touch screens at restaurants

Can Touchscreens Improve Your Restaurant’s Sales?

2013 is coming to a close in these final months, and yet your restaurant might be missing out on all the benefits that living in the future offers. Bloomberg Businessweek has found that including a tablet as part of your restaurant’s table top may just increase your sales regularly, without hiring any more staff or having your waiters being more vigilant. It seems to have worked for Chili’s Grill and Bar.

The restaurant chain has installed the tablets, produced by Ziosk, in near 200 of their restaurants (Uno Chicago Grill and Applebee’s have also installed such devices in handfuls of their own restaurants).

The concept is rather simple. A customized tablet is sat at every table in the restaurant, allowing the customer to order food, pay for food, request drinks, you name it. However the business wants, the waiter can be purely a food runner, or can be a traditional member of the meal service.

Tips have been going higher, though, as the tablet defaults to 20% at Chili’s. While the consumer has the option and right to lower or raise it, this 20% average is better than the expected 15% of the past. Oddly enough, this higher tip comes from less face-to-face service (does that imply that people actually want to pay the wait staff to go away?).

The company that produces the tablets also reports that appetizers and starter sales have gone up, as consumers can sit down and immediately order something from the menu, instead of waiting on waitstaff to come by, take drink orders, and take appetizer orders. This has also worked on the backend of the meal, as they’re finding consumers are ordering more desserts, as they are tempted by rotating images of the dishes throughout the meal.

Dinner at their restaurants has proven to be a bit more relaxing for adults with children, as they can pay just under one dollar for children, otherwise possibly distracted and loud, to play video games in the interim on the tablet. Despite this game time for the children (or possibly in thanks to), the restaurants report people are actually spending less time in the restaurant; more accurate orders, less time waiting on staff to juggle multiple tables, no hinderances in children or waiting for the bill to appear means that consumers can get in and out of the door quicker, with a higher tab on average being the result.

The technology is still in its infancy for the restaurant world in general, but it’s not unheard of. McDonalds has recently instituted a similar concept in test markets, allowing customers to pay digitally, and concepts like Square and PayPal have made this incredibly easy for the modern restauranteur. We’ve covered the technology of 2012, and it seems that if you followed those tips, your sales might go up. If you stay on the cutting edge, you may just stay high in profits as well.