The pandemic is causing many changes to restaurant dining
The pandemic brought to light several issues that were not previously considered seriously by small business owners. This not only relates to the food industry (sandwich/coffee shops, fast casual and family-style restaurants) but for many other businesses as well. Problems include attracting, training and keeping new employees, paying a higher average wage and dealing with constantly evolving and higher cost of goods.
Business owners, in order to remain competitive, must use innovative means to record sales and increase employee productivity. They must speed customers through the check-out process as well as enable the production staff to prepare meals more efficiently and accurately.
During the last year-and-a-half there has been a tremendous shift towards automating customer’s orders whether on-line, drive thru or self-serve. Point of sale (POS) solutions have enhanced their software and accepted various technologies to help the business owner incorporate these new trends into their operation. Some of these areas are:
In the past, kiosks were not considered a primary source of order entry because they removed the personal touch a cashier could offer a customer. Some customers could not easily use these devices. This is still true to a certain extent.
Given the dearth of available employees, the higher cost of employment, the rapid turn-over rate and fewer people wanting to be cashiers, kiosks are getting a second look. McDonalds is the best-known company to have implemented these devices and has brought to light the potential savings by implementing a kiosk. More customers are using them since they are generally easy to operate and people are getting used to them in all types of business. In addition to the food industry most supermarkets and drug stores have self-serve checkouts.
The kiosk we recommend can be a large screen format or a traditional sized POS screen reformatted to more easily accept a self-order. These can be mounted on the counter next to the cashier station. These kiosks are meant as an alternative to a cashier so lines are kept to a minimum with an employee close by to assist a customer if necessary.
This can be used either as the delivery payment option or in store as a “line buster”. The employee can approach a customer who no longer needs to wait in line to place their order. It speeds the production of the order and reduces wait time. This is useful when available staff dedicated to manning the cashier stations is limited. This tablet can be used to take payments at a customer delivery site which reduces bookkeeping or manual entries.
On-line ordering (OLO) is commonplace and has increased as a percent of all order types. OLO can either be integrated into your POS system, often at no additional cost, or be totally separate from the POS. Third party OLO companies (Uber, DoorDash, GrubHub, etc) typically send the order to a separate tablet. This is not the most efficient way to receive orders, but many restaurants still use this method. The pandemic helped generate an increase in contactless OLO and will stay near current levels because many customers prefer the convenience of ordering when they want and from any device. Instead of using third-party services which reduce profit margins (due to large fees), clients can implement a solution that maintains their identity and completely integrates with the POS. These sales are processed just like an order being entered at the restaurant. Customers can also order from the phone app at the restaurant if the wait lines are too long. Instead of potentially losing a customer permanently, the business owner is making it easier to place an order.
Restaurant dining is changing, and we believe business owners who recognize this change can make smarter innovative decisions. While certain changes were never considered before, our experience over the past 18 months dictates that we all consider new options.
We are here to assist in any way possible to help you pave this new way forward.