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6.5/10 (Expert Score)
Product is rated as #22 in category Restaurant POS Systems
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.
Easy to Use
8
Value
6
Support
5.5
Functionality
6.5
Feedback
6.5
PROS:
  • Available in 93 countries
  • 300+ available features
  • Extremely easy to use
  • Extensive third-party integrations
  • Extensive in-house add-ons
  • Reasonably priced
CONS:
  • Many complaints of glitches
  • Complaints of poor customer service
  • Price points are not entirely transparent
  • Reports of hidden maintenance costs

Lavu POS Review


Lavu POS Review

Updated as of October, 2021

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. We’ve personally worked with Lavu over the years and can provide some direct insight into this product.

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 monthly profit and loss. It would be best if you had 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 Lavu POS review to see if it’s a good fit for your business.

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.

There’s plenty to like about this modern POS provider with an intuitive front-end platform and an extremely extensive back-end portal. But is it the best solution for your foodservice business? Let’s explore the finer details in this POS review.

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Pros vs Cons


PROS:

  • Extremely easy to use (frontend and backend)
  • Available in 93 countries
  • 300+ available features
  • 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 different restaurant types

CONS:

  • Many customers complain of glitches
  • Complaints of poor customer service
  • Price points are not entirely transparent
  • Reports of hidden maintenance costs


Pricing

Lavu POS pricing starts at $69 per month — this price is for a single terminal, billed annually. 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


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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 compared to other major players in the industry.

Demo Video

 

Key Features

What’s on offer at Lavu POS? Let’s take a deep dive into the various features available if you choose this point of sale system:

POSLavu Menu Example

  • A modern interface that offers color-coding and a range of other features that improve ease-of-use
  • An advanced menu manager 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

Kitchen Display System Tablet

  • 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

Delivery Features

Lavu Admin Dashboard

  • Create routes for delivery drives based on time and location
  • GPS to find the best available routes

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 tableside ordering ability, and there are many benefits to 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.

Data Reporting

Lavu POS has an 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.

Lavu Admin Backoffice

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).

Deployment Type

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.

Lavu POS Dashboard

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.

Industries Served

Lavu POS’s scope 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, almost any restaurant can 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 are this easy to learn. The sleek, modern interface is color-coded; it helps you and your employees navigate its various components with ease.

The front end 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.

Lavu iPad POS in a stand

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 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.

Hardware

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.

POSLavu Hardware Bundle

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 optimized for the system.

Integrations

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.

Lavu to Go - 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:

  • QuickBooks
  • Xero
  • MarketMan
  • ERS
  • Evo Snap
  • Digital Pour
  • Dolce
  • Checkmate
  • Chowly
  • Beer Saver

Payment Processing

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 Lavu supports it. Below, take a look at the top credit card processing partners associated with this platform:

  • Lavu Integrated Payments
  • PayPal
  • Heartland
  • BridgePay
  • Vantiv Integrated Payments
  • Nets

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

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, by 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 not factored into the application’s general cost. 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 addressed complaints.

Our Verdict

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 that’s easy to use and reasonably priced, 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 applicable to many different restaurants and bar types.

With an extensive collection of add-ons and integrations, it’s easy to upgrade this platform’s capabilities 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, it’s a viable option if you receive an affordable quote.

Unfortunately, the main issue we’re concerned about with Lavu is 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 with a better rating at the same price point.

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FAQ

How much does Lavu cost?

The Lavu app is $69 per month if paid annually and $79 per month if paid monthly. These prices are per terminal. Hardware costs are extra.


Does Lavu include online ordering?

Yes, but it’s not included free. Lavu acquired and integrates with Menudrive, which offers commission-free, flat-rate online ordering with delivery, loyalty programs, marketing programs, and more to create and grow your online presence. It also has DoorDash flat-fee integration. It’s pricey, though, when other POS providers are including online ordering for free. There is a setup fee of $149, and it costs $149 per month. The flat-rate transaction fee is 3% + .20¢.


What alternatives are there to Lavu POS?

There are many alternative iPad POS solutions available at similar price points like TouchBistro, ShopKeep, and Lightspeed. If you’re looking for a cheaper solution with fewer features, Square for Restaurants POS is very popular and a good pick for small restaurants and foodservice businesses.


Does Lavu integrate with Quickbooks?

