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By Katherine Pendrill
If you’re shopping for a new restaurant POS system, chances are you’ve wanted to compare two of the biggest names in the space: TouchBistro vs Revel.
Both TouchBistro and Revel are powerful POS systems and payment solutions designed specifically for restaurants and other food service venues. With the same target audience, both systems offer similar features, including menu management, inventory management, reservations, online ordering, and more.
Of course, a basic restaurant POS system comparison won’t reveal all the important differences between TouchBistro and Revel. To get down to the nitty gritty and uncover the strengths and weaknesses of each POS system, you need our in-depth guide to TouchBistro vs Revel.
In this head-to-head comparison, we’ll cover:
Going beyond a basic Google search, this comprehensive guide to TouchBistro vs Revel will illustrate which system is the pricer option, which one is more user-friendly, and, most importantly, which one is right for your restaurant – ultimately saving you from reading dozens of different TouchBistro and Revel POS reviews. To compare other top POS providers, check out our Ultimate Guide to the Best Restaurant POS Systems.
The information contained on this site is accurate as of the time of publication.
Compare the top restaurant POS systems on features, pricing, payments, and more.
As mentioned above, there are many similarities between TouchBistro and Revel. Both POS systems run on an iOS operating system, both offer integrated payments, and both are equipped with modern restaurant management features like online ordering and integrated reservations.
But just because both systems use iPads doesn’t mean TouchBistro and Revel are one in the same. Below, we’ll dig a little bit deeper into TouchBistro vs Revel, including the similarities between the two systems, how they differ, and what all this means for you and your restaurant.
When it comes to the POS system setup, TouchBistro and Revel are fairly similar.
Revel offers a unique hybrid architecture, which has elements of both a cloud-based system and a local network. On the one hand, this means that your data is stored in the cloud on remote servers so you can access it any time, from any place — as long as you have an Internet connection. However, there is also a local connection in place that allows your POS terminals (and the features they support) to stay up and running if your Internet goes down.
TouchBistro is also a hybrid POS system. This means you enjoy the same flexibility and remote capabilities of a strictly cloud-based system, but you also have a local connection to keep your POS system up and running at all times. This means that even if your WiFi goes down, your POS terminals can still talk to one another, allowing you to continue taking orders and sending information to the kitchen. In other words, slow or unreliable WiFi will never bring service to a standstill.
Another similarity between TouchBistro and Revel is that they both rely on the same operating system.
TouchBistro and Revel run on Apple’s iOS operating system and use Apple hardware. Unlike Android, iOS is generally considered a more reliable and user-friendly operating system because Apple owns both the hardware (the iPad) and the software (iOS). This not only allows for a seamless integration between the POS software and tablets, but it also means that updates are rolled out automatically across devices.
Though technical considerations are important, all that is meaningless if the POS system you’re considering isn’t available in your region. Fortunately, both TouchBistro and Revel are available in several countries, including the U.S. and Canada.
Though Revel doesn’t have regionally specific information available on its website, the company does support restaurants in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the U.A.E. The company also boasts offices in Atlanta, Georgia; San Francisco, California; and Vilnius, Lithuania — all of which provide domestic and international customer support.
TouchBistro also has a global footprint, serving more than 100 different countries, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and the U.K. TouchBistro is also configured to meet the unique needs of restaurants in each of these countries so you can access region-specific features, integrations, and language settings. For instance, TouchBistro systems in the U.K. integrate with one of Britain’s leading payment providers, Barclaycard.
As two of the top restaurant POS systems, it should come as no surprise that both TouchBistro and Revel share many of the same core POS functions. These are the must-have features that allow restaurants to do everything from take orders tableside, to price their menu items.
When you compare TouchBistro vs Revel directly, you’ll find that both providers offer the same core POS features:
Though TouchBistro and Revel may be equipped with similar features, it doesn’t necessarily mean they function the same way. This is because Revel was built with multi-location businesses in mind, such as major QSR chains with more than 50 locations. As a result, Revel’s core POS features are extremely robust and its reporting features are fairly extensive. Revel POS reviews also suggest that the software is also highly modular, allowing restaurants to customize certain functions to fit their specific needs.
