KITCHEN DISPLAY SYSTEM & ITS SIGNIFICANCE

Kitchen Display System (KDS) is a revolutionary product that has paved a digital way to communicate directly with a restaurant’s Kitchen section replacing the handwritten or printed ticket orders. The KDS connects with the point of sale machine only if it’s compatible with it. And the choice of KDS generally depends on the choice of POS used.

The best is the one that integrates seamlessly with the front of house management, comes with flexible hardware options, conveniently sends guest orders directly to the kitchen, provides coursing & timing and such information that makes kitchen operations more efficient.

KDS is a must-have product for any restaurant to stay up to speed with the growing demands of customers. It makes the life of the head chef way easier and allows the focus to be shifted onto what’s the most important activity in the restaurant i.e. cooking delicious meals.

Coming to the basic features of KDS, it shall possess the following:

1. Meal Coursing / Coursing Manager

This simply involves sending different items of a course together at once for preparation and the coursing manager overlooks this. You can set certain rules to display items of a meal and thus determine the chronology of delivering them to the customer. This can ensure all parts of a meal are served fresh.

2. Meal Pacing

This has to do with delivering the entire meal hot and fresh. So, accordingly different parts of a meal are timed or paced. Each cooking station is thus notified to prepare its part of the meal to ensure the meal is served fresh.

3. Cook Times

This signifies when a particular part of the meal needs to be cooked. The aim is to prepare food with long and short cook time in such a way that the entire meal is served once or follows a proper hierarchy.

4. Recipes / Ingredients

This is for staff to double-check recipes, preparation procedures and maintain quality control.

5. Routing Capabilities

The purpose is to move the food to correct relevant destinations say grill, pantry, fryer and so on.

Speaking of benefits of KDS, few are as under:

1. Environment-Friendly

    Since it’s paperless.

2. Amplifies Efficiency

Orders are immediately sent to the kitchen and prepared in a much-organized manner which exponentially enhances the overall efficiency.

3. Order Tracking

Monitor the order cycle and use color code to imply if the part of an order is on time, running late, being prepared and so on.

4. Reduce Cost

  The saving through KDS is visible only after a bit of time. However, the saving is immediate as far as order accuracy goes.

5. Business Intelligence

One can derive valuable data that can be used to further improve overall kitchen operations.

6. Integrated Online Ordering

The order received online directly appear on a KDS and doesn’t require the staff to intervene to reenter it into the POS system.

SOLID IT INFRASTRUCTURE IS KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS

Information Technology Infrastructure is basically a set of Information technology components that forms the basis of IT as a service. Though it typically comprises of physical components such as computer and networking hardware, different shades of software and network components come under this umbrella.

The ultimate aim of a solid IT Infrastructure is to ensure smooth business functioning & sustainability. With the kind of technological upheaval we are witnessing, the IT specialists in various industries are paying special attention to the scalability of the IT infrastructure in place. Say if we talk about Data Centers, more organizations are moving to cloud from physical ones as it’s easier to manage and scale.

Coming to the components of IT Infrastructure, the primary ones are the physical systems such as hardware, storage, any routers or switches, network, software and so on. Then there’s a need for IT Infrastructure Security to keep the network and its components secure for maintaining the sustainability of the organizational system.  

Speaking of the future, here are a few ways of making the company IT infrastructure future-ready:

1. Move To Cloud

 A hybrid cloud is an option that has the best of both the worlds and the transition shall further facilitate the team collaboration and encourage agile development. The movement to the cloud also enables the prospects of scalability and business expansion.

2. Prepare For AI

   AI is the topic of obsession in the technological world currently and increasing number of organizations are taking advantage of Deep learning, Machine learning & AI to bring added business value.

3. Deriving Useful Insights From Data

A business that harnesses the power of Data always has a competitive advantage. A spectrum of storage portfolio certainly assists in distilling the data and helps gather actionable insight from it.

4. Rethink Your Storage Options

Storage is more than having big external hard disks. It has to do more with reading the data that one acquires from it and then uses it for optimization. One can contemplate on multiple options and choose based on the nature of business. A company can go with a solo solution or mix of Flash Storage, Software-Defined Storage, Hybrid Storage, and Tape Storage.

