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Calming the Chaos with Tableside Ordering

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Pacific Sushi & Grill in Brookings, Oregon has focused on a customer-centric experience from the very start. Since opening the restaurant in December 2014, owner Mike Horgan has worked to implement smart business decisions that not only affect his bottom line but also bring loyal customers back time and again. For example, Mr. Horgan sells sustainably harvested seafood —after all, before opening Pacific Sushi, he was a commercial fisherman and knows a thing or two about fresh fish.

Mr. Horgan’s priority of putting customers first is also apparent in a more unexpected manner—through his technology choices.

“Any technology I bring to my restaurant has to have a positive effect for my customers,” said Mr. Horgan. “If they are not benefiting from the dining experience I create, then neither am I.”


The Objective

Mr. Horgan’s desire to streamline his business through technology was born from a need to make the naturally hectic process of running his restaurant easier. Pacific Sushi serves hundreds of customers on any given day. In addition, Pacific Sushi has a hot kitchen, a sushi-rolling station and a bar/lounge area. For customers, this means a wide variety of menu items to suit every taste. For wait staff, it could mean a lot of running around to get order tickets to the right stations, pick up and serve food.

When he planned the opening of Pacific Sushi, Mr. Horgan anticipated these logistical challenges for his staff. He began the search for technology to help streamline his operations, particularly during the peak times of weekday lunches and weekend dinners. Ideally, Mr. Horgan needed a system that would print order tickets at multiple locations, so staff didn’t have to run around delivering orders. Even with multiple ticket printing locations, though, Mr. Horgan realized that his POS station would inevitably get crowded with the many orders to input. Ultimately, he needed to cut down on steps for his staff.

The Challenge

Mr. Horgan thought he solved his logistical problems when he held a soft opening for Pacific Sushi and installed a POS as well as a separate mobile ordering system. In reality, this solution created new problems. The systems did not “talk” to each other, and staff would line up in front of the POS, just as he had imagined. Additionally, Mr. Horgan’s mobile ordering system was so slow that for the public opening, he decided to have staff go back to the traditional method of taking orders with a pen and paper. Technology was working against him.

For his first three months of business, Mr. Horgan tried to make his ordering system work for his staff, to no avail. Staff would have to manually enter orders into the POS, which also crashed multiple times. The system was not customizable and staff struggled to learn the ins and outs of the cumbersome technology. There was also a struggle to streamline staff since there would be lines at the single register to print tickets, put in orders, and get checks.

Mr. Horgan sought a new system that could be customizable, reliable, and easy to use. Having dealt with system crashes before, he also wanted a cloud-based system. To add to his wish list, he needed to print tickets to multiple stations and ultimately speed up or streamline service. Lastly, he wanted the ability to better understand what was being sold, in order to both change the menu as needed and manage inventory.

The Solution

In his exhaustive quest for the perfect POS, Mr. Horgan landed upon CAKE’s restaurant POS system. The platform offered versatility, a tech-forward approach, vast reporting features, and ease of use. Most importantly, CAKE POS and mobile handheld POS systems could work in tandem, printing tickets to multiple stations while reducing lines to input orders at one podium. Mr. Horgan now uses our restaurant POS and tableside ordering solution. Now, Pacific Sushi has a ticket printer behind the sushi bar, in the hot kitchen, in the bar lounge, and at the main POS podium. Staff doesn’t have to run around, and instead, focus their full attention on the customers.

There are efficiencies in the back of the house, too. Now, order tickets are sent to the appropriate stations directly from the OrderPads – without the need to then enter information into the main POS podium – and if an order has items sent to the hot kitchen and the sushi bar, for example, an extra line of small print shows items sent to other printers so the entire kitchen staff is in the know.

“After all the trouble I had with other systems, this switch was a no-brainer,” said Mr. Horgan. “I also get the same level of support I show my own customers with CAKE. Their staff has gone above and beyond to ensure my needs are met.”

The Results

Measured Impact

“The OrderPad has made a huge impact on our speed of processing orders, particularly during peak hours,” said Mr. Horgan.

The CAKE team closely examined data from Pacific Sushi pre- and post-implementation and found that the POS and tableside ordering systems helped achieve a 25 percent improvement in overall revenue. Improvements could be seen particularly during the busiest days and busiest hours. Saturdays, for example, showed a revenue increase of more than 50 percent.

Other busy hours, like 1-2 p.m., revealed revenue increase by 46 percent while transactions increased by more than 30 percent. And during the evening rush of 7-8 p.m., the impact was even bigger with a 50 percent increase in revenue and a more than 60 percent increase in transactions.

While not all credit for the revenue increase can be attributed to the tableside ordering and restaurant POS implementations, Mr. Horgan sees it as a large contributing factor: “It all comes down to how many orders we can fulfill, particularly during the busiest operating hours. With the OrderPads, my staff was able to serve customers much faster which also increased table turns and resulted in a significant increase in revenue for Pacific Sushi.”

Connections, connections, connections

Mr. Horgan also likes his increased connection to Pacific Sushi, no matter where he is. “I check the CAKE data reports on my mobile app at least twice a day, no matter where I am,” he says.

Last and most importantly, CAKE’s tableside ordering system has increased connections to customers. Staff can now focus one hundred percent of their attention on customers, not having to worry about running around to input orders. These customer connections and efficiencies have given Mr. Hogan the benefits he was looking for: A better experience for him and his customers.

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