According to Raj Parmar, the hospitality industry is in the midst of a mobile revolution

Running a successful restaurant comes with its own slew of challenges; dealing with busy rush hours puts pressure on all staff, from managers to dishwashers. With cooks and waiting staff juggling so many orders and customers, it’s all too easy to slip up. A single miscommunication between front and back-of-house, an error on the order slip or bill for example, could be disastrous. Without a faultless performance, it’s inevitable that even the most esteemed restaurant will lose out on customers due to the extra pressure put on staff during peak periods.

This common problem pervades time, place and product. Every eating establishment, from haute cuisine to all-night pizza joints, has to deal with the occasional error and resulting loss of customers and sales. Making errors, of course, is only human.

The technological solution
With that in mind, it should be no surprise to discerning restauranteurs that the key to overcoming these errors lays in advanced and innovative technology. In fact, a market report recently released by the British Hospitality Association predicted that technology would have a major impact on every aspect of the food service industry.

This same technology has already been embraced within the retail sector, where it has helped countless high street shops achieve success and stand tall in the wake of online commerce. With new applications and hardware designed specifically for the hospitality sector, it is now being used by restauranteurs to overcome the timeless obstacles associated with running a successful restaurant, pub or other food service establishment.

By employing the agility and efficiency of mobile tablets for example, these businesses can ensure a quick and seamless customer journey. Equipped with these tablets, staff are free to move among tables, display menu items via high-definition displays and suggest upsells to customers as they order. The use of digital menus has, in many cases, cut ordering times in half, a vital benefit for busy peak times.

Additionally, shock and waterproof cases make these tablets incredibly durable, even in a busy restaurant or pub setting, extending their lifespan and allowing businesses to protect their important investment. As the past decade has seen tablets become widespread within the consumer world, and more recently in the retail sector as well, these devices have become affordable enough for even smaller, independent food service establishments to find a return on investment relatively quickly.

More than just a menu
When wirelessly connected with digital displays, staff can use these tablets to take orders, which are then displayed in the kitchen in near real-time. Along with saving precious time by doing away with the need for staff to make constant trips between tables and the kitchen, these digital displays also eliminate the need for chefs to decipher messy handwriting, greatly reducing the risk of human error and ensuring customers receive exactly what they order. This drives significant timesavings for restaurants, while also improving the customer experience.

When not being used by staff, tablets can be fitted into secure, swivelling mounts, making them an asset behind the bar or counter as well. These tablets can then be utilised as effective customer engagement tools – providing customers with easy access to bill information and display advertising.

Along with digital displays and mounts, there is an abundance of peripherals restaurants can adopt, such as receipt printers, to improve convenience and cut waiting times even further. By using the tablet as a point-of-sale device, the lengthy process of printing the bill, delivering it, fetching a payment device and taking a card transaction, transforms into a fast, seamless process handled right at the customer’s table. As tablets benefit from full connectivity, which can include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or NFC in order to suit specific requirements, they can be used to take orders, process contactless card or mobile phone payments and send the receipt straight to a nearby printer – all without the need for wires or time-consuming delays.

In addition to mobile tablets, restaurants, particularly quick service and takeaway establishments, can also take advantage of digital displays for the front-of-house environment. These fully customisable displays can be used to show menu items or advertisements to customers. Since they can be easily controlled from the back office, any changes to the menu or prices can be instantly incorporated.

By taking advantage of this technology, restaurants can provide an agile and convenient experience for both customers and staff, ensuring they maximise profits and overcome any challenges caused by peak periods.

Raj ParmarRaj Parmar is Marketing Director at Box Technologies.

For over 20 years Box Technologies has operated across retail, hospitality, banking, finance and other related sectors to transform operational efficiency and customer experience through its solutions. Its specialist consulting, support and technical teams help businesses communicate and engage with their customers more effectively, whilst ensuring staff increase their productivity through mobile devices, kiosks, POS systems, interactive digital signage and related technologies.