Self-Service Tableside Ordering with Tablets Growing Rapidly

As full- service restaurants continue to embrace technology to improve the customer experience and boost sales, we’re seeing a growing trend in tableside ordering by way of tablets. We’ve seen how this mobile POS option has improved service in the drive thru, but now it’s also altering the traditional methods of order taking for wait staff. Restaurants are taking one of two paths: tablets at tables for a self-service option or equipping wait staff with tablets.

Today, we’ll tackle tablets for self-service.

As pointed out in a recent article in Hospitality Technology, the acceptance of tablets as a tableside POS tool is becoming more commonplace. As mobile technology becomes a staple in people’s personal lives, their willingness to utilize technology in their restaurant experience is increasing.

With tableside tablets, customers can easily navigate the menu and visually see their food before ordering. It allows the customer to dine at their leisure; they can order as quickly or slowly as they desire and they can close their bill via digital payment technology whenever they please.

Typically, the customer can look at the menu on the tablet, place their order and the food is delivered.  When it is time to leave, the customer swipes the card and is ready to go.  With tablets at the table, the restaurant can then provide content like the restaurant history, advertise information that is relevant to the location, or allow the customers to play games while waiting for their food.  In addition to the great user experience, restaurants can guide the consumer through a journey of up sell opportunities, increasing the locations revenue and profits.

Mobile ordering devices also allow customizable promotions of limited- time products or special deals. Hospitality Technology noted in their article that CEO of Blazing Onion Burger, David Jones, said his franchises, “dessert sales went up 40 percent,” with the introduction of tablet menus with pictures. Additionally, these digital menus can be easily updated, saving production costs should the restaurant choose to add new items or create a seasonal menu.

It’s important to note that restaurants are using tableside ordering and payment as an additional feature to their regular service. Meaning, wait staff are still readily available to meet customer requests.

Let us know about your experiences with self-service tablets in the comments below! And if you’re attending NRA Show 2014 this weekend, please stop by our booth (#2024) where we’ll be showcasing rugged tablets and other restaurant technology solutions.

Stay tuned for part two where we’ll cover equipping wait staff with rugged tablets.