Mobile ordering systems: bring efficiency to your outdoor area
Mobile ordering systems: bring efficiency to your outdoor area
The summer season demands much more from your service team: the walk to the outdoor area is longer. Plus, because ordering and serving take more time outside than inside, your guests will also have to be a little more patient. The solution lies in mobile ordering systems. They optimise the entire workflow—particularly for outdoor areas.
1. Mobile ordering saves time and cuts walking distances
With a mobile ordering system, orders are taken at the table with a handheld device, a tablet, or a smartphone. The colleague at the bar gets drinks ready while the waiter/waitress serves the guests at the next table. In an ideal scenario, food orders are transmitted directly to the kitchen. As orders are already registered in the system, ringing them up at a cash register is no longer required. What’s more, a card payment option can be directly integrated into the ordering system. This saves your staff long walks and your guests long waiting times
2. Mobile ordering: how it works
The device carried by your waiter or waitress sends orders to your stationary computer cash register by wireless as soon as the order is taken. Your staff at the bar and in the kitchen take care of the orders as they arrive. So what we are dealing with here is a networked system: all areas involved are in constant communication with one another and the status of orders can be accessed from any connected device. This saves time, cuts down walking distances, and simultaneously ensures that no orders are overlooked or forgotten.
3. The advantages of a mobile ordering system
Thanks to the integration of the cash register system and card payment, payments are logged directly into the network. It enables you to redeem vouchers, merge bills or split them, in case guests wish to pay separately. You also avoid the confusion and bothersome calculations when several of your staff serve the same table or when shifts change between ordering and billing. It is even possible to update your stock inventory after every order. Last, but not least: it improves the tracking of measures served from your bar and saves you money. If correctly installed and utilised, such a system can significantly increase the overall efficiency of your establishment.
4. How to get started: Incorporate your menu
Unfortunately, your ordering system cannot automatically register the items offered on your menu and the corresponding prices. This means you will have to enter the details of your menu into the system. You will also have to enter a number for each of your tables. Once this has been done, it is an easy matter to change items or prices on the stored menu. The system also has to be connected to your existing IT system. We recommend that you call in an IT specialist to take care of this.
5. What to do next: Train your team
After a familiarisation phase, your service staff should be able to take orders in the outdoor area with the mobile ordering system. Certain difficulties may arise for older members of staff who are not familiar with using smartphones. Most systems are, however, self-explanatory and intuitive to use. If the mobile ordering system doesn’t work as you hoped, switch to another brand: many system providers include a test phase in their contracts, so make sure that your contract has it too.
6. Is a mobile ordering system a viable option for your outdoor area?
Whether it is a viable option depends on the size of your outdoor area and the distances your staff have to walk. The larger your outdoor area is, and the longer the distances involved, the more sense it will make. This could be the case for a beer garden but probably not for a café’s patio. Broadly speaking, such systems make good sense when you have seating/tables for more than 100 guests and a weekly turnover of around 10,000 euros.
Your personnel structures must also be taken into consideration when making a decision: It is more likely to make good sense when you work with full-time, professional staff rather than constantly changing temps. After all, training takes time. If you are already planning to invest in a new cash register system, it might be worth considering switching to a mobile ordering system.
7. What do guests say about mobile ordering?
Although sceptical at first, experience shows that many guests are convinced by the benefits—namely that food and drinks are quickly brought to their tables. As the way smartphones work has become familiar to almost everyone over the past few years, hardly anyone finds anything unusual about it. There is one exception: if your restaurant belongs in the category ‘Fine Dining’, guests may find the impersonal aspect of mobile ordering rather out of place.
8. Costs: How expensive are mobile ordering systems?
While only a few years ago the price for each handheld device ran to around 2000 euros plus the costs of the cash register system, ongoing developments in smartphone technology also have brought down the costs of mobile ordering systems. Thanks to new apps for iPhones and Android devices, almost any tablet, smartphone, or handheld can now be used. You must, however, provide sufficient numbers of them for your service staff. You will also need an appropriate receipt printer and the software licence will also find its place on the bill. The bottom line is that, depending on the system and its features and functions, an investment of several thousand euros is in the cards. Despite this, because payment functions are already integrated, you’ll not need a separate card reader system.
9. Maximise your flexibility: Lease a wireless ordering system
If you are still not sure whether a mobile ordering system is what you need, you could try leasing one for a while. In the meantime, there are numerous providers who offer leasing or rental options for mobile ordering systems. This option enables you to let your cash register system grow along with your business and without the need for big investments.
Brand check: The most important wireless ordering systems
NCR Orderman: seen as the originator of wireless ordering, still the leading provider in this market segment. In the meantime, the Orderman7 is the seventh generation of NCR’s mobile ordering systems to appear on the market.
Quorion: the Android-based ‘QOrder’ system. Restaurant owners can purchase any mobile device with Android and install the Quorion app. After purchasing a licence code, the mobile device can be activated from the cash register system. Extremely practical but you will have to have a Quorion cash register system.
roc.Kasse: For iPhones or iPads, software can be bought here too.
Orderbird: System for iPhones or iPads. Monthly flat rate charge.
Gastrofix: Full system for iPads and iPhones, the range includes mobile end devices to buy and services like a menu import function.
Did you know?
In 2007, the market research organisation OGM conducted a survey of 399 restaurateurs on behalf of Orderman, the manufacturer from Salzburg. According to the survey, mobile ordering systems make possible revenue increases of an average of 8.5 per cent. Reason: businesses save money through the time saved through shorter walks, better table utilisation, and the registration of food and drinks that would otherwise have been forgotten or left off the bill.
Tick list: What a mobile ordering system must offer
Self-explanatory, intuitive handling
Ability to take orders and transmit them to the bar/kitchen
The ability to register prices of food and drinks
Merging or splitting of bills
Redemption of vouchers
Accounting in accordance with tax authority requirements