Mobile Ordering…and POS…and Apps – Oh My!

By : Tim Henschel

March 20, 2015 08:36 PM

Mobile POS…Mobile Analytics…Mobile Ordering and Payment – it’s all anyone in the industry is talking about…and there’s a good reason for that.


According to the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) latest 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast, operators are saying yes to technology. As consumers look for technology during their dining experience, restaurant operators are incorporating more of those options. Some tech offerings are significantly more common than others including smartphone apps and online ordering for customers.


Additionally, technologies related to ordering and payment, touch-screen ordering and mobile payment options have a growth potential because of strong consumer interest. Mobile devices, from smartphones to connected cars to wearables, are changing the consumer experience and giving restaurants the opportunity to rethink how they interact with their employees and their customers.


We recently spoke with Sam Oches, editor of QSR Magazine, about how mobile technology is changing the restaurant industry. Here’s what he had to say, “great food no longer guarantees the success of a company. Great food along with a great brand experience -- getting in front of, and interacting with, the customers -- is what does the trick these days.” As a leader in consumer transaction technologies.


NCR helps businesses of all sizes bridge the gap between marketing, operations and IT. We’re uniquely positioned to understand transactions throughout their entire journey and we thought we’d share some of what we’ve learned as it relates to mobile technologies.


Empower your employees with mobile apps


A connected employee is an engaged employee. Think about what technology you can implement that makes your employee’s lives easier and helps them deliver an amazing experience to your guests. There are various apps available for training, shift scheduling and messaging and communications.


Forward-thinking restaurant chains, like Ted’s Montana Grill, Burger King and Shake Shack, are also giving their managers’ mobile, predictive analytics that gives them access to actionable information from anywhere. The days of low visibility into operational performance, waiting for cumbersome reports to be generated after the business day and the inability to be in more than one place at a time are long gone.


Oches says, “the brand experience that is now so crucial for capturing customers is also crucial for hiring, training and keeping employees. People want to work for a company that understands them and invests in them.”


Think about what changes you may need to make to your operations if you want to implement a mobile app for your guests


It’s important to have a robust strategy for how you will enable customers to place orders from multiple devices at any time. But you also need to take into consideration and come up with a plan for the areas that will be impacted the most once you open up yourself to orders from anywhere, instead of driving them through a cashier or server.


These areas include your Front-of-House, your Kitchen, your Drive-Thru and your Curbside and Takeout operations. As an example, your kitchen production and management is also one of the most important operational considerations when you are implementing multi-channel ordering.


If you are thinking about implementing multi-channel ordering, or already have, think about what kitchen system you are using today. Does it have the capabilities you need to manage orders that come from anywhere at any time? Do you have a good, seamless technology foundation that links your kitchen production to your guest to set their expectations based on the volume of orders in your kitchen? Do you know when the heaviest times of the day are for multi-channel orders?


The explosion in the industry across new channels and devices will only continue. Smart, savvy operators will figure out how to take advantage of technology to meet the needs of the digital consumer and the digital employee.


Oches states, “employee and consumer mobility is transforming the way QSRs do business by forcing them to rethink and invest in ways to better engage with people beyond the four walls.”


In what ways is your business leveraging mobile technology?