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Story Time: How Customers Experience Table Ordering

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Qr code digital payment at coffee shop

By Shea Irwin

July 14, 2021

On top of what to an outsider may just look like a food and beverage operation, the truth is, venue managers and owners have to wear more than just one Chef hat.

In addition to ensuring your customers have mouth-watering food, you have to also keep a watchful eye over the $ numbers, staff performance, well-being, quality control, marketing and maintain a competitive edge.

PLUS let’s not forget learning how to juggle all the multiple, competing demands at the same time (go on and add performer to the list) - all in the name of an exceptional customer experience.

Understandably, restaurants have earned their reputation as fast-paced environments and it would be no surprise if you, like many others, are on the lookout for ways to streamline and increase efficiency where possible.

Streamlining and increasing venue efficiency: 

As a venue owner, it makes perfect sense to have this as a top priority. After all, time saved is a huge tick for both you and your customer and also means you can manage extra covers and reallocate that time elsewhere it is needed.

That’s where table ordering technology comes in – this has become the main contributor towards an efficient, fast-paced and successful restaurant operation.  

You may have read similar posts and already made a decision concerning table ordering and how it will impact every business differently; but is there an opportunity and advantage for your venue in speeding up dining times and freeing up wait staff?

You need to decide for yourself.

Smiling African lady holding smart phone scanning QR-code on cafe table.

Examined under a new lens – a real story from a customer perspective:

I’m a firm believer in the full restaurant experience – you know, being greeted, seated, enjoying great customer service, moreish food, the social aspect and ambience associated with dining out.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a cheeky delivery too, but in my view one doesn’t replace the other.

That brings me to table ordering; in my opinion, it was never designed to take away from your day-to-day service, or the personal touch from a venue, which I would hate to lose. However, what is worse in my world, is not having two coffees before 10am.

Now to the customer story you were promised – spoiler alert; I’m the customer and this happened to me and my colleague recently.

We ducked down the street to grab a quick coffee after hitting the proverbial grindstone for hours. At that point the only thing that could save my brain was caffeine, of which we were both in desperate need!

After stepping inside, we were immediately met with a queue of four already waiting at the counter. We reluctantly joined because the need for coffee is no joke and in the space of 60 seconds we watched as 12 would-be customers who were clearly not as desperate, walked in, assessed the queue and walked straight back out.

As a venue owner, at this point in the story you’ve probably already assessed how much that is in real dollars and cents and feel a little pang of pain for this café.

Reality check time – minimum input for maximum output:

It’s not great news for the venue, but at the same time, as a customer can you really blame them? In today’s busy world where convenience is KING (or QUEEN), no one really wants to wait in line, unless it’s for a deal or if they see that line moving quickly!

The truth is, if there was a simple way to make this experience significantly easier and better for both your venue AND prospective customers you would take it, right?

Mobile phones in friends hand

It’s not too good to be true:

Imagine a world where customers don’t have to queue AND wait staff can still greet them with a smile, instead of grappling their POS with a frown. A world where your customer gets to have their cake (or coffee) and eat it too and you get to service more customers, without exceptions, cutting corners, or expending more effort.

This is a reality that can be achieved with table ordering technology. Given that in some cases, a customer’s experience can make or break their opinion of the restaurant and chance of returning, leaving a positive (or negative) review and what they tell others; it’s a no-brainer to always look for ways to provide nothing but the best service to each customer.

I’m not saying the customer is always right; we all know at times some demands and expectations can be unreasonable – BUT the fact is this is something you can easily tackle with little effort and a huge return for both parties!

The lowdown on table order technology:

A table ordering solution shouldn’t take away from the human interaction of a venue, but rather assist in enhancing this experience.

If customers are able to order and pay on their mobile devices with the simple click of a button, it means wait staff can spend more time with customers, ensuring a higher level of service and satisfaction.

Put down, flip it and reverse it:

Ah yes, the wise words of Missy Elliot – it’s time to imagine the same story again, told a little differently.

Instead of the 12 ‘would-be’ customers leaving, they come in, quickly and easily place their own coffee orders and then wait for the line to calm down before placing their meal orders.

This is not just about one man’s humble coffee order.

It’s also about the customers already at this venue who probably didn’t want to crudely ‘do the wave’ to secure the attention of wait staff to place an additional coffee order; or in most cases, have to line back up to re-order as the queue was just far too long.

This is where I believe venues can excel at table ordering. Table ordering is not a replacement for staff in the majority of cases, instead a tool and resource to help them. You may not need it enabled all the time, but will find it especially helpful to your venue in busy rush periods.

Table ordering doesn’t mean you need to show your whole menu, but what about beverages or those awesome goodies in your display cabinet that wouldn’t get attention otherwise!

But, hang on, what about…

Are you thinking that having customers wait in line helps with your constant flow of orders?

Perhaps to an extent, but it’s not like you are taking orders in waves and your staff can’t predict exactly how many orders to put through every 10 minutes. Why risk the wastage when you can get the money that is on the table?

Servicing 12 happy customers in the space of 60 seconds (less time that it takes you to read this blog) is always going to be better than fulfilling orders for four happy customers and leaving a bad impression on the other eight.

There should rarely be an instance where a customer walks in and out of a venue without ordering, unless they are vegetarian and they confused the MEAT UP Diner with the MEET UP Café.

I am asked all the time:

  • How can I market myself and my venue better?
  • How can I make more money?
  • How can you get me more customers?

Let me finish by asking you this – what about the customers you’re losing because you don’t want to forgo that ‘personal touch’ or try something new?

Why can’t it be a win/win balance (hint: it can)? 

Talk To Us Today

WOWAPPS can help show you some ways you can implement table ordering without it taking away from the atmosphere you have worked hard to already achieve. You have done well to get customers, now let’s make sure you’re reaping the well-deserved rewards.

About WOWAPPS

WOWAPPS is an all-Australian tech company, dedicated to anticipating the ever-evolving needs of restaurants and their diners. We are committed to helping Australian Restaurants reap the rewards of additional revenue and brand advocacy, providing seamless customer experiences that are more delightful and convenient.

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