Having an online ordering system for your restaurant is an important step in taking advantage of today’s digital technology. Affording your customers the chance to skip the wait and have their order ready to go is a service that will not only expand your customer base, but the convenience will ensure their loyalty going into the future. However, this new system will do you and your business no good–in fact, it will have quite the opposite effect–if your employees are unable to get the order right due to inadequate technology on your end. Instead of satisfied customers telling everyone else about their excellent service and food, now they’re complaining to their friends and warning everyone to stay away. The system that was supposed to take your restaurant to the next level is now actually working to drag it down.
That’s why it’s important to make sure that the computers and other equipment in your restaurant are state-of-the-art, and that they are ready and able to help your staff complete the orders correctly. Next to a properly trained staff, the technology you use to display the orders is the most important part of the order-fulfillment process. If your employees can’t see or read the orders correctly, then there’s no telling what problems could occur. As you are setting up your technology, you need to ensure its usability by making sure you have a good, reliable computer, easy-to-read displays, and that all of your technology and devices connect and work together.
The Desktop Computer
All of this technology needs a central hub–a focal point that’s sturdy and reliable. This is where the desktop computer comes into play. Sure, it’s not mobile (we’ll get to that in a second) but what it lacks in mobility it more than makes up for in dependability. Desktop computers are built to last, and that’s important in a high-stress and high-turnaround business like restauranteering. You need to know that, whatever happens, however frenetic the day might get, that computer is there and working for you. As for the main terminal for your ordering system, the more reliable, the better. This computer won’t get dropped, smeared by greasy hands, or accidentally misplaced during the dinner rush. What’s more, since it is always in the same place, employees are easily able to check it for new orders, without having to hunt it down.
Of course, the greatest computer in the world is worthless if the display is unreadable, so don’t skimp on the dollars when it comes to buying monitors. Yes, you read that right: monitors. Plural. Unless your kitchen is the size of a small bathroom, one display is simply not going to be enough. You’re going to want to have several monitors displayed strategically throughout the kitchen so your staff can see the orders no matter where they are working. How many monitors you need really does depend on the size of your kitchen and the size of your staff, but a good rule of thumb to follow is this: if there is a place in your kitchen where you or an employee can’t see the order, then you don’t have enough.
As you are considering the number of displays you need, also consider their size: flat-screen technology has really come a long way in recent years, and a larger display can be easily purchased for an affordable price. Remember, this is all about reliability and accuracy of an order, so it’s up to you to make sure that you’ve done everything you can to help your employees read and complete the order correctly.
Now that you have a desktop and some monitors, it’s important to make sure that all of it works together flawlessly. Glitchy displays, poor connections, and other tech problems can hamper reliable service. In addition, though, it’s important to consider peripherals. That desktop is great, but if you’re hoping to add some mobile devices to your network, you also need to take the time to make sure they are connected and running smoothly. In addition, if you’re thinking about adding a mobile component to the system, it’s important to make sure that it is also integrated seamlessly with the system. Don’t let all of this technology drag you down because of a few minor glitches!
Putting it All Together
Once you’ve got this all up and running, you’ll be amazed at how quickly and efficiently your kitchen can run. Orders come in, and your reliable technology displays the order for all to see. The staff goes to work, and everyone can easily see what needs to be done, regardless of where they stand or which device they are looking at. A seamless, efficient staff has now become even more efficient by the addition of a few sensible purchases.
Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.
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