Most people who have been to a restaurant have come across a restaurant paging system at least once. When we come on a busy night, the host will give us an estimate wait time for a table and give us what looks like hard, lit, plastic coaster. At one point, it will vibrate, informing us that our table is available. Our experience had begun even though our meal hadn’t.
What is a Pager?
A pager is like a very simple radio that has just one station. A radio transmitter sends signals over a specific frequency. The pagers tuned to that particular network have an inbuilt receiver that is tuned to the same frequency that the transmitter is broadcasting. The pagers listen to the signal all the time as long as the pager has been switched on.
Each pager has a CAP code, which is a specific identification sequence, and the pager listens for its unique code. When it hears it, it indicates that to the user. Depending on the type, it may provide additional information.
What is a Restaurant Paging System?
A restaurant paging system is aimed at making the dining-out experience more efficient and pleasant for the staff and the guests. Use of paging systems by restaurants has proved effective in improving customer service, sales, and the overall guest experience. A restaurant paging system consists of a transmitter that is set up in a specific location and communicates with a number of pagers. Its purpose is to increase the venue’s revenue and enhance the customer experience.
The actual frequency that the master transmitter uses varies depending on the model and manufacturer. Depending on the power of the transmitter, they can cover anywhere from a few hundred feet to a few miles. The host enters the CAP for a given pager into the master transmitter to page a customer. They might select a specific option, such as the code for “lost pager” or “table is ready”.
Usually, master transmitters list the last several pagers that have been contacted. There are systems that can handle up to 10,000 separate pagers. Very few restaurants need this capacity. A popular option is to connect the phone system to the master transmitter.
Many times a pager is included in the cost of a POS system.
How Do Restaurant Pagers Work?
Normally, the pagers run on rechargeable batteries. They are easy to recharge via a special station. Some pager models have a set of metal contacts on the bottom, linked to metal plates on the pager’s circuit board by screws. The metal plates connect to the battery pack. The screws are inserted into exposed metal balls on the top of the device. The balls touch the metal contacts on the bottom of the device that is on top and the power passes through to that pager. It’s passed on to another and another and so on and so forth.
Types and Uses of Pagers
The most common uses for a restaurant pager system include customer-to-staff communication, host to staff communication, and kitchen to waiter communication.
Now and then, restaurants install push-for-service paging systems on tables so guests can contact the staff at all times. Restaurants with fewer employees can struggle with time being lost to operational duties. A push-button pager informs the server that a customer is waiting. It ensures fast and efficient service for the customer.
Restaurant paging systems enable staff to notify guests of available tables fast, quietly, and efficiently. This does away with the need for noisy overhead announcements that are disruptive to your guests’ dining experience. At the same time, employees have the flexibility needed to provide better service. Pagers allow guests the freedom to chat with someone outside or have a drink at the bar until a table becomes available. At this time, the beeper will vibrate and the host can guide the customer to their table.
Today, a lot of restaurants have extended the use of a paging system to the kitchen, where cooks can page a server when an order is ready. This increases efficiency by delivering orders in less time and at the right temperature.
What to Look for in a Restaurant Pager
When we think of restaurant pagers, the image of that given to us when we’re waiting for a table immediately springs to mind. These alert us when the table becomes available. However, these are not the only kind that exists. Our final section will tell you about what to look for in a paging system if you’re choosing one for your venue.
Restaurant paging systems have transmission ranges between 150 feet and one mile. Indoor systems normally cover from 150 to 500 feet, but the range can be obstructed by walls. Outdoor systems or systems for large open spaces can reach as many as 3,000 feet.
While the number of pagers in a set can vary, a set contains between 6 and 20 in general. The average set to manage a rush is 10, so keep that in mind if you’re getting restaurant pagers for the first time. As your venue becomes more successful and attracts a larger clientele, it could require more pagers. You can purchase extra pagers and control them all from a single transmitter rather than buying a larger set.
A fully dead pager must be docked for several hours to fully charge. Diners often manage battery life by distributing pagers so they can all be charged at the same time when the diner is closed or business is slow. Pagers will charge while they’re waiting to be handed out because the docking station or base stays plugged in.
Restaurant pagers are normally equipped with rechargeable lithium batteries. This way you don’t have to worry about individual chargers and batteries. The pagers fit into a docking station that can charge all of them through an AC adapter at once. Some pagers that send information from clients to servers need individual batteries to work.
A restaurant paging system is an innovative, effective, and valuable tool for improving staff performance, increasing customer satisfaction, and fostering customer loyalty.