Welcome to this comprehensive review of Upserve POS. Having been in the bar and restaurant industry for more than 30 years now, and having used more than a couple dozen POS systems, I have to say that the Upserve POS system is one of the more impressive ones I’ve come across. But as always, when researching the best POS or Point-of-Sale Systems for restaurants, it’s important that first and foremost you consider what’s best for you and your business.
In addition, make sure to get a demo for every POS system you are considering so you can be thorough. This is the fastest and most accurate way to see how the system works and to find the answers you’re looking for. After all, your POS system is the central nervous system of your bar and restaurant, so don’t take this lightly.
Now, I’m going to remove the suspense and simply answer the question to the headline of this article (“is Upserve POS really the best”, in case you have the attention span of a Labrador puppy chasing butterflies). The answer is yes, Upserve is the best restaurant POS system for full-sized bars and restaurants. Sorry to all the contenders out there, but this is how I feel.
With that said, Upserve is no longer going to be Upserve heading into 2023. Yes, you read that correct. For those who don’t know, Upserve was purchased by the good people at Lightspeed POS back in 2019. As good as Upserve is, this is actually great news. If you go back and watch my Top 5 POS systems back in 2021, I have Upserve listed at the #1 spot and Lightspeed listed as #4. Now the two systems are merging into one, which makes it a super-powered POS system. This is hands down the best POS system on the market now.
Not only can Upserve handle the full-service restaurants and chains, but Lightspeed’s expertise is in the small to mid-sized restaurant sector, so now they are able to reach anyone and everyone who wants an amazing POS system. In addition, Lightspeed is in approximately 100 countries, whereas Upserve was only in the U.S. Everything about this merge is great, so I’m doing a review for Upserve for those of you searching for Upserve POS reviews, but really it’s becoming so much more than that, which is super-duper, extra-dandy exciting.
So I know it’s a bit confusing at this point, but throughout the review, I’ll be referring to Upserve as “Upserve by Lightspeed” but I’ll also just call it Upserve. I’m not quite ready at this point to just call it Lightspeed, but that will be changing soon.
Ok, back to the review. Because of its combined ease of use, performance, support and return on investment you get because of its remarkable analytics and ability to track repeat customers, Upserve by Lightspeed is easily the best overall POS system on the market.
So, let’s get into it. In this review of Upserve POS, we are going to cover the following:
- Pros & Cons
- Customer Support
- The Onboarding Process
At any time, you can click below to sign-up for an Upserve demo with an expert. This way you can see exactly how it works and ask all the questions you need to ask to make sure Upserve POS is a good fit for you and your business.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Because I do love Upserve/Lightspeed and therefore send them quite a bit of traffic, Upserve has generously offered to provide my readers with a great offer. When you use any of the links in this article to sign-up for a demo, you will received $2,000 off your hardware if/when you sign-up with them. In addition, I receive a small commission for anyone who signs up through my links. Thank you, I do appreciate it, but I do not do favorable reviews for a commission. All of my reviews are my personal opinion in order to help you find the best products and services for your business. With that said, I digress…
Upserve/Lightspeed POS Overall Rating
Upserve/Lightspeed POS Overview
Upserve, originally named Swipely, was named by Forbes magazine as one of “America’s Most Promising Companies” in 2013. Swipely, a loyalty platform for local merchants, acquired Breadcrumb POS from Groupon and rebranded into what Upserve is today. And of course I just explained how it has now been acquired by Lightspeed because Lightspeed didn’t want to compete with them, when they themselves have such a handle on the smaller restaurant venues, hotels and retail. So they bought Upserve out and now they have it all.
Currently, Upserve by Lightspeed provides a restaurant management platform and cloud-based Restaurant POS System (for both Android and IOS) that is nothing short of a fantastic all-in-one solution. Along with a remarkably east-to-use and intuitive interface, it provides payment processing, point of sale, and remarkable insights to boost margins like gasoline on a bonfire.
Why Upserve by Lightspeed is Different?
