Restaurants: Improve the Speed and Efficiency of Fast-Casual Restaurant Device Workflow

December 2, 2020

Believe it or not, dipping skewers of bread into melted cheese was one of the hottest food fads of the 1970s. As a healthy alternative to ice cream, fro-yo shops were all the rage in the 1980s. The 1990s were known for a coffee shop on every corner. By the 2010s, everyone was crazy for cupcakes. But the food trend with the most significant impact on how, what, and where we eat is the one that combines fine dining fare with the speedy service of fast food. Fast-casual dining has quickly emerged as one of the most popular restaurant types because it meets consumer demands of convenience, price, and healthful food options. And it’s not just a passing fancy. Even with the general slowdown due to the pandemic, the fast-casual dining industry has grown at a quicker rate than the rest of the restaurant industry. This segment’s continued success can be partially attributed to the implementation of technology to meet the surge in online ordering, contactless payments, counter service and off-premise dining.

As restaurants adopt new technologies to overcome health and safety challenges and exceed consumers’ expectations, they can benefit immensely from including a mobile device deployment solution in their overall technology plan. A centralised point of secure charging provides a repository for devices, reducing device breakage, theft and loss. The critical oversight of not protecting devices when not in use creates painful hassles for employees and managers alike. Read on about the evolution of digital dining, find out how to save time and money by mapping out your device workflow and discover the top benefits of charging stations for fast-casual dining restaurants.

Dining Has Gone Digital

The fast-casual model is all about finding innovative ways to improve speed, efficiency and quality through leveraging restaurant technology trends. These days restaurant technology not only supports these three objectives; it also helps restaurants adapt to new safety and hygiene requirements in the wake of COVID-19. Check out these ways that eating establishments are embracing digital devices.

  • Taking orders tableside: servers quickly take orders on iPads or tablets, which connect with an iPad POS system improving turn time and reducing room for error.
  • Drive-through orders: the kitchen has more time to prepare food orders when guests are greeted in line, and their orders are taken with a handheld device. More time means better accuracy and a better customer experience. Just ask Chick-fil-A which ranks best in both order accuracy and customer service.
  • Contactless payment: seamless credit card processing with contactless cards is more secure and sanitary than handling cash.
  • Managing reservations and waitlists: staff can work more efficiently and offer guests faster service by using one interface to manage guests.

Learn how mobile devices can be used for more than just taking orders with these best practices for using iPads in the restaurant industry.

Save Time with Workflow Planning

Usage of mobile devices, like iPads, within the hospitality industry is rapidly expanding. 86% of organisations are currently in the research or pilot phase of an iPad management program. Unfortunately, the majority of those fail to consider device security with secure charging stations. The result is restaurant staff wasting valuable time looking for devices, only to find them partially charged or dead.

Imagine opening a restaurant without creating your menu ahead of time. Planning how to charge and store iPads and tablets shouldn’t be an afterthought either. Save a lot of time and money by determining device management workflow before rolling out new technology to your staff.

When a LocknCharge iPad charging station such as a Putnam 8 or 16 Tower is deployed, it eliminates many of the manual workflow processes of checking in and checking out devices and replacing damaged devices.

Here’s how:


Make sure employees always know where to find a fully-charged device. At the start of each shift, workers retrieve a device from a numbered slot. By assigning a numbered slot to every user, they can take ownership of plugging in their devices. They put their devices back in the slot at the end of the day, where they will be charged and kept secure. All the shift manager is responsible for is unlocking the station in the morning and locking it up at night. With numbered slots, it’s also easy to know which devices are missing with only a quick glance.

Replacement Devices

What happens if a device goes missing, encounters a fatal error, or gets damaged during a shift? With an additional station for “hot spares,” no time is lost getting devices into the hands of workers who need them. Employees can simply swap their broken device for a new one and be on their way with a new device for the day.


Top 8 Benefits of a Putnam iPad Charging Station for Fast-Casual Restaurants

Choosing the right charging station may not seem like a big deal. Still, small differences between manufacturers and products could make a huge impact on your technology rollout and your ability to manage devices long term. Check out the benefits of a Putnam 8 or 16 Tower over other charging stations, or no station at all.

  1. More cost-effective than a smart locker. In an industry that often operates on razor-thin margins, LocknCharge appreciates that budget is a concern for many restaurants. The Putnam 8 or 16 Tower will keep devices safe, organised and secure at a more economical price than a smart locker.
  2. Get a return on investment within 18 months. Based on LocknCharge data tracking, our customers’ average ROI is 12-18 months.
  3. Prewired with high-quality, MFI-approved lightning cables reduces up-front costs, and you can kiss tangled cords goodbye. The Putnam 16 station is equipped with 16 prewired MFi-approved lightning cables that would otherwise cost up to $20 each if purchased separately. These certified cords are just the right length to connect to stored devices, no more, no less, no mess. It’s virtually impossible to tangle the charging cables, meaning everything stays organised and in place.
  4. Save a significant amount of time spent on broken or stolen cord replacements. The Putnam cables stay in the station and can’t be removed easily. Store managers will no longer have to deal with the stress of taking time away from vital day-to-day activities to replace lost or damaged cables. Keeping employees happy and reducing frustration allows you to retain great talent, saving you considerable cash.
  5. Positively affect your bottom line. The Putnam Tower with an integrated mechanical combination lock secures devices when not in use. So you’ll not only always know where your devices are safely locked away, you’ll lower your per-employee cost by reducing the number of lost or stolen devices.
  6. Save space. We know that physical back-of-house space = $$. The last thing you’re looking for is a big box taking up valuable real estate. Luckily the cabinet footprint of a Putnam is small, and multiple towers can be stacked. Or easily mount a charging station to the wall with an optional wall-mounting kit keeping devices completely out of the way of the hustling employees fulfilling orders.
  7. With one glance, see the charging status is for each device. External color-coded LED lights lets your team know which iPads are ready to go so that they never send someone outside with a half-charged device. It also prevents dreaded plugged-in-without-power mishaps—you see it lit up and know immediately that the power supply is connected and doing its job.
  8. Forget those infrastructure improvements. Eliminate the need to add expensive new electrical outlets or messy power strips. Simply plug your Putnam 8 and 16 charging stations into a normal 110VAC outlet (output wattage: 16 x 5V/2.4A).

Read more about how the Putnam has streamlined an already speedy workflow and saved the cost of replacing cables for Monica and Craig Daniel’s franchised fast-food restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin. Then contact us to discuss the challenges of your mobile workflow and find out how we can help!


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