The power of mobile device Point Of Sale utilization is now at the fingertips of the hospitality industry – namely, restaurants, bars, cafés, and other service-oriented businesses. If this is your business and you’re looking for ways to simplify, here’s a little something for you.
A few weeks ago, the deal-mecca website Groupon announced a new service called Breadcrumb. The imagery of this name might generate thoughts of chaotic patterns of food debris everywhere, but the service it offers is anything but chaotic. In its own words, “Breadcrumb builds everything you need to run a full-service restaurant or bar.” This includes menus, routing orders to kitchen stations, printing, and running cash drawers. It also gives management the tools to track costs such as labor and food inventory, which can be delivered via e-mail so being away means not being out of touch.
Breadcrumb offers a full suite of service, including 24/7 technical support and training to get up and running with the system, which sounds pretty good considering plans are fairly low-cost for smaller businesses ($99 a month for one iPad, to $399 a month for up to ten iPads). However – and this is a big however that should be made clear up front – the plan does not include the cost of hardware, such as the actual iPads, printers, or anything else related; it is only for the software and the support that goes along with it. The cost per month is also per venue, meaning for each restaurant/café location, so if you own more than one and want this system, you’ll need to pay that price for each location.
Considering that the restaurant industry is one of the more close-shaven businesses out there, leaving very little room for profit, this might not even be in the ballpark for consideration. Think about the possibilities, though, for any kind of automation of your order-taking business. This system has many features, including ingredient management, course creation, and real-time table organization.
Also, consider the ‘cool factor’ from your customers’ perspectives. Having their waitstaff take their order on an iPad is still not something you see every day (I’ve yet to see it myself, anywhere) and could give you good buzz via word-of-mouth. Orders would be easier to manage and less likely to be accidentally messed up.
Information such as the ingredients of a particular dish can be immediately called up, which would be a boon especially for new staff that might not be familiar (or just can’t memorize it all). Customers can also pay with a card right there at the table, instead of handing it over to be taken off to a station somewhere, out of their sight. The speed at which all of this flows together will potentially make any staff work faster and more efficiently.
In a business where you’re trying to get an inroad with your customers, making your team work more efficiently and with better service can only be good for your bottom line.