If you’re considering a tablet-based upgrade your POS system, you might be wondering where the best place for your tablets would be. In the servers’ hands? In the kitchen? The front desk? All of the above?
We’ve identified 4 places tablets can give your restaurant a boost. Adding tablets to these crucial touch points in your restaurant can increase sales, improve efficiency, engage customers, encourage repeat business, and create a better overall experience for guests and staff alike.
A wireless connection from the wait staff to the cooks can save a considerable amount of time. Servers no longer have to walk to the nearest POS terminal to enter order information.
Tablets also offer wireless payment and receipt options – which is an opportunity to capture your customer’s email addresses – or connections to multiple printers in the restaurant so servers can print checks without returning to the nearest kiosk.
While this new-and-improving technology can streamline your operations, restaurant managers shouldn’t be too quick to replace staff with digital devices. Implementing tablets into your operation will take some time, and computers can’t replicate the experience of person-to-person interaction. (Yet.)
Choosing a tablet-based operating system can also reduce equipment and update costs compared to traditional POS systems. The savings can be significant for new restaurants, but the cost of a transition might be intimidating for restaurants with an existing POS system.
As OpenForum points out, the Pink Rose Restaurant & Lounge in Portland, Ore., opted for an iPad-based system that cost about $6,000. The owner said that a traditional POS system would have cost $15,000 to $20,000, and would not include the free and frequent updates available through the tablets.
Tablets can improve operations for your back-of-house crew as well as the serving staff. “There’s only so much productivity you can gain from FOH [tablet] uses,” says National Restaurant Association executive vice president and general counsel Dave Matthews. “There are actually more back-of-house uses that have an impact on productivity and profitability.”
With a mobile POS system, management and kitchen staff can also monitor things like inventory levels, the freshness of their ingredients, and sales data in real time. Tablets can also be used to automate and track details like freezer temperatures, cleaning schedules, HAACP compliance and more. Finally, managers and staff can adjust schedules and shifts, also in real time, from any smart device.
In addition to the back-of-house applications listed above, tablets can ease operations in the kitchen too.
Instead of reading and discarding dozens of paper tickets per night, a portable touchscreen interface can display all of the information your chefs need to complete their orders, as well as a running clock to monitor preparation times. While some considerations have to be made for challenging kitchen conditions, the benefits are clear.
We have written in detail about the benefits of tabletop ordering systems, and those benefits still apply to restaurateurs willing to invest in these upgrades. As a reminder, tabletop tablet benefits include:
Giving guests control. Ordering from a tablet at their table allows guests to enter special requests, substitutions, and flag ingredients for food allergies. Also, studies show that guests who order via tablet often spend more per order, thanks to the ability to customize and add to their selections.
Data collection. Tablet orders provide all kinds of information, including what your customers are ordering, when they order it, how they like to pay and more. Monitoring and analyzing this data can lead to new marketing opportunities and more efficient restaurant operations.
Staff focused on customer experience. Connecting guests directly to the kitchen with a tabletop ordering system allows wait staff to expedite orders quickly and ensure guests are enjoying their visit.