5 Key Ingredients for a True Omni-Channel Customer Experience

By | Restaurant Industry, Technology | No Comments


Original Article written by Jessica Bryant for NCR.com


Managing food on demand is even more challenging in a kitchen managed by paper

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Adding more ordering/payment channels (both on-prem and off-prem), creates new complexities and challenges for restaurant operators.

Historically, restaurants are used to controlling the transaction flow – either from managing the queues at a quick service/fast casual restaurant or managing the table turns in a table service restaurant.

Now, with the rise of delivery marketplaces, mobile applications and in-store self-service, restaurants need to compete at a higher level and adapt to an omni-channel ordering environment. This means ensuring proper routing of orders into the kitchen, a focus on food quality and distribution at the right time and data/analytics to measure and improve the performance of the kitchen.

Here are some key trends impacting kitchen optimization and production today:

  • The Delivery Revolution – Order and pay apps – both brand-specific and third party delivery marketplaces – are quickly being adopted by consumers all around the world.  Services, like Grubhub or DoorDash, are becoming more popular outside of urban areas and are bringing greater convenience to consumers looking to order in from their favorite local restaurants – restaurants where delivery may not have been an expectation previously.  To meet this growing consumer demand, restaurants need robust production systems to accommodate the flow of orders into the restaurant from multiple channels.
  • The Rise of “Build-Your-Own” in QSR – Consumers have been gravitating to “better” quick-service restaurants, which has transformed the QSR and fast casual industry.  That has created a subset of “QSR-Plus” concepts with fresher menus and more contemporary designs, which exploits a price threshold between fast food and fast casual and gives more power to the consumer in terms of order customization.  This has resulted in “build-your-own” menus springing up across the industry, and with those come a need for kitchen production systems that offer precise order routing and bin management to accommodate this trend.
  • Speed of Service – Consumers no longer have any patience for waiting in lines or waiting for food. It will be critical for restaurants to add technology and systems to their operations to remain relevant and competitive in an omni-channel world.
  • Growing Dependency on Kitchen Data – Real-Time production metrics are fast becoming a requirement for restaurants.  To successfully meet the rising omni-channel demand from consumer orders, as well as accommodate third-party delivery providers, operators need to be able to gauge order volume, production status, progress, order times and staffing levels within their kitchen in real-time.  Food quality is no longer the most important piece of a kitchen – it’s quickly becoming data and analytics.
  • Labor Efficiency and Optimization – Restaurant operators are looking to ways in which they can streamline, or re-purpose, their labor. Labor costs are already high, particularly in dense population areas, and are poised to rise further. Therefore, the ability to reduce labor in areas such as the cashier, or re-purpose labor that was traditionally stationed in the kitchen, has become top-of-mind for restaurant operators.

Can your kitchen accommodate orders efficiently from anywhere or is it time to optimize?

Original Article written by Jessica Bryant for NCR.com

Click here for the original article 


Ransomware Attacks Targeting Hospitality Industry

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The recent upsurge in ransomware attacks – 6,000% increase since 2016 – could be a wakeup call for all businesses, especially the hospitality industry that is increasingly becoming a target for malicious attacks. Cybercriminals have devised numerous deceptive methods to infiltrate computer systems, encrypt data and demand ransom to release the files.

Ransomware attacks cause major disruption to the operation of a business and result in over 70% of victims paying the ransom. For those who have chosen to pay, 50% paid more than $10K and 20% paid more than $40K to avoid losing significant down-time for their business. These costly payoffs can be particularly burdensome for a small business.

In a cybersecurity study of small and medium-sized businesses with less than 1,000 employees, nearly half of these businesses have been the victim of cyberattacks. Fortunately, there are preventive measures you can take to help avoid falling prey to attacks like the recent WannaCry ransomware.

You and your employees are the first line of defense! Help protect your business from intrusion by cyber criminals by following the steps outlined below in the A.I.M. (Assess, Implement, and Maintain) approach.

A.I.M. to Safeguard Your Business from Ransomware Attacks

Assess – Examine your system end-to-end to understand where your business may be vulnerable to cyberattacks

  • Perform an assessment of your security protocols to look for potential vulnerabilities in your entire existing network, which extends beyond just securing payment transactions
  • Determine if you need to add a supplemental security solution to help ensure you are always covered with the most current protection against malware
  • Identify who has access to your systems and data, and apply the appropriate restrictions

Implement – Create a plan to improve security that includes staff accountability for safeguarding your company’s systems

  • Leverage a trusted managed service provider to install a commercial grade security solution that provides maximum protection of your systems
  • Establish policies that clearly define security protocols for your staff to follow, such as securing unattended computers and regularly updating passwords
  • Train employees on protecting company data as well as your customers’ Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

Maintain – Ensure your business remains focused on security as an integral part of your operation with regular review and updating as needed

  • Build a cybersecurity culture and maintain focus by reviewing security protection on an ongoing basis
  • Ensure systems are up-to-date with the latest security patches
  • Control what applications can be installed on your systems
  • Continue educating employees on potential intrusion points where malware can be installed e.g., links in email, social media posts and online sites

NCR Aloha can help you mitigate security risks for your business. To get started on a plan for boosting security for your enterprise and preventing cyberattacks, please contact your NCR representative or contact us by clicking HERE!

