Gone are the days of servers frantically scribbling down orders at the restaurant table and then putting them up on the board for the kitchen. Wireless order entry is the latest restaurant trend, and La Cage aux Sports, a Quebec-based restaurant and sports bar chain, recently armed its serving staff with tablets backed by a new Motorola wireless LAN. The network will speed service to customers, boost operational efficiency and increase revenues.
The Motorola wireless LAN allows La Cage's serving and bar staff to communicate more efficiently with back-of-the-house operations by instantly placing food and drink orders, which in turn allows them to service more customers and turn over their tables more efficiently, said Mathieu Laliberté, director of information and technologies for La Cage aux Sports.
Wireless mobility: Wi-Fi revolutionizes food service
La Cage was looking to implement a mobile ordering system on tablets, and the IT organization knew it needed a high-performing wireless LAN to support the technology. The restaurant, along with Motorola partner POS Terminal 2000, replaced La Cage's legacy Wi-Fi infrastructure with the new Motorola wireless LAN. The network will support Android-based Motorola ET1 tablets, which will allow servers to skip writing orders down and manually entering them into the point-of-sale (POS) terminals. The ET1 tablets are ruggedized, and are designed to withstand drops, spills, and cold and hot temperatures -- perfect for a busy restaurant environment, said Laliberté.
"We wanted a tablet we could drop on the floor and there wouldn't be a problem, and something easy to deploy. The Motorola tablet uses the Android operating system, so that would be easy for us to configure and for servers to use," he said.
The new mobile ordering system allows servers to roam throughout the restaurant on the Wi-Fi without any gaps in coverage so tickets are delivered to the kitchen instantly. The system also gives servers up-to-date insight into any menu changes in real-time, which increases efficiency and customer satisfaction, Laliberté said. On the technical side, La Cage's IT staff can manage each restaurant's wireless LAN from a centralized location, including making changes to any access points or troubleshooting a tablet.
"We could always manage each restaurant's Wi-Fi from a centralized place, so now we just had to integrate the tablets into our centralized management [tool]," he said.
The new system -- complete with the new Motorola wireless LAN access points and ET1 tablets -- has been rolled out at five of La Cage's 51 locations throughout Quebec, with the rest of the locations expecting the new system by the end of 2015.
Motorola wireless serves up faster service, more revenue
The Motorola wireless LAN has improved the customer experience at La Cage, whose customers are typically watching games and ordering multiple drinks and snacks, and don't want long waits for their orders, Laliberté said. "Servers are placing orders right as they are taking them at the tables with their tablets. It's more efficient because they don't have to run back to the fixed POS, and they are always around their tables."
The new system has also led to operational efficiencies, like the elimination of all but one POS system in each restaurant using Motorola, which frees up more space within the restaurant. "In a typical restaurant, we had six POS [terminals] and now we are down to one that we have kept behind the bars since they still fit bartenders' working styles," he said.
The mobile order taking system also allows the restaurant to sell more food and beverages and is cutting down on labor costs because servers can help more customers at a time while making more money themselves, he said. "Servers can help more tables, so we actually need [fewer] servers on the floor ... and we've also been able to do more upselling since the tablet will propose add-ons when a customer orders a particular item," he said.
Due to security regulations in Canada, La Cage can't accept credit card payments on the tablets yet, but is currently working with Motorola on a solution, Laliberté said. "If we could do the whole process -- from ordering to payment -- on the tablets, that would help us be even more efficient."
So far, La Cage has noticed an improvement in customer satisfaction, in addition to employee satisfaction. "It was really easy to teach [the serving staff] the new system because they were really excited to simplify their work with a new technology," he said.
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