5. Secure Your Valuable Data

This is important and encrypting the data is the way forward to ensure security and protection.

TRENDS TO INFLUENCE MENA HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY IN 2020

With the Year 2020 around the corner, the hospitality industry is all set to welcome the New Year with great optimism & even greater goals for growth. As per a UAE based Hotel Management Company – Aleph Hospitality, the following 5 factors at large are going to impact the development & performance of the MENA hospitality industry in 2020.

Saudi Arabia’s New Visa Regulations

The impact of Saudi’s new tourist visa shall continue to bear positive changes on the Saudi Arabian economy especially the Hospitality Industry. The opening of the vast Kingdom has incited interest in the leisure travelers from GGC & beyond. For Hospitality Industry, this will lead to a flow of huge investment opportunities & also prompt hotels to diversify their product offerings to meet the needs of the new demographic.

Profitability As A Center Of Focus For Hotel Owners

Expenses shall continue to be a point of stress as hotel owners will continue to seek high profitability from their assets. In order to protect the bottom line, the hotel owners will be open to new management models ranging from white-label to franchising. Expect 2020 to witness a spike in such agreements to manage costs and stay profitable.

Adoption Of Smart Solutions

With Digital Transformation making sweeping changes in many industries, the Hotel Industry seems to be a bit slow towards the adoption. The advent of facial recognition or biometrics boarding now enables passport-free travel which has made the travel, thus the life of tourists easy. Hotels businesses should think on similar lines for customer service and make activities such as hotel reservations, check-in or check-out personalized and easy. After all, convenience is key for the ultimate guest experience.

Commitment To Reduce Plastic Usage

 The initiative of plastic-free UAE taken by UAE Government is finding increasing popularity & foothold across the emirates.  Big chains like Jumeirah, Marriot, and Hilton announced plastic-free initiatives this year and the trend is expected to intensify in 2020. The Hotels & Restaurants can help a lot in the coming year if they decide to go full throttle on this.

Lucrative African Market Penetration

Africa is not just land with exquisite natural beauty; it’s full of opportunities to grab as far as the hospitality & tourism industry is concerned. Ethiopia, for instance, saw a growth of around 48.6% in the travel & tourism economy in 2018 and this growth is expected to continue. So, Africa is going to be an investment magnet in 2020.

PRAXIS: ERP TAILOR-MADE FOR HOSPITALITY & RETAIL

Enterprise Resource Planning is a centralized system that allows tight integration between different departments of an organization & enables them to work as one. ERP system tracks business resources such as cash, raw material, payroll, order, purchase & so on and facilitates the information sharing between different departments such as HR, Sales, Accounting, Purchase etc.

There are a number of ERP software programs efficiently designed to tackle the demanding everyday operational needs of a business. Among them, the one to reckon with is Praxis ERP.

Praxis ERP is designed specifically to cater to Hospitality & Retail. Developed with the best industry practices, it’s scalable to meet the evolving demands of the business. Here are the key benefits

1. Replaces Multiple Systems as One Scalable ERP Solution 2. Eradicates Interface Issues 3. Lower Vendor Maintanenace Fee & Server Storage Cost 4. Delivers Quick Return on Investment

STANDOUT FEATURES

1. Multiple Location Control 2. User-Friendly Interface 3. Modular Design 4. Universal Standard of Design & Coding 5. Highest Security 6. Fully Integrable with POS Solution

COVERAGE

1. Integration With POS     2. Financial Management System 3. HR Management System 4. Fixed Assets 5. Employee Self Services 6. Financial Budgeting System 7. Manpower Budget

INTEGRATION WITH POS  

This module is designed to integrate the Sales System of a POS with the Financial System. The Functions are as follows:

a. Import of Sales and Collection information from POS Software as per the defined schedules. b. Generation of extended reports related to sales and collection.

