Updated: Jul 21
This past weekend, I got “Toast”ed at Equilibrium Brewery, but it's not what you think. Toast POS is a cloud-based software that restaurants use to help manage their business. My experience at Equilibrium made me think it was a good time to talk about how times and technology are changing the restaurant industry, and when embraced and done correctly, can benefit everyone.
As the hospitality industry struggles to come back from the pandemic, the biggest challenge for many business owners is finding sufficient help. As an instructor of hospitality at the Culinary Institute of America, although I understand the need in different cases to replace human interactions with technology, that doesn’t mean I necessarily like the idea. Well, at least not until my recent visit to Equilibrium Brewery where I experienced a seamless drinking and dining experience that integrated friendly service with the ability for me to get what I wanted, when I wanted it.
Yes, since I had this experience at a brewery, I couldn’t help making a play on words, but what made this dining experience so enjoyable was that they have integrated a Toast POS (Point of Sale) system into their dining room service model.
Here is how Toast Mobile Order and Pay allowed Equilibrium to run their dining room with less staff while at the same time including all the traditional touchpoints of hospitality.
As we walked into the brewery, we immediately greeted by a friendly staff member who first asked if we had ever been to Equilibrium before. Since our answer was no, she clearly explained that we could sit anywhere and that once at the table were to scan the QR code and order whatever we want it directly from our phones. Staff members would bring out anything we ordered so we didn’t have to worry about picking it up ourselves.
Now, since COVID, most of us are getting used to NFC and QR codes on our phones as a touchless way to view a menu, but for me, ordering on my own was a first. It was also convenient that since each person at the table uses the same QR code all orders are added to the table tab. We also had the opportunity to modify menu items and ask for special request. Adding more food or drink at our convenience and not having to wait for our server was easy and each came out in a timely manner.
But by far what I appreciated me the most about this experience was that even with technology taking some of the roles usually the responsibility of the waitstaff, hospitality was present. The staff checked on us frequently and seemed to be enjoying themselves, which I am sure is a factor of having a lighter role and more time to interact with customers.
My husband and I are pretty good with technology so we didn’t have any difficulty using the app but there were enough staff floating around so if someone might need h