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A restaurant pager system is a way of alerting diners when a table is free without requiring them to wait in a particular spot. It uses a wireless pager service, usually with a flashing or vibrating device. Aside from cost, some important aspects to consider include the range and battery life of the pagers, as well as the warranty and support on offer.
In most cases, a restaurant pager system is used in situations where diners must wait for a table to become available. Each pager is individually numbered and can be made to buzz or flash by the front-of-house staff when a table is ready. While promoted as a convenience measure for customers, the pager system is often used so that diners are encouraged to wait in the restaurant's bar and buy a drink while waiting!
From a practical perspective, the most important feature of a restaurant pager system is the range. This is how far the pager units can be taken and still receive a signal. While it might appear that the further the range, the better, some restaurants in busy areas may want to avoid an overly long range so that diners don't have the option of waiting at a competing bar. Of course, it's not impossible to have a situation where the system used has a very long range, but restaurant staff either imply or outright claim that it is limited to the restaurant itself.
Another key decision with a restaurant pager system is how many pagers it can support. This is something of a balancing act. On the one hand, it can be costly to buy a system that has far more pagers than a restaurant will ever use. On the other hand, it can be a false economy to use a system that can only support a limited number of pagers as, if the restaurant expands or gets busier, it may wind up needing to upgrade the entire system.
Battery life is also important. At the very least, the battery should be able to last an entire day without needing to be recharged. It's also worth finding out how many power outlets are needed to charge the entire set of pagers. Buyers will also need to check the warranty on a system, and make sure there is adequate support in case of problems. In particular, suppliers offering support outside of office hours may be a major benefit.
Despite the name, a restaurant pager system is not inherently limited to use in restaurants. It can be used anywhere that people need to be remotely alerted in a cheap, simple and reliable way. Another common use of the technology is in a church or other venue where children are put in a care facility while adults take part in an activity. In such a situation, a pager system is an efficient way for the childcare staff to discreetly alert parents when a child needs attention.
Restaurant pager systems would come in handy the most in establishments that receive a heavy flow of customers on a regular basis. It doesn't necessarily have to be a restaurant, as the article points out. It could be used in, say, a discount shoe store to alert the customers if and when the shoe size and/or color they’re asking for is available. Wireless pager systems definitely eliminate a lot of stress and running about, and leave more time for people to accomplish other duties. --Cora B.
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