Best Practices for Introducing Mobile Order & Pay-at-Table Solutions
Best Practices for Introducing Mobile Order & Pay-at-Table Solutions
GoTab was launched in 2016 as a mobile payment provider and in 2018 added contactless ordering to our offerings. In the early days, it was an uphill battle to convince hospitality operators to take the leap of faith and disrupt their status quo operations for the promise of larger average order sizes and more efficient service delivery. Then, the pandemic hit and many operators turned to contactless ordering and payment solutions to help navigate the long road back to “normal”. Now that we have begun adapting to post-pandemic life, it’s more important than ever to ensure your business is running efficiently; we think these best practices can help.
1. Start with a good first impression.
Restaurateurs are battling staff shortages and rising food costs, while still delivering great guest experiences. To deliver what guests really crave, start by making a great first impression. In a recent nationwide survey of restaurant staff, respondents say 39% of their guests are happy to view a menu on their phone. But just because they can view the menu through their device, it doesn’t mean that guests don’t need your servers’ support.
“Initially we had guests ordering through GoTab through the QR codes on their table. If they came up to the bar, sure the bartender would enter them into the system that way. Now, we’re using GoTab POS at the bar. Guests at the tables still enter orders, but we have a lot more servers on the team to not only do that introduction and field questions, providing tasters, etc., but they’re also able to just give a lot more attention. So it’s just like they have a normal server. Minus the fact that you didn’t put in your initial order”. – Broxton General Manager Allan Schaeffer.
Successful mobile order & pay-at-table adopters apply a customer-centric approach. Servers or hosts start with an explanation of the ordering process to orient guests, sometimes before they are even seated. Frequent table touches make sure that guests aren’t left to their own devices, and that they always feel comfortable that a staff member is available to assist them or answer a question if they need it.
2. Cross-Train Staff to Maximize the Time of the Staff You Have.
For your staff, take time up front to eliminate unnecessary steps. For example, when guests order for themselves, they experience fewer order errors. That makes it possible for staff to spend more time on other tasks that make the dining experience more enjoyable, such as consulting with guests on menu and cocktail/wine pairing recommendations and ensuring food gets delivered in a timely fashion.
By turning our staff into a team of multi-faceted, customer service experts, we’ve given them the opportunity to learn more and grow in their positions at Maketto. We now have 5 people to ensure our guests have the best experience on-site. Our tip pool is smaller and so our staff earns more tips than they did in the past. – Keem Hughley, Director of Sales at Maketto
3. Map traffic flows and the physical layout of your space.
With mobile ordering and pay-at-table, think about the strategic placement of tables and their respective QR codes using a logical pattern that your staff will find easy to understand and recall. If your venue supports dine-in, take-out, and delivery, use clear signage and staff guidance to make it easy for guests to know where to go for what.
Long-time GoTab customer Caboose Commons took advantage of their unique physical space. “We have two garage door windows so we opened both and one was focused on ordering and the other for pickup,” says Caboose CEO Jennifer McLaughlin.
One of the lesser known benefits of mobile order and pay-at-table solutions is the ability to customize your menu based on the physical layout of your space or even the time of day. For example, you can offer a simplified menu on the patio or more remote dining areas, or at slower periods of the day when staff counts are low.
With an out-of-the-box feature like GoTab Zones you can create new sources of revenue, or maximize existing revenue streams, all with no extra software or fees. You can optimize all kinds of physical spaces, like a restaurant bar or patio; a hotel’s room service or poolside bar; or an independent Food Truck at a brewery. A zone can essentially be thought of as a revenue center. Create as many zones as you’d like to see sales areas separated by, or areas by which you may want to control different settings like hours, tip prompts, or menu item availability.
4. Take time to ensure your QR codes are customized and branded for your venue.
With the dining experience constantly changing, make sure that the QR codes you use fit well with your physical space and your brand. There are a variety of creative ways to do this tastefully and cost-effectively.
Depending on your guest demographic, you may find a significant portion still prefer browsing a physical menu. Feel free to provide disposable menus. When designed well, your guests may find them easier on the eyes.
5. Plan for virtual help and real-time feedback.
Mobile ordering and payment platforms will make it easier for your guests to communicate with you. Whereas before they may have flagged a staff member down to ask for a new order, make a change, or ask a question, now they’ll prefer to use the same device they’re ordering on to communicate with you. Make sure your staff are prepared to respond and have a process in place to address ones that can’t be answered in real-time.
Be prepared to receive direct feedback on the experience, both the good and the bad. Mobile order and pay-at-table solutions will give you the opportunity to get more feedback on a timelier basis. This allows you to make a real difference in guest satisfaction and important factors like willingness to recommend and return visits.
6. Incorporate rich imagery and multimedia.
With a user-friendly menu design complemented by high-quality photography, you can make the menu browsing experience informative and enjoyable. And you’re not just limited to photography, savvy operators are incorporating video into their mobile menus to make the browsing experience more immersive and engaging.
7. Amp your social presence with ecommerce features.
Your mobile ordering and payment platform can also serve as an ecommerce storefront. Take advantage of the same rich imagery you share with your brand loyalists on visual platforms like Facebook and Instagram by directing followers to where to buy. While it may not generate a significant revenue stream, particularly in the beginning, it can offset some of your social media costs and provide new ways to maintain brand loyalty.
“For us, everything is done through our online portal. We partnered with GoTab, and they’ve been amazing. They’ve given us a really fast, good, back-end interface, and enable online payment. We’ve asked their system to behave as a fully robust e-commerce platform and it’s working. Plus, they’re restaurant people so they know the business.”
– Dan Simons, Co-Owner, Farmers Restaurant Group
8. Get cozy with your data.
Your mobile order and pay-at-table platform should allow you to get a holistic view of customer and sales information. Consider monitoring metrics such as:
- Sales Per Hour & Per Shift (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)
- Tabs Per Hour & Per Shift
- Top Selling Items & High Margin F&B Items (Greatest Hits & Platinum Margins)
- Product Mix (PMIX)
- Customer Feedback
- Purchase and Repurchase Patterns
Savvy operators are gaining greater insight and control of their end-to-end customer experience using metrics like these to manage their operations, improve their customer experience, and increase their profitability.
About GoTab Inc.
GoTab, Inc., a Restaurant Commerce Platform (RCP), is helping large- and mid-sized restaurants, breweries, bars, hotels and other venues run lean, profitable operations while making guests even more satisfied.
GoTab uniquely allows patrons to order and pay through a server (without a smartphone), or order and pay directly from their own mobile phones, or blend the two experiences all on one tab, through its easy-to-use mobile point-of-sale (POS), contactless ordering and payment features, and kitchen management systems (KMS). The guest never has to download a mobile app or create a password.
Operators get industry-leading features and actionable data that can be rapidly deployed and adapted to their unique requirements for dramatically reduced costs. Founded in 2016, GoTab processes over $250M transactions per year with operations across 35 U.S. states and growing. Learn more at https://gotab.io/en/