Benefits of Thinking Locally For Restaurants

restaurant local point of sale In our age of globalization, when our daily consumption consists of goods from elsewhere, how do we define "place?" It is not that we as consumers are actively attempting to distance ourselves from the place we live, though it certainly loses its meaning when our culture is manufactured over a thousand miles away. The most sustainable, culturally significant places are those whose goods are designed and produced within that metropolitan area. More than ever, this applies to food and the value we attach to it. There are huge, real benefits to gain from taking a local focus to food.

Using Local Produce Improves Quality and Connections By purchasing the ingredients that go into your meals from an actual, local farm, the quality of your food is guaranteed to improve. Nobody prefers lettuce shipped from across the country over lettuce grown 50 miles from the restaurant, and the taste will be noticeable to your customers.

Two popular and useful resources for finding local farms to supply your needs are LocalHarvest and Direct Local Food, websites that connect consumers to farms in your area. Simply enter your location and the items you need, and you are likely to find a reliable supplier of fresh produce, meat, poultry, and other ingredients in your area. You may be surprised to learn that prices will be comparable to traditional restaurant food service vendors, and if they are a bit higher, you may be able to justify charging more on your menu for locally-sourced dishes.

Understanding where the food we eat comes from, how its grown, and who grows it goes a long way in putting out a better product and is something your customers will not take for granted.

Local Marketing is Big Hometown pride can go a long way in promoting your business, and emphasizing fresh, local ingredients will never deter a customer, only make them more interested. The recent focus on creating quality products is evident in nearly every market today. For example, casual beer drinkers five years ago are now connoisseurs of craft brews. Especially in food service settings, craft culture is being cultivated by the use of the best produce and meats, relying on seasonal offerings that scream variety, creativity, passion, and quality.

By taking advantage of your local offerings, you will not only be supporting the regional economy, but cultivating a positive image for your restaurant. Marketing your business as one that is invested in the local economy will show a return in the future.

Local Investment is a Boomerang If you are still not convinced of the benefits of local investment, take a look at this article from the American Independent Business Alliance explaining the local multiplier effect. Several studies profiled have shown significant direct and indirect impacts (money that is spent and recirculated in the same area) when businesses invest locally. Specifically, "Restaurants and service providers generate a large multiplier because they are labor-intensive and, therefore, more of each dollar of revenue goes to local payroll." The more produce and labor is sourced locally, the more often that money will be reinvested in your community and eventually back to your restaurant.  Ambur is a proud supporter of independent restaurants, committed to offering point of sale software and services at an affordable price.

Additional Resources: GrowBuyEat AgLocal Strategies to Integrate Locally Sourced Food

 

5 Recipes To Spice Up Your Fall Cooking

fall_blogpost As the days become crisper and sweaters commonplace once again, there is nothing more comforting than a meal with a little fall spice to keep you warm. While the Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL, for those in the know) reigns over all other autumn staples, perhaps it's time to see how we can incorporate some spice into other areas of our palettes. Here are five fall recipes that, as one meal or on their own, won't fail to keep you satisfied on a golden autumn day.

1. Thai Spice Pumpkin Soup This exciting twist on the traditionally beloved pumpkin soup kicks the spice up and introduces an exotic element. It's always good to see old favorites in a new light, and this works equally as well as a starter or main course. Check out the recipe here.

2. Poached Scallops in Curried Cauliflower This flavorful dish from Wegmans introduces a warm curry element that goes extremely well with rosemary, scallops, cauliflower, and carrots. It all blends to create a memorable plate evocative of other warm fall flavors, such as cardamom, cinnamon, and black pepper. You can find the recipe here.

3. Stuffed Jack-O-Lantern Bell Peppers While stuffed peppers are a favorite all year round, this recipe introduces a festive element. Why only carve pumpkins, when you can carve your food, too? Perfect for kids and the kid in all of us that comes out around Halloween.

4. Apple Spice Cake Leave it to Martha Stewart to worry about the desserts; she has a whole series of recipes dedicated to fall cakes. In keeping with the spice theme, one that stands out is the Apple Spice Cake, appropriately served warm à la mode. Mmmmm.

5. Glögg Being surrounded by loved ones, feeling cozy, and maybe even a little tipsy can make any chilly autumn night that much better. In Danish, they have a single word that encapsulates this intimate feeling. It's "hygge," and it's not just a word, it's a lifestyle. Similar to the German Glühwein, Glögg is a mulled wine that reflects this feeling, with all of those fabulous fall flavors and a splash of brandy or vodka. You can find the recipe here to begin your hygge night.

Updates: Ambur 2.1.1 and Apple iOS 8

Ambur Update 2.1.1

The latest version of Ambur (2.1.1) is now available to download from the App Store. This version was heavily beta tested by several Ambur users (thanks guys!) to ensure no bugs slipped through. Here are the full release notes from the developer:

DROPBOX - when Dropbox errors are shown, show English instead of error codes if possible - backups would silently fail if the user’s Dropbox was too full - a Dropbox backup wouldn’t show that it was backing up until the first upload chunk succeeded (which could take a couple minutes on a slow connection) - crash someone signs out of Dropbox while a Dropbox backup is in progress NO ACCOUNT MODE - enable table layout by default - don’t reset tax rate to 0% after successful activation - editing of tax rate allowed in demo mode HUB - show spinner when attempting to link to a hub - give up on a link attempt if it takes longer than 10 seconds MISC - show fancy “out of range” alert whenever we haven’t heard from the hub in 2 seconds (we should be hearing from ir 20 times a second), the user can either walk back in range or tap “Disconnect” to get taken to the “Start Hub/Link to Hub” screen. This will help with detecting Wi-Fi weak spots - orders can be created from a swipe at the main Orders screen with no order selected (please test this, it should start a new order with the name on the CC) - issue with showing order on left after selecting it from table layout - when text entry starts, the current value is cleared out so the user can avoid tapping the “clear” button so they can begin entering a new value quicker - crash when database is ready before the view, so the view asks for the wrong stuff from the database and the database gets confused. - crash viewing an Order screen and there’s no relationships to display - crank up font size for category picker - alert shown when there’s no printer at that IP no longer interrupts operation, it’s displayed at the top of the screen and disappears by itself - alert displayed if start date is after end date doesn’t interrupt anymore - change colors on employee report start/end date picker to make it more readable - show 4 grid view cells per row (down from 6) in portrait - make “Loading…” indicator show in lists FIXES - rearchitect login pad to work around iOS 7 bug causing centering to fail - remove need for restart after activating full version & importing a Dropbox database - crash adding menu items to a category - issues with long USB TSP100 print-outs - table layout always showing on client devices - crash starting a table on the iPhone - crash trying to sync objects that were just created but aren’t ready to be synced yet - number adjustment with +/- buttons not accurately reflecting the updated quantity - fixed 25% tip estimation using 20% amount - fees are now included in an Order’s total - don’t clear search text whenever editing starts - leave search results up after done button is pressed - going into order type/other editor screens resulting in being stuck in a black screen on iPhone - issue that led to blank customers report - table layout tables not showing correct colors after opening/closing a table - issue with opening table layout tables from table layout - lists header bar being too low when displayed in a popover - prevent connections to pre-current version hubs - use new algorithm to result in less awkward word wrapping for text in grid cells - portrait size grid cells use more than one line for layout - 32 bit and 64 bit devices now show the same colors for their items - speed up saves by 75% and eliminate the appearance of duplicating orders by halting the interface for database saves again - issues with “sliding” the screen on the left causing odd behavior where the order would “go away” but still be visible, resulting in tapping items on the right randomly starting new orders - remove “Hub/Client” from top left, since that information can be accessed from the “More info…” screen - the current user’s orders have names written in orange - clients ignoring the auto logout duration - buttons “turning gray” after an autologout occurs - cash sales – cc tips calculation - add category totals to Item Sales to CSV sheet - misestimation in item cell height

Apple Update iOS 8

Apple has released its latest version of iOS and is available to update on your iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touches. Here is the full list of devices that are compatible with the update:

Please update at your earliest convenience. Ambur is programmatically set to run smoothly on iOS 8, although the update itself will take anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple hours - it all depends on your internet speed and Apple's servers. Do not update during business hours as this may interrupt service. iOS 8 will be required to run Ambur once version 2.2 is released in the near future.

