Now, you don’t have to worry about calling a waiter each time you want to ask for service in a restaurant, as automation systems are slowly becoming a reality in India’s food and-beverage industry. Apart from restaurant staff and customers using tablets, there are specialised devices to take care of a customer’s specific needs like beverages, food, payment, etc. One form of technology that is gaining popularity involves the use of a table remote that is synced with a smart watch.
“The product has a table remote with buttons to call bearers for food, drinks, bills, etc. A smart watch on the waiter’s wrist informs them of the specific needs of a certain table. The device aids in more than just enhancing waiter management. We aim to revolutionize service ethics and standards of the hospitality industry,” says Gopinath Jayamalrao, CEO of a company that manufactures these devices.
Restaurateur Bikash Parik, who uses this technology, says, “Our restaurant is segmented as it was previously an old bungalow.So it gets difficult to manage orders during busy hours.”
Bikash adds, “That’s when this device came to my rescue and improved the efficiency of my existing staff. It also helps build a quiet, private and comfortable environment for all the diners.”
Then there other devices, such as buzzers -which have till recently only been used in spas and hospitals -that are now being used in restaurants. S Raghavan, a dealer of this device, says, “Such devices are common abroad, especially in self service restaurants, where customers are presented with a buzzer once the order has been placed. The buzzer vibrates and lights up once the order is ready . However, they are not very popular in the hospitality industry as awareness is lacking.Restaurant enquiries have just started coming in and we hope every one of them will have such systems in the next 2-3 years.”
The use of tablets, though, has benefits beyond just ease of ordering. “With this technology, the entire ordering system has become paperless. We use a tablet in our restaurant, and the menu on the tablet is dynamic, allowing us to modify the prices of items such as seafood dishes, which are constantly changing. Also, only items that are available will be on the menu. There are high resolution images to help customers choose what they want, alongwith ingredients that have been listed. It also provides scope to make customisations. It also saves costs as for special days like Valentine’s Day or New Year’s eve, we do not need to get a separate menu printed. Our waiters also get a notification of the order placed, so that they can verify in case a customer orders 10 portions instead of one. The customers can add feedback and ping the assistance button for the waiter,” says Ajay Nagarajan, CEO of a hospitality organisation.This apart, their kitchen system is colour-coded and blinks red if the staff takes beyond the stipulated time to get the order ready.
However, for customers, the biggest problem is the lack of personal touch for the customers.
“We have servers at hand to help elderly people who are not well-versed with technology . The advantages of these systems far outweigh the disadvantages,” says Ajay .