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BWW tests server handhelds, delays tests of customer ordering

Buffalo Wild Wings is testing server-held, remote-ordering devices in two restaurants while continuing to roll out tabletop tablets and preparing for a two-store experiment where guests will be able to order their own meals using the tablets.

In a presentation this week to financial analysts, CEO Sally Smith also divulged plans to test additional choices for settling checks, but did not reveal details.

Being able to order from a tabletop device and to pay for the meal are viewed as capabilities that need to be bundled for a rollout, COO James Schmidt said. Similarly, the guest-ordering capability will likely be expanded so patrons can order drinks as well as food.

“We're separately working on the beverage ordering piece of it and so that will also be coming as we enter 2016,” he said.

About 80 percent of Buffalo Wild Wings locations have been outfitted with tabletop tablets, which are apparently used mostly for playing games and music. An introduction of the devices in all franchised stores is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

The wings-and-beer chain had expected to begin testing self-ordering by guests before the third quarter, but has pushed it back because of considerations about the system’s capabilities.

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