It may seem like small potatoes, but this friction is at the heart of negative reviews, empty lunchrooms, and staff who never seem to stick around. When left unchecked, it can damage small businesses, and even larger chains feel the pressure to prevent friction in the dining experience.
So what exactly makes a frictionless experience? Simple: supplementary technology that teams can add to their toolkit. In good, frictionless order-and-pay experiences, guests order food from their phones and pay on their own by scanning a QR code. Great frictionless experiences involve even further collaboration, such as guests starting tabs from their phones or chatting through a staff messaging platform. Harnessing the power of tech is crucial for bringing businesses into the newest phase of the food and beverage industry. The reduction of friction starts with knowing how to smooth the road and why it’s so important.
Curbing the staffing churn
Frictionless order and pay, more often than not, are guest-led. This happens for two reasons. First, guests want to have a say in their experience and feel more in control of when they come and go. Second is that guest-led order and pay take the pressure off the server.
Rather than having servers juggle the responsibilities of engaging in conversation, taking orders, (sometimes) running meals to tables, and processing credit cards, other team members share the load. There is a good reason servers are some of the highest-churn jobs in the country; being a great upseller and waiter takes a lot of hard work, one that’s only made more complicated by friction.
That’s where good tech comes in. Creating a frictionless experience for staff, from the back of the house to the front, is vital for retention. At Bbot, we recently found that our customer, Cobble & Co. in New York City, had seen no staff turnover in the six months it had been open. By implementing our frictionless ordering and payment technology platform, manager Eduardo Lopez was able to increase wages by $2 for front- and back-of-house employees.
“It’s all about how you use the tools given to you as a manager,” Lopez says. “And for me, it’s always been how I put my team first.”
Low turnaround times for ordering food and delivering checks also tend to increase tips for servers—a major factor in improving retention. This does, however, run the risk of lowering reviews if there’s not enough server attention. But easing the burden to create a hybrid experience reduces that friction enough to create the best of both worlds.