Unlike many POS companies, which were started by tech industry moguls, Upserve was started and built by former restaurant managers, bartenders and servers. In other words, they’ve made their POS system with the employees in mind. In addition, it is truly an all-in-one solution. I know that sounds as cliche and overused as the phrase “low-hanging fruit” but it really is that powerful. It includes platforms for payment processing, point of sale, and reports that show extensive labor, menu and marketing insights.
In addition, inventory is made easier because of its menu intelligence feature that tells owners which products sell best, which ones need more marketing, and which ones don’t give profit.
Who Should Use Upserve by Lightspeed?
Upserve POS works great for any sized restaurant, but they’re specialty is:
- Independent full-service restaurants
- Family restaurants
- Bars and clubs
- Restaurant groups
If you plan on running a serious business and not just a hobby, then should definitely take a hard look at Upserve.
If you are a smaller business and you’re working on a shoestring budget, you can click here to see my recommendation for best Free Restaurant POS system: GoTab.
Ease of Use – Excellent
Upserve by Lightspeed POS is one of the more intuitive and easy-to-use POS systems on the market. This is mainly because of what I mentioned earlier about the system being created by actually restaurant industry people who were able to anticipate the hiccups and inefficiencies of POS systems they used to work with. This allows the staff, management and the owner to focus on making money instead of hunting around the screen for a solution.
This is because the interface is straightforward and navigation throughout is simple. In addition, Upserve POS also offers a convenient Training Mode that can be operated without taking the system offline, which means new employees can practice and learn the system without ringing up real orders and having to void them off.
Moreover, the system’s mobility makes order processing easier and fuss-free. With a couple of taps and swipes of a finger, you can edit, modify, or delete items from the checks. Employees can also change seating, specify how many guests at each table, and make notes for each order.
In addition, the POS system is highly customizable. Chefs and business owners can easily create a variety of menu items and organize them as you want. Also, Upserve allows for easy editing of items so popular items are easier to find.
Upserve by Lightspeed Features – Excellent
The system’s extensive features allows both the staff and guests to have an optimal experience from the moment the guests sit down to the moment they rise happily from the table and walk out the door.
Features vary based on which plan the restaurant chooses. The Pro Plan includes just about every feature you can imagine, but the Core Plan is not far behind. With Upserve, both your Front of the House and Back of the House operations will run as smooth as butterscotch pudding. Check it out:
Table and Seat Management
With Upserve, you have complete control over your tables and seats, including which tables are still open and which ones are occupied. This allows servers to place orders by seat, making it easy to create separate checks for groups. The POS system also offers a SmartCoursing tool that allows you to pre-assign menu items to certain meal courses so dishes are served in the correct sequence. This times how long customers have to wait to receive their orders and estimate the time for table turnover, which, in the long run, allows you to measure the efficiency of the restaurant.
All of these features come with Upserve HQ. Upserve HQ is Upserves’ restaurant management platform that connects your point of sale, payments, and business insights tools. Basically, Upserve HQ runs directly through your POS software to keep all information in one place. This includes features such as server performance data & labor reporting, marketing campaigns & promotions, reputation management, sales trends, performance, and reports.
Aside from this, the Upserve HQ also features the usual front-of-house tasks such as void & comp, check, and menu intelligence, payment tracking, the guest book, loyalty program development, and online ordering.
As mentioned earlier, one of the best things about Upserve POS is how fully-customizable it is. What’s great though is that Upserve will set-up your entire, menu, help train your employees, and install all of your hardware and payment processor, all for free. Upserve also shows you how to program your menu so that any future updates you need to do on your own will be easy-peasy.
Menus are fully customizable, including pictures and descriptions, and servers can search for menu items by individual item or category. Upserve really sets itself apart here, as menu customization can be as painful as medieval torture, but Upserve helps you the entire way.
In addition, with admin permission, anyone can edit and customize the floor and table layout by simply touching the screen and dragging tables wherever they want to place them. New tables and bar seats can be added and placed on the screen, matching the exact layout of your restaurant, including how many seats each table contains.
