SME Tech

From tablet to table at Ministry of Food

Patrons at Japanese restaurant chain Ministry of Food can swipe through the menu on a tablet and order food by tapping on the items.
Patrons at Japanese restaurant chain Ministry of Food can swipe through the menu on a tablet and order food by tapping on the items.PHOTOS: CUSCAPI

Self-ordering system lets diners at same table place orders using multiple tablets

For less tech-savvy customers, the latest 2.1 version of Rev adds an interactive cartoon avatar to guide patrons through the ordering process.

The next time you place an order at a Ministry of Food (MOF) eatery, your fingers could be doing all the work.

After a year-long pilot, the Japanese restaurant chain is rolling out a self-ordering system that lets patrons place orders via tablets at all its outlets.

Built from scratch by Malaysian F&B solutions provider Cuscapi, the system, dubbed Rev, consists of rugged tablets that can survive drops and liquid spillage.

Patrons can swipe through the menu and order food by tapping on the items. They can customise their orders, too, such as by asking for less sugar in their coffee.


For less tech-savvy customers, the latest 2.1 version of Rev adds an interactive cartoon avatar to guide patrons through the ordering process.

For less tech-savvy customers, the latest 2.1 version of Rev adds an interactive cartoon avatar to guide patrons through the ordering process.

The avatar can recommend best-selling items and highlight promotions.

It also has a multi-tablet function so diners at the same table can place their orders using multiple tablets. These orders are then processed into a single bill for payment.

MOF's chief operating officer, Mr Lee Hon Tat, said: "We have experienced an increase in revenue as people tend to order more because of the convenience in using the Rev tablet."

With the self-ordering system in place, he said, waiters now have more time to advise customers, not just take orders.

Six MOF restaurants are already using the Rev tablets. The rest will do so by the third quarter.

Cuscapi's Mr Eugene Ng said that while there were teething issues in the first month, revenue grew 15 per cent during the MOF trial.

He thinks restaurants can reap productivity savings of between 1,800 and 4,800 hours a year by switching to the self-ordering system.

The concept of using a self-service tablet to order food is not new, he said.

Eateries use iPads or Panasonic tablets with a custom ordering app. This initial investment can be substantial.

Cuscapi's solution costs between $40,000 and $50,000, depending on the scope and customisation. Subsequently, restaurants pay a monthly fee of less than $100 for each tablet.

The system takes some six to eight weeks to be deployed at a single restaurant, though it should take only a day or two to add an additional outlet.

Mr Ng said that the company is continuing to improve Rev's features. In the pipeline is the option of paying the bill with a credit card or Nets right at the table via the tablet.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2015, with the headline 'From tablet to table at Ministry of Food'. Print Edition | Subscribe