By Rohan Genn

As a welcome change, I went to meet some good friends for lunch last week. I arrived a little early and grabbed a table with a view over the Golf Course and the city skyline, noting a QR code in the middle of the table said which said, ‘Order Here.’ I scanned it with my phone and started looking through the menu.

Without table ordering, I wouldn’t have bought a beer because a trip to the bar may have cost me the table as I was still early and by myself. And what’s more, I had the time to look through their beer selections and descriptions which lead to my second change in behaviour. Instead of ordering my usual from a waitperson quickly and as a reflex so I didn’t hold them up, I decided to try something different.

I saw an old favourite – Matilda Bay Redback. And I hadn’t had one in years! It may have been a couple of dollars more than the Heineken but I can’t even remember. I didn’t even look at the price – instead, it completed the order in just a few clicks.

And even more impressively, it couldn’t have been more than two minutes later that the ice-cold Redback hit my table.

Fast forward to a conversation I had with a venue partner today, where we discussed how to increase revenue by removing friction at the point of transaction. Supermarkets now have banks of self-service checkouts for this reason – more transaction processing points. Even though customers are so much slower scanning their items at the supermarket, the additional terminals create shorter queues, faster clearance of customers and more revenue per hour.

Fast-food chains went down the same route a few years ago, reducing traditional registers and adding self-service kiosks. Customers took longer ordering but ordered more, allowing staff to focus on fast order fulfilment rather than taking payments – slow is the new fast!

Circling back to my lunch, I did a rough count and there were about 250 people seated. I could see four POS terminals getting occasional use and the menu on phone screens everywhere. The venue had gone from four transaction locations to maybe 100. And the staff were focused on food and drink delivery and chatting to the customers during this interaction.

People like to take their time ordering and if it is easy, they will just order again and again. The in-seat QR code ordering is a hospitality revolution, the biggest since barcode scanning but with a much more focus on the customer experience. This self-service approach delivers higher revenue, improved staff efficiency, more marketing opportunities and better customer experiences.

Fast Food outlets have made the switch very successfully, and I can guarantee you that the hospitality venues will follow suit very soon.

At MSL, we have been rolling out our OrderAway in-seat ordering system for some time now and we are constantly talking to our venues to learn what they need as this is such a rapidly evolving space.

Take a look at OrderAway and scan the QR code to try for yourself.