Upserve also offers real-time, ingredient-level inventory tracking. While it is available as an add-on for Upserve POS’ Core plan, it’s already integrated with Upserve’s Pro and Pro Plus Plans.
The inventory tracking shows food costs and availability for each menu item. It also features a vendor management tool and timesaving purchase ordering. Once stock levels drop below your assigned thresholds, the system automatically creates purchase orders that you can approve and send in just a mere second.
For alcohol and liquor, the system can track liquor consumption and its analytics can help you predict any reorders. However, Upserve POS also includes a variety of third-party add-ons such as BarVision, BeerSaver, and BeerBoard.
Employee Management and Scheduling
Upserve also allows for restaurant owners and entrepreneurs to track their employee hours with the built-in time clock. The in-app bulletin board can also feature your employees clock-ins. Employee Workforce allows managers to create schedules, message shifts and shift changes to employees, as well as view and track labor costs.
The Training Mode is by far, one of the best employee management features Upserve has. This allows new servers and bartenders to practice using the POS system by ringing up menu items without those items being sent to the kitchen or needing to void those items off later. In addition, the register screen has a Shift Notes feature that owners can use to message staff through the POS system. These Shift Notes show up on the POS home screen so when the staff clocks in, they can see 86’d items, daily specials or any other news that management wants to share.
Upserve live is Upserve’s app that gives owners the ability to access all reporting functions from any device. In this way, owners and managers can check on sales and real-time data from anywhere, at any time. This convenient feature allows owners and managers to monitor and, if necessary respond, to how the restaurant is doing from a data standpoint from home or while on vacation. In addition, you can view multiple locations with a single tap of the finger.
Upserve HQ is now called “Advanced Insights” inside the Lightspeed back office, and it is the analytics platform that organizes all the data in once place and allows management to do things like generate reports, customize the menu, add new employees, and access the Reputation Management feature. With Advanced Insights, you can customize permissions for each employee role to allow access for some and deny access to others. You can also access these insights directly from the Live app.
Upserve POS’ Guest Book creates customer profiles for every customer who pays using a credit card. It gathers data from each visit and your servers can add notes. In this way, you can create their dining experience better and more personalized. Aside from this, the data gathered can easily be integrated into any marketing campaigns you have in mind. In addition, when customers sign up for a loyalty card, it’s linked to their credit card, making it easy for automatic rewards and discounts.
Another great tool for customer management is Upserve’s campaigns feature, which allows employers and entrepreneurs to analyze specific time frames for events such as happy hour. This allows you to check how effective promotions are. The POS system also includes data that tells you how often customers come back, making it a great tool for target marketing.
Splitting Checks and Items
Upserve’s restaurant POS system allows servers to merge, transfer, and split checks with lightening-like efficiency, even when the check they’re splitting is between cash and card payments. The split option will even split an individual menu item, like a bottle of wine, doing the math for the employee so they don’t have to.
One of the most common setbacks to using a cloud-based POS system is how internet-reliant it is. Slow internet often equates to slower service, and slower service, more often than not, results in lower customer returns. This is not a problem for Upserve’s POS System. It’s Offline Mode allows you to serve customers, send orders to the kitchen, take credit card payments, and print receipts even without the internet. Once the connection is re-established, all credit card payments will be sent to merchant accounts to process payment.
We talked about this a couple paragraphs ago, but the Training Mode allows new hires to be trained and be able to ring in orders without those orders being sent to the kitchen or having to “comp” the order so it doesn’t show up on your sales. The Training Mode makes it easier for new hires to adapt to the system without jeopardizing the existing data in the app. It also helps that Upserve’s user interface is relatively easy to use and totally adaptable.
This is another feature I absolutely love, as it is not only unique, but immensely valuable when it comes to managing your restaurant’s reputation. With the Reputation Management tool, Upserve is able to gather and alert management to reviews that are happening across the web, including reviews from Yelp, Google Local, OpenTable and Trip Advisor.