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

The Financial and Accounting System are tweakable to meet the needs of a customer. Following are the major modules here:

Chart of Account-It entails features to setup organization structure, company, subsidiary company, cost center, units and income expense groups. Further, the nominal accounts enable to maintain five levels of account details.

General Ledger-General Ledger allows a user to input Journal Vouchers in the system. A user can also read data from other integrated modules such as Payroll, Accrued EOS, Vacations and Food Cost. Then one can generate vouchers for Accrued Expense / Accrued Income or use Period Control to close financial month and year. Batch generation of monthly reports in pdf is also available which saves time.

Accounts Payable-Account payable offers functionality to maintain complete payable sub-ledgers information. It’s integrated with the Material Management System (MMS) to book the supplier invoices using material receiving from inventory and includes posing of all MMS transactions to financials

Accounts Receivable-Account Receivable is used to maintain complete receivable sub-ledgers information. Customer ledger, statements, aging, and other reports can be generated.

Cash Management-The module deals with Bank & Cash related transactions entailing customer receipts, cash receipts, daily sales receipts (integrated with POS sales system), supplier payments and GL to GL Payments. 

Reporting-Comprehensive reporting is available to meet the business intelligence demands of users on different levels.

HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

HRMS module is coded considering the local and customized requirements of Multiple Markets. Following modules are included in HRMS:

Employee Personal-Employee Personal system is for maintaining Employee Related Information including Employee Personal Information, Government Documents, Education/Experience, Dependents, Administrative and Employee Assets. A robust reporting module is available to generate admin and legal reports.

Leave Management-Employee leave Module provides facilitates maintenance of Employee Vacation Information including employee travel destination and ticket information.

Payroll– Payroll Module maintains employee salaries data with a full cycle of payroll generation. The major processes include earning entitlements, due deduction, loans GOSI module, monthly timesheets, and payroll generation.

FIXED ASSETS

The system offers a complete module with Asset Tracking System. It allows a company to maintain asset information and capacitates it to classify Asset-based different factors such as Asset Types, Categories, Physical Location, and Integration with GL Chart. The System can generate and post depreciation on an actual basis.

FINANCIAL BUDGETING SYSTEM

Budget System provides a forecast of revenues and expenditures i.e. enables the construction of a financial model depicting the business performance if certain strategies, events, and plans are carried out. It’s efficient in the following ways: a. Ascertain the difference between the actual & the forecasted business trajectory by comparing actual financial operations against the forecast.  b. Maintain monthly financial budget on multiple levels such as cost center, department/unit, and nominal account.

MANPOWER BUDGET

The payroll system has the capability to maintain manpower budget based on departments and positions. Here are a few pointers on the significance: 1. Manning Charts 2. Retention Support Scheme 3. Learning & Development 4. Downsizing 5. Succession Planning

           

 

 

 

    

     

  

RISE OF SELF ORDERING KIOSKS

Automation! The very word has fascinated us and continues to mesmerize with the spectrum of possibilities. Every Industry seeks automation that can lead to enhanced customer experience. And the restaurants have found their answer in the form of Self Ordering Kiosk.

Self-Ordering Kiosk is a piece of technology that allows customers to order and pay on their own. So the entire hassle of standing in a queue, if there is one, is circumvented. On top of that, the kiosk has an interactive screen that is ideal for running promotions or upselling.

Coming to the architecture of the Self-Ordering Kiosk, it consists of an interactive screen encased in a robust case, a scanner, a printer and finally a payment module. The customer journey is pretty simple.

The journey involves customers taking a series of easy steps to place an order followed by making the payment on the kiosk. A payment receipt is printed along with the order number. The customer can then simply present the order number at the counter to collect the order. The interactive screen also offers a perfect medium to run a number of promotions for enticing customers or upselling an offer while they are placing an order.

Talking about the kiosk software, it shall possess the following must-have features:

Single App & Multi App Modes, Web-based Kiosk Lockdown, Control Peripheral Function; Access to Enterprise App Store; Custom Branding; Remote View & Control; Lock, Swipe, Shutdown & Restart over-the-air; and so on.

