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Top Five Restaurant Types Suited for Tableside Ordering Systems


Find out if a tableside ordering system is a good fit for your restaurant. Discover how tableside ordering systems boost efficiency in fast-paced restaurants.

The restaurant industry is embracing digitalisation at an unprecedented pace. Customers are no longer excited about just the delicious food; they want a seamless, tech-integrated experience. This is where tableside ordering systems come in handy — it’s the ultimate solution that lets you simplify, enhance, and improve your restaurant's orders process, making it completely digital. From taking orders to processing payments, all at tableside, you’ll save of staff cost and make things run much smoother throughout your site. 

But is tableside ordering the right fit for all restaurant types? Maybe not! Read on to discover the top 5 restaurant formats bound to benefit from this innovative approach — and decide whether your restaurant is on the list. 

What is a Tableside Ordering System?

A table-side ordering system is exactly what it sounds like — a combination of hardware and software solutions that takes customer orders at the table. Then, there are other types of restaurant POS systems combined with online menus that let your customers place orders by themselves. A fully inclusive table ordering system can include a number of devices.

  • mPOS: Mobile Point-of-Sale (mPOS) systems are portable devices employed by the serving staff to take and transfer order to the kitchen digitally. Mobile POS also allow restaurants to receive payments, of course.
  • QR Code Ordering: Customers scan a unique QR code at their table, which takes them to a digital menu where they can view, personalise, and submit orders.
  • Handheld Ordering Tabs: As the name suggests, these are mobile ordering tabs that enable staff to take orders digitally.
  • Kiosks: Tabletop self service kiosks have an interactive touchscreen located at the table that lets customers browse the menu, place an order, and even pay a bill by themselves.

These systems not only elevate the dining experience but also unlock a treasure trove of operational benefits for restaurants.

Top 5 Restaurant Types That Need Tableside Ordering System

Here are the top 5 restaurant types suited for a table-side ordering system.

Casual Dining

In casual dining restaurants, particularly, tableside ordering systems, especially mPOS, have taken the industry by storm. With the help of handheld devices, servers can directly take the guest’s orders at the table rather than physically being forced to travel back and forward to the POS terminal. This will lead to quicker service, reduced waiting time, and improved guest satisfaction. 

Additionally, mPOS software often includes real-time order visualisation, allowing the server to suggest and upsell items, such as additional side dishes or appetisers, to the guest’s already selected options. This increases the potential size of the order and brings the added bonus of customisable service. To improve order accuracy and guest satisfaction for its customers. 

As a real-life example of a tableside ordering for small restaurants in action, we present BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, a successful casual dining chain that recorded a 20% increase in activity due to tableside tablets.

Fast Casual Restaurants

Fast-casual restaurants are known for their speed and convenience. Tableside ordering through mobile point of sale or QR codes is an excellent example of this. Customers can access the menu, customise their orders, and even pay the check right from their table, avoiding long lines. Ways increase the allure of tableside ordering. 

This level of convenience caters to modern diners who value their devices. Moreover, many tableside ordering systems enable customisation even within the software. A customer can add extra items, portion sizes, or dietary restrictions to their orders. This level of control increases satisfaction by empowering customers. 

For example, Nando’s used QR codes for the order both for dine-in and online ordering. These not only allowed faster order processing but also enabled their beloved Piri Piri chicken to be customised to meet their exact needs.

Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs)

Even Quick Service Restaurants could benefit from tableside ordering, with or without QR codes. Integrations of POS systems with tableside ordering can help restaurants make the best use of their queue and ordering resources. 

Customers can submit their personalised orders digitally, letting restaurant staff focus more on order fulfilment and service. It also eliminates the chances of errors associated with orders rushed through the phone or a crowded drive-thru. 

A user-friendly digital interface provides customers with a transparent view of the menu, an opportunity to adjust their orders exactly the way they want, and the ability to send them straight into a kitchen with minimal room for error. The process can be further streamlined with the help of designated pick-up areas that can help shorten the queue and ensure quick order fulfilment.

Fine Dining Establishments

There's a misconception that tableside ordering might not be suitable for fine dining restaurants. However, mPOS and handheld ordering systems can actually enhance the guest experience in these establishments by allowing servers to spend more quality time interacting with their clients. 

