RFID is an affordable technology that is helping restaurants and bars transform how they operate. With a multitude of different applications, it can improve everything from inventory tracking to customer service. What’s more, the highly valuable data it produces can be used to make significant improvements in the running of the business, cutting costs and increasing productivity. Here are some of its major benefits.
Better inventory tracking
Inventory tracking is essential for restaurants and bars, it ensures that they do not run short of ingredients, drinks and consumables and it prevents items with a limited shelf-life being wasted or, even worse, being mistakenly served to customers once the use by date has passed.
RFID tags and scanners, such as those available from Universal Smart Cards, make it possible to keep up-to-date records of what is in stock. Adhesive tags can be attached to individual items, crates and other containers and the information stored on them can include the date of purchase, ‘best before’ and ‘use by’dates.
Using scanners attached to storage shelves or placed by the door of storage rooms and walk-in fridges, every item taken in or out can be tracked, giving managers a complete overview of what is in stock, what needs reordering and what perishable products are about to expire. This way, adequate stock level scan be maintained and perishables can be used before they go off.
The other advantage is that using RFID enables this whole process to be automated. No-one needs to physically check the inventory everyday, saving many hours of work, as the scanner will undertake this operation automatically. All the information is then collected on the company’s system where it is presented to the manager in an easy to read, graphical interface.
Faster service in fast food restaurants
Speed of service is vital in fast food restaurants. Customers want their food served quickly and with large volumes of visitors, timely service means a greater number of covers. In larger restaurants with many tables, multiple rooms and outdoor spaces, it can be challenging for waiting staff to find where the customer has seated themselves, often having to call out and ask before getting the order delivered. This reduces customer throughput and can cause complaints when late delivery leads to food being served at the wrong temperature.
A more efficient service means happier customers and greater takings. To help increase efficiency, many restaurants are now turning to RFID. Providing staff with handheld RFID scanners and giving customers smart order number cards with embedded RFID tags means that they can be located much quicker. At the same time, attaching RFID tags to tables and serving counters enables restaurants to analyse the time it takes for guests to receive their orders and the length of time needed for waiting staff to deliver them.
Faster ordering in table service restaurants
It is not just in fast food restaurants where RFID is speeding things up. In restaurants and bars that offer table service, the use of RFID handheld POS devices enables orders to be transmitted directly to the kitchen or bar, taking away the need for waiting staff to physically deliver them. Not only does this reduce the total amount of time needed to take an order, it means the order is more accurate than those written on paper slips and gives staff more time to spend helping customers.
The advantage of RFID enabled POS devices over those that just use wi-fi is that wi-fi is notorious for losing its connection.The more stable RFID connections prevent orders failing to go through or of duplicate orders being taken when staff make repeated attempts to send orders over intermittent wi-fi.
Time and management
With many restaurant and bar employees being paid on an hourly basis, it is important to keep an accurate track of the hours they work.Providing staff with RFID smart ID cards, badges or wristbands lets managers know exactly when the employee entered and left the premises and can even be used to track their whereabouts while onsite.
Information from the smart card, which is read by scanners placed at the entrance, keeps an up-to-date record of when the employee arrived and left and the total number of hours worked. This can also be linked to the company’s payroll system to automate the payment of wages and cut down on finance administration.
The information collected from the use of RFID tags can bring other benefits to restaurant and bar owners. For example, inventory tracking can help owners see which of their dishes or drinks are least popular, helping them to improve their menu. Table service tracking can assist in developing more efficient ways to take orders, serve customers and improve customer satisfaction. Tracking employees, on the other hand, can help reduce punctuality issues and improve productivity.
Conclusion RFID is becoming increasingly valuable in restaurants and bars, helping owners to better manage their inventory, speed up orders and table service and improve time and management, while providing data that can help make improvements to business operations. The other benefit is that RFIDis a low-cost system; it’s something that all restaurants and bars can take advantage of.