You Want Fries with that iPad?

You Want Fries with that iPad?

Summary: Revel Systems has developed new a Point-of-Sale (POS) system for restaurant and retail businesses that combine Apple's iPad with Software as a Service (SAAS)


Revel Systems has developed new a Point-of-Sale (PoS) system for restaurant and retail businesses that combine Apple's iPad with Software as a Service (SaaS)

If you've ever been in Apple's own retail stores, you may have noticed the use of iPod Touch and iPad devices for use as queue expediting, store floor PoS transactions and information lookup -- and that's about the limit and extent that we've seen iOS being used for retail applications in public.

But now a new company, Revel Systems, based out of Northern California, has introduced a Point-of-Sale solution that combines the portability and flexibility and ease-of-use of the the iPad with Cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) for restaurant and retail applications.

Revel has designed three separate products around the iPad for Point-of-Sale. The first is a mobile credit card swipe plus PoS software that can be used by small vendors in street/mall kiosks and farmers markets and trade shows, or even by flight attendants on aircraft.

The second product, Revel Quick Service, includes the PoS software and credit card swipe with an integrated cash register and printer for Quick Service Restaurants (QSR's). This is currently being used in production by Lappert's at their 817 Broadway, Sausalito, CA Fish and Chips restaurant location.

The third product, Revel Table Service, allows multiple iPads running the PoS system to be detached from the cash register by table servers and used in larger restaurant settings, and includes full reporting capabilities, such as for time cards, gift cards, employee analytics, inventory management and customer relationship management.

Since the back-end of Revel iPad PoS system is implemented as SaaS and is cloud-based, there's no need for an on-premises server running the usual required databases and transaction reporting for a typical PoS. All that's needed is an Internet connection.

Revel Systems' iPad solution can conduct transactions over a Wi-Fi connection or via 3G, and credit card information is not stored on the units, making for a secure solution. Revel's iPad-based registers are also much smaller than their PC counterparts, allowing for greater flexibility in tight restaurant locations.

According to Revel, their iPad/SaaS solution also costs about half of what a typical single-register PoS solution sells for as well.

Have you seen iPads being deployed in other retail and vertical solutions? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Topics: iPad, Cloud, Emerging Tech, Mobility


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • Yes, but

    does it integrate into inventory and accounting systems?
    Other than the portability, the advantages are not all that obvious to me, unless full integration AND cost savings are achieved.
    • It works for Apple in their stores.

      @Economister <br><br>I think just the portability alone is a big advantage to businesses (customer relationship management). <br><br>I said it a while back that I would like to see this implemented at retail chains also where long lines are a huge turn-off.
    • RE: You Want Fries with that iPad?

      I think its great.. there is another competition that probably better.
  • This goes against Apple's recommendations

    [i]Use Your iPad Regularly
    For proper reporting of the battery?s state of charge, be sure to go through at least one charge cycle per month (charging the battery to 100% [b]and then completely running it down[/b]).[/i]

    These will have to be serviced once a year to replace the dead battery from having it plugged in 24x7 but that's no problem since the battery is user replaceable. Oh. No. It isn't. Right. Oops.
    • I love it!


      Absolutely love it when the Apple haters see Apple products are conquering/establishing new breakthrough uses that will knock competitors further down, and they reach to ridiculous depths to try to find some way to knock it!

      Ever hear of charging something once in a while?

      You think windows based POS devices are perfect?

      Do yourselves a favor Apple haters. Accept that Apple owns the MP3 market, the tablet market, the high end computer market, and businesses are flocking to the iPad. Your precious Windows ecosystem is not in any danger, at least for about 5 more years, when all the college kids that are now buying MacBooks take over the IT jobs from you dinosaurs and look at a windows computer and think,"what's this piece of crap?"
      • Wow. Then explain how we've

        been using a tablet based POS for the last 4 years? There are so many Window based tablet and point of sale systems out there, I seriously doubt an iPad on a a stick is a serious POS system.

        Face it ShazAmerica, you can scream, cry, and sell your sole to the Devil to have Windows become obsolete, but to put it nicely, I'd ask the Devil for your sole back, as your asking for something even he can't deliver. ;)
        John Zern
      • And I love it when Apple zealots don't think things through

        @ShazAmerica <br><i>Ever hear of charging something once in a while?</i><br><br>LOL, I can just see it now. The monthly "unplug all the iPads and let them run till their dead" cycle at McDonalds!! HILARIOUS!!!<br><br><i>You think windows based POS devices are perfect?</i><br><br>POS devices that are meant to be mobile are going to go through natural discharge and recharge cycles. POS devices that are meant to be stationary aren't powered from battery powered devices that are plugged in 24x7. And if they are, at least the batteries are user replaceable so your entire store doesn't have to be shut down for 2 weeks while Apple gets around to replacing your batteries at $100+/shot. This is a stupid use for an oversized iPod touch.<br><br><i>when all the college kids that are now buying MacBooks</i><br><br>Yeah, but your problem is that all those kids are installing Windows on their MacBooks. OS X usage hasn't budged at all in years and has peaked at about 5%. It is now falling. <img border="0" src="" alt="happy">
      • RE: You Want Fries with that iPad?

