3 Ways Restaurant Mobile POS Systems Keep Patio Operations Profitable

Apr 11, 2024 | Insights

Creating efficiencies at your restaurant using Mobile POS solutions

Understanding how to keep your restaurant patio operations profitable requires a strategic look at your on-the-floor dynamics.

Part of this strategy involves understanding the role your servers should be playing to accommodate more diners and ensure service functions efficiently without downplaying the guest experience.

This piece looks at the role tableside ordering technology, like mobile POS systems, can play in adding efficiencies to the overall restaurant and specifically to restaurant patio operations.

Summer time = Patio time

We all eagerly plan for and anticipate the summer season, as the promise of warmer weather usually means we get to be outdoors longer and enjoy more sunlight. For many, dining at restaurants in the summer has a special charm, as one of the only times in a year we get to dine outdoors.

When we think about dining out in the summer, restaurant patio dining options, usually with good happy hour programs are what we think of and crave instinctually. Whether it’s to celebrate longer sunnier days, brunch reunions, exploring the late-night fare in a new city, or ringing in a long weekend.

It’s not enough to just offer patio dining service anymore

With increased competition, the mere availability of patio dining service hardly guarantees success from a profitability standpoint for restaurants.

It surely helps to drive attention and maybe even gather a long line of hungry diners outside your door, but to make patio dining business profitable—requires focusing on ways to maximize your restaurant’s capacity, both from a front-of-house service and seating perspective.

How can Mobile POS technology impact patio dining business at your restaurant?

Restaurant Mobile POS or tableside ordering systems can enable special patio dining experiences for your guests while keeping business profitable in the following ways:

    1. Helps servers focus on service by freeing them from fixed POS terminals

Mobile POS terminals allow your servers to reduce the amount of time wasted in service—usually from the constant back and forth involved in order taking and placing, or even understanding your restaurant’s seating capacity at a glance, which is typical when working on a fixed point of sale terminal.

With tablets, servers get to spend more time with guests at the table, giving them the chance to better explain the menu. Servers can act on a diner’s impulse decisions, and even upsell items based on preferences diners may indicate, or their requests for recommendations or specials.

It allows servers to be more attentive and social in their interactions with guests, which goes a long way in building rapport and creating personalized dining experiences at your restaurant.

What’s worth mentioning is that with mobile POS terminals or tablets, you’re reducing the need for multiple servers to interact with common fixed POS terminals, thereby promoting a contactless dining environment that reflects the best practices for hospitality service during COVID-19.

    1. Allows for quicker patio table turn-overs

According to a Cornell University study, that explored the impact of tableside ordering and payment, the study found that:

      • Guests who pay at the table turn over 17% faster
      • Guests who pay and order using a mobile phone turn over 31% faster
      • Guests who pay at the table require 36% less service time

Quicker table turn-overs means your restaurant can accommodate more guests during regular operations—which is important considering how popular patios are during the summer, especially if wait times are low and service is spot on.

It also means that on average, customers will require less service per table, giving your staff the ability to serve and accommodate all your guests more frequently and attentively.

    1. Reduces operational costs without impacting the guest experience

There are many contributing factors for rising operational costs in the restaurant industry, one being an increase in minimum wages.

Good restaurant guest experience is both a factor of satisfied staff and genuinely pleasurable dining experiences for your guests.

Rather than compromising these factors, either by limiting financial growth capacity for your staff or by covering your expenses through smaller food portions or higher prices—mobile terminals are easily one of the most effective ways you could trim operating costs without any real opportunity costs.

Servers that are armed with tablets can improve profitability per-table, per-shift, through speed, by focusing on being more social, and upselling based on a more thorough understanding of diners’ preferences.

Learn more about Squirrel’s tableside ordering and mobile POS solutions, and re-define your patio business in a more profitable way while continuing to deliver memorable experiences for your guests.