“Take away the boring part of the job”: How Pancakes on the Rocks sped up their speed of service (and sold more pancakes)

April 22, 2024
min read

Let’s start by saying it’s hard to write a blog post based on a video case study (see below) for a venue like Pancakes on the Rocks on a Tuesday afternoon when everything looks so bloody delicious.

With a flagship location in the heart of Sydney, and three others around New South Wales and Queensland, Pancakes on the Rocks pumps out memorable experiences and even more memorable food.

We chatted with General Manager, Nelson Tromp, about how me&u fits into everything. 

Operations [check], customer satisfaction [check]

“Speed of service has increased. Customers can now order a lot faster, they order a lot more, our average spend has increased quite a lot. Customers don't have to wait for a staff member to come past if they want to order something else,” Nelson said.

"They can order as soon as they want when they want it. So from an operational point of view it's been great and from a customer satisfaction point of view it's been really good.”

Pancakes on the Rocks first deployed me&u because they couldn’t find enough staff straight out of COVID and they had customers wanting to come back in, but no staff to serve them. So they incorporated digital ordering to help serve their hungry customers.

[To be honest, Nelson rattles off so many insights and great quotes, that there’s no point us putting our spin on it. The rest will be all in the words of the General Manager himself.]

Starting out sceptical about digital ordering

“There are a lot of customers that don't want to use the old style of ordering, talking to a staff member.  For all sorts of reasons - some people are quite anxious, they feel more comfortable ordering with the machine, and they can order at their own pace. 

“Some people can't communicate because of language barriers, so the QR code's been fantastic for that. I think it was just the relationship we had with the team when we first started talking to us about the old the fears that we had about what would happen because we wanted to  make sure we kept that old-style value where it wasn't just being taken over by technology… we were quite sceptical and it's been fantastic for us.”

“It's made things a lot easier to look at from the back end to see what our business really is apart from just anecdotally saying “oh look, we sold all of this” or “we did a lot of that” - we can actually drill down into it so it saved us a lot of time and given us information that's very helpful for not just working out what happened but helping us plan what could happen into the future.’’

Taking away the boring part of the job

“We can see customers are ordering a lot more of the luxury sort of items, the extra ice cream, extra sour creams, things that we weren't expecting because they weren't getting the same kind of contact with our staff or the ease and the comfortability of ordering.

“So that's changed what we're offering to customers. So it's been very, very helpful. Initially, we thought the staff wouldn't like it very much because they saw it as something that was going to take away their job but it hasn't at all.

“People want that face -to -face contact with a person but they want to be able to control that part of it [the ordering]. So our staff had more time to give them advice on the menu rather than doing the mundane writing down the order part which is the part that I don't think anyone in the service industry enjoys that part of the job but the interaction with customers is very important. 

“That's what they love, that's why they get into hospitality. And that's allowed us to do that now, to focus on that part of it and to take away the boring part of the job. 

“We were quite sceptical to start with, we've been around a long time, we know our business really well and we didn't want to buy something that someone was telling us what we needed.

“So we had some conversations with it, it was very easy, they understood, and all of our fears about changing and things being new and hard to understand were on an issue at all, it was very smooth. Should have done it earlier. So my first advice would be just do it now. Don't wait. Because once you've done it, you'll be so happy you did it.”

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