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RFID can eliminate costly delays in restaurant industry

How many times have you been seated at a restaurant, only to wait what seems like an eternity for wait staff to take your order? Too often, a highly anticipated evening out is tarnished before the food arrives.

RFID can help to ensure that diners don’t get turned off by bad service. Many quick service restaurants (QSRs) already use both passive and active RFID solutions so wait staff can track a customer’s table and deliver food more efficiently.

Full service restaurants can benefit in a similar way. By handing a customer an RFID device to take with them to their table, restaurant managers can track how long diners have been seated without being waited on. The solution could trigger an automatic alert after two minutes, for example, notifying management and wait staff that diners at a certain table have not been waited on.

The technology is already being used by some pro-active healthcare providers to track how long it takes for new patients to be seen in emergency rooms.

Last month HME Wireless introduced Vuze, an RFID-enabled table location system that helps restaurants reduce congestion and deliver food faster and fresher.

“Fast casual restaurant patrons often wait around the order counter, which causes congestion and disrupts service,” says Russ Ford, vice president at HME Wireless. “With the Vuze Table Location System, guests can sit down and relax without worrying about missing their order. When their meal is ready, food carriers know exactly where to go – without having to hunt for table numbers or call out guest names.”

The solution relies on active RFID technology for cleaner, faster transmission of data. The active solution also gives restaurants the option of tracking customers by zone as well as by individual tables and makes it easier to train new employees.

“When food runners no longer have to hunt for tables, they can work faster and more efficiently while guests enjoy a calmer, more satisfying dining experience,” says Ford.

RFID should be able to provide a similar dining experience at full service restaurants by decreasing wait times and even tracking how long it takes for food to be delivered once it is ordered. Such a solution could also lead to increased revenues in the form of increased alcohol sales. If a party of four, for example, has to wait a long time for initial service, they might be inclined to skip an initial round of drinks. Prompt table service extends the overall duration of the dining experience, likely leading to satisfied customers who may add to their bill by buying an additional round of drinks, an appetizer and even dessert.

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