In his vision for Fortina Italian restaurants, Rob Krauss saw a perfect combination of hospitality with expedience. His hostesses and servers would work in tandem to deliver service with a smile, with tableside orders going directly to the kitchen to accelerate food preparation and minimize waits. Customer information would be captured and stored for follow-up marketing.
This vision required technology Krauss thought wasn’t available. So he and his Fortina Restaurant partners, Chef Christian Petroni and John Nealon, commissioned a software developer to build a system to their specs. Then one day he saw the Lavu Inc. POS software in action on an episode of Gordon Ramsey’s “Kitchen Nightmares.” “I called Lavu, and asked them a bunch of questions,” Krauss said.
Lavu introduced him to a partner, Steve Brown, founder of POS VAR Table Talk Technologies. For eight months, Krauss and Brown traded ideas, and by the time Krauss and company were ready to open their first Fortina restaurant in Armonk, NY, Table Talk had put together a cloud-managed mPOS system with Lavu software, Zephyr Hardware components, APG Vasario cash drawers, Epson printers, and iPads for tableside service.
“We wanted to enable service staff to communicate from the tableside to various service stations around the restaurant from anywhere in the dining room, bar or patio,” Brown says. “With Lavu’s iPad POS solution, we put iPads in the hands of every server. They can send requests from each mPOS device to the various workstations, allowing for more effective/ personal customer service and sparing servers from getting bogged down with things like prepping drinks and getting refills.”
Developing the System
Table Talk Tech had to design a network to support the Fortina concept. Once it was built and tested, Brown says he worked with Krauss to create a clear, concise POS menu of food and beverages with requests for the various prep and service stations. “Fortina staff is sending requests to the pizza line, beverage prep, dessert, and busser,” says Brown.
Working with Krauss, who has a technical background, Brown says Table Talk Tech completed the physical installation in 24 hours. “This consisted of getting the physical equipment set up and online. We had pre-configured much of the software in advance via a web-based administration console.
Once the system is online, we are able to remotely finish the installation with the cloud-based network and POS software consoles.”
The system includes 15 iPads. Four sit in fixed spots but the rest roam around the restaurants with the servers. Each roaming iPad is equipped with an Infinea payment card swiper. The fixed terminals are each paired with an Epson OmniLink printer and an APG Vasario cash drawer.
“The solution is as feature-rich as the legacy solutions that have been built for decades, yet light enough to make it easy to operate and manage at a fraction of the cost of the competition,” Brown says. For instance, he says, the Vasario drawers “were selected for their superior quality and cost-effective price point. Many restaurants have selected APG’s products due to their reliability and seamless integration into new or existing thin / mPOS environments”
Drawing Customers Back
After successfully implementing the mPOS solution in the first Fortina restaurant, TableTalkTech and Krauss’ team replicated it in a Rye Brook, NY, location, and plan to do the same in Stamford,CT.
In the meantime, Krauss says, he is working on the marketing side of his technical vision by connecting the web-based reservation system with the Lavu software. The goal is to capture customer information such as phone numbers and email addresses from the reservation system and match it with sales data to create profiles for each Fortina patron.
“We want to understand and know the needs of our customers at a granular level. We are in the process of creating an attribute-centric profile consumer database, meaning we are collecting data and attaching that data to a profile, which would then lead to more sophisticated marketing campaigns that would provide a more personalized touch based on their profile attributes,” Krauss says. For instance, he might target customers who ordered steak with a steak promotion as a way to draw them back in.
The mPOS system, he says, already has proven its value. The average turnaround for customer tables is 45 minutes, and some customers are ready to pay in 30 minutes. “Everything is cooked in four minutes or under,” Kraus says.
The technology, he says, helps enhance Fortina’s human touch. “We don’t want to lose sight of the human aspect. The mPOS solution we’ve implemented at Fortina enables us to offer a personalized dining experience our customers have come to expect and deserve.
About APG Cash Drawer, LLC
APG manufactures highly durable and dependable cash drawers. APG has built a reputation as the supplier of choice for retail, hospitality, and mobile cash drawer solutions for thousands of customers throughout the world. To learn more about APG’s products, visit www.cashdrawer.com.
About Table Talk Tech
Table Talk Tech is a Maryland-based provider of affordable and innovative point-of- sale solutions. As one of the leading POS companies on the east coast, Table Talk serves clients in the foodservice and retail industries, utilizing Apple iPads, iPhones, and other cutting-edge equipment to revolutionize efficiency and customer service. To learn more about Table Talk Tech, visit www.tabletalktech.com or call 240-296-2955.
About Zephyr Hardware
Zephyr Hardware is the preferred hardware provider for Lavu iPad POS. As the preferred hardware provider, Zephyr Hardware specializes in selling, provisioning and deploying mobile point of sale systems nationwide. To learn more about Zephyr Hardware, visit www.zephyrhardware.com.
Straight forward Italian, cooked in dual wood fired ovens. www.fortinapizza.com
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