Point of Sale Technology For Hospitality Abounds At #NRAshow

twinkie
The National Restaurant Association Show kicked off in Chicago this weekend.  I went and was impressed.  Gleaming rows of chrome kitchen equipment, some increasingly high tech, endless offerings of food samples from vendors all over the world and, of course, POS technology for hospitality.   
Revel was there in a beautiful booth about the size of Rhode Island, showing their hospitality product. CRO (Chief Revenue Officer) Bobby Marhamat gave me a demo of a new white label mobile app that could be customized as needed.  
NCR Silver and Aloha were exhibiting, displaying a rather cool tablet stand with a magnetic base and a nicely sized, pay-at-table device by Miura.  (see image). miura emv 
The APG Cash Drawer booth had a couple new things on display. I was wowed by a cash drawer that counts the money in the till.  Bob Daugs demonstrated a model that not only sensed the difference in change – a quarter or nickel in and  out, but individual bills as well!  Must see to appreciate!!   Oh, it keeps a tight log of all the in and out activity.   
  
 uv cash drawer  Another cash drawer model contained ultra violet light to disinfect bills. The inventor, Michael R. Golden, was there and offered to analyze how germ infested a bill I had in my pocket was.  He demonstrated the drawer (it works in a flash) and my Abraham Lincoln came out sanitized and smelling fresh.  It’s not hard to envision being in the midst of a flu epidemic (as we are every couple of years) and then it’s absolutely the kind of thing I’d want to have in my high volume QSR,  school lunch room cafeteria, hospital cafeteria,  and senior living center cafeteria.    Any high volume place with a population that is susceptible to infection.  Find five minutes in your day at the show to check this out!   
 
Alex Barrotti, founder and CEO of TouchBistro demonstrated some nifty features of his colorful and intuitive app.    
 
The Future POS booth had some classy equipment on display.   I also met with Lance Bell of POS Partners at the booth, they’re a hospitality VAR (value added reseller) who recently made an acquisition and has expanded operations to 14 states.
A plethora of loyalty and reward programs were present- and I get the sense that this is a slowly emerging area for many businesses.   Similarly, a couple dozen companies were present to offer social media, menu publishing, employee scheduling  the acquisition of customer data services to restaurants.   (Side note –  I can only hope that the use of email marketing and text marketing will not be over done. I already actively dump any organization that emails me more than once a month.  Business owners should offer the customer a choice of how often he wants to be emailed, and not run their business by pulling the trigger on an email campaign every time there is a slow week of sales.  R e s p e c t for the customer!)   
 
EMV pay-at-the-table?  An informal survey of 20 POS companies found only a few that were actually offering EMV pay-at-table software presently (more on this in tomorrows column).  
prop peller pretzelAfter spending time in the technology section, I moved on to some of the other vendors – Prop & Peller pretzels were delicious and I hope they come to a bar near me soon (image).   Eisenberg hot dogs were a taste treat – gourmet, black angus beef is used (image). eisenberg hot dog
 
  A machine to wrap individual pieces of sushi was intriguing  (see image) sushi machine NRA show, as was a automatic donut maker by Lil Orbits. Captivating to watch and a great way to be sure you take in enough calories. lil orbit donut maker  
I also met the Hostess Twinkie (top image), who seemed well. 
 
Read part two tomorrow…  
 
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