Lavu POS Reviews
The iPad-based Lavu POS system is specifically designed for the food, beverage, and entertainment trade, aiming to cover all types of establishments from snack bars and coffee shops, right up to full-service restaurants and nightclubs. The features and even dashboard can be customized or set up using the defaults for your particular market sector.
However, there are plenty of companies offering POS systems and management software in the F&B industry, and they all claim to be the best. So what separates Lavu's offering from any other restaurant POS system, and how do you know if it's the right choice for you? Read my Lavu POS review to find out.
(Spoiler alert: I recommend purchasing either Toast or Upserve by Lightspeed restaurant POS systems in preference to the Lavu software, primarily on grounds of reliability and quality of tech support)
Lavu's point of sale pricing plan starts with single terminal access for $69 per month if paid annually or $79 per month for a monthly commitment.
Multiple terminal or Enterprise-scale packages are offered on a quote basis, but adding each extra terminal to the license is cheaper than the original purchase.
These prices do not include hardware, with hardware costs being arranged separately on a quote basis. In addition, premium features can be accessed at a higher subscription cost but the prices for these are not made transparent initially.
The costs for certain types of maintenance are also not included in Lavu's pricing information.
If you are using the Lavu Pay payment gateway, there will be a processing cost for credit card transactions. In order to get a quote for this, Lavu asks that you submit your last three months' credit card processing statements so they can try to beat the rate from your current payment processors.
Benefits & Features
Seating, Ordering, and Payment
Lavu's iPad-based POS system offers a comprehensive table management and ordering system.
Starting when customers arrive, the server can use the table layout display to view and assign available tables.
Orders can then be taken and processed either by kiosk or standing terminal (digital menu boards also available) or at the table via iPad or iPhone.
Modifying orders is also simple using the user-friendly interface. Customers can also use an online ordering system to place pre-orders.
Orders are transmitted immediately to either a printer or kitchen display system, reducing the leg work for servers and helping to prevent errors. The system even stays fully functional in offline mode, thanks to the Lavu local server backup process, so no ordering information is lost in the case of interruptions to your internet connection.
When it comes to payment, credit card processing can be handled through the Lavu Pay merchant account add-on. Alternatively, if you already have a good working relationship with your own credit card processor, you can continue to manage your credit card payments separately to the Lavu point of sale system. Credit card processing can't be completed in offline mode, but all of the billing information is preserved so you can complete the process as soon as your connection is restored.
If you offer delivery services, there is also a Lavu Routing Package, which provides the most efficient route for drop-offs to multiple locations.
Inventory and Menu Management
Right from the point of purchasing, the inventory management functions of the Lavu POS simplify the stocking process. The system will automatically create purchase orders when items are selected from any of your vendors, and the new inventory can be received automatically based on these.
Ingredients can be linked to the relevant menu items, allowing the availability of dishes to be monitored and updated in real-time without extra user input. Because this is done on a per-ingredient basis, even customer requests for unusual modifiers can be automatically incorporated into your inventory tracking. In addition to being linked with inventory, the menu interface is capable of showing images, descriptions, allergy information codes, and even recipes for all your dishes. all this information can be viewed by customers ordering via iPads or using the Lavu kiosk.
For the purposes of inventory control, any spoilage and/or wastage can be quickly accounted into the system, and overall levels included in the business analysis reports.
Customer Relationship Management
Excellent customer service starts with knowing your clientele. The POS Lavu company offers an inbuilt Lavu loyalty app and customer relationship management add-on, providing several ways to connect with and incentivize your customers. The data held in your Lavu POS customer database can be used to identify distinct groups of customers and create targeted marketing campaigns, either using the in-app messaging feature or via push notifications. You can also top up that data using customer survey features.
The loyalty program itself allows customers to check-in and earn (or spend) loyalty points. They can pre-order directly from the app to the POs system, which reduces waiting times and provides a sense of control, contributing to customer satisfaction.
The app can also be fully customized to fit your restaurant's branding, so it really feels like part of your business for the customers interacting with it, rather than just a "bolt-on".
