Self Order Kiosks Help Casino Feed Its Employees

Read the Cherokee Nation Entertainment case study here.

Self Order Kiosks Help Casino Feed Its Employees Cherokee Nation Entertainment feeds its casino staff 24/7 with the help of self-order kiosks from NEXTEP SYSTEMS. By Richard Slawsky | Contributing writer FastCasual.com

The players
NEXTEP SYSTEMS, based in Troy, Mich., provides a complete suite of integrated foodservice technology solutions for grocery stores, restaurants, casinos, airports and other high-volume foodservice venues. From self-order to point of sale to digital signage, NEXTEP provides and supports the complete integrated foodservice platform.

Cherokee Nation Entertainment is the retail, gaming, entertainment, hospitality and cultural tourism entity of the Cherokee Nation. CNE operates casinos in Tulsa, Claremore, Roland, West Siloam Springs, Fort Gibson, Sallisaw and Tahlequah, as well as the Cherokee Travel Plaza, two Cherokee Outpost convenience stores, six retail tobacco shops, four gift shops, two golf courses and three hotels. The company recently completed a $155 million expansion of its flagship resort property in Tulsa, which is now branded as Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. The company currently employs more than 3,500 people throughout northeastern Oklahoma and northwestern Arkansas.

The challenge
With eight casino properties operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, it’s important for Cherokee Nation Entertainment to take care of its employees, especially when it comes to providing meal breaks. Due to the size and location of its properties, it’s simply not feasible for the company to expect employees to walk to the parking lot, get in their cars and drive to an outside food vendor.

Not only does that limit the time employees can spend enjoying their breaks, it has the potential to cause operational problems due to employees who might be late returning to work from a trip off the property. With 3,500 employees leaving the operation to visit a nearby food outlet, the odds of one of those employees getting into a traffic accident or even having car trouble while they are away are high.

The company already has extensive foodservice options throughout its properties to serve guests, so providing meals to employees was a logical step. Doing so, however, introduced other issues that needed to be addressed. The main issue was that, as a largely cash-based operation, the company has rules in place prohibiting employees from carrying cash while at work.

“Many of the employees’ uniforms don’t have pockets, so it’s difficult for those employees to carry credit or debit cards,” said Dave Surritte, manager of operational systems and support for Cherokee Nation Entertainment. “We really needed to have a way to deal with those concerns.”

The solution
When Cherokee Nation Entertainment talked with its point-of-sale vendor about what it hoped to accomplish with employee dining areas, that vendor suggested self-order kiosks from NEXTEP SYSTEMS.

“The vendor told us they had worked with NEXTEP before and the company had a good product,” Surritte said. “We talked with NEXTEP and we liked what we saw.”

The kiosks allow employees to select their meal choices via the kiosks’ graphical interface, allowing even those without a command of written English to place an order. A card reader allows employees who choose to pay via credit or debit card to swipe and pay at the kiosk.

At the company’s main Hard Rock property, offerings include an array of cafeteria-style options such as meat loaf, fried chicken and a salad bar. At the company’s smaller properties, employees can order food from the guest-directed foodservice operations at reduced prices.

A major selling point for CNE, however, was the fact that employees also have the option of swiping employee ID cards and entering a PIN to pay for meals through automatic payroll deduction.

“It’s convenient for the employees, because they don’t have to worry about spending their break leaving the property or having to have cash to eat meals,” Surritte said. “It’s convenient for us because it keeps employees on the property during their breaks and allows us to provide meals at prices better than what they could receive from an off-site restaurant.”

The results
Cherokee Nation Entertainment deployed NEXTEP kiosks at its flagship Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa property in 2010. Since then, the company has deployed the system in three other properties, and plans to install it in its four other properties in the near future.

“We deployed the system in our second-largest property last year,” Surritte said. “We expanded two other properties this year, and when we did we installed the NEXTEP kiosks.”

The biggest benefits, Surritte said, are the ease of use of the system, its simplicity and the fact that it interfaced easily with the company’s existing systems.

“There was a benefit all the way around, from the convenience for the employees to the ability of the payroll department to process transactions to giving us the ability to meet audit standards by not having employees carry cash,” Surritte said. “The people at NEXTEP have really stepped up and helped us deal with any issues we faced.”

About the sponsor: NEXTEP SYSTEMS, based in Troy, Mich., provides a complete suite of integrated foodservice technology solutions for grocery stores, restaurants, casinos, airports and other high-volume foodservice venues. From self-order to point of sale to digital signage, NEXTEP provides and supports the complete integrated foodservice platform.

 

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