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What kind of service do you expect in a fine dining restaurant that prides itself on its timeless elegance? A waiter taking your order with a quill pen on parchment maybe? Well, no. This is the 21st Century and waiters today are more likely to be at your table with a hand-held digital device. Which, if it is not handled well, can present a problem.

The challenge for restaurateurs is how to use the latest technology to enhance the customer experience without it becoming intrusive.

It’s a delicate balance that Quilon, London’s only Michelin starred south Indian restaurant, has met and resolved with the help of Aloha Point of Sale software from NFS Technology.

Quilon prides itself on creating experimental Indian dishes, complemented by fine speciality beers and an exceptional wine list that has won the Wine Spectator’s prestigious Award of Excellence. The restaurant has retained its Michelin Star five years running.

To optimise restaurant and bar management, Quilon uses Aloha for seamless integration between stock control, labour management, loyalty and gift cards, head office management, table reservations, guest management, tableside ordering and mobile payment systems.

When the restaurant was refurbished, it was decided to take the mobility route coupling Aloha with Partner Tech’s EM-220 hand-held terminal to take orders and relay them wirelessly to the kitchen.

Executive Chef and Director of Operations Sriram Aylur admits that, in some ways, it was a risk. “The Quilon is characterised by a colonial-style air of timeless elegance,” he says. “It was important that the technology did not get in the way of the customers fine dining experience.”

“Maybe five years ago it would have been different. Diners might have felt a restaurant such as ours should include waiters who took orders in the traditional way with a pen and paper. But today, customers are more familiar with technology and, in fact, are just as likely to be using their own smart phones in the restaurant.”

“The important thing for us is that the technology must be subtle and not come between the customer and the waiter.”

So for Quilon customers, mobile technology has proved no barrier to good service. For the restaurant staff, it has also proved to be a winner too. Waiters and kitchen staff are all comfortable with the system, which has proved very easy to use.

“In the past, when a waiter took a written order, it was open to mistakes,” says Sriram. “A misunderstanding between the waiter and the kitchen might have resulted in having to take the order twice. That wasted time, affected customer satisfaction and ultimately impacted on revenue.”

“The way we work now, waiters take orders quickly and accurately, then send them straight through to the kitchen, eliminating the chance of error. The ease with which the system works ensures that the interaction between waiter and diner is not affected.”

“It’s a win-win situation for both customers and restaurant staff.”

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