What You Need to Know About Restaurant Tableside Ordering

// By Malika Wichner // , Oct 27, 2023

Tableside and tabletop technology, such as iPads, tablets, tableside payments, and tabletop kiosks that let guests order food and beverages, pay their checks, listen to music, play games, and provide feedback, is promising to make restaurant service better.

Whether it's through handheld POS systems or QR code ordering systems, tableside ordering delights guests and makes your front-of-house jobs easier.


It’s 2023 and guests are expecting better, more efficient experiences when they dine out. But the COVID pandemic changed the way we operate — both as restaurant guests and business owners.

Here’s the technology you should be aware of to make tableside ordering a reality at your restaurant.



What is Tableside Ordering?


Tableside ordering in restaurants and bars is a revolutionary concept that is transforming the dining experience for both customers and staff. With the advent of technology, such as iPads and tablets, guests can now easily browse menus, place their orders, and even make payments right at their table. This not only enhances efficiency but also improves customer satisfaction.


Whether it's through handheld POS systems or QR code ordering systems, tableside ordering has become more and more popular since 2022. In a post-COVID world, where contactless interactions are preferred, this technology provides a safe and convenient solution for both restaurant owners and diners. So, if you want to stay ahead of the game and offer your guests a seamless dining experience, it might be time to embrace tableside ordering at your establishment.


Types of Tableside Ordering Systems for Restaurants and Bars


Restaurants and bars have been increasingly adopting tableside ordering systems to enhance the dining experience for their customers. These systems not only provide convenience but also streamline the ordering process and improve efficiency. There are three main types of tableside ordering systems that establishments can choose from: QR code ordering system, handheld POS system, and self-service kiosks.

The QR code ordering system allows customers to scan a QR code placed on their table using their smartphones, which directs them to an online menu where they can place their orders and make payments.


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One of the significant advantages of this system is its simplicity and ease of use. Customers can browse through the menu and place their orders at their own pace, eliminating the need for a waiter to take their order. This can result in faster service and reduced wait times. However, a potential drawback of this system is that it relies heavily on the customers having access to smartphones and being familiar with QR code scanning.

The handheld POS system involves waitstaff using handheld devices, such as tablets or smartphones, to take orders directly at the table.



This system offers the advantage of real-time communication between the waitstaff and the kitchen, ensuring accurate and prompt order delivery. It also allows waitstaff to take orders and process payments without having to go back and forth to a stationary POS terminal. However, the reliance on technology may pose a challenge if the devices encounter technical issues or if the waitstaff is not proficient in using them effectively.


Keep in mind that Backbar does sync with Toast, Square, and Clover POS systems.

Self-service kiosks are another option for tableside ordering. These kiosks are placed at each table, allowing customers to browse the menu, place their orders, and make payments directly from the kiosk.



One of the main benefits of this system is the reduced reliance on waitstaff, as customers can independently handle the entire ordering process. This can lead to increased efficiency and cost savings for the establishment. However, some customers may prefer the personal interaction with waitstaff, and the self-service kiosks may not provide the same level of service customization and recommendations that a human waiter can offer.

Each type of tableside ordering system has its own advantages and considerations. The choice of system will depend on the specific needs and preferences of the restaurant or bar, as well as the target customer base. By implementing the right tableside ordering system, establishments can enhance their operations and provide a seamless and enjoyable dining experience for their patrons.


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Benefits of Tableside Ordering


As the restaurant industry continues to evolve, so do the tools available to enhance customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. Tableside ordering, whether through QR code scanning, handheld POS devices, or table kiosks, offers numerous benefits for restaurants seeking to optimize their operations and provide an exceptional dining experience. By leveraging these innovative solutions, restaurants can streamline the ordering process, improve accuracy, increase table turnover, boost customer satisfaction, and ultimately drive revenue growth.
  1. One of the key advantages of tableside ordering is the ability to streamline the entire dining experience. With the convenience of technology, customers can effortlessly browse the menu, place their orders, and make any necessary modifications or additions directly from their table. This eliminates the need for customers to wait for a waiter's attention and reduces the potential for errors in order transcription. Additionally, by automating the ordering process, restaurant staff can focus on providing personalized service and attending to the needs of guests, ultimately enhancing the overall dining experience. 

  2. Tableside ordering significantly improves order accuracy. With traditional pen-and-paper ordering, there is always a chance for miscommunication or errors in transcription, leading to incorrect orders and dissatisfied customers. By allowing customers to place their orders directly through a digital interface, restaurants can minimize the occurrence of such errors. Customers can customize their orders with ease, ensuring that their preferences are accurately communicated to the kitchen. This not only improves customer satisfaction but also reduces wastage and costs associated with remaking incorrect orders. 

  3. Another benefit of tableside ordering is its ability to increase table turnover. By eliminating the additional time spent waiting for a server to take orders and process payments, restaurants can serve more customers in the same amount of time. This is particularly beneficial during peak hours when there is a high demand for tables. Faster table turnover means more revenue for the restaurant and shorter wait times for customers, enhancing their overall dining experience.

  4. Tableside ordering also enhances customer satisfaction by empowering them to have more control over their dining experience. With the ability to browse the menu at their own pace, access detailed information about each dish, and make informed decisions, customers feel more engaged and satisfied with their choices. The convenience of digital payment options allows for a seamless and hassle-free checkout experience. By providing customers with these convenient tools, restaurants can elevate their level of service and leave a lasting positive impression.

Ordering through QR code scanning, handheld POS devices, or table kiosks offers a multitude of benefits for restaurants. From streamlining the ordering process and improving accuracy to increasing table turnover and enhancing customer satisfaction, these innovative solutions are transforming the dining experience. By embracing technology and incorporating tableside ordering into their operations, restaurants can elevate their service standards, drive revenue growth, and stay ahead in an increasingly competitive industry.


Malika Wichner

About the author, Malika Wichner

Malika is the Marketing Content Manager for Backbar. Prior to creating content to link industry professionals to Backbar she worked as a bartender and server in Chicago. She enjoys red wine or an IPA with a good book in her free time.

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