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Self-service helps cafes to manage shortage of personnel

18. May 2018

Self-service cash points have been in use already for some years and by now it is difficult to name a service area where these are not used at all. Following the warm welcome of self-service points of sales in supermarkets also gas stations, banks, care washing points, sports clubs have started to use self-service machines and by now also cafes. The main motivator to implement self-service is the shortage of personnel.

Cafes that are using CompuCash self-service solutions in Estonia are Plus cafes  in Mustika Centre and Tallinn Central Bus Station, Bliss Tray buffet-restaurant, Freshfood canteens in the Swedbank IT-building, Inchcape Motors and Reval Café coffee corner in Swedbank office building.

Reducing costs with self-service POS

When the self-service cash points appeared then they were criticized with a fear that machines take over the work of humans. This fear has not come true – self-service point of sales allow companies to use better their resources as part of the work has been handed over from the personnel to the clients. Thanks to the technology the easy and routine get solved without human interference and personnel gets the opportunity to concentrate on more intellectual tasks.

"Although self-service point of sales
do not necessarily increase turnover,
they decrease costs for sure."

In the 2nd quarter of 2017 the number of open positions in the catering sector was the biggest compared to other sectors in Estonia. This is one of the reasons why the catering chain Pluss in Tallinn decided already three years ago to man its first café with “robots”.  A year later the self-service solution was also implemented in their Café in Mustamäe.

“The decision to test a self-service point of sales did not come easily. It was difficult to calculate its profitability and predict the percentage of fraud.” mentioned Heli Hansen from Pluss cafes. By now she can say that in real life thefts are very rare and cafes have also regular checking days on top of the usual video surveillance.

On the picture:  Pluss Café self-service counter in Tallinn Central Bus Station

Reval Café has successfully introduced fully self-service coffee corner in Swedbank office building where it would have been unreasonable to employ personnel. Rene Treifeldt from Reval Café says that it is an exciting test as access to the café is only to the bank personnel and their guests and there is absolutely no human being to help them manage the self-service solution.

Rene Treifeldt is very much satisfied with the test as it was a must to assure even higher security for the payment solution in Swedbank. For that reason people can pay only with a swipe payment and this means that the maximum sum per purchase cannot exceed 25 euros.

Easy to use and quick service

According to the consumer survey in 2016 even 71% of them preferred self-service to the human sales people in Estonia. This surprisingly high percentage can be connected to the non-satisfactory service experience as nearly half of the respondents of the same survey have decided not to visit a café or shop for this same reason.

To offer a really good customer experience takes a huge effort from cafes and restaurants. One opportunity to get attention, differentiate from the competition and reduce costs is to afford the customers to serve themselves. It is especially important at top lunch hours when no-one wants to wait in long queues.

Developing the self-service solutions Ektaco takes into account the needs of both segments, catering and shops. "A well-functioning self-service should be easy-to-use for each customer. A person has to get at once what to do, what button to push," explains Martin Laur, Manager of the Point-of-Sale division in Ektaco.

In the Mustika café people have to do three easy steps before starting to enjoy their food:

  1. choose their food among three options (price categories): a soup with the price of 4,50€, Asian buffet with the price of 6,50€ or full buffet with the price of 7,50€;
  2. register this choice in the self-service point of sale and
  3. pay for the food with their bank card.

People who want to pay in cash can do it on the side of a café. "Everybody has managed to get paid by now," is Heli Hansen satisfied.

More and more companies find that implementing a self-service solution helps to solve the problem of shortage of personnel and gives an opportunity to use their people more sensibly. It is also an attractive opportunity to offer its customers an easy to use way to pay for their food and goods. On top of that it diminishes the risk that your customers will decide not to return because of the bad customer experience.

Interested how a self-service solution can reduce costs in your café and offer better customer experience contact is already today.

You can also look for a video, how CompuCash self-service ticket sales is working in the Tallinn Zoo.