Many businesses are finding ways to connect with their customers digitally. They are also turning to technology to enhance services and improve products. With this in mind, it isn’t surprising that restaurants would turn to technology for solutions to a common problem: customer wait time. From the moment customers enter the restaurant they begin a process of waiting. By offering tabletop ordering technology, some restaurant owners are hoping to reduce that amount of time. Take a look at the benefits and concerns involved in self-service ordering at the table.
Benefits: What Self-Service Ordering Has to Offer
Perhaps the number one reason for restaurants to switch to tabletop ordering with providers like Buzztime, is the convenience. They want to order without waiting, to modify their order for preferences or dietary restrictions and enjoy the ease of splitting their bill. Younger patrons prefer the use of self-service ordering at the table. Plus, this option also allows diners to pay their bill and leave without waiting for a server to come to the table.
Concern: Misses the Target With Some Age Groups
Patrons from the Baby Boomer generation and those who are older aren’t always pleased with self-service devices at the table. These diners may prefer the human touch. They may feel uncomfortable trying to learn the technology. Some of these customers might just want to avoid change. They like their staff and they like their routine.
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Concern: Not Appropriate for Every Restaurant
This may not be the answer for every type of eating establishment. For example, many diners are paying for their experience as much as they are paying for the food. These people may be dismayed to find a self-service device at their table. At fast food establishments, there’s a good likelihood that service staff will be faster at entering orders than a POS self-service device. Casual dining establishments, however, are experiencing a great deal of interest in this area.
Concern: Does It Lack the Important Personal Touch?
A third concern for restaurant owners contemplating the shift toward tabletop digital ordering is the ability (or inability) to create a great impression. As more of the control is shifted to the consumer, there could be less opportunity to impress customers by exceeding their expectations.
Is It Right for Your Business?
How might your business be impacted by the increasingly popular technology? For example, if you have a combination of younger and older patrons, you might risk losing the older segment. If you’re trying to develop a specific type of ambience, digital devices at the table may not strike a positive note. On the other hand, just because the technology is provided doesn’t mean that all of your customers will use it. You may find that with some careful planning and under the right conditions, you can satisfy the desires of your customers from any age group and train your wait staff in ways to engage with the customers. You’ll want to carefully weigh the pros and cons.
What Are You Willing to Risk?
Restaurants have already begun using this technology. Tablets are found in commercial dining rooms for easy access to the menu, for placing orders, entertaining children, and for making payments. Whether you choose to benefit from the technology or not, other restaurants are making the shift. Can you really risk not keeping pace with your competitors?