For large-scale restaurants with multiple venues, Revel’s extensive capabilities make it easy to manage everyday operations. This is especially true for restaurateurs who are already familiar with POS systems and appreciate the ability to customize different functions.
However, for smaller restaurants – especially those with one location – all these features may not be necessary. In fact, the sheer number of complex functions that Revel offers can make navigating the software overwhelming and difficult to use for some restaurant staff. Without serious dedication, time, and training, it may be tough for most operators to unlock the full potential of Revel’s software.
Though TouchBistro does offer multi-unit management through its partner integration with Avero, TouchBistro’s core POS features don’t offer some of the other bells and whistles that Revel focuses on.
However, this isn’t necessarily a drawback. TouchBistro was specifically designed with independent restaurants in mind and most of them don’t need enterprise-level functionality.
TouchBistro’s more streamlined list of functions makes it easier to learn right out of the box and faster to navigate on a day-to-day basis. Not to mention, fewer customer features also means a lower monthly fee because you aren’t paying for features you can’t or won’t use.
Both TouchBistro and Revel use Apple’s iPad tablets as the POS terminals. Many of the top restaurant POS providers also use iPads, which means that if you’re switching from another iPad POS provider, you can save money on hardware by reusing your current iPad tablets (as long as it’s a compatible generation). TouchBistro also gives you the option to split the cost of your POS tablets over 24 months, which is a great option if you don’t want to purchase the iPads outright.
The reason so many top POS providers use Apple hardware is because iPads are some of the most user-friendly tablets on the market. Whether your staff is already familiar with Apple devices or not, the products are very intuitive and easy to learn right out of the box – something that can save you a lot of time when setting up your system and training staff.
While the user-friendly design of iPads is a plus, perhaps the biggest benefit is the seamless integration between the hardware and Apple’s iOS operating system. This integration means that iOS security updates will roll out automatically across all Apple devices so you never have to worry about missing key software updates.
In addition to iPads, both TouchBistro and Revel also require additional hardware to use the POS systems, such as printers, payment terminals, stands, cash drawers, and more. Revel offers all of this hardware in bundles or as individual purchases, whereas TouchBistro’s hardware can only be purchased individually.
Though both companies offer high-quality POS hardware, the exact items you need may vary dramatically depending on the type of restaurant you operate, the volume of customers you serve, and the kind of setup you want. As a result, it’s best to contact each POS provider directly to determine what additional hardware you need and whether any of the hardware you already have is compatible.
Beyond the core POS features, both TouchBistro and Revel offer add-on features that can help to carry out additional functions such as processing payments, creating customer loyalty programs, setting up email marketing campaigns, and more. Though not every restaurant will need all these extra features, they can help busy restaurants improve operations, especially as they scale.
Of all the add-on solutions available to restaurants, there’s one that you can’t run your business without: payment processors.
A payment processor is the partner that allows you to accept credit, debit, and digital payments. With some POS providers, you’re required to use their in-house payment processor, instead of choosing your own provider, while others give you more flexibility to shop around for a better rate.
If you use Revel’s POS system, you can use the company’s integrated payments solution, Revel Advantage, or a third-party provider. Revel Advantage is structured according to a fixed rate pricing model, which means that you pay a fixed rate regardless of card type, processing volume, and other factors. In the case of Revel Advantage, you’ll be paying 2.49%, plus $0.15 per transaction.
The advantage of paying the same rate for every transaction is that, in theory, it’s easier to predict your processing costs each month. But that convenience comes with a price.
The tradeoff here is that these fixed rates are significantly more expensive on a per-transaction basis than other pricing models because the payment processor wants to cover their costs for all types of cards. This means that if your customers are mainly using low-cost cards like no-fee credit cards and debit cards (versus premium or rewards-based cards), you could end up paying much more in credit card fees than necessary.
