Customer Case Study

MK restaurants

The ultimate self-service ordering system cuts labor costs FOR MK Restaurants to the bare minimum

Head office: Fukuoka, Japan

MK Restaurants is Thailand’s largest restaurant chain that specializes in “Thai-suki”.

It’s parent company Plenus MK has a franchise serving shabu-shabu and authentic dim sum in Japan.

Twenty-five MK Restaurants locations in Japan switched their existing systems to BayPOS in 2018, successfully cutting labor costs to a record minimum. We spoke to MK Restaurants manager Takao Wakayama and Plenus IT Planning Department specialist Yuto Sugawara to find out how BayPOS has improved their business.

Time and effort from being seated to starting a meal

“Before BayPOS, our customers would have to wait for about 15 minutes after being seated before their meal was served,” says Wakayama.

He explains that the previous system had tablets on each table that let diners order additional items by themselves while eating (shabu-shabu items or dim sum dishes). However, for the “course selection” which was required as the first step in the ordering process, a server had to come to the table and enter the information into the system.

“Customers needed to call for a server to choose a course. But during busy times they would have to wait for their server to arrive, or the opposite would happen where the server would come to the table only to find that they still needed time to decide what to order.”

Choosing the course was intended to be a fun part of the dining experience, but it ended up causing stress to both the diners and servers, especially during peak hours.

And when it took longer for the order selection, it resulted in reduced hourly earnings for the restaurant.

“Some customers walked in knowing exactly which course they wanted, and others needed to look through the menu before making any decisions. In either case, we wanted our service to be streamlined and our operations to have zero inefficiency. We thought those goals could be accomplished if we could give our customers a way to choose their course by themselves. But there were no previous examples of any services like that, and the existing system had no way to technically support it.”

The brand new system was rapidly developed in line with the company’s vision

The Plenus IT Planning Department chose BayPOS to address this challenge. They had seen how BayPOS had made a positive impact to the Yayoi brand’s global operations, where it was built up from scratch to handle the diverse needs of users around the world and had been well received.

“BayPOS uses iterative and heuristic development process through user interface prototyping and field testing. This allowed us imagine the actual operation, so we felt sure to be on the right path to our goal. ” says Sugawara (Specialist of the Plenus IT Planning Department) .

He says that this approach quickly provided satisfactory results, despite the fact that this brand new system had just been introduced to the team.

“We’ve also been able to smoothly roll out the new feature enabling self-service course selections. It’s been provided to all locations after being successfully tested at a small number of locations.”

30% reduction in time from being seated to starting a meal,

Saving 60 hours' labor cost per location per month

“The first time I tried out BayPOS, I knew it would eliminate the need for staff training,” says Wakayama.

He says that the clearly designed interface was in sync with the flow of their operational procedures, so their staff could master it in 5 minutes, and this has enabled a smooth transition from the previous system.

“Restaurants are often short-handed and have high employee turnover, so it’s important for tools to be easy to learn. The BayPOS system is so user-friendly that people hardly ever make any mistakes.”

He says that the “self-service course selection” feature that was his main focus has met his expectations.

“Even when it’s busy and we’re short on staff, all we need to do is seat the customers. They can then start ordering and eating by themselves. We’ve eliminated the risk of making them wait. That’s a critical improvement. The new system has shaved an average of 5 minutes (30%) off of the time it takes for our customers to get their meals after they have been seated.”

The company has also been successful in making operations more efficient across the board, using BayPOS features such as cloud menu management that makes automated seasonal updates.

“Overall, we’ve managed to cut 60 hours of labor per location per month. And in addition to this cost saving, we were able to reduce the staff workload, giving them the time to focus on more important aspects of their jobs, such as attentive customer service and preparing tables. Plenus MK’s mission is to become Japan’s top name in the service industry, and I think the BayPOS system will go a long way in helping us achieve that goal.”