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Are Tableside Ordering and Payment Processing Worth the Investment?

By Amy Nichol Smith
Business.com / Mobile / Last Modified: June 9, 2017

There's something about the word "tableside."

There's something about the word "tableside." Some Mexican restaurants offer guacamole prepared "tableside" with a ridiculous markup that customers are willing to pay for. The Caesar salad that's made to order right next to your table in a fine dining establishment with just the right amount of flourish is worth the extra money to many diners. It's this personal touch that makes a meal out even more special.

It stands to reason that tableside ordering could also be considered a personal touch that diners would return for. Servers armed with iPads take orders at the table and, thanks to advances in technology, the ticket is immediately relayed to the kitchen staff. Additionally, card payments can be made on the spot at the table through the same iPad. There are many benefits to adopting this technology, but only if it makes sense for your restaurant.

No More Wrong Orders

There's no need for a server to run back to the kitchen to reenter the ticket, and customers can see their orders on the screen, so there's no question about a server getting an order wrong. You can even leave the iPad at the table for customers to input their orders themselves. This means you're going to issue fewer comps in a day or night of service.

Faster Table Turnover

Tableside ordering and payment processing reduce runaround for servers. Further, the faster your staff can fulfill orders, run payments and get satisfied customers out, the shorter the wait time is for new customers at the door, and the more people your restaurant can serve overall. This also means your servers can spend more time taking care of their customers, which means higher tips for servers.

Upsell Reminders

Your servers always try to push drinks, desserts, appetizers and extras, but the truth is every server has skipped this step to get to the next table or get food out. There are apps that you can use to offer reminders to upsell, which your servers must acknowledge they've done to place the order to the kitchen staff on the iPad. It's good for your bottom line and for the ticket total, which also makes it a benefit for your servers' tips.

Customer Peace of Mind

Credit card fraud is an unfortunate problem that exists in retail, and customers are more aware of the issue now than ever. Because of this, diners may be wary of a server that takes too long to return their credit card when running the payment through a processor. Tableside payment processing means your servers run customers' cards through right at the table, so a diner's card is never out of their sight.

Tableside ordering and payment processing is a worthy investment for your restaurant if you always have a line at your door and you don't want to lose customers who grow frustrated waiting for a table to open up. Even if you're operating an old-school style diner, you can incorporate this advanced technology without it detracting from the nostalgic experience too much.

Image from Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

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