To begin, go to Settings > General > Software Update.

As you have read, there are many functional fixes in this version. While 2.1.1 will run on iOS 7, Ambur 2.2 runs only on iOS 8. It is advantageous to update sooner than later. For questions about 2.1.1, please contact support@amburapp.com.

Ambur 2.1 Status Update

If you haven’t yet updated to Ambur 2.1, please hold off for the time being. If you would like to revert to a previous version, as long as you use an iCloud backup, you can follow the directions here. With the latest update, Ambur 2.1, the following issues may affect your restaurant operations: Status Message/Login Screen: If you are tapping “Link to Hub” and finding that you cannot enter any codes and you see “th an ks for t…” as your status message, your devices are most likely running two separate versions (2.0.2, and 2.1). Please evaluate the need of your additional devices and the potential problems before making your decision to update everything. Linking: We updated the linking code to optimize the performance for a majority of networks. In the past, it was overly cautious and would disconnect your device, stating “Wi-Fi signal too weak,” whereas now it will maintain the connection with more flexibility. This change may be causing odd syncing issues for some of our clients. Charge Types: Currently non-discount charges are not adding to the order total properly. To work around this, you will want to create a negative discount in it’s place. Instructions can be found here:

Go to More --> Charge Types --> and Create a new charge type. In a text field, in this case "Name," type in "-18" or whatever other amount you want to use.  Double tap the text and choose "Select All," then "Copy."  At this point the text is saved to your "clipboard" and you can adjust the name to be your fee's name.  Now select Yes for "percentage?" double tap the text field after clearing out the existing amount, and pasting "-18"  At this point, adjust the rest of your settings to finish creating the negative discount (which will act as a fee).  Discount? will be yes.  Counts as tip? depends on what type of charge you're setting up.

Merging is currently sporadic. If you can avoid merging orders, please do so, as there have been reports of items disappearing rather than merging from the two tickets. Table Layout: Selecting a table from table layout may not necessarily bring you to the order selected.  Please be sure to check the order name at the top of the screen, or toggle between orders from the order list.

We apologize for any inconveniences you may have experienced due to the update. Please contact support at support@amburapp.com for more specific concerns.

Ambur 2.1 Features, Part II: Performance, Printing, and Dropbox

1. Performance There are many changes in Ambur 2.1, while not apparently visible, substantially improve on the app’s general performance and speed. Because the new version can now run in 64 bit mode, the app will now run at an increased speed of around 30% faster on 64 bit devices. These include the iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, and the iPhone 5S. Additionally, Ambur now uses automated memory management which better controls how memory is allocated and deallocated, especially relative to other apps that may be running on your device. This leads to an additional 20-30% improvement on speed and with less crashes.

Ambur now has the capability to run in the background. If you switch away from the app (to look something up on your browser, for example), you will be able to switch back to Ambur and it will still be running. Your device will shut it down after being idle for around ten minutes, but will notify you when that happens. This makes it so that your iPad is not just your point of sale, but your jukebox, calculator, and anything else you want it to be to improve your business.

There is an update to a newer version of networking code, along with many other code changes, to improve syncing speed between devices.

Some major bugs have also been squashed, leading to less crashing and more seamless performance. In the past, if Ambur was not a Hub and could not find settings, it would crash. It turns out to be a better idea to use no settings in this case.

In the following version of Ambur (2.2), it will be necessary to update your devices to iOS 8. While the new version (2.1) does not require an update, once iOS 8 is released September 17, it will be still be able to run on it. It is advantageous to update to ensure your systems stay up to date and ready for the following versions of Ambur.

2. Printing For most food service business, we understand that quick and reliable printing is essential for things running smoothly. Much shorter delays should be expected for sending and printing, and tickets dropped due to a Star SP700 printer being busy and dropping data will no longer be an issue. Ambur will automatically keep trying until a full receipt prints instead of dropping it altogether.

blog v2.1 postReceipts themselves will also be more customizable. You now have the option of adding asuggested tip to your receipts, along with general upgrades to receipt formatting. To change how your receipts are formatted (from kitchen to customer to coupon), simply go to settings, tap the action button in the top right corner of the screen, and tap Edit Receipt format. Scroll through to whichever receipt you would like to change, and turn on, off, add, delete, or rearrange each feature until the formatting is up to par. In order to add suggested tips as an option, scroll to the bottom and hit "update to latest" and it will appear.

3. Dropbox Dropbox is intended to be an extension of Ambur, not something that limits your storage potential. Therefore, there is no longer a limit on your database size. It will also be easier to share your database with support or colleagues by going to the Status screen (mentioned in the previous post) and generating the link. From there, it is also possible to start a backup to your Dropbox. Lastly, aside from Dropbox updating every hour, saving your database no longer makes the rest of the app wait, resulting in improved performance and more opportunities to save your information in a reliable way.

Everyone at Ambur is excited and proud to release 2.1 because it improves on so much. The future looks bright due to increased customer support, a faster and more efficient point of sale system, and new ideas for future product and feature integration. As always, we'll be sure to keep you updated.

Introducing 24/7 Support

james as support Hey, folks! We're excited to announce the beginning of 24/7 support. You will now have the option to give us a call anytime, any day, with any problem. While the current support hours will remain free, we understand that it would be helpful to have the option of 24/7 support whenever an issue arrises. This is how it will work:

Weekday support between 10AM and 6PM will remain free and available, however, there will be a fee associated with 24/7 support. From now until September 19th, we will be offering this service at an introductory rate of $360 for a one year subscription. After September 19th, the price goes up to $600 for a one year subscription, with the option of paying $60 monthly. By opting for a one year subscription, you will save $120 compared to paying monthly. For a huge 40% savings and sound mind, it is advantageous to buy before September 19th.

To clarify: Monday - Friday, 10AM - 6PM: still free! 24/7: $360 for one year (until September 19th) $60/month or $600 for one year (after September 19th)

To sign up or inquire further, don't hesitate to give our sales team a call at 716.235.5808 (ext. 1).

Or follow these links to sign up right away: Monthly | Annually

Thanks, The Ambur Team

Ambur 2.1 Features, Part I: Status Screen, Reporting, and Improved Interface

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We’re very excited to announce that the release of Ambur v2.1 is around the corner! It has been submitted to Apple as of today, so we are looking at a timeframe within a week or two. With the long-sought release of 2.0, followed by 2.0.2, the latest version builds upon its strengths and dramatically improves on a great number of challenges.