Original Article written by: Dustin McCreight for NCR.com


Food on demand: How app marketplaces are ushering in a new era of convenience for customer

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HotSchedules & NCR Announce Strategic Relationship

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Integration of HotSchedules’ labor management and inventory solution with the NCR Aloha POS Solution helps guide better management decisions for smoother operations

AUSTIN, Texas, and DULUTH, Ga. – October 31, 2017 — HotSchedules®, the leading provider of workforce and back office solutions for the restaurant and retail industries, and NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR), a global leader in omni-channel solutions, today announced a strategic integration that adds the power of HotSchedules’ world-class workforce management platforms to the NCR Aloha restaurant point-of-sale (POS) solution. This relationship creates a more powerful solution for restaurant operators by uniting HotSchedules’ labor management and scheduling solutions with NCR’s leading restaurant POS platform, allowing staffing and inventory management to be influenced by critical sales trend information, through analysis of historical sales trends and forecasting data.

Restaurant chains will enjoy several enhanced benefits from the integration including a heightened level of support from both companies to help operators achieve greater value and solve their problems faster. Further, product and engineering teams at both companies will regularly share product updates with the goal of continued innovation, as well as ensuring their systems work seamlessly together.

HotSchedules joins a growing number of industry leaders who are working to “future-proof” their own solutions and the value they bring to their customers.  As part of this new relationship, HotSchedules can leverage NCR’s next generation cloud integration platform.

HotSchedules and NCR already share thousands of customers that integrate our labor solutions with the NCR Aloha point-of-sale solution,HotSchedules and NCR already share thousands of customers that integrate our labor solutions with the NCR Aloha point-of-sale solution,” said Tammy Troutman, senior director of channels at HotSchedules. “Through this strategic integration, HotSchedules will leverage information captured in the restaurant’s POS to help managers make smarter, more informed decisions that are based on historical data and actionable intelligence – mapping staffing and inventory solutions against sales spikes, traffic patterns and menu item performance.”

With this agreement, HotSchedules will become a certified third-party provider of NCR, and NCR will become a part of the HotSchedules’ Global Partner Program. HotSchedules and NCR will also work together on co-marketing opportunities.

“The restaurant industry is undergoing the rapid digitization of all business processes and it’s important that restaurant brands align themselves with platform-based technology providers who can enable and integrate best-of-breed solutions,” said Don Zimmerman, general manager and vice president of hospitality solutions, NCR Corporation. “Integrating HotSchedules with the NCR Aloha platform brings together two market-leading solutions and offers our mutual customers the simplicity and visibility they need to manage their entire restaurant operations.”

About HotSchedules 
With a continual focus on innovation, HotSchedules provides the first cloud-based intelligent operating platform, solutions and services for the restaurant, retail and hospitality industries. Designed for independents, multi-unit franchise operators and international enterprise brands, HotSchedules serves over 2 million users across 130,000 locations in 26 countries helping them control costs, maintain compliance, improve visibility, increase profitability and drive operational consistency. For more information visit: https://www.hotschedules.com.

About NCR Corporation
NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a leader in omni-channel solutions, turning everyday interactions with businesses into exceptional experiences. With its software, hardware, and portfolio of services, NCR enables nearly 700 million transactions daily across the financial, retail, hospitality, travel, telecom and technology industries. NCR solutions run the everyday transactions that make your life easier. NCR is headquartered in Duluth, Ga., with about 30,000 employees and does business in 180 countries. NCR is a trademark of NCR Corporation in the United States and other countries. NCR encourages investors to visit its website which is updated regularly with financial and other important information about NCR.
Web site: www.ncr.com
Twitter: @NCRCorporation
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ncrcorp
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/ncr-corporation
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/ncrcorporation

For more info about this integration contact us by clicking here! 

Aloha Dave Kasinetz General

Dear Aloha Dave, Tableside Ordering Explained

By | Dear Aloha Dave, Restaurant Industry | No Comments

Is Mobile Device Ordering for me?