        @ShazAmerica So I wonder, how many college kids who own MacBooks would end up at the IT department. I see kids at our computer department all the time, and most of them are NOT using MacBooks.

        And, yeah, keep on dreaming.
  • Nothing new

    When I bought my latest iPod Touch at the Apple store earlier this year, the entire transaction took place on the employee's iPod/phone. Including swiping my credit card.
    Real World
    • RE: You Want Fries with that iPad?

      @Real World It is new, because Apple's PoS system isn't marketed as a product.
      • RE: You Want Fries with that iPad?

        @jperlow Right, I meant the technology.
        Real World
    • RE: You Want Fries with that iPad?

      @Real World
      Uh, every single IN'n'Out burger uses a touch-pad POS unit when the drive through gets busy. This isn't new. It's out, and it's much cheaper than it would be with an iPad.
      • RE: You Want Fries with that iPad?

        @Droid101 What makes you so sure it would be cheaper? The software licensing costs and integration fees that POS companies charge cost a LOT more than the hardware. That's almost always the case in vertical market systems.

        In N' Out almost certainly uses an in-house developed POS, they're big enough that they can have an IT department to maintain and design one. But plenty of independent restaurants don't, they need turnkey systems.
      • RE: You Want Fries with that iPad?

        @Droid101 you are right nothing new here. Micros has been doing this for years. ipad is a horrible piece of hardware for this application you really need hot swappable batteries for this. @jason there are many turnkey solutions out there for independents.
  • RE: You Want Fries with that iPad?

    @Economister I think it does or at least that is what one of the Sales people told me. I can use it to take inventory at the end of the night, then I get a email alert if my inventory is low. It even takes the item off the menu if there is no more inventory. But for a better explanation you better talk to staff. I Accounting well you better talk to them about that to. Have a good one they are shipping me the unit and it should be here in two weeks. They said they have a 2 to 4 week delivery time as there is a whole checklist they have sent me before I can install this equipment the best part is, it is just an iPad and i don't need some tech genius to install it :)
    • They also have an iPhone version of the software...

      @Findfrontstore They also have an iPhone version of the software so you can do transactions ala Apple Store.
  • How is this new?

    It's just Apple copying similar systems from a dozen other POS companies.

    • RE: You Want Fries with that iPad?

      (GASP!!!) HERETIC!!! You DARE criticize The Apple? You DARE criticize The Innovation and The Vision of St. Jobs?

      You WILL pay for your insolence!!!
      Hallowed are the Ori
  • Hi, I'm NonZealot, And I Hate Anything With An Apple Logo On It

    I wake up and the first thing I do is turn on my Windows Media Center connected to my TV, have some coffee in my BIll Gates mug and then run to the gym where I blast my tunes over my digital Zune...then I run to the restroom and wipe with my toilet paper with Steve Jobs face on it. Then I go to work where I have my Windows Desktop, and on the way to work I drive my car which is powered by WIndows. I answer my calls on my Windows Phone 7, and if I have to do anything portable I use my Windows laptop or my Windows Tablet PC.

    If anyone mentions Apple I stomp them and beat them upside the head with my Dell Windows Laptop.
    • Not quite

      I wake up to the alarm in my iPhone. I don't watch TV in the morning, nor do I own a Bill Gates mug. I [b]do[/b] own a Zune but it has been retired and replaced by my iPhone. I would [b]love[/b] some toilet paper with Steve Jobs' face on it!!!! Know where I can get any? I do work with Windows on a Dell all day. I do not own an MS Sync powered vehicle. When I have to work on a portable device, I will do so on my MacBook Pro which, technically speaking, [b]is[/b] a Windows laptop since I upgraded the OS from OS X to Windows 7. I do not own a Windows Tablet PC although if I were to purchase a tablet, it would not be an oversized iPod Touch. When I do watch TV, it is on a Windows 7 nettop HTPC streaming video from my HP Windows Home Server. When I listen to music at home, it is again on my Windows 7 nettop HTPC running iTunes, connected to my stereo system, and controlled using the Remote app on my iPhone. And it all works very, very, very well.

      So no, I don't hate anything with an Apple logo on it. I just hate you. :)