Tableside POS is a game changer

Aug. 11, 2011 | by Nate DaPore

Higher sales, fewer servers, faster table turns, and happier, more loyal customers – Tableside Point-of-Sale offers all this and more. I foresee that it is going to profoundly change the customer experience for the better.

Make POS mobile

Typically, a server spends less than 20 percent of his time interacting with customers. He spends the other 80 percent keying orders into a POS terminal and moving around the kitchen, bar and tables. By moving the POS onto a mobile device such as an iPad, the server can stay on the floor, ensuring that ordering moves faster. For example, the drink order can be put in right from the table. By the time the appetizer order is taken, the drinks are being delivered by a runner. The speed at which this is accomplished could result in a second round of drinks with the appetizers. This could quickly occur with one click on the Reorder button on the mobile POS device.

Keeping your best servers on the floor allows them to serve more tables and provide better service. They have more time to chat with customers and share their passion for the menu, which leads to increase sales.

With a mobile POS that can display full color pictures of every menu item, recommend upsell items and engage the customer in the ordering process, a restaurant could easily see a 10 percent uptick in sales, while reducing the number of servers on each shift.

Cost-effective POS anytime, anywhere

With today's nimble new hardware providers whose online POS systems are hosted on secure servers "in the cloud," all a restaurant needs is a wireless router, tablets and a few modestly priced ticket printers. By removing all those expensive and clunky POS terminals, you can significantly reduce your IT needs while lowering your cost of POS ownership.

A cloud-based POS means managers can log in from anywhere and at anytime to see sales, occupancy and seat turn in multiple units. Doing so enables minute-to-minute decisions so staffing can match demand. With this new technology, above-store reporting can provide senior management with a real-time view of sales and labor costs across the entire operation.

Tableside payment ROI

Cloud-based mobile POS systems have big advantages when the customer pays by credit card because the card swipe, located right on the POS device, means credit cards don't leave the table. Also, the card information can be encrypted for transmission to the payment processor via card swipe. With this approach, the restaurant avoids PCI compliance requirements and the restaurant's system no longer holds the credit card information.

Typically, paying the check can be a slow, frustrating customer experience that can color the experience of an otherwise excellent meal. Today, when you ask the server for the check, it has to be printed on the POS and brought to the table. Guests have to wait for the server to come by again to pick up their credit card, go back to the POS to process the payment and return with the payment slip.

Tableside payment enables a customer to pay checks instantly. The check is displayed onscreen, and customers swipe credit cards at the table. They can also add in the tip on the device. The transaction is done in seconds instead of several minutes, making for happier customers and faster table turns.

More than one guest at a table can pay parts of the bill, making for easier split checks. Servers don't have to remember which card belongs to each guest. Onscreen signatures add another point of efficiency, eliminating the need for check presenters or printing paper slips.

Take customer engagement to new heights

Perhaps the biggest promise of tableside POS devices is new opportunities for customer engagement. After paying the check, the server can invite the guest to enter his email address to receive the receipt electronically. A coupon for a future visit can be included in the email to help encourage repeat business. The customer can also rate her service at the tableside or via email. In turn, you can reward servers for receiving the top ratings and highest tips. Finally, the guest can opt-in to receive regular information on specials based on what they ordered last time.

Ultimately, the POS tableside device can help you build customer loyalty.

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability , Customer Service / Experience , Operations Management , Product Reviews , Self Service , Systems / Technology , Trends / Statistics

Nate DaPore / Nate DaPore, PeopleMatter President and Chief Executive Officer As the spirited leader of PeopleMatter, Nate is passionate about providing team members, including his own, with a rewarding workplace experience that values creativity and innovation.
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