Fast-casual Restaurants Use RFID to Speed Service
A number of fast-casual restaurants are improving customer services with RFID technology, including Blue Lemon in Utah and Jason’s Deli in Texas.
Previously, these restaurants delivered food to tables by having runners hunt down numbered placards or tents given to guests at the time they ordered. But now, with RFID systems in place, service times are improving: they can use the system to track and expedite orders.
The technology requires the operators to place under each table an RFID “mat” or a device pre-programmed with a table number. When customers order their meal, counter employees provide them with an RFID reader device which looks like a drink coaster.
When the guest places their coaster-like device on the table they choose, the device immediately reads the table number information from the “mat” and broadcasts it to a computer at the order expeditor station. The food runner then looks for an RFID device ID number on the order ticket and matches it with the location information for that device to quickly figure out where the food should be delivered.
Knowing the destination as they leave the expo station eliminates the need for food runners to visually scan the dining room for placards or tents or call out numbers to complete the delivery, thereby speeding up the process, according to Dave Prows, executive chef for Blue Lemon LLC.
“If a guest moves from outside [on a patio table] to inside, we always know where they are,” he added. Besides, the technology also tracks order time beginning with payment.