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Lavu Basics

UPDATED Sep 15, 2017

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Lavu Point of Sale is restaurant software for iOS. It offers all the standard features found in most iPad-based restaurant software these days, including a thorough menu builder that can be tied to your inventory, offline card processing, and a configurable table layout.

Payment

Lavu is $69 per month for a single terminal, and is billed annually. If you need more than one point of sale station, they also offer options for using multiple terminals, and you can call for pricing options.

Included in the cost is 24/7 customer support, which includes phone support, email support, and live chat.

In terms of credit card processing, Lavu integrates directly with payment platforms including Heartland, Vantiv, PayPal, or through Lavu Integrated Payments. Your processing fees will depend on which processor you use and the rates you can get. If you use PayPal, their rates are 2.7% per US card swipe (plus 3.5% + 15 cents to manually key in cards, and 2.9% + 30 cents to invoice). For other rates, you will need to contact the credit card processor. Integration with PayPal is a nice feature, especially for businesses already set up with PayPal. For more info on using PayPal for your business, we cover a lot of it in our PayPal Here Basics article or PayPal v. Square comparison.

Set Up

Lavu works with an iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch running iOS 8.0 or later. It includes the option to store data on a local server, which is set up on a Mac mini. The ability to use Lavu on a smartphone as well as a tablet adds an extra level of mobility that other mobile restaurant software doesn’t have (most are designed just for iPad), and the option to store your data locally or in the cloud adds extra flexibility (something that software like TouchBistro is lacking).

Hardware

There are a variety of hardware options available for using with Lavu. The majority of hardware has to be purchase directly from Lavu, including your Mac Mini if you plan on using a local server, but there are several POS accessories you can purchase from any retailer, including receipt printers and cash drawers.

Epson brand Ethernet interface receipt printers:

APG brand printer driven cash drawers:

You can also use a kitchen display system instead of a kitchen printer (the TM-U220B). Lavu integrates with an iPad-based KDS. For more information on using a KDS, see their website.

For businesses using PayPal, Lavu integrates with the Bluetooth PayPal chip card reader, which we go over in our PayPal Here basics article and also our PayPal Here v. Square comparison.

Features

Lavu offers a wide array of features that are fairly standard for iPad-based restaurant software. It includes an offline mode for processing cards even if your internet goes down. Other features include:

  • Table, tab/bar and quick service layout options
  • Various customizable table layouts, room specific table options
  • Items can be assigned to different seats or courses
  • Forced and optional item modifiers
  • Split checks by seat, or in any configuration of items
  • Happy hour feature
  • Real time guest count
  • Tab preauthorization option
  • Integrates with online ordering
  • Delivery feature (for drivers)
  • Gift cards
  • Pizza builder

Inventory

Lavu includes nearly all the inventory features that are necessary for restaurants. Menu items, including item modifiers, can be linked to your inventory for automatic removal and real time updates. These translate into automatic low stock warnings for menu items or ingredients to servers. The biggest drawback is Lavu doesn't offer a mass inventory import or export option, so you have to manually input each menu and inventory item. Other inventory features include:

  • Generate purchase orders for vendors
  • Receive inventory manually or via PO
  • Real time total value of goods in inventory
  • Transfer items between locations

Employee & Back Office Features

  • Schedule shifts, time clock
  • different access levels for different employees
  • Multiple location reporting
  • Integrates w/ Quickbooks
  • Customer database

Conclusions

Lavu has all of the necessary features for running a restaurant, but it's not the best iPad software for restaurants out there, and there aren't any features that make it particularly stand out above the rest. Software like TouchBistro offers more granular control over each feature, and has similar features that are more intuitive to use (like the courses and seats feature). The lack of inventory import/export is a drawback, especially for large restaurants, but Lavu isn't alone in missing this feature. Lavu isn't quite as sleek or modern looking as other iPad software, the green and black color design and some strange fonts aren't quite as visually appealing as say Square, but that's not necessarily a dealbreaker.

Integration with PayPal and the PayPal Bluetooth card reader is a nice touch, especially for businesses already using PayPal. The pizza builder is also a useful feature, as many other restaurant iPad software does is missing this. For other restaurant software for iPad, see our articles on TouchBistro or Aldelo Touch.

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