Introducing a tablet ordering system in a restaurant may seem like a perfect option – it could eliminate communication errors between the guest and the kitchen, reduce time to pay at the end of meals, and give guests the opportunity to learn more about the food and history of the establishment. But nothing is ever as perfect as it seems. Below we have outlined 3 reasons why a tablet ordering system will ruin your restaurant.
1. Cost. There are 3 major costs associated with tablet ordering systems. First, the cost of labor will increase because server tips will decrease. Restaurant operators are responsible for paying employees minimum wage if they are not making the required amount through tips. Second, the initial cost of the tablet computers – training, insurance, and the devices themselves. Third, there must be a reserve of cash for lost, stolen or damaged property. Most restaurants are a haphazard environment, with plates getting dropped, glasses being broken, and salt shakers mysteriously disappearing. Tablets will break, get stolen, or be otherwise damaged and it is important to prepare in advance.
2. Damaging the Brand Experience. When a restaurant uses a tablet for ordering, they are no longer known for the unique cuisine, exceptional staff, or tasty drinks. Articles and reputation surrounding the restaurant focus on one thing – the tablet. The tablet is something a restaurant operator cannot control (will it break?, what happens if it gets a virus?, what do we do if the internet connection fails?, etc.). A restaurant operator can control the staff that is hired and the quality of food and drinks. The brand experience can also be harmed at the individual level. For example, if an entire table is forced to share one tablet to complete the order, it can make the ordering process longer and irritating, especially if one of the guests cannot make up their mind.
3. Unpredictability. Guests have no way of knowing how busy the kitchen is, and on a busy Friday or Saturday night, multiple orders coming into the kitchen at the same time could bog down the kitchen for the entire night and ruin many guest’s meals. The tablet also cannot answer every question a guest has, and cannot predict the needs of the guest like an experienced server. Assuming the tablet ordering system is accompanied by a smaller staff making less in tips, the experienced servers will be much more difficult to attract.