We’re releasing the next major update to Ambur, Ambur 2.3, on Tuesday April 14, 2015. After the release of 2.2, we hunkered down for the winter with a group of testers, working with them as we added new features and addressed every issue that came up along the way.
ORDER TAKING & NEW PAYMENTS SCREEN
One major area of focus is order-taking speed in 2.3. With the release of 2.0, we made a major increase in order-taking speed by focusing on eliminating transitions between screens. For example, instead of having to tap add payments, then choose a payment, then tap back, we put the payment screen on the same level as the menu so it was always only one tap away for taking a payment.
In 2.3, we took everything to another level. We started with the supposition that order-taking should only require two taps – one to indicate the item being ordered, and another to indicate the payment method. We then moved through the interface, removing stumbling blocks until this was possible.
In the process, we made two important changes that will affect your day-to-day operations:
First, now when an order is paid in full, the order automatically closes. If this is prohibitive for your style of business, you can turn this off in Management > Settings > “automatically close after full payment”. If you leave orders open in order to adjust tips, you can still use automatic closing: just adjust tips from the Closed Orders by selecting the order, then tapping on the payment.
Second, the payment screen is now located on the order screen itself. You can edit the payment amount, or the number of payments for those times when you need to split an order in half quickly. The cash button contains all the Payment Methods marked as cash, the credit card button contains all the Payment Methods marked as credit, and the upwards facing arrow button contains all other Payment Methods.
- When closing an Order with unsent Items, the Items will be sent, and if they’re sent successfully, the order will be closed.
- Credit card receipts will now automatically print to the customer copy printer designated for your device, saving you from having to pick a printer to print to.
- Menu Item descriptions can be viewed in grid mode. An item with a description has an info button in the bottom right of it’s grid cell, and tapping and holding on the grid cell will show an alert with the description.
- The Line Item edit/option picker screen allows for fractional quantities, and has quantity pickers at both the top and the bottom, in case you hear the quantity first, or last.
- In order to support a growing number of actions relating to Line Items, the action button on the left hand side contains Edit, Delete, Void, and a new option called Reprint that allows for printing an individual copy of the kitchen receipt for that Line Item.
- How long an order has been open is now displayed in the order list.
- Tables open longer than 45 minutes are displayed in yellow on Table Layout, and tables open longer than 1 hour 15 minutes are displayed in red.
- When splitting, all items start out on table 1 to save you from having to drag all items to a new split order.
- After splitting, tapping on the table that originally hosted the split order will allow you to select from the split orders.
- If an automatic logout due to inactivity is going to occur, an alert is displayed warning the user and giving them five seconds to tap the screen. Of course, you can adjust the login timeout by going to Management > Settings > “login timeout.”
PERMISSIONS + PERMISSIONS OVERRIDE
We’ve redesigned our permissions from the ground up to make it a breeze to work with. To edit Permissions, go to Management > Permissions, choose a User Group you want to edit Permissions for, as well as the Source of permissions you want to edit, for example, Orders versus Menu Items. This way, you have complete control over what the user can do with every aspect of the system, and it’s easy to customize.
Permissions can now be overridden when committing many actions. For example, if the logged in user isn’t allowed to void a Line Item, they can still tap “Void” and it will prompt for the passcode of a user who can void the Line Item, saving the manager from having the end the current user’s session, log in as themselves, find the order, and then void the Line Item.
Ambur now includes logs of all activity performed in the system for the last 30 days. This makes it much easier to track down who did what in the system, and also preemptively check to make sure there’s no one abusing their ability to perform actions. The audit logs indicate when: the app is started, switched away from, shut down, an Order is renamed, created, or deleted, a print out occurs, a Payment is created or deleted, an Item is created, deleted, or voided, whenever an action is committed, whenever a permissions override occurs, whenever a user logs in or logs out, and any credit card processing errors.
To send an Audit Log, tap Global Action > System Status > Audit Log. From there, you can choose to email it to yourself or Ambur for support related services.
