To  WATCH, or not to  WATCH

It took a while to get my Apple watch over here. But at last I finally got one. I started immediately with a small PoC (proof of concept) for a Dashboard app. WaiterOne Dashboard which shows you your sales on your iPhone now ported to your watch. The results are quite awesome. When you look at your watch you will see, in realtime, your sales from your bar or restaurant. The idea is now to integrate the watch into your favourite Dashboard app. No need to get your iPhone out of your pocket, just look at your watch and see how sales are going.

Dashboard on Apple Watch Dashboard on Apple Watch

Dashboard on Apple Watch Dashboard on Apple Watch Dashboard on Apple Watch

WaiterOne version 1.4.9

We will release version 1.4.9 of WaiterOne this week. It is, in my opinion an iconic release. Maybe some people will have noticed it, but this version surpasses build 40.000!! What does this mean? In short : we changed and compiled WaiterOne 40.000 times to come to this version. Believe me, that is a lot of compiling 😉

Also iconic in this version, and more important for you, is that we have tackled a very sensitive iOS topic. We have managed to make WaiterOne active in the background. This is really awesome, as now you can do other things on your iPad (e.g. select a new song or answer a question from your clients online) and in the same time, receive, process and print out an order or bill from your waiters working with the Remote iPod/iPone app. If WaiterOne is not active or running in the background you will receive a notification and the order will nevertheless be printed on the bar or kitchen printer. No more stress if somebody forgot to relaunch WaiterOne, no more pending tickets!

WaiterOne running in the background and receiving an order notification.

WaiterOne running in the background and receiving an order from waiter Maïté for table 13.

Waiter identification, the WaiterOne way

Since version 1.3.17 of WaiterOne, we have a new neat way to logon. Traditional cash registers (or even our POS competition) have waiter keys, (Dalles)iButtons, Kelloxx keys, magnetic or RFID keycards or other dedicated (read expensive) solutions. We don’t have anything like that, what a pity, … but … we have a solution now. The beauty about our solution is that you don’t need to buy anything, you have all you need to make it work (and I don’t talk about kitchen stuff here).

What you need, your iPad, your printer, a nice plastic badge or card holder (maybe you have some left from your last visit to a trade fair or so) and WaiterOne of course. Let’s start cooking :

  • go to the settings of WaiterOne, click on barcode, activate software barcode, use front camera and activate blind mode. You should have a screen like this when finished :
    Software barcodeYou can also work with the back camera of your iPad, but for user identification it is more convenient to use your front camera. If you should want to use barcodes for your products, maybe consider using the back camera instead (it’s faster), or go for  dedicated hardware (like the Socket Mobile scanners). It all depends on your business of course.
  • go to data -> users and select the user you want to make a badge for, next click on the QR Code button located on the right (next to code)printqrcodeMagic!! A nicely printed QRCode comes out of your ‘bill’ printer. As a reminder for whom this waiter ID is, we added the user name underneath the Quick Response Code. Here is how it looks

    cedricqr

  • Now log out. Hold your QRCode above your iPad. Keep it +/- 30 horizontal or vertical in front of the camera. Faster then lighting it will log you on. Awesome!

Working with different names on buttons, orders and bills

It was already a long time request from various different (power) users, how to use different descriptions for what is printed on the bar/kitchen orders and for what is printed on the bills. On top of that, there also was a huge demand to have different names on the buttons of your products. Working on the iPad is awesome but sometimes you meet the borders of that small screen much sooner then you appreciate (small is beautiful, less is more?). That iPad screen is becoming way too fast too small to add all those features and options you expect from a mature POS application. Some time ago there was a rumour that Apple was working on a 12 inch iPad, guess what, we at WaiterOne love the idea to have more screen size at our fingertips.

So yes, please Mr. Tim Cook, we want that iPad Air 2 Plus

That being said, it was not easy to find extra space on that little tiny screen. Don’t forget the extra hurdle to be taken: find an easy way, as always, so that it is useable for everybody who wants it but also for everybody who doesn’t want and doesn’t want to be faced with it every time he or she adds or change a button. If you download the latest version of WaiterOne (1.3.9) and you go to data -> buttons, you will find a new symbol (shaped like a chevron) next to the name of the button : multiname The added symbols means that there is a screen following the selection of the button name. BUT to make it as user friendly as possible, we only show you that extra screen if you really want it OR if the 3 used names (bill, order and button) are not the same. If you click on Westvleteren 12 (= the best beer in the world) everything will be the same as in previous versions, you can edit the name of your button straight away : multiname2 But if you have used different names/descriptions for that button OR if you have clicked in front or after the name of the button (see the gray zone), multiname2a new screen will be shown : multiname3 Et voila, there you have it : name on the bill, name on the order and the name that will be used on the button. From now on, if you change one of the names, this multi names screen will appear. As soon as you make them the same again, all will be back to normal. One side note : name on bill is the main name, it is also the name that will be used in your reports and so on.

COS is dead, long live COS

COS is dead, long live COS

It’s been a while since I wrote something useful over here. Well, actually I have been rather busy coding some new and exciting stuff for our WaiterOne suite. Like always, it just takes more time to work it out then you initial thought it would be. Especially as it is kind of new to the hospitality business. A new customer experience, new screens, new look and feel, an app that should be very easy to use, easier then WaiterOne itself. Not an easy task to do.

2 Years ago we introduced our Client Ordering System, COS is running on your iPad and hosts a menu card so your clients can order themselves with their smartphone, they don’t have to wait or ask for the menu card at the waiter. The problem with COS was that your clients smartphone needs to be connected to the network of your business. Not something you fancy with all these teenaged script kiddies out there waiting to cripple and misuse your wifi network. So COS needed some rethinking. Some reengineering.

What have we done. We have created a new universal app, an app that runs on your iPad and iPhone (Android should follow shortly). When installed on your device you can use it to order drinks and food in your favourite café, bar or restaurant. Depending on the setup in your local whereabout, you scan the QR code

QR code

or you just walk in, as your iPhone knows where you are (iBeacons, GPS location). Due to some nifty synchronization logic you will always have the latest menu card and you can order straightaway, no need to wait for the wait-er. Faster ordering also means that clients will order more, as they don’t have to wait anymore. At the end you can also ask your bill as everything is already handled by WaiterOne. In a later stage we could also connect it to a payment provider (tips included of course).

We have our first installation with the new COS this month. The setup will be slightly different, but the idea is the same. Every table in the restaurant will have its own iPad. Instead of looking in a paper version of the menu card, you scroll through the different product groups on the iPad and order yourself by adding items to your order. In case you have like special demands, you just add a remark or comment. Your order is immediately treated by WaiterOne, orders are send to the bar and the kitchen. No time to wait. In case you want to have another drink, just add something to your previous orders.
I am strong believer that this way of working will change the hospitality business completely in the next years. From version 1.4.0 on, COS will be integrated in WaiterOne. Interested to test it out? Do you have a comment? I am awaiting your email!