Debunking the Myths: What You Need to Know About Tableside Ordering System ROI

Tableside ordering systems are undeniably trendy, promising a sleek, modern dining experience. But are they all hyped when it comes to return on investment (ROI)? Restaurants considering this technology are often faced with conflicting claims and uncertain outcomes.

This article aims to shed light on the real ROI of tableside ordering systems. We’ll delve into the benefits, such as increased efficiency, higher average check sizes, and improved customer satisfaction. We’ll also address potential drawbacks, like initial costs and staff training requirements.

By separating fact from fiction, we’ll provide a clear picture of whether tableside ordering systems are a worthwhile investment for your restaurant.

Myth #1: Tableside Ordering is Just a Gimmick

Reality: While it’s true that tableside ordering has a “wow” factor, it’s far more than a gimmick. These systems streamline the ordering process, reduce errors, and often lead to increased average order values. Think of it as a tool, not a toy. When used strategically, it can have a tangible impact on your bottom line.

Myth #2: It Will Replace Your Staff

Reality: Fear not, your servers aren’t going anywhere! Tableside ordering frees them up from tedious tasks like taking orders and running back and forth to the POS. Instead, they can focus on what they do best – building rapport with customers, offering recommendations, and providing exceptional service. This often leads to happier staff and better tips.

Myth #3: It’s Only for High-End Restaurants

Reality: Tableside ordering isn’t just for white-tablecloth establishments. It’s increasingly popular in fast-casual and casual dining restaurants as well. The key is choosing a system that fits your concept and budget. There are plenty of options out there, from simple tablet-based systems to more sophisticated setups with integrated payment processing.

Myth #4: The ROI is Instantaneous

Reality: Let’s be honest, there’s no such thing as a get-rich-quick scheme in the restaurant business. Tableside ordering is an investment, and like any investment, it takes time to see a return. You’ll need to factor in the cost of the system, training, and potential adjustments to your workflow. However, when implemented effectively, the long-term benefits can be significant.

The True ROI of Tableside Ordering: A Deeper Look

So, what kind of ROI can you expect? It depends on several factors, including:

  • Increased Order Accuracy: Fewer mistakes mean less wasted food and happier customers.

  • Higher Average Check Size: Tableside ordering often encourages upselling and impulse purchases.

  • Improved Table Turn Times: Faster ordering and payment processing can lead to more covers per shift.

  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Satisfied customers are more likely to return and recommend you.

  • Valuable Data Insights: Tableside systems can track customer preferences, helping you optimize your menu and marketing.

Calculating the ROI

While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula, here’s a simplified approach to calculating the ROI of tableside ordering:

  1. Estimate your costs: Include the system itself, installation, training, and any ongoing fees.

  2. Project your potential gains: Based on the factors mentioned above, estimate how much you expect to increase sales, table turns, etc.

  3. Compare the two: Subtract your costs from your projected gains to see your potential ROI.

  4. Factor in intangibles: Remember to consider the value of improved customer experience and staff morale, which can be difficult to quantify but are nonetheless important.

The Bottom Line

Tableside ordering systems have been hailed as a game-changer, but are they truly worth the investment? Let’s cut through the noise and debunk some common myths. First, tableside ordering isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It might be perfect for some restaurants but a poor fit for others. Second, ROI isn’t always immediate. While some benefits, like increased table turnover, can be seen quickly, others, like customer loyalty, take time to develop. Finally, tableside ordering isn’t a replacement for good service. Technology can enhance the dining experience, but it can’t replace a friendly smile and attentive staff.


By debunking these myths and understanding the potential benefits and drawbacks, you can make an informed decision about whether tableside ordering is the right investment for your restaurant. Remember, it’s not a magic wand, but it can be a powerful tool for boosting your business.