Small Business Saturday for Restaurants

Main Streets from coast to coast will usher in the holiday shopping season this weekend, competing with large retailers, malls, and online shopping. 

Main Streets from coast to coast will usher in the holiday shopping season this weekend, competing with large retailers, malls, and online shopping. 

There is a trend reversal happening. Slowly, consumers are paying more attention to small and local businesses, at least since the Great Recession. While it is a moderate trend, it provides much needed support for our communities that wish to invest locally and grow. 

The post-Thanksgiving consumer trifecta of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday awaits. Small Business Saturday presents a great opportunity for local bars and restaurants to capitalize on the added foot traffic of hungry shoppers, and two organizations have teamed up to encourage this very idea.

The National Restaurant Association and the Small Business Administration have come together to promote dining out locally after a long day of shopping locally. The event encourages everyone to #DineSmall and use the hashtag to promote themselves on social media. 
 
>> Tips on how to promote your restaurant for Small Business Saturday.

In related news, the latest version of Ambur will include barcode scanning capabilities. This opens Ambur up to retailers and restaurants with a retail element to now benefit from our point of sale app. Ambur 2.3 Calumet is currently being tested and has an estimated release in early December. Expect a full blog post on all of the new features soon!

Related Blog Posts:
Benefits of Thinking Locally for Restaurants
5 Recipes to Spice Up Your Fall Cooking

Ambur 2.2 Release and Feature Highlights

Along with the many significant feature updates in 2.2, there are also interface upgrades such as bolded orders and icons, highlighted cancel/send bar, and a way to adjust the brightness and saturation using the paintbrush icon, located in the top right corner.

We're excited to announce that the newest version of Ambur (2.2) is now available to update. The past couple months have seen the largest progress in the development of the Point of Sale app in its entire five year history. This surge in development efforts combined with thorough beta testing has created a version that is highly functional, fast, and full of new features and fixes.

One of those new features is Ambur Anywhere, which allows you to remotely access your Ambur system from anywhere with your iPad or iPhone. This has an infinite number of uses, including taking orders and payments on delivery and checking reports when you can't be at your business. You can learn more about that here.

This post will highlight some of the new features that you will find in Ambur 2.2. You can view the full release notes by clicking the link at the bottom. 

One great feature for deliveries is the ability to receive directions right from Ambur using Customer Profiles. Simply tap the compass icon displayed to the right of the customer's address, and detailed directions with estimated travel times will pop up from wherever you are. This all ties in to the remote access feature, Ambur Anywhere, to provide you with a functional point of sale system even outside of the restaurant.

Basic app functionality has been improved with the removal of pop-ups for text edits. Now, simply tap on the text you wish to change. You can even use an external bluetooth keyboard to quickly tab through and make edits. Confirmations now appear when tapping away from and removing items from an unsent order, ensuring accuracy. Post daily specials and updates directly to your social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) connected on your device by selecting "Post Message" from the Global Actions button. 

Elements of the user interface have been enhanced for clarity. The background of the Cancel/Send bar is now orange, making it more obvious when items have not been sent. Order action icons and tab bar icons are now more bold and keyboards will not block important screen content when in use. Also, changes to content size in your device's settings will be reflected in the app, giving you control over how large or small the app's content appears.

Active shifts are highlighted in the signature orange on the Shifts list. Upon clocking out, an alert will show the time clocked out as well as the duration of the shift, with the option to print a shift report. 

Ambur utilizes the adaptive iOS 8 user interface, and is the only Point of Sale app to do so. This enables Ambur to support current and future iOS devices, including the iPhone 6 and 6+. For example, if the app is open on an iPhone 6+ in landscape orientation, it resembles how you would see it on an iPad. Ambur is also now optimized for retina HD screens, increasing legibility to a surprising extent. 

The latest version is faster and seamless with the improvement of two key features. First, syncing between devices has increased five times due to improvements in packing and unpacking the sent data. Second, Ambur now compresses your database to a .zip file before backing it up to Dropbox, saving up to 80% of space and uploading much faster as well.

Click here to see the full release notes, which lists every new feature, adjustment, and fix.
 

5 Ways to Combat Stress in a Restaurant Work Environment

Customer Profiles in Ambur POS create a more memorable and personal experience for the customer while removing one less thing you have to worry about.

Working in the food service industry is arguably one of the most stressful jobs, whether you are a server, manager, or cook. It's physically trying, the hours can be late and long, and you have to deal with not only your equally-as-stressed coworkers, but innumerable customers who expect a lot from you. While these jobs are fast-paced and do not allow for much down time, there are some effective techniques to reduce your stress levels. It will make your job a bit easier while dealing with customers and coworkers a more pleasant, rather than anxious experience. 

1. 7-7-7 Breathing
Even if you're swamped, take a mere 21 seconds to stop whatever you're doing and focus on your breathing. Inhale deeply through your nose for seven seconds, hold for another seven seconds, and take seven more seconds to exhale through your mouth. Introducing more oxygen to your brain will help you think more clearly, which in turn will make everything you have to do seem less overwhelming. It almost feels like a reset button for your mind.

