NRA 2011: eTab Debuts Tableside Ordering, Payment Solution

Focused on enhancing the dining experience through technology, eTab debuts its self-service solution that allows restaurant and bar patrons to order and pay at their table through a digital menu interface on a portable touch-screen computer, wirelessly connecting each table to the restaurant's wait staff and existing point-of-sale (POS) system. eTab enhances restaurant operators' profit margins and operations, as well as provides patrons the ability to control the pacing of their meal and payment timing. In addition, eTab offers a full suite of opportunities for on-premise marketing for restaurants, and the beverage and food companies that supply them. eTab will showcase its technology at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, May 21-24, in its booth #5656.
Bottom-Line Results
eTab enhances wait staff service, streamlines operational efficiencies, increases up-selling and lessens the costs and logistical burdens of executing on-premise communications. By enabling patrons to order at their own pace, orders are placed and delivered quicker and re-orders increase. In pilot restaurant testing, tables turned faster and tabs increased, leading to a 10 percent rise in revenue.
Another dramatic shift eTab delivers to the traditional restaurant business model is the ability to create, update and change on-premise communications like menus and promotional specials. eTab's "digital menu" allows restaurant managers to add, delete or change any menu item instantly and cost-free, removing the logistical challenge and high costs currently associated with menu changes, a feature unavailable on competitive products. In addition, specials and promotions (e.g., happy hour, daily specials, "kids eat free day," etc.) can be created and changed instantly and programmed to automatically appear for a given timeframe on the menu, all without the cost and burden of printing. And every menu item, special and promotion can be instantly measured, analyzed and changed to optimize results.
How it Works
After being seated and receiving a brief explanation of how to use eTab by their server, patrons begin using the touch-screen to order any food or beverage item on the menu, personalizing food and drinks to their tastes, such as preparation directions, substitutes and special side requests. When an order is placed at the table, the kitchen/bar is notified through the existing POS system. At the same time, each server is informed of the order through a handheld device, which includes a notification feature with a running clock that displays the status of each table, such as when and how long ago orders were placed, a table needs assistance or a customer has paid. For special requests or questions, patrons can summon the server to the table with the paging function. When it's time to pay, patrons can swipe their credit card to pay or page their server to pay with cash. eTab also allows tables to split bills, add tips or have receipts either emailed to the patron or printed through the existing system.
Prompt, Sales-Generating Service
eTab is designed to ensure prompt service and better up-selling. Thanks to the server handheld devices, a feature unique to eTab, servers can better manage the status of each table and maintain a high service level. Up-selling is guaranteed with timed messages automatically delivered at each table, inquiring if patrons want another round of drinks, dessert or any other item management desires. For managers, eTab offers a way to bolster sales and manage wait staff performance. A master screen allows real-time observation of all tables and servers, which helps managers assess staff training needs and identify opportunities for performance-based incentives.
Brand and Restaurant On-premise Marketing Opportunities
The eTab system creates many opportunities for both beverage and food brands, and restaurant operators to market their products on-premise, measure the impact of their efforts, connect with customers, and make changes in an instant:
  • Interactive, branded images and marketing content (e.g., logos, advertisements, promotions, etc.) can be incorporated into the menu to reach patrons at the critical purchasing decision time instantly, reliably and inexpensively.
  • Food and beverage brands can field, measure and optimize marketing offers in an instant - a paradigm shift away from the high costs and logistical burden of printing promotional pieces, and the long delay in customer feedback.
  • Valuable research can be obtained at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional primary marketing research. For instance, brands can qualify subjects based on their on-site purchase behavior and instantly administer research, while restaurants can deliver satisfaction surveys at meal's end that can be automatically gathered, tabulated and reported.
  • Both restaurants and beverage/food brands can connect with patrons at the point-of-purchase, gather their contact information, enter them in social media programs and funnel them to off-premise program offers or loyalty/affinity programs.
eTab provides its equipment for free and charges a monthly service fee of $400 for maintenance, programming changes and updates, a cost well below other systems. Installation of eTab into the restaurant's POS system and wait staff training requires approximately four hours.
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