Tired of waiting on a waiter?
We've all been there... you're out to eat and in need of a refill or the check and the wait staff is nowhere to be found. It slows down business, reduces customer satisfaction and hurts the bottom line. New research in the upcoming INFORMS journal Management Science shows to counter this, restaurants should introduce tabletop technology as a demonstrated way to improve service and satisfaction.
Tabletop technology allows customers to view menu items, re-order beverages, pay for the meal, play games and browse news content. The technology is meant to assist waiters, not replace them.
The research conducted by Tom Fangyun Tan of the Cox Business School at Southern Methodist University and Serguei Netessine of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania reveals tabletop technology is likely to improve sales by 1% per check and reduce meal duration by 10%. The combination of these two effects increase the sales per minute or sales productivity by 11%.
"We estimate the 1% sales lift per check translates into $2 million in extra sales or $1 million in profit per month in the short-run," said Tan, an associate professor of information technology and operations management. "And that's a conservative estimate."
The data was collected from a restaurant chain here in the U.S. that owns 66 establishments. It looked at transaction data from 2012 to 2014 or 2.6 million transactions.
"A good, attentive waiter already does what the tabletop device does... a less attentive or forgetful waiter does not, but relies more on the device, which makes up for the lacking ability resulting in faster service," said Tan.
The data suggest that restaurants reevaluate their operations to fully reap the benefits of tabletop technology. They can gain new competitive and financial advantages in an industry that faces hyper-competition and high levels of closures in their first year of business.