By: Nick Abruzere, RVP, Independent Hotels & Casino Accounts
Envision that you are out to enjoy a great evening at the Casino with your friends, you order up a beverage from the cocktail waitress just to watch her write it down on a notepad and proceed to walk down the endless bank of slot machines approaching each patron and adding drinks to the endless list. Then poof! She disappears to the other side of the gaming floor, not to be seen again for 15 minutes or more!
Unfortunately, this is reality at some properties and may just make or break keeping Casino patrons happy. One of the more common customer complaints to Casino operators is the amount of time it takes to deliver beverages to the patrons on the Casino floor. Whether it be free comped drinks or ones that were paid for, customers want it quick and they want it accurate. Regulations vary from state to state legislation on the ability to offer “comped” drinks, but in all cases they fight a common battle for efficiency.
Were all familiar with the iconic casino cocktail waitress who brings us drinks with a smile even when we suffer a loss in poker to a bad beat on the river, or watch a progressive slot pay out to someone else. Unfortunately, if this happens and I am a high stakes player and also a reliable source of income for the Casino, it is critical that the service offered to these patrons is a positive one. On the busy nights, the service shouldn’t suffer as a result not to mention how difficult it can be to order a drink when the Casino floor is packed amidst a sea of people and excitement. These are some of the critical areas of customer service that Casino Managers continuously pay close attention to. The excitement, the friendly cocktail waitress, the drinks and the payouts all take part in the total Casino experience and ultimately the likelihood of the patrons return visit. Casino operators focus on what they can control and that is speed and accuracy of the beverage service with a positive attitude.
There are various ways to improve upon this service from handheld mobile units to self-service and interactive technology. Each operation will require something slightly different depending on the size of the gaming floor, service bar locations and the operational process. Handheld mobile units dramatically improve the efficiency of the process. For a beverage server that is responsible for a section of the Gaming Floor, she would traditionally write down all the orders, approach a service bar workstation and key in those orders which print in the service bar. With mobile units, once the order is keyed in on the gaming floor, it is instantly fired to the service bar printer or display where the bartender begins to prepare the drinks all while the cocktail waitress continues to take other orders. This reduced the number of steps in the process dramatically.
Aside from the efficiency benefits, mobile technology allows your servers to take payment such as credit cards or player cards right on the spot with signature capture capability. So if you charge for drinks, it’s a one stop shop. Another option is having your customers leverage self-service technology in the slot machine’s interactive screen to place orders for themselves. In these cases, integration done between the POS and CMS (Casino Management Systems) will allow your patrons to order their drink of choice directly on the slot machine, on demand as shown in the image here.
As technology and the cost continues to evolve in the mobile and interactive space, I expect to see more and more operators take advantage of these efficiencies. These same concepts also hold true with food & beverage service in the various types of outlets and I’m confident you can find an area where the process would benefit from a more efficient transaction.