When you have young children, they tend to have their own way of talking when they’re still learning how the English language works. Today we will look at the system POSLavu.
That’s where Lavu’s quirky name comes from: Developer Andy Lim’s child coined the term, a toddler’s abbreviation of “I love you.” Lim probably chose the name only because it’s catchy and unique, but it’s surprisingly fitting, as there is a lot of care and love that went into the design of this app.
A point of sale system designed specifically for those in the restaurant industry, if Lim and co-founder Corey Fiala have never worked in a diner or a food truck, they could probably fake their way through a Q&A on the subject, at least. The software is clearly built from the ground up in order to make life easier for people in the foodservice industry.
Here’s what we like about Lavu:
The Price Of Lavu
Many POS systems rely on a licensing fee, which can be tremendously expensive for a small business, a food truck, a coffee shop, that’s just getting started. Rather than a licensing fee, Lavu relies on monthly payments, which comes out to $69 if you pay month to month, or $59 if you go for an annual contract.
The great thing about this model is that Lavu succeeds when you succeed. If you’ve already paid your licensing fee, then it doesn’t matter to Lavu if you’re still in business a year from now. If you’re paying monthly payments, then you only keep paying as long as you’re thriving.
This extends to the “Enterprise” version of the plan. With this level pricing will vary from one user to the next, so you’ll want to email them or give them a call to see what it will run you. But they have a pricing model that has you paying $20 per terminal. This means that when you open a new location, outfitting it with POS software shouldn’t cost you more than twenty bucks.
Who Uses Lavu?
At the time of this writing, Lavu is already an international brand. It’s essentially positioned to become the Windows of point of sale software. Right now Lavu is installed in more than twenty thousand restaurants around the world, in at least eighty-eight countries, and the numbers are growing. The app has been around since 2010, and in the seven years since it’s become a major powerhouse in the foodservice industry.
Here’s one reason it’s so popular: Lavu is used in the Florida International University’s School of Hospitality and at the Joliet Junior College’s Culinary Arts Program. Young entrepreneurs learning how to manage restaurants in these schools encounter Lavu as the POS software on which they cut their teeth, so it stands to reason that they come to regard Lavu as the gold standard. So of course, it’s what they install in their restaurants and diners when they graduate.
Of course, even if this weren’t the case, chances are that they would eventually gravitate towards Lavu anyway. Lavu relies heavily on its own merit in order to impress restauranteurs looking for a good software setup for their places of business. They don’t have a major marketing arm like some brands do, They simply let you try the software out, and if you like it, and there’s a good chance that you will, you can buy it.
Is It Cloud-Only?
In 2017, we’ve begun to learn The Cloud is maybe not as scary as it once seemed. The truth is that most hackers are looking for crimes of opportunity. If you’re going to have your identity stolen, it’s probably going to be because you accidentally left your wallet on the bus, not because someone specifically targeted you and made an orchestrated effort to steal your information. The Cloud is actually more secure in many ways because there’s no physical hardware to steal. Your information is much more at-risk on a thumb drive in your pocket, where it might slip out and wind up in the wrong hands than locked away on private Cloud servers.
But, security concerns aren’t the only reason you might be wary of Cloud-based software. Suppose you’re running a humble little diner out in a rural area? It’s actually a pretty solid business model. If you’re the only place to grab a decent burger and coffee for fifty miles, you’re going to do your share of a business. Yes, the population is smaller in that area, but the market is all yours. It’s better to be a small town tycoon than a big city small fry, right?
The problem is that high-speed internet can be spotty in these areas. Your wifi may run just fine for a month straight, only for light showers to knock your internet out for a day, which will have you bringing a calculator and a legal pad to the cash register as you try to manage your day’s income.
Fortunately, Lavu allows you to use the cloud, or go offline with your software. It is cloud-based by default, but it comes with an offline credit card and payment processing. You can also use the Local Server setup, which comes with a dedicated Mac Mini connected to the devices being used in the shop. This means that you don’t need reliable, lightning fast, stream-three-movies-at-a-time wifi in order to run the software seamlessly.