Lavu claims to integrate seamlessly with QuickBooks and Xero; however, you may also need a Shogo account to integrate, adding to your monthly expenses. Shogo is a cloud-based service that records the sales data directly from your POS to QuickBooks/Xero.

Specification: Lavu POS

Best For

Full Service, Quick Service, Restaurants

Business Size

Small

POS Type

iPad POS

Software Type

Cloud/SaaS, On Premise (Mac)

Free Trial

Demo Only

Merchant Services

In-House, 3rd Party

Pricing Model

Monthly Payment, Annual Subscription, No Contract

Price Range

$$-$$$

Videos: Lavu POS

Photos: Lavu POS

6 reviews for Lavu POS

4.3 out of 5
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  1. Sean – Wine

    Ok product but don’t try it. Was a client for 8+ years and after several unannounced price increases and mediocre integration with Square tried to cancel….it has been 5 months of emailing and phone calls and they still email us that they can’t process the credit card…because we had to cancel the card to cancel their service. Try calling their Accounting Department, you can’t but feel free to try.

    + PROS: Works on Ipad
    - CONS: Not very good integration to credit card providers (non-bank types, like Square and Paypal).
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  2. Beatrix

    Overall, I’m thrilled we switched to Lavu. It’s simple to use, has made us more efficient, and wasn’t as expensive as similar systems.

    + PROS: Compared to POS systems I've used in the past, Lavu is a lifesaver! It has tremendously improved both efficiency and flow of our establishment. We now have the ability to swipe a card and store credit card information; which is a huge benefit. They work with any iPhone or iPad so you don’t need to buy Lavu-specific hardware. As a GM, I'm grateful that Lavu is not only cloud-based, but allows me to access the back end from my laptop or smart phone so I don't have to be onsite to make system changes. Updates are incredibly quick so there's not a ton of down time. I also like that you can troubleshoot issues for yourself rather than always having to call support.
    - CONS: Customer support is hit or miss. I always get an answer, it's just a matter of when I get it. After hours and on weekends, I feel like their staffing is very limited which leads to delays in getting immediate help.
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  3. Brock D

    I really enjoy the system. I have been using restaurant POS for over 20 years and Lavu has shown itself to be one of the best on the market. It is so user-friendly and easy to work in, that it’s a no-brainer for restaurant owners. However, it is worth the investment to pay for extended support until you or a manager knows the ins and outs of the backend. The reporting is awesome and when used the right way, you have the answers to questions you didn’t even know you needed to ask at your fingertips.

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  4. James Davis

    My overall experience has been good so far. We are pleased with the features that it offers. Our staff does need a while to learn how everything works, but once they get the hang of it I don’t foresee any issues.

    + PROS: Price, support, system use
    - CONS: Online ordering integration
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  5. Patricia Edwards

    Lavu is one of the best POS systems you can use. I have been a restaurant industry veteran on the owner’s side for over a decade. Before that, I worked in the industry for almost two decades. Ask ten restaurants what they think of Lavu, and I would bet my life that at least 9 of them will tell you how much they love it. I know three off the top of my head who switched to Lavu just because of what they heard through word of mouth.

    + PROS: 1. Their technical support is EXCELLENT. Every time we have an issue we’ve received an immediate response with a practical solution. 2. Voids and refunds are processed easily through the system and there are no hidden fees or additional costs for doing so like there are with other systems. 3. Our delivery receipts always print out of the correct printer (separate from our self-ordering kiosk). 4. We are given plenty of notice before any system updates are installed, and although at the beginning there would almost always be a crash or freeze or glitch, those happen less and less and the updates go through smoothly. 5. The price is unbeatable. What you get, especially for what you pay, is a literal steal. I don’t know how they manage to stay in business, but I’m glad they’ve got it figured out because you just can’t beat their prices.
    - CONS: In comparison to other POS systems I’ve used, Lavu is practically the holy grail.
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  6. Melinda Kelly

    After over a year we’re still super happy with the switch from Toast to Lavu.

    + PROS: Customer Support! - I rate them 100 on this!! Any questions I have big or small, they are just a phone call away! If my call isn't answered right away or I get busy, they have the feature to leave your number and they will call you back ASAP. Customer Service - Being a tech and answering some of the crazy questions (I'm one who probably has the most) they are always patient, friendly and very professional when answering questions.
    - CONS: Takes a while to learn all the functionality but worth it once learned. Although it’s not a problem with the software itself, either a better hard copy training manual or disk would be helpful.
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