DEAR ALOHA DAVE: I’m starting to see mobile devices for tableside ordering at a few restaurants in my neighborhood. It’s a big change from how we currently operate and I’m wondering if this will work for my restaurant? —– Pondering in Pennsport.

DEAR Pondering: Mobile Ordering is a reality at many restaurants in the region. My team at Advanced Hospitality Systems has installed several sites with mobile ordering solutions. In addition to Tableside ordering at full service restaurants, we have also deployed self-order kiosk stations and line busting tablets for Quick Service restaurants. Mobile ordering devices can improve table turn, raise transactions per hour and increase the average check.

Keep in mind that mobile ordering is only as good as your server. The server must have the ability to make eye contact with the customer when entering the order to ensure the high degree of personalized service your customers expect. Smaller menus are more conducive to tablet ordering than larger menus with many modifiers and choices.

Mobile Ordering is also dependent on the stability and band-with of your Wi-Fi. In my travels around the city I’ve come across “other” POS Systems that are all Tablet Based and when the Wi-Fi goes down, it brings the entire operation down with it. Many have a temporary offline mode but it’s still very ugly. We have replaced many of these POS systems. At NCR Aloha and AHS we feel the best solution for Mobile Ordering is a combination of traditional hard-wired terminals mixed in with tablets. With this configuration, your traditional POS terminals will continue to function so your restaurant can function normally if the Wi-Fi goes down.

For more information checkout our mobile options at –
https://www.ncraloha.com/tableside-ordering/ or reach out directly to me.

Have your Industry related issue answered by Aloha Dave, send an email to Dave.Kaz@AlohaPOS.net

Read More About Aloha Dave HERE

When a Cloud based POS system goes offline.

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Cloud based POS vs Traditional?

Both types of systems have their advantages. Cloud based systems are less expensive and sometimes are a good solution for restaurants with small menus with little complexity. Cloud based tablet systems generally are new to the market with limited feature sets and can only function for a short period of time when your Wi-Fi goes down.  Running the system in offline mode, without Wi-Fi can hinder your ability to accept credit cards.

Traditional, Store Based POS Systems like NCR Aloha host the data at the restaurant rather than in the cloud. Store based POS costs a bit more, but they are much more reliable than cloud based systems and have a deeper feature set. Most store based systems like NCR Aloha can operate seamlessly without Wi-Fi or Internet and to reduce costs they are available in a monthly software as service model.

Read below for a great example of what happens when a cloud based POS system goes offline.

Square Outage Forces Restaurants to Turn Customers Away

A lesson in why tech-savvy restaurants need old-fashioned backup plans

Square contacted Eater to confirm that the company first posted an official response 19 minutes after the outage began, not an hour, as previously reported.

Nate Snell, owner of Pip’s Original Doughnuts and Chai in Portland, was inventory shopping Thursday morning when he got a strange text from one of his employees. The system on which the store’s entire checkout process was based had logged the workers out of the backend and would not reconnect. Staff could not process any payments. On a typical day, the line at Pip’s — which sells miniature doughnuts, fried to order, and a variety of chai teas — is out the door. But the ordering and checkout flow was interrupted by the system at the center of the entire process — Square, the mobile credit card scanner and point of sale software, which functions as a business’s de facto cash register.

A Square service outage yesterday lasting roughly two hours forced restaurants, coffee shops, and food carts around the country to turn away customers and lose sales, bringing into question whether relying solely on new technology and software to make business transactions is a good idea.

At Pip’s, where Square handles everything from credit card transactions to printing receipts, Snell and employees had to quickly re-think their checkout strategy, writing and processing all orders by hand. “It was a challenge, for sure,” Snell says. “Some of the customers were pretty frustrated obviously.” Patrons who didn’t have cash were turned away with Pip’s apologies and a voucher for a free order of a dozen doughnuts. In the end, the shop lost about $900 in revenue, not including the 60-70 free vouchers, which were worth $6 a piece.

As complaints started to roll in about Square yesterday, with many business owners venting their frustrations on Twitter and Facebook. Square later posted an official response, confirming they were aware of the problem and were investigating. Fifteen minutes later, Square identified a cause — a system update.

“Today’s outage was due to a change we made to one of our back-end systems that resulted in capacity issues,” a representative told Eater in an email. But the company would not respond to requests for more details, such as how widespread the outage was or how many users were affected, only to say they were working on an analysis, which they plan to make public at an undisclosed time.

In the meantime, some users want compensation for their losses. Snell says he reached out to Square, but hadn’t gotten a response. Square did not confirm with Eater if or how patrons would be compensated.

