Bestselling authors Chip and Dan Heath recently released a book detailing their study of executive decision-making. In Decisive, the Heaths discuss the biases and other built-in flaws that prevent people from making the best choices. The authors contend that when a leader faces a difficult decision that seems to present a choice between two options, the first question to ask is: How can I have both?
A restaurant, and its customers, can have their cake and eat it too
This brilliant turn of logic even applies to mobile and online ordering for restaurants. A common question from restauranteurs considering a mobile and online ordering solution is, “Sure an app would be great for our customers, but don’t I need to integrate with my POS system?”
The answer is, “yes and no.” First of all the word “integration” can have a lot of meanings. One might be the implication that the mobile ordering app will work directly with the software on the POS system. This is often difficult, expensive and in a lot of cases ultimately unneccessary. Technical integration is filled with unexpected hurdles. If integrating a mobile and online ordering system with a POS system results in any extra effort during regular business operations, integration could actually hamper a restaurant’s production process and drag down workflow.
The word “integration” can have a broader meaning, however. Whether or not a mobile or online order and payment integrates with your POS system, the true mark of a robust mobile and online ordering system is one that integrates tightly into a restaurant’s work flow, and even improves it. Mobile and online ordering should help a restaurant be more time efficient, increase throughput and ultimately lead to scores of happy customers. To that end, there are two questions a restauranteur should ask him or herself before deciding the best way to receive mobile and online orders:
- What is the work flow for my restaurant staff and customers, including ordering, preparation and payment?
- What services or devices have we already implemented that the staff is trained and accustomed to using?
With this information one can figure out a working solution for the needs of a particular restaurant, or even solutions if the needs vary from location to location. For example, Splick-it offers six ways to present mobile and online orders to a restaurant. Based on how a restaurant operates and the responses to the above questions, we are able to combine one or more order presentation methods to best suit the process and their budget. If getting a phone notification and an email works better than a paper printout of the order, the system abides.
The point of sale marketplace is rapidly evolving. The advent of the tablet computer and other more affordable payment systems have given greater influence to a niche of high-tech small business customers. With new, cheaper, more versatile POS options springing up left and right, it is unwise to make too permanent a commitment. Every integration of a software system or any other tool to a POS system represents another tether one has to sever before moving on to a better and/or cheaper POS solution. No doubt POS providers envision a permanent marriage to their customers, but it better suits a restaurant to remain in a position to pivot with the technological winds.
When you think of mobile and online ordering integration, think not in the simple terms of working with this or that POS software. Integration is really about mobile and online ordering fitting well into a restaurant’s work flow. Creating hassle by adding extra steps or making a process more cumbersome doesn’t help the staff or the customers. A well-integrated solution will streamline the process and be practically invisible.