How TGI Fridays put mobile efficiency on the menu

Wait staff at the popular restaurant chain will soon be using tablets to zap orders to the kitchen while still interacting with diners.

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In the thin-margined restaurant industry, companies live or die by table turnover time. Yet the process by which most eateries serve their customers is anything but efficient. After initially greeting diners who probably aren't yet ready to order, waiters and waitresses make numerous trips back and forth between the their assigned tables and the point-of-sale (POS) terminal--where, during a busy shift, their fellow servers will invariably be waiting in line to send orders to the kitchen. The to-and-fro takes place again when customers are ready to pay.

TGI Fridays says it has streamlined that process with mobile technology. The casual dining chain is equipping wait staff with 8-in. tablets from Oracle's recently acquired Micros Systems unit. Running Microsoft's Windows 8.1 operating system and Oracle's Micros Restaurant Enterprise Solution software, the tablets enable servers to enter orders, process payments and scan discount codes while interacting with customers tableside. (TGI Fridays is a Microsoft shop, so opting for that vendor's operating system enabled the company to deploy the systems quickly.)

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