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Waffle House reduces payment transaction times with tablet-based POS

Restaurant chain Waffle House has reduced transaction times for customers paying their bills by 79 percent since rolling out a tablet-based point-of-sale system.

The new NCR Silver system has already been rolled out to 1,400 corporate locations across the country, with preparations underway to bring it to hundreds of participating franchise restaurants. The new franchise platform provides a rugged hardware package built on a customized, franchise-focused closed-system Android solution.

“NCR Silver’s franchise-focused, touch-screen platform is built on a closed-system Android solution, which for Waffle House was implemented in a fixed location,” said Reggie Kimble, director of business development at NCR Small Business.

“Everything from the credit card terminal to the receipt printer is integrated with the solution,” he said.

Mobile upgrade
Waffle House previously used a traditional cash register and a separate credit card reader to enable customers to settle their bills.

The chain chose to upgrade to a mobile-based solution in an effort to modernize its restaurants and to improve the customer experience by speeding up transaction times. Additionally, the tablet interface insured that associates could catch on quickly.

With the new system, customer transaction processing times were reduced from 14 seconds per order to 3 seconds, a 79 percent improvement.

The new NCR Silver system features a touch-screen interface and is scalable.

NCR Silver also enables businesses to take payments on an iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Businesses can also engage customers with integrated loyalty and email marketing.

Waffle House did not begin accepting credit cards until 2006. While the chain continues to embrace technology that enhances the customer experience, improves business processes and provides a benefit to its associates, it also plans to retain some of established culture, such as its open kitchen environment and the way that its servers all out orders to the cooks.

Maximizing effectiveness
Once the initial phase of NCR Silver implementation and training is complete, Waffle House managers are able to use new reporting features, such as shift sales, to maximize effectiveness.

A number of quick-serve restaurant chains are looking to mobile to streamline their POS systems.

For example, Wendy’s is benefitting from the installation of a common point-of-sale system in more than 2,600 locations, helping to drive the chain’s mobile rewards and mobile ordering aspirations (see story).

While NCR Silver’s platform enables customers to pay using their mobile wallet, Waffle House is presently accepting cash and credit only.

“Transitioning from a traditional cash register to NCR Silver’s touchscreen was successful in part because of the system’s intuitive interface,” Mr. Kimble said. “NCR Silver’s ease of use, paired with its quicker processing power and integrated credit card terminal contributed to the vast improvement in transaction times for Waffle House.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York