The Lavu control panel is an excellent way to reduce the time taken on admin tasks. Managers can assign shifts and monitor staff clocking in and out, while the user permissions for floor, bar or kitchen staff can be set to allow shift swapping. In fact, there are a host of access permissions that can be assigned on an individual, role, or across the board basis.
A dual cash drawer system allows two cash drawers to be linked with the same POS terminal. This way, two servers can use the same terminal whilst retaining accountability for their own individual cash register. Managers can be assigned a PIN, allowing them to override the user allocations on any particular cash register.
POS Lavu offers a comprehensive set of performance analysis features through the Lavu Pilot app.
This can be accessed anywhere using an iOS device. The dashboard defaults to showing overall (gross) sales figures, the number of guests served, total and average order values, but the analysis available through the Lavu POS system goes so much further than just those basic data points.
The restaurant software allows labor tracking as a percentage of sales, so you can compare the profitability of your shifts.
Similarly, sales data can be broken down to give the popularity and profitability of individual menu items or menu categories.
This data can be viewed as trends, comparing values year on year so you have an overview of improvements and areas which require attention. This includes the facility to conduct trend analysis side by side for multiple locations.
The main concerns raised by users in their Lavu POS reviews are related to reliability, integration, and customer support. These seem to have worsened within the past 18 months, with the majority of positive reviews coming before that time when Lavu originally earned their Better Business Bureau A+ rating.
The system is reported as being increasingly prone to glitches, especially with the connection between the Lavu POS and printers, where the printer drops offline completely. Several customers have also reported that fixing errors in one area of the system can result in lost data elsewhere, such as suddenly losing half the menu when tech support fixed a printer issue.
The Lavu POS software is not fully integrated with the online platform, since they were created by different developers. This leads to extra work in updating information from one to the other.
However, the biggest problem seems to be with accessing support when things do go wrong. Many members of the former Lavu user community report issues; significant response delays, being ignored completely, or responses that did not include any suggestions for resolution. Most worryingly, incorrect billings are not dealt with in a timely fashion.
See our "Final Verdict" section in this Lavu POS review for the brands we recommended.
Spec's & Details
Software Features (Core Package)
(Note: no current Android compatibility, iOS only)
Lavu Integrated add-ons
(Note: the POS Lavu system is also compatible with several third-party applications, with more integration options planned soon)
Alternative Competing Systems
Toast is a POS company specializing entirely in the food and beverage industry, and one of the most popular POS providers, especially (though not exclusively) for quick service restaurants, food trucks, coffee shops, and similar businesses.
The flexible and comprehensive nature of the Upserve point of sale system makes it ideal for establishments offering any combination of in-house dining, takeaway, and delivery orders.
The menu and employee management features are very strong, and credit card processing can be done at the counter or even by the customer from their own mobile device.
All they need is the customer app and an internet connection.
Lightspeed started out as a retail-oriented POS company, before creating Upserve as their bespoke restaurant point of sale system, with a very comprehensive set of features especially well suited to full-service establishments, although other services such as online ordering and delivery can still be facilitated.
Similar to POS Lavu and Toast, orders taken via Upserve can be sent to a kitchen display system for immediate attention. Meanwhile, a module called Menu Intelligence analyses every order and tracks your most successful items.
There's even a training mode, which allows new staff to explore all the features of the POS system whilst disconnected from the order transmission, accounting, and credit card processor functions, so they can't interrupt normal service.
Although, as my Lavu POS systems review shows, the software does have some very appealing features but the reliability and customer support issues currently is why I would not recommend choosing Lavu POS over other POS systems unless any unique features are absolutely critical to your business model.
For food trucks, coffee shops, and quick-service restaurants, my overall recommendation would be to opt for the Toast POS, whereas restaurants relying on the full table-service experience may find Upserve fits their requirements the best.
That wraps up my Lavu POS review, I hope you are now able to make a final purchase decision on your next point of sale system and credit card processor!