AFTER 18 months of research and development Palmteq’s latest hospitality technology offering, Buzz Me, is poised for commercialisation.
The wireless technology functions similar to an aeroplane paging system with tabletop displays featuring a “service” button, that when pressed, lights up the table’s number on a display board in the restaurant.
Leading Promotions events director Paul Rewell sold the Buzz Me concept to Palmteq in 2001 and he said the system had a significant advantage over competing products.
“This system is a wireless device,” he said.
“It is not a paging system. It has a board that is easily seen by the wait staff working in the restaurant.
“They can look up and see which tables need service.
“The problem with pagers is that waiters often have their hands full and can’t pick up the pager to look at it.”
Palmteq managing director Keith Caiacob said the Buzz Me system was simple and efficient and a good addition to its growing suite of wireless products.
“We try to make things as simple as possible,” he said.
“In the hospitality industry there is such a high changeover in staff and the duty of care is low so we have to make the products as durable and as easy to use as possible.”
Palmteq, which developed the wireless ordering solution WaiterPad, has ensured that Buzz Me requires no software or hardware other than a power point and batteries.
Mr Caiacob said the Buzz Me product was successfully trialed in the Osborne Park-based La Scala Restaurant and that Palmteq would now embark on selling the technology across the country and across other industries.
“We work very hard at making our products durable,” he said.
“That’s why we have a beta site for a period of time where we can develop the product to suit the conditions.
“Imagine at the casino that someone is sure that they will win soon but they are thirsty.
“Instead of leaving they could just push a button and have someone come to them.”
Mr Rewell said there was strong interest in distributing the product offshore from a Melbourne operator who had strong links to China.
“We took it to the Melbourne Food Festival last September and there was a Chinese restaurateur there who was very interested in this [Buzz Me],” he said.
“He is based in Australia but his family are in China.
“We are currently talking with them about becoming a distributor.”
A break into the international market would certainly please Palmteq’s managing director.
“It is very hard to break into the international market,” Mr Caiacob said.
“We’ve been trying to get into the US for two years.
“It is very hard for an Australian company to break through.”
The Buzz Me product will be showcased at Sydney’s Fine Food Fair in September.
For now the operators of La Scala Restaurant are the sole users of the product.
Upon conclusion of the trial, the restaurant has ordered another 11 tabletop devices so that every table in the restaurant has access to Buzz Me.
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