If you are currently in the market for a restaurant point of sale (POS) system, you should get a versatile and capable solution. However, the choice of a great POS system requires much more than these simple considerations. With the Lightspeed Restaurant POS, you can never go wrong.
Lightspeed is one of the leading restaurant POS systems in the market today for a reason. To begin with, the system makes it easier for you to manage the business in a single place. The system has also been proven to offer a faster turnaround as well as quicker and safer payments.
With this POS system, you will be able to access reports from anywhere and work offline just as effectively as you would when you are online. Many of its users love the fact that the system is scalable as the business grows. Throughout this review, you will learn why Lightspeed is the right choice for your business.
Lightspeed Restaurant POS Review – Who Is It For?
Lightspeed (LR) is a preferred could-based restaurant POS system among small to medium-sized business owners.
As compared to other similar restaurant POS systems, LR is a complex and feature-rich POS; offering just the features you need to streamline operations and boost productivity and profitability in your restaurant.
While this is the case, you will love the simplistic structure as well as the intuitive user interface of the point of sale system. This is to say that the system offers all the basic features and capabilities, offers a wider range of custom options, yet is so easy to implement and use.
Powerful Range or Tools and Capabilities
In addition to offering the basic capabilities of a restaurant POS, LR several other useful side functionalities as well. Lightspeed Restaurant POS may not have the most in-depth reporting and inventory capabilities but will get the job done right.
Despite all its extra functionalities, you will find this system to be fairly affordable. As you will learn later in this review, the Lightspeed POS system is specifically designed to give you enhanced control over the business.
The effectiveness of this system may be attributed to its unique blend of features, such as Omnichannel, mobility and cloud, reporting and analytics, inventory as well as integrated payments.
Lightspeed POS Benefits
- Complex employee management
- Offers in-depth reports and analytics
- Offers timed events features that are timed
- Relatively easy to use
- Features an intuitive user interface
- Features several side functionalities
Lightspeed POS Drawbacks
- Cannot process payments in the Offline mode
- May be too expensive for smaller restaurants
Lightspeed Restaurant POS Pricing
Recently, Lightspeed made a few changes to its pricing structure. Though the various plans by this provider are indicated as per month charges, they are charged annually. Again, the various subscription costs are charged on a per-store basis.
While this is the case, the changes to Lightspeed pricing structure appear to be positive; presenting users with a choice of affordable POS plans. Discussed below are the monthly subscription plans offered by this POS provider:
Like many other leading restaurant POS providers, LR offers a free trial for its POS solution. If you would like to try out the system beforehand, you can now get a 14-day free trial from the provider. For the specific terms and conditions governing this free trial, refer to the provider’s official website.
You also need to note that you will not be required to give out credit card information to get this free trial.
Basic Price Plan
This plan is particularly meant for business owners who just opened their first restaurant location. Initially, this was the most basic of payment plans by the provider. However, it has been expanded to offer more features and capabilities.
To get the basic plan, you will be required to pay $69 a month for each of your locations. For this much, the provider will offer you the following features:
- Up to 2 printers
- One register
- Free updates
- Personalized onboarding
- Secure cloud backup
- 24/7 support
- Basic reporting
If you need more functionality beyond these basic POS features, you should contact the provider for a custom quote. All payments will be billed annually.
Custom Pricing Plans
Since your business is unique, you will need POS features that are custom made to suit the business. With this in mind, LR introduced the custom pricing plans for their POS solution. These plans are a great choice for multi-store ventures.
Again, such a plan will come in handy for small businesses that require more POS features than those offered by the basic plan. In such a case, you should contact the provider to get a custom quote in accordance to your POS needs.
Lightspeed Hardware and OS Requirements
The Lightspeed backend may be accessed on any device that has an internet connection. Therefore, you only need to access the backend from a browser on any device that has an internet connection. The restaurant POS App, on the other hand, can only run on iOS 9.3 or later devices.
As such, the restaurant point of sale software is only compatible with iPads and iPhones as well as the iPod touch. With regards to hardware needs, the Lightspeed POS is mainly offered in an iPad starter kit. This convenient starter kit comprises of such hardware components as:
- A kitchen Printer
- A cash drawer
- LAN receipt printer
- Lite Server
- A lightspeed iPad stand
While these are the basic hardware components offered by the provider, you can also get other components for your POS. to but additional or alternative hardware components for your Lightspeed POS, you should visit the provider’s website.
This website also has information on the hardware makes and models that are compatible with this POS system. To get price information on the various Lightspeed restaurant POS hardware components, you have to contact the provider directly.