Any benefits Square doles out to hurt patrons could potentially be costly for the business. Square boasts millions in meals sold from restaurants that use its suite of services (though it declined to disclose the exact number of its customers). That service suite includes, most notably, devices that restaurant owners can insert into smart phones, tablets, and scanners that allow them to accept credit card payments. Last year, Pip’s processed $1.3 million in payments using Square technology, Snell says. Like Pip’s, many restaurants, bars, and cafes structure their entire systems around Square products, sometimes without backups.

Matt Gingles, the owner of the Burrito Shack, a small Mexican restaurant with two locations in Kentucky, pulled out a calculator and a menu and added the afternoon’s sales and taxes for each order by hand. The outage, for him, occurred during the busiest time of the day, the lunch rush. Without Square, he was unable to track any of the transactions he lost, but estimates a $600 hit. He says customers were “irked.”

“They either paid with cash if they had it or turned around and left,” Gingles says. He added that after three and half years of using the service, this is the first incident of this caliber he’s had, and was shocked that something like this could happen at a company like Square. “You should have safeguards against things like that,” Gingles says. “Because when that happens, we lose money. We had no way to track sales and my business just kind of collapses.”

The company does offer an “offline mode,” and during the outage, Square Support suggested businesses use it. But that option was useless to people already logged out of the system.

For users who couldn’t use the offline mode to at least track sales, they had figure out another way to collect payment, or turn customers away. That was the biggest lesson learned, Snell says. He has emergency plans for greasy spills and fires, but was caught off guard by the technical glitch. “I don’t think we realized that the entire Square system nationwide would go down,” Snell says. “I immediately got on Amazon and ordered an old-fashioned [credit card] swiper.”

“It just teaches you technology doesn’t guarantee reliability. It guarantees convenience,” Snell adds. If this incident has taught restaurant owners anything about technology, it’s that they can’t depend on it too much, especially in an age where even large companies are victims of cyber attacks and hacking. “Call me a pessimist, but I think it’s realistic to assume that these kinds of issues will become more prevalent and not less,” he says.

As for how much this incident will impact his future relationship with the service, Snell says that while he is disappointed with what happened and Square’s response, he thinks the system is still the best one for his business. “But I’m going to be prepared for this next time,” he says. It will become a part of our reality and our training.”

Click here for the original Article from Eater.com…

Grubhub Announces Partnership with NCR Aloha

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The days of 5 tablets behind your service area are quickly coming to a close as Grubhub announces a partnership with NCR Aloha. Restaurants that use Grubhub as an ordering channel will now be able to manage orders directly from their POS system, removing the iPad from the equation. Additionally, this solution will help restaurants make more efficient use of staff, save time on menu updates, consolidate financials, free up space on the crowded counter, and perhaps more importantly, generate more orders in their locations.
While Grubhub is the clear industry leader in online ordering, NCR will soon be partnering with other online ordering platforms. We’re happy that two industry leaders, NCR Aloha and Grubhub are blazing the trail.
To Schedule a Demo Please Contact Us Here or Call 800-950-0414
Full Press Release Below:

Industry Leaders NCR and Grubhub Streamline the Management of Delivery and Online Ordering

The integration of industry-leading NCR Aloha POS and Grubhub’s online ordering and delivery marketplace will make restaurant management easier, more efficient

DULUTH, Ga.—July 24, 2017— NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR), a global leader in omni-channel solutions, today announced an agreement with Grubhub (NYSE: GRUB), the nation’s leading takeout marketplace, for the integration of Grubhub with the NCR Aloha Platform-of-Sale (POS). Restaurants that use Grubhub as an ordering channel will be able to manage orders from the core POS platform. Additionally, this solution will help restaurants make more efficient use of staff, save time on menu updates, consolidate financials, free up space on the crowded counter, and perhaps more importantly, generate more orders in their locations.

One of the challenges restaurants have when using online food delivery services is managing the flow of orders from multiple channels. Grubhub’s integration with the Aloha POS eliminates the need to use multiple devices to take orders, significantly reducing delays or mistakes in ordering and fulfilment. This means more time for staff to focus on what matters most: creating memorable moments and serving up delicious food.

“Our collaboration with NCR is an important step forward, as we continue innovating with technology to enhance the experience of our restaurant partners,” said Stan Chia, chief operating officer at Grubhub. “We frequently hear that restaurateurs are looking to create more efficiencies in their operations. By integrating with the Aloha POS, we will help our restaurant owners who use the platform spend less time on logistics and more time pleasing their diners with great food.”

“On the Border is constantly driving innovation in the ways in which we leverage technology to improve the guest experience,” said Jeff Dinard, chief information officer, On the Border.  “This integration will not only allow us to streamline operations for our restaurant team members, but will allow us to provide our Grubhub guests a faster and simpler way to enjoy On the Border at home.”