Self-Ordering Kiosk has been immensely successful & popular in fast food chains like McDonalds & KFC. And its popularity among customers is also on the rise. More restaurants are opening up to the idea of placing the kiosk at a strategic position on the premises. The self-service kiosk market is expected to reach an estimated $30.8 billion by 2024, as per new research from Tillster, which surveyed 2,000 QSR and fast-casual customers with the assistance of SSI.

The self-ordering kiosk is an evolving technology and is expected to bring more functionality onboard. So, there eventual dominance in the restaurant vertical especially QSR is eventual.

SOCIAL WI-FI AS A GREAT CUSTOMER LOYALTY & RETENTION TOOL

Online business always had an edge over a physical one in the sense that it can better track and analyze customer behavior. However, brick and mortar businesses are quickly catching up. Among the multiple technological advances that are taking the physical businesses to the next level, one that particularly stands out is Social Wi-Fi.

Social Wi-Fi is a technological leap that allows physical outlets to turn casual visitors into loyal customers and enhance customer loyalty by offering free Wi-Fi services. The customer simply logs into a portal by sharing some credentials to avail the free Wi-Fi services. The details furnished by the customer are saved in the process after he or she agrees to certain terms and conditions for data privacy. The data thus obtained is highly valuable with the potential to further customer numbers and enhance customer loyalty. 

Social Wi-Fi allows a business to target customers through different types of campaigns be it SMS or Email. One can also schedule birthday campaigns to better the business relationship with a customer on a personal level. The customer retention campaign is also a good way to transform a casual customer into a loyal one.

Social Wi-Fi comes with a platform offering a variety of business intelligence. The analytics gives an in-depth overlook of statistics like the number of people who visited a business entity, the peak hours of visit, the male vs female ratio, the frequency of a customer visit and so on. The analytics thus obtained from Social Wi-Fi can indirectly validate the success of a marketing campaign. Say if a restaurant is running a promotional dine-in campaign and sees a spike in the number of visitors logging into Social Wi-Fi, the boost in number sort of validates the good reception of the campaign by the audience and thus a jump in the number of visitors.

Most Social Wi-Fi technologies require access points and software licenses depending on the coverage area of a business unit. The Wi-Fi login page can be branded as per businesses’ objective and liking. Say a restaurant can have motion banners of their discounted dishes or simply an introduction to the restaurant’s rich history or food culture and so on.

So, Social Wi-Fi is among the must-have innovations for most business genres who want to better serve & retain their customers!

DIGITAL MENU BOARD AND ITS PERKS

Digital Menu Board (DMB) offers an ideal platform for a restaurant to showcase its gamut of products or marketing material to a wide audience. It’s cost-effective, has versatile applications and is an exponentially improved version of its traditional predecessor.

An apt Digital Menu Board is expected to display all kinds of rich media in an aesthetic way. As the name says, the crucial role is to present a restaurant menu in the best possible fashion such that it has a pleasing influence on the customers.

Digital Menu Board comprises Hardware and Software. The Hardware must have a robust, durable casing harboring a glare-free HD screen. Software, on the other hand, must offer versatile menu templates with decent design options, have the capability to run all forms of rich media, enable split-screen functionality and so on.

Coming to the advantage of using Digital Menu Board over a traditional one, it mainly has to do with ease of doing things.  For instance, changing the menu instantly is just a click away in the case of DMB, unlike the traditional option. Similarly, displaying the specialties, discount offers or happy hour meals become a much simpler affair. Then the ease of reading is much more on the DMB compared with the traditional one. The customers can convincingly check the dish and its price from a distance.

Digital Menu Board now is a must-have product for restaurants especially quick-service ones and plays a core role in ensuring the optimal customer experience. The technology DMB runs on continues to evolve taking the solution a step closer to perfection.

So, upgrade your menu related operations, save on cost and significantly speed up pricing changes or image changes without impacting the customer experience. Lay the foundation for memorable visitor experience and let your visitors focus on relishing the taste.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF CALL PAGING SYSTEMS

Paging systems brought a new wave of revolution way back when the first of its kind was created by Detroit Police Department in 1921. However, it was only in 1949 that first telephonic Pagers were patented and used in New York City’s Jewish Hospital. Then 1959 saw the name “pager” being coined by Motorola. Jump to 1960, John Francis Mitchell introduced the first transistorized pager to the world by combining Motorola’s Walkie Talkie & automobile radio technologies.

