How to simply implement table service with mobile Order & Pay

May 06, 2021 4 min read

With a 10pm curfew for all pubs, restaurants and bars and compulsory table service coming into effect from Thursday 24th September, now is the perfect time to review your mobile Order and Pay options.

It can seem daunting to embrace new technologies and operational procedures, but implementing mobile Order and Pay to manage table service is in reality, very simple to do with minimal disruption on how businesses already run.

Mobile ordering will ensure social distancing guidelines are maintained, as it reduces the contact and interactions between staff and customers and with the very real threat of further local lockdowns, mobile Order and Pay solutions can also help businesses quickly, cheaply and efficiently adapt to Pickup if needed.

Here are four considerations when thinking about implementing mobile Order & Pay technology.

1. How easy is it for customers to use?

Several solutions have sprung up on the market in response to Covid offering a huge array of ways to integrate with existing technology. It’s important when choosing your tech to think about how customers will access the experience. Traditionally, the answer has been an app. But app downloads can be one of the biggest blockers to overall success. Two main reasons for this are customers not wanting to hold hundreds of applications on their devices, but also when they are there, in the moment, wanting to order food and drink they do not want to wait for a download. Enabling your customers to Order & Pay at their table or for Pickup without any need for an app will open up the solution by removing any layer of frustration to the process.

Think critically about the really important stuff: how you’ll take payments – and who you will trust to handle your customer data? In this day and age, it’s vital customer data and payments are secure so ensure any partners you work with are fully ISO compliant. When choosing a provider take into account whether they have tried and tested tech; the range of clients they work with; and the expertise and the support they can provide. 

2. Use experts to create the perfect user experience

Getting a mobile experience right is about so much more than just translating a physical menu into a digital space. The solution needs to be truly mobile-first, so you need to prioritise first-class user experiences and interfaces as the focal point for all of your customers. A brilliant mobile experience will remove all frustration and friction from the ordering process, from the first access point to completing payment. Doing this well will need real mobile expertise. Never buy into a second-rate, “quick fix” experience or try to build something from scratch if you don’t have the in-house experience to build a genuinely brilliant solution.

Crucially, don’t forget your teams are the users too! Keeping things simple is key. You need something simple, effective and will not add to their already busy workloads. The back-end software needs to be as intuitive as the customer journey. It needs to be easy for them to manage out of stock items and update and edit menus. It’s a good idea to make sure you’ve partnered with a provider who can offer further assistance with Customer Success Teams in place to provide overall support, guidance and tips on best practices.

3. Promote the experience

Think about really clear and simple messaging in your venues where it’s visible for customers to see.

For example, when they first walk in and wait to be seated and table talkers when they are sat down. Perhaps you could advise people of the change in advance with clear details and instructions, maybe even a video or images of the new way to order and pay through a newsletter or your social media channels. 

 4. Use staff effectively

Your staff can also be the biggest advocates of mobile Order and Pay. It might seem simple, but they need to know how to use the system like the back of their hand. When the solution is in place, take the time to thoroughly train staff and resolve any queries. Allow everyone who will interact with the solution to trial it – both in their front-of-house capacity but also as a customer. As they deal with your customers every single day, they’ll understand more than anyone want will work well. You’ll find that their feedback and engagement will improve the overall success when it’s time to launch.

At Onvi we have always said that tech is no substitute for great people

It is after all the teams that create the atmosphere and good service that keeps customers coming back for more. By taking the functional, transactional element of paying a bill out of the hands of your staff they can invest more time in the hospitality element of their roles. They’ll be able to turn over tables quicker and have time to (at a safe distance) recommend the specials, check-in with the customers, suggest wine pairings – generally interact with the guests and ensure they are happy and having a good time.