Located in a Rocky Mountain resort town, this popular ristorante has overcome an extreme labor shortage to reopen its busy dining room by using technology to replace traditional waitstaff and cashiers!
Early in the pandemic, Anthony DeSousa closed his busy 160 seat dining room to shield his team from public contact. Instead, his team switched to “100% touchless takeout,” which eliminated face-to-face cashiering by requiring customers to order/ prepay via his website. Takeout food was transferred to arriving customers touchlessly via outdoor curbside tables.
In the process, eliminating voice-to- voice order taking and cashiering allowed Anthony to redeploy those employees to the kitchen to help meet growing demand.
REOPENING WITHOUT SERVERS
When Anthony eventually reopened his dining room, an extreme labor shortage prevented him from finding servers or cashiers. Instead, Anthony used technology to reproduce his take-out “self-ordering” success in the dining room.
Key Idea – Instead of servers, guests access Anthony’s menu and self-order via a unique, location-specific QR decal on each table. When scanned with smartphones,
each QR allows guests to review the menu, order meals and beverages, and pre- pay via credit card. The POS automatically routes their orders to screens at each kitchen make-station. Because the QR codes are table-specific, once each dine-in item is prepped, the POS screen directs the food runner to the proper table.
Key Idea – Because runners are also responsible for assisting guests with service questions or requests, each table is also topped with a two- sided red/green flag on a wire stand. Guests needing ice water or an extra napkin alert Anthony’s runners by rotating their flag to red. Otherwise, flags left “green” indicate smooth sailing.
Aware of the labor shortage, Anthony’s regulars support his unconventional solution. As a result, his dining room is once again packed Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Adopting “self-ordering” technology has allowed combined dine-in and takeout sales to break 2019 sales records … but with half the staff as before the pandemic!