Pannkoogimaja combines self-sevice checkout with table service

Pannkoogimaja is a cafeteria chain that just opened its third location in Tallinn. Now the hungry crowds can enjoy large, delicious pancakes and other delicious dishes in Tehnopol too.

There are many companies and workplaces in the immediate vicinity of the Cybernetics House at Tehnopol. TalTech University, with its large number of students, is also nearby. This means that there are many hungry people around, and most of them prefer to take their lunch break around the same time every day. However, nobody likes long queues and being an experienced entrepreneur, Pannkoogimaja made every possible effort available to avoid long lines during rush hours. From the opening day, the new cafeteria introduced the self-service point-of-sale in addition to the regular cash register, and this small thing helps to avoid long queues.

There are several reasons why a business can benefit from the self-service point-of-sale:

  • Shorter queues allow to serve more people during peak hours;
  • Reduced HR costs – a large number of customers place their orders using the self-service point-of-sale, and the process is often faster compared to the regular cashier;
  • Improved client satisfaction – since some parts of the service process are automated, the existing waiters will be able to provide better service with bigger smiles;
  • Efficient use of space – the self-service point-of-sale requires less space compared to a traditional counter.

The self-service point-of-sale in itself is not big news in Estonia any more. This solution, for example, is used in Plus cafes, in the canteen of Taltech University, and even on the ferries operating between the mainland and the islands. What makes the solution implemented in Pannkoogimaja special is that the cafeteria still offers table service. With the self-service point-of-sale, the client can place an order within seconds instead of waiting for the waiter to come to the table with the menu, then place an order that the waiter delivers to the kitchen so that the chefs can start cooking. After eating, the client does not have to wait for the waiter to bring the check, then bring the card payment terminal and only then pay for the lunch.

With the new system, the client enters the order directly into the system, so the chefs can start cooking even before the client takes a seat. At the kiosk, each client also receives a desk number, so the waiters know where to bring the food once it is ready. The client pays for the order immediately when ordering. So in this new system, the best parts of both worlds are combined – the speed of ordering is guaranteed, but the comfortable table service is still there.

Even though the new cafeteria has only been open for a few weeks, customers have warmly received the self-service point-of-sale. At the moment, about half of all orders are placed through self-service. The waiting-staff says that customers value speed a lot also outside the peak hours. “For example, when a group of four people comes in, two of them usually order at the self-service point-of-sale and two come to me to order. They already realize that this way, they will get the ordering done faster,” the waiter praises the convenience of the new system.

Madis Nurmsalu, co-owner and head chef of Pannkoogimaja chain, is also pleased with the innovation: “Ektaco has already surprised us in a very positive way. They developed an option to enter a table number in the self-service point-of-sale for us. When we looked at the demo, this functionality was not there yet. Besides, Ektaco really listens and helps us to find solutions to problems that have emerged during the first few weeks of using the new system. For example, as a lunch place, it sometimes happens that we run out of some products or raw materials unexpectedly. If we would just delete the buttons of the dishes we currently don’t have, this creates blanc spaces on the screen, but Ektaco quickly figured out the solution. Now we mark the buttons on the screen with a sales restriction, so the purchasing process is clear for the client. We also realized that there is a need to indicate at the self-service if clients would like to dine in or take out. This option is now also added to the system. 

Pannkoogimaja in Tehnopol is the first location for us where we have used the self-service option. As the experience with CompuCash and especially the self-service point-of-sale has been a good one, we continue with upgrading the systems in our other locations soon,” Nurmsalu added.

Anybody who has ever run a catering or restaurant business knows for sure that it is a tough business where every Euro is counted. No investment is made without proper analysis. For Pannkoogimaja the solutions used were quite affordable. Instead of using a large cash register, the system is 100% app-based and works on the iPad. The investment for the entire system, including the regular check-out and the self-service point-of-sale, was about the same as the 2,5-month labour cost for one waiter. As we know that the fluctuation of personnel in the service sector is extremely high, it is essential to consider that in addition to the direct savings on the wages, there are also savings on recruitment and training costs.

What is the self-service point-of-sale?

  • A touch-screen solution where a client can pay for their purchases by himself/herself.
  • One can pay with a regular bank card or use the swiping option.
  • The user interface is available in four languages: Estonian, English, Russian, and Finnish.
  • The self-service point pf sale is suitable for the service providers that tend to have a queue at some rush hours – e.g. lunch places, entertainment centres, etc.
  • One can sell goods sold in pieces, tickets but also goods sold by weight with the self-service point of sale.
  • In the case of a restaurant, it is possible to connect the solution with table numbers – that makes it possible to know into which table to serve the food.
  • In the case of a museum etc. a client can buy the ticket online and get into the location with this same ticket.
  • Names and prices of the goods can be easily changed and added by the administrators, and one can also add products with discounts and arrange campaigns.
  • CompuCash can also be integrated with a business software that saves additional time and diminishes the possibility of human errors.

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