Chris Lybeer, chief strategy officer at Revel Systems, explains how his company uses the cloud to help coffee shop operators manage their businesses more effectively
The point-of-sale (POS) system in a foodservice operation used to be just a mechanism for tracking sales and receiving payment. In the digital age, it has evolved into a powerful business tool that can transform the way a single operation or a chain of sites is managed. POS is now a data tool, a customer engagement tool, and a reporting and management tool.
As POS systems developed, they were often tailored to meet the needs of a specific type of business. One company, however, took a different route. It built a versatile system that could suit any kind of operation, then added layers of configuration to make it easy to install, adapt and use.
“We have focused on the functionality that a variety of fast casual, QSR, table service or smaller retail operations would need,” says Chris Lybeer, chief strategy officer at Revel Systems. “For coffee shops, our system is very good at managing chains. You can see the pricing of products or the consolidated reports across all sites.
Our competitors are usually only good at managing one site. So, as your business grows, you don’t need to install a new system. You can manage multiple sites as if they were one site.”
The robust, cloud-based POS and business management system that Revel Systems offers – the Revel Essentials solution – has been successfully deployed at thousands of locations and is designed for the needs of small chains or single sites. It is widely adopted in the coffee shop sector, which is the fastest-growing segment of the US foodservice industry.
Configured for the client
Fundamental to Revel’s approach is its use of widely used hardware and the intuitive user interface it employs. “We use Apple iPad hardware, so it is very easy to use,” explains Lybeer. “We follow Apple’s design standards, so the system works just like a consumer iPad or iPhone, which suits the young people who are often the employees using the system, so they require virtually no training. It is much better than legacy or non-native tablet systems.”
“Also, we were one of the first companies to enter the cloud tablet space,” he adds. “We saw one-site clients growing and needing to manage multiple sites, so we were able to build that capability into the system as their needs changed. We are ahead of the curve, partly because we have been in the business for longer than most.”
Not only is the interface simple to use and highly intuitive, but the process of customizing the system to suit a specific business type is also straightforward. Initially, Revel Essentials is set up with a basic template, then through a series of simple questions it is configured to meet the requirements of each client.
“Restaurants, retailers, coffee shops – they are all very different,” says Lybeer. “A gift shop will need a different set-up to a pizza restaurant. So, our clients don’t need to start from scratch. We created configuration templates for retail, fast casual, pizza, table service and coffee shops. Each client starts with a system to suit their business, including a menu and prices, rather than having a blank canvas. We need to be sensitive to the needs of different types of business,” he adds.
“A coffee shop owner doesn’t want to see functionality around how to split the different pizza topping ingredients, and a pizza restaurant doesn’t want to see the ingredients of a frappucino. We are not just shipping a system in a box. We are partners with our clients and we grow with them. We understand them because we are a people company, not just a tech company.”
With a host of enhanced features – from customer display, which improves transparency and accuracy for every order, and the ability to implement loyalty programs through Revel’s industry-leading partners – Essentials is fast becoming essential in coffee shops across the US.