A server with a tablet can silently explain and recommend the most suitable menu items, describe dishes in more detail, or make wine pairings. It’s easy to imagine how tableside ordering can turn into harmonious nutrition performance in a high-end restaurant. 

For example, The French Laundry, a highly rated fine-dining restaurant, uses mPOS systems to provide an interactive tableside menu that visualises wine pairing recommendations for every dish, helping it cross-sell and increase profits. 

Furthermore, the mobile Point of sale or POS system can display more detailed information, such as a more thoroughly intriguing dish description explaining the journey of each ingredient and the intricate grooves of preparing the food. This additional information gives the guest an opportunity to make a personalised decision, enhancing their dining experience.

Cafes, Bars, & Pubs

Tableside ordering can benefit more than just the above-mentioned restaurant categories. Cafes, bars, and pubs, as well as other food service operators, can implement this technology to enhance guests service and streamline restaurant operations. 

For instance, a busy café can send a QR code to each table in the morning to repeat the customer’s favourite coffee and pastries; this frees up the cashier to make the desired orders and removes the need for waiting in line, allowing for more relaxed and satisfied customers. 

You can also use tablets for ordering in bars and pubs. This will help visitors browse the drink menu, buy several drinks at the same time, and even pay their bills electronically. As a result, customers don’t need to call the server every time they wish to buy another drink so they don’t have to interrupt their time with friends. 

The benefit of tableside purchasing is that it is adaptable to practically any style and scale of restaurant. QR codes may be strategically put on a café table, a bar may send a link to an online ordering system to a customer’s smartphone via text, or mobile kiosks might be utilised in a large cafeteria to maximise efficiency.

Where Might a Tableside Ordering System Not Work?

The tableside ordering systems might not be suitable for highly specialised or niche dining experiences with a dining craft oriented towards an experience. 

For example, these systems can be potentially distracting in Omakase-style sushi places, where the chef assembles the bite-sized pieces and then hands them to the diner to be eaten. Digital solutions might interfere with this process, which is more of a performance with an audience than a regular meal. 

In addition, in the case of a restaurant with an elaborate tasting menu and chef-driven experiences, the complex details of explaining stories about each dish and its preparation may be too difficult to express digitally. 

Benefits of a Tableside Ordering System

From the perspective of restaurant owners and managers, tableside ordering systems bring the following value proposition: 

  • Increased Efficiency: With the possibility to streamline the ordering process, reduce wait times, and help staff be more productive, efficiency should substantially increase.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Swift service, the possibility to order meals through contactless means, and giving customers full control over customisation would make them happier and more satisfied.
  • Order Accuracy: There will likely be a reduction in the number of mistakes customers make when ordering meals through tableside devices.
  • Upselling & Revenue: Recommendation of additional beverages and meals through real-time visualisation channelled through mPOS systems
  • Data-Driven Approach: Implementing tableside ordering would benefit restaurants by enabling real-time data collection on customer preferences, data officers on what is ordered together, path information, and popular meals. This data could help optimise a restaurant's menu and related promotions.
  • Contactless Payments: Tableside ordering systems streamline the payment process for restaurants, offering various payment methods, including credit cards and other payment systems. With real-time integration into restaurant point of sale systems, it simplifies checkout. This efficiency boosts table turns, enhances the guest experience, and ensures secure, convenient transactions, improving overall restaurant operations.

ROI of a Tableside Ordering System: Is It Really Worth an Investment?

Investing in a tableside ordering system can yield a substantial return on investment (ROI) for restaurants. The system's ability to enhance table turnover, improve operational efficiency by reducing server trips to centralised POS terminals, and encourage upselling of additional menu items can result in increased revenue. 

As well as this, the data gathered from these systems, including customer preferences and popular menu items, empowers you to make informed decisions for targeted marketing and menu improvements. These combined benefits make the adoption of tableside ordering systems a wise investment with promising returns.

For almost 20 years, 3S POS has offered one of the most flexible EPOS systems to international brands such as Caffe Concerto, Maroush, Comptoir Libanais, Pepe’s Piri Piri, GDK and thousands more delighted customers.

If you are looking for a Tableside Ordering System that will not just help you accept payments but grow your business and bring repeat business, book a free demo with our sales team.

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