Watami group was established in 1984 with businesses in restaurants, nursing care and catering to the elderly. In order to expand its restaurant business overseas, the group founded Watami International Limited in 2008. The group owns a chain of Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Taiwan, Shanghai, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Korea and Japan with over 600 domestic outlets and over 80 overseas outlets. Watami International Limited focuses on the "casual restaurant" market, which sits between family restaurants and public houses, providing a homely dining environment with a family atmosphere.
In 2001, Watami International Limited established the group's first restaurant in Hong Kong, "Watami". In addition to Watami outlets in key business districts, the group has also introduced reasonably priced, authentic Japanese cuisine under the brand name "Watei", opening several restaurants in suburban areas. The group currently has over 30 outlets in Hong Kong.
The shortage of labour resources is a common challenge to local companies. In face of the challenge, Watami International Limited considered to speed up the service procedure at the reception to enhance the customer service level within the restaurant and enrich the overall customer dining experience.
As one of the most popular chain restaurants in the main business district and throughout major shopping centers, Watami International Limited is focused on serving Hong Kong customers delicious food – fast, especially during the lunch-time and after-work peak hours, to cut queues and reduce waiting times.
To combat rising costs while striving to provide customers with the best possible dining experience, Watami International Limited was seeking an IT solution to improve its ticketing procedures and in turn free up manpower to focus on smooth operations within its restaurants.
After carefully considering several vendors, Watami International Limited decided to partner with Fujitsu to design and deliver the queuing system kiosks. A number of factors were taken into account in the selection process, including reliability, functionality, ease-of-use and flexibility as well as cost.
In response to Watami International Limited's business needs, Fujitsu developed a customized, three-screen queuing system kiosk, which is the first three-screen design in Hong Kong. The design includes a tall kiosk and Fujitsu Queuing System. At the front of the kiosk, two monitors are installed for ticketing and promotions. The lower touch screen monitor displays simple buttons for customers to input the number of diners to be seated and receive a print-out of the corresponding ticket. The larger upper monitor, accompanied with a set of speakers, displays the ticket numbers to be seated. In addition to displaying the ticket numbers, the screen also promotes restaurant menus and recommended dishes, which allows customers to consider what to order and read the latest company information or special offers.
At the back of the kiosk, there is a third monitor for internal use. This monitor, with numeric keypad on the kiosk desk, allows staff to arrange the order of tickets and seats through the Fujitsu Queuing System if necessary. They can also easily manage the menu display visible on the front screen.
Fujitsu also provided flexible delivery and customized support to meet the needs of Watami International Limited. The installation of the kiosks took place outside the restaurants business hours. Once the set up was complete, Fujitsu's consultants provided on-site training to staff on how to the use the system. These customized arrangements minimized disturbance to the client which can be caused by the delivery and installation of new systems.
Watami International Limited is the first restaurant chain in Hong Kong to introduce a three-screen queuing system kiosk to enhance customer experience. Through customized design of the kiosk and software in accordance to its business needs, Watami International Limited is able to streamline the queuing process and provide a seamless service to diners. The Fujitsu Queuing System kiosks have been well received by diners. They found the system easy to use, with clear information provided. Watami International Limited has received positive feedback from customers for their restaurant service through the introduction of the queuing system kiosk as restaurant staff are able to focus on increasing speed of service and clear tables more efficiently, ensuring smooth operations inside each restaurant. The brand image is elevated as a result of providing an excellent dining experience.
With the three-screen display, the Fujitsu Queuing System kiosk contains a single machine to concurrently handle multiple applications including multimedia content playback, customer interface control, staff control and data storage and upload to a centralized server.
"Customers are able to see our latest promotions and menus on the big screen in front of them while waiting, so they already have an idea what to order when they are seated. The kiosks operate quickly and smoothly, allowing staff to focus on serving diners inside the restaurant and ensure that we're consistently delivering the highest quality of service." said Mr Joshua Leung, Corporate Planning and Administration Manager of Watami International Limited.
Fig. 1. Fujitsu developed a customized, three-screen queuing system kiosk.
Fig. 2. Screen to display the menu and latest promotion on offer.
A further benefit is that the system can record the dining process of each ticket, including the waiting time and table assigned. Together with other data such as food ordered and length of the meal, the solution provides valuable data for the customer loyalty programme. As a result, Watami International Limited is able to adjust its menu according to diners' preferences and provide the best dining experience to its customers worldwide.
"With the data collected from the queuing system kiosks in various restaurants throughout our chain, we are able to better allocate our resources and enhance customer satisfaction. It started as a project to enhance our operational efficiency, but has generated benefits significantly beyond our expectations providing us with critical intelligence" said Leung.
Having seen the benefits of the queuing system kiosks in Hong Kong and Singapore, with 24 and 7 kiosks rolled out across each city respectively, Watami International Limited has entrusted Fujitsu to provide kiosks to more of its restaurants in Southeast Asia. "Our team is delighted to deliver the Fujitsu Queuing System Kiosks to Watami International Limited in Hong Kong and overseas. With our technological expertise and deep knowledge of the local market, we are able to contribute to improving the dining experience for Japanese food lovers in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia," said Kenneth Law, Head of Business Solutions Applications and SI, Fujitsu Hong Kong.
The Queuing System Kiosk solution is cloud ready, and able to transmit data from the kiosks in various outlets to a centralized data center. The cloud-ready kiosks make it more convenient for Watami International Limited to process data and further improve Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programmes.
"As a leading Japanese restaurant brand in Hong Kong, we are always striving to provide the best dining experience for our customers. Fujitsu's team has listened to our business needs and provided us with a tailor-made solution that helps us to achieve our goals. We look forward to working with Fujitsu to blend technology advancements into gourmet dining, providing an unparalleled restaurant experience" concluded Leung.
Fujitsu Hong Kong is a leading ICT solutions and services provider that creates value for customers through highly reliable and environmentally friendly ICT offerings. With 50 years of experience in Hong Kong, and as part of the Fujitsu Group – a global family of ICT infrastructure experts – the company has been leveraging innovation and technology in its flexible response to the unique needs of each customer. As the hub and gateway for customers exploring business opportunities in and out of China and the Asia Pacific region, Fujitsu Hong Kong is also committed to developing long-term partnerships with its customers. Our major customers include the Government of HKSAR, Cathay Pacific Airways, PCCW, KGI Asia Limited, CITIC Securities International, Modern Terminals Limited, Octopus, One Media Group and more. For more information, please visit http://hk.fujitsu.com.
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