This post will detail the major changes in 2.1, where hard work has yielded satisfying results. The top sources of crashing have been eradicated and new features from more organized and detailed reports, to a beneficial support function have been added. This all adds up to the best version of Ambur yet, still with no monthly fees and a support team ready to assist you, free of charge.

v2.1 blog post screenshot

1. The Status Screen By clicking the global action button and selecting More Information, you will be taken to the new Status Screen. This is incredibly helpful for finding out information about your device, network, and Dropbox account. With one tap, you’re able to know the device name and ID, iOS version, app version, WiFi network, your iPad’s status as a hub or client (including the number of client devices), and the last time your database was backed up to Dropbox, all on one screen.

v2.1 blog screenshot 2

Three additional functions below this plethora of information further assist in keeping your system running smoothly. The first, Backup to Dropbox now, provides a quick and easy way to back up your database. The second button, Get link for Ambur DB in Dropbox, instantly provides a direct link to your database which is especially helpful when dealing with support. In addition, there will now be no limit on the size of your database and backups will occur every hour. The third and most exciting function is Screencast. This allows a support team member to view what is happening on your screen, mirroring any issue you may have so that it is more visible to us. We are confident this function will be extremely helpful in future support calls.  You can also utilize Screencast to monitor your Hub from home by going to iostream.io and entering the randomized number Ambur provides when enabling the function.

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2. Reporting For any business, the ability to run reports is crucial for maintaining organization and finances, which has been a central feature of Ambur from the beginning. With 2.1, Reports have been expanded in the areas of payroll, discounts, and fees. The Payroll report will now split out shifts and wages based on the pay rate. It will also show the hours and minutes worked, including the fractional number of hours worked (i.e. 1 hour 45 minutes as 1.75 hours). If one employee holds two different roles with respective pay rate differences, such as a host and a server, their rates will be divided but contained under that individual employee making it easier to see how payroll is divided.

The second added Reports feature is Discounts and Fees which is now also listed on the Orders to CSV report. Discounts allows you to see how much you gave away in coupons, Groupons, and other concessions. You will also be able to see how much you gained in Fees, while Tips remain in their own report.

3. Interface Improvements Order actions, located at the bottom of the screen below the menu items, have been reformatted and now have icons for easier navigating.

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Menu items now have a color dictated by the category they’re in, and if one item is in two categories, it will display the category color with the higher rank. In a future version of Ambur, custom color assigning will be possible outside of category colors.

Orders will now have color distinctions. Firstly, the last viewed order will be highlighted gray  (or outlined depending on the view mode) on an iPad. In addition, if a user has permissions to see all orders, the names of their orders will be highlighted in orange. Finally, there is now greater visual separation between modifiers when picking options for a menu item.

This is the first in a series of blog posts on Ambur v2.1 to make all of the new features and fixes more digestible.

9 Ways to Enhance Your Dining Experience With Music

Music adds a completely new and interesting element to the dining experience. It’s no secret that music almost always enhances a dining experience, but its importance is often undermined and left up to a Pandora playlist to set the mood. While radio stations are convenient and sometimes useful, the thought put into a playlist or live music will not go unnoticed. If you wouldn’t randomly select the decor and visual appearance of your restaurant, then you also shouldn’t randomly select the auditory experience for your guests. Here are some ways to enhance your space with some good tunes:

1. Know Your Angle The music playing in your restaurant, cafe, or bar should correlate with the theme of your food and space. Country music at an Indian restaurant? Seems weird. Try sticking with what you know and what your customers expect.

2. Create a Meaningful Playlist It’s likely you or one of your employees feels passionately about music and probably already has some good ideas on what should be playing. Gather suggestions from the staff and make it a communal experience, one that you all get to share while working.

3. Create an Experience For the Customer
 Anyone can plug their iPod into a speaker and play some Miles Davis, but to make the customer’s visit memorable, invite a jazz trio to perform instead. This enhances the dining experience by setting the mood, creates an attraction, and lures in new customers.

4. Spread the Word Since you’re already cultivating an experience, why not turn it into an event? Use social media to your advantage and get the word out that you now have live music. Maybe even take the opportunity to ask your customers what they would like to hear!

5. Don’t Stop the Music
 One study from the National Institutes of Health shows that the “presence of music is associated with higher food intake. Within subject comparisons revealed higher food and fluid intake and longer meal duration while listening to music.” What this means for your business is, the more often music is playing, people will likely order more from your menu and linger for an extra drink or two.

6. Mix It Up - But Not Too Much While it’s important to play the appropriate tunes for your space, no one wants to hear Adele followed by Norah Jones followed by Adele on a friday night. Mix in those smooth, quiet tracks with livelier ones to please the most amount of people.

7. Skip the Cover Fee (If You Can)
 If your business is able to front the bill for a band without asking a cover fee from customers, this is highly recommended. Some customers will be deterred by having to pay for something they may not even want. Think of it as an investment to draw more people in.

8. Offer a Drink Special
 What’s one thing that goes better with music than food? Alcohol! For some, live music and drinking are inseparable, and what better opportunity to offer a drink special? As noted in tip #5, your guests will be more likely to buy more drinks if music is playing.

9. Use Your iPad
 Did you know you can run Ambur Point of Sale while playing music off your iPad? Use iTunes, Spotify, or another streaming service and you can run your business and your tunes all from the same place. Follow these simple instructions here and check out amburapp.com for more features.

N.B. As one of our customers brought up, it's important to be cognizant of music licensing! Check out the rules and exceptions from the National Restaurant Association here.

Ambur 2.0.2 released in the App Store!

Ambur 2.0.2 is now available in the App Store – the 2.0 that we wanted to give you last Monday is available, and we’d love for you to give it a try. All customers can download it now, including people using Mercury for credit card processing, and this release was tested using our new protocol so you know it’s rock solid. 2.0.2 is a combination of the new features from 2.0, with the bug fixes for most known crashes in 2.0.1, and more bug fixes and some small new features in 2.0.2. The complete list of changes is available at the bottom of this post, as well as in the App Store update notes.

The major new features in 2.0 were a redesigned, modern interface designed to the standard introduced by Apple in iOS 7. The order screen was given extra attention, and it’s workflow was redesigned from the ground up to make it the fastest order taking experience on any point of sale. Grid pickers were added to maximize the use of screen real estate, and the app was converted to work with iOS 7 as it’s base, making it much easier for us to maintain and grow quickly. Support for Mercury transactions entered manually rather than swipes was added – please contact Mercury to set up support for that in your system. Time based reporting was also added, so, for example, you can compare your sales just during your lunch shifts from 1 to 4 PM.

2.0.1 fixed issues we saw with the major engineering effort of 2.0 once it was released into the world. We fixed a bug that caused many of our client’s secondary devices to be unable to link to a hub, we decreased login times significantly, fixed issues with splitting, and sporadic issues with sending items to the kitchen and opening cash drawers.

2.0.2 fixed every last bug we saw in 2.0, the most important ones being batching Mercury transactions, and a crash when adding payments on a setup that had devices linked together. One important major new feature is that now orders are assigned numbers by default. Practically, this means that orders will now be named “#1”, “#2”, and so on, instead of New Order. If you want to reset your order number to a lower value, you can change it in Settings. In a later update, we will make it so it wraps around to 1 instead of going from 999 to 1000. The table layout button is now an icon of a map instead of an iOS 7 button that just looks like “Layout”, so it’s more clear that it is a button. Categories are now ordered by their rank, and categories are displayed on iPhone. The menu item list shows prices on the right. Send and cancel buttons are displayed in a separate toolbar when adding items, so their appearance doesn’t put too many buttons in the title bar.

