New update as of 8-29-17, Lightspeed Restaurant has fully launched gift cards as of a few weeks ago.  And with the holiday season coming up, they couldn’t have chosen a better time.  They now offer a website to purchase gift cards on, making it easy to select what you need, and for the correct system.  It’s also easy to order internationally, since Lightspeed is in Canada, and their printer is in the US.  The site allows you to switch currencies to see what things will actually cost you. 

New update as of 5-16-17, Lightspeed has lauched gift cards in a beta test with their most recent release of Lightspeed Restaurant.  The next product update will offer a full release of the gift card functionalities.  If you have Lightspeed Restaurant, and want to get in on the Beta test, click this link:  Lightspeed Restaurant Beta Test.

Not yet released, but the immensely popular Lightspeed POS software is finally releasing gift cards for it’s Lightspeed Restaurant software.

Lightspeed, one of the giants in mPOS retail solutions, has had some real success since the launch of their restaurant POS.  But like so many POS systems, there’s a limited amount of features you can cram into something by it’s launch day.  We had known this was coming, but it looks like it’s rapidly approaching.  We’re looking forward to seeing the possibilities this provides to customers, who’ve been waiting for this function too. Gift cards represented almost $10 Billion in 2016, and restaurants will be eager to cash in on this trend.

Restaurants are one of the businesses that benefit most from gift cards.  When used properly, gift cards can make a huge impact in sales, and retention of customers.  Gift cards are a $100 billion dollar business in the US these days.  So restaurants will definitely want to cash in!  Gift cards are also an excellent way to increase customer loyalty.  Often it’s as simple as offering gift cards for customers joining a mailing list.  Or using your gift cards as giveaways for local charitable organizations.

Also unclear, is how Lightspeed Restaurant interfaces with loyalty plugins like Thirdshelf and Appcard.  I’m sure I’ll have an update on that soon enough for you.

Lightspeed Restaurant

A newer version of Lightspeed than the traditional Retail and Onsite versions.  Lightspeed Restaurant has quickly become a favorite among small to medium sized restaurants looking to help control costs.  Like any good POS system, Lightspeed Restaurant allows you to keep track of your staff, customize reports, and offer the personalized experience customers demand these days.  Since Lightspeed is iPad based, it also allows you to take orders right at the table! This is an excellent  tool for servers, ensuring accuracy right from the beginning.  Just another way Lightspeed shows it’s customer focus.

Lightspeed has been so focused on their Omnichannel offerings in recent years, it’s nice to see that they’re putting a similar effort into their restaurant product.  Since restaurants rarely dabble in E-Commerce, it’s rare for them to need the full omnichannel support. But the restaurant POS industry is growing much more competitive, especially the mPOS side.  With Toast sourcing an additional $101M in capital in recent months, alongside Revel Systems, and TouchBistro, who are partnering with delivery services.  It’s important that Lightspeed keeps up to date, and offers their clients something new to get excited about every so often.

If you’re looking for POS Software, make sure you check out Lightspeed here.

Competitive Marketplace

As I mentioned before, both TouchBistro, and Toast POS have gotten major influxes of capital in recent months.  These companies that were small players until recently, are storming up in the ranks.  Joined by other plucky insurgents like Clover, these companies, who were a footnote 2 years ago, are now major players in the restaurant POS game.  And they’re attacking the base that Legacy POS providers like Aloha and Digital Dining had worked so hard to cultivate.  Legacy POS has been hurting, as it’s very expensive to start up with, and restaurants so often have a limited amount of capital to open their doors with.  And since mPOS providers like Lightspeed and Revel Systems offer such inexpensive setup costs, as well as excellent service, and free upgrades, the monthly fees feel less invasive than large expenditures every few years.

With mPOS exploding the way it is, rumor has it companies like Lightspeed, Revel, Toast, and TouchBistro, are looking forward to the prospect of an IPO.  With the kind of revenue behind them, I imagine they’re all hoping to take off like their competitor Square.  Square (SQ)  which is run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, had an initial IPO of $9 per share, then soared to $25 in recent months.  There was a bit of a slow start, at $2.9 Billion, Square is now cruising at quite the high valuation.  Leaving other mPOS companies wondering if they can do the same?

Only time will tell!

Read more about mPOS and other restaurant POS blogs here.

Cole Goebel
Cole Goebel is a POS Industry insider. He's an expert in encoding and barcode data, and has a great knowledge of POS integrations. Cole currently works at Plastic Printers in Minnesota, where he's the Channel Manager. He works directly with POS providers to deliver gift, and loyalty cards to their clients.

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