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Restaurant group feasts on flexibility of mobile app

The NCR Pulse Real-Time app lets managers of the Oklahoma City-based Mexican casual-dining chain schedule shifts based on historical data, helping to control and cut labor-related costs. The brand’s successes underscore mobile’s value in centralizing operations management and providing decision-making data, when restaurant profit margins on average range from 2 to 6 percent.

“Being able to know the sales of each location is good, but what I like best about Pulse is it allows me to monitor my labor costs in each unit in real time,” said David Foxx, district manager for Ted’s Cafe Escondido. “I like that it just doesn’t provide me a number, but tells me who is clocked in, for how long, and in what position.

“If I have a manager that has gotten side tracked or is not paying attention, I can assist them in controlling their labor no matter where I am,” he said. “The loss prevention ability it provides me has been extremely useful as well. I am able to question anything right away, and not have to wait until I see printed reports or get to a computer.”

System integration
The restaurant group, which has 900 employees and serves Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri, uses NCR software to integrate data and information across multiple platforms, including accounting systems and general ledgers. The system unifies management of kitchen production, employee theft detection, above-store reporting, labor scheduling and mobile analytics.

Monitoring labor costs in real time.

Restaurant chains such as Wendy’s and Shake Shack also are using Pulse Real-Time, the fastest-growing software-as-a-service solution in NCR Hospitality history.

The restaurant group’s embracing of mobile software is in step with the times.

More than one-third of consumers are more likely to access technology-related functions in restaurants than they were two years ago, according to new research from the National Restaurant Association.

With the rise of mobile ordering, mobile payments and redeeming rewards on smartphones, restaurants are able to market more efficiently to consumers, especially millennials that use mobile devices most frequently. Enticing young customers on mobile is paramount, as the study from the association’s Restaurant Innovation Summit revealed, finding that that 90 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds own and use a mobile device.

The rising usage of technology in restaurants can be attributed to increased options, especially with large brands incorporating Apple Pay and other mobile wallets. The study found that 32 percent of individuals claimed they would use a mobile app to pay the restaurant bill instead of using credit cards or cash if the option existed.

Direct interaction

However, some consumers still prefer to interact directly with restaurant employees, proving that the restaurant industry must carefully intertwine technology with hospitality, a sector where human communication is imperative.

Getting immediate guest feedback.

“NCR Pulse Real-Time delivers up-to-the-second performance metrics and notifications directly to a manager’s smartphone and with NCR Customer Voice, we are able to get immediate feedback from our guests,” said Tim Henschel, NCR’s public relations manager.

“As a result, managers are able to hear directly from guests in their own voice, respond to them and hopefully, create a positive experience that they will want to share with their friends and family.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.