Diners Want Control

Technology is a tool that can increase hospitality by giving diners more control.  And it’s a factor that has become more critical as consumers have grown accustomed to using smartphones in their daily lives.  Information at your fingertips.  The ability to purchase anything of interest wherever you are.  Ubiquitous new services like Uber that can summons a ride on demand.  Increasingly, consumers expect to have this sort of control.  All the time.

That is until they visit a restaurant.  There people find themselves vexed with problems getting service, paying bills, and finding information.  Diners are frustrated as they wait to place an order or to receive their check.  The accuracy of information may be inconsistent, depending on the knowledge of a particular person.  One may have a thorough knowledge of menu options.  Another may lack such knowledge.  Finally, providing feedback is difficult at best.  Perhaps there’s a website listed on the receipt, but the diner is unlikely to go there at a later time unless perhaps they want to register a complaint.  As a result, restaurateurs often have no idea whether or not diners are happy, or why.  Shouldn’t a meal out be a better experience than visiting the DMV?

Mobile POS Systems are a new alternative for restaurants.  Especially those that are still accustomed to doing with pen and paper.  But Mobile POS Systems still suffer from many of the same problems that have always plagued restaurants.  Even if wait staff can order or process payments from the tableside, the diner is still dependent on wait staff being available or attentive in order to take care of these needs.  The ability to send an order or payment straight from the table to BOH is of little consequence if the diner wants to do so and the waiter is nowhere to be seen.  The Mobile POS has introduced some benefits, but it’s an incomplete solution, and it still leaves the diner without control.

In contrast, a tabletop solution puts the diner back in control, because the terminal is always within reach.  And a diner with control can:

  • Place an order as soon as it’s desired rather than when the waiter shows up.
  • Get a refill on drinks right away.
  • See an advertisement for a dessert and make an impulse purchase.
  • Pay the bill the instant the meal is over.  Not wait while another table is being attended to.
  • Leave feedback by completing a survey that’s included in the payment process.

Yes, a Mobile POS can do some of the things that a tabletop terminal can do.  But it can’t put the diner in control.  And this distinction is all the difference in the world.

 
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