Lightspeed Restaurant has established itself as one of the most trusted POS systems for restaurants, cafes and bars. Is is right for your business?
Lightspeed Restaurant is a specialist POS system for small-to-medium sized businesses in the food and hospitality sector. Unlike more generic options, Lightspeed Restaurant is designed specifically to make the day-to-day management of your restaurant, cafe or bar easier – no matter how busy you get.
Aside from a payment interface, you get specialist features for managing stock, staff and maximising the number of sales. In this regard, Lightspeed Restaurant is much more than a simple POS system and this review is going to help you decide whether this is the software solution for your business.
Lightspeed Restaurant has established itself as one of the most trusted POS systems for restaurants, cafes and bars. This platform aims to cater for the busiest food and drinks spots, providing you tools you need to keep the orders and payments coming in until every table in your place is full.
Lightspeed understands that your POS software should never get in the way of taking and processing orders or payments. Quite the opposite, in fact. Your POS platform should enhance your business’ ability to deliver a consistent quality of service for every customer, even when you’re at your busiest – and Lightspeed Restaurant is designed to make those busiest moments easier to manage.
Lightspeed Restaurant is packed full of features to help you manage your business, deliver the smoothest possible service and cap it all off with seamless payments. Lightspeed is a hospitality specialist and the company has a good history of developing innovative features and solutions for everyday business problems.
Lightspeed Restaurant features are broken down into a series of categories and the four most important are:
Here’s a breakdown of the main features in these four categories.
Aside from these four categories, you also get dedicated features of managing multiple restaurants and extensive reporting to help you maximise the performance of your business.
Lightspeed Restaurant is primarily aimed at busy food and drinks establishments that need more than a basic POS system. So, if you’re a small cafe that only has 10 seats available at any one time, you’ll be better off with a simpler, more affordable platform – and you’ll find plenty of alternative options in our best ePOS systems for restaurants, cafes and bars article.
On the other hand, if you have dozens or hundreds of seats that can fill up during busy periods, then Lightspeed Restaurant is built with you in mind. The platform will allow you to manage busier periods with greater ease, increase profits and reduce issues with stock, orders and service.
All of which should result in less stress, more happy customers and fewer negative reviews.
Pricing for Lightspeed Restaurant starts at £59 per month for the basic plan, which covers you for a single business location. Unfortunately, that’s all the pricing information that Lightspeed provides for its restaurant POS software and you’ll have to call the company’s sales team for pricing for multiple locations and its more advanced plans.
While pricing information is a little on the short side, Lightspeed’s starting prices are very competitive against the competition. For example, TouchBistro will cost you at least £49/mo (+VAT) for a single licence and Toast will set you back $75/mo (roughly £60/mo) for its cheapest plan.
Lightspeed Restaurant is a powerful and accessible platform but availability is limited in some regards. So let’s take a look at which operating systems you can run the system on, the system requirements and the hardware you’ll need to get the best out of this software.
Lightspeed Restaurant’s software is split into two integrated systems – one of which is cloud-based and the other app-based.
FIrst, you have the so-called Manager account, which is a cloud-based system that you can access in most popular web browsers. This gives you access to the back end of the system, allowing you to manage your restaurant and staff. The terminal side, which your staff will use to take orders and payments, operates within the Lightspeed Restaurant app, which is only available on iOS so you’ll need an iPad for this.
So you can access the cloud-based Manager account from web browsers on Windows and Mac computers but you’ll need an iPad for each register you want to run using the Lightspeed app. The Lightspeed Restaurant app does work on iPhones and even the iPod touch but features are drastically reduced.
You can access the back end of Lightspeed Restaurant from any major browser with an internet connection, which makes it accessible from most devices. However, the mobile app requires iOS 12.2 or later and all versions of iPadOS also support the mobile app.
It would be great to see Lightspeed open up its platform to Android devices in the future although it’s worth keeping in mind that the quality and specifications of Android devices can vary greatly. Even still, there are plenty of software providers out there who manage to provide support for Android users, too.
Lightspeed Restaurant comes with a starter kit that provides enough hardware for basic needs and you can buy additional hardware from the company’s website. With the starter kit, you get the following items:
This kit will be enough for a small cafe and you can purchase additional items if you need more points of sale and other hardware options, including a thermal receipt printer, portable receipt printer, label printer, scales, barcode scanner, router and more.
One key piece of hardware we should mention in a device called Unifi, which is a device that enables Lightspeed Restaurant to operate when your internet connection fails. Unfortunately, you still won’t be able to process credit card payments with no connection but Unifi will cover you for most functionality when the internet goes down.
You can see a full list of available hardware here and you’ll need to get in touch with a Lightspeed sales rep for pricing details.
Lightspeed Restaurant offers an impressive range of integrations with third-party tools that can add specialist functionality to your system for accounting, reservations, deliveries, financing, loyalty and a host of other powerful features.
You can find a full list of the integrations here and you’ll have to visit the relevant third-party sites for pricing information.
Lightspeed Restaurant is a powerful platform and this brings a certain amount of complexity to the initial onboarding and technical setup process. When you sign up, you get a one-hour training video to get you started and Lightspeed has a dedicated customer success team in the UK to help you hit the ground running.
You’ll also find an extensive Restaurant Help Center on the Lightspeed website, filled with guides and documentation to help you setup and use the platform. And, if you run into any problems, Lightspeed has a 24/7 support team in the UK that you can contact via phone or email.
Once you’re over the initial setup period, the first thing you’ll notice about Lightspeed Restaurant is how simple and easy-to-use the interface is.
Despite all of the capabilities packed into this platform, Lightspeed has excelled at designing an ecosystem that you can pick up and start using right away.
The web app is designed equally as well and this is the interface where you’ll manage the day-to-day running of your business. You can add new users, organise floors and tables, manage products and inventory, create menus and customise your settings.
All in all, Lightspeed is an excellent piece of software in terms of usability and integration with hardware.
Lightspeed generally performs very well in reviews and its dedicated restaurant POS is no exception. You’ll have no problem finding positive feedback and some constructive criticism on some of the most trusted software review platforms.
At the time of writing, Lightspeed Restaurant has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on g2.com. As you would expect, the feedback is highly positive with many users praising the software itself and the company’s customer service. Here are some typical reviews from G2:
“Reliable and cost effective POS for restaurants. Very user friendly interface allows quick and efficient training of new staff being trained on cash responsibilities.” – Pascal S
“While there are pros and cons, the pros far outweigh the cons. It’s easy to use, intuitive, and best of all, THEY LISTEN. It doesn’t take 10,000 customers complaining to get Lightspeed to make a change. Their support is excellent.” – Andrew from the Fish Eye Grill, Dec 2019
“Best POS app on the market. Period. Even without including their customer service(which is outstanding). I’ve been recommending it to everyone since and will continue to do so !” – Alexandra D
“The customer service is outstanding, and offered hands-on support with our setup.” – Daniel Y
You’ll find plenty of reviews saying much the same the same thing with the occasional reference to minor bugs or certain feature requests.
Negative reviews are a little more difficult to find but no software platform is perfect. At the time of writing, Lightspeed also has a score of 4.5 out of 5 on Trustpilot but we can filter reviews to get an idea of what unhappy customers have complained about and make sure they are referring to the Restaurant version as reviews for the Retail and eCommerce POS are combined.
In most cases, complaints revolve around customer service issues and this is something you’re always going to find with any software provider. However, the overwhelming majority of customers appear very happy with the standard of service and it’s quite rare that positive reviews outweigh complaints for POS providers.
One of the biggest complaints in the past has been limited offline functionality but Lightspeed has implemented a technology called TrueSync into its platform that keeps the platform working should your internet connection drop. There are some caveats to this, though. You need to pay for additional hardware to power offline functionality and you still won’t be able to process credit card payments without an internet connection.
Aside from that, the main issue with Lightspeed Restaurant is that it’s only available on Apple devices and Lightspeed’s dedicated hardware. There’s no support for Microsoft or Android, which may rule this out as an option for some businesses.
Given the fact that the majority of reviews talk about excellent customer service and it’s difficult to find complaints about the software itself, even the worst Lightspeed Restaurant reviews don’t give us much cause for concern.
“Overall the software is good, but customer service is non-existent and the default position always seems to be it’s your fault.” – Trustpilot review by Darren Hector
“The system is not steady and often flits in and out of service. Also trying to get a replacement printer as our is faulty is like pulling teeth! Customer service response is slow and if its serious then the Canadian side deal with the issue extremely slowly.” – Trustpilot review by Hannah
Lightspeed has worked hard on its software offerings in recent years so the list of issues has shrunk significantly. You may find older reviews that mention crashes and a lack of offline functionality but Lightspeed has addressed a lot of these issues with updates, new features and improved hardware.
As we mentioned earlier, Lightspeed provides 24/7 customer support in the UK (and other countries) via phone and you can also get in touch through email. You also have a customer success team in the UK, which is tasked with helping you get the best out of the software and integrated hardware.
Then, there’s the extensive Restaurant Help Center on the Lightspeed website, filled with guides and documentation to help you set up and use the platform.
As far as quality goes, Lightspeed has one of the most impressive portfolios of positive reviews from existing customers and this leaves us feeling quite confident about the company’s dedication to keeping its customers happy.
We have to agree with the general consensus from Lightspeed’s existing customers and award it with an impressive score of 4.5 out of 5. Sure, there are some areas where the platform could be improved but Lightspeed gets so much right when any experienced restaurant owner knows how difficult it can be to choose a POS system that truly meets their needs.
Yes, we would like to see the Lightspeed app available on Android and it would be great to have offline functionality without needing to pay for extra hardware.
All things considered, Lightspeed works out a touch more expensive than its direct rivals but you quickly forget this once you start using the software. The overall design and ease-of-use makes this a tool that genuinely empowers your business and rarely feels like it’s getting in the way, which is a common problem for many POS systems.
Copyright © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2021
Merchant Savvy is a division of VUBO Ltd (Company Number 09017066).
Address: Spaces, 9 Greyfriars Rd, Reading, RG1 1NU.