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Short-Staffed Restaurants Prop Up Table Service with Technology


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Casual-dining chains are increasingly short-staffed.

Casual-dining restaurant chains increasingly are turning to technology to help compensate for a shortage of workers.

Credit: Octavio Jones/Reuters

Casual-dining chains increasingly are using technology to allow for contactless ordering and payment, streamlining the ordering process and helping compensate for a shortage of servers.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc., for instance, allows eat-in customers to pay for meals through a smartphone app.

Tabletop technology has been in use for about a decade, and TBWA\Worldwide's Deepthi Prakash said more full-service chains are embracing it because of the value it brings to the customer experience and the bottom line.

Prakash explained, "People order more and the tables turn over faster, because they can get their orders and they can get their bills sooner."

More advanced back-of-house technology also is being adopted by restaurants to simplify work for staff. This includes a new labor system being tested by Cracker Barrel, and hand-held tablets deployed among servers at Applebee's.

From The Wall Street Journal
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