Lightspeed Restaurant POS Features
At this point, it is worth noting that Lightspeed offers all the features and capabilities you would find in any restaurant POS system.
Rather than dwelling on the obvious capabilities of the system, this review will focus on the main aspects that set this system apart from its competitors.
So, what makes Lightspeed superior to other restaurant POS systems? Discussed below are the key features and capabilities that make this POS unique:
The Lightspeed POS makes it easy for you to set up your restaurant menu; hence be able to manage your products more efficiently.
This should be done from the Product section—initially categorized into Starter, Main and Aperitif subcategories. Though these are the initial subcategories, you can easily customize this section to suit your preferences.
This section allows you to add individual products if you so wish. Alternatively, you can associate the various menu items with an ID, a unique kitchen name or a picture. This feature allows you to set specific tax rates or even prices for take-out and delivery dishes.
With this feature, you can also incorporate discounts, combos and service fees into the prices. You will also have a relatively easy time creating modifiers with the Lightspeed restaurant point of sale system.
With Lightspeed POS, employee management has never been easier in restaurants. To begin with, this feature allows you to change the visibility of your employees.
This capability determines whether or not a particular employee will appear in the App. This capability is particularly useful when dealing with part-time or seasonal staff.
With regard to employee permissions, this POS system incorporates an all-or-nothing approach. Therefore, you can only designate employees as Managers or Employees on the POS. Based on this criterion, the managers will have access to the entire backend and front of the POS.
Employees, on the other hand, only have access to the front end of the system. The system allows you to further subgroup the employees into bartenders, waitstaff, cooks, cashiers and the like. For additional convenience and efficiency, you can also assign certain employees to specific floors or tables in the restaurant.
Of what use is a restaurant POS system without superior inventory features and capabilities? Lightspeed offers a range of useful inventory management tools and capabilities, such as item import, catalogs, and product variations.
The inventory import tool allows you to transfer information from other platforms to your Lightspeed POS. this may be done using either Excel or CSV files. If you are looking forward to distinguishing different product variants, the POS allows you to add color, style and size variants.
This capability allows you to add variants to one product or categorize several products using the relevant custom labels. The catalogs tool, on the other hand, makes it possible for you to order stock from the point of sale system.
To do this, you should to find the largest vendors from the pre-loaded catalogs of the POS and then proceed to place your order. If you would rather order for stock from several vendors, you can create a single purchase order to save on time and possibly money.
You will love the fact that the inventory feature allows you to create an array of order types. In this regard, you can use the feature to create special orders, work orders, and even layaways directly from the system for various customers.
Raw Ingredient Tracking
Unlike many other restaurant POS systems within this price range, Lightspeed allows you to track your inventory down to the ingredients level.
This may be done from the ‘Ingredients’ tab. This tab allows you to create a record of all ingredients using common measurement units like liters and grams.
Having created this record, the POS software will automatically keep track of the levels of those ingredients. Depending on the dishes being prepared, the system will notify you of ingredient levels at any given time. So, how is this of any use to your business?
You do not want the waitstaff to place an order only to realize minutes later that the ingredients for that dish are not available. The system allows the waitstaff to know beforehand what is available and what is not. This way, they will have the customers make their choices based on what is available.
Reporting and Analytics
Most of the leading restaurant POS systems are known to offer powerful reporting and analytics capabilities. The Lightspeed POS does not lag behind, in this regard.
Some of the aspects you will love about the reporting and analytics capabilities of this system include:
- Real-time Data – data collected by the POS is stored in the cloud for you to access wherever you are in real-time.
- Employee tracking - features an integrated clock and staff reports that make it easy to monitor employees’ in and outs as well as sales performance per employee.
- Accounting Integrations – the system posts important accounting data automatically to avoid costly accounting errors
- Remote Reporting - with this cloud-based restaurant pos system, you will always get up-to-date information on the business wherever you are.
- Exportable Reports – allows you to export all reports to Excel or PDF files. Some modules of the system may also be exported to CSV files.
It is such features and capabilities that make the reporting and analytics feature of this POS superior and highly beneficial for restaurants.
Having serves move back and forth from the tables to the main POS terminal wastes a lot of time. To save on time and make ordering more convenient, you should consider implementing mobile/tableside ordering in your restaurant.
The Lightspeed restaurant point of sale system can help you accomplish this. With this system in your restaurants, the servers can send orders directly to the kitchen from the tables. This capability also makes it possible for the customers to place their orders directly from the iPads at their tables.
