5 Ways You Can Leverage Tablets to Transform Your QSRs

How to Apply Mobile Technology to Serve Specific Purposes

In 2001, speculation soared about inventor Dean Kamen’s new secret project. Steve Jobs wanted to invest and compared the invention to the original PC1. The new product was promised to upend the transportation industry and launch the fastest company to reach $1 billion in sales2.

What was the revolutionary invention? The Segway. As you know, the Segway accomplished none of the above and quickly took its place in a long history of technologies that never caught on.

As QSRs seek to add more technology, the Segway’s failure offers a valuable lesson. Technology for the sake of technology is never enough. The tools, no matter how interesting or inventive, must align with your mission and solve specific problems (and having to walk around the block turned out not to be a problem that needed solving).

Let’s apply this lesson to tablets. As mobile technology continues its dominance, it might be tempting to dive in and start handing out tablets to crew members and managers to unlock unprecedented productivity.

This technology, like all others, needs to serve specific purposes. Let’s talk about 5 of them.

1. Front Counter Line Busting

When point of sale tablets are used for line busting in your QSRs, you address two problems immediately: guests stuck waiting in line and a kitchen crew that needs to know what food to prepare to maximize speed of service. 

Tablets, in this situation, give QSR crews and managers the fluidity to adjust quickly to the most pressing issue affecting the guest experience. If managers and shift managers are intended to function as floaters and address the greatest customer needs, they need the right tools to complement their flexibility.

Not only does line busting at the front counter alleviate customer wait times, any increases in throughput to your kitchen will directly affect sales and grow your revenue.

2. Drive Thru Order Taking

If there’s anywhere increasing throughput and improving speed of service is even more important, it’s the drive thru. As the origin of up to 70 percent of QSR sales, an inefficient and slow drive thru can wreck your business.

Arming employees with tablets and having them take orders in the drive thru can transform your speed of service and, most importantly, the guest experience. This gives guests the face-to-face ordering experience lacking in other drive thru scenarios and reduces large gaps between vehicles that result from lengthy and customized orders.

3. Inventory Control

As the biggest QSR expense behind labor, food cost management often comes down to good inventory control. Without a solid understanding of your current inventory levels, it’s difficult for your managers to place balanced orders that ensure you don’t run out of food while also reducing the amount of excess inventory sitting on the shelves—which can lead to waste and theft.

When tablets connected to your restaurant management software are used to take inventory, it gives restaurant managers the flexibility to move around the restaurant and enter current inventory directly into the system and reduces the likelihood of errors by only keying in the numbers once.

4. Management Mobility

The right restaurant management system will also include task lists and reminders that guide managers and shift managers through every step of opening the restaurant, running a mid-day shift, and closing down.

Since most of these actions need to be performed away from the back-office computer, the mobility provided by tablets can allow managers to complete tasks and track their progress simultaneously.

And when managers are not tied down to the back-office computer, they gain the flexibility to move around, support the crew, interact with guests, and respond quickly to anything that needs their immediate attention.

5. A Different Guest Experience

In a competitive restaurant landscape, any point of differentiation you offer your guests can go a long way. When tablets are installed on tables or bars inside the restaurant, guests can interact with your brand in a new way by playing games, reading news, and viewing menu information.

Not only can tablets entertain and educate guests, they can also drive more sales. When your guests stay longer in the restaurant and interact with more branded content, it can bring them back up to the front counter to order more.

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Ryles Dodd
May 18, 2018

Ryles is responsible for all things front of house at SICOM, including point of sale, kiosks, and kitchen displays. Ryles has over 20 years of experience running restaurant technology groups for enterprise quick service brands such as Arby’s, Wendy’s, Longhorn Steakhouse, and The Capital Grille.

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