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Enough with the buzzer!

5 Feb 2020

I was lucky enough to spend some time in Greece last September. Laid back, sunny and the table service is gracious and faultless. They actually want you to sit and then they come to the table and ask for your order. Then they come back! Order in hand and more often that not a small gratuitous morsel - we enjoyed fresh fruit, small pastries, crudités. Delicious!

Fast forward - I’m back to work I headed to the local #cibo - post holiday, it was all laid back, I was relaxed, a change of scenery, local cafe, support the small business - you know the mantra.  Well I wanted to live it.  We ordered at the counter and THEN along slides the dreaded ‘buzzer’.

I sit down, we start a conversation. About ten minutes in we get the intrusion, buzzer goes off, vibrates on the table, startles both of us. As the host, I go and retrieve the order. Get back and we do find where the conversation was after being rudely interrupted by the buzzer. We enjoy our coffee.

So where’s the table service? These pesky intrusions came on the scene two decades ago! Yep TWENTY years ago.


Chances are I would have ordered another coffee had someone actually served me at the table. But we were having a conversation and to be honest, I didn’t want to serve myself. I can hear you all screaming. “Wages are killing the country, we can’t afford extra resources or staff.”

Consider this for a scenario: Staff come to the table ask if we would like another coffee, sparkling water, tap water, cake, anything else? Remove the dirty cups and engage with the customer. We order more food, cake, coffee! More money goes through the till. Granted, not all cafes use buzzers and a big shout out to you that don’t!.

There’s an article that cites the TEN reasons why mobile buzzers  are better than restaurant pagers. Here’s the summary:

  1. Saves money;

  2. Update processes;

  3. Customer analytics;

  4. Improves businesses reputation;

  5. Enhance customer and guest experience (Really?) - here’s the explanation ... “It’s all about true wait time vs perceived wait time. When you tell a guest the wait is 1 hour, that’s a long time to watch the buzzer and wait. Providing them with a notification on their terms, doesn’t change true wait time, but does decrease the perceived wait time and manages your customers' expectations.”  Mmmmm

  6. Software VS hardware;

  7. Reward loyal customers and build relationships with your customers - Really?

  8. Outsourcing your infrastructure;

  9. Have access to all your information from multiple devices, anywhere, anytime;

  10. Unlimited signal range and guest capacity;

My admiration for this 20 year old innovation but it’s time it went out to pasture!

As always, my opinion only. I value yours, comment at your leisure


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