How to use an iPad in cafes and restaurants.
Who would have thought the humble iPad would become such a commonplace fixture in cafés and restaurants?
Well, it turns out a lot of people. The hospitality sector has quickly embraced the iPad for all manner of tasks since the device first hit the mainstream back in 2010.
Now iPads are a mainstay of cafés and restaurants, catering to everything from tableside ordering to digital menus and Point of Sale.
Coupled with an iPad holder, this device has revolutionised the industry, replacing cumbersome legacy POS technology and allowing for greater speed, better service and an improved patron experience.
If you’re wondering how that’s been accomplished, here’s how to use your iPad in cafes and restaurants.
The most common use for an iPad in restaurants and cafés is Point of Sale. In this instance, the device uses cloud-based POS software and is set up to replace the static legacy POS and tills of old.
Instead, the smaller and more user-friendly iPad is mounted in an iPad holder then wirelessly connects to a cash drawer, payment processor, and receipt or docket printer.
It also communicates with other devices or hardware in the venue, relaying orders to places like the kitchen or bar where order dockets are instantly printed.
This means you can have a series of iPads positioned around a venue, all communicating with each other and with relevant hardware.
Not so long ago, this would have been achieved using expensive and static individual computer terminals, which communicated by concealed cables.
Tableside and mobile ordering
A big plus of iPads and mobile devices is their portability, which has allowed restaurants and cafés to embrace both tableside and mobile ordering.
Now staff can attend to patrons at their table and instantly input their order, which is immediately relayed to the kitchen and bar.
Alternatively, in a busy café situation, staff can reduce time spent in the queue by approaching patrons and taking their orders while they line-up.
Meanwhile, there is also the option of self-service ordering where patrons select their own food and beverage items using an iPad positioned at the venue entrance, at their table, or at a designated ordering station.
In the kitchen
This ties in with Point of Sale, but what some might not appreciate is just how valuable a POS-linked iPad can be in the kitchen of a restaurant or café.
As a nifty little hand-held device, it allows chefs and kitchen staff to cross-check inventory, instantly order supplies and gain an insight into items proving popular.
It also enables kitchen staff to immediately remove a menu item should they run out of ingredients or create a special to clear a backlog of stock.
Over the past couple of years, everyone has become a lot more familiar with the concept of checking into a venue in the interests of health and safety.
iPads play a role here, displaying the QR check-in codes required, while also reminding people of the need to register their attendance.
View our secure, floor stand iPad holders here.
Digital menu and bookings
What do most people want to know as they approach a restaurant or café? What’s on the menu, including current specials and prices.
An iPad offers the ideal way to display this information, while also allowing it to be updated in real time through the connection to the POS.
Meanwhile, an iPad positioned at the entrance to a venue can also act as a booking calendar, allowing patrons to reserve a table then and there.
For both cafés and family restaurants, iPads can also be used as an entertainment option, occupying patrons as they sip their latte or keeping children entertained in a playroom while other guests peacefully dine.
In fact, many clubs and large-scale family restaurants now provide iPads as a fixture in playrooms.
View our range of durable desktop iPad holders suited to playrooms here.