Mobile Devices and Your Restaurant
There are certain things about the restaurant business that will never change. Food will always need to be prepared. Customers will always have their favorite booth or table. Chefs will always be experimenting with new flavors. But the technology that runs a restaurant is a different story. Not only do customers openly chat on their cell phones (once a major faux pas), many casual eateries offer wireless Internet to encourage people to use their mobile devices. Should it be surprising that mobile devices are also changing the way we work?
An increasing number of restaurants are turning to handheld devices to facilitate the ordering process. This can save time and money if it fits in with the ambiance of your establishment. Use of handheld devices has spread from managers looking to keep tabs from their tablet (as our On The Fly™ mobile app allows them to do seamlessly) to servers entering order information. But with this improved technology comes two potential issues.
Who Pays For the Usage?
The first issue is the question of reimbursement. If you allow servers to use their own smartphones and tablets for work (i.e. Scheduling shifts), they still own their devices. But who pays for the usage of the device during work hours? Should the server be given a stipend to offset some of his or her device expenses? Does this apply to all employees, or are there some exemptions to be made? The answers to these questions will vary from restaurant to restaurant and there is no legislation on this (yet). However, if you are instituting or considering a BYOD policy, be sure to talk this over with your HR department before finalizing anything.
How Secure is Your BYOD Policy?
Another potential problem is device security. While hacking and malware are less prevalent on mobile devices than on computers, they still pose a threat. Will you be able to regulate device security for every user? What about passwords? Can you effectively regulate the strength and usage of the passwords chosen?
Lost and stolen mobile devices are also a concern that you can’t afford to ignore. While most smartphones come with remote wiping (data deletion) capabilities built into their operating systems, it is worthwhile to make sure each and every single mobile device that is connected to your business has this feature. Fortunately, Ctuit’s RADAR software service will automatically cut off data feed from a device that has been reported as lost or stolen. (Should this occur, contact your location manager directly.)
Like online shopping and banking, mobile devices are only as secure as the people who operate them. With appropriate safeguards and policies, they can be an effective tool in the restaurant business.
There’s another aspect of using mobile devices for handheld ordering that restaurant owners should consider. Stay tuned for our next post, when we’ll discuss the potential pros and cons of handheld ordering.