Paging for efficiency

From conference rooms in five star hotels to poolside area, from food courts to restaurants and nightclubs, TechBrewery’s paging solutions open up a whole new dimension of guest convenience, along with cost saving and efficiency for the establishment. By Sudipta Dev

From conference rooms in five star hotels to poolside area, from food courts to restaurants and nightclubs, TechBrewery’s paging solutions open up a whole new dimension of guest convenience, along with cost saving and efficiency for the establishment. By Sudipta Dev

20141231eh52TechBrewery offers paging solutions for hotels, restaurants and bars, which can help in improving operational efficiency, have a faster table turnover (if it is a restaurant), and cut down on manpower requirements. These paging solutions also give the customer more privacy and convenience. The company is basically an importer and distributor for a South Korean company called Leetek, which has been in the hospitality paging business since 1996. Leetek is a pioneer in the hospitality paging industry and the market leader in North America, Europe as well as pan Asian markets. The products are guest paging systems, waiter management systems, table call systems and kitchen management systems.

Sumeet Turakhiya

The applicability ranges from hotels to restaurants to bars to pool side areas of hotels. Two key products are being launched in India – guest paging system and table call paging system. Sumeet Turakhiya, partner, TechBrewery explains, “Table call paging system is an effective replacement for the traditional practice of waving hands to a waiter. Some people also snap fingers at attendants. To overcome this we have small transmitters which can be placed at tables, which would have buttons like ‘Service, ‘Bill’ and ‘Cancel’. These work on radio frequency. For instance, if someone is having a business lunch and does not want to be interrupted by an attendant asking if they want something, the guest can just press the ‘Service’ button. Immediately, the attendant who is carrying a pager, can see on the LED screen, the exact table number, where the call was generated. He can directly go there and attend to the particular guest.”

Multiple usage

20141231eh54The same solution can also be used in other areas of the hotel like the poolside area. The poolside section in most hotels are either unmanned or has very limited staff. Turakhiya gives the example of a big hotel in India from the Marriott Group that has more than fifty sunbeds by the poolside and only three people (including a bar tender) taking care of the guests. “That leaves only two attendants. During peak tourist season even if only 70 per cent of the sunbeds are full, if the guest wants to order something the staff may not be around, so he has to go walk up to the bar and place the order. We will be attaching a small transmitter to each of the sunbeds, which can have buttons like ‘Service’, and these buttons can be completely customised,” states Turakhiya. The attendant by the poolside area will be carrying a belt clip pager or a watch, when a guest wants something he has to press the ‘Service’ button, and the sunbed number flashes on the attendant’s pager screen. According to Turakhiya, it has also been observed that the pool bar is one of the lowest revenue generators among all F&B outlets in hotels, one of the reasons could be lack of staff and higher response time. The response time can be now completely reduced to less than 30 seconds to one minute. That will lead to higher revenues for the pool bar.

The company is also targeting banquet areas in hotels. The traditional practice of having a coordinator in the meeting room or a bell to call the attendants can be eliminated. “We have done a project with Palladium Hotel in Mumbai wherein we have designed transmitters for them. Sometimes the nature of the business discussed in high level meetings is such that they do not want a coordinator to be present during the meeting. The radio frequency enabled transmitters are placed in the meeting rooms, and the minute the guest presses either the ‘Service’, ‘Clearance’ or ‘Cancel’ button, the attendant can see the meeting room number displayed,” says Turakhiya. As many as five buttons can be there in the transmitter, including those of ‘Stationary’, ‘Refreshment’. These can be customised and also have the logo of the hotel.

These table call systems can also be used in presidential suites, where the butler need not roam around all the time. He can be seated in a particular section of the presidential suite and in each and every strategic locations in the suite, these transmitters can be put. The butler can be carrying the pager or watch, and as soon as the guest presses the pager, the butler can know from which area the call was generated, he can go and attend to the guest. This offers the guest more privacy.

In five star hotels TechBrewery would not like to offer these solutions in premium restaurants, but is looking at targeting these for bars or nightclubs where there is a VIP area. Turakhiya explains why, “In bars and nightclubs the music is loud, the lights are dim, there is a lot of standing crowd in such establishments. It sometimes becomes impossible for the customer to reach the attendant, and that leads to higher response time and consequently slower table turnover rate. This can be taken care of by putting a transmitter at each table. We can make these solutions water resistant, as in bars and night clubs there is possibility of spillage. It is also required in poolside areas where wet hands can be used.”

With the help of this device, manpower cost can be reduced by 10 to 15 per cent. “It is not an expensive device and has an average life cycle of five years. There is also a date and time stamp, which gives an exact response time per attendant,” says Turakhiya.


Guest paging system

The RCL paging system can be used in food courts and malls. “Mainland China Asia Kitchen at Oberoi Mall in Mumbai was our first client where they have been using this device for the last few months successfully,” mentions Turakhiya. Customers waiting for their table are given a pager/coaster. The customer can roam anywhere in the mall and the minute the table vacates the coaster starts vibrating, beeping and the LED light also starts flashing. “This is an effective way of reducing the risk of the customer going to a different restaurant if the waiting time is more. It also saves the time of the manager. He need not call up guests and ask them to return to the restaurant,” points out Turakhiya.

Refuting the possibility of a guest walking away with the pager, he reminds that as the target segment is high end restaurants and bars, the clientele is sophisticated. “When the coaster is handed over, the guest’s mobile number is taken down, which is a psychological check. Even if a guest wants to take the coaster home, it is of no use to him without the transmitter. If the customer walks away with the device accidentally, there is an out of range alarm, wherein the device starts beeping constantly, and keeps beeping till the time the device is brought back. Both the devices have different ranges,” he elaborates.

These paging systems can also be used in five-star hotels in the spa area where a reminder can be given to the guest, 15 minutes or half an hour before a spa appointment.

All the paging systems work on radio frequency so there is zero downtime. “The frequency we operate in is 433 to 434 MHz, which is the free frequency band in India according to the telecom authority,” states Turakhiya. The only license to be procured is by TechBrewery, so the end user, whether a hotel or a bar, does not have to procure any license. “We offer free trails to our customers. So far our clients have bought the system, but we are also open to hire purchase,” he adds. On a two hour charge, the device can work for eight hours. There is a smart charging system for every device.

The company has a pan India dealership, and is looking at servicing all the big hotels and chain of restaurants in the hospitality industry.

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First published on: 19-12-2014 at 17:26 IST