy to learn. The sleek, modern interface is color-coded; it helps you and your employees navigate its various components with ease.
The frontend of the app allows you to customize orders heavily. You can add custom modifiers and restrictions that will help you better streamline the process of receiving complex requests.
While it may take staff a couple of days to get used to the different order customization tools, you’ll find this software is much more intuitive than many of its competitors. Once staff members are trained on the system, it can help you drastically improve efficiency and order accuracy.
In terms of backend ease-of-use, a full tutorial will automatically initiate when you first access the management portal. Within a few hours, you’ll be able to easily access all the core management, reporting tools, and features inside this powerful restaurant management system.
Lavu POS runs on iOS (Apple) products — it is an iPad-based point of sale system. If you’re currently using an outdated POS system, you may find it odd to use an iPad for your point-of-sale solution. In reality, iPads and other tablets are now one of the most common hardware options for modern POS systems. They offer much more flexibility to users than traditional POS terminals.
You can purchase your own personal iPad or use an existing one. The company has an extensive online store that also offers equipment packages and other external hardware devices. You can buy peripheral equipment — such as printers, cash drawers, and kitchen display screens — from external providers, as long as they’re compatible with POS Lavu.
If you want an updated list of the right peripheral equipment, you can visit the company’s website and find out the compatible brands that are optimized for the system.
Integrations & Add-ons
Using third-party integrations and in-house add-ons can help you upgrade the essential functions of any POS system. Fortunately, you have plenty of integrations and add-ons available via this system. Below is a list of your top add-ons:
- Local Server: A local server backup that prevents loss during WiFi outages
- Pilot: Apple App for monitoring primary reporting data
- KDS 2.0: Kitchen display platform that sends orders directly to a kitchen display system
- Delivery: Process delivery orders, integrate with drivers, track delivery progress
- Lavu To Go: Process To Go orders online, track progress
- Routing: Helps you form efficient routes for delivery drivers
- Inventory: Keeps track of extensive amounts of inventory to prevent shortages and reduce food cost
- Loyalty App: Build a loyalty program for frequent customers
Using these add-ons can help you improve takeaway orders, delivery orders, and a host of other restaurant-related functions. It’s rare to find a complete solution that offers so many in-house features like integrated online ordering.
But it’s not just in-house add-ons that help you improve the functionality. There is also an entire catalog of third-party integrations. These integrations help with anything from accounting synchronization to order-flow improvement. Below, I’ll take a look at some of the most popular third-party platforms that you can integrate with your Lavu system:
- Evo Snap
- Digital Pour
- Beer Saver
Compatible Credit Card Companies
Payment processing flexibility is one of the primary benefits associated with this platform. If you want to bring your credit card processor along with you, there’s a good chance that it’s supported by Lavu. Below, take a look at the top credit card processing partners associated with this platform:
- Lavu Integrated Payments
- Vantiv Integrated Payments
As you can see, the company also has its integrated payment system, which will come with its own benefits. But this doesn’t stop you from choosing a broad range of other providers. I prefer to work with point of sale companies that allow you to source outside payment processors. You’re able to shop around for the industry’s best rates.
Customer Service and Support
Lavu POS offers its users access to a 24/7 customer support group. If you’re running a restaurant or bar with long hours, you won’t need to worry about getting stranded without customer support. You can access customer service on the phone, email, and via a live chat portal on the company’s website.
As always, it’s essential to confirm that other clients have enjoyed the services of your POS company. If there is a high number of complaints, chances are you’ll run into some similar problems. I did extensive research on the company using some of the industry’s top consumer watchdog groups. Here’s some negative feedback that I found:
- Inadequate Customer Service Responses: Some customers complain that the customer support team can be slow to respond to critical issues.
- ‘Glitchy’: The system appears to have some glitches that can cause errors or freeze-outs; this may be an issue if you’re running a busy restaurant. Lavu does provide regular software updates included in the monthly service fee to fix bugs and glitches.
- Monthly Maintenance Fee: There appears to be an additional monthly maintenance fee that is not factored into the general cost of the application. You may want to seek clarity about this before signing any financial commitments.
While you should consider the above complaints when you’re deciding if this system is right for your business, it’s also essential to put this negative feedback in context. All major POS platforms have some negative online feedback. Lavu POS also has plenty of positive reviews online — it’s much more popular than some industry leaders. The company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau with a few complaints that were addressed.
Now that you’ve explored my in-depth review of Lavu, it’s time to determine if you should use this system in your own restaurant. This is one of the industry’s most popular and top-performing point of sale applications. If you’re interested in using an iPad-based system, it’s worth considering this software and its extremely intuitive interface.
We also love the fact that it’s available in 93 countries and has over 300+ features available. Lavu has put the work in to make the software available in multiple countries and languages with features that apply to many different restaurant and bar types.
With an extensive collection of add-ons and integrations, it’s easy to upgrade the capabilities of this platform if you need more features. Users also benefit from credit card processor flexibility and a wide range of external hardware choices. While the pricing for multiple terminals isn’t transparent, if you receive an affordable quote, it’s a viable option.
The main issues we’re concerned about with Lavu is the all the online complaints about service and support, so for that reason, we recommend researching and comparing other POS companies before making your final decision. Bottom line, if you need an easy-to-use iPad POS at a decent price point, Lavu is an ok choice.
We recommend checking out TouchBistro (our top pick) as an alternative to Lavu if you want an iPad POS. It’s a comparative product at the same price point.
Image Credits: lavu.com
Editor’s note: How’d we do on our review of Lavu? Do you have any questions, comments, or concerns? Your feedback is important to us. Please let us know in the comments below or you can leave a review for Lavu, Inc. here.