This has been proven to reduce errors as well as ticket times. Another benefit associated with mobile ordering is that it offers customers more flexibility when it comes to payments. In this regard, the servers can process an array of payment options at the tables.
Multi-Store Features and Capabilities
As mentioned earlier in the review, this system is scalable to accommodate the needs of a growing business. As such, it is packed with the tools and capabilities you will need to manage and run several locations.
Some of the Lightspeed tools and features you will love, in this case, include:
- Reporting – gives you the overall picture as well as in-depth reports of certain aspects across all your business locations.
- Inventory Tracking – offers you a complete picture of inventory item levels across all locations to help you move things faster
- Transfer – this capability makes it easier for you to transfer items from one location to another. This is done to optimize sales across the locations and accommodate your customers
- Centralized Purchasing - makes it easy for you to buy new stock for all locations from a single location and then redistribute.
- Centralized Customer Data – makes it possible to centralize customer information collected by the CMR across all your store locations. This makes it easy for you to keep track of returns and purchase history across the various locations.
- Gift Cards – this feature allows you to incentivize your customers in the various store locations by offering them gift cards.
What if you could get a bird’s view of the arrangement and availability of tables and seats in your business?
This would definitely make management easier, don’t you think? Well, the floor planner of the Lightspeed restaurant point of sale system makes this a reality.
This feature allows you to map out the establishment in a matter of minutes. The feature allows you to add tables and floor to modify table sizes and even link each table to a specific printer.
The system allows you to customize the floor plan as much as you can; in an effort to map out a plan that accurately represents the feel and appearance of your restaurant.
For instance, the feature allows you to create wood or tile floors, add plants or even feature a bar with stools around it. With this feature, you will also be able to specify the types of chairs you have at the various tables. Mapping out the floor plan in your App makes it easier for you to manage the various tables in the establishment.
In order to make informed decisions for your business, you will need all the facts and figures on the business. Collecting such data manually can be hectic and time-consuming. Lightspeed makes this easier for you by incorporating extensive reporting capabilities.
While the reporting capabilities of this system are not as comprehensive as those offered by some of the best restaurant POS systems, they are just sufficient for smaller restaurants. To begin with, Lightspeed allows you to view receipts and revenue by the hour, week, day or even month.
Other capabilities of this feature include custom product and product category information and monitoring for specific cash registers. The system also offers detailed user tracking to get a comprehensive overview of your employees’ activities.
If you happen to have medium to large Lightspeed subscription plan, you can also add advanced reporting capabilities to your POS. This comes at an additional cost, of course. In this regard, you are required to pay about $29 per month for each register to get advanced POS reporting capabilities.
An increasing number of restaurants today are embracing the concept of mobile payments. Tableside payment processing has been proven to reduce wait times and offer flexible payment options for the customers.
The Lightspeed integrated payments offer your business an array of beneficial tools, including:
- PCI Compliance – allows you to process store and transmit credit card information electronically in a safe and secure manner.
- Payment Methods – makes it possible to accept an array of payment options, including cash as well as credit and debit card payments. This allows you to offer your customers more flexibility.
- EMV Compatibility – allows you to accept EMC chip cards for payments whilst keeping card information safe and secure.
- Easy Refunds - You do not need to ask your customers for their cards again whenever you are processing refunds.
- Omnichannel – whether it is in the store or for online shopping, you will be able to offer your customers the same flexibility, with regards to payment options.
This is another feature that is unique to the Lightspeed POS and is very beneficial to restaurants. Although the feature is still in its Beta development mode, it has proven its essence in the hospitality industry.
In its functioning, the Timed Events feature makes it possible for you to set offers and promotions to run for a certain period on specific days. For instance, you may program the system to run a 20 percent off offer on Tuesdays and a Half-price discount on Fridays.
With this feature, you can as well set multiple offers to run at the same time. In such a case, you will be required to indicate which of the offers should be prioritized over others. For example, you could have a 20%-Off on Tuesdays offer, but adjust the discount to 40 percent, for purchases made between 4 and 6 o’clock.
Ready to Use Lightspeed In Your Restaurant?
As far as customization and scalability go, few restaurant points of sale systems can beat the capabilities of the Lightspeed POS. As you have learned throughout this review, this system has several unique and highly beneficial features for restaurants.
In addition to a horde of basic restaurant POS features, Lightspeed has several other features and capabilities you will not find in any other POS today. The system is also compatible with a wide array of payment processors and works seamlessly with tens of integrations.
Such aspects make Lightspeed the versatile and scalable POS system you need for your restaurant business.