In conducting survey-based research on best practices in technology-enabled initiatives in the restaurant industry, Starfleet Research captures a lot of perspectives from industry practitioners. Such is the joy of an open text box in which people are invited to anonymously share their insights.
People are generally happy to share their experiences, both good and bad. The following are some selected quotes from recent surveys that served as the basis for the fact-based research featured in Smart Decision Guides on restaurant management and POS systems. Most of the quotes center on what to look for in a new restaurant technology, with some cautionary notes along the way.
“Figure out exactly what your operation needs before you start exploring POS technology options. Some new features are awesome and can have a real impact. But some solutions offer a lot of capabilities that may not help you achieve your goals. The bells and whistles may actually be a distraction to your servers and other staff.” – Manager, full-service restaurant
“Two years ago, we made the decision to upgrade. The main drivers were EMV compliance and POS mobility. What we weren’t expecting was the positive response we got from guests who appreciate the shorter wait times and better service experience.” – Senior executive, fast casual restaurant
“The most important thing to consider, aside from payment processing needs, is guest satisfaction. Will the new solution turn the dial on guest satisfaction? Will it improve the experience people are having with the restaurant? Will it leave guests feeling happier? If the answer is yes, then upgrading makes a lot of sense. Any technology that improves guest satisfaction and gets them coming back more often is money well spent.” – Owner, full-service restaurant
“Food, service and ambiance are the main reasons guests choose restaurants. Yes, technology is important, but don’t let it get in the way. The technology should work in the background. It should be integrated in ways that improve guest experiences and that also save money and improve operations.” Manager, full service restaurant
“Mobile POS tablets aren’t right for every eatery. But for us it has been a game changer. It has meant we can serve more people, turn tables more quickly, and, also, keep guests happy. The portability and flexibility of a small device can go a long way toward improving the guest experience.” – Manager, fast casual restaurant
“Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting when you upgrade your restaurant technologies. There are things that our POS doesn’t have that we assumed it would have. The biggest thing is data analytics and reporting. Don’t assume when you invest in a new system it has everything already built into it. You need to do your research.” – Manager, full service restaurant
“Tech-savvy servers can get up to speed on a new POS pretty quickly. Others might need a little more hand holding. Servers need to be comfortable before they start taking people’s orders and payments. For managers, the learning curve can be a little steeper, especially with creating custom reports.” – Owner, fast casual restaurant
“Having integrated reporting tools has been fantastic. The tools have helped us reduce overhead and improve efficiency in ways we could have never done before. We now have the ability to accurately predict sales of specific menu items. We can know what are the optimal shift schedules for servers, cooks and other staff. We can see sales and labor all merged together in a cohesive way. Restaurant staff can clock in and clock out in on the schedule. As the guy running the show, I can instantly notify everyone of any schedule changes with just a few keystrokes. That’s something we couldn’t do with our old POS system and it has made an enormous difference in terms of keeping everything and everyone on track and on the same page.” Senior executive, full-service restaurant
“A lot of different trends and factors are shaping the technology needs in our industry. Rising labor costs is one of them. To reduce overhead, some restaurants would prefer that guests use their own mobile devices when ordering as well as when paying. This is something we’re going to see a lot of in the future – guests sending their own orders directly to the kitchen display.” – IT manager, full-service restaurant
“Our POS technology partner has been super supportive and flexible. They understand our business and current challenges. They work with us to provide customized solutions that work with our unique operation. Restaurants don’t fit nicely into a one size fits all model. Restaurants need to look for technology companies that take a consultative, people-based approach to their business and care about their success.” – Marketing manager, quick service restaurant