User interfaces include traditional (reed style) keyboard designs, micromotion keyboard surface, touch screen units, hand-held order entry devices, and magnetic strip readers. The two primary types of keyboard surfaces are reed style and micromotion. The reed design contains wet-proof keys raised above the surface of the keyboard, while the micromotion design has a flat, wet-proof surface.
Both keyboard designs are usually capable of supporting interchangeable menu boards. A menu board overlays the keyboard surface and identifies the function performed by each key during a specific meal period. Menu boards, like soft keys, can be developed to meet the specific needs of individual properties. Menu boards identify a number of different types of keys. Key types may include preset keys, price look-up (PLU) keys, function keys, settlement keys, modifier keys, and numeric keypad. Servers enter orders by using preset keys and/or PLU keys. Modi¬fier keys may be used in combination with preset and PLU keys to detail prepara¬tion instructions (such as rare, medium, well-done) for food production areas. Modifier keys may also be used to alter prices based on designated portion sizes (such as small, medium, and large). A numeric keypad is used to facilitate various data entry operations and to enable cashiers to ring items by price when prices for items are not identified by preset keys or PLU numbers. Function keys and settle¬ment keys are used to correct and complete transactions.
Generally, management can determine the positioning of most keys on a keyboard overlay. By positioning keys for similar items and functions together and arranging groups into a logical order, management can improve system performance and enhance operational controls. Recently developed touch screen units, hand-held order entry devices, and magnetic strip (credit card) readers are used to complement and/or replace keyboard operations. Touch screen units enable the server to' enter data without a keyboard. Order is entered interactively by physically selecting items displayed on a predetermined series of screens. Hand-held terminals (1-IHT) allow the server to place an order table side. There is no need to walk to a centrally located terminal to enter orders. This user interface design requires that each server has his/her own data entry device
Rather than employing a manual or external credit card authorization terminal, a magnetic strip reader can be directly interfaced to an ECRIPOS device. Magnetic strip readers provide rapid entry of stored data, initial validation screening, and initiate transaction posting procedures. The area of transaction processing technology (TPT) holds great promise for the food service industry.
As in most businesses around the world, restaurant industry started to rely on information technology for their business practices. Even though restaurant industry was slow in adoption of information technology and systems due to its work nature which is largely labor-intensive, current trend is to utilize information technology such as Point-of-Sales systems. POS systems are mainly used for processing customer payment processing in restaurants. With this system, restaurants are able to process credit card payments and manage transaction records. However nowadays utilization of information technology has included more advanced systems such as hand-held computers, customer relationship management systems, and supply chain management systems. Among these advanced systems, hand-held computers are widely implemented in upscale restaurants and large restaurant chains