TouchBistro also gives U.S. customers the option to use its integrated TouchBistro Payments solution powered by Chase. TouchBistro Payments is structured according to a cost plus pricing model. Under this kind of pricing model, the restaurant owner pays the non-negotiable interchange fee (for the type of credit card being used) and a flat mark-up.
The benefit to a cost plus pricing model is that you pay a custom rate for each transaction, instead of a flat rate for all transactions – regardless of what type of card or method of payment is used. Though this fee is less predictable, it’s generally the least expensive option for restaurants that serve customers who use a wide variety of cards.
While TouchBistro Payments is a great option for most restaurants, going with this processor isn’t a requirement to use the POS. TouchBistro customers also have the flexibility to choose from a selection of third-party payment processors (both integrated and non-integrated) so you can select the right partner for your restaurant. Want to switch your POS but not your processor? Great. That’s an option with TouchBistro.
Beyond payment processing, many restaurants require additional add-on solutions for their POS systems, such as online ordering, gift cards, and more.
TouchBistro and Revel both offer the following add-on solutions:
For the most part, TouchBistro and Revel offer comparable add-on products. However, Revel does have a few niche add-on functions.
For instance, Revel offers a delivery management system that allows restaurants to track delivery orders, set specific delivery zones, and monitor deliveries in real-time. This is a feature that’s particularly valuable for pizzerias that process a significant number of delivery orders.
However, it’s important to note that this delivery feature is not the same as using a third-party system such as DoorDash or Uber Eats. Revel’s delivery feature allows you to accept, manage, and track delivery orders, but it does not connect you with drivers – you still need to hire your own delivery fleet.
Though TouchBistro does not offer delivery management, some of its add-on solutions are more built-out than Revel’s.
For instance, TouchBistro Reservations is an end-to-end reservation system and guest management platform that integrates directly with your POS. Unlike Revel’s own reservations system, TouchBistro Reservations allows guests to make online reservations directly through a restaurant’s website, Facebook page, or from the TouchBistro Dine platform. TouchBistro also allows restaurants to send automatic reservation and waitlist confirmations to guests via email or text, which helps to reduce no shows. These are valuable features for any busy FSR, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a restaurant POS comparison of TouchBistro vs Revel, the biggest difference between the two companies is pricing. And not just the monthly software fees. TouchBistro and Revel also differ when it comes to the cost of hardware, installation, and add-on services.
Revel provides little information about its pricing upfront, but it does note that its monthly software fees start at $99 USD per month for one terminal and you’re required to sign up for Revel Advantage as your payment processing solution. This basic package includes the core POS features, reporting and analytics, 24/7 support, and personalized onboarding. While you get a lot with even the most basic package, it’s important to note that Revel bills annually and requires a three-year commitment – a long period of time for the restaurant industry.
Not only is Revel’s starting monthly fee already more expensive than most restaurant POS systems on the market, but you also need to account for the added cost of installation, specialized hardware, add-on services, integrated credit card processing, and more. All of these fees add up to make Revel one of the more costly restaurants POS solutions out there.
In contrast, TouchBistro is much more transparent about its pricing, which starts at $69 per month for a single license. TouchBistro’s pricing is tiered, which means the cost per license decreases with each additional license purchased.
Not only is TouchBistro’s monthly software fee already lower than Revel’s, but TouchBistro also offers lower fees for its integrated credit card processing solution, TouchBistro Payments.
When you compare TouchBistro vs Revel on their POS features, the two platforms have a lot in common. Both companies also offer third-party integrations for similar services such as accounting, delivery, inventory management, and more.
Both TouchBistro and Revel offer integrations for the following types of services:
TouchBistro and Revel may offer third-party integrations for similar types of services. However, Revel comes out on top when it comes to the sheer number of third-party integrations available to its users. This is because Revel is geared towards enterprise-level restaurant brands, which means it needs to support a wider range of third-party partners. Revel also has an open API, which means you can develop your own integrations if you choose to (though this comes at an added cost).