Is It Just A Cash Register App? What Else Does It Do?
Lavu is an all-in-one POS software system. Although its primary function is payment processing, it can also do barcode scanning and inventory management. This means that, along with an operating system and maybe some spreadsheeting and bookkeeping software, it’s nearly all you need in order to run your restaurant from a tablet.
Is It Just For Restaurants?
Lavu is built for restaurants, but it’s not a bad fit for any small retail store. If you’re running a warehouse, a big-box department store or something like that, then it might not be quite what you’re after. But if you’re running something simple like a gift shop, a small grocery store, a bookstore, then Lavu may be all you really need. There are customization options available in order to tweak Lavu towards whatever industry you’re in. So it may not be ideal for every business, but it could be perfect for you, and that’s what the free trial is for.
A Quick Walkthrough…
Taking orders with Lavu is pretty easy. Many of your servers will get it right on the first try, and if they don’t, then it really shouldn’t take much practice. If you can read at a third grade level and you have fingers, you can operate Lavu with ease.
Suppose you want to sell someone some onion rings. If you’ve added onion rings to the menu, you simply select it, and then select large, small, or medium. From there, you have sliders for special orders such as sauce selections, toppings and so on. A lot of this is built-in the minute you install the software, and it’s all customizable. If you add burgers to the menu, the app already knows what a burger is, you only need to adjust the details so that it knows what you’re charging for it and what you call a burger in your restaurant.
What’s The Right Hardware For Lavu?
Lavu will work on just about anything with a screen, but it is optimized for specific hardware brands and devices, as follows:
- Ubiquiti routers
- Epson printers
- APG cash drawers
- iPad tablets and Vault and Heckler iPad stands
- Credit card readers built by any of the following brands:
- ID Tech
- Blue Bamboo
While we’re on the subject, here’s some things you might like to know about Lavu that don’t quite justify a whole subheader!
- Constant updates. When there’s a bug, they fix it. When the software needs improvement, they improve it. And many of these updates are based on user feedback because…
- They listen to their customers. If you’re a Lavu user, you can expect a timely response when you message, email or contact them for help. Likewise they take customer feedback into account when deciding the direction in which to take the software.
- Just about everything can be tweaked and customized. A bar has different needs than a coffee shop. A coffee shop has different needs than a burger joint. A burger joint has different needs than a pizzeria that does delivery. No matter what you sell, no matter the size of your business, Lavu can be adjusted to be a perfect fit.
- They offer a menu building service. This may not be a huge draw, but it’s a nice bonus. You don’t have to go through your menus and manually change every single thing, you can use Lavu to get all your data together in one place, then add a little flavor text and print out your new menus.
- It’s very easy to use. We’ve all had the experience of downloading a new app, playing around with it, and immediately going to Youtube to look up a bunch of tutorials. With Lavu, you’ll be able to figure out the basics with a few minutes of just fiddling around. This is essential because even if you’re tech savvy and can pick up an app pretty quickly, the same might not always be true of your staff. The software is getting easier to use, and there are servers out there who have never even used a computer mouse, so a simple, easy-to-use interface is absolutely vital.
- Everything’s already in there. That is to say that you don’t need to go out and learn a programming language in order to teach the app how to understand loyalty and rewards programs, gift cards, coupons and non-sale based cash transactions (paying your decorator, for instance). Anything a restaurant can be expected to do, anytime money changes hands, Lavu accounts for it.
Is It The Right Software For You?
Here’s our advice: Don’t rely too much on reviews.
We’ve told you what makes Lavu the premier choice for any restaurant, diner, bar and cafe owners, but all you’re ever going to get out of a review is someone else’s opinion on the matter. This can be useful when you can’t try it without committing to it. You don’t get to borrow a walk-in freezer for a week to see if you like it, you have to find the best one you can afford, and buy it.
But Lavu offers a two-week free trial, which means that you can give it a try before putting any money down. Try it out, see if it works for you, and if not, no big deal. Lavu has a lot to offer business owners, but you’ve got to find the software that suits your needs best.