When the owners of Ponko Chicken closed their doors because of the recession in 2008, they knew it was only a matter of time before they reopened. What they might not have envisioned, about welcoming guests back earlier this month, was how many more customers they would serve.
"We're definitely getting more orders served," Reiko Clark, Ponko Chicken's co-owner and branding director, said in an interview with Kiosk Marketplace. Contributing to the brand's success is a POS system it's testing for NCR Corp. — the Silver Quantum POS.
Thanks to its ordering efficiency, the POS station — which features an integrated payment device with mobile wallet acceptance, customer display, loyalty scanner and a Samsung Galaxy tablet — allows Ponko to serve more customers than it did the first time around.
Although customers are getting their made-to-order food in under 7 minutes — just as they did pre-2008 — the system allows employees to serve even more customers on a daily basis, Clark said, about the restaurant's two kiosks. She plans to add two others — one for the take-out area and another for the bar. Employees love them because they're easy to use, Clark said.
"Restaurants are not just making food anymore; they're tech companies," she said. "This particular machine is helping us build our business."
In search of the right POS
Ponko's management team wanted a system to not only improve customer service but one that was easy for future franchisees to replicate. That stipulation was a key factor in enabling the company to support franchise operations as it preps to open as many as 10 more units over the next few years.
"This is everything right in one," Aaron Gould, NCR Corp. communications manager, told Kiosk Marketplace. "You can sign, you can finish it, all without having to turn the device on the table." The Quantum enables the customer and the employee to complete the transaction without moving the device.
It can even track tips, a function that Ponka will activate as it transitions into full service.
"We didn't want to charge tips until we could offer full service," Clark said. "For the staff, it's pretty cool."
The cost for the Quantum is comparable to other POS hardware, said Clark, who did not wish to give exact figures. She receives the NCR Silver software on a subscription basis.
How it works
The system has two touchscreens; one faces customers and allows them to review their orders after verbally giving them to employees, and the other is for staff. A 10.1-inch Android Samsung Galaxy tablet, pre-loaded with the NCR Silver Android point-of-sale app, serves as the employee interface. It includes inventory management, marketing support and sales reporting, Gould said.
An embedded mobile card reader enables the Quantum to accept a variety of payment methods, including magstripe, EMV chip and NFC/contactless transactions such as Samsung Pay.
After the customer uses their screen to check the order and authorize payment, the Quantum prints the order, and the attendant takes the order to the kitchen.
Once a display screen is installed in the kitchen, however, the orders will automatically appear on that screen.
The company plans to accept mobile orders from its third-party delivery partners. The cashiers will enter the mobile orders into the Quantum manually.
In the future, Clark envisions having self-order kiosks.
"I think it's going to happen," she said for the self-order kiosks. "At this point, we're not ready to venture into that yet."
Elliot Maras Elliot Maras is the editor of KioskMarketplace.com and FoodTruckOperator.com.