Chili's, like pretty much any restaurant, wants you to enjoy the dining experience in a way that is as inhibition-free as possible. And, just like your business, they want to remove any friction that might separate you from your whims and impulse purchases in the hope that those whims will include an extra appetizer or dessert. You know who can be a pretty good source of that friction, though? Your wait staff.
Humans, even your waiter, can be perceived as potential judges, which in itself can be enough to make you rethink your order of gooey nachos or cheese-covered potatoes, sinful extra ribs or delicious chocolate cheesecake. To prevent all this, Chili's and other restaurants have recently partnered with a Tablet Based Ordering and Payment system, to develop a series of tabletop devices that allow customers to order their meals without the pesky interference of a human.
The tablets let your order your meal—and pay for it—through a screen, as you would with online ordering. Chili's just completed what it's calling "the largest roll out of tabletop tablets in the U.S."—which includes the installation of more than 45,000 tablets across 823 Chili's restaurants. "By this fall," the Tablet Systems’ CEO, said in a press release, "guests at nearly every Chili's in the country can place orders, play games and pay their checks from our tabletop tablets."
And here's the intriguing thing: Restaurants are doing all that because dehumanizing the restaurant is, it turns out, good business. Not just for the restaurant bottom-line but for the wait staff as well. In 2014, in a pilot program, Chili's installed tablets at nearly 200 of its stores. And the chain found, Bloomberg Businessweek reported, that the presence of the tablets could "reliably increase the size of the average check."
Tablet ordering has led to an in increase in appetizers, desserts and coffee and tips!
But the most intriguing finding takes us back to the whim thing, eliminating the wait for a human server can boost impulse orders of appetizers at the beginning of a meal, orders that seem to be encouraged by the digital menus' large images. If you come hungry and you don't have to wait for a server and you're looking at an enormous picture of gooey nachos there's a good chance you will order those nachos. An additional 20% increase in appetizer sales, as compared with standard, server-based ordering strategies, have been recorded where Tablets are present.
Desserts that can be ordered before you finish your meal, play on the "want it now' mentality, vs. waiting for plates to be cleared and a waitress offering the dessert menu. In 2015 30% more desserts were ordered where tablets were present.
Coffee sales are apparently up, too, 15% or more. The digital menus are constantly present at the table—constantly reminding, constantly beckoning, and suggesting just one more order to a satisfied clientele.
Benefits of table side ordering and payments
Impulse ordering: Chili’s reports a 20% increase in appetizers and 30% increase in desserts, with 15% increase in after dinner coffee/drinks.
Increased tips: That's in part because the tablets set defaults for tip amounts. The machines automatically suggest a tip of 20 percent; you can go lower than that (or higher), but you'll need to actively decide to make that change.
Faster service = Happier Customers: You could also attribute the financial benefits of mechanized menus to screen-based ordering's immediacy. Not having to wait for servers to turn in orders can expedite the overall dining experience—shaving, up to five minutes off each meal.
Pay at the Table is faster: Patrons have become familiar with swiping their own card in Big Box Retail stores, so customers want speed to pay and leave when ready vs. waiting for the card and receipt to be returned. Saving them time to get to the movie or pick up kids at the babysitter.
Pay at the Table is More Secure = Better Public Relations: Customers don’t want to hand their credit or debit card to a fresh faced waiter, whom they have never met. Not only can they pay when ready … BUT also they don’t need to worry about their card number being stolen by wait staff or other customers.
Table turnaround allows to serve more customers: The ability to move customers in and out of the restaurant—especially helpful during peak hours, means seating/serving more customers in the same amount of time which is an increase in sales.
To learn how you can add this technology to your business, just give us a call, no risk, just good information to make good decisions. Ken Givens:512-535-2255 or 254-864-2567 or 888-995-3995.
(Compiled from an article by Megan Barber, www.TheAtlantic.com)
Contact us to discuss all your pos needs, cloud based, server based, tablet based, table-side based, we can help with all (888) 995-3995 or email us at: FreeConsultation@USMSTexas.com
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