System adoption by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. The Micros Point of Sale system was adopted by Cracker Barrel In the sass’s. Prior to this, Cracker Barrel had an old system running the cash registers and used a hand-written paper ticket system for taking orders. Training was extensive for servers and cashiers. I was at this time a Lead Trainer for the back of the house, which was all the cooking stations. The paper system demanded that all servers learn a shorthand-type writing language to communicate with cooks.
All vegetables had a number and all entrees had a letter. This was a cryptic system that had expanded as the menu had grown. Nothing was intuitive; the letter D was used to indicate a fried chicken breast. The letter A was an z hamburger steak. Everything had to be memorized and this took time and mistakes happened often. Cooks too had to memorize and be able to speak” Cracker Barrel. A new system had to be created and fast. The menu continued to expand and new stores opened almost weekly; training had to be quicker and more efficient. Customer satisfaction needed to improve through speed and accuracy of order.
Food cost was running around 25 percent of menu price and this needed to come down as well. All of these factors drove the need for a new way of doing business. The point of sale system by Micros Systems Inc. Was chosen by Cracker Barrel management, and we had to make it work at the store level. As with all new things, there is some apprehension in implementation. Some of the cooks and servers had been with the company for over ten years at the store where I was located, and change was not welcomed. Nevertheless, the new system had practical benefits that were soon agonized and embraced.
The new system was much more intuitive. Instead of fried chicken being written as “D”, now the cooks tickets showed it as “FRR CNN. ” Tickets were printed in two colors, red for items that needed cooking and black for vegetables that were on the steam line. With a typewritten font, cooks spent less time trying to decipher tickets and asking servers for clarifications. It took some time and expense to Implement and time for employees to be trained and learn the new system, but In a matter of days, not weeks, cooks were beating the best cook times for implementing orders.
Servers who had already learned the short hand of Cracker Barrel continued to take orders in the way they were accustomed to and only had to add one quick step of inputting the information into a touch screen. There was only about three screens a server had to learn and the system prompted a user for all the answers. If you wanted to order a country dinner plate, you couldn’t forget one of the side items; it asked for the two side items that came with it and either you input them or hit less one vegetable or it would not move on to your next item.
This new mint of sale system cut down on training of new servers and cooks alike. They only had to learn the headings of the menu now; for example, “country dinner plates” come with two vegetables, while “fancy flan’s” require three vegetables and so on. This corrected server mistakes and time that the cooks had to wait on clarification of orders. Less wasted food meant lower food cost. Additionally, thanks to more readily- available data, sales trends could now De stutter. Projected sales were closer to actual sales, and food production charts could be filled out to meet those goals more accurately.
When I became a manager, this information was invaluable for decision- making. And, of course, as a guest if the food arrives to you more quickly and accurately, it is only natural that you will be more satisfied and not only return to Cracker Barrel more often but recommend it to friends and family. Therefore, the new point of sale system better addressed Cracker Barrel’s business requirements. The point of sale system experienced very little change in the first ten years of its use. The menu has changed and been rationalized somewhat, so some items are available in some stores but not all.
This means there are some differences in the point of sale systems used regionally but through all this, the basic same point of sale system has been in place. I left Cracker Barrel in 2009. As I was leaving, a few changes to the point of sale system were planned. I can only surmise that the changes to the point of sale system that were in the works have been implemented by now. The changes planned would do away with printed tickets for the cooks and use LED screens in the kitchens. This would eliminate the need for printers, paper in the printers, and ink.
Tickets could no longer magically fall behind the grill and be lost. I was looking forward to this change and hope the transition was a smooth one. I have seen these systems in place in a few stores that I have visited but have never had the pleasure of working with one. Who knows, maybe soon servers will Just input the order on a tablet they carry around and it will wirelessly go to the kitchen to be cooked. Cracker Barrel is always about old-time traditions but they are always ready to implement new technology that will help the customer have a better experience and in turn drive the bottom dollar.