Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Restaurant technology comes in all shapes and uses

waitku tablet
Technology is infiltrating every industry these days. Even the crane operator on a construction site uses software. Restaurants have had a number of systems in place for many years, but with more types for different functions, it often becomes down to the Return on Investment value of each type.
What are the types of restaurant software competing for your dollar?
Point-of-Sale (POS)
The granddaddy and probably most important of restaurant software would be Point-of-Sale systems. The revenue generated from food and beverage sales are what keeps the restaurant alive. Servers can take orders by pen/paper and enter them into a terminal at a station or they can use iPads, tablets, smartphones, or other handhelds to take and transmit orders on the spot to to the kitchen, freeing them up to handle other tables. Over the last decade orders were printed off with chit printers so there was still a paper order hanging on a line in the kitchen. POS systems have progressed so that the kitchen staff now look at digital screens that track orders and the dishes that that make up the order. Systems that use handhelds are even able to take customer payments (and sometimes print receipts) right at the table.
Front-of-House (FOH) System and/or Reservation System
If POS software is keeping track of the money coming in, then FOH software is helping to increase that flow of funds. A good FOH system will manage table inventory so that tables can be turned at a faster rate. More patrons means more orders, thus more revenue. By managing the guest flow via reservations and wait list, the system can ensure more filled seats.  A good system will also manage your servers and schedule while also being flexible enough to change floorplans, schedules, and features. Most FOH systems will have a reservation component, including reservation  widgets for your website.
Mobile Ordering and Payment Apps
Smartphones are being used for everything these days, including ordering food and paying for it. Generally the mobile ordering apps have been more popular and successful with chain restaurants versus independents.
Becoming more common across the board is the ability to pay with your phone with such services as Apple Pay and Google Wallet (soon to become Android Pay). By the end of 2015 it is expected that over 700,000 physical retail stores will accept payment by phone.
Tabletop Digital Systems
The final FOH software is the new tabletop digital system. These mounted tablets can be multi-purpose and be used to allow patrons to enter in their own food orders, play games, or view advertisements. Tabletop systems are more of a novel idea and have yet to prove themselves as being popular with guests.
Restaurant Inventory Software
Switching to the back-of-house, you will find an array of inventory software geared toward managing food and non-food supplies used in running a restaurant. The more advanced systems will actually calculate every recipe and allow you to play with the ingredients and pricing to achieve the best profit margins. If POS and FOH keep the funds flowing into your restaurant, then the inventory software will ensure that you are getting the most bang for your buck on every dish served.
Restaurant margins are slim and so every line item requires serious consideration. The bottom line is, which items either generate or increase revenue? And, if they pass that test, how much do they cost compared to what they are bringing in?

Presented by Guest Innovations. Be sure to check out our affordable hospitality products RezkuWaitkuSendku, and Dinnerwire.

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