Restaurants Tap Tech for Service Improvements Beyond Mobile Payments

December 18, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

The notion of “old-fashioned service” generally doesn’t come with a caveat about technology. Oddly enough, it does now, and in the world of mobile payments, that’s not even the strangest thing you’ll see today. It’s true, however; restaurants are increasingly turning to new devices to produce old-fashioned service, and it’s not just mobile payments that are making it happen.

For instance, the Tang & Biscuit—a self-described “shuffleboard social house” in Richmond, Virginia—offers call buttons from Tablee which notifies waitstaff via smartphone when someone’s ready for service. A space that offers not only shuffleboard but also a full dining menu and a full bar—which itself measures 52 feet—takes a lot of room to run properly, which means that waitstaff can’t just be wandering around checking on patrons.

Moreover, patrons may not be in the same place for very long; since shuffleboard—as well as ping pong or other table games—are also in play, a customer may not be where the waiter or waitress left them.

This lends itself well to a call button system; it doesn’t matter where the patron is, it just matters that they’re ready for another drink or food item. It also works well as a way to check on the waitstaff; the time between the button press and the waitstaff’s contact with the customer is regarded as an important “service value”.

It’s not just unusual concept restaurants that rate this kind of service; Chick-fil-A reportedly tested a similar system from Kallpod recently that allowed a button-press device to summon help as needed.

We start with being able to summon waitstaff as needed, then proceed to paying our bills with our mobile devices. This helps improve flow in the restaurant and boosts customer satisfaction. Granted, an operation like the Tang & Biscuit is more interested in keeping customers in the room than getting them out quickly, but it also works well to an environment where people are highly mobile. A mint julep at the shuffleboard pit, a plate of cheese fries at the ping-pong table, and you’re talking about a nice evening that involves a lot of moving around.

This kind of technology could be pretty useful long term, and it will be interesting to see what impact it has on sales figures after a while has passed.