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Managing the third party integrators – escaping the tablet hell

How the great theory of sourcing multiple orders from various sources confronts the harsh reality of notifications on countless screens. 

Tablet Hell Ordering Stack

The restaurant business has been considered as a tech revolution-resistant for a long time. After the arrival of integrators and aggregators, the situation has changed and restaurateurs face new challenges, including the tablet hell. 

The market for digital restaurant solutions is rapidly expanding, reaching over $220 billion worldwide (according to Statista). There are multiple types of software and dedicated hardware used by modern restaurants, with digital kiosks, POS and KDS solutions, and integrators being the top-of-mind examples. 

The belief in the transformation is reflected not only by the numbers of the tech industry. Also, up to 71% of foodservice companies in the US believe that digital transformation is one of the most important factors contributing to building business agility. Also, 59% of US foodservice businesses want to integrate the physical, digital and mobile shopping experiences. 

On an early stage of transformation, thus enthusiasm is a straight path to the tablet hell. 

What is a tablet hell

Tablet Hell is a colloquial term describing the situation where the restaurant has access to multiple integrators – popular food delivery apps like Uber Eats, Bolt Food, Take Away, Glovo. The situation seems to be perfect, with new streams of customers incoming from these portals.

When it comes to the day-to-day reality of food companies cooperating with the online food order aggregators, it is usually about having multiple tablets with an app of one of the partners turned on constantly. Also, the staff needs to control if there is any notification incoming and to pass the order to the kitchen.

When having a relatively popular restaurant with several integrators as partners, there is a constant flow of orders to manage. And it is a dull, full-time job, with one employee standing in front of multiple tablets and managing orders. The challenge gets intense when the company operates as a dark kitchen – with four integrators available and five brands running under the same roof the staff has 4 tablets to look after. And that’s insanity. 

While managing the flow of orders manually is possible, a much smarter and more effective way is to integrate the aggregators with POS and KDS systems.

Benefits of integrating the aggregators and POS and KDS systems

The Kitchen Display System (KDS) is a display system and software that ensures the flow of orders from the POS system to the kitchen without human interference. A sophisticated system like Ordering Stack is not only listing the orders in the kitchen but also provides the team with the exact order of food to prepare, optimizing the production and reducing the time required to deliver multiple orders. 

The KDS system receives the orders from the Point Of Sales (POS) system, where the staff can easily gather the orders and collect money for them. Having the integrator (or multiple integrators) wired into this system comes with multiple benefits, including:

Ordering Stack - KDS in restaurant
Ordering Stack – KDS in restaurant

Increased transparency of costs and operations

With the tablet hell mode on, the restaurant gets a stream of separate reports about costs, orders, and income. Again, while it is possible to manage the flow manually, it is a tedious and time-consuming task. Also, transferring all the data from reports to a single reporting system is mistake-prone. 

Integrating the POS system with the integrators’ services comes as a reasonable way to reduce the workload and wipe out the points where the data can be lost or mistaken due to human error. 

Also, the staff will appreciate the fact that there is no need to manage multiple tablets at once and the flow of orders is fully automated. This leads straight to the next point: 

Focusing on clients instead of screens 

Tablet hell is especially wearing for staff working in a traditional restaurant. One of the key elements of a traditional HoReCa business is interpersonal relations between the waiter and the customer. Sometimes it is only about a little chit-chat between two orders, sometimes something more, when the bartender is good friend behind the bar, who always delivers good advice and a merry conversation. 

When having multiple tablets to manage, the staff has to reduce the time spent caring about the on-site guests. The people in the restaurant may feel neglected when seeing a staff member who is constantly clicking and scrolling several tablets instead of collecting or bringing their order. 

Having a single contact point for every order in a POS system reduces significantly the time the staff spends on managing the digital twin of the restaurant. And by that, there is more time to work with on-site guests. 

Also, the automation comes with several other advantages – the staff can focus on working with the customers or running the offline restaurant. Thus, there is a significant labor costs reduction – the staff can deliver more on-site work rather than managing the tablets. By that, there is more done for the same wage. 

Avoiding errors

As mentioned above, automating the order flow comes with a great reduction of potential errors. With all integrators plugged into the POS, there are fewer apps to manage. There is a single menu, single stocks information, and a single payment system. 

When having all these integrated, there is no risk that the customer would order the out-of-stock item or the menu would be outdated in one of the integrated services. With everything perfectly synchronized with the menu in the restaurant, the company gets a mistake-proof tool to manage both online and offline orders. 

Compliance

Last but not least – the tablet hell is a straight way to forget about placing some orders in a POS or doing it several times. This leads to reduced compliance with fiscal administration. Due to the tedious mistake done while being overwhelmed by tablets, the restaurant may find itself fined. There are millions of ways to spend this money better – and the bigger the fine, the more ways there are. 

Summary

Tablet hell is a counterintuitive aspect of running a modern restaurant. It is also a great example of how the great theory of sourcing multiple orders from various sources confronts the harsh reality of notifications on countless screens. 

Luckily, software like Ordering Stack comes with a way to manage this challenge in an easy and intuitive way. If you wish to talk more about the ways your company would benefit from tossing the tablet hell, don’t hesitate to contact us now! 

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