With 2.0, we made a very tough decision to throw out a lot of work we had done over the past two years in order to reboot 2.0 on top of the original 1.0 code. We did this so we could be more agile in responding to your feature requests, so as always, we’d love to hear from you. You can submit feature requests on this page. Requests placed there will go directly to me. I’d appreciate it if you left your contact information, especially email, so I can ask further questions about how your request would best fit in Ambur while developing it.

Once you’ve tried 2.0 and seen the hard work we’ve put into it and how transformative it is, we’d appreciate it if you could leave a review in the App Store. We’ve taken quite a beating there over the past week, and as a small independently run software company, reviews are very important for people’s impression of us. We don’t want their impression of us as a 3 year old company to be colored by one bad week.

Thank you for being one of our customers, and thank you for your patience over the last week. Once again, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at jpo@amburapp.com

Best, James O’Leary Founder

 

2.0.2 Notes: FEATURE: order numbers are assigned by default, new order names are now “#(insert order number here)” instead of “New Order” FEATURE: send/cancel buttons are now displayed on a toolbar below the main one when viewing an order FEATURE: Mercury manual processing works fully, in a mixed environment with swiped transactions as well FEATURE: menu item list shows price on right FEATURE: categories are now shown by rank in the list view ADJUSTMENT: changed table layout button to use an icon instead of “Layout” (thanks to James Ehrmann) ADJUSTMENT: searching now searches the full name (i.e. searching for “cord” used to bring up just “cord”, now it will bring up “cord” and “chicken cordon bleu”) (thanks to Jeffrey Su) ADJUSTMENT: tapping “Done” while searching now clears search field (thanks to Rosanna Kyarunts for pointing out this could be confusing) ADJUSTMENT: category buttons are orange tinted so they look the same as a tappable button (thanks to James Ehrmann) ADJUSTMENT: global action button icon is now a globe ADJUSTMENT: deletion is no longer allowed from lists that are pickers BUG: batching Mercury swiped credit card transactions BUG: crash when voiding a payment that doesn’t have an order BUG: order list shows short unique ID on right hand side again BUG: menu item list shows buttons for item descriptions again BUG: actions are available for closed orders again BUG: table names not ‘catching’ properly on linked devices, especially from table layout BUG: manual entry of credit card transactions when the expiration month is less than 10 BUG: “+” button for adding a customer only shows when viewing customers instead of all the time BUG: category picker added to iPhone BUG: categories are now displayed by rank properly BUG: “includes” checkmarks in reporting are now displayed properly BUG: order action toolbar buttons are now always the right color

2.0.1 Notes: BUG: crash when linking, caused by settings loading from the Hub after Orders did, by forcing Settings to load first BUG: crash when processing Mercury transactions with a username shorter than 10 characters BUG: decrease login times by only loading remote data when the screen containing data is tapped (ex. don’t load closed orders until the user taps it). will decrease load times BUG: add open order action to closed order viewer BUG: # of orders shows as 1 in the bottom left, even after the last order is closed BUG: printers not working after first send to a same printer BUG: showing “can’t adjust to $0.00” alert when a void is executed BUG: splitting an order that contains multiple items (wrong quantities being displayed, crash when splitting the first item)

2.0 Notes: FEATURE: complete redesign, done to modern Apple standards FEATURE: portrait mode compatibility on iPad FEATURE: landscape mode compatibility on iPhone FEATURE: quick order functionality FEATURE: time range reports FEATURE: redesigned login screen with status message and bigger number pad FEATURE: persistent navigation bar with quick access to basic functions (replacing “home” screen) FEATURE: navigation bar shows count of open orders FEATURE: create order by adding a new Item, Charge Type, or Customer FEATURE: order details appear throughout ordering process FEATURE: navigate between items, charge types, customers, and payments with ease FEATURE: easy access order functions(former action key) FEATURE: global “action” key FEATURE: global Table Layout access FEATURE: every list has a grid view option FEATURE: confirmation added for voiding payments ADJUSTMENT: remove confusing duplicate “total” line from “Item Sales to CSV” and “Item Sales” reports ADJUSTMENT: don’t count an item’s tax in item sales report if the order is tax exempt ADJUSTMENT: when splitting, there’s an indicator of where to drag and drop items to

Status Update 7/21 (Edit)

7/21 6:40pm: Apple has informed us that Ambur 2.0.2 is currently under review. If all goes well, by tomorrow morning nearly everyone should be able to update to the latest version without hesitation.  

 

Hi folks,

I wanted to give you an update on the state of things this week.

– What happened with 2.0.1? When devices are linked, Ambur 2.0.1 crashes on the device that takes the payment, be it the hub or client.

- What can you do in the meantime? When processing payments, do not link devices. Two options currently exist: 1) Only use one device to avoid crashes. 2) If option one is not possible, use secondary (client) devices to take orders. Once you send an order, hit the home button and exit out of the app. This will end linking. Repeat the process for every order and process payments on the Hub device only. You may also want to look back into reverting: http://blog.amburapp.com/reverting-ambur-to-previous-version/

– How did this happen? We didn’t have much time to create and implement a testing protocol last week because we were in crisis mode responding to incoming inquiries. We should have made time, because as you know, 2.0.1 improved on 2.0, but barely. 2.0.1 has a bug that causes devices to crash if they’re linked together and a payment is made on either of the devices.

– What are we doing to resolve it? We worked through the weekend coming up with the protocol, fixing issues in the update, and adding features that were missed in the redesign from 1.0 to 2.0. We’re confident 2.0.2 resolves all bugs, adds back in any missing functionality from 1.11.6 that I’ve found out about, as well as adding a few small new features. A complete list of the changes from 2.0, 2.0.1, and 2.0.2, can be found at the bottom of this post.

– When will 2.0.2 be available? I submitted it for Apple’s review at 4 AM EST Monday morning, and requested another expedited review. Thankfully, Apple agreed to make an additional exception and will proceed with an expedited review. Traditionally, this means the app would be approved same day, but as we saw last week, it could take much longer.

– Having trouble activating devices/stuck in demo mode/forgot Ambur username and password? Please email activate@amburapp.com to receive help with upgrading your devices from demo mode. Include your original username and password if available to you, as well as a contact name, restaurant name, and phone number. We are still working to reach out to everybody that has been backlogged in our system, but to potentially speed things up, here is the guide to reverting back to an old version of Ambur if you have the iCloud backups available to you: http://blog.amburapp.com/reverting-ambur-to-previous-version/

– Using Mercury credit card processing? If you’re on 1.11.6, stay on that version until 2.0.2 is released please. If you’re on 2.0 or 2.0.1, please email support@amburapp.com with the subject “Mercury batching issues," and your name, your business name, your phone number, and business hours. We’ll reach out to you ASAP to aid in settling your batch.

– How can you be confident with Ambur moving forward? We’ve been working overtime to make sure we’re responding to people constantly, and we’ve pushed through a lot of bug fixes and features in a short period of time. This shows our commitment and drive to resolving things. 2.0 was guaranteed to be a rocky launch because of the significant amount of code that was added to it, and we didn’t anticipate how much more testing was necessary, compared to a traditional release. This won’t ever happen again.

– How will we make this up to you? By providing you the award-winning service that you’ve received for free since you purchased your license. By accelerating the pace of updates now that we have a fresh new base of 2.0 to start on, so that your initial investment in the point of sale pays dividends even after you pay us. If you have anything else you’d like us to do, please reach out to me at jpo@amburapp.com

Thanks for those who have been supportive during this – those of you who have reached out with very kind words, care packages, and encouragement are greatly appreciated. This past week has felt like a night when the restaurant is slammed full with an hour wait, except it feels more like the restaurant is full twice over with a 12 hour wait.  Your kindness has made it easier to see light at the end of the tunnel, when the biggest Ambur since 1.0 is stable and you’re able to enjoy it too.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at jpo@amburapp.com. If it’s a sales or support inquiry because you need immediate help, please reach out to our sales and support team – I’m not always on email, and some of your requests that were emailed to me slipped through the cracks this weekend as a result.

