iPad-based point-of-sale startup Revel Systems is introducing a major overhaul to its offering today, aimed at providing more value to the medium- and large-sized businesses it’s targeting with its replacement for traditional PC-based software. The update adds a lot of features on the analytics and inventory management side, which shows that the San Francisco-based startup is intent on shaking up the food service and retail industry in exactly all the ways that big-name startups like Square in similar spaces aren’t.
Square is making waves by providing traditionally underserved local merchants and mom-and-pop retailers with the tools they need to accept credit-card based payments without needing lots of upfront costs and specialized equipment, but Revel Systems thinks bigger players are also poorly served by currently available tech. The startup, whose list of clients include sizeable chains like Popeyes Chicken, recently announced a partnership with mobile payments provider LevelUp, and on-site tech support provided by Best Buy’s GeekSquad. Today’s update to their platform is yet another step that should make them even more appealing to large-scale customer-facing businesses.
“Our key focal point right now is the franchise market, the bigger guys, with 60 plus [locations],” Revel Systems co-founder and CTO Chris Ciabarra said in an interview. CEO and co-founder Liza Falzone added that while the company is still serving a lot of mom-and-pop clients, it isn’t actively going after street vendors of the kind of mobile audience that Square is mostly serving. And the updates to its new version, code-named Atlas, are aimed squarely at businesses with more sophisticated needs.
One such addition is multi-location support, which makes it really easy for high-level managers to view how each of their franchise locations are doing, and to quickly calculate how much revenue they’re owed based on what percentage of the location’s sales they’re entitled to. There’s also a way to create multiple payroll identities for the same employee, in case some people occupy both cook and front-of-house positions on different days and during different shifts.
Other features new to Revel’s platform include support for the iPod touch, which can now act as a customer-facing input device for accepting signatures and to show them what it is they’re ordering, the total cost, etc. In at least a few states, providing customers with a display of what they’re buying is a regulated requirement for service businesses, so having it on board is definitely a plus for Revel in terms of achieving wide appeal.
The list of new additions is long, but one that Ciabarra and Falzone drew attention to specifically was the introduction of a fully customizable kiosk mode, which allows businesses to put the entire ordering process in the hands of their customers. In a demo, the founders showed off how retail partner Twistee Treat has implemented this feature to allow shoppers to prepare ice cream orders in advance. Kiosk implementation means that Revel is ready for a future in which customers are more directly involved in the order and payment process, leaving store staff to deal with fulfillment.
Revel’s updated software will now be available to all of its customers, having been in an extremely limited private beta before now. For the startup, it’s a strong step that should help it become even more attractive to businesses looking to replace outdated, PC-based solutions that are difficult in terms of onboarding. The company still faces lots of competition, however, both from other startups like Vend, and from more established companies like Moneris’ POS product Morris, which was introduced in September of last year. But Revel is hitting all the right notes, and iterating quickly based on customer feedback, so it should stand a good chance of disrupting the practices of the bigger players in retail and food service that Square has largely ignored.