Tabletop tablets in chain restaurants

SamSpade
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Re: Tabletop tablets in chain restaurants

Post by SamSpade » September 12th, 2019, 9:23 pm

These were being rolled out in 2015 or so to fast casual chain Red Robin
https://www.nrn.com/technology/red-robi ... systemwide

Later articles at the corporate Ziosk site appear to be that the kiosks can accept all kinds of cards (swipe, chip, Samsung pay). The thought was that these keep tables engaged and they can settle a bill without waiting for the server to check back once they've eaten.

I personally don't see the appeal of the things. They're kind of a throwback to the old diner tabletop jukeboxes I guess. :-? :lol: :!:

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Re: Tabletop tablets in chain restaurants

Post by Brian Lutz » September 13th, 2019, 7:48 am

I think the main challenge for integrating the tablets into the tables would be that most restaurants would have no way to power them, although it looks like the Ziosk and Presto tablets have removable batteries that would presumably be removed and charged overnight (fairly large capacity batteries though, looking through some eBay listings it seems the Presto tablets use 10800 MAh batteries, I'd guess the Ziosk ones are similar.)

Also, it looks like some of the Presto Ela Carte table tablets can be had pretty cheaply on eBay, although I'm not sure how useful they would be without the software to support them. This article does seem to indicate that Ziosk is trying to position their tablets in a way that might make them more friendly to non-chain restaurants though:

https://table.skift.com/2018/05/18/zios ... ts-fri-am/

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Re: Tabletop tablets in chain restaurants

Post by Super S » September 21st, 2019, 9:39 am

The thing I don't like about this setup is that they are pushing people to use credit/debit cards instead of cash. There have been times where I limit my credit card use and prefer to pay cash. However, many chain restaurants have moved away from having a central cash register at a counter and take payment at a table. Which works when well staffed. However, I distinctly remember a time when I ate at an Applebee's and was ready to pay with cash. After ten minutes of waitresses walking by I walked up to the front, where I was instructed to return to my table and "somebody will be right there" Well, another five minutes passed and I ended up yelling across the restaurant, at that point somebody finally came and I made sure they returned my change as the service on that visit was so bad I did not even leave a tip.

Personally, I prefer restaurants where there is a traditional register and you can pay when you are ready, not when the waitress feels like coming by the table. Chain restaurants seem to not like this concept, except for Denny's and similar restaurants.

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Re: Tabletop tablets in chain restaurants

Post by storewanderer » September 21st, 2019, 8:17 pm

Super S wrote:
September 21st, 2019, 9:39 am
The thing I don't like about this setup is that they are pushing people to use credit/debit cards instead of cash. There have been times where I limit my credit card use and prefer to pay cash. However, many chain restaurants have moved away from having a central cash register at a counter and take payment at a table. Which works when well staffed. However, I distinctly remember a time when I ate at an Applebee's and was ready to pay with cash. After ten minutes of waitresses walking by I walked up to the front, where I was instructed to return to my table and "somebody will be right there" Well, another five minutes passed and I ended up yelling across the restaurant, at that point somebody finally came and I made sure they returned my change as the service on that visit was so bad I did not even leave a tip.

Personally, I prefer restaurants where there is a traditional register and you can pay when you are ready, not when the waitress feels like coming by the table. Chain restaurants seem to not like this concept, except for Denny's and similar restaurants.
I have seen a couple formats for how cash is handled in restaurants where the server is the one handling the payment. One format I've seen is where the server basically handles all cash and makes change from their tips then somehow reconciles the whole thing at the end of the night (they essentially "pay back" the restaurant for whatever tabs were paid with cash by the customer). This may involve them having to see a central cashier for change throughout the shift, etc. The other format I've seen is a centralized cashier set up where there is one employee who serves as cashier for cash transactions. So the server will take your folio with cash in it to that central cashier to process and make change then return it to you.

The cashier set up seems more common in the faster paced/lower ticket type of restaurants (or prepay places like a Sizzler). Take casinos for example, they will have a variety of formats for how payment is handled under the same roof depending on the specific format. Buffet is prepay, the 24 hour "American" type restaurant is typically a pay at cashier format, and the higher dollar steak house is typically a "pay server" format.

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Re: Tabletop tablets in chain restaurants

Post by J-Man » September 22nd, 2019, 8:41 am

The thing I don't like about this setup is that they are pushing people to use credit/debit cards instead of cash. There have been times where I limit my credit card use and prefer to pay cash.
If you want to limit your credit card use, why not use a debit card? Like it or not, we're moving (slowly, and with a lot of resistance) to a cashless society. It's become the norm in many parts of Europe already.

