Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tableside tracking

Lindsay Paulson at stuff4restaurants, post, “New Apple Device WiFi to Cut Waiting times in restaurants” deals with wifi technology making inroads in restaurants.

“Orders could be placed through a media player, wireless PDA, or cell phone. The obvious benefit to customers would be in avoiding the wait in line to order their favorite coffee drinks or hamburgers.
But the system would also have benefits to restaurant owners beyond providing better service. Each customer using the system would get a unique identifier for tracking the establishments they visited and what they bought. The information would be stored in the devices and synchronized with the computers of participating merchants.”

An expectation has been created by parcel delivery services, that customers can track their purchases online. The natural outgrowth of the WiFi protocol is that restaurant customers would have the ability to follow their order from the moment the order is placed, through the preparation, until the food is delivered. This functionality will enable customers to time the experience at your restaurant. The discomfort caused by the ambiguity of wondering when their meal will arrive will be eliminated.

The technology exists today, however at price points that are not feasible. This vision however will quickly become the standard. Whether you are ready or not, customers will demand tableside tracking.