Tone and voice pagers were invented in the 1970s. In 1980 there were around 3.2 million pager users around the world and the same decade saw the emergence of wide-area paging and the rest is ancient history.

Paging systems continue to remain relevant in this digital age, significantly influencing the operations in both Hospitality and Retail Industries. It still is an efficient means of communication between staff & customers or among the staff. A call paging system allows a customer to call a staff member for placing an order or submitting a special request or paying the cheque. Similarly, in a hospital or a medical center, the call paging system enables a patient to move around freely without the need to wait for his appointment call until called back via pager for the appointment.

Here is a list of mostly used call paging systems out there:

1. Waiter Paging System

The paging enables a chef to press a button that sends a message to an appropriate staff member informing the meal is ready to be served.

2. Customer Paging System

An IQ pager is handed over to a customer who walks around within business premises to kill time until called back by IQ pager vibration, sound, led lighting or all of them.

3. Push Button Paging System

The Pushbuttons are efficient for contacting an on-site associate by means of long-range and reliable wireless call buttons. The buttons have easy to understand specifications to denote their applicability, thus lowering confusion. Push-buttons are of great use at restaurants, medical offices, dental clinics, grocery stores and so on.

4. Easy Call Paging System

The Easy Call, with a range of micro-buttons, empowers customers to summon staff anywhere on the premises. The solution is efficient in outside areas, restaurants, and retail stores.

5. Vuze Paging System

An efficient table services system that leads to better customer experience and quick order delivery.  

6. Medi Call Paging System

Medi call enables patients to wait anywhere within a suitable range for their medical appointment or at the pharmacy.

Praxis ERP Solution entails all kinds of management modules which makes it suitable for all genres under Hospitality & Retail. With the option of scalability, it’s perfect for a business with evolving needs.

ATTRIBUTES OF AN APT RETAIL POS SYSTEM

Retail Management Solution is the first thing that comes to mind once you think of retail business technology. It is at the heart of any successful retail set up. Hence, choosing an apt solution can be the difference between a silky swift and a severely rough start. With the hundreds of options to compare, the choice of the correct one becomes even more paradoxical. Let me share a few standout features of an ideal Retail POS System to make the job easy.  

1. Quick keys

Quicks Keys enables a Staff to access the commonly sold entity with just hit of a button.

2. Multiple Payment Facility

Cash and Credit Card payments are the norm. Now POS Solution can support Mobile Payments as well.

3. Accounts & Security

This is vital to allow restricted access based on the hierarchy of staff. Another benefit is the ability to track sales made by the relevant staff members.

4. Store Credit, Returns & Refund Feature

This is a must-have feature for a customer-friendly shopping experience. The POS must enable a customer to opt for the refund option or go with store credit.

5. Customer Facing Display

Display facing customer promotes transparency and enhances the order accuracy.

6. Product Variants

A must-have system attribute that enables products with multiple types be easily logged.

7. Bulk Product Imports

One can import the products in bulk using this.

8. Barcodes

A Retail POS System should be able to print barcodes for better tagging of the products.

9. Inventory Check & Stock Transfers

A Retail POS must ease & simplify the process of inventory count and stock transfers

10. Promotions

Important for encouraging customers to purchase and thus move inventory.

11. Searchable Customer DataBase

To allow staff to customers without a hassle.

12. Customer Profile History

This is to facilitate easy customer returns or keep a track of customer liking.

13. Customer Properties

This entails customer birthday and address.

14. Loyalty Programs

For better retention of customers and awarding their loyalty.

15. Dashboard & Reporting

Get bird’s eye view of all at once from the Dashboard. Reports such as Product Reports, Employee Reports and Customer Reports provide crucial insights into matrices like stock status, worst-selling items, top-performing employees and so on.