Digital restaurant solution built on Samsung’s tablets and Knox platform has improved staff productivity and revenue at Singapore restaurant group Passion For Food


Singapore’s F&B service sector has 7,260 establishments in 2015, including 2,660 restaurants, according to the of¬cial statistics released last year. It is a highly competitive sector that is facing a shortage of workers and high commercial rental rates. Restaurant operators in Singapore are continually looking for ways to attract and retain customers, lower their operating costs, and operate at an optimal staf-ng level.


Solution Details created Passion For Food’s end-to-end business solution, which comprises eMenu, eWaiter and POS systems. It is based on the Samsung Knox Customization and deployed across over 100 Galaxy Tab S2 tablets. It also features Samsung Gear S3 smartwatches, and will soon integrate a social media component.


• Table turnover rate has improved. It previously took around 15 minutes for a table of six diners to complete their ordering after being seated. This has improved to 8-10 minutes.
• Upselling revenue has grown by 10-20%.
• Staff productivity has improved and management now has more leeway for staff re-deployment.



Customers get top-notch service with eMenu and eWaiter solution running on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S2 tablets


Passion For Food – a Singapore restaurant chain founded by William Low and Damien Low – is known for its inventive food fare, which has been drawing plaudits on social media and food review websites since its first outlet launched in 2009.


The uncle-nephew team now runs ­five outlets across Singapore’s heartland estates – Chapter 55, Savoury Cafe, Herbs Bistro, Pietro Ristorante Italiano and Ice Edge Café. Decked in quirky hipster-style decor, the restaurants cut a trendy image. They have a menu that balances classic Italian and fusion cuisines – think squid ink linguine, and Japanese style bonito pizza – with homespun gelato in classic Asian flavours, like Bubur Pulut Hitam (black glutinous rice pudding), Bak Kwa (the Chinese salty-sweet dried meat delicacy), salted egg, and even “Mao Shan Wang” – a durian variety beloved by local foodies for its heady, bittersweet taste.


But being successful in the restaurant business goes beyond just coming up with food that people love, says Damien Low.


“There are other aspects that are just as crucial – creating a great dining experience, customer engagement, manpower management, and more,” he says.


This is where technology comes in. In January this year, Passion For Food rolled out its own solution comprising eMenu and eWaiter apps running on Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablets, and integrated with a POS system. Developed by Solution Details, a Singapore end-to-end mobility solutions provider, it is based on Samsung’s Knox Customization, a set of tools and services that allow businesses to customize and deploy end-to-end mobile solutions. The aim is to boost staff productivity and create a better dining experience.


Solution Details is an integrated information technology service provider that specializes in implementing end-to-end solutions for F&B companies, that help them manage operations at outlets – from front-end operations to back-end head of­fice processes. Solution Details’ flagship product Konverge comprises of a suite of products ranging from point-of-sales (POS) solutions, eMenu/eWaiter, CRM, ERP, Central Kitchen Production, Inventory Management and Business Analytics. The company has over 350 clients since its inception in 2003, and works in close partnership with leading technology innovators such as Samsung.


With custom apps sitting in mobile or tableside tablet computers, the solution lets diners do self-ordering, and staff to instantly transmit orders to the kitchen and point-of-sales (POS) systems.


Restaurant increases table turnover times, saves on manpower costs and improves revenue


Having the eMenu and eWaiter apps means fewer staff would be needed for order-taking, as customers are able to easily help themselves with the ordering, aided by at-a-glance information provided in the eMenu.


It also means more manpower flexibility – Chapter 55, one of Passion For Food’s outlets which employs eight servers, now has leeway free up two of them to do other tasks like food preparation when needed. And in peak periods like during school holidays, when it also becomes difficult to hire part-time servers, the solution has allowed Passion For Food to cope better.


“Manpower is typically the biggest issue for any F&B outlet. This solution has helped us save on manpower and increase work productivity, as well as allowing us to have better table turnover rate,” says Damien Low.


“Staff have also found their work to be less stressful,” he adds.


The use of eMenu has also upped table turnover rates. The telling numbers: William estimates that order taking times have dropped from 15 minutes to around 8-10 minutes, for a table of around six diners.


Here’s another set of numbers that will warm the cockles of any restaurant owner’s heart: Upselling sales has grown by 10-20% at Passion For Food since it launched the eMenu and eWaiter system.


“Upselling is just so much more efficient and intuitive with our eMenu,” says William Low.


Instead of waiting for servers to help them navigate add-on options – for instance, adding seafood, bacon or ham toppings with an order of pizza – customers can browse and pick what they want to add on to an order from the eMenu. And it is all within the ‑ow of ordering; the e-menu automatically prompts the customers with questions such as “do you want a side dish, or drink, to go along with the order?”.


Streamlining and improving service through technology


Waiters wearing the Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch can respond immediately to table requests


One of the keys of any eMenu and eWaiter system is to afford a restaurant the leeway to operate with fewer front-end staff, yet boost service levels. But it is conceivable that service levels could still fall due to a perceived drop in the interaction time between waiters and diners, as fewer waiters are now managing the same number of customers.


