Those of you that follow TISSL and the EPoS market closely will know our focus last summer was on the growth of iPads as a serving solution. The welcome arrival of iPad 2 heralded an age in which tablets could support heavier duty software. With tablets being cheaper too and having more real estate than a traditional handhold POS unit, we saw strong uptake of our iPad solution.
But nothing stands still, so what’s the next step in the POS journey? Well, our developers have been busy and it’s now time to take the covers off ‘the next big thing’; your own app that allows at-table ordering for customers using their smartphone. So why should you be interested?
Another touch-point with your customers
This new technology is a great way of adding another touch-point between your business and the customers you want to attract and keep. With your app resident on their phones, customers will be reminded of your restaurant, hotel or bar each time the app updates, the menu updates and, in future versions, when you publish offers to the app.
Then when those individuals are in your venue, they’re able to see the current specials and what else is on the menu, filtering by certain criteria. This technology enables you to include much more information than you can on a traditional menu, made even more appealing by dish images, even small video clips. 25–34 year olds in particular favour mobile technology precisely because of this rich level of information. So, here’s a way to easily add more value to their dining experience and, at the same time, free your staff to spend more time with those customers that prefer a more traditional service.
Automating payment makes for happier diners and staff
Allowing diners to order and pay by phone takes a complete process out of the loop for your wait staff. Walk through the current scenario in your mind. When a customer asks for a receipt, your wait staff has to visit the terminal, print off the receipt, return to the table, hand over the receipt, fetch the Chip & PIN device, return to the table, key the bill into device. This can take around five minutes and, in restaurants with fewer terminals, even longer, which can reduce your table-turn time, force staff to travel more and irritate diners. Compare this to the order and pay by phone app, where the customer account is automatically debited as they order and the whole payment process is reduced to one step.
The upsell opportunity
This is a great opportunity to sell more. A customer with the app can order additional items whenever they feel like it, whether it be a round of drinks, a side order or dessert they fancied after they closed a menu, or in fact anything at all when wait staff are busy at another table. Interestingly, our trials revealed that the convenience of ordering promoted significant upsells, with one in five tables ordering something else off the menu. Think about your current daily sales and now add 20% onto that figure. If you typically sell £400 of drinks and desserts a day, you could lift that to £440 a day; a net annual increase of £14,600. In short, offering your customers this smartphone app could be very lucrative.
So who’s going to be taking up this new technology in the UK? One of the early adopters is Grillshack, Richard Caring’s latest venture. Grillshack features self-ordering on mobile phones and via self-service kiosks. If restaurateurs of this calibre are adopting this new technology, I’d argue it’s worth taking seriously, especially as disruption is minimal and adoption costs are low.