Establishment of the Automatic communication system for food catering service(café, restaurants, etc.) that allows to transfer electronic form and improve all the typical operations such as ordering from the menu, transferring an order to prepare, invoicing, notify, collecting statistics and etc.

The hardware system consists of the following parts:

  • Database for collecting, processing, and transferring messages
  • Establishment of table identifying tools
  • Client terminal(smartphone), with the barcode recognization function such as QR code, DataMatrix, etc and the function of scanning radio frequency tags such as NFC, wireless communication via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cellular networks
  • Establishment of an electronic device for staff as an example, smartphone or electronic bracelet with the function of scanning radio frequency tags, wireless cellular communication, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
  • Terminal for the administrator that will distribute messages between the staff and administrator
  • Subsystem for monitoring and analyzing incoming messages that will exclude spam from the client and cuts off cyber attacks
  • Establishment a set of communication channels between customers and staffs of the food catering(internet, cellular network, local networks of establishment, etc)

One of the prerequisites of modern city life is acceleration. A person often doesn’t have long time for lunch or dinner because the lengthy-time of serving food in public catering service or the quality of service dissatisfies him.

Waiters are forced to everything “on run”, which causes errors in the customer service process. For example, a typical mistake: forget to bring any cutlery. It causes customer dissatisfaction and endless walking of service personnel in the hall of the catering service establishment.

We have developed a system for interaction between customer and catering service providers that allows us to speed up the service process and reduce the number of staff errors. We cut off the time spent by the staff on serving in one table by half and for that he doesn’t need to come to the table twice to fulfill one customer’s request. During peak hours, especially lunch or dinner it’s very important to efficiently allocate the waiter’s time. That brings benefit for both the waiter and the owner of a café or restaurant.

We got a reduction in service time by using the message system which is developed by us. Patent No. US6366196B1 describes a method of organizing work. The special device should be placed on the table which have a button and when the button is pressed a signal is sent to the central table then the table number will be shown on the display. In order to reach the signal to the staff directly needs to add another device in the system- a smartphone or bracelet for the waiter. When a signal comes the bracelet or smartphone will vibrate and make a sound.

The systems discussed above allow you to convey to the staff that there is a request from the client, but don’t allow you to determine the real specific information. As a result, the staff would need to go two times. Firstly he needs to go for knowing the customer’s requirements and the second time needs to go for serving the food.

We have developed such method that allows you to send a request to the staff that indicates specific information, for example, “please bring a spoon” & the table number. The waiter doesn’t need to approach the client’s table more than two times and this saves time.

System implementation

Options for implementing staff call buttons for our system:

  • Module with NFC tag and written table ID number
  • Module with QR code tag and table ID number
  • Module that combines Module1 & Module2
  • A sticker with a QR code that is placed on the table or on the attributes of the restaurants: menu, stand, etc.

The following diagram illustrates the benefits of the system we have developed.

Moment in time/Event

t0 — The client sat down at the table

t1 — The menu brought to the client

t2 — Checkout

t3 — The order was brought

t4 — New request from the client

t5 — The waiter came to clarify the request

t6 — The waiter took the new request from client

t7 — Client needs bill count

t8 — The waiter approached and clarified the request from the client

t9 — The waiter brought the invoice to the client / The client paid for the order

The smart messaging system between staff and the client also saves time on ordering.

Patents KR101141204B1 & US9117231B2 describe the process of purchasing goods and services that saves the labor cost for ordering. The QR code is placed on the tables of the restaurants, the customer scans it with a smart phone and follows the link to the desired website. This site takes the order and sends it for execution. The site is linked to a database and an automated control system for catering services. The location of the customer is determined using restaurant identifiers extracted from the QR code. This location is used to define menus from the central platform database. The issued order gets into the ACS and is saved in the database. The solution doesn’t inform a specific person from the service personnel about the arrival of a new order and requires the presence of additional labor resources to track the arrival of new orders.

For solving this we proposed a different method since the order comes to a specific person who is serving at the table from the beginning. He will get notifications if new order comes from that table. Algorithm of customer interaction with restaurant staff.

Algorithm of customer interaction with restaurant staff.

The customer scans the QR code or NFC tag placed on the table. The smart phone starts to browse and automatically navigates to a secure web page.

The query window

The client sees Points No. 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 but point 4 is unavailable because it wasn’t ordered.

The client chooses one of the request types, the request goes to the restaurant's automated control system and is passed to the kitchen and waiter who is assigned to this table.

The waiter can set up receiving orders on messengers (Telegram, WhatsApp, Viber, etc.) or get notification on a bracelet or smart watch (AppleWatch, etc.).

Ordered dishes are prepared in the kitchen and transferred to the waiter. The waiter delivers the dish to the customer and check the request by scanning a QR code or NFC tag.

Now, after the client scans the QR code or NFC tag, he sees the items 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Point 1 — «Business menu» — order a business lunch

Point 2 — «Main menu» — make an order from the main menu

Point 3 — «Communication with the staff» — write a message to the service personnel assigned to the table

Point 4 — «Pay» — pay for the order

Point 5 — «Leave a review» — leave a personal review to the serving staff (waiter, cook, administrator, etc.)

By clicking Point 6, the client gets into the «Additional panel» with Points 7, 8, 9, 10

Point 7 — «Save link» — is designed to save on the smart phone a link to the institution's website in the form of an icon for quick access

Point 8 — «Calling a taxi» — intended for calling a taxi

Point 9 — «Leave a tip» — is intended for transferring a tip to a waiter, cook other service personnel

Point 10 — «More...» — is intended for the client to receive additional information

Point 11 — «Home» — return to the main menu

After completing point 7, the client can get to the secure page of the establishment without scanning a QR code or NFC tag. Points 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 are available for him.

Conclusion

In this article, we briefly described and reviewed our catering automation system. If you have any questions or you are a business owner and want to automate your enterprise, restaurant then contact with us for more information.