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Re-Order Technology Enables QSR Table Service


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Courtesy of Kallpod

There’s a lot of buttons, tablets and doodads starting to clutter restaurant tables these days. 

The technology can serve as a payment portal, a way to call for service, play games or order. When it works, it can work really well, but a lot of the devices collect dust because it just isn’t a focus for the staff or the management. 

But with high-touch service behind the Kallpod device, Chick-fil-A saw some incredible results: a 500 percent increase in tableside ordering. While growing from almost zero will always be a big number, locations testing the device saw some real revenue as well. At a Houston location testing the device, tableside orders grew from around $30 per day to $200 to $350 per day by streamlining the tableside experience. All of which was incremental purchasing, business that the restaurant wouldn’t get otherwise. 

“If you can drive those incremental purchases, the flow through on that is noticeable. A 10 percent bump in sales on a constant process can drive 35 percent profit,” said Steven Barlow, chief operating officer at Kallpod. 

The device is pretty straightforward. The small pod has three buttons, one to call the manger with questions or concerns, one to order more food and one to call for service, to get things like napkins a fork or more dipping sauce. It’s a hit with things like ice cream, something customers don’t generally want to let sit while they eat their meal. 

“Before we introduced Kallpod, you would hear guests say they were interested in trying a cone but didn’t want to order it with their first order placed at the counter,” said Devin Deshotel, the chief operating officer at two Texas locations “Now, I often hear guests say that they are going to place their first order and will order the cone at the table. There is a tremendous opportunity for those incremental orders that were not taking place before we implemented Kallpod.”

Deshotel said they made the pod a core part of their messaging at the counter, describing briefly what the pod is for and how to use it. That’s a big key in the success. 

“I think really conveying to service staff that this is a tool that can help you. It will help you work smarter, make you more money and make the guest happier,” said Barlow. “That’s probably the biggest challenge and what we really focus on is that the service staff understand that.” 

He said when used in beverage-heavy locations like hotel lobby bars or airports, it can move the needle on profits and guest satisfaction even further than what Chick-fil-A did, but execution is everything. If nobody is paying attention to the notifications on the back-of-house panel, it’s not going to do much. 

“Its not a magic button, if the server is not responding to the button, they’re probably not responding to the guest very well,” said Barlow. 

He said at the initial two test locations under the Chick-fil-A test, the restaurants saw the highest customer satisfaction levels ever, a good reminder that service and revenue are strongly correlated. 

Barlow, who noted Kallpod is in about 600 locations, said this kind of technology, or similar technology on the ubiquitous smartphone may be in the future for all restaurant dining because consumers are getting used to extreme efficiency everywhere. 

“What Chick-fil-A is seeing is that people want to consume more and they like being empowered,” said Barlow. 

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Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is editor-in-chief of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
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Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
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