How Chain Restaurants Finally Got it Right!
Their Table POS systems might be the next big thing.
One of the most important aspects in the restaurant industry is the experience that the waiter provides to their table. Besides the food it might be one of the few things that can guarantee that your customers returns your restaurant. As of late 2013/early 2014, chain restaurants such Applebee’s, Olive Garden amongst other restaurants introduced a table POS system that allows customers to perform certain functions such as self checkout, order drinks and desserts and play games (perfect for kids).
Now one might think, that the evolution of a product such as the table POS system may completely eliminate the need for waiters. I see this opportunity much differently. As a waiter myself, I know realistically I cannot be there for every single need that my customer may have. Whether it is a refill on a beverage or wanting to order dessert a bit quicker or having to leave in a hurry, there are going to be circumstances where this POS system would come in handy. If the waiter has a full section or backed up, this POS system offers a very handy solution.
The great thing about the table POS system is that it doesn’t do the full job for the waiter (which I pray it never will). The waiter is still required to initially greet the table, take the drink order and also take their dinner order. Expectedly, the waiter drops off the food and checks on the customers during their dining experience. Customers can request refills for their drinks or if they are finished, they can pay and leave on their own accord. Very simple yet effective system.
I can literally praise this system all day long but I do believe there are certain aspects that could cause more harm than good in restaurants. For one, I believe this could potentially cause waiters to be complacent and pay less attention to their tables. That is not the purpose of table POS system, it is supposed to help expedite and aid the customer experience. Worst case scenario is because the lack of attention a table can easily walk out and leave without the waiter noticing.
Another potential problem is the overall cost to implement the system. My guess is that it would take a complete overhaul of not only implementing their table POS system but FOH and BOH as well. For a restaurant that isn’t doing too well, it may not be worth the investment. Although counterarguments may include that the table POS system can generate more sales because of the up-sell opportunities that it has.
I really love the concept behind the table POS system because it offers restaurants an opportunity to have higher table turnover along with higher sales. Restaurants such as Applebee’s are primarily known for its half-off apps after 10pm, which is perfectly ok. That is their bread and butter also my first choice restaurant for a late night meal. I personally think where they lose money offering half off apps, they gain more than double back with the amount of people who visit one of their many locations on a nightly basis. With this new table system, I think it gives them a great opportunity to capture more sales and also flip the tables that are looking to be in and out.
I am interested to see if more restaurants implement this table POS system. I believe it is a fantastic assist for waiters and a great system for restaurants to generate more sales. For larger chain restaurants, implementation may be a bit more difficult but I can definitely see them benefiting greatly from a table POS system. The ability to perform self check-out is super critical and I truly believe over the course of the next five years, we will slowly see a shift of restaurants implementing a system like these table .