Once a review comes in, you will be alerted so you are able to read the review immediately and respond if necessary. Not only that, with the Reputation Management tool, you can see and read reviews about other restaurants in your area. A remarkable tool that gives you a huge advantage over your competition.
Upserve Reporting and Analytics – Excellent
Ok, let’s talk about the analytics. Ohhhhhhh, the analytics (imagine Homer Simpson – head tilted back, drool running from his mouth down his chin). There’s no other POS system like it, and just thinking about it gets the butterflies fluttering in my tummy.
You know a restaurant POS system is special when it tells you how to make more money. Upserve not only provides all the reporting functionality of every other POS out there, but using customer data and insights, Upserve is able to tell you exactly who comes in, how often they come in, what they like to order, how much they spend, and how much they tip. Everything in Upserve’s reporting and analytics is going to greatly help increase your restaurant profits.
In addition, Upserve insights allow owners and managers to understand and manage costs, scheduling, and employee productivity better. That means less time spent over-analyzing complicated reports results in significant time that can be allotted in increasing customer satisfaction. Let’s go over just a few things that Upserve reporting and analytics can do for you.
One of my favorite reporting features of Upserve’s POS system is its Menu Intelligence. Upserve’s menu analytics can tell you not only what your hottest selling items are, but which items get first time customers to come back again. It can also tell you your most profitable items and which ones get ordered a lot but are actually losing you money. Knowing which menu items sell faster gives the owner an idea of which products need to be marketed more.
The screenshot below shows Upserve’s Magic Quadrant. As you can see, it divides the menu items into four different categories: Greatest Hits, Hidden Gems, One Hit Wonders and Underperformers. The further up you go on the quadrant, the more those menu items succeeded in getting customers to return. The further right you go on the quadrant, the more popular the menu item.
Obviously the Greatest Hits are where we want our menu items to land because they are popular (ordered a lot), and they get guests to come back again. Hidden Gems get the customers to come back, but for some reason those menu items don’t get ordered as much, so perhaps we need better descriptions on the menu. One Hit Wonders get ordered a lot, but guests don’t return as much, so these are not the best menu items in terms of likability. And of course, Underperformers simply need to be removed because they aren’t being ordered much and they aren’t getting guests to return. This is an extremely powerful tool, and super easy to analyze.
Another amazing tool is housed in the sales insights section of the POS system. Yes, Upserve has all of the typical sales reporting data that shows you your sales over a chosen period of time, as well as comparing sales against other periods of time (i.e. 2021 vs. 2022, or May vs. June), but they also include a “Time-of-Day” heat map that shows you the busiest times during each day of the week.
As you can see in the screenshot above, the darker times represent higher sales and therefore the busiest times. This allows management to plan accordingly to create specials or promotions during the “lighter” parts of this heat map. For instance, on Tuesday from 10:00 AM and throughout the day, they are dead. This is a time to send out a text marketing message or do some sort of promotion to get more people in. This is a wicked-insightful tool for helping improve your business and increase your sales.
Server Insights allow you to see who your strongest servers are by using a Server Score Card to analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Each server and bartender will have their own Score Card, which will allow you to analyze how they measure up against their peers by viewing a history of their performance in overall sales, sales per cover, table-turn time, voids and discounts. The Report Card even shows if they are selling more bar items or food items so you can help them focus on boosting one or the other.
With Server Insights, you are able to schedule the stronger servers on the busier shifts, as well as identify which staff members need extra training. You can even pair a stronger server with a weaker one to help improve their performance. With a tool like this, training becomes easier because you’re able to identify who needs it the most.
Seeing as “the customer is king”, this is possibly the most instrumental tool for your success. I want you to imagine being able to provide a fully customizable experience for every single guest that walks through your door. Remember that movie Minority Report with Tom Cruise? It takes place in the future and there’s a scene where Mr. Cruise is walking into a store and the powers-that-be recognize Tom with an eye scan and they start showing holographic images of things this character likes, trying to cater to him.
