TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, UK

Using technology to combat the most common restaurant complaints this festive season

Call Systems Technology managing director Eloise Sheppard offers practical insights on how tech can easily respond to such grievances.

With a staggering 60% of Brits admitting to making a complaint whilst dining out, it is key for operators to streamline their operations in order to offer the best possible customer experience – especially over the Christmas period. From cold meals, to slow service and hiccups with the bill, Eloise Sheppard, Managing Director of Call Systems Technology, gives her advice below on how using the latest technology can easily combat the most common complaints made at restaurants.

Meals served at the incorrect temperature
Whether it’s lukewarm soup, or cold chips, meals served at the wrong temperature can quickly ruin any dining experience. The primary reason meals aren’t served at their optimal temperature is due to dishes being left at the kitchen pass for extended periods whilst waiting to be collected by a server.

But by using a waiter paging system, chefs can immediately alert the correct waiter when one of their tables’ meals are ready. Waiters are notified via a personal pager, helping to ensure meals are delivered promptly and at the correct temperature. Using pagers also helps to eliminate the time wasted going back and forth from the kitchen to check on orders.

Slow service
There’s nothing more frustrating than struggling to get the attention of the waiter, whether it’s at the table, or waiting to be seated. During lunch or dinner rushes, customers can be forced to wait to order their food, pay their bill, or even sit down.

Placing call buttons on restaurant tables or at the entrance allows customers to quickly get the attention of the waiter with minimal effort. When a call button is pressed, the appropriate waiter receives a pager alert along with location so they know exactly where they need to tend next. Not only do call buttons improve speed of service, but there’s also the potential to increase sales as it makes it easier for customers to order additional food and drink, as well as improving table churn.

Disappointed with the appearance and taste of food
Many restaurants will include images of on their menus, social media or websites in order to entice diners. However, this strategy can backfire when meals don’t arrive as expected. This type of complaint is especially prevalent for restaurants with more than one site when brand consistency is not met by all locations.

A key function of many back of house technology solutions is the option to host a virtual recipe book accessible via kitchen screens. An example of this is kitchen automation software, which displays recipes and images of dishes so that all employees, even across multiple sites, have access to the same information and can prepare meals in the same way.

Inaccurate calculation of the bill
Bill miscalculations can happen due to a number of reasons, more commonly it can be down to promotions not coming through properly on the total, or even diners being charged for items they never ordered. Although sometimes this can be very easy to solve, customers shouldn’t ever be required to do their own maths whilst out to eat.

With the use of modern EPOS systems, bills should never be inaccurate once they reach the table. Current EPOS systems have the ability to automatically apply promotions, while giving staff the capability to easily remove incorrect charges if required.

Keeping on top of the latest technology not only relieves stress for staff during busy periods, but also helps to improve simple operations, keeping customers happy and most importantly, loyal.

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by QSRMedia UK. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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