In contrast, TouchBistro supports fewer third-party integrations. However, TouchBistro’s curated list of integration partners consists of industry-leading solutions already used by most restaurateurs.
For instance, TouchBistro supports 7Shifts for employee scheduling, MarketMan for advanced inventory management, and online ordering aggregators like Deliverect. Though TouchBistro’s list of integration partners may be more narrow than Revel’s, most independent restaurants will be able to use their preferred software partners with TouchBistro.
Whether you’re running a small independent restaurant or a multi-unit chain, you’ll want to factor customer support into your decision. Fortunately, both TouchBistro and Revel offer round-the-clock support to help restaurants when they need it most.
As part of its software package, Revel offers 24/7 support, 365 days of the year. This includes phone support for sales, technical issues, and billing, email support for customer service, and web support for troubleshooting issues on your own. Revel also offers onsite technical support for major issues, although this will cost you an additional fee.
Like Revel, TouchBistro also offers 24/7 support, 365 days of the year, for all of its customers. TouchBistro’s support team can be reached by phone or email, and is largely staffed by former and current restaurant servers, owners, and managers. This means that when you call in, you’re speaking with someone who knows the industry inside and out, and has an intimate understanding of the issues you’re experiencing. For more minor issues, TouchBistro also has an extensive online resource library, complete with step-by-step guides and videos that can be used to troubleshoot virtually any issue.
When you compare TouchBistro vs Revel directly, it’s clear that each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. As a result, each system is best suited for a very different type of restaurant.
With its robust POS features and lengthy list of third-party integrations, Revel is best suited to enterprise-level restaurants processing a high volume of business, such as multi-venue QSR chains. In fact, Revel notes on its website that its customers include popular QSR chains such as Cinnabon and Auntie Anne’s, and you can find many Revel POS reviews from multi-location chains.
Unlike Revel, TouchBistro isn’t fully equipped to handle the needs of multinational restaurant chains. However, there are a few key selling points that make TouchBistro a better all-around solution for independent restaurants:
In any restaurant POS system comparison, pricing is one of the biggest factors. TouchBistro is one of the most affordable restaurant POS systems on the market, starting at just $69 per month. And unlike most other POS providers, TouchBistro’s integrated payments solution operates on a cost plus pricing model, which also makes it one of the more affordable payment processors.
In the restaurant industry, profits are notoriously thin – especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. A more affordable POS system means you can spend more on the things that help your restaurant stand out from the competition, like incredible food and an all-star staff. But if you get stuck with a pricer option like Revel, you may need to cut back just to make the math work.
While it’s easy to get wowed by dozens of bright and shiny POS features, more isn’t always better. Though TouchBistro doesn’t offer the most robust features of all the restaurant POS systems on the market, it is designed to meet the needs of any independent restaurant – whether that’s a tiny cafe or a 150-seat bistro. And as you grow, TouchBistro allows you to expand the capabilities of your POS with in-house add-on features like online ordering and reservations.
For some restaurateurs, having robust and customizable POS features like those that Revel offers can help them juggle multiple venues with ease. However, for most restaurants, too many features can make a system overly complicated to use and difficult to learn. Not to mention, all those extra features come at an added cost, so if you’re not using them, it’s like money down the drain.
It goes without saying that every restaurant is different and that no POS system is one-size-fits all. As this comparison of TouchBistro vs Revel shows, each system is best suited to a very different type of restaurant. All you need to do is figure out which one seems like the best fit for you and your business.
Correction: An earlier version of this piece mentioned that all customers are required to sign up for Revel Advantage. This piece has been updated to clarify that not all customers are required to sign a 3-year contract for Revel Advantage.
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Katherine is the Content Marketing Manager at TouchBistro, where she writes about trending topics in food and restaurants. The opposite of a picky eater, she’ll try (almost) anything at least once. Whether it’s chowing down on camel burgers in Morocco or snacking on octopus dumplings in Japan, she’s always up for new food experiences.
By Dana Krook
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