Best wishes, James

2.0.2 Notes: FEATURE: order numbers are assigned by default, new order names are now “#(insert order number here)” instead of “New Order” FEATURE: send/cancel buttons are now displayed on a toolbar below the main one when viewing an order FEATURE: Mercury manual processing works fully, in a mixed environment with swiped transactions as well FEATURE: menu item list shows price on right FEATURE: categories are now shown by rank in the list view ADJUSTMENT: changed table layout button to use an icon instead of “Layout” (thanks to James Ehrmann) ADJUSTMENT: searching now searches the full name (i.e. searching for “cord” used to bring up just “cord”, now it will bring up “cord” and “chicken cordon bleu”) (thanks to Jeffrey Su) ADJUSTMENT: tapping “Done” while searching now clears search field (thanks to Rosanna Kyarunts for pointing out this could be confusing) ADJUSTMENT: category buttons are orange tinted so they look the same as a tappable button (thanks to James Ehrmann) ADJUSTMENT: global action button icon is now a globe ADJUSTMENT: deletion is no longer allowed from lists that are pickers BUG: batching Mercury swiped credit card transactions BUG: crash when voiding a payment that doesn’t have an order BUG: order list shows short unique ID on right hand side again BUG: menu item list shows buttons for item descriptions again BUG: actions are available for closed orders again BUG: table names not ‘catching’ properly on linked devices, especially from table layout BUG: manual entry of credit card transactions when the expiration month is less than 10 BUG: “+” button for adding a customer only shows when viewing customers instead of all the time BUG: category picker added to iPhone BUG: categories are now displayed by rank properly BUG: “includes” checkmarks in reporting are now displayed properly BUG: order action toolbar buttons are now always the right color

2.0.1 Notes: BUG: crash when linking, caused by settings loading from the Hub after Orders did, by forcing Settings to load first BUG: crash when processing Mercury transactions with a username shorter than 10 characters BUG: decrease login times by only loading remote data when the screen containing data is tapped (ex. don’t load closed orders until the user taps it). will decrease load times BUG: add open order action to closed order viewer BUG: # of orders shows as 1 in the bottom left, even after the last order is closed BUG: printers not working after first send to a same printer BUG: showing “can’t adjust to $0.00” alert when a void is executed BUG: splitting an order that contains multiple items (wrong quantities being displayed, crash when splitting the first item)

2.0 Notes: FEATURE: complete redesign, done to modern Apple standards FEATURE: portrait mode compatibility on iPad FEATURE: landscape mode compatibility on iPhone FEATURE: quick order functionality FEATURE: time range reports FEATURE: redesigned login screen with status message and bigger number pad FEATURE: persistent navigation bar with quick access to basic functions (replacing “home” screen) FEATURE: navigation bar shows count of open orders FEATURE: create order by adding a new Item, Charge Type, or Customer FEATURE: order details appear throughout ordering process FEATURE: navigate between items, charge types, customers, and payments with ease FEATURE: easy access order functions(former action key) FEATURE: global “action” key FEATURE: global Table Layout access FEATURE: every list has a grid view option FEATURE: confirmation added for voiding payments ADJUSTMENT: remove confusing duplicate “total” line from “Item Sales to CSV” and “Item Sales” reports ADJUSTMENT: don’t count an item’s tax in item sales report if the order is tax exempt ADJUSTMENT: when splitting, there’s an indicator of where to drag and drop items to

Letter from the Founder

Good news: our 2.0.1 update is approved and should be available in the App Store soon! If you aren’t using Mercury as a credit card processor, you should update today and enjoy the app that we believe in, the best version of Ambur yet, and the most complete point of sale available on the App Store today. If you do use Mercury, don’t update to 2.0.1 – wait for a 2.0.2 update. This week has shown that giving release estimates is foolish, given it occurs on Apple’s timetable, but we can say that review times are traditionally 1-2 weeks.

We’re very sorry for the 2.0 update. We failed you – someone who believes in us, invested in us, and trusted us to help run your business. No apologies can amend that. We’ve learned a lot from this, and I’d like to share what we’re going to do differently going forward.

Our development team will be making smaller, more frequent, releases. Three months ago, we threw away two years worth of coding that was initially supposed to be Ambur 2.0. That 2.0 had grown so large that we would not have been able to ship it until late 2014, and we decided that was unacceptable for you. That’s why some of you were promised features that didn’t end up in 2.0: March 2.0 was an entirely different app from July 2.0. With smaller updates, faster, you’ll be able to see us grow much more quickly and there will be less potential for major bugs.

Our support team is creating and implementing a more efficient testing protocol. This protocol will ensure that there will never be a bug in Ambur that will prevent you from running your restaurant effectively: e.g. bugs preventing clients from working, orders from being taken, credit cards from being processed and batched, and receipts being printed. We will also be implementing a beta program with a number of our customers. Making sure our app is being tested by a variety of customers will ensure that any bugs as a result of exotic configurations will be caught. With enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.

As a team, we’re going to focus on communicating with you more, especially in times of crisis. With more frequent updates and a great new app, we’re expecting significant growth, and we want to make sure we’re helping you along with us.

As the founder of Ambur, I want to make sure I’m available for you. You can reach me directly at jpo@amburapp.com.

To address one more issue that we’ve been hearing about – we wish we could maintain the one time fee structure. We want to still be here years and years from now, and without money for the substantial update and support services we provide customers after purchase, we won’t be. Even with added monthly fees, we will be cheaper than any other point of sale on the market today. I’m particularly interested in any suggestions you have for our pricing model – it’s very important to hear from you, our loyal customers and successful business owners, about what would work best. Just to be clear, these pricing changes won’t affect anyone at all who purchases before 2.1.

We’d like to thank you deeply for the kindness, patience, support, and understanding we’ve received during this week. We’re very sorry for any inconvenience we’ve caused you and your business, and I assure you that it will not ever happen again.

All the best, James O’Leary

Reverting Ambur to Previous Version

Instructions on restoring your Ambur version to 1.11.6

* This will only work if you have iCloud backups set up.  You can check by going to Settings --> iCloud.  If it states "iCloud backup is off," you probably do not have iCloud backups on.

* Back up your database via Dropbox or from iTunes onto your computer

You will need your original Ambur Activation username and password.  You may need to re-log in to Ambur to activate the device after reverting.

This post covers database backup to Dropbox, database backup using iTunes, iCloud restore, database importing from Dropbox, and database importing using iTunes.

Backing Up the Database

Backing up to Dropbox:

* Create a Dropbox account if you do not yet have one.  Go to Dropbox.com, select “Create an account.”

- Open Ambur —> More —> Settings —> Action Key (top right corner), —> Dropbox Backup

iPad1

- Tap “Link account” —> Enter Dropbox Information —> Allow access

or

- Tap “Backup now”

photo 3

- A status bar will appear while Ambur is backing up.   Once complete, the Dropbox page in Ambur will display “LAST BACKUP: [Date] AT [Time]”

Saving Database to Computer

- Plug iPad into computer

- Open iTunes.  If you do not have iTunes, go to iTunes.com to download

- In top right corner of iTunes to select device

ss1

- Click on Apps —> Scroll to bottom of the Apps page to “File Sharing” —> Tap on Ambur

ss2

- Select Ambur_database.adb1 —> Click "Save to" --> Save to location that you will easily be able to find later.

ss3

Restoring

Restore from iCloud backup

*User will need to know iCloud/Apple ID username and password

Check to make sure they have iCloud set up, Settings -> iCloud —> Last Backup will be listed under “Storage & Backup."