Ambur now supports barcode scanning! When you connect a Socket Mobile 7ci (30 feet range) or Socket Mobile 7Mi (300 feet range) scanner, it can be used to input barcodes in the Menu section. When the order-taking screen is active, scanning a barcode is equivalent to tapping an item, so it can even start a new order. They are available to lease or purchase from our store now.
MENU EXPORT TO/IMPORT FROM CSV
To support mass editing of your menu, we’ve added support for exporting your menu to a spreadsheet format, as well as importing the menu from a spreadsheet. To do so, import a CSV file into Ambur using iTunes or email. This functionality supports every field on a menu item, including modifiers, printer groups, and categories.
To do so, go to Management > Settings, and tap “Action” in the top right corner, where you can import and export.
HIDE AND 86 MENU ITEMS AND CATEGORIES
Menu Items and Categories can be hidden from the ordering display by turning “hidden?” on, and you can set custom colors for them too using our color picker. This is a great way to use categories for reporting purposes without cluttering up your ordering screen.
SET CUSTOM COLORS FOR MENU ITEMS, CATEGORIES, AND BUTTONS
A menu item’s custom color can override its category’s, and if it doesn’t have a custom color, it picks the first category that it is in for its color. If neither has a color, or it isn’t in a category, a color is generated based on the parameters you have set when tapping the paintbrush icon in the order screen. That color is based on the item’s name, so if you accidentally delete the item, adding it again with the same name will restore the color you remember.
To change your system’s default color, go to Management > Settings, and set the “toolbar color.”
- When searching for customers, no matter what format you search for the phone number in (ex. searching for “716 860”), it will turn up matching phone numbers even if they’re in a different format (ex. “(716) (860)”).
- Upon clock out, users can enter their claimed tips and it will show on the Shifts report.
- For Discounts & Fees, you can block user groups from adding specific charges. For example, you can make it so all User Groups except managers are prevented from adding the “100% Manager’s Discount” you have set up.
- You can configure a cash drawer to open every time a Payment Method is taken. You can turn this on for your cash payments, so the cash drawer opens automatically whenever your employees take cash payment.
- Batch reports show total base amount, total tip amount, and combined total at the bottom.
- Kitchen receipts that are reprinted (i.e. not printed using the Send button) show a warning at the top and bottom that they’re a reprint. If your business never uses the send button, and you don’t want to show the reprint warning on kitchen receipts, go to Management > Settings, and turn off “kitchen reprint warning.”
- When giving a demo of Ambur to your staff on a larger screen, you can turn on “Show touches” on the system status screen to provide greater guidance and show where you’re tapping.
- Show spinner while defragmenting database.
- Use number pad for percentage entry.
- New credit card processing settings screen.
- Table layout can be zoomed on iPhone.
STABILITY AND RELIABILITY
We’re really proud of how remarkably reliable this release is. During the last few weeks of usage at over 20 locations running the prerelease, we saw over 16 days of 24/7 usage without a crash. We’ve successfully worked around the WiFried iOS 8 WiFi performance issues, leading to significantly increased sync speeds, and there’s no mysteries or oddities in this version: every last issue was followed up on until there weren’t any to follow up on. There’s been countless bugs and tweaks along the way, the ones that we’ve been contacted about are listed below:
- Calculation error when a charge is set up as a tip that discounts with a negative percentage amount.
- Crash when syncing Line Items with Modifiers with no options attached.
- Dropbox giving an error of “No Auth Method Found” if the user is logged out of Dropbox when a backup is attempted.
- Dropbox showing an unclear NSURLRequest error if connection fails due to a timeout.
- Dropbox backup failing when backup filename contains non-supported characters.
- “Error in connect() function” error when attempting to link to a hub, after iOS shut down the hub.
- Remove employee report option from clients.
- Remove “Weak connection” networking system and of use a low-level approach which gives a much more reliable connection + less network stress, but will give out with no warning after the connection has been dead for 15 seconds.