Would adding tablet computers to your restaurant operations help boost sales and efficiency? More and more restaurants are finding that the answer is yes. But you need to consider several factors before implementing tablets.
Will it improve the customer experience? When tablets first became popular, there were visions of restaurants replacing servers entirely and having customers take their own orders on tablets. But it’s quickly become apparent that this isn’t what customers want. Instead, you need to think about how tablets can enhance your customers’ experience by:
- Providing entertainment. Some restaurants provide tablets at tables so that families can use them to entertain the kids. This can lead to families with children staying longer, spending more and causing less disturbance (and mess for your staff to clean up) because the children are quietly occupied.
- Providing information. If you can create an enhanced menu on your tablets with information such as calorie counts and nutritional details for the items, this can be a great tool for diners who care about this kind of information. You could also link to local farms or local sources of the food you serve.
- Upselling. Tablets have proven a good tool for upselling if you have a menu where customers can see images of all the items. This isn’t usually possible on a paper menu, but it can be on a tablet—and pictures sell. Customers who can click through a tablet to see mouthwatering photos of all the meal options are likely to order more items such as drinks, appetizers and desserts.
- Accepting payment. You can use online payment tools like Web.com’s Take-A-Payment to turn a tablet into a payment tool. This enables customers to pay right at the table, which is not only convenient but enhances security. Customers will feel more comfortable about not having their credit or debit card leave their sight. It also speeds payment times, which is important if your restaurant customers want to eat and get going, such as a workday lunch crowd on limited time.
Before implementing tablets, be sure to consider:
- Costs. Assess the cost of buying, maintaining and updating tablets, as well as any accessories like chargers and cases.
- Customers. If your restaurant is very traditional or your customer base is mostly seniors, tablets may not be a good fit for customers to use. However, they can still be great tools for your staff to incorporate.
- Training. You’ll need some time to get servers and other staff up to speed on using tablets, as well as make sure they’re ready to help customers use them to the fullest.
Tablets can’t replace your restaurant servers, because customers still want the human touch. However, tablets can save servers time running back and forth to the cash register, giving them more time to spend with your customers.