2. Stay Fueled and Hydrated
This should be common sense, however, we often forget to stay hydrated in the times we most need to be. Try to stay away from beverages with a high sugar content and always default to water. Caffeine, because it is classified as a diuretic, should also be avoided under times of intense labor. While water should always be the first choice, hot tea is a positive alternative to coffee, due to its significantly lower caffeine content and calming properties. High in antioxidants and L-theanine, an amino acid shown to have calming effects on the brain without inducing drowsiness, make tea the next best choice in terms of hydration to reduce stress. Additionally, eating a well-balanced and filling meal before work is essential to maintain your energy levels.

3. Maintain and Spread Positivity
No one likes working with incessantly negative people. No one. Be mindful of your attitude and focus on your tasks in the present moment. Focusing on work-related drama on the clock is distracting for everyone and doesn't get much accomplished. Leave tensions behind until there is valuable time to work them out, and stay positive while dealing with customers and coworkers. Positivity can be contagious, so stay light-hearted and hopefully it will catch on around you. If it doesn't, kill them with kindness.

4. Focus on the Guests
As mentioned in the earlier section, it is important to stay focused on the present moment and your position's underlying goals and principles. In all food service environments, this is always usually the customer and their satisfaction. This can be accomplished with the help of Ambur. By using Customer Profiles, you can remember essential customer information such as their name, phone number, birthday, special charges or discounts, reservations, and address for deliveries. Having all of this information organized and easily accessible creates a more memorable and personal experience for the customer while keeping your stress levels down.

5. Use Ambur
Keep yourself and your coworkers more organized by using an iPad point of sale that streamlines your restaurant's workflow. Save time running back and forth by simply placing and sending orders right at the table from your iPad or iPhone. Easily add descriptions to any menu item or daily special, removing the need to memorize every element of a dish. Use Ambur Anywhere to check in on your business when you're away, or to enable the delivery person to accept payments on the go. All of this and many other features can help reduce your stress levels at work, while simultaneously increasing overall productivity.

Ambur Anywhere

The new remote access feature, Ambur Anywhere, allows you to view and operate your system on the go.

The new remote access feature, Ambur Anywhere, allows you to view and operate your system on the go.

One problem that has perpetually presented itself since we started Ambur is, how can we balance allowing off-site access to our system, with our desire to ensure that the system never becomes internet dependent, with our unmatched live syncing features? Sure, we could build a web server, but that means maintaining code for both the app and the server which would slow down our ability to evolve. Also, it would involve asking you to trust your data to a 3rd party in the cloud, which in the age of Snowden, isn’t something we wanted to ask you to do.

With Ambur 2.2, we’ve built a way to let you centralize your point of sale data, without having to trust the cloud, manage a secure server, or set anything up, while still allowing you to have instant access to everything in the system, from loyalty programs to sales data. The hub at your business can allow devices off site to connect to it, over a completely secure connection that you have ultimate control of. The off-site devices connect and operate just as fast as if they were at the business location, thanks to new, advanced, compression algorithms in 2.2 built exactly for the type of data that Ambur transmits back and forth.

Ambur Anywhere does more than let you see what’s going on at your business – you can use it with the new customer address lookup features in 2.2 to let your delivery people pull up directions and travel times from their iPhone on the go, and even take credit card payments. You can use it run reports from home. You can use it to take orders to bust long lines at your food truck, or take down reservations. Is your Wi-Fi network not quite up to speed? With Ambur Anywhere, your clients connect over the Internet, so there are no more limitations of Wi-Fi network range.

This brings the story of how our fee structure is going to work full circle – we dabbled with the idea of charging monthly fees, like every other iPad point of sale, but decided against it. We heard from our customers that they appreciated us most for not charging mandatory fees. From your feedback, we’ve decided to keep operating the way we always have – charge a fair price for a good service, and allow you to choose if you want to pay it or not. That's in addition to what we already offer that no other point of sale can, be it iPad-based or traditional Windows-based. No one else can do live syncing without requiring you to manually request a sync. No one else has syncing that keeps cheerily working when your Internet slows down or goes down. Few others have respect for the privacy and security of your data –  other iPad point of sale products, such as POSLavu, ShopKeep, TouchBistro, and Square, require that you store all your data with them.

Our first two major services are 24/7 support, in addition to off-site access. We call our 24/7 support Ambur Anytime, and off-site access Ambur Anywhere. Both of them cost a mere $39/month, and we offer it for $360 yearly when paying in advance. It’s only a dollar a day for complete peace of mind that your business is always covered in an emergency, and another dollar a day to allow you to check up on your business from anywhere. For the price of a morning coffee, you’ll have access Anywhere, and help Anytime. For more information on these services, and how to sign up for them, you can reach our sales team at 1 (888) 770-2205 or info@amburapp.com.

Stayed tuned this week for more posts about 2.2 – there’s more features than you can shake a stick at. Beta testing is in full swing, and we hope to have it submitted to Apple for review this Wednesday.

Benefits of Thinking Locally For Restaurants

Cooperstown, NY is a small town with a strong local identity and restaurants that emphasize locally sourced foods.

Cooperstown, NY is a small town with a strong local identity and restaurants that emphasize locally sourced foods.

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

Pumpkins! The king of fall, but to a fault?

Pumpkins! The king of fall, but to a fault?

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

flyer_image

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.

IMG_0093

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.

IMG_0094

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.
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.

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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.