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Re: Tabletop tablets in chain restaurants

Post by Super S » September 22nd, 2019, 8:51 am

J-Man wrote:
September 22nd, 2019, 8:41 am
The thing I don't like about this setup is that they are pushing people to use credit/debit cards instead of cash. There have been times where I limit my credit card use and prefer to pay cash.
If you want to limit your credit card use, why not use a debit card? Like it or not, we're moving (slowly, and with a lot of resistance) to a cashless society. It's become the norm in many parts of Europe already.
Most people do have debit cards, but in some situations I feel more comfortable paying cash or using a regular credit card. Such as when payment is handled away from the table and out of view. An unauthorized charge on a credit card is far easier to reverse than an unauthorized debit card payment which can potentially clean out your account.

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Re: Tabletop tablets in chain restaurants

Post by storewanderer » September 22nd, 2019, 2:17 pm

J-Man wrote:
September 22nd, 2019, 8:41 am
The thing I don't like about this setup is that they are pushing people to use credit/debit cards instead of cash. There have been times where I limit my credit card use and prefer to pay cash.
If you want to limit your credit card use, why not use a debit card? Like it or not, we're moving (slowly, and with a lot of resistance) to a cashless society. It's become the norm in many parts of Europe already.
The cashless move is nice but between retailers not happy with fees and restricting/refusing certain card types, certain completely out of line politicians banning "cashless" stores in their cities, and various other dysfunctional sides fighting over this (like everything I guess), I see a hard fight ahead for the cashless movement. When you look at now vs. 20 years ago things have definitely become more cashless. Tough to say if the trend will continue over the next 20 years or if we have reached the peak of the cashless movement.

I think if faced with the choice between a debit card or cash, I'd just use cash. Debit cards are not safe to be using all over the place due to skimming/card number theft concerns. Not to mention transaction holds that do not clear off for a day or two, or the wait for refunds if you get overcharged, etc. One potential option is to open a separate account to link to a debit card to use all over the place, just keeping it at $300 or whatever, then not using a debit card from the main checking account you get your paycheck into, that you use to pay bills, etc. That way at least your account won't get "cleaned out" in the event of a transaction overcharge or unusually large hold. I rented a car recently and got a $500 hold on my credit card (the cost of the rental was just over $100); I have no clue what the deal was there, but if that had been a debit card and $500 of my checking account was going "on hold" for a few days, that would not have been a good thing. I am used to car rentals doing a hold of rental cost+$200 or something but this was very strange.

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Re: Tabletop tablets in chain restaurants

Post by klkla » September 22nd, 2019, 2:45 pm

Super S wrote:
September 22nd, 2019, 8:51 am
Most people do have debit cards, but in some situations I feel more comfortable paying cash or using a regular credit card. Such as when payment is handled away from the table and out of view. An unauthorized charge on a credit card is far easier to reverse than an unauthorized debit card payment which can potentially clean out your account.
I agree 100%. Credit cards have to give you provisional credit immediately whereas debit cards can take up to 6 months for the credit to appear. I've only used my ATM once in the last five years for a purchase, at a gas station here in Los Angeles, and it got cloned a couple weeks later. Luckily, I happened to look at my account online and noticed someone used it at an ATM in El Paso, TX to take out $500 that day. I was able to freeze the account right away but it took three months to get the $500 back.

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Re: Tabletop tablets in chain restaurants

Post by BillyGr » September 23rd, 2019, 8:56 am

Super S wrote:
September 21st, 2019, 9:39 am
However, many chain restaurants have moved away from having a central cash register at a counter and take payment at a table. Which works when well staffed. However, I distinctly remember a time when I ate at an Applebee's and was ready to pay with cash. After ten minutes of waitresses walking by I walked up to the front, where I was instructed to return to my table and "somebody will be right there" Well, another five minutes passed and I ended up yelling across the restaurant, at that point somebody finally came and I made sure they returned my change as the service on that visit was so bad I did not even leave a tip.

Personally, I prefer restaurants where there is a traditional register and you can pay when you are ready, not when the waitress feels like coming by the table. Chain restaurants seem to not like this concept, except for Denny's and similar restaurants.
Also a reason to keep a variety of cash - that way you can put in whatever is needed for the bill (and the tip, if you think they deserve one) and leave the check on the table, and go.
No need to wait for someone to come - if someone else (another customer) wants to steal your cash, the restaurant and server will learn to pay more attention in the future (as they are the ones who lose it, not you)!

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