Putting Customers in Control with Tablet Payments

Table Top Ordering at Chain Restaurants It’s pretty clear that the age of technology has touched casual dining with the advent and use of table top tablets.  Equipping guests with a new avenue to control their experience from ordering to payment via a table top tablet would allow guests to participate in this era of Smart Dining.  This also provides an avenue for operators to gain better insight into their business.   

As a chain beverage operator you need to ask yourself the basic (3) questions when it comes to changes in business and culture. Too many, paradigm shifts or the way we map our work is an extraordinary and historic shift in direction or the way in which restaurants have serviced guests for literally hundreds of years.   

1. Is this good for your guest?  Millennials and younger dinners, one of the largest demographic groups who prefer to connect with technology, spend less time with age old processes and view trendy products digitally today.  This can drive guests to order something they may not normally order while at the same time increasing check average.  Time will tell if other groups including Boomers embrace the technology and utilize devices to enhance their experience.

2. Will this improve execution?  Early feedback seems to be telling us that servers have more time to take care of other guests’ needs rather than simply relaying the drink or special of the day and the temperature required for your steak. Enhanced tablet use in the dining experience should only improve execution. This should allow management to place additional focus on the quality of the entire dining process, which could play a huge role in the overall guest experience.  

3. Can you improve margins?  This clearly seems to be a major ingredient in the recipe for success.  If operations can be insured profits improve along with the guest experience, then moving closer to and utilizing this sophisticated software can be realistic with both revenue and margin improvements.

Operators, from quick casual through the fine dining segment continue to look for the next industry breakthrough that can set a brand apart from the sea of sameness with food and beverage innovation.  New food features and beverage offerings have been introduced to our dining guest for hundreds of years.  Now, this new age is helping to dramatically  transform our hospitality industry with the use of table top tablets to compete and break away from the same method of order, eat, pay, exit.   

Additional Wins, Opportunities and Expectations for Table Top Tablets

- Allows guests to immediately view menu selections, then order.
- Order at your own pace, be it a quick pace or at your leisure.
- Entertainment activities which can provide families a method to appease children.
- Payment (even splitting checks) without having to wait.  In addition, your credit card never leaves your presence. 
- A potential PPA (per person average) improvement as guests may try features not normally ordered with a server. 
- Potential ticket time improvement from order to delivery to your table as valuable minutes are saved with order going directly into the kitchen.
- Waste Reduction.  Fewer mistakes with guests being accountable with selecting their own food and beverage. Servers not repeating orders and entering the wrong selection is a constant concern in operations.
- A perception that labor could be dramatically reduced due to the number of tables a serve could handle with a large portion of his tables utilizing tablets.  Could a 4-5 table station subsequently become a 8-10 table station?  Time will tell but a very interesting scenario.
- Provides restaurants a method to drive additional day parts by marketing effectively with the tablet.

The technology is here and more than likely will remain and become part of your business moving forward. Providing guests the opportunity to be more active and participate in their dining experience is certainly a shift and one that could bring much needed change and improvement in hospitality.  Improving the guest experience without dramatically reducing the human factor will be paramount in this new adventure. 


Contact George Barton at [email protected] or call 321-662-0641 for a complimentary operations assessment. 


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