Nina, Operations Manager at Arcade Tottenham Court Road, still smiles at the simple magic created when QR mobile ordering delivers a seamless experience.
“I still smile when a guest comes in and you say you know, just sit at the table, scan a QR code and everything gets brought to you,” Nina said. “You still get the ‘wow’.”
Arcade Tottenham Court Road is a food hall with “loads of footfall”, 350 seats, and a “mixture of food from Indian to Japanese under one roof”.
Avoiding the up and down, up and down
“Pre-COVID, when you came to Arcade, you would go to the counter and you would order at the counter and then you'd go back and sit down and your friend would go up to the counter and then sit down and then you'd go and get drinks,” Nina said. “And by the time you'd had this experience, you'd been up and down, up and down.
“So we wanted to change the idea of the food hall so that you can still sit back and relax in that sort of restaurant, sort of bistro, sort of style.
“You're sat down by a host and they tell you to scan that QR code and then everything starts.
“It's super, super simple.”
Combining tech with hospitality 101
“We have a hybrid model now. We do a mixture of both - a guest can order through the app [it’s not actually an app], but they can also order through a waiter as well.
“The app is supposed to help give you more time to spend with your guests as opposed to other things.
“So, rather than waiting on somebody, which is what the app is kind of doing for you, you're looking after them and hosting them.
“A lot of the time previous to this, if somebody's food hadn't arrived, we don't know until they're unhappy and they're shouting.
“Whereas when we get that text message, we can go on and we can see what's happening or we can look and see the order's gone red, and being able to find an order is a lot easier than it was previously as well.”
Moving on from the horror stories of a previous tech partner
“There was one Saturday night in the old system at half-seven when everything went off and everyone's orders were up in the sky. You couldn't see what they were ordering and it was actually mayhem.
“But we can track it a lot better and it's a lot smoother.
“We did go through a few of the apps because obviously there are a few companies out there.
“We tested it in a few other places, we met the team. I think why we decided to go for it, there's definitely the support side of it all - any issues that we do face, they’re on hand to be able to help us out there.
“In our old system, it would take our customer service person maybe three days to upload a menu, whereas now we can upload an item within seconds.
“So that sort of integration, they seem to all get on. That’s what I loved about the move - there's no blame, it's not their fault or theirs, everyone was just trying to solve a problem.
“What we went through to what we have now is chalk and cheese.”