Purchasing new technology is not supposed to be a stressful and frustrating experience. In most cases, we look forward to upgrading our mobile phones, laptops, and televisions. We get a sleek new device and discover new technological solutions to enhance various aspects of our everyday lives. In the restaurant industry, however, purchasing new technology is often perceived as a painful experience.
Whether it's because of bad experiences in the past, the worry of investing further into the restaurant, or just general fear of change, restaurant owners often avoid upgrading their existing point of sale system until there is truly no other option.
Here's the hard truth: If your POS system is decades old or you are miserable working with it, it's time to switch to a technology that is going to improve business operations and make your life easier. It can be difficult to walk away from the money you've poured into that existing system, but it's important to look to the future and realize the money, time, and frustration you're saving by taking advantage of modern mobile technology: the mobile POS system.
The Mobile Point of Sale Experience
Take a second to picture the guest experience at your restaurant right now. Think about the process from the moment guests walk through the door until they sign the bill and leave. Now picture this:
Guests enter the building and are greeted by the hostess at the front. The hostess is able to look at a tablet and see the entire layout of each of the dining areas and the status of each table. She is then able to seat the guests accordingly or give them a good estimate of how long the wait is going to be.
The guests are seated at a table. A server arrives with a small handheld POS tablet that is no larger than the standard notepad traditionally used by waitstaff. The server fields the customers’ orders and fires them directly to the appropriate printer in the kitchen and at the bar directly from the table. When the orders are filled, the server gets a notification on her tablet alerting her that she can retrieve the fulfilled order.
The guests finish their meals and are ready to pay. The server arrives with the handheld tablet in tow. The party of six wants to split the bill six ways - splitting the shared appetizer between all six checks. The server splits the bill on the tablet interface into six checks with the appropriate orders on each tab - including the appetizer automatically divided six ways. The server then swipes the guests’ credit cards at the table and hands the tablet to each of them. The guests are able to tip, sign, and request a digital receipt right on the tablet interface. The bill has been requested, split correctly, signed, and completed without the server ever having to leave the table.
How Exactly Will This Improve Operations?
1) You’re Going to Sell More
The ability to take orders and payments at the table significantly decreases the time it takes to fulfill orders and complete the payment process. With handheld tablets, your servers are not running back and waiting in line for the central terminal. Guests can sign, tip, and request a digital or printed receipt all on the tablet interface. The faster you can turn tables, the more customers you can serve at your busiest hours, and that means more revenue overall.
2) You’re Going to Waste Less
Since orders can be fired directly from the tablet to the appropriate prep stations, there will be significantly less waste. Your kitchen staff is not going to have to decipher orders written in chicken scratch on paper. Your servers will make fewer mistakes as they will be required to input all of the necessary modifiers while entering the order on the tablet.
3) You’ll Make the Staff Happier
With pay-at-the-table tablets, guests are prompted to select from suggested tip percentages when completing their payment. At Toast, we've seen these tip options drastically increase the average tip amount for servers. Better tips means happier staff. If your servers get more tips and make more money, your restaurant staff turnover will likely decrease significantly as well.
4) You’ll Provide a Better Customer Experience
You’ll be able to provide a better guest experience by using mobile tablets, as guests will be able to get the service they want when they want it. Their orders will be more accurate and delivered in a more timely fashion. They’ll never need to wait to complete the payment process as the server runs back and forth to the terminal. Guests can even request digital text or email receipts so they don’t even have to wait for a receipt to print and keep track of a paper receipt.
PS: When we think of mobile tablets, we often think of iPads and iOS because that is what many of us use in our everyday lives. However, there are many reasons that Android is a better fit for the fast-paced restaurant environment, so make sure you carefully evaluate the differences between Android and iOS POS systems and choose wisely.