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Keeping a Restaurant CRM Simple – Design Counts

Design, Flow,Common Sense, these are words that I use everyday when discussing Tripleseat. They are more then words they are a corner stone of our development. If it does not make sense, flow naturally or look right we won’t do it. Period.  Why the hard line? Simple, I used to sell software in the late 90’s up to 2007 and for that I am sorry. Let me explain.

Before starting Tripleseat I used to be an executive working for the “other” Sales and Catering software companies that are currently out in the market place. These software programs were created 10 to 15 years ago when the thinking was “more is better”. The more features we have the better, the more versions we have the more we can charge, more, more, more. Upgrades were delivered via CD that only your IT guy knew how to install (after spending hours on the phone with support). You needed Servers and RAID and memory before you could even use it.Training on the software took weeks and everyone had a train the trainer program. Some companies had their own “universities” or “power users”.

These companies in a weak attempt to say “we are a web app too” was to take the featured riddled dinosaur of a software and shove it onto the web where the design is even uglier and more confusing. Making bad software fit as web application just makes it really really bad software on the web.

Why are companies like Salesforce.com killing old software like ACT? Because Salesforce.com was built from the start as a Web application with design, flow and ease of use as feature.

You may be asking who cares what the software looks like, I want it to just do this or that. The simple answer is if it is ugly and confusing you will not use it. So, you spent your money on something no one is using therefore getting ZERO benefits. Who can afford that?

Example of design gone bad. What is going on with this calendar view?

When I started Tripleseat the #1 request I got was to please make it EASY and USEFUL. The #2 request was I just want to use it and not be trained for days. It should just make sense. One of the main reasons paper notebooks are still being used is because the current software on the market is just way to complicated, not designed for restaurants, the learning curve is too high, and you pay for 100% of the features but only use 30%.  With Tripleseat we designed the application to be used. All of it.  We want the user to feel that anything they need is simple ONE click away. No flying windows opening up everywhere or having to make 5 or six clicks just to get a contacts phone number. Tripleseat works with you or as we like to say, compliments your process and work flow.

Tripleseat’s Month View with Event FlyOut (colors represent booking status Prospect=Blue, Tentative=Red, Definite=Green)

So, please remember design, flow and common sense are what is important when you start to evaluate what software is right for you.

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