QikServe, an app that allows diners to view a restaurant menu, order food and drinks for their specific table and pay the bill using their own iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone, has been launched in the UK.
The product, dubbed 'the waiter in your pocket', asks diners to scan a QR code on the table they are seated at to bring up the restaurant menu; there is no requirement to enter restaurant registration codes or numbers.
Diners are then able to scroll through the correct menu for the relevant time of day, place a food and drink order with any special requirements added and pay the bill if using a card.
The app uses a cloud-based system, hosted by QikServe, to store the order and connect with the restaurant's own EPoS system or to a printer on-site to allow the kitchen and front of house teams to view the order and table number before cooking and serving the meal. In turn there are no hardware or software requirements for hospitality operators who pay for a one-off set up fee and a small charge per order made using the app.
The Scottish inventors of the system told BigHospitality the app is not designed to be prescriptive or replace existing ordering procedures entirely.
Ronnie Forbes, chief executive of QikServe, said the product was perfect for fast-casual restaurant operators. "When the product was invented it was from a counter service perspective but the more we looked into it we realised the benefits are even greater for waited service - you can reduce the number of waiter visits to the table and it takes away the routine transaction handling and lets them concentrate on the actual customer service that makes a real difference to the customer," he said.
As well as enabling staff to spend more time on customer service, the QikServe manufacturers say the product can cut staff costs, reduce cash handling, capture consumer behaviour by tracking visits and orders and can also send targeted offers to restaurant customers.
QikServe is also enabled for links to social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter in order to allow diners to leave instant feedback or online reviews of the restaurant experience.
The app was successfully launched in the UK at the West Brewery Bar & Restaurant in Glasgow but Forbes told BigHospitality a waiter-service UK restaurant operator with about 200 sites and an international operator were signing up to trial the system. He added that there had been a lot of interest generated when the product received its international launch at the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago earlier this year.