I remember my first time using technology in a restaurant. It came in the form of a simple button on the table that when pressed would let the server know I requested their assistance. Quite simple, yes, but for me it was amazing. It saved waving my hand frantically as the server passed by too quickly, or trying to catch their eye as they served others, all the while trying to balance getting their attention without seeming too pushy. Technology has grown substantially in the food and beverage industry since I first pressed that button and It’s clear with the popularity of websites like Grubhub and kiosks in Mcdonald’s that this trend is only going to grow. Yet not everyone is happy about it.
We’re at an interesting stage of humanity where the Baby Boomers not accustomed to technology shun it, the young insist upon it, and everyone else is somewhere in between. Over the coming years the desire for technology in restaurants will only increase as boomers age out, but at this moment in time there is a strange dichotomy between what the young and old expect from their restaurant experience. Restaurateurs ignore either group at their own peril.
So what to do when Millennials prefer ordering via tech seven to one, Gen X and Yers generally prefer it (57%) and Baby Boomers would rather not order for themselves at all (66%) . The answer might be to create an environment that offers technology in a non-intrusive way so it’s available to those who want it but not seen by those who don’t. In short, make it an option but not the only option.
Today’s youth overwhelmingly prefer using self serving technology as it is more efficient, has more options, and saves time. This group is all social media & the speed of now. So technological restaurant solutions are non-negotiable. However, for the Baby Boomers it may be intimidating and having a tablet at the table is a little too in your face for them. They see it as only taking away from the decor or taking up valuable table space. Too intrusive. There needs to be a better option that addresses the needs of both.
Enter the Mobile Point Of Sales system (mPOS) where customers have the option to use their own phones & tablets to make their orders, split bills, and even pay. If a silver fox wants to have the waitress take their order, as they’ve always done, they can still do that. However if the group of young tech professionals rushing to work want speed things up by ordering and paying from their own phones, they have that option too. In this way the technology is not replacing talking to a real person, nor is it intrusive, it’s only an option for those interested. It assists guests to customize their order, and get exactly what they want when they want it, but servers are still there to provide hospitality to those who want it and make sure guests are having a great time. Servers can now spend more quality time with customers instead of feeling rushed to get to the next table. Of course mPOS is an option restaurants would be remiss not to take advantage of considering all the benefits for their customers and their own bottom line, such as:
1) Studies have shown up to a 30% increase  in sales due to self-ordering and who doesn’t like increases in sales?
2) For those who use the service, guest satisfaction increases due to them feeling more empowered to order/pay from their own devices instead of hailing down a server each time.
3) One of the reasons behind the uptick in sales is that guests don’t feel judged by the technology. Unlike the staff member, the mPOS won’t be judging you if you decide to supersize your meal or want that piece of pie. This is one of reasons guests increase their orders, technology doesn’t judge.
4) You can request a server to your table with the tap of a button rather than rudely snapping your fingers or waving your hand frantically as they race by with an arm full of dishes.
5) 47% say the most important feature of a self serve ordering system is their ability to customize their order. 
6) Customers can split their own bills saving servers time and hassle. This seems to be the function guests appreciate the most about being able to pay via a tablet - it saves time. With an mPOS guests can avoid the song and dance that they usually go through to get their check, hand over their credit card, get the slip and then sign it. The mPOS allows customers to do this in 10 seconds rather than 5 minutes.
7) Nothing is more frustrating than having your order arrive wrong and some of this occurs from errors made by the server entering orders into the POS. As any child knows after playing the telephone game (chinese whispers), the more people involved the more likely the message will change. Now customers can order exactly what they want and skip the middleman. Decreasing the amount of steps it takes to place an order also decreases the possibility of errors.
8) Since guests no longer need to wait for servers to take their order or pay, wait times are decreased and thus dining times are decreased which means increased productivity and higher restaurant capacity.
9) Due to being more efficient and serving more tables, servers see bigger tips.
10) With costs of third parties managing your delivery orders, the right mPOS also has a web version integrated so customers can order from their home PC as well as in the restaurant.
11) Ran out of an item on the menu? Want to change the special quickly? No problem, the mPOS is updated live for all customers and staff members simultaneously.
12) What happens if your internet connection goes down? The right mPOS would have a backup mobile data connection, and a backup for the backup where it would continue to work even offline and then update all the orders to the cloud when it comes back online.
13) A mPOS never forgets to upsell, generating additional revenue from existing customers. Would you like to order a side with that?
14) A good mPOS would be available to the customer regardless of what device they, or the servers, were using. So instead of only working on an iPad it would be accessible from the home PC via a web browser or from an Android or iOS device like iPhone or iPad too.
15) 9 out of 10 customers say they prefer the option of a self service POS at the table rather than being required to order from a kiosk  because they feel less rushed than if there are people in line behind them waiting. This is important to note when introducing new systems due to the learning curve required.
16) Most mPOS systems combine delivery orders, pickups, and table/seat service into one manageable system to support the needs of every restaurant style.
17) Overhead costs to integrate are so low it’s almost ludicrous not to integrate an mPOS with your regular POS system or replace it all together. With some mPOS systems the cost is just in the form of the purchase of a tablet for $49  which then displays all orders from customers.
18) One of the main reasons customers appreciate mPOS systems is they can easily pay with multiple payment types. Half on Mastercard half on PayPal or Apple Pay? No problem.
19) Have 8 guests at the same table and each wants their own receipt for accounting? What used to be a nightmare for servers can now be done with the click of a button.
20) How much to pay for a tip can be difficult to calculate when factoring in which guests pays how much. Instead of doing calculations in your head the mPOS system includes a tip calculator how to pay.
21) mPOS systems allow customers to make a reservation and attach an order to their reservation so their food will be ready when they arrive.The system automatically detects when the reservation is due to arrive, how long the order will take to prepare, and sends the order to the kitchen at just the right time. This functionality is perfect for those who want to get out of the office but don’t have a lot of time as it allows them to avoid long waits after ordering and instead have their food ready when they sit down.
22) Lineups are frustrating for everyone. Whether you’re waiting to make your order at a QSR or in line at a bar, a mPOS would help expedite the process as you can skip the line by ordering online. If guests already know their table number they could order the food or drinks and have them delivered to their table while they wait in comfort and style.
23) Connecting and posting to social media is now a must have as when a guest sends a selfie from your restaurant they are giving you free advertising. A good mPOS can manage and share food photos and selfies to help your customers help you.
24) In addition to all the above, there has been some research in 2011 showing that even a seven second reduction in fast food restaurants wait time can increase the company’s market share by 1%-3% 
25) With increased labor costs staff need to increase their efficiency to compensate. Incorporating a mPOS option means servers don’t need to be as hands on with every order allowing them to manage tables quicker and serve those who need them better.
Like it or not, the future is clear, technology is only going to grow in the food and beverage industry as guests become more familiar with it. In the meantime, a two-tier system is a must-have for those who wish to appease Baby Boomers and the younger generations alike. A major shake-up in the years ahead is due as profit is eroded & early adopters to new methods will prevail. Menubuzz is here to help you stay ahead.
Scott Kirk is an all round digital content developer and the founder of MenuBuzz, a mPOS system that does everything in the aforementioned article. MenuBuzz focuses on the customer’s experience and adding innovative ideas while providing all the analytics and functionality restaurateurs have come to expect.