Yes, that’s a little creepy, but we all know it’s already happening online. Things we search for suddenly appear on web pages we are on. With Upserve’s Customer Insights it’s not nearly as creepy though. These insights simply have the customer data from their credit card from the many times they have come in. That means you can see how often they come in, what they order the most, how much money they spend, their total visits, their lifetime value, and even how much they tip on average.
With information like this, you can create an experience for your best guests and make them want to return to your place even more often than they already do.
This is only a taste of what Upserve can do when it comes to reports and analytics, but I’m going to stop there for now because we all have lives we need to get back to. Make sure to have an Upserve rep show you everything it can do during your live demo.
Upserve Pros and Cons
As you’ll see below, the pros not only far outweigh the cons, but the cons could all easily have asterisks next to them because they aren’t really all that “conny” at all (I’m aware that’s not a word, but it totally should be). I’ll explain further after you go through them.
- Built by restaurant people for restaurant people
- Extremely intuitive and easy-to-use for both FOH and BOH
- Perfect for any sized bar/restaurant
- Available on both iOS and Android devices
- Upserve HQ allows you to manage and view your reports from anywhere 24/7
- Reporting and analytics is head and shoulders above the rest
- Loaded with features
- Multiple integrations
- Offline mode
- Excellent support
The Pros are basically everything we’ve been talking about up to this point, seeing as Upserve is loaded with just about everything you could possibly ever want in a POS system.
- It used to be price here, but since Lightspeed came in, they are able to accommodate all sized restaurant budgets.
- You must use their payment processing
- Used to be U.S. based only but not anymore, so not a con now.
To finish up with the cons: 1) Yes, Upserve is a bit pricier on the surface, but many other POS systems need add-ons and integrations just to catch up to Upserve, which can be pricey. 2) It’s true that you must use Upserve’s payment processing, but this is how they capture the amazing data they gather from the credit card payments so you can run a more intelligent business.
Upserve by Lightspeed Pricing – Very Good
I want to make sure you understand something before you base your buying decisions on pricing alone (and this goes for anything you are considering purchasing, not just a POS system). Just because something is more expensive, it doesn’t mean you will lose money. And just because something is less expensive, it doesn’t always mean it’s low quality. For instance, I love GoTab POS and it’s a free system for you to use. With that said, let’s talk about how much Upserve costs.
In this case, Upserve’s pricing appears to be pricier than some of the other POS systems you’ll find on the market, and this is true. However, the bang-for-your-buck can’t be overstated. As I mention throughout this post, Upserve’s ability to achieve an incredibly high ROI (Return on Investment) more than makes up for the apparent higher price tag. You will actually make more money using Upserve than you will with any other POS system on the market.
This is a screenshot of their pricing page, but you can click here to go view all of the features you get for each pricing tier. Next we’ll go over the hardware pricing.
Upserve POS is available for both Apple and Android devices since it is tablet-based. That said, it’s perfectly acceptable and convenient to have the software match hardware that you can easily purchase via third-party or directly through them. Upserve Tableside is the POS system’s tablet-device and is a purpose-built tablet that allows servers to process both orders and payments table-side.
As for other hardware, restaurant owners can easily purchase them directly from Upserve’s website. Hardware like Meraki networking gear, Epson printer solutions and the Kitchen Display system can be easily ordered in the website.
The POS system also offers a fully-integrated EMV solution. The EMV reader will operate on Bluetooth and works as an addition to the current terminal and card swiper.
Hardware Pricing (the Last Time We Checked)
- Upserve POS Terminal: $1,350
- Upserve Tableside Mobile POS: $499.99
- Lightspeed iPad Stand: $219.99
- Credit Card Swiper for iOS Terminal: $104.99
- Upserve Cash Drawer: $179.99.
- Wireless Thermal Receipt Printer: $279.99
- Kitchen Display System Touchscreen Monitor: $449.99
Don’t forget that if you go through the links here on this page to sign-up for a demo, you will get $2,000 off the hardware if/when you sign-up.