In June this year, Passion For Food servers started donning Samsung Gear S3 smartwatches that are wirelessly connected to the eMenu app. They allow diners to simply tap on the eMenu to ask for service.


In short, adding the smartwatch component is a great way to plug the waiter-diner interaction gap. It gives diners the assurance that service is just a press of the eMenu away. And for Passion For Food, integrating wearables is great way to improve customer satisfaction by allowing servers to be more responsive.


Plus, it also allows for deeper insight into each restaurant’s front-end operation. For instance, service calls can be tracked and incentives can be provided to, say, the most responsive servers.


Coming up next is the integration of social media and mobile payment with the eMenu and eWaiter systems. For social media, here’s one possible scenario: When Passion For Food rolls out a dining deal or new dish on its Facebook page, it can concurrently offer discounts based on, say, “likes” from its followers. Such discounts can be redeemed seamlessly when diners pay with the e-menu. By integrating a social media component, it will also allow Passion For Food to broaden its customer engagement channels and strengthen its customer relationship management (CRM).


As for mobile payment. Passion For Food is looking to enable diners to pay via their own mobile devices at an e-commerce payment site, through receiving an SMS authentication code on diner’s mobile devices. Having this option offers more convenience and peace-of-mind, with mobile payment now seen as being more secure than even traditional methods of paying.


Customers LOVE it


All the restaurant technology in the world would not work as well as they should if the people that matters most to a business, its customers, do not warm up to it. Mr Damien Low says that the eMenu and eWaiter systems have been a hit with diners.


First, he says, diners appreciate how much faster their food is being served. The shortened waiting time is a result of several things. For one, there is now no need to wait for servers to take their orders, and regular diners who know what they want can order faster through the tablets. Moreover, whenever an order is placed, it goes directly to the kitchen thus obviating the need for waiters to bring the orders from sometimes more than a table at a time.


Second, the intuitive interface of the eMenu app – Mr Low has noted that both young and old diners who have never used the system are typically up and running with navigating the eMenu within a minute or two – has made discovery of the restaurant’s menu fun and easy.


Third, the occasional miscommunication that can arise during ordering is now eliminated as diners are placing the orders themselves. And when the orders are being taken by waiters, diners can see at a glance what they have selected at the table.


About Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 and Samsung Knox Customisation


Samsung Galaxy Tab S2


The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is an ideal tablet platform to deliver a restaurant’s eMenu and eWaiter services. They are highly portable (9.7-inch model: 378g (WiFi), 386g (4G+); 8.0-inch model: 264g (WiFi), 267g (4G+); both models measure 5.6mm thick), which makes them easy to carry around by service staff. They also create a great diner experience by being comfortable to hold, tap and swipe. The 4:3 screen aspect ratio offers an expansive view of the eMenu, while food photos and videos bene­fit from the tablets’ high screen vibrancy and resolution (Super Amoled display; 2048 x 1536 pixels, or QXGA, resolution). With up to a 64-bit Octa Core, 1.8GHz Qualcomm chip, the tablets are powerful enough for the most demanding restaurant apps. The tablets’ fast networking capabilities means seamless order-taking and POS integration, which require a low-latency device-to-server connection.


About Solution Details


Solution Details is an integrated information technology service provider that specializes in implementing end-to-end solutions for F&B companies, that help them manage operations at outlets – from front-end operations to back-end head office processes. Solution Details’ flagship product Konverge comprises of a suite of products ranging from point-of-sales (POS) solutions, eMenu/eWaiter, CRM, ERP, Central Kitchen Production, Inventory Management and Business Analytics. The company has over 350 clients since its inception in 2003, and works in close partnership with leading technology innovators such as Samsung.


Samsung Knox Customization


Knox is Samsung’s defence-grade security platform built into Samsung’s latest mobile devices, that lets developers to secure, manage and customize their client’s business mobile devices.


With Knox Customization, Solution Details was able to tailor the end-to-end tablet apps – for instance, customize startup page on tablets, re-map hardware keys, remove noti­fication bar and system noti­fications, and even give servers the ability to turn off music from restaurant sound systems with a tap of the screen. The professional kiosk mode of Knox Customization allowed Solution Details to lock the apps; users can only use an app for its intended purpose, thus limiting reducing security risks.


Knox Customization enables Solution Details to push its customised mobility solution over-the-air (OTA) and make it persistent across device reboot and factory reset. This means easier deployment, management and scalability of its solution across Passion For Food’s ­five outlets. Knox Customization also offers a professional kiosk mode, which lets restaurateurs and cafe owners extend device behaviour controls to a wider range of functions. Developers can create devices that fulfil specific tasks, as well as restrict and remove unnecessary features. They can also show or hide individual elements of the status bar, noti­fications, back key, and home key. Another highlight of Knox Customization is its connectivity con­figuration, which lets restaurateurs access enhanced connectivity modes for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and USB.


“I call Knox a purpose-built tool for business, which can be customised by developers. Security is a big part of it – for instance, if a retailer is going into CRM, it assures them that their customer data will be well-protected under Knox,” – Lorne Chew, Sales Director of Solution Details Pte Ltd.

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