Menu Masters introduces digital ordering system

Menu Masters
N28 W23050 Roundy Drive, Suite 130, Pewaukee
Innovation: Tablet menus

Have you ever been in a busy restaurant and couldn’t find your server to order something?

Pewaukee-based Menu Masters has introduced a tablet-based ordering system that could solve that problem, which would benefit both the time-pressed customer and the restaurant.

The software that Menu Masters offers, created by Minneapolis-based eTouchMenu, allows customers to send their orders directly to the kitchen, which in turn makes servers more efficient.

Patrick and Phyllis Weege founded Menu Masters, a marketing solutions company serving the restaurant and hospitality industries, in 1989. Much of its business is designing print menus for restaurants in the area. Clients include The Bartolotta Restaurant Group, The Pfister Hotel and the InterContinental Hotel.

The tablet ordering system makes servers more efficient.

The tablet-based menu system works in tandem with traditional menus based on customer preference, Patrick said. It allows for immediate menu changes, without waiting for reprints.

“It’s instantaneous compared to the printed format, which we still do a lot of – and that’s not going away,” he said.

On the Menu Masters tablet software, the possibilities are endless. Restaurants could customize the software to include promotions, list nutritional information, show videos of the wineries where wines were made or provide games for customers to play as they wait, for example.

The tablet ordering system also allows restaurant owners to analyze how their tables are used and evaluate profit margins, Phyllis said. If an owner wants to offer a happy hour special, he can instantly push the offer to all of the tablets in a restaurant or group of restaurants.

Menu Masters’ software sets itself apart from competitors, she said. Many tablet ordering systems are locked into a particular point-of-sale system, whereas Menu Masters’ software can interface with most existing POS systems.

“Our tablets are driven by the software,” Patrick said. “The software really drives what our system does, so everything is customizable to the particular restaurant group.”

Menu Masters has installed tablet systems at two restaurants in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which are customized to allow customers to both order and check their flight status.

Between 20 and 40 are installed at each restaurant. They include a custom stand that Menu Masters creates with the restaurant name, which allows the tablets to stand back-to-back and swivel while remaining attached to the table.

Customers enter an order on the tablet, including any changes or dietary restrictions. They can also request water, a napkin or silverware at the touch of a button.

Orders go directly to the bar or kitchen from the table, saving time in back-and-forth for the server. The bartender can notify the server wherever he or she has a drink ready to be picked up.

“It really helps to generate more of a cash flow because you have a limited number of people you can use, but it makes them more efficient,” Patrick said. “This has nothing to do with customer service. There’s still interaction with the wait staff.”

Servers can close a ticket right at the table, allowing the business to turn the table faster. Gratuity can be set to a default amount, and the guest could opt to change it or not. Restaurants could obtain demographic information from customers for marketing purposes.

The software is developed by eTouchMenu and Menu Masters has the exclusive U.S. rights to it.

Menu Masters’ tablet software system pricing is based on the number of tablets and the level of customization, but includes the cost of the tablets and usually starts at about $12,000, Patrick said. The price includes continual system upgrades and the return on investment is seen through increased orders because of the efficiency created for employees.

Menu Masters has installed about six of these eTouchMenu tablet systems across the country since it launched the service in February.

“Our goal is always to find the product that gets the best return to our customers for the money they put in,” Phyllis said.

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