*If there is a note saying "iCloud Backup is off," you most likely do not have an iCloud backup.

*If there is a backup that's after July 13, 2014, you most likely have a backup from before as well.

- Go to Settings —> General —> Reset —> Erase all content and settings

- Once the iPad finishes resetting, you will begin with the setup assistant

- In the setup assistant, proceed to “set up your device,” tap Restore from a Backup, and sign in to iCloud

- Proceed to “Choose Backup,” then choose from a list of available backups in iCloud (probably the most recent one before July 13).

- The iPad will set up from the backup with Ambur 1.11.6 on it

- View instructions on loading database into Ambur.

- Please remember to turn off auto-updates:

- iPad Home --> Settings --> iTunes & App Store --> turn off "Updates"

Loading Previous Database into Ambur

From Dropbox:

- Download the Dropbox app from your iPad's App Store.

- Log into your Dropbox account

- Select the Ambur folder

- Tap on your database file

- Once finished downloading, Dropbox will say "No Preview Available.  This file type can't be viewed"

photo 1

- Tap on the "action key" as shown, and select "open in..."

photo 2

- Select Open in Ambur

- Ambur will now open, and you will need to overwrite your existing database.

From iTunes 

- Plug iPad into computer

- Open iTunes.  If you do not have iTunes, go to iTunes.com to download

- In top right corner of iTunes to select device

ss1

 

- Click on Apps —> Scroll to bottom of the Apps page to “File Sharing” —> Click on Ambur

ss2

- Click "Add," and select the previously saved Ambur_database.adb1.  If you had named your database differently, you can change the filename to Ambur_database.adb1 after it's been added.  This filename is case-sensitive.

***If you receive a popup that notifying you that you are on a trial version of Ambur, please email us at activate@amburapp.com with your:

- Restaurant Name

- Contact Name

- Phone Number

- Original login username and password

Status Update

July 18 @ 2:30pm EST Ambur 2.0.1 has been approved.

The time it takes to appear in the App Store depends on how long it takes to distribute across Apple's servers. You should have access to the update within 24 hours internationally.

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July 18 @ 11am EST

Our 2.0.1 update has been "In Review" by Apple since 10:20 AM EST this morning – the process is frustratingly opaque for us, but we can say usually it takes a couple hours at most between the start of review and release to the App Store. As soon as it's approved, we'll post on Facebook, Twitter, our blog, and we'll get an email out.

If you use Mercury credit card processing and are still on Ambur 1.11.6, don't update to 2.0.1 – wait for the 2.0.2 update.  If you were not able to revert to 1.11.6 and are stuck on Ambur 2.0, then you will want to update when Ambur 2.0.1 is available.

Secondly, all of our staff has been shifted out of normal duties into support, and we've been answering support inquiries between 7 AM and 3 AM daily. The backlog is currently about 4 hours, and we'll be caught up by end of day. We will have staff available over the weekend.

===============================

July 17 @ 2pm EST

Since we're still in review with Apple giving us any information on what's happening or even rejecting us, we're providing a guide to reverting to a previous version of Ambur.  This will only work if you have iCloud backups set up.  We'd love to just send you Ambur 1.11.6 as a file, but unfortunately with the licenses directly tied in to the App, there is no way for us to circumvent the App Store.

Instructions on backing up database, restoring iPad with iCloud backup, and importing database.

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July 16 @ 3pm EST

For those of you who have updated and are waiting for the latest release, we are very sorry that you have had to be so patient in waiting for the bug-fix release to be available, especially considering how integral your point of sale is to the day to day operations of your restaurant.  We have attempted to and are continuing to reach out to everybody who has called or emailed us since the initial release was available, and hopefully everybody was able to be updated on what is going on.  Unfortunately for many of our customers, as well as our support staff, there is nothing that we can actually do to resolve the main issues—linking devices and sending orders—except wait for Apple’s review team to approve our expedited app submission.

Release notes for 2.0.1 (still pending approval)

- fixed crash when attempting to link to Hub

- fixed crash when processing Mercury transaction with user name shorter than 10 characters

- fixed ‘send’ holding up printer from functioning

- only load data when tab is selected (decrease load time when logging in)

- added “open” button to closed order screen

- fixed bug when # of orders displaying “1” after last order is closed

- fixed bug with error message displaying after credit card void

- fixed bugs with order splitting (crash, split incorrect item, displaying incorrect quantities)

We understand the frustration that many of you have experienced and again greatly appreciate your collective patience.  This ordeal has been a lesson for us, and we have learned from this mistake and updated our procedures and policies accordingly to ensure that moving forward you will receive improved application support, continued customer and technical support, and a constantly improving product that will continue to grow, and hopefully help expand your business.

===============================

July 16 @ 11am EST

We are currently still waiting on Apple’s review team to approve the bug-fix update that was submitted on Monday, July 14.  The release was submitted as an expedited submission, and Apple has informed our development team that they are “aware of the expedited review request.”

For the time being, on Ambur 2.0, you may be limited on being able to link devices.  There is currently nothing you will be able to do to correct this.  This issue has been addressed in the submitted version.

If you’re experiencing problems with printing, this issue stems from the print on “send.”  To temporarily resolve this, you will want to go to More —> Printer Groups, and for the time being remove the printers from the printer groups.  You can then manually send the tickets to the kitchen using the functions bar located on the bottom right side of the screen.

We apologize that we’re still asking you for your patience at this time, but we will keep you updated on any new updates regarding the status of the approval here.

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July 15 @ 12pm EST

As some of you may have experienced, there are a few significant issues relating to the initial Ambur 2.0 release.  Many of our customers that installed the update or had the update automatically installed saw issues linking devices and “sending” tickets.  Our development team went straight to work to fix these when the issues were reported to us, and an expedited update was submitted to Apple yesterday afternoon.  We do apologize for any inconvenience, and we are trying to respond to all emails and voicemails as quickly as possible.

For those of you who have not yet updated to Ambur 2.0, please make sure to leave the Ambur application open on all of your devices.  With Apple’s auto-updating(a default setting as of iOS 7), if you exit Ambur, the iPad may automatically update the app.

If you have already exited out of Ambur, please check to make sure that auto-update has been turned off by following the steps below: -> iPad Home -> Settings -> iTunes & App Store -> Turn off “Updates”

For those of you who have a familiarity with iCloud and Dropbox, Ambur 2.0’s database will work with Ambur 1.11.6.  If you are not familiar with the processes stated above, please take caution when attempting to restore an iCloud backup on your device, and definitely be sure to have a working backup of your database stored elsewhere.  If you call requesting to receive further instruction on reverting Ambur versions, please note that fact specifically.  You will need to have your Apple ID username and password, your Dropbox username and password, and potentially a computer with iTunes installed.

We appreciate your patience and offer our sincerest apologies.  Please keep checking back to the blog periodically.

