Ryan Williams
Jeremy Julian

Mobile Apps & Technology Changing the Restaurant Game

July 19, 2017

Today, we are continuing our theme of talking mobile apps by showcasing some apps and technology that are changing the way restaurants operate and improve customer experience. In case you missed any of our previous articles, you can check them out here:

 

Rooam – Eliminating the wait to pay
Imagine: you are at a busy bar, standing behind other customers for 15 minutes trying to hail a bartender just to close a check. You get frustrated, you want to leave and you do not want to leave your card or get charged the 15% surcharge……and then your Uber/Lyft/Cab arrives. Sound familiar?

That scenario inspired the creation of Rooam, which allows customers to close and pay a bar tab all from a mobile device.

“We integrate with the existing [pos] systems and from there we send an API signal through our back end to their specific system to open a tab. And the tab is opened just like a normal tab that would be created in person at a location,” says Rooam co-founder and CEO Junaid Shams. “The main benefit comes from how Rooam removes the paper process. From a consumer side, it’s very efficient, but more importantly it’s efficient from the bar side. From the moment a customer asks to close their tab you have to turn around, find their name and credit card, find their name in the POS system, close the receipt, print the receipt, put it in that small holder, and give it away. That’s a several-minute process that we’re completely eliminating, and those are the several minutes per customer that they now could be serving other customers.”

Originally geared towards bars, Rooam, has gained a major following in large restaurant groups. Erik Bergman, director of operations for Neighborhood Restaurant Group, says Rooam’s remote checkout feature and amplified marketing have brought more guests through the door and resulted in a greater return on investment.

Across its user base, Shams says, clients say the biggest benefit is an increase in sales and revenue. “The biggest game changer for us has also been an increase in sales,” Shams says. “[Restaurants] have also seen an increase in tips. … We default at 20 percent. I think there’s so much we can do with the data we’re getting.”

 

Waitlist Me – Managing tables and expectations
For restaurant waitlist app Waitlist Me, adding a table management aspect was about simplicity.

“When we look at how people used floor plans, they had to look all over to find the information needed. It was organized by space, not necessarily how long someone has been at the table or what table you want to choose,” says Waitlist Me CEO Brian Hutchins. “We think people are getting by with this because the problems with floor plans are not immediately apparent. Maybe things aren’t going as smoothly, or one waitress gets less customers than the other, or they get busier at certain times, so it’s not immediately linkable that all these bad decisions on the floor plan are translating to lower sales.”

The app organizes table sections as lines that can be read from left to right and top to bottom. It also lists how long the tables have been occupied. Open tables for each section stand out in green, and tables that have been occupied the longest show next in the row.

Waitlist Me has also provided benefits to owners and managers through its main waitlist management component, which notifies customers through text messages that their table is available and provides wait estimates.

“We went from using handheld pagers to the Waitlist Me app over a year ago. The pagers were antiquated and costly to replace or repair, so this option made financial sense, in addition to being more operationally efficient with better table management and faster seating,” says Tim Yoder, director of technology at South Bend, Indiana–based Hacienda Mexican Restaurants. “I think by using this technology, the guest has the perception that this technology will result in a quicker seat time for them because they perceive the human element is removed from the equation.”

 

Northstar POS – The revolution in POS
Evolving with restaurant’s needs to be versatile and technologically agile, Northstar POS, has answered the call and taken the industry by storm.

Northstar POS can take in orders from multiple channels: tableside, tablets, kiosks, web and orders that come in from mobile, which is key in today’s environment. Users love that it was built for restaurants, with their needs in mind and not some recycled retail POS system.

“The NorthStar team is incredibly attentive to my business’s needs. As we’ve grown and added additional units, our needs have evolved and the team at NorthStar has been there every step of the way,” says Kristofer Pola, Co-Owner and Executive Chef of Blue Ribbon Restaurants.

The system scales with your business and has added security to keep yours and your customer’s information safe. Owners have incredible control over customization and changes with a few clicks from any web-enabled device. The responsive design makes editing your menus, adding items and checking reports quicker and more efficient. And speaking of reports, you can access actionable data, in real-time, to help make staffing, ordering and seating decisions on the fly. For security, all systems are EMV-compatible and have built-in secure encryption at the swipe of a card. And all data is housed in a cloud-based content management system.

 

When your customer is safe, your business is safe.

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