Three years ago, when we were still living a more or less normal life, I published an article on LinkedIn, where I shared some of my ideas for new features in POS systems for restaurants.
I had a chance to look back at the same article and found my ideas are perhaps becoming requirements in an imperfect world, where human contact supposedly brings diseases, death, and misery!
Let see what I said:
Because of my job, I get to see many excellent restaurant POS software.
They all have great features and functions that any restaurant needs, and every software must perform.
- Platform dependency is slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past. Many new Restaurant POS software work on iOS, Android, and Windows alike. OS independence achieved by utilizing browser-based apps or solely native apps working from the same database.
- UI and UX designs are incredible.
- Ease-of-use has reduced the learning curve for restaurant staff.
- Cloud technologies have provided opportunities that never existed before.
- Integration and collaboration with other apps and services, such as online ordering, reservation, delivery, and so on, have created better-integrated systems.
I can go on and on and tell you how many times I have been impressed by the new point of sale software.
However, they all come from the same angel, and that is the servers and staff.
Besides products such, online order apps, and Kiosk apps, which face the customer, most POS apps are facing servers.
Despite so much progress in software, the hardware comprises a touch screen for data entry by the servers, and then printers and credit card terminals are still standards of the industry.
So, I decided to share some of my ideas, which I have been experiencing with and put them out in the hope that some developers will use and build new systems so we all can benefit from them.
Smart Table – Change the focus of the design for the server to the customer
Back in 2009, I developed a prototype for what I called Smart Table. A smart table is a regular restaurant table with an embedded touch monitor. My dream product would be something like this:
Imagine at the center of a table we build a touch screen monitor facing up, or even better, the whole surface of the table is a large touch screen. The software divides the screen into the number of guests at the table. Each guest could use a separate area of the screen to review the menu and order.
All a server does is initiating the table with the number of guests.
Your Smart Table must have a spill, water, and shatterproof commercial level monitor.
When it comes to making the payment, each guest can pay for his or her check, or one person can pick up the tab for the whole table (split, merge, payment).
With NFC technologies, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, payment is going to be an easy, contactless process.
Another idea for a restaurant POS requires an Ai assistant.
Imagine Amazon Alexa at each table.
Alexa, the voice service that powers the Echo, provides capabilities and skills that enable customers to interact with devices more intuitively by using voice.
Customers could interact with Alexa and order their meal and pay for it.
I always envision an Alexa at the table, and I ask:
Alexa, what is the lunch special today?
While I am browsing the menu, I can ask Alexa about a specific dish:
Alexa, does the burger come with fries? Can I get curly fries?
And so on.
Of course, there are many details to consider when developing a system like this, but imagine when you have it, and it works! What a darn fantastic system that would be. Impressive.
Back to Server with Ink technologies:
I have a Bamboo Spark on my desk. It uses special ink, and you can write on any paper, and your writings transform into a digital format. Did you get the idea?
Develop POS software by using one of many available SDKs or APIs for ink technology.
The server takes an order at the table, on paper, and not carrying a tablet or iPad, and as he or she casually and seemingly takes notes, a ticket is also being created and sent to the POS software!
You could even use one of those smartpens, such as LiveScribe.
I am working on a project to build a prototype with Bamboo Spark. You may find other similar solutions.
What I shared with you might not be entirely fresh and new to you. Maybe you have been working on similar stuff. What matters is to keep pushing the envelope and dare to dream and build.