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It’s Time to Eliminate the “Paper is Simpler” Mentality in Food Service

Paper in the Kitchen

Consider this fact: the food industry is one of the only remaining industries that still operates on paper. Give it a try: name another prominent industry that has yet to embrace technology. I think about the server who jots down food orders on a notepad and disappears to input the drinks and dishes ordered in the restaurant’s POS system. Or better yet, heads to the kitchen and delivers a ticket on a piece of paper to the back-of-house staff so they can organize the tickets on the line and fire off the dishes. Somehow efficiency gets a bad rap in the hospitality industry, under the false pretense that it ultimately translates into a subpar guest experience.

Efficiency Improves Guest Experiences

Survey your closest friends about their most memorable positive dining experience(s). You will find that, in most cases, they refer to a time when service was seamless, timely and enjoyable. Most guests truly value fast, easy and straightforward service – whether they’re dining at a casual spot or going out for a special occasion at a fine dining restaurant. Today, the only way to provide that level of service is to complement human actions with technology-enhanced operations, proving that hospitality and technology can work hand-in-hand to deliver a superlative guest experience. With GoTab operators, we find that they value the efficiencies delivered by our cloud-based solution, beyond our core capability (contactless ordering and payment). Since it is the only system on the market allowing guests with a tab to seamlessly move back and forth between servers and self-ordering, it simplifies transactional tasks and reduces the room for error, ultimately eliminating pain points and customer frustration.

Resolving Invisible Inefficiencies Can Reap Rewards

As I often say, restaurant operators tend to focus on all the “stuff above water,” but finding a food tech solution that assists with the less visible inefficiencies of restaurant operations is key. Beyond contactless ordering and payment, GoTab enhances kitchen operations with robust fulfillment features: scheduled orders organized on the KDS and displayed with ticket timers; multi-station mode for faster and more efficient operations; ability to manage exceptions (86 items in real time, two-way text communications with guests to resolve any order issues, etc.); integrated alerts to keep track of attended and unattended orders.

Unfortunately, many operators are reluctant to add screens in the kitchen because “paper is simpler,” less liable to break and can better endure the hostile kitchen environment. That’s why many opt for the more “comfortable option” of running everything from printers. GoTab gives operators the option to equip their back-of-house with the features that best fit their needs. Screens can help expedite orders more efficiently. They also provide the kitchen staff with better visibility, especially when orders are backed up. A KDS also tracks important data, such as the amount of time needed to fulfill orders – something that can’t be tracked when looking at a stack of printed orders. I know that back-of-house staff are intuitive and know what a successful service looks like. Given the current labor shortages and high staff turnover, platforms like GoTab provide them with bulletproof tools so back-of-house staff doesn’t rely so much on human intuition. And by greatly improving back-of-house operations, they can run their kitchen smoothly and efficiently, which impacts guests positively and drums up additional orders and higher spend.

GoTab also provides superior communications tools to allow for hospitality operators to capitalize on the data provided by the platform, as well as leverage integrated marketing functionalities to drive repeat visits and, ultimately, enhance profitability.

Making & Keeping Promises

Both operators and food tech solutions make promises: operators make promises to guests, slated to deliver a specific dining experience complete with quality food, great service and more. On our end, a restaurant commerce platform like GoTab makes the promise to be dependable and flexible, adapting to operators’ evolving needs. An effective food tech solution complements the human touch – servers are an essential, non-negotiable part of the hospitality experience. If guests are greeted properly and warmly when they arrive, there’s a high chance they will enjoy the rest of their on-site experience. Sometimes, guests just want another beer without having to interrupt their conversation or having to flag the staff. Or better yet, they’re happy to pay via their mobile device and walk out and not have to wait for the check. That’s when having a reliable restaurant commerce platform matters the most.

There are countless food tech solutions in the market. When seeking out the best partner, operators must not only take a close look at the capabilities offered by the platform, but also get a better feel for the vision behind the tech. A lot of promises are made at the demo stage, but finding a tech solution that will evolve its features to match operators’ needs is of utmost importance. When we launched GoTab in 2016, we were focused on solving the same problems we’re focused on today. We want to help hospitality businesses be efficient, which ultimately allows operators to scale. The recent global pandemic accelerated the need for restaurants to think of technology as a dependable and flexible partner. And eventually, restaurants won’t operate on paper anymore.

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