How Restaurants Can Prepare to Reopen Indoor Dining at 100% in 2021
It is still unbelievable that it has been over a year since restaurants have not been able to...
Family-owned and operated sister restaurants, Little Sorrento and Savannah & Company are local hotspots in Northern Westchester, NY. Little Sorrento, offering authentic Italian cuisine and Savannah & Co., offering freshly prepared comfort foods were determined to stay open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with a full staff. Both restaurants are popular in their local community with loyal customers, Little Sorrento being open for 31 years and Savannah & Co. for 6 years.
Cervion Systems has been a reliable trusted partner for the restaurant group for many years. Both restaurants have been able to continuously improve and run their business operations while Cervion made sure their point of sale system always had the functionality required to operate smoothly and reliably. As technology has evolved, so has Little Sorrento and Savannah & Co.
"Cervion is always so great, there is always someone to call. The entire Cervion staff always seems to try hard for me!"
March 2020, the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic was tough across the board, especially with everyone learning how to live in this “new normal”. The restaurant and hospitality industry are no different and New York restaurants took a tough blow as the state restricted indoor dining. In mid-March, Little Sorrento and Savannah & Co. were faced with a difficult decision – do they close, like most other local independently-owned restaurants or stay open? If they stay open, they would need to figure out how to keep on their staff. They decided the best decision was to keep both restaurants open and running with take-out and delivery services.
Savannah & Company, being primarily a dine-in restaurant, needed to be able to quickly pivot and offer customers the ability to order take-out or delivery online. By establishing an online ordering system, channels of opportunity opened for customers to easily order online from any device, without potentially overloading the restaurant phone system. At the time they did not have an established take-out or delivery business and they were happy with their current POS system; however, it did not include an online ordering system.
On the other hand, Little Sorrento had already upgraded to Cervion’s modern tablet-based point of sale system, which included an integrated online ordering system. Pre-pandemic online ordering accounted for 40% of the business. However, there were some challenges transitioning to 100% take-out and delivery. Since they have a loyal following and can keep their 150-seat establishment busy, their customers easily transitioned to ordering for take-out and delivery. They were so busy, they needed to set up additional phone lines since the phones were ringing non-stop. Since the phone system was overloaded, they were only able to take online orders.
It was time for Savannah & Co. to upgrade their point of sale system to include online ordering in order to stay open and continue to provide great dishes and services to their loyal customer base. As Hunter Allen, the CEO of Cervion Systems says, “Great Challenges create the best opportunities.”
Savannah & Co. took advantage of the silver-lining and decided to upgrade their Windows-based point of sale system to a Cervion Systems iPad restaurant POS which includes online ordering. Cervion Systems was able to get them up and running extremely quick. “Before the Cervion team showed up, my son programmed the menu, so the transition was extremely easy.”, Gina Dipaterio, owner of Little Sorrento. “Of course, we had a bit of a head start since it was already implemented at Little Sorrento, it was still quite easy for not only management, but the staff to catch on. It was easy to teach everyone.”
Cervion Systems was able to schedule their point of sale upgrade and be onsite for installation immediately. Installation of the cloud-based POS was extremely smooth, old equipment was swapped out for new equipment and Savannah & Co. was up and running.
While Savannah & Co. was upgrading their systems, Little Sorrento optimized their online ordering system. While Little Sorrento was waiting for additional phone lines to be put in place, they communicated on social media and their website for customers to place orders through their online ordering platform. Being proactive was key to convert customers to using the online ordering system. The kitchen never skipped a beat, as they were already used to the system and automatically receiving tickets when an online order is placed, it was the front of the house that struggled at first. Little Sorrento had 7 expeditors on the line packaging food, which would get pretty intense, but once everyone was used to the process – it was smooth sailing.
"Restaurants looking to add a POS system with online ordering need to have patience, there will be a learning curve for everyone, however the Cervion Online Ordering system is visually appealing and easy to navigate. Anyone working in the restaurant can learn a system, but can a customer easily learn how to use it? - that's what's important."
With the upgrade of their point of sale system and implementation of online ordering, Savannah & Co. has been able to successfully establish a take-out and delivery business, which it wasn’t able to do prior to the pandemic. Now that customers have been ordering online, even with outdoor and limited indoor dining open – they have still been able to keep their take-out and delivery business going. They have stayed open and kept their staff employed. They even improved the customer experience by improving their packaging for the take-out and delivery orders.
Since outdoor dining opened in June and with indoor dining is limited to 50% capacity, Little Sorrento has been able to keep their take-out and delivery business at 75%, an increase from 40% pre-pandemic. They also reported to have an increase in sales on Mother’s Day in comparison to last year, despite not being open for in-person dining at all. All the Mother’s Day orders were done as take-out or delivery.
One of their favorite features is the ability to add descriptions and photos to the online ordering system, so customers can see what their dish will look like and a description of dish. Other favorite features include the ability to easily update daily specials in the online ordering system, determine if an address is within the delivery zone, and the ability for customers to choose modifiers and then be able charge for add-ons. Additionally, by using Cervion’s online ordering system, there are no 3rd party commissions for online orders, saving both restaurants expenses and time of managing multiple systems.
The restaurant POS Systems provided and supported by Cervion really helped both Little Sorrento and Savannah & Co. throughout the past 6 months and allowed them to successfully stay open and keep their staff employed. During these times, online ordering can be a lifeline for a restaurant and help them not only stay open but thrive.
We're a partner in the success of your business. Cervion Systems provides restaurant technology solutions that help your business increase profits and improve your success. Cervion offers a full range of technology products and support services, from point-of-sale systems to integrated merchant processing solutions. We allow you and your employees to concentrate on the day-to-day operations, while we handle your technology systems. Our award-winning staff has helped our customers succeed for nearly 20 years!
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