“The growth of order aggregation and delivery has exploded over the past 18 months as the evolution of omni-channel ordering continues in the restaurant industry,” said Don Zimmerman, vice president of hospitality solutions at NCR. “Direct integration into the POS is crucial for restaurants to manage multiple ordering channels, and we’re thrilled to collaborate with industry leader Grubhub to help operators across its comprehensive restaurant network capitalize on the potential from delivery.”

Point-of-sale integration is a top request from Grubhub’s restaurant partners and by partnering with NCR, the integration will make order management easier than ever for restaurants of all sizes. For more information about Grubhub’s POS solutions go to get.grubhub.com

To find takeout restaurants available in your area, check out Grubhub.com. If you are interested in becoming part of the Grubhub Delivery team, please visit driver.grubhub.com. To find out how your restaurant can join Grubhub, check out get.grubhub.com.  To learn more about Grubhub and its portfolio of brands, please visit newsroom.grubhub.com.

About Grubhub
Grubhub (NYSE: GRUB) is the nation’s leading online and mobile takeout food-ordering marketplace with the most comprehensive network of restaurant partners and largest active diner base. Dedicated to moving eating forward and connecting diners with the food they love from their favorite local restaurants, the company’s platforms and services strive to elevate food ordering through innovative restaurant technology, easy-to-use platforms and an improved delivery experience. Grubhub is proud to work with more than 55,000 restaurant partners in over 1,100 U.S. cities and London. The Grubhub portfolio of brands includes Grubhub, Seamless, AllMenus, and MenuPages.

About NCR Corporation
NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a leader in omni-channel solutions, turning everyday interactions with businesses into exceptional experiences. With its software, hardware and portfolio of services, NCR enables nearly 700 million transactions daily across retail, financial, travel, hospitality, telecom and technology, and small business. NCR solutions run the everyday transactions that make your life easier.

NCR is headquartered in Duluth, Ga., with over 30,000 employees and does business in 180 countries. NCR is a trademark of NCR Corporation in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are property of their respective owners.

NCR encourages investors to visit its website, which is updated regularly with financial and other important information about NCR.

Web site: www.ncr.com
Twitter: @NCRCorporation
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ncrcorp
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/ncr-corporation
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/ncrcorporation

News Media Contacts
NCR Corporation
Tim Henschel

Katie Norris

POS System Buyers Guide | The Things to know and Questions to Ask

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Hi There!

It’s Aloha Dave, I know that shopping for a new restaurant POS system can be challenging. There’s a million competitors with a million different options (yet all generally do the same thing.) To help you out with your decision making I’ve put together a 9.5 item list that will help guide you through the process. This list is based on the questions that I’ve been getting from prospective customers over the last 20 years of selling POS systems.

If you have any questions about restaurant POS systems or just want to have a casual conversation please contact me anytime HERE or go ahead and download my POS System Buyers Guide at the Link below.



More Info about the Aloha POS System

Customers experience a difference in their approach because support is local. Aloha has teams on the ground throughout all of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Their office, helpdesk, and field service teams are based in Voorhees, New Jersey.

They’re here to stay. While competitors are opening and closing their doors every day, and some being acquired by larger corporations NCR has been in business for over 130 years. Customers have peace of mind knowing NCR Aloha is here to stay. The local NCR Aloha team is the regional POS leader that has served restaurants throughout the area since 1990.

With a new focus on mobile engagement, NCR Aloha allows you to connect with your customers like never before.

[read more]

NFL Draft 2017 in Philly…Eat, Drink, Football!

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The NFL Draft 2017 is here!

Here’s a guide to road closures, Food you’ll be eating at the draft, Draft Deals & more courtesy of Philly.com, PhillyMag/FooBooz & our friends over at Wooderice!

Click here for Road Closures & Parking from Philly.com

If you want to avoid the Draft but still want to do something cool…Click here for suggestions from Philly.com

Click here for Draft Deals from Philly.com!  Shout-out to AHS Clients….McGillin’s Olde Ale House  & Taproom on 19th 

Wanna know what else you should be doing & what else to see while your here in Philly? Click here to see what Philly.com suggests! 

Here’s what you can expect to be eating while on the parkway at the Draft…Vendor list from PhillyMag/FooBooz! Check out AHS Clients Nick’s Roast Beef & Village Whiskey!

And finally….CLICK HERE for the Ultimate guide to all the FREE Activities to try out while your hanging out at the Draft on the Parkway from our friends at Wooderice!

Want to become part of the AHS family? Click Here for a Free Consultation