The Ambur Team

Ambur 2.0 Available July 14

The update will be available very soon -- but first, we need to make sure you and your staff or co-workers are aware of the new features, the interface change, and some miscellaneous but extremely important notes regarding your Ambur system before the version goes live. Ambur 2.0 has a brand new interface!  This will be the most apparent change that you will notice in your point of sale.  Don’t worry, there won’t be too much that you have to learn -- many of the changes were put in place to reduce the number of steps involved in performing the same actions as before, and making other pages more accessible.  You should have everything down pat after reading this walkthrough:

Notable 2.0 features: - Redesigned login screen - Status message now located on login screen - Persistent navigation bar (replacing “home” screen) - Navigation bar shows running count of open orders - Quick order functionality - Create order by adding a new Item, Charge Type, or Customer - Order details appear throughout ordering process - Navigate between items, charge types, customers, and payments with ease - Easy access order functions(former action key) - Global “action” key - Global Table Layout access - Every list has a grid view option - Portrait mode compatibility - Time range reports

Navigation

Ambur 2.0 Navigation

Ambur 1.0 Navigation

Remember the navigation menu?  It’s now permanently located at the bottom of the left side of the screen, as noted above.  Redesigning Ambur for this permanently displayed navigation bar allows quick access and toggling between orders, closed orders, menu items, reservations, and management settings from whatever screen you were previously on.  No more hitting home or holding up your customers as you hop between screens.  If enabled, direct access to your Table Layout is also available from any screen as well.

iPad POS Order Screen

The order functions(former action key)  on the order screen have been relocated as well.  Now, as long as you have an order selected, all the functions that you need to perform are located along the bottom as indicated above.

Ambur Home Button

Previously you had to go to Ambur’s home screen to access its action key, whether you'd like to run an employee report, clock in or out, or even to open a cash drawer.  We’ve now made it a global action key, and as long as you have the permissions to do so, you can access these functions from any screen!

Ordering As you’ll notice in the previous section, the order details are now located on the left.  This allows you to see all the ticket information as you manipulate the order.  This also allows for you and your staff to navigate between the Menu, Charge Types, Customers, and Payments whilst keeping the order details up.  Categories are now also displayed in full to make them easier to navigate between.  We're very excited to offer you buttons for every menu item, but if you prefer the list format from Ambur 1.0, know it's still available!

Ambur Order Screen

In food service, faster is better, and that’s why we've added quick order functionality to Ambur 2.0.  If no order is selected, any selection of a Menu item, Charge Type, or Customer will begin a new order with the selected piece automatically added to it!  New orders can still be created by selecting a table or pressing the “+” sign in the left pane, but this will greatly increase the efficiency of the ordering process for those one-and-done deals!

Status Message We've moved the status message to the passcode screen so each employee will see it right before they sign in.  You can display reminders, daily specials, or 86’d items; there’s no longer any excuse for employees to miss your notices.

iPad POS Status Message

Reports Have you ever wondered what the “range” function in Ambur was for?  It’s now up and running!  Pull reports by time range, and see how your lunch rush on Monday compares to Wednesday to make better, more informed staffing decisions!

Our first step into Ambur 2.0 was our redesign.  Following this update, we feel especially reinvigorated and look forward to fulfilling your point of sale needs now and in the future.  You’ll be able to expect regular releases with features and bug fixes, big and small, much more often.

Important Notes -Ambur 2.0 is compatible only with iOS 7 and up.  This is a result of Apple no longer supporting software updates for certain older devices, so please ensure your current devices are on  their latest available iOS update and that the version is compatible.  iOS updates may take a while to download, and more importantly to install, so be sure to leave yourself at least an hour of time where your iPad will not be in use.

- Be sure to turn off bluetooth after the iOS update.  The iOS update may automatically turn bluetooth on.

- We recommend turning off automatic updates in iOS 7 so your Ambur versions don’t accidentally mismatch in the future. -> Launch the Settings app from the Home screen of your device -> Scroll down and tap on iTunes & App Store -> Under the Automatic Downloads section, turn the option for Updates from “on” to “off”

- You may want to make sure you have a Dropbox account set up and linked to Ambur before you update.  This is strictly precautionary, but it’s always good to be careful. -> Go to the App Store and download the Dropbox app -> Create an account -> In Ambur, go to Management—> Settings—> Action Key —> Dropbox Backup —> Link Account

- If for whatever reason you cannot get Dropbox working, another option would be to do an iCloud backup on your Hub device before updating as well. -> Launch the Settings app from the Home screen of your device -> Scroll down and tap on iCloud -> Set up your account if you haven't already -> Select Storage & Backup -> Turn iCloud on

- As a precaution, please also make sure your credit card transactions are settled before updating.

For any customers that are looking into purchasing Ambur for the first time or for your additional locations, there will be a monthly component that is going to be effective after Ambur 2.1.  The tentative date for the release is September 1.  All licenses purchased before that time will not be affected by this pricing adjustment.  More details will follow on this matter leading up to the Ambur 2.1 release.

Please contact an Ambur account representative for additional information or to schedule a demo.  You can send an email to info@amburapp.com, fill out a contact form, or call us at 716.235.5808.

We want to make sure you're heard, so we've provided you with a form where you can submit your own bug reports or feature requests.

We appreciate the patience that our customers and prospective customers have displayed in past months.  As stated before, everything is in place for us to transition to a more frequent release and update schedule. We're looking forward to hearing what you have to say about Ambur 2.0!

Best, The Ambur Team

Creating and Using Open Items in Ambur

Whether you always have daily specials or if your chef has just decided to whip something new up on the fly, the ability to type in a random item and give it a price is useful for many different restaurants. For the example below, I've created two items, "- Open Drink" and "- Open Food." The most important aspect to creating a Open Item is making sure to set the "prompt for name?" and "prompt for price?" lines to Yes.

Create

I created two separate items so that your Open Drinks can be sent to the Bar, while the Open Food items can be sent to the Kitchen. I've also added a hyphen(-) before the name of each item so that they show up at the very top of your menu as you can see below:

Use

As useful as this is, it isn't an absolute necessity because in Ambur, creating a new menu item is one of the simplest things you can do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping Track of Your Devices

With the Ambur system, among other iPad POS systems, you now have an affordable and efficient way to allow your servers to take orders directly from the table side. Whether they're carrying around a full iPad, the iPad mini, an iPhone, or iPod Touch, servers can send drinks to the bar, food to the kitchen or even swipe a credit card while holding a conversation with your guests. Personally, I think the regular iPad is a bit too large. It's not fit for an apron, and with only one hand available, a server can't take many drinks to, or plates away from the table. The iPhone on the other hand is a great size, fitting in most pockets and definitely in an apron, however it raises the concern over whether or not the server will be texting friends during a shift, rather than interacting with their guests.

Now, the iPad mini and iPod Touch are my favorites. With a small adjustment to an apron, the mini fits right in, allowing your servers to do everything they used to, while saving them time running back and forth to a terminal. The iPod Touch can do the same, but with a smaller screen, it may be difficult to view for some servers.

If you've decided to allow your servers to take mobile devices to the table, I highly recommend using a white board to make sure each employee knows exactly what device they're in control of:

Mobile POS White Board

If each device is designated by number or letter with a sticker, you can easily keep track of them, while putting most of the responsibility on the servers to take care of each individual device. If not, there's a much better chance you'll have to pay for replacements. Without designated responsibilities, your servers may give less care for the devices, dropping them, spilling drinks over them, or simply leaving them on a counter, easily accessible for thieves.

Bringing mobile POS devices to the table is a great way to increase your restaurant's overall efficiency, just make sure to do your best to keep the devices safe.

