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Thinking About Maitre'D Tablet-Based POS?

You’ve decided to implement mobility in your operation—or, maybe more accurately, you’ve decided to consider doing it. That’s doesn’t mean you’re indecisive: in fact it means just the opposite. It means that rather than just jump headfirst into mobile POS, you’ve decided to think it through. It’s really like most anything else you use to run your restaurant. Doing it at all requires decision making. But doing it well requires decision thinking.

Consider, just for starters, all the security issues you have to address. One is simply signing in to the POS: It’s more of a challenge than it is for your stationary POS stations simply because tablets travel with the server. Make sure logins—user name and password--are not shared, and that the mobile POS is set to automatically log out after only very brief idle times. If you’re planning on integrating it with a card reader, the security issues increase: now you’re not worried about just unauthorized logins, you’ve got to be sure that your devices are in strict PCI compliance.

There’s the strength of your wireless infrastructure to think about. There isn’t any room for losing connections, or rebooting Wi-Fi routers, or anything else having to do with keeping the devices on every second of the day. Here, have an audit run of your existing equipment, and make the improvements that will ensure that a meal doesn’t have to wait for a help desk technician before it can be served.

Think about the device itself. There are a lot of mobile POS systems that run on commodity tablets, like iPads or Android and Windows devices. The simple fact is: consumer devices are not made for commercial operation. Their battery life is low at your projected level of use: some as low as two hours. And there’s the issue of fragility. Tablets go through a pretty wild ride in the course of a day. They get dropped (sometimes on pavement when it’s used for line busting). They get splattered. They get scratched. A consumer device, not made for abuse, won’t hold up under abuse. You need ruggedized, commercial devices made to take the punishment.

Do you know what their biggest challenge is?

Staff anxiety.

Servers are nervous when they first start to use a tablet on the floor. It’s not that they’re unfamiliar with it—it looks and works essentially like anything else they use on their own devices. But there are two things they don’t worry about when they’re on their personal units. One, if they make a mistake, it doesn’t mean a bunch of extra steps (like voids) to make sure the business doesn’t suffer. And two—this is the more important—they don’t have an audience: they’re not trying to use it while a table of people are watching them. Here, training—including some mock sessions using it in front of other people—is a critical factor to success.

Mobility is something every restaurant operation can use profitably. But it’s something you want to plan for carefully before you implement. That’s where we come in. Your Maitre'D reseller will help you with every step: from infrastructure audit to on-the-floor training. Together, you’ll be able to bring mobility into your business with the least trauma and the fastest return.

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