Felicity Moore|October 2, 2020
Location: Houston, TX
Type of Restaurant: American
Number of Employees: 47
America’s Number One Cafeteria, Cleburne Cafeteria, Improves Guest Experience with Online Ordering
Behind the big double doors of the Cleburne Cafeteria holds the rich history of the number one cafeteria in the country. There, guests can dive into stories of when the Cleburne Cafeteria first opened their doors stemming back to the early 1940s. As a staple across the community, it’s estimated that about 70% of their customers are regular diners who are eager to get their daily helping of homemade comfort food.
Initially owned by Anabelle Collins and Martha Kavanaugh, it was eventually bought by Nick and Pat Mickelis back in 1952. To this day it’s continued to be managed by their son George Mickelis, who carries on his family’s legacy by overseeing and running the restaurant’s operations. He knew that in order to continue to successfully run his business he needed to have a point of sale (POS) system that wouldn’t impede his restaurant’s success.
“Cleburne has some of the most loyal customers that you can find. I knew that in order to continue to improve our guest experience we needed to upgrade our system. That way, we could start offering services that would both excite customers as well as have a streamlined process to help my staff.”
Ranked number one for Food and Wine’s The Best Cafeterias In America, George knew that in order to keep up with the mass success surrounding his restaurant he needed a solution that could serve his rush of guests coming to his establishment.
Upgrading his restaurant point of sale software made his restaurant more with the times
Before George had OrderCounter the way he ran his restaurant was completely different from how he runs it now. Initially, when he and his team would carry out orders they would use old fashioned cash registers that were used in the 1950s.
“I’m not the most tech-savvy guy that I decided to keep the old fashioned cash registers. After that company was bought out I was encouraged to look into OrderCounter. When I found out that they offered hybrid POS I was initially nervous about switching from a traditional register to a more technical device.’’
Though George found the idea of the transition daunting he soon discovered how user-friendly the system was.
As George states, “After I got the chance to try the product I was floored by how easy it was to operate. To me, the point of sale features were as easy to use as an Apple product. You don’t even need instructions in order to figure out how to use the system. It’s just that easy!”
After trying a range of different POS systems he knew that OrderCounter was the best system for Cleburne Cafeteria. Not only did he feel that the system was the most user-friendly he had come across but it would be the most reliable option.
“After testing out different systems such as Aloha POS we were unimpressed with their design. OrderCounter had hands down the most user-friendly interface in comparison to the others. We knew after we tried it we had to have it.”
Setbacks won’t get in the way due to his hybrid POS
George is extremely proud of the success that his family business has had throughout the years, however, his restaurant has experienced unbelievable hardships. Back in 1990 and in 2016 the unthinkable happened when Cleburne succumbed to two aggressive fires. After making the decision to start over George was determined to bring his family’s restaurant back to life.
Luckily one of the features of a hybrid POS system is that it has the functionality to keep important data in a cloud. That way, if George isn’t able to access his physical hybrid pos system he’s able to access that information on any mobile device.
“You never know when disaster is going to strike. After experiencing both of the fires it’s good to know that all of my information isn’t lost due to being stored in the cloud. That way I can just access it with my phone. It truly makes the product reliable.”
Switching to a hybrid POS has saved time and money for George’s business
When George had his old cash registers he realized that they were limiting his business due to the older features. By using them, customers were limited to cash transactions only. This created a problem considering that 80% of customers preferred to pay with their card.
“Though the registers were a big component in the restaurant, they were slowing down business. Customers were frustrated that they couldn’t pay with their card so I knew that we had to switch to a POS system that could process both. Since making the switch I’ve increased my sales tremendously and find that it overall improved our guest experience. I’d say that my customers are extremely happy with the change.”
George also found that his staff enjoyed the new system as well saying, “Whenever I would hire a new employee I knew that it would take time in order for them to get used to the old system. Due to how the registers ran, our staff would have to memorize all of the menu items and their prices in order to check out our guests. This would lead to complications such as mischarging customers or delaying their check out process. Since incorporating the hybrid POS it has saved me a tremendous amount of time and money on training.”
Customers continue to rave about the new services Cleburne Cafeteria can offer
As the pandemic hit the nation, Cleburne Cafeteria hit back by taking advantage of the different services that they could offer through their POS system. The most popular services that George could offer were different kinds of contactless payments. At first, George was hesitant about incorporating contactless options such as online ordering but he soon found it to be one of his best business decisions.
“At first I didn’t think that Cleburne needed online ordering. Then as soon as we found ourselves only doing carry out and to-go orders because of COVID-19 I knew I had to cave in. After Qlaborate helped us get set up we received our first order within 10 seconds. I couldn’t believe it!”
Soon after implementing his online ordering page, George’s business started soaring as online orders were flooding his POS system. Luckily for George’s staff, all of the online orders would print directly to one station making it easier for his employees to keep track of all incoming orders.
“Within less of a month since implementing online ordering, we went from 3 orders a day to now averaging 26 per day. It’s also easy to incorporate it due to how the orders seamlessly go straight to our kitchen printers. That way, my hosts know to look out for online tickets so that we can make the order as soon as it’s received.”
George is also proud to be offering contactless services to help protect his customers as well as his staff.
“At Cleburne, our staff and our customers are like family to us. Not only have some customers have been coming to us for years but we also have staff that have been with us for over 20 years. That’s why I also found contactless methods to be important to keep our staff and customers safe. Now we offer curbside pickup so that customers can pick up their food at a safe distance. On the website, it lets customers place their order, get an estimated time, and describe their vehicle to us so we can deliver it straight to their car. That way, it keeps our customers happy while also keeping everyone safe. Going online was the way to go.”