 

 

 

 

Delete and Void Permissions for your Employees

Every business owner is at least somewhat unique in how they choose to manage their employees. Some meet with each individual on a daily basis, while others prefer to let their management team take care of everything. But in whatever position you may be, it all comes down to trust. Here at Ambur, I've seen and spoken with managers with many different views and practices on how to best manage their employees. Some keep everyone on an equal level regarding permissions, while others limit management access to just a few. Today I'm going to discuss the most common format I've seen thus far, and show you how to set your permissions to fit this model.

Many of our clients keep things simple, and split their User Groups up by just Management and Employees:

ChangePermissions

To access the permissions screen, you must go into User Groups and tap on the Action Key in the top right corner to find "Change Permissions." The most important line in the permissions screen relates to where most of the action occurs within Ambur, "Order:"

Order

For the management and employees, I would suggest ensuring they cannot delete any item or order:

DeleteOrder

DeleteItem

However when it comes to voiding particular items or orders, most Ambur clients will allow their management that ability, while disallowing the void option for their employees as you can see below:

EmployeeDisallow

Now you can be sure your employees cannot cheat the system, yet the management team still has the ability to make decisions based on their best judgment.

Check out our Help Center for a more detailed description of adjusting your permissions, along with articles relating to just about every feature within the Ambur system: http://ambur.groovehq.com/knowledge_base/topics/delete-and-void-permissions?from_search=true

 

 

Ansar at ETA's Transact 14 Conference

We attended the Transact 14 conference by the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) to demo Ambur and to learn about the latest trends in payments and point of sale! We learned about a ton of newly released and upcoming products, both hardware and software. We are very excited about the large eco-system that is developing around tablet point of sale systems, specifically with the iPad in mind. Sleeker cases, faster receipt printers, compact cash drawers, loyalty systems, online ordering tools and much more were on display. With all of the new software solutions that are looking to partner with tablet based systems and the supporting hardware, we think that the tablet point of sale market will grow much faster than it has in the past two to three years.

Best of all, we had a chance to see some of our favorite hardware manufacturers. We were joined by ArchelonVaultStar Micronics & POSEnclosures  in the M-S Cash Drawer booth.

Here's a photo of me with Nash from M-S!

Ansar and Nash

There's an App for that

Owning and operating a restaurant can be stressful. There are so many things to keep track of, like employees, patrons, marketing, and more. If you are using Ambur Point of Sale, you understand the utility of a mobile app that helps manage your business. Ambur is just the tip of the technology iceberg. There are many other apps out there that can also help you. And since anyone using Ambur is already walking around with an iOS device, using other apps becomes even simpler! Ambur-41

Table37 Are you looking for a powerful tool to manage your wait list and reservations? With Table37, diners have the ability to make reservations looking at real time availability using their smartphone, your website, and even your Facebook page! Don’t take reservations? No problem. The wait list feature will help improve the efficiency of your hostess stand and increase table turns by giving the hostess the ability to easily add, search, and sort your diners.
Table37’s table management feature allows you to simply create a floor plan, see table availability, view server’s stats, and see how long people have been dining for. Finally, the system offers a paging feature where you can send a text message to the diners when their table is ready.

OnTheSpot It’s not easy to create surveys or aggregate all the data you collect from them. OnTheSpot can help you with that. This great application allows you to create surveys in less than 15 minutes. They can be sent to participants by visiting a URL, sending a text message or via a QR Code. These surveys are accessible via desktop browsers as well as on iOS, Android, Blackberry and Kindle Fire. After the survey is filled out, the data is aggregated real-time and you can begin viewing report data right away!

Social Media Apps Running a restaurant is at least a full time job, and often times way more than a full time job. Spending the time to run the actual restaurant business can take away from other things you want to do like promote it via social media and take a look at the status of you web presence. I recommend using HootSuite. The HootSuite app gives you the ability to check on both your Facebook and Twitter in the same app and from your mobile device.
The Urbanspoon (only on iPhone right now) and Yelp apps are also useful. Use these apps when checking your online reviews to see what your patrons have been saying about your restaurant. Various ways to deal with online reviews were discussed in a previous post.

Perka There are many reasons to use a loyalty program: bring customers back, bring in new customers and, in general, turn a larger profit. We recommend using Perka for you loyalty program. With this app, you customers check in using their phones and get electronic “stamps”. With Perka you can find which of your customers are the most valuable, and give them special offers. Another advantage is that Perka allows your customers to give you private feedback. You can use this feedback to fix a potential issue before it goes from being private to public.

Zoomshift Yet another headache with running a business is scheduling. How do you currently do it? Do you post the schedule on a wall, do employees get emails? With Zoomshift, scheduling is simplified. With this awesome app, after you create the schedule, your employees will get an email and text message. They can log in from anywhere to see their schedule, mark their availability, request time off and even swap shifts! If you are doing scheduling a different way, give Zoomshift a try.

Point of Sale Industry Changes

Before the iPad was released in April 2010, few people realized all the different applications it would serve in just a few short years. iPads are currently being used by doctors, restaurant owners, pilots, retail sales staff and in various other industries. In 2010, the point of sale (POS) market was still dominated by a handful of large companies, some of them worth billions of dollars. These companies had a stronghold on the market and yet were not able to solve a lot of pain points for restaurateurs. The systems provided by these companies did not adapt to the needs of the restaurateur, remained hard to use and were expensive. Founders Ansar Khan and James O'Leary

The iPad was the perfect tool to disrupt the market. Going into the iPad point of sale market, we knew what we were up against. The incumbents in the market had a twenty-five year head start, strong reseller networks and had built brands for themselves. We knew competition would be tough, but also understood that restaurant owners needed an easy to use mobile point of sale system at an affordable price. That’s exactly what we set out to create!

Having years of experience in the restaurant industry, we realized that a large number of features does not make a better product. A point of sale system may be packed with dozens of features but if they are hard to access, they don’t provide much benefit to the user. Every feature built into Ambur serves a specific purpose and is easily accessible. As we grow and add more features, we make great efforts to make sure that we keep Ambur easy to use so we don’t end up like the systems we want to replace. Another great advantage of an iPad point of sale system is the mobility. Wait staff can carry around iPads, iPad minis, iPods or iPhones and access the point of sale system no matter where they are in the restaurant.

From the start, we knew we had a great product and getting it into the hands of restaurateurs would allow us to prove it. Unlike our competitors, we decided to base our sales on a completely transparent model. Restaurateurs can download a limited version of Ambur for free from the App Store and evaluate it at their own pace. In the evaluation stage, our sales agents can answer any questions the customer has about Ambur. We work closely with the customer to make sure that Ambur is a good fit for their business. This model has served us well because since our customers are already familiar with Ambur before they purchase, they know it is the right solution for them. Newer point of sale companies have similar models and we think it is a great trend. With the point of sale being the heart of the restaurant, the staff need to be fully comfortable with it.

Apple’s App Store has allowed us to reach customers in thirty countries! Such a big reach does have it’s own challenges. One challenge that we encounter every day is to make sure that we are able to support not only the software but all the corresponding hardware remotely. Great documentation, understanding customer’s needs and great customer service allow us to be one of the most highly rated point of sale systems in the App Store.

In talking with thousands of restaurateurs, the most important aspect in choosing a point of sale system is the owner understanding the needs of their business. There are a lot of POS solutions on the market and not all of them are a good fit for every business. Once a restaurant owner has outlined their needs, they need to ask specific questions and make sure that the POS can do what they need. Restaurateurs should be wary of companies that don’t offer free trials or 100% money back guarantee on their solution.

Moving into 2014, we are excited to make Ambur even more powerful. We have a firm belief that mobile point of sale systems will dominate the restaurant industry in the coming years.