I don’t know about you, but I still get a thrill when the cashier at a coffee shop flips the POS screen around for me to sign. I’m still relieved by the simplicity of receiving an email receipt. Not only is this hands-on technology sexy for consumers, it’s also practical for your food business.
Customer-facing tablets could be stationary terminals that flip to face the customer at the counter, small handheld tablets brought to the table by a server, or kiosk-style ordering. Aside from my personal experiences, these modern, customer-facing point-of-sale systems actually have the potential to make a major impact on your restaurant’s bottom line.
Whether you’re a counter-service fast casual spot or a full sit-down restaurant, putting the POS system in the customer’s hands can put more money in yours.
Here are some ways to see return on investment from customer-facing POS tablets.
It’s absolutely baffling to me that we’re still printing paper receipts. Everything else we do is electronic: banking, navigation, dating, grocery shopping, catching a cab. And yet, at the end of our meal, we’re still handed a flimsy slip of paper that goes directly into our pocket and doesn’t appear again until it’s crumpled and damp at the bottom of the washing machine.
With customer-facing POS tablets, patrons have the option to receive a digital receipt to their phone or email. They simply select their preferred receipt delivery method, enter their info, and the restaurant doesn’t have to allocate time and money to print one.
“I certainly don't need a paper receipt – I have no desire to return a taco,” CEO of Software Advice Don Fornes writes. “There is no reason – legal or otherwise – why consumers or retailers need paper receipts. Electronic receipts are completely valid and they are far more efficient.”
If you’ve run a P&L analysis on your business lately, you know that every tiny expense can impact the restaurant’s bottom line. Reducing or eliminating paper receipts by implementing a customer-facing tablet or terminal could save you major money in the long run. This receipt-printing cost calculator can help you determine how much you could be saving by reducing or eliminating paper receipts. Not to mention, paper receipts generate 1.5 billion pounds of waste every year in the US, according to the Huffington Post.
Digital receipts are experientially, financially, and environmentally better than paper and are made simpler and more feasible by customer-facing tablets.
At Toast, we’ve seen restaurants with servers using handheld POS tablets for ordering and payment improve table turn times by 15% or more.
The tablets save time by drastically reducing server trips to the stationary terminal. Customers complete their transaction on a handheld tablet, rather than waiting for the server to pick up their credit card, run it, and return to the table (while juggling 10 other tables).
The time it takes for the customer to view their bill, tip their server, and get their receipt (digitally or printed) is faster, which means the restaurant is able to serve more people in a night.
If you run a QSR or fast-casual restaurant, I don’t have to tell you about the importance of throughput. Why waste time with printed receipts, handwritten tips, and paper signatures? Customer-facing tablets allow QSRs, FSRs and fast casual restaurants to consolidate that entire process digitally, so customers can tip, sign, and get a receipt in half the time it takes to complete the transaction on paper.
In a fast-moving counter service line, restaurant operators are praying that customers don't take the time to calculate a tip on their credit card receipt. It slows down the line which, as any savvy restaurateur will tell you, is something to avoid at all costs.
With a simple flip of the screen, QSRs could gain the benefits of tipping without the slowdown in throughput. By showing the customer suggested tip percentages on the tablet screen, your staff could make an estimated 30% more in tips. Higher tips makes for a happier staff and less turnover.
Time is money. So are tips, receipt paper, and printer ink. Yes, it’s a shift in operations, and yes, you are giving the customer a little more power, but in an industry notorious for low-margins, key investments into innovative restaurant management technology can make a huge difference.
To get more granular with your ROI analysis, download the Restaurant ROI Template for free.