Upserve Integrations – Very Good
As I mentioned earlier, Upserve is completely customizable. That said, there are more than 40 variations available for both Core and Pro plans. Third-party integrations include software for accounting, payroll, marketing, reporting, reservations, and gift cards.
Owners can go to the Upserve Marketplace to shop for integrations. Here are some examples:
- Restaurant Management: Avero, Venga, CTUIT, Restaurant 365, Peachworks, Compeat
- Inventory: Orca, BevSpot, Bevager, BeerSAVER
- Accounting: Shogo, KitchenSync, RSI, Plate IQ
- Time Clock/Scheduling: Dolce, Homebase, Better Chains, Gusto, 7Shifts
- Online Ordering/Delivery: Chowly, GrubHub, Zuppler, Open Dining Network, Menufy
- Reservations: OpenTable, Resy, NextMe, Tock
- Gift cards: Swipe It, Opticard, The Customer Connection
Don’t forget that Upserve is limited in its payment processing options, meaning it doesn’t give you the ability to work with other payment providers or merchant services. This is a definite downside for those who have their hearts set on their own payment processors, but really this actually turns into an advantage because remember: Upserve uses all the credit card information in order to gather those amazing customer insights we looked at earlier and you can use that data to make intelligent decisions and increase sales.
Upserve Customer Support – Excellent
Before we tackle Upserve’s customer support, let me just say this: POS companies suck. Does that shake your confidence some? Most likely, it doesn’t shock most of you in the least. In fact, if I were to throw a rock into a crowd of restaurant owners and managers, it would be nearly impossible not to hit someone who hasn’t had a negative experience with a POS company.
Why is that? Well, first off, we’re talking about technology, and learning new technology can be difficult for many so the need to be educated is VAST. In other words, the need for answers and help is in a lot higher demand than the supply of support from a technology company. That’s not making excuses for the company. It’s just a fact.
With that said, Upserve’s customer support is excellent and continues to make concerted efforts to be even better. Anytime I receive personal complaints from Upserve customers who either email me or put a comment on my YouTube channel, I contact Upserve and they immediately track down the customer and the rep helping them. They even hired ten new customer service reps one time when I showed them an email from someone stating that the wait times were too long. They truly care about their customers and want to make sure they are taken care of. I’ve seen it firsthand.
Upserve offers 24/7/365 U.S.-based customer support for all of their software plans, as well as numerous ways to contact support representatives.
In addition, there are a boatload of training videos and help desk knowledge base available on the Upserve website. Upserve POS system’s onboarding team easily teaches and gives assistance when setting up the POS. Speaking of onboarding, let’s talk about…
The Onboarding Process – What Happens After Signing-Up?
In other words, once you commit and sign the contract, what then? Most POS review sites won’t dive into what the onboarding process looks like after signing up, but they should. I will say that making the decision on which POS system to go with is probably the hardest part, but once that decision is made it’s not like purchasing a vacuum cleaner. You can’t just plug it in and start using it.
So what kind and how many hoops do you have to jump through in order to be up and running? Well, depending on the restaurant and how much hardware they need, their menu size, as well as their wifi connection and a number of other factors, Upserve claims it takes about 2 – 4 weeks until you’re ready to go live. In the spirit of full transparency, here’s a quick screenshot of what that looks like.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, Upserve POS is, for me, easily the best overall POS system because of everything it has to offer. The POS system is fully customizable, with features like table-side ordering and checkout, kitchen display system, online ordering, loyalty program, inventory management, employee scheduling, reputation management, Upserve HQ, Upserve Payments, and Upserve Live (phew!). What it comes down to is that it’s easy to use, highly efficient, and highly intelligent, and it’s going to help streamline your business and help you make a lot of money.
With that said, it is a bit pricier compared to some other POS systems on the market, so you’ll need to decide if the insights Upserve provides is able to get you the return on investment you need in order to justify the slightly higher price.
Thanks for being here. I’m going to see you next time.