Industry News | May 12, 2010

New Tools Push the Boundaries of POS

Action Systems Inc. (ASI), makers of the Restaurant Manager Point-of-Sale System for the foodservice industry, announced that its Write-On Handheld software is now available for use on Apple’s iPod touch. First released in 2001, the Write-On Handheld allows servers to take orders and process payments tableside.

ASI also announced commercial availability of its mobile management application, RM Monitor. RM Monitor is a new service that allows owners and managers to gain real-time visibility into virtually all key operational and management data via mobile devices, including an iPhone or BlackBerry, at any time from anywhere.

The Write-On Handheld is available to hospitality establishments using v17 of the Restaurant Manager POS System. Installed in hundreds of restaurants nationwide, the Write-On Handheld is already proven to enhance customer service, boost check averages, and speed table turns.

“Providing the Write-On Handheld software on a PDA like the iPod touch offers all sorts of additional benefits to restaurants,” says Alex Malison, CEO of ASI. “First and foremost is the low cost and reliability of the iPod touch itself. A more subtle, but ultimately more compelling, benefit comes in the seamless way the Write-On Handheld mirrors the standard user interface on the iPod touch. If a server has used an iPhone or an iPod touch, or has ever sent a text message, they can easily use the Write-On Handheld to take orders or process payments at tableside. There is minimal server training required.”

Spiro Gioldassis, general manager of Mrs. K’s Tollhouse restaurant in Silver Spring, Maryland, implemented the Write-On Handheld on an iPod touch and immediately recognized the benefits.

“Taking orders is extremely easy—there’s virtually no learning curve,” Gioldassis says. “That allows servers to cover more tables and speed service to customers. Moreover, the iPod touch devices are not costly, which has allowed me to outfit my entire server team with them.”

When the Write-On Handheld on an iPod touch is fitted with a magnetic strip reader (MSR), the device also offers a powerful pay-at-the-table solution that speeds table turns and offers restaurant customers the added security of keeping their credit card in sight at all times.

“Customers are acutely aware of the potential of credit card fraud. Having a fully-integrated, low-cost, tableside ordering and payment solution gives customers the extra assurance their information is safe while setting us apart from other restaurants,” Gioldassis says.

Malison is convinced that wireless handheld devices are about to transform restaurant POS much the way touch-screen technology did in the 1990’s.

“The efficiencies of mobile computing are undeniable, but handheld equipment has too often proven unreliable in the tough restaurant environment. The iPod touch is not only rugged, but the replacement cost is significantly less than other hardware platforms,” Malison says.

With ASI’s new RM Monitor, even as the restaurant industry begins to recover from the global economic slowdown, the ability to better control costs, prevent losses, and improve customer service remain essential components to boosting profits and ensuring efficient operations.

Having the ability to monitor information such as sales data, labor and cost ratios, and employee hours worked puts important information at the fingertips of an owner or manager. In addition, RM Monitor can generate key alerts when, for example, an employee approaches overtime and or potential fraud activities occur like voids and deletions, which can make the difference between a profitable establishment and financial difficulty.

“As restaurants face an increasing challenge to operate as efficiently as possible and not only maintain but also boost revenue, the ability to access and utilize key operational data becomes critical,” Malison says. “Those that can act, and react, more quickly and to information that will come out ahead in the ultra competitive hospitality industry. The main benefit of RM Monitor is that owners and managers now have the information they need at their fingertips to make key decisions no matter the time of day or where they are—from picking up fresh ingredients at the local market to taking time off at the beach.”

The Restaurant Manager RM Monitor service is constructed to ensure a restaurant remains PCI Compliant and offers access to virtually any information traditionally available only on-site. In addition to receiving information on preconfigured data, users can request ad-hoc reports to be delivered in a scaled, readable, pdf format to their mobile device.

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