Washington Restaurant Market Watch: QSRs discover table tracking

Washington Restaurant Market Watch: QSRs discover table tracking https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/fastfood600-640x198.jpg

By Paul Schlienz

If you’ve encountered table trackers, you’ve probably seen them at fast casual establishments, like Panera Bread, but don’t be surprised if you soon see this technology at your favorite quick service restaurant.

Here’s how it works: Customers receive an electronic tracker with their order. The tracker transmits a signal to a panel in the back-of-house, alerting a food runner of the guest’s location when the order is ready. Many companies have created their own tracking systems to meet the growing demand for this technology.

“It was originally born out of the idea for delivering food to the table faster for fast casuals. In the last year we’ve had a lot of requests coming from quick serve,” Michelle Strong, chief marketing officer at Long Range Systems (LRS), a tech solution provider for the foodservice industry, told QSR.

When restaurants – both fast casuals and quick service – institute table tracking systems, they often see immediate business benefits. Service and guest satisfaction improve while managers can measure wait time. The table location technology allows food runners to consistently meet the goal delivery time and can often cut up to three minutes off orders.

“People wanted to be able to differentiate different types of orders,” said Strong.  “Analytics is definitely a place where we paid more attention,”

In addition to operators being able to track orders from when they’re placed to when they’re delivered to the table, brands can also access the data to see which menu items are particularly time-intensive.

“Seeing what orders are taking longer acts as a great team motivator,” Strong added.

“It gets {food runners] back quicker to delivering the next pizza that’s coming out of the oven for a Buffet Your Way request,” Cody Pierce, vice president of marketing at Pizza Ranch, a quick service chain that instituted table tracking, told Hospitality Technology. “The staff absolutely loves [the] table tracker. It’s very easy to understand and operate, and it makes their jobs easier.”

Pizza Ranch saw lost revenue savings after implementing its table tracking system. Prior to the advent of table tracking, there were cases where pizza was so late in delivery that guests left, complained or wanted a discount. Since going over to table tracking, these problems have all but disappeared.

For Pizza Ranch and other quick service restaurants, speed of service is essential components of great service.

“[Table tracking] is definitely worth it,” said Pierce. “Franchisees see the value, and wouldn’t want to go back to the old way.”

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