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  • Writer's pictureMaya

10 Restaurant Technology Terms to Know

When you’re in charge of a restaurant, it’s important to get acquainted with the proper terminology so you understand how to operate the devices that make your small business run so smoothly.

Many restaurants have adapted to the modern era by implementing technologies that make the business run faster and more efficiently while simultaneously cultivating a more positive customer experience. With the COVID-19 pandemic still a major obstacle to regular dine-in services, advanced technology is the only thing that’s kept a lot of restaurants afloat in the past year, from online ordering capabilities to devices that make it easier to cut costs from other aspects of the business. Still, restaurant technology works best when restaurateurs properly understand how to use it, and that begins with getting to know common industry lingo.

Here are 10 terms to get you started.

1. Point of Sale

The PoS, or Point of Sale, is the transactional hub where customers pay for their meals. The Point of Sale terminal is the device that your software runs on that also acts as a cash register, but the term can also refer to the Point of Sale system, which encompasses all of the hard- and software that runs your restaurant.

2. Traditional vs. Cloud-Based PoS

These are the types of PoS systems your restaurant will choose between. Traditional, or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) systems, store data on-premises and in local servers on a closed, internal network. In layman’s terms, you physically store your restaurant’s data somewhere in the restaurant. Cloud-based PoS connect to the internet to store your data in the cloud, so you can always analyze it remotely even when you’re not in the store. Cloud-based PoS are equally secure as physical storage and also protects your data from break-ins and natural disasters which would otherwise compromise your information.

3. Router

This gives you a secure, local internet connection which enables wireless communication throughout your restaurant. Ideally you should use a small one that doesn’t take up too much space and can be transported close to where you need the strongest WiFi. Good internet connection makes it easy to sync your devices and communicate orders between the front and back of house.

4. Kitchen Display System

Kitchen Display Systems, or KDS, shows the order queue to the cooks as soon as they’re submitted into the PoS, so table turn times increase, order accuracy improves and customers have a better, smoother experience every time they visit. The traditional ticket system left room for orders to be smudged, damaged or lost, so the KDS replaces that for seamless communication and fewer errors.

5. Receipt Printers

Also known as thermal printers, these print customers’ receipts. They can be wireless or connected via router. It’s important to know the difference between these and kitchen printers so you can troubleshoot the right one with customer service and know which paper you’ll need to refill them with.

6. Kitchen Printers

Also known as impact printers, these are special devices designed to withstand the hustle and bustle of a commercial kitchen. The hardware was made to withstand the heat of the kitchen, and they print with special ink that won’t get smudged or damaged by cooks. They also work louder than receipt printers, intentionally, so the kitchen staff never misses a ticket.

7. Pay-at-Table Devices

Often purchased in tablet form, these devices make it easy for customers to order and pay right from their seats or even their own mobile devices. Increase order accuracy, table turn time and customer satisfaction when you implement self-order and pay-at-table devices at every guest’s table for faster service.

8. Payment Methods

Customers will try to pay with a variety of different methods so it’s important to equip your restaurant with the tools to accept them all. Credit or debit cards are the most common payment methods so you should invest in EMV-enabled and magstripe readers. As mobile payment gets more popular, near-field communication (also known as NFC) is also an important feature for most payment terminals nowadays.

9. Customer-Facing Display

CFD, or customer-facing displays, show the itemized order to the customer when they’re paying so that they can double-check their tiket before they pay. These screens increase order accuracy overall which reduces how often customers send back meals or get dishes comped.

10. Self-Order Kiosks

Boost the average check size with self-service capable devices. Giving customers an easy way to modify and add to their orders before they’re finalized encourages them to increase portion sizes, add a side or otherwise put more money on their tickets.

Your restaurant has more potential that you realize, and it all starts with understanding the terminology of those state-of-the-art devices that you invested in to increase your operational efficiency in the long run. Modern technology is more cutting-edge than ever, and restaurants need in vendors like eatOS who can help bring them into the future of food service.

There are a lot of restaurant terminologies you’ll need to familiarize yourself with to run a successful small business. This list is a good place to